17 Jan 2017

Back to 472kHz WSPR

In the last few minutes, I have returned to 472kHz WSPR (5mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground). As the SMPSU is on I am not expecting to spot stations unless they can beat my local S8 noise floor. However, I am only on TX for 20% of the time with 80% of the time on RX.

I may turn off the SMPSU so I can listen through the night on batteries with a nice low noise floor.

UPDATE 2124z: So far this evening best TX DX is just G4FTC (123km) in IO91 square.

UPDATE 2244z: PA0RDT (243km) is now the best TX DX so far.

UPDATE 2304z: PI4THT (448km) is now the best TX DX. So far, only G3KEV (232km) has managed to be copied over my local noise!


Southgate News has an interesting piece linking to the CEPT pages about amateur radio.

See http://www.cept.org/ecc/topics/radio-amateurs/ .

UK Pound UP - NOT amateur radio

Since the Prime Minister clarified our position on leaving the EU following the BREXIT vote, I see that the UK pound is up against every currency. I guess people had already factored in that we are leaving the EU and are happy to have some certainty.

Although I have said this before, it would not surprise me at all if the Euro lost a lot of value this year. The EU is in grave danger of falling apart. We may be the first to vote to leave, but we will not be the last.

OK, I voted to "remain" in the EU, but think many nations want free trade but not a United States of Europe. Originally the EU was about maintaining peace in Europe but it has grown a lot in recent years and has rather lost its way.

Free trade? Yes.
Uncontrolled immigration? No.
U.S.E.? No.

Unless the EU changes, it is in grave danger.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business/market_data/currency/default.stm .

Sapphire Jubilee Coin - NOT amateur radio

I see there is new £5 coin being minted to celebrate the sapphire jubilee of the queen. She has done well to reign for so long. The £5 coin is legal tender in Guernsey. I think I shall give this a miss.

50MHz UKAC - missed

This was last Tuesday, so I missed it. The next one is Feb 9th 2017 2000-2130z.

Although I only have a vertical V2000 on 6m and 5W, I occasionally come on to see what I can work. Usually I can work the locals. A few watts and a vertical are easily enough to work all over Europe in the Es season.  However, such an antenna is not so good for working Gs.

See http://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin/contest_rules.pl?contest=6mukac&year=2017 .

Blackbirds - NOT amateur radio

Every other Tuesday I have been going in to Cambridge on the service bus to my U3A course on Polar Studies at the Scott Polar Institute. As the speaker today was commanded to go to the Economic Forum in Davos, we had a different speaker at short notice: he was very good.

On the way in, I just relax and count the bird species I see. Usually it is between 8 and 12 different species, although in total I have seen many more.

What struck me today was the vast number of blackbirds. They were everywhere. I am not sure why there seem to be so many: are the marking territory or seeking mates?

See https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/bird-and-wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/b/blackbird/. The image on the LHS is on the RSPB site.

There are some waxwings in Cambridge. These birds come from Scandinavia and are quite rare most winters. I have yet to see one. They are often seen eating berries in supermarket car parks.

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday January 17th 2017

Solar flux is 77 today and sunspot number 24. A=2 and K=0 .

Back on 10m JT65

As is my usual pattern, I was on 630m WSPR last night but returned to 10m JT65 at breakfast time.

Overnight the best DX on 630m (472kHz) WSPR RX was LA8AV (1035km) and on 630m WSPR TX (5mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna") was PI4THT (448km) in JO32 square.

UPDATE 1042z: No spots as yet on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1902z: Another very quiet 10m day with just G4CJC (73km) spotted and no DX.

16 Jan 2017

SAQ (17.2kHz) VLF

Southgate News reports that there was a successful transmission this last Christmas. There was some doubt due to a fire earlier in the year. I did not try to copy them this year. My VLF converter may be used to copy them. I have a QSL card from them from years ago.

See http://alexander.n.se/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/SUMMARY-REPORT-ON-SAQ-TRANSMISSION-CHRISTMAS-2016-12-24-1.pdf for a summary report.

See also https://sites.google.com/site/sm6lkm/saqrx/ for a very good software RX. On my You Tube channel (G3XBM) there is a video of this in use.

AAA Screening - NOT amateur radio

AAA (abdominal aortic aneurysm) screening - this available free in the UK to all males in their 65th year or older. I did not know and was not screened until today. All clear.

If you are male and in this category then get checked. Ring your nearest AAA clinic (in Cambridge this is 01223 256909). If you do have an issue it can be fixed with a stent.