22 May 2015

Sunspots and 10m - May 22nd 2015

Sunspot number has dropped to 36 (K=1) and 10m propagation is expected to be "poor". I am not expecting great things on 10m today.

21 May 2015

10m - disappointing today

With the best of the day now gone, it was a disappointing day on 10m WSPR.  In all, just 4 stations spotted my 500mW WSPR beacon. EA8BVP was again the best DX spot at 2986km. He has spotted me most days now for months by single-hop F2. Other Europeans were probably Es.

I am still on the lookout for a really big Es opening to places outside Europe, maybe South America or Japan.
Unique station spots on 10m WSPR today.

DST 100 receiver

My very first communications receiver weighed a ton (it took 2 people to move it!) and was a DST100. I believe it was made by Murphy during WW2. This receiver, I have since learnt, was designed for intercept listening. It was built like a tank with a huge rotary turret tuning unit. The radio cost £7 from a local garage and it was overhauled (new valves?) by (the now late) G3CHN. It covered from around 50kHz to over 30MHz and heard some impressive DX. I was always puzzled why signals were so broad on the lowest range, not realising at the time that it covered 50 to about 150 kilohertz!  This was in 1962.

At that time there was little amateur band gear available (none from Japan) and lots of us used WW2 surplus gear which was available at low cost from many suppliers. Popular receivers were the AR88 and CR100. Transmitter-receivers included the WS19, WS38 and 52 sets.

Amateur radio in the 1950s and 1960s was quite different with lots of HF AM still and most people building their own transmitters. SSB was in its infancy. In many ways it was the high point of the hobby, although today we are blessed with low cost gear, free software,  more modes and more bands. The hobby means different things to different people. Long may it continue.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/hf/dst100 .

6m WSPR update

So far on 6m, just the usual spots exchange with G8EPQ (77km). No Es seen here on 6m today yet. I shall stay on the band all day to check though.

UPDATE 1818z:  G4AYT (114km) has been spotting me this teatime on 6m WSPR. Very low Doppler, so I am wondering if this is pure tropo?

Sunspots and 10m - May 21st 2015

Sunspot number has fallen to 61 today, but the K index is down to 1 indicating more stable conditions. 10m propagation is expected to be "poor" again today, although Es may well help liven up the band. I have already had lots of 10m spots by EA8BVP (2986km) by F2 and CT1JTQ (1843km) by Es. Just hoping for further afield, but this is probably less than likely. We'll have to wait and see.

20 May 2015

160m indoor loft antenna

Some years ago G6ALB and I wanted a simple talkback link that we could use when co-operating on experiments. We were 3km apart with Andrew being in the next village. We immediately thought about simple AM rigs for topband (160m).

As I had no 160m antenna, I built the design linked here. This antenna works well with best WSPR spots being over 1000km.

We decided that topband was too noisy for our simple AM rigs for our intended purpose. The noise floor at both our locations is very high on 160m.  I have since moved QTH but we are still thinking about this link. We are now 3.3km apart. Probably 6m would be a better choice as less noisy and we both have vertical antennas.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/antennas/160m_loft_ant .

10m WSPR - early spots by EA8BVP

EA8BVP (2986km) was spotting me early today, I presume this is F2 propagation. This is promising for the rest of the day, even though the 10m forecast is "poor". Otherwise just local G4IKZ (18km). No Es or GDX by tropo or aircraft seen yet, but it is very early.

UPDATE 1020z:   Apart from EA8BVP and G4IKZ, 10m WSPR is very quiet so far this morning.

UPDATE 1735z:  CT1JTQ (1843km) has been spotting me a lot of the afternoon. I think this was Es.

UPDATE  1940z:  F and OE spotting me on 10m WSPR. More Es.

6m WSPR this morning

I have been spotted by G8EPQ (77km) and have spotted G8EPQ as well and spotted G0OQK (98km) this morning on 6m WSPR.  As yet, no Es seen here but it is still very early. Both G8EPQ and G0OQK may have been aircraft reflection assisted I think.

UPDATE 1732z:   2E0BMG (62km) was spotted at 1600z.

UPDATE 2034z:  M0YOU (116km) was spotted at 2010z. The Doppler suggests aircraft involvement.

472kHz (630m) WSPR overnight

Late yesterday evening I changed from my "strapped feeders and loading coil" 630m antenna to the earth-electrode antenna that I'd been using all winter on MF. Spots on 472kHz (630m) WSPR  by G7NKS (46km) immediately jumped upwards by 6dB. This may be directionality, but results were definitely better.  I know my RX is deaf on 472kHz.  It tells me the "strapped feeder" antenna is not that brilliant!

Overnight the best DX was reception of DK7FC (669km) who is always a good signal and a spot by PE1RKT (285km). When I went back to the earth-electrode on 472kHz I resumed 10m WSPR beaconing but I was only copied by G4IKZ (18km) during the overnight period.

Now I am back on 6m (rather than 630m (472kHz)) and 10m WSPR.

Sunspots and 10m - May 20th 2015

Sunspot number is virtually unchanged at 84 (K=3) and 10m propagation is expected to be "poor". So far just local spots on 10m.