29 Apr 2017

CCS Concert Tonight - NOT amateur radio

Wife's concert tonight. West Rd Concert Hall, Cambridge at 7.30pm. Tickets should be available on the door.

See https://sites.google.com/site/cambschoral/ . Guess who does their website?

Turkey blocks Wikipedia? - NOT amateur radio

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-39754909 .

This online encyclopaedia is one of the most famous in the world. Access to it is a sign of a nation being at one with itself and one that trusts its citizens. Countries that ban access to it usually have something to hide.

Bank Holiday Rally

This Monday is a national holiday in the UK - May Bank Holiday. There is a west country rally as detailed below.

MAY 1st 2017 (Bank Holiday Monday) : 33rd DARTMOOR RADIO RALLY

Tavistock College, Crowndale Road, Tavistock, Devon PL19 8DD Doors open at 10:30am with disabled visitors gaining access at 10:15am. Admission is £2 with under 14s free accompanied by an adult. There is ample free car parking on site with catering available too. There will be trade & club stands and the usual Bring & Buy. Details from: Viv Watson, G7AWG on 01752 823 427 or by email to
vivwatsondrc@aol.com

A list of rallies can be found at
http://rsgb.org/main/news/rallies/

Crystal set DXing

This is not as easy as it once was as there are fewer English language AM broadcast stations left on the traditional shortwave broadcast bands. Nonetheless, you may be surprised by what you hear.

My best DX on a simple crystal set is Radio Australia (broadcasting from Australia, not via a relay), All India Radio, Cuba and the VOA from Liberia years ago. You can even envelope detect amateur SSB signals although IDing these can be tricky. Remember, all the power is provided by the TX with none required at the RX end.

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

10m and 6m WSPR yet again

At the moment I am on 10m WSPR (100% TX, 500mW) and 6m WSPR (1W ERP 20% TX,  80% RX). I am seeing some UK spots on 6m, but no Es yet on either band.

UPDATE 1312z: G0LUJ (278km) is the best copied on 6m WSPR this morning. EA1FAQ (1249km) spotted me on 10m WSPR. I think the latter was Es. There is some Es about. G4APB (88km) has also been spotted on 6m WSPR.

UPDATE 1324z: I see that G4KPX (14km) has spotted my 500mW beacon on 10m WSPR. No doubt Richard is looking a bit further afield!

Sunspots and 10m - Saturday April 29th 2017

Solar flux is 77 today. Sunspot number is 35. A=6 and K=2.

28 Apr 2017

Drivers - NOT amateur radio

Some of the most courteous drivers on UK roads are women.

I also note the high numbers of young women drivers who seem to take risks. This is by no means "getting at" women drivers but, in my judgment, women often seem to take more risks than men.

Certainly, this is not a proper statistical survey. Perhaps I am used to bad male drivers! Maybe I just notice this as I am looking, but I can't begin to tell you how often I see bad driving and say to myself, "that was impulsive and poor" and it turns out to be a young woman at the wheel. Call me a male chauvinist pig if you like, although I am not. I am only saying what I notice.

UK Rallies this Sunday

APRIL 30th 2017 : CAMBRIDGE REPEATER GROUP RALLY

Foxton Village Hall, Hardman Road, Foxton, Cambridge, Cambs CB22 6RN. Doors open at 9.30am with traders gaining access from 7.30am. Entry is £2. There will be a talk in station and car parking is free on site. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy, car boot area and RSGB bookstall. The usual burger van will be in attendance. Contact Lawrence M0LCM on 0794 197 2724, email rally2017@cambridgerepeaters.net. www.cambridgerepeaters.net


APRIL 30th 2017 : WEST LONDON RADIO & ELECTRONICS SHOW (Kempton Rally)


Kempton Park Racecourse, Staines Road East, Sunbury on Thames, TW16 5AQ. There will be a talk in station and on site car parking is free. Doors open at 10am with disable d visitors gaining access 10 minutes earlier. There will be trade stations, a Bring & Buy and special interest groups. Other attractions are lectures, a raffle and catering on site. Details from Paul, M0CJX on 0845 165 0351,
info@radiofairs.co.uk. www.radiofairs.co.uk.

A list of rallies can be found at
http://rsgb.org/main/news/rallies/

Sunspots and 10m - Friday April 28th 2017

Solar flux is 78 today. Sunspot number is 23.  A= 7 and K=1.

60m band

According to Southgate News, Malta has just released its new frequency plan that includes the WRC15 5MHz amateur band. This is only 15kHz wide, so we must hope for more later.

See http://www.mca.org.mt/sites/default/files/pageattachments/
NFP_edition%205-4.pdf

10m and 6m WSPR again

Once again I am trying 10m WSPR (100% TX, 500mW) and 6m WSPR (20% TX 1W ERP, 80 % RX). Yesterday was hopeless, so I hope today is better! It cannot be any worse, HI. As we approach May there should be more Es.

UPDATE 1034z:  A 10m WSPR spot by DK6UG (633km), so there is some Es about on 10m today.

UPDATE 1835z: EA1FAQ (1249km) spotted me at lunchtime on 10m WSPR. No 6m WSPR spots all day.

Pye PF8 on 70cm FM

The Pye Telecom PF8 was, in its time, a very futuristic handheld UHF transceiver. They are very rare. I was fortunate to be part of the design team a very long time ago. I was responsible for the TX audio and the antenna which was quite novel. At the time Sir Clive Sinclair asked me for advice!

The PF8 was made famous in the UK TV series "The Professionals". If you can find one, they can be made to work on 70cms. Finding one is very hard. Before you ask, no, I do not have any. TX power was 500mW.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/vuhf/pf8 .

27 Apr 2017

4m Allocations Worldwide

Certainly in Europe and in a few countries elsewhere, the 4m (70MHz) band is being allocated to the Amateur Service. Lower VHF is not so popular for PMR users as antennas are quite large. There is a real chance of more widespread amateur allocations at 4m. This is an interesting band which has decent tropo ranges and Es openings especially in the summer months.

See http://www.70mhz.org/

M.E. petition - NOT amateur radio

See https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/190618 .

The current treatment for M.E. is ineffective. This petition aims to get the UK government to "wake up" to this debilitating condition. If you agree, please consider signing it.

Heathkit Lunchboxes

These simple rigs for 10m, 6m or 2m were kits sold by Heathkit mainly in the 1960s. The limitation was the super-regen RX. I liked the styling and simplicity: no memories, AM only and just one crystalled channel on TX. It has long been my aim to make a modern version with similar styling.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/vuhf/lunchbox .

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday April 27th 2017

Solar flux is 78 today and the sunspot number 36.  A=9 and K=3.

10m?  Maybe we'll see some Es? I doubt there will be any N-S F2 propagation.

New patio - NOT amateur radio

Our new patio has just been completed. Hopefully we will be able to use it this weekend if the weather is dry. It is about twice as big as the old one so should be far less cramped when the patio table and chairs are in place.

Back on 10m and 6m WSPR

This morning I have returned to 10m WSPR (100% TX, 500mW) and 6m WSPR (1W ERP 20% TX, 80% RX) hoping to see some Es.  Late last night I realised I was on the wrong 6m frequency, so I would have missed any activity. This morning, all is correct! As yet, no WSPR spots here on 10m or 6m.

UPDATE 1655z: No spots here on 10m or 6m WSPR.

UPDATE 1905z: Now QRT on all bands. No WSPR spots all day! Might try again tomorrow.

26 Apr 2017

More stroke news - NOT amateur radio

No-one, and I really do mean no-one, seems to understand how I am inside. Most of the time when on my feet I feel giddy and exhausted, but outwardly I look well. I cannot begin to explain how hard this is.

Anything mental or physical taking over 15-20 minutes and I am done in - totally exhausted.  Until my stroke I had no idea what total exhaustion was. After a rest I am back to "normal".

My short-term memory is also poorer.  It is now over 3.5 years since my cerebellum brain bleed, but I think there has been little improvement over the last year or so.  Walking on pavements with traffic is very hard.

In many ways my symptoms mirror those of M.E. in that I feel profoundly tired at times, a tiredness like nothing I have ever had to deal with before my stroke. What is so disappointing is there is little sign of any improvement. I struggle on, but it is very tough.

ESEO satellite

Southgate News reports on testing of the ground control for this upcoming satellite. It has an FM transponder planned for 23cms to 2m.

See https://amsat-uk.org/satellites/communications/eseo/ for more about the satellite.

East Anglia - NOT amateur radio

We have well over 1000 medieval churches in our part of the world. Some are real gems. With aging and falling congregations it is far from clear how these will be maintained in future years. At the moment most are looked after and many are open.

Whatever you are a Christian believer (or not), these are well worth a visit. We are lucky as most are less than 90 minutes drive away. We try to visit many of these and those we do I record in another blog. See http://eachurches.blogspot.co.uk/ .

Alibris - NOT amateur radio

Yet again, I am getting "never to be missed" discounts every week it seems. Do they really take us all for morons? As a marketing ploy, I am tired. Just reduce your prices and put us out of our misery.

If you ever buy books from this lot do wait for an offer. These come around so often that it is never worth buying without using an offer.

Sunspots and 10m - Wednesday April 26th 2017

Solar flux is 81 today and the sunspot number 36. A=12 and K=2.

10m? Maybe some Es and a chance of some N-S F2 propagation.

WSPR today

At the moment I am on 10m WSPR (100% TX, 500mW) and 6m WSPR (20% TX, 1W ERP, 80% RX). As yet, no spots in either band. Assuming their will be some Es today, it is likely to be patchy.

UPDATE 1010z:  Still no WSPR spots here on either 10m or 6m. We may get lucky and see some Es - who knows?

UPDATE 1440z:  Still no spots here.

UPDATE 1654z: Still nothing.  There are lightning strikes near St Neots. OK for now, but I may have to go QRT later.

UPDATE 1900z:  Unless things change soon, this looks like another day with no WSPR spots here on either 10m or 6m. Disappointing. As all seems quiet on the storm front, I shall leave things running on 10m and 6m WSPR until bedtime.

UPDATE 2240z:  With no spots all day. it is time to go QRT.

25 Apr 2017

Lightning risk?

For the first time this year we are threatened with lightning. If you want to check where the storms are in the UK check out this map.  If the storms get close, I shall disconnect rigs and antennas as a precaution.

Garden Colour - NOT amateur radio

This garden in our village is always filled with colour in spring and summer. The couple who live in this cottage work hard on it. Sadly, they are getting older, so I am not sure how much longer they can maintain it. At the moment it is a sea of colour.

10m WSPR and some Es?

This morning, I am on 10m WSPR (20% TX 2W, 80% RX). Although no-one has yet spotted me, it looks like there is some Es with a couple of spots of others.

UPDATE 1220z:  No further 10m WSPR spots since earlier this morning.

UPDATE 1735z:  My 10m (2W) signal was copied in northern Spain at 1658z. This is Es I'm sure.

Cattle Egrets - NOT amateur radio

Increasingly I get the feeling that cattle egrets (birds) are gradually becoming more common in the UK. Before 1955 collared doves were rare - now they are common. Before 1989 little egrets were virtually unknown here. Now they are common. Cattle egrets are being spotted regularly in Devon and I see they have been spotted up here in East Anglia.

As climate changes, the species we see will change. Changes have always happened I guess but species that hitherto have been found further south will move north.

It would not totally surprise me if some birds that winter further south decide to stay for our milder winters. When will swallows decide it is warm enough to fully over-winter? I know there are rare records of swallows staying and lasting until January living on insects near seaweed, but I don't think there are any records of swallows lasting the full winter, although I am no expert.

See https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/bird-and-wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/c/cattleegret/ .

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday April 25th 2017

Solar flux is 80 today and the sunspot number 41.  A=20 and K=3.

24 Apr 2017

Macron win in France? - NOT amateur radio

He is the book favourite to win the final contest against the far right Le Pen in France. As Trump and BREXIT warned us, experts are often wrong.

Overall, I hope Macron wins.

There is a lot wrong with the EU, but Macron has the chance of putting these things right. If Le Pen wins then the EU project is dead and with it European security in the next 50 years. France needs Macron in my view.

Now on 6m JT65 (1W ERP)

As of 1340z I moved to 6m JT65 in beacon mode sending "B G3XBM JO02". I want to see how this compares with WSPR.

I am still on 10m WSPR (500mW TX, 100%) at the same time with the little beacon on a different antenna.

UPDATE 1510z: 2 stations spotted on 6m JT65 with best DX G6NLZ (153km) towards the south coast of England in JO00kw. No spots of me yet on 6m JT65.

A great quote

I found this on Steve M0MVB's website:

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat." - Albert Einstein

Looking for swifts - NOT amateur radio

Swallows are more common as we enter the back end of April. Four flew past the window earlier.

The next are swifts. Several have been seen in Devon and even a few up here in East Anglia, but they are not common yet. As yet, I have not seen one this year.  By June they are very common, but they do not stop long.

Cuckoos should be about soon, but I have not heard any. They often lay their eggs in reed warbler nests up the lode (waterway) not far from here, but we rarely hear cuckoos these days.

See https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/bird-and-wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/s/swift/ .

First 6m WSPR spots this year

M0MVB (33km) has spotted me several times on 6m WSPR. No great DX, but at least I know the system works. Meanwhile my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon has been widely copied in northern Europe.

Moved to 6m WSPR

As the Es season seems to have started, I have QSYed to 6m WSPR (1W ERP) and put the 500mW 10m WSPR beacon on 10m (100% TX).

UPDATE 0942z: I see that OZ9QV (864km) has copied my 500mW 10m WSPR a couple of times.

UPDATE 1022z: Several 10m WSPR spots but nothing yet on 6m WSPR.

Auroras?

This was on Space Weather earlier:

"SOLAR WIND ENGULFS EARTH: A solar wind storm is underway around Earth as our planet enters a high-speed stream of gas flowing from a large hole in the sun's atmosphere."

Be on watch for auroral openings.

Sunspots and 10m - Monday April 24th 2017

Solar flux is 82 today and the sunspot number 43. A=41 and K=4.

As I said in an earlier post today, I think our Es season has started and we can look forward to several months of good propagation on 10m, 6m and 4m. Es openings are mainly up to about 1500km, but most seasons Es openings bring in the USA, Caribbean and South America even on 6m. The conventional wisdom is this is multi-hop Es, but I have some doubts over this preferring some kind of chordal hop involvement.

Althurium - NOT amateur radio

My wife has a way with orchids and those we have live for years.

I had to look this house-plant up as I did not know its name. It is not an orchid - well I don't think it is! As you can tell, I am no plant expert!

10m WSPR (2W) transceive

After success yesterday, I am on 10m WSPR today running 2W (20% TX) with the rest of the time on RX. Before I switched to 2W on the FT817 I was spotted on my 500mW beacon overnight in Italy and Germany on 10m WSPR. I think this is the start of the Es season.

UPDATE 0816z: Several spots of my 2W 10m WSPR by EW2ABC (1812km).

UPDATE 0833z:  DF4UE (758km) reporting me at +7dB S/N - has to be Es.

23 Apr 2017

Tulips - NOT amateur radio

We have had a crazy few months. Daffodils were about 6 weeks late, but most things are now early! Today, we visited Ickworth, near Bury St Edmunds. Most tulips were past their best and another week and we'd probably see none still in flower! This one would be over within a week.

QRP and QRP Club report

This came in from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous Report (April, 23, 2017)
Visitors  of the week: HB9DAX, RV3GM, UA1CEG/p, US5ERQ, DK1HW, UR7VT,
R1CAF,  R2FAE,  UY1IF,  R1OA,  G3XJS,  DL8MEL, PD7CJT, OK1KW, RU3NJC,
R1CAN, UA1ADF, UA1CEX, R2AJA, UR0ET, OH3GZ, F5OYS, Z35M
New Visitors - DL8MEL, F5OYS - you are welcome!
See full Visitors and Frequenters lists on the Club 72 page.
Some comments...
See full WQR Report including comments and pictures on the blog page -
http://qrp-club72.blogspot.ru/
Thanks  ALL for activity and comments.
See all QRPers on the next QRP Rendez-Vous

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"


This is a periodic Newsletter of the Club 72. Don't reply to Newsletter address! Send any requests or news to
mr72@club72.su please.

Dunnock - NOT amateur radio

We get fewer small birds in the garden these days. I did see a robin feeding a new born on the lawn earlier today. A robin was flirting with a nestbox in the garden yesterday. I think it is sitting on eggs. There was activity there this morning.

Our most common birds are pigeons and blackbirds. There are smaller birds around, but they are not as common as they used to be.

The bird shown is a dunnock or hedge sparrow. These birds tend to lurk, but we see quite a few on our lawns.

See https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/bird-and-wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/d/dunnock/ .

Geosynchronous amateur satellite next year?

At the moment, 2018 seems the likely launch date of a Middle East satellite that includes a 250kHz wide linear amateur transponder. Now, it has to get into the right orbit and work. If successful, the 2.4GHz uplink and 10GHz downlink would enable very wide coverage around the world with small, fixed antennas. If it works, it could change amateur radio for ever. There are a lot of uncertainties.

See https://amsat-uk.org/satellites/geosynchronous/eshail-2/

6m MSK144 RX again

Yet again, I have chosen 6m MSK144 RX this morning as well as 10m WSPR TX again. This mode/band (MSK144/6m) never seems to fail unlike 10m WSPR that has been very poor of late with an absence of even locals.

Lack of activity, not conditions, seems to be the main reason why 10m seems "dead". If we don't use it, it may be allocated to CBers before the next peak. We have a wide allocation and could you really blame the FCC or OFCOM if they decided to reallocate? We'd only have ourselves to blame. As they say, " use it or lose it".  In this day and age, we deserve to lose it sadly.

UPDATE 0915z: On 6m already 22 stations spotted in 11 countries.

UPDATE 1035z: Surprise, surprise! Some 10m WSPR spots at last!
On 6m MSK144 RX the score is 25 stations in 12 countries spotted so far today.

Where do you buy HB100 10GHz modules?

Someone in Australia asked this recently. There are many sources on the internet at rock bottom prices. Remember the price includes a screened box,  dielectric resonator oscillator, PCB, 2 PCB antennas and a RX mixer! Think modern Gunnplexers. Incredible value!

Some are as low as $2.32 each with free shipping!!

See https://m.nl.aliexpress.com/search.htm?listType=keyword&keywords=hb100#/. This link is Dutch, but I am sure they have an English site too.

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday April 23rd 2017

Solar flux is 82 today and the sunspot number 29. A=54 and K=4. I am not expecting much of 10m WSPR today again. Indeed it has been many days with no WSPR spots lately. No spots yet again on 10m WSPR yesterday. 

22 Apr 2017

6m MSK144 RX and 10m WSPR TX

I only try 10m WSPR TX as this uses a different rig, no PC and a separate antenna, although it is days since anyone spotted me on 10m! It is a different story on 6m MSK144 RX where I have already spotted 18 stations in 6 countries so far on by this mode. Best 6m DX so far is IK0XBX (1355km) in Umbria, Italy. This mode and band never fail me. Conditions can be poor, but with this mode I still copy all over the place.

UPDATE 1225z:  23 stations in 11 countries on 6m MSK144 RX so far today. Best DX (also a new country) is EA6VQ (1424km) in the Balearic Is.

UPDATE 1508z: now 30 stations in 8 countries spotted on 6m MSK144 RX today so far. This is more stations than I can ever remember.

UPDATE 1822z: The score on 6m MSK144 RX is currently 31 stations in 12 countries.


Sunspots and 10m - Saturday April 22nd 2017

Solar flux is 82 today and the sunspot number 39. A=18 and K=6. I am not expecting much of 10m WSPR today, indeed it has been days with no WSPR spots lately.

HB100 10GHz frequency agility

Steve G1KQH sent me this link:

http://ik1zyw.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/hb100-10-ghz-module-frequency-agility.html

You may recall that the HB100 is a very low cost Doppler radar module that can form the heart of a wideband FM 10GHz transceiver.

UK Rallies this Sunday

APRIL 23rd 2017 : 33rd YEOVIL QRP CONVENTION
Digby Hall, Hound Street, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3AA. There are disabled facilities at this venue. The doors will be open between 9.30am and 3pm. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy, RSGB bookstall and stands for RSARS and RAFARS. A programme of talks will take place on the day. Refreshments are available on site. Details from Bob Harris by email to wjh069@gmail.com [http://yeovil-arc.com/qrpconvention]

APRIL 23rd 2017 : RIPON RADIO RALLY
Hugh Ripley Hall, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 2PT. Doors open to stallholders at 7.30am and to the general public at 10am. Entry is £2 on the door, under 16s are free. Enquiries can be made via email to rally@ripon.org.uk www.ripon.org.uk/content/ripon-rally-2017

APRIL 23rd 2017 : ANDOVER RADIO AMATEUR CLUB SPRING BOOT SALE
Wildhern Village Hall, Tangley, Andover SP11 0JE Doors open from 10am to 4pm, with disabled gaining access earlier. Admittance is £2. There are tables in the hall and outside pitches. Hot food and drinks available. Contact Paul, G4KZY on 07775 738 200 or by email to paul.g4kzy@gmail.com.

21 Apr 2017

C5 solar flare

Southgate News reports that there was a C5 solar flare a few days ago. This was expected to mainly miss the earth, although conditions were disturbed yesterday.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2017/april/massive-explosion-on-the-sun.htm#.WPm7WoWcHIU

Growing up - NOT amateur radio

Our grandchildren are growing up all too fast!  This is one of them in pensive mood.

If you have any, then my recommendation is enjoy your time with them as they are only young once.

OFCOM Consulting on 700MHz

OFCOM wants to free up spectrum at 700MHz early and they are consulting on this.

See https://www.ofcom.org.uk/consultations-and-statements/category-1/support-pmse-equipment-owners?utm_source=update&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=pmse700mhz

Sunspots and 10m - Friday April 21st 2017

Solar flux is 82 today and sunspot number 26.  A=30 and K=2.

Just maybe there will be some 10m WSPR spots today?

6m MSK144 RX abd 10m WSPR TX

Well, more in hope than expectation, I am on 10m WSPR TX (500mW, 100%) as well as 6m MSK144 RX. On 6m, 3 stations in England so far with the best DX 210km. No spots on 10m thus far, although I am not really expecting much on 10m.

UPDATE 0805z: Now 6 stations in 2 countries on 6m. Best DX now 507km.

UPDATE 0925z: Now 7 stations in 2 countries on 6m.

UPDATE 1124z: Now 13 stations in 4 countries on 6m.

UPDATE 1934z: Now 17 stations in 9 countries in last 12 hours on 6m MSK144 RX.

20 Apr 2017

Blossom - NOT amateur radio

This blossom was on a path a few days ago. It is lovely when here, but so ephemeral.

The blossom on our ornamental cherry lasted just a few weeks. The grass soon looked like snow!

The lilac next door and some of our roses are already in flower about a month early.

6m MSK144 yet again

This mode is ideal for me. I put the RX on 50.280MHz and monitor what is spotted on PSK Reporter Maps on another PC in the lounge. Most signals come in strongly by reflections off the ionised trails of random meteors. Even with my poor antenna and coax I usually spot at least 10 countries on 6m most days. The pings may only be a few milliseconds long but WSJT-X V1.7 (free software) decodes the signals. Most signals I get are in the -1 to +3dB S/N range i.e. strong.

As it uses a different antenna, rig and no PC, I am also on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 0840z: 12 stations in 3 countries so far on 6m MSK144 RX today. Nothing again on 10m.

UPDATE 1434z: 14 stations in 3 countries so far on 6n MSK144 RX and nothing still on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1634z: 15 stations in 4 countries on 6m MSK144 RX in last 12 hours. Nothing on 10m WSPR.

Sixbox 6m QRP AM transceiver

Some years ago I did a 6m version of my 2m Fredbox QRP AM transceiver. This had more power than the 2m version and a tuneable receiver. It was built on a piece of copper laminate, but not a PCB. It uses readily available parts, so it should be easy to duplicate. Using a super-regen RX, this is more of a "cross town natterer" than a rig for DX.
See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/vuhf/sixbox .

Stroke update - NOT amateur radio

It is now over 3.5 years since my cerebellum brain bleed. In all honesty, I never doubted a full recovery, so it is really disappointing that my voice is still very poor, I am still giddy when walking and that I get tired so quickly.

Other subtle effects are that I think others say one thing and I find they said something else. I find driving much harder nowadays. Often people don't understand me when I speak and I find it very tiring repeating myself. I am more emotional than I was and in many ways I must be harder to live with.

In many ways I'm lucky not to have more serious disabilities. My main problem is others think I am fully OK - indeed I look fine - but inside I still feel unwell.

Improvements, if they are still happening, are now very slow and hard to see. Still, I am grateful that most of me still works. Life goes on: I never give up.

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday April 20th 2017

Solar flux is 80 today and sunspot number is 14.  A=15 and K=6.

Negative Mass - NOT amateur radio

Apparently, scientists have created a fluid with negative mass.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39642992

19 Apr 2017

Nesting bees - NOT amateur radio

These bees were spotted yesterday at Brampton Wood, UK in a hole in a tree. A few hundred there?

There were lots of bluebells out too.

The bees were on the RHS path going around the edge about 400m from the car park. There were several warnings of nesting bees, but they did not bother us at all.

6m MSK144 RX

I have decided not to go on 10m WSPR TX today, although I have returned to 6m MSK144 RX.

UPDATE 0933z:  So far, 15 stations in 8 countries spotted on 6m with best DX IS0BSR (1603km).

UPDATE 1156z: 18 stations in 9 countries in the last 12 hours on 6m MSK144 RX.

UPDATE 1256z:  20 stations in 10 countries spotted so far in last 12 hours on 6m MSK144 RX.

UPDATE 1542z: 22 stations in 11 countries spotted so far in last 12 hours on 6m MSK144 RX. 12 countries spotted on 6m MSK144 RX in the last day.

Sunspots and 10m - Wednesday April 19th 2017

Solar flux is 85 today. Sunspot number is 12.  A=7 and K=5.

Of late, 10m has been disappointing. I have not had my 500mW WSPR beacon spotted now for a couple of days. I think this is due to a lack of activity as much as conditions.  I remain convinced that if more stations were on WSPR we'd find out that many paths are useable, but people think it is bad and just give up. Meanwhile, the CB bands at 27MHz continue to have activity.

UK General Election - NOT amateur radio

OK, if I was Theresa May I guess I would have been persuaded to hold a General Election on June 8th. The opposition parties are in a mess and there is a good chance the ruling Conservative Party will win a few more (or a lot more?) seats.

However, General Elections often result in surprises. 52% voted OUT in the recent EU referendum, but most wanted a return to "good old England" with control over our laws and borders. I suspect most would prefer us to still be in the single EU market without tariffs.

It would not totally surprise me if this General Election threw up a few surprises. This is a chance for the Lib Dems to start a comeback. Personally I think Labour is committing suicide.

2m UKAC results

The latest results have just been published and I am now 51 out of 131 in the AL section. This is up. Considering I only use 5W to a big-wheel omni and I am usually on for less that 40% of the time because of my poor voice, this is fine. I only really go on to exercise my voice and see if I can reach new squares. The contest is always fun and people are friendly and helpful.

See http://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin/vhfresults.pl?Contest=144MHz%20UKAC&year=2017

Decluttering - NOT amateur radio

My daughter-in-law runs a decluttering business (SpaceinMind) in North London. She has a special offer.

As usual, clicking the image brings up a bigger, clearer image.

See www.yourspaceinmind.com

70cm antenna

A lot of people are plagued by noise on HF. Not only that, HF conditions on F2 are likely to be poorer in the coming years, so people look elsewhere for their fun.

70cm is quiet here and there is always activity on SSB in the RSGB's UKAC activity contests each month. If you are looking for a really low cost antenna for the band raid your XYL's wardrobe! The antenna linked is easy to make, low cost and definitely works.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/antennas/70cm_moxon .

UK Pound - NOT amateur radio

The UK pound seems to be gaining ground against most major currencies including the euro and the US dollar. BREXIT talks are at an early stage, but talk of a UK pound "melt-down" seems premature.

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

More on International Marconi Day

From Jos:

Hi Roger,
More on Marconi Day...
https://www.kerryamateurradiogroup.com/news/international-marconi-day-2017
Kind regards,
Jos.

18 Apr 2017

Brampton Wood - NOT amateur radio

This morning we went bluebell hunting. One of the nearest places was Brampton Woods which is 900 years old at least. It is a very large, ancient wood. Nowadays it is a nature reserve. We saw plenty of bluebells.

The wood is some way out of Brampton, famous for the Samuel Pepys connections. We ate lunch at a pub mentioned in his 1600s diaries.

Marconi Radio International

Although I have no more data, Southgate News reports that Marconi Radio International will be on the air tonight (Tuesday April 18th) and looking for SWL reports.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2017/april/mri-on-air-on-tonight.htm#.WPXR1YWcHmI

6m MSK144 RX and 10m WSPR TX

Repeating the pattern of yesterday, I am on 6m MSK144 RX and 10m TX with my 500mW WSPR beacon. Best DX on 6m MSK144 RX this morning is IS0GQX (1595km).

As yet, nothing (again) on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 0848z:  So far 7 stations in 6 countries spotted on 6m MSK144 RX today.

UPDATE 1600z: 15 stations in 9 countries spotted on 6m MSK144 RX so far today. Nothing on 10m WSPR still.

UPDATE 1814z: No spots on 10m WSPR. On 6m MSK144 RX 17 stations in 9 countries spotted today.

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday April 18th 2017

Solar flux is 75 today and the sunspot number remains zero.  A=4 and K=1.

QRP and QRP Club

From Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous Report (April, 16, 2017)
Visitors  of  the week: HB9DAX, IV3BTY, US3EN, US5ERQ, UY1IF, UR5EFD,
RV3GM, G3XJS, DK1HW, OH6NPV, TF/RA1M/mm, ON6KZ, UA1CEG, OF5LP, DL2EEJ,
R2AJA,  IZ3SOI,  LZ2HT/p, R1CAF, DK4AN, F6BWO, UA1CEX, UA0SBQ, R2FAE,
US7IB,  R1CAN,  US2UM,  UR7VT, RW3AA, R1OA, EW1CY, IS0/IK2YSE, UR0ET,
SV2/Z35M/p,  UA4NU,  RX3DOR,  R3MAI,  IW1DFU,  DH0DK,  DK1COE, YT1NM,
RU3NJC, EA2EFI,  G3JFS
Congrats!
DK4AN, EA2EFI entered in the Honor Frequenters list (regular visitors)
New  visitors:  IV3BTY,  DL2EEJ, IZ3SOI, F6BWO, US2UM, IK2YSE, R3MAI,
IW1DFU, DK1COE, YT1NM
See full Visitors and Frequenters lists on the Club 72 web page
Some comments...
See full WQR Report with comments and pictures on the blog page -
http://qrp-club72.blogspot.ru/
Thanks  all for activity and comments! See you all QRPers on the next
QRP Rendez-Vous!

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"


This is a periodic Newsletter of the Club 72. Don't reply to Newsletter address! Send any requests or news to
mr72@club72.su please.

17 Apr 2017

North Korea - NOT amateur radio

If North Korea continues its missile tests Mr Trump will retaliate. They risk a bombing of their nuclear test facility and the consequences could be catastrophic not only for the Korean peninsula.

If the USA was instrumental in putting a "spanner in the works" last time, it is unlikely they will repeat this trick. Of course, we have no proof of their involvement and the missile may have failed on its own.

I have mixed feelings: we do not want an unstable regime to be able to fire nuclear weapons on South Korea, Japan or the USA, but at the same time I do not trust Mr Trump to do the wise thing. I hope he is well advised and that he listens. He has a tendency to "fire from the hip".  Somehow I don't think this will work with North Korea.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-39623882

10m WSPR TX as well as 6m MSK144 RX

As I use a different antenna, rig, and the PC is not needed, I can use my 10m WSPR beacon (500mW, 100% TX, randomised frequencies) on 10m at the same time as looking on 6m MSK144 RX. As of about 10 minutes ago, I am also on 10m WSPR TX.

UPDATE 1828z: No spots all day of my 500mW WSPR beacon on 10m. I have a feeling this is as  much to do with activity as conditions. With more stations active I am sure openings would be spotted. I shall leave the beacon running for a few more hours.

Early roses - NOT amateur radio

This year, our roses are in flower very early. The daffodils were late but everything seems to have accelerated in the last month. This rose is at the front of our house and gets plenty of sun.

Sunspots and 10m - Monday April 17th 2017

Solar flux is 74 today and the sunspot number zero. A=4 and K=1.

Back on 6m MSK144 RX today

After another disappointing day on 10m yesterday, I am back on 6m MSK144 RX today. Already spotted 17 stations in 9 countries on 6m, mostly by random MS pings. Great mode!

UPDATE 1308z: Best 6m DX is currently IK5GQK (1239km) in Tuscany, Italy. Currently spotted 27 stations in 11 countries on 6m MSK144 RX.

UPDATE 1553z: 29 stations spotted so far today in 11 countries on 6m MSK144 RX. Best day yet.

UPDATE 2120z:  A very good day on 6m MSK144 RX!

Crab apples - NOT amateur radio

Last year, we had very little blossom on our crab apple tree. This year we have loads. My wife gives the fruits to a friend who makes crab apple jelly, which is delicious. This should be a good year!

16 Apr 2017

Windmill - NOT amateur radio

Our local windmill and museum opened today, for the first time this year, with an Easter egg hunt. It was busy. It now opens Thursdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays until late October. The windmill is literally "over the garden wall". This photo was taken from our lounge.

10m JT65 transceive

10m JT65 (2W) has been my band/mode of choice today. I have been active for about 2 hours, but nothing spotted so far on RX or TX on 10m.

Another month we'll be well into the northern hemisphere Es season when lots of Europeans can be expected.

UPDATE 1948z: Just a spot of me from G0LRD (25km). Otherwise no 10m spots all day.

Easter - NOT amateur radio

All Christian churches celebrate today as Easter Sunday. This year the western and eastern churches (that use different calendars) celebrate Easter on the same day. The next time this happens is 2025.

I went to church with my wife today. I used to go regularly. Sadly, I did not feel moved. To me the words were meaningless and empty. I deeply wish I still had my faith, but I feel lacking in faith.  Something deep inside tells me there is some truth in all this but right now I cannot discern it.

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday April 16th 2017

Solar flux is 72 today. Sunspot number is 11.  A=6 and K=2.

Tenbox - simple 10m AM transceiver

Years ago, before my stroke, I started work on the Tenbox, a very simple AM transceiver for 10m. As this used a super-regen receiver, this would really only work on AM and not be suitable for DX. It was to have been a "cross town" natterer. Sadly, my stroke got in the way and the rig was never completed.

I had intentions of making this in the style of the old Heathkit lunchbox rigs of old. It would make a nice club project on a simple PCB. When I left it, it needed a loudspeaker amplifier and another 10dB power on TX, maybe a simple linear amplifier.

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

Failed missile test - NOT amateur radio

So, the North Korean missile test failed. I am not that surprised as I feel the USA had something to do with this. Of course, I may be totally wrong, and indeed I hope I am.

The Trump administration would be unable "neutralise" the North Korean nuclear threat without unpredictable consequences, but the USA Secret Service was probably in a position to do something to put a "spanner in the works".  Of course, the USA never uses such underhand techniques.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-39612095 .

15 Apr 2017

Sunspots and 10m - Saturday April 15th 2017

Solar flux is 72 today. The sunspot number is 11. A=14 and K=2.

North Korea - NOT amateur radio

OK, I am not a great fan of North Korea. I visited South Korea in 1994 and it had a vibrant economy even then. It would be good if those in North Korea were able to enjoy the same freedoms.

What worries me about the North Koreans is their nuclear weapons. They want to develop these.

As I speak the USA has not taken any action, despite threats. Personally, and I may well be wrong, I think a more likely scenario is deliberate hacking so that any nuclear tests fail and no political capital can be made from the tests.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-39604361 .

Easter Egg Hunting - NOT amateur radio

Whilst here with us the "Kent" grandchildren had to have an Easter Egg Hunt in the garden!

More 6m MSK144 RX

9A4ZM (1298km) is another new country on 6m MSK144 RX. I have lost count of all the countries now spotted on 6m using this mode.

Today so far 15 stations in 9 countries spotted on 6m MSK144 RX and it is only 0940z!

UPDATE 1224z: So far today 17 stations in 10 countries on 6m MSK144 RX.

UPDATE 1736z: 22 stations in 13 countries now today on 6m MSK144 RX. Best day yet.

14 Apr 2017

Tulips - NOT amateur radio

It is hard to think that in the 1600s tulip bulbs were worth more than houses in Holland until the price crashed and lots of people lost lots of money.

We have had a strange spring. Daffodils were late, but now are mostly dead. Tulips are mainly dying now. I saw my first swallow earlier this year than previous years here in East Anglia.

Our garden always looks at its best at this time of the year. The blossom is largely out and the green on the trees is "spring fresh".

VLF Transmitter

This image has been posted before.

The link takes you to my 5W transmitter that I used a few years ago from my old QTH to cover 6km by utilities assisted earth-mode. I tried a test using this TX over a 32km radiated path without success.  A test in 2014 from the new QTH was a total failure! The TX is based on a TDA2003 audio IC. It used a keyer to produce a preprogrammed message in either CW or QRSS3.

At some point I want to do more VLF tests but my health has been against this. I need to improve my earth-electrode "antenna" before doing more tests.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/vlf/8-97khz-earth-mode-transmitter

Home quiet once more - NOT amateur radio

After a busy couple of weeks we are alone again. All grandchildren have now departed. We love seeing them very much, but when they go we return to calm! It was pretty "full on" and I am exhausted. As the old saying went, "nice to see them come, nice to see them go".  In years to come we will miss these visits.

Yet again on 6m MSK144 RX

6m MSK144 RX is easy and ideal to monitor in the background whilst dealing with a houseful of people. So far today PSK Reporter Maps shows 10 stations spotted in 7 countries, but at least one more nation has been spotted that was not uploaded.

UPDATE 1450z: 17 stations in 9 countries so far today on 6m MSK144 RX.

UPDATE 2120z: 20 stations in 10 countries on 6m MSK144 RX in last day. The system is still running and will be left on overnight, although I seem to spot most stations in the period between 0600 and 1000z.

Sunspots and 10m - Friday April 14th 2017

Solar flux is 73 today and the sunspot number is 12. A=5 and K=3.

13 Apr 2017

Old QTH

We moved to the present QTH a few years ago. This is an aerial photo of the old QTH. We moved 300m!

USA amateur numbers up (again)

According to the latest FCC figures, the number of amateur licences in the USA is up again. I think this contrasts with the numbers in many countries where amateur radio is seen as an "old man's" hobby with few youngsters entering and staying in the hobby.  I have said this many times, but we need to understand the dynamics or our hobby will simply die out in the next 20 years. What got us into the hobby is not the same today.

See http://www.govtech.com/em/disaster/Emergency-Communications-Driving-Increase-in-Amateur-Radio-Operators.html

Stables visit - NOT amateur radio

Our younger grandson (aged 8) enjoys riding and today was given a tour of one of the best stables in nearby Newmarket. He had a great time. They have a pool for the horses which cost £1M. There are only 3 of these in the whole country.

Solar storm?

Southgate News reports that we might get a glancing blow from the results of a solar storm. This may hit us over Easter.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2017/april/easter-storm.htm#.WO8_H4WcHIU
See also http://www.solen.info/solar/

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday April 13th 2017

Solar flux is 72 today and the sunspot number 13. A=6 and K=2.

6m MSK144

Once again I am on 6m MSK144 RX where 9 stations in 6 countries have been spotted in the last 12 hours (EI, GD, G, F, LA, HB9). This band/mode never fails

UPDATE 1442z: 2 new countries today on 6m MSK144 RX including 4O6AH (1788km) in Montenegro. So far today 20 stations in 11 countries on 6m MSK144 RX.

UPDATE 1629z: 23 stations in 11 countries today on 6m.

12 Apr 2017

Baking - NOT amateur radio

We have 2 of our grandchildren staying this week. They are a handful, but it is usually "clean mess". They enjoy baking as the photo shows. This is them making a cake. The floor loves it :-)

OFCOM consulting again

OFCOM is again asking for inputs.

See http://ofcom.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/i/4A7BC273EB8C8121/59D1BD3EA2F08127C67FD2F38AC4859C

Sunspots and 10m - Wednesday April 12th 2017

Solar flux is 73 and the sunspot number 12. A=12 and K=3

6m MSK144 RX again

This morning, I am again on 6m MSK144 RX. So far, 3 stations spotted in 3 countries (EA, F and G).

UPDATE 1320z: 8 stations in 5 countries spotted so far today on 6m MSK144 RX with best DX EA3AQJ (1221km) in Catalonia.

UPDATE 1850z: 14 stations in 8 countries so far today on 6m MSK144 RX.

11 Apr 2017

70cm UKAC

Tonight I was only able to be on for about 15 minutes because we had visitors. As usual, I was only running 5W to my 2m halo - totally unsuitable for the band. Nonetheless I still worked G4CLA at 105km.

Outside St Johns - NOT amateur radio

If I have already posted this, please accept my apologies.

This picture shows 2 of our grandchildren last week outside of St John's College in Cambridge. The "Bridge of Sighs", which is world-famous, is to the right just out of shot. There is also a "Bridge of Sighs" in Venice.

EME - moonbounce

VE7SL has been busy again with moonbounce using 140W on 2m with JT65. Steve has a modest station and yet again shows that moonbounce, which used to be for a very few, is now possible for more stations.

It still needs careful optimisation and is never easy. Certainly it still remains beyond me. All credit to Steve.

6m MSK144 RX again

Since breakfast, I have been on 6m MSK144 RX again. So far, 9 stations spotted in 7 countries. Best DX is IS0BSR (1603km).

UPDATE 1006z: S51AT (1250km) brings the total today so far to 10 stations in 8 countries spotted on 6m MSK144 RX.

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday April 11th 2017

Solar flux is 73 today. Sunspot number is 13.  A=5 and K=2.

Islay, Scotland activation

Southgate News reported that GS3PYE/P, the Camb-Hams group, is again off to Scotland May 6-12.

137kHz transverter

Click circuit to enlarge
It is some time since I tried 137kHz. In fact, I have not tried this band at this QTH. The last time I used this band was at the QTH we moved from in summer 2013, shortly before my stroke. I need to try this band from this QTH.

If you are starting up on the band you may want to look at my TX transverter. With my 20m spaced earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground this was regularly copied by G8HUH some 250km away on WSPR. The ERP with this "antenna" is only about 30uW.  Sadly, the FT817 is deaf at 137kHz.

As you will see, it is very similar to my 472kHz design although this is a transmit only design. It is designed to be used with the FT817 at 500mW.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/mflf/137khz_tvrtr .

Repairs! - NOT amateur radio

With springtime comes lawn cutting and hedge cutting. Although the lawnmower was fine, the cordless hedgecutter seems to have seized blades. Sadly the blades did not respond to WD40, so I shall have to try to separate the blades and clean them. Unfortunately the screws used have non-standard heads and I shall have to see if my neighbour has the right sort. I thought they were Allen keys but they are the sort of head you find a lot these days in things they would rather you replaced. I shall have a go at mending. You can buy these screwdrivers, so I may invest in some.

10 Apr 2017

QSYed to 10m JT65 transceive

In the last few minutes I have moved from 6m MSK144 RX to 10m JT65 (2W) transceive.

It remains to be seen whether I spot anyone or anyone spots me. Conditions may allow some N-S DX as long as there is activity!

UPDATE 1635z:  Still no 10m JT65 spots.

UPDATE 1930z: With no 10m JT65 spots I have now gone QRT.

70cm UKAC tomorrow evening

Tomorrow evening is the next 70cm leg of the RSGB's activity contest. Although we have visitors, I can only run 5W, and have no suitable 70cm antenna, I hope to come on briefly.

See http://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin/contest_rules.pl?contest=70cmsukac

Dandelions - NOT amateur radio

Although officially a "weed", dandelions and daisies are everywhere now. These signal spring and that we are no longer in winter. To me, they are cheerful flowers.

Sunspots and 10m - Monday April 10th 2017

Solar flux is 73 today. Sunspot number is 13.  A=18 and K=1.

QRP and QRP Club

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous Report (April, 9, 2017)
Visitors  of  the week: UA1ADF, US3EN, UR5IFM, RA7RA, RX3DIT, US5ERQ,
OH6NPV,  UR0ET,  IK2RGV,  F6EAH, DK1HW, UA0SBQ, RU3NJC, HB9DAX, R1OA,
UR7VT,  DF2SJ,  SV8CYR, ON4AEF, OF5LP, UR5EFD, UA1CEG/p, LZ2JB, R6FQ,
IK3EDT,  ON6KZ,  SM5ABM,  G3JFS,  R1CAN,  R2FAE, UY1IF, RV3UF, OM6TC,
SV2BBK, RA1M/mm, US7IB
New Visitors:
F6EAH, SV8CYR, ON4AEF, IK3EDT, SM5ABM, G3JFS - you are welcome!
See full Frequenters and Visitors lists on the Club 72 web page.
Some comments...
see full WQR Report on the blog page -
http://qrp-club72.blogspot.ru/

Thanks all QRPers for activity and reports.
See you on next "rendezvous".

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"


This is a periodic Newsletter of the Club 72. Don't reply to Newsletter address! Send any requests or news to
mr72@club72.su please.

New country on 6m MSK144 and new DX record

IS0AWZ (1596km) was spotted on 6m MSK144 RX this morning. This yet another new country and a new DX record on this band/mode I think. So far 6 stations in 4 countries on 6m MSK144 RX today.

UPDATE 0900z:  8 stations in 5 countries so far spotted on 6m MSK144 RX this morning.

UPDATE 1345z: 12 stations in 7 countries so far today on 6m MSK144 RX.

Warmest place in the UK on Sunday - NOT amateur radio

Well, apparently Cambridge was the warmest place in the UK yesterday. Temperatures exceeded 25 dec C. Today it is still bright and sunny but much cooler.

9 Apr 2017

Enjoying the sun - NOT amateur radio

We have had a decent few days with a high pressure system overhead. Today, temperatures reached 23- 24 deg C. Tomorrow it is likely to be much cooler and duller. We ate lunch in the garden for a change.

This blackbird was obviously enjoying the good weather. It stayed in this position for quite a while.

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday April 9th 2017

Solar flux is 73 today, but the sunspot number is zero again. A=16 and K=4.

WISPY WSPR beacon

Some time before my stroke in 2013, I designed a simple WSPR beacon for 10m that used low cost 14.060MHz QRP crystals doubled. These pulled up sufficiently.

This beacon was copied all across the globe. It uses a DSB transmitter, so the power goes out on two frequencies so the power in the WSPR slot is half. With the Es season approaching you may like to build it. 10m should be fun May-September in the Northern Hemisphere.

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

The PA could be replaced by paralleled 2N3904s instead of the 2N3866 to get more power for a few pence. 2N3904s are very very cheap. If you look at my Tenbox (also on my website) you will see the idea. Don't forget the emitter resistors so power is shared!

New country on 6m MKS144 RX

S59A (1287km) is a new country on 6m MSK144 RX. I have spotted most of Western and Northern Europe on this mode. I am still on this band/mode.

UPDATE 0944z: 6 stations in 3 countries spotted so far on 6m MSK144 (G,S59,HB9).

UPDATE 1325z: 11 stations in 5 countries on 6m MSK144 RX now.

UPDATE 1540z: 12 stations in 5 countries now.

8 Apr 2017

What will solar cycle 25 be like?

The brief answer is no-one knows. Some have predicted a long period without sunspots but some have suggested the peak could be similar to cycle 24.

In truth, we'll have to wait and see. It seems probable we are unlikely to see the massive peaks that some of us remember. If we see a peak at all, it is likely to be a modest affair.

See http://www.solen.info/solar/.
See https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/12/21/solar-cycle-25-amplitude-prediction/
See http://spaceweather.com/ .

Sunspots and 10m - Saturday April 8th 2017

Solar flux is 66 today and sunspot number 27. A=10 and K=3.

UK Rally

APRIL 9th 2017 : NORTHERN AMATEUR RADIO SOCIETIES ASSOCIATION EXHIBITION (Blackpool Rally)

Norbreck Castle Exhibition Centre, Blackpool FY2 9AA. There is car parking at the venue and a talk in station will be in operation. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy, special interest groups and an RSGB bookstall. Doors open 10.30 with disabled visitors gaining access 15 minutes earlier. Dave, M0OBW 01270 761 608 dwilson@btinternet.com (www.narsa.org.uk).

A list of rallies can be found at http://rsgb.org/main/news/rallies/

Ham Radio Horizons

According to Southgate News,  this magazine is now available online.

See https://archive.org/details/hamradiohorizons

Back on 6m MSK144 RX

Since just before breakfast I have been in 6m MSK144 RX. So far, 6 stations in 4 countries spotted with the  best DX SM0NKZ (1404km) in Sweden.

UPDATE 0938z:  Now 7 stations in 4 countries on 6m MSK144 today so far today.

UPDATE 1240z: Now 19 stations in 11 countries today on 6m MSK144 RX. Best DX is EA5WU (1423km).


UPDATE 1852z: Now 22 stations in 12 countries.

7 Apr 2017

Marsh Harriers and Bittern - NOT amateur radio

This afternoon we drove to Lakenheath Fen. This is 21.6 to 23.6 miles from here depending on the route.

We saw 3 marsh harriers and heard a bittern boom. There are lots of chiffchaffs around now. Sadly, no cranes.

There was a glossy ibis there which we also did not see. On the North Norfolk coast my son with his family saw some seals up close and his first swallow of the year.

Sunspots and 10m - Friday April 7th 2017

Solar flux is 85 today and the sunspot number 38. A=7 and K=2. What will 10m bring today?

Swallows return

Today we spotted our first swallow (bird) this year flying N-S over the allotments behind Burwell Museum at breakfast time this morning. In a few weeks they will be common!

April 7th is one of the earliest times I have seen these up here, although there have been reports in Devon a few weeks ago. There were days when I thought I would never live to see this day. The cycle of life goes on.

See https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/bird-and-wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/s/swallow/

10m JT65 again

G4KPX (14km) spotted me earlier this morning. I shall be sticking with 10m JT65 most of today again, although I am unsure of HF conditions. 10m has been quite good of late.

UPDATE 2200z: G6SSN (75km) spotted me on 10m JT65 and called me this afternoon, although I was beaconing at the time.

6 Apr 2017

Alien planet with atmosphere - NOT amateur radio

The BBC reports they have detected a planet in a distant solar system that has an atmosphere. With a surface temperature of 370 deg C it is unlikely to support life as we know it.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39521344

Cambridge Concert - NOT amateur radio

My wife's concert is coming up.

Cambridge Grand Arcade - NOT amateur radio

A few days ago we walked through the Grand Arcade in central Cambridge, UK. This is a covered pedestrian area, so ideal for wet weather shopping. As usual, there are plenty of stores which you find in most big cities and very few independent shops. Probably the business rates are too high?

Return to 10m JT65 (2W)11448km

Quite late this morning, I returned to 10m JT65 transceive running 2W. As yet no spots.

UPDATE 1400z:  Still no 10m spots today so far.

UPDATE 1530z: Still no 10m JT65 spots here today. The rig and PC will be on for several hours yet.

UPDATE 2114z: G0LRD (25km) is my best TX DX today. LU1ECO (11448km) was the most distant station on RX.

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday April 6th 2017

Solar flux is 83 today and the sunspot number is 37. A=10 and K=1. Yesterday was good on 10m JT65 with my 2W spotted in Brazil for the first time this year.

Eating out - NOT amateur radio

Most of the last week we have had the "London" grandchildren staying. A few days ago we went to Cambridge and ate out at a small independent cafĂ© called Le Patissier which is opposite St John's College. The food was good, prices reasonable and staff friendly and this is the fourth time I have eaten there.

5 Apr 2017

New amateur record at 970Hz

From Stefan DK7FC:

"Hi ULF friends,

Saturday night i build an active E field receiver optimised for ULF. It is using a BF862 front-end as a source follower and a LT1028 with 20 dB gain. There are 3 RC filter stages cutting off at 10 kHz. Furthermore there are two isolation transformers in series, 4:1=>1:10. In the center they are parallel resonated. This gives a further good low pass filtering and some additional gain below 3 kHz. It was a quick construction without thinking to much, soldered at night, 02 AM local time. The antenna probe is a 1m long steel rod (for welding) with 2 mm diameter. The antenna height above ground was just 2m. There were no trees in a radius of 20 m.

For transmitting i'm again using the modified 5 kV mains transformer. At 970 Hz, the antenna impedance is 342 kOhm! So i can just run 15 mA antenna current which means 3 nW ERP. The new ALC build inside SpecLab holds the 15 mA accurately and protects the transformer that way! SpecLab is a very well usable tool for transmitting on VLF/ULF, thanks to DL4YHF!!
The transmit frequency was 970.005 Hz.

I didn't expect much, thought that this distance may be to optimistic. The last signals were very weak on my tree grabber in 3.5 km distance. But that tree grabber is using loop antennas and they are not sensitive in that frequency range. So there was a certain chance to see a trace, maybe in 212 uHz???
I drove to JN49JL00EB and built up the receiver there because it is a quiet location, a nice region for a walk and, there is a good restaurant not to far!!!!!! So it was easy to spend some time there and let the Raspi (using a GPS module on the right soundcard channel, with PPS+NMEA) record for nearly 3 hours at 24 kS/s.
This is the path between TX and RX: http://no.nonsense.ee/qth/map.html?qth=JN49JL00EB&from=jn49ik00wd  A distance of 7.2 km, or 0.023 wavelengths or 14% of the distance to the far field border. So it is still a near field experiment.
It is about twice the distance i've managed in the last test.

Now i'm back in the shack, analysing the recording and to my surprise i can see a strong trace of 30 dB SNR in 424 uHz!!! See attachments in 424 uHz and 3.8 mHz.

All this makes me much more optimistic to reach farer distances. I tell you i will crack the far field border on that 309 km band! That would be a distance of 49.3 km.

There must have been some local thunderstorms not to far away, because there was QRN in the observed spectrum. So the SNR can be improved a bit by doing the next test in the late morning hours. Also the resonance of the transformers seem to be a bit to low, so maybe i can reach a bit more sensitivity when optimising that resonance. It could further help to rise the effective height of the antenna. Flat fields rather than the deep forest is the region to select now....


73, Stefan"

OFCOM and mobile repeaters

OFCOM is consulting on mobile repeaters.

See http://ofcom.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/i/26E022FC8AA20F74/59D1BD3EA2F08127C67FD2F38AC4859C

Tawny mining bee - NOT amateur radio

For several days now, I have seen little mounds of soil with a hole in the middle in my grass. For a while I thought this was ants then I saw a bee. Further research has pointed me to Tawny Mining Bees. These are solitary bees that don't live together. They are small bees with ginger hairs.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tawny_mining_bee .

10m JT65

Although no spots seen as yet, I have been on 10m JT65 today. We are nearing the start of the Es season which should see 10m and 6m open to lots of Europe from the UK even with QRP SSB.

UPDATE 1920z:  No spots all day, at least not showing on PSK reporter maps. Still running overnight, so might catch some aircraft reflections later?

UPDATE 2032z: PY2RSA (9473km) spotted me on 10m JT65 not too long ago. Not shown on PSK reporter maps was a spot of an N0. This may have been because I lost internet connectivity for a period. I have since gone QRT.

Sunspots and 10m - Wednesday April 5th 2017

Solar flux is 93 today and sunspot number 75. A=20 and K=2.

4 Apr 2017

OFCOM Update

Every month, OFCOM produces a "Communications Update". This is the latest version.

See http://ofcom.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/i/8EAFA4273AD97B72/59D1BD3EA2F08127C67FD2F38AC4859C

St Johns, Cambridge - NOT amateur radio

The colleges at Cambridge University are always worth a visit, but they look so good in spring. This was the view of St Johns this afternoon. We just missed the rain.

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday April 4th 2017

Solar flux is 106 today. Sunspot number is 97.  A=4 and K=3.

See http://www.solen.info/solar/ for a summary of the latest solar data. Last month, the smoothed sunspot number declined to 22.6, but this month has got off to a promising start.

2m UKAC this evening

A further reminder that the RSGB organised 2m leg of its activity contest is this evening from 8pm(1900z) UK clock time. The contest runs for 2.5 hours. Activity levels are good on SSB and it is a great way to work new squares. Although a contest, I have always found people very friendly. I usually stay on for well less than an hour because of my poor voice.

See http://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin/contest_rules.pl?contest=2mukac

UPDATE 2032z: Just a few QSOs as my granddaughter was in the next room so I stayed on even less than usual. Best QSO was 183km (with my 5W QRP and omni), but I heard further and could have worked more if I had stayed on a little longer.

10m JT65 transceive

As conditions were quite decent yesterday, I stayed on 10m JT65 and am still on that band and mode. No spots this morning so far, although it is very early.

UPDATE 1635z: DL5XL (567km) spotted me this morning. Es?

QRP and QRP Club

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous Report (April, 2, 2017)
Reminder about new Rendez-Vous schedule:
Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays
9.00 UTC - 14060 kc
18.00 UTC - 7030 kc
alternative 10116 kc if QRM or poor condx
+/- QRM, QRL, keep RIT for xtal QRPers
Strongly recommend to use QRP Chat during "rendezvous"!

Visitors  of  the  week:  R1OA,  US3EN, UR5EFD, RV3GM, DK1HW, US5WAF,
G3XJS,  OH6NPV,  UR0ET,  UA1CEG, DL6YYM, US7IB, RU6UR, UR7VT, OK1DNZ,
R1CAN, IK2RGV, UA0SBQ, HB9CBR/p, R2AJA, RU3NJC, R2FAE, DJ5RE, UR5LEH,
ON6KZ, UA4NU, US5ERQ, RD2A/p, R4NX, UR8QV, DL7YY/p
Congrats!
RU6UR and RD2A became Honor Frequenters (regular visitors)
New Visitors - US5WAF, DJ5RE - you are welcome!
Some comments...
See full WQR Report on the blog page -
http://qrp-club72.blogspot.ru/

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

This is a periodic Newsletter of the Club 72. Don't reply to Newsletter address! Send any requests or news to
mr72@club72.su please.

3 Apr 2017

RSGB's 2m UKAC tomorrow evening

Tomorrow evening is the 2m leg of the 2m Activity Contest. As we have grandchildren staying, I will have to make my entry even briefer than usual.

Grandchildren - NOT amateur radio

Most of this week we have our "London" grandchildren, although we spent most of the afternoon with our granddaughter having an x-ray! She fell over the weekend and hurt her arm. We were afraid she'd broken it but all was well.

The photo shows her looking pretty happy!