17 Aug 2017

Old statues - NOT amateur radio

It is rare for me to agree with Donald.  On most things I personally detest the man.

I personally think statues of the past should be left, even if we dislike them and what they stood for.  These are of the past, and times, and views, change. Destroying these (whether in Syria, Afghanistan, USA or UK) serves no long-term good. If we destroy everything we do not agree with today, we are making a judgment. Personally, I think every age should have a chance to make up its own mind.

Racism, bigotry and a lack of tolerance is always wrong.

My views, and I respect the right of others to disagree with me.

Earth Electrode Antennas

For some years, I have used earth-electrode antennas of the lower bands such as VLF/LF/MF. I have also tried these on 160m and 80m with less success. I have never claimed they work wonders, but if you are stuck for an antenna on the lower bands it will enable you to get out. On the lower bands you may be surprised how well this "antenna" works.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/antennas/earth-electrode-antennas

PW and RadioUser sold

According to Southgate News PW and RadioUser magazines have been sold to a new owner.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2017/august/new-owner-for-pw.htm#.WZVkQLpFzIU

6m FT8 RX

With 7 countries and 2 continents spotted already, this is another good Es day on 6m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 2032z: 21 countries spotted on 6m FT8 RX in the last day. Good Es.

10m WSPR TX (500mW)

Much to my surprise, I see I have had 4 unique 10m WSPR spots already this morning with my best DX report being from IK1NET (981km). So, yet again, there is good, early Es on 10m.

UPDATE 2110z: 6 unique spots of my 10m 500mW WSPR beacon in the last day. Soon be time to go QRT.

Sunspots - Thursday August 17th 2017

Solar flux is 76 today and the sunspot number 30. A=6 and K=5.

Red-Legged Partridge - NOT amateur radio

Today, we had no less than 4 (a record) red-legged partridge in our garden. These are introduced birds from Spain and France, now well established here. We see some most days.

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

16 Aug 2017

Trump - NOT amateur radio

Well, yet again he seems to have put his foot in it. This time the issue is neo-Nazis and white supremacists in the USA. If he simply condemned violent and provocative acts, surely he would have better chances. Even some fellow Republicans are against him.

I don't live in the USA, but I do struggle to see how a rich billionaire can really represent "the common man". OK, he was voted in. The trouble is "you reap what you sow".

UPDATE 2148z: Now both Bush ex-presidents have said, according to the BBC, that Trump should  "reject racial bigotry, anti-Semitism and hatred in all forms".  I agree.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-40946386


Yet again I am on 10m WSPR TX (500mW). The only spot so far is by DK6UG (633km) before breakfast.

UPDATE 1622z: Six unique 10m WSPR spots received today. Best DX spot is from DK8FT (898km).

UPDATE 2200z: With no new spots since early afternoon, time to go QRT I think. Interesting how few 10m WSPR spots I got compared with the loads of spots I gave on 6m FT8. Either my 10m antenna is rubbish compared with the 6m one or, more probably, there are a lot more FT8 users than WSPR these days. 6m rather proved the Es was good today.

Sunspots - Wednesday August 16th 2017

Solar flux is 74 and the sunspot number 21. A=4 and K=2.

6m FT8 QSO with Spain

Earlier this morning, I worked EA5WU (1381km) on 6m FT8. I have worked a few stations before using this mode, but mostly I am RX only. On 6m my ERP is about 1W.

UPDATE 0910z: 8 countries spotted so far on 6m FT8 RX. Es good today.
6m FT8 RX spots today

UPDATE 1620z: 14 countries spotted on 6m FT8 RX so far today.

UPDATE 1856z: With 24 countries spotted here on 6m FT8 RX today, this is a personal record. This mode certainly has "taken off". Good 6m Es again today.

15 Aug 2017

PSK Reporter Maps - working again?

When I tried PSK Reporter Maps, it was working again. All my 6m MSK144 and FT8 RX spots for the last day appeared. I hope they have fixed it.

UPDATE 2004z:  These are the FT8 RX spots on 6m today as reported by PSK Reporter Maps. It seems it is fixed.

Sign of the times? - NOT amateur radio

Apart from getting cash from a machine, we rarely use our local bank these days. Not surprisingly, it is closing on November 10th.

There is a Post Office just across the road where you can pay bills to any bank, get foreign exchange and cash.

To be honest, I am surprised the only bank in the village has lasted as long as it has. We've been in the village since 1975 and the bank has been here all that time. I expect they will build yet more posh houses on the plot!

72 Group (QRP)

In the last hour I received an invitation to join the 72 group.

See https://groups.io/g/72/topics

UK Pound versus Euro exchange rate - NOT amateur radio

As I write this, the UK pound is close to its worst exchange rate in the last 12 months against the Euro at 1.096 Euros to the UK Pound. Instinctively, this "feels" wrong. Maybe the Euro is stronger than it was, but this feels untrue. Surely the Euro still has all its inherent issues that have not suddenly gone away?  No, I think this is a blip. Time will tell.

UPDATE 1525z: My personal view is the UK pound will rise in value against the euro. As I have said very many times, I am no expert and time may prove me totally wrong! My prediction was this would happen before the end of the year.

Blog visits up again

Even without the "probes" from a certain eastern European nation, visits to this blog have been up in recent weeks. Content is much the same, so I have no idea why this should be.

10m WSPR TX (500mW)

About 2 minutes ago I started my 10m WSPR beacon producing 500mW. If I get any spots at all, it usually takes about 15-20 minutes for things to settle. As the Es season is waning now, I may get no spots all day.

UPDATE 0925z: Surprise! Already been spotted in Poland and Spain on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1042z: 4 unique 10m WSPR spots of me so far.

UPDATE 1052z: With spots from Italy just in, this brings the score to 6 unique spots of my 500mW 10m WSPR today. All Es I assume.

Return to 6m FT8 RX

This morning, I switched to 6m FT8 RX from 6m MSK144 RX. I think PSK Reporter Maps are still not working, so I  have to monitor WSJT-X on the shack PC to see what is being spotted.

I may try 10m WSPR RX later as this uses no PC, a separate rig and a separate antenna.

UPDATE 0906z: Best DX on 6m FT8 RX is Germany.

UPDATE 1340z: Best DX on 6m FT8 RX today is EA8 in the Canary Is. PSK Reporter Maps still looks in trouble.

Sunspots - Tuesday August 15th 2017

Solar flux is 73 today and the sunspot number 12. A=5 and K=1.

14 Aug 2017

Southgate News and BBC Local AM radio

Southgate News reports that a number of BBC Local Radio stations are to go QRT on medium wave early next year. Personally I find this sad.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2017/august/bbc-to-switch-off-am-local-radio-transmitters.htm#.WZIFPbpFzIV

PSK Reporter Issues - still

Yet again, PSK Reporter Maps is not working. As far as I know this is the longest period of trouble I have known. Usually it is very reliable and I use it a lot. I hope they soon fix it.

2m UKAC results

The latest results are out and I see my position in the AL section is unchanged. As I was only on for a very short time (poor voice) with 5W and an omni antenna, I am quite happy with this.

Archetypal Cambridge - NOT amateur radio

In winter, Cambridge is usually quiet, but at this time of year there are plenty of visitors. This year, we seem to have more Far East visitors, probably because of the good exchange rates. The photo shows punts at Scudamore's boatyard off Silver Street.

6m MSK144 RX continued

Yet again, I continue to monitor 50.280MHz MSK144 RX during the Perseid meteor shower. PSK Reporter Maps is still not working properly, but I can see from my WSJT-X screen on the PC that I am copying stations from all over the place.

Sunspots - Monday August 14th 2017

Solar flux is 69 today and the sunspot number 11. A=7 and K=1.

13 Aug 2017

PSK Reporter Issues

At first I wondered if I had a problem uploading spots to PSK Reporter Maps, then I saw they were 32 hours behind and were trying to fix the issue.

Up to now, it has been very reliable. The weekend of the Perseid meteor shower it falls over, which is a pity.

QRP and QRP Club

As usual, Oleg's weekly report:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Weekly Rendezvous and Parade (WRP) Report (August, 13, 2017)

Keep attention, please!
For  all  active  QRP  operators, for all Rendez-Vous and Micro Radio
Parade  Frequenters and Visitors, for all simplest radio constructors
and milliwatt operators - new "72" e-mail reflector and on-line group
created. To enter the "72" group send empty e-mail to address -
see the group on-line -

Visitors  of  the  week:  IT9IFI,  UR7VT, EW1CY, G4SSH, RV3GM, RV3UF,

Micro Radio Parade visitors -
EW1CY (200 mW), RV3GM (300 mW), UA1CEX (300 mW)

New RV visitors -
I2QIL, YO3BL, IK2UZQ - you are welcome!
See full Frequenters and Visitors lists on the Club 72 page, please.

see full WRP Report including comments and pictures on the page -
That's all Folks for now!
See you all QRPers on the next RV and MRP!

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.

Swifts (birds) - NOT amateur radio

Well, I thought they'd all gone now until next year. As this evening was so nice, we had tea in the garden. 6 swifts were on the wing high above us. These may be northern birds passing through, but it made my day.

Swallows and house martins usually stay until well in to September, but there are few locally.

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

Next UK Prime Minister? - NOT amateur radio

Since the last General Election the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, is hanging on by a thread. It is rumoured that Jacob Rees-Mogg would like to be considered for the post. I have few doubts that he is an honourable man, but I doubt he would really understand "the common man". This is a personal view, and I may be wrong.  If elected in a vote, I think this would bring an end to Conservative rule in short order.

Sadly, we lack charismatic leaders in any political party in the UK. Looking around, we have career politicians, but few real leaders. Hopefully this will change.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-40916687

Parsonage Farm - NOT amateur radio

This started as a workers co-operative where everyone was paid the same. It is still going strong today (Delta-T) making scientific kit mainly related to plants. This is in our village (Burwell, Cambs, UK).

6m MSK144 RX again

As mentioned yesterday, the Perseid meteor shower is peaking, so I am monitoring 6m MSK144 (50.280MHz) all weekend, hoping to catch some meteor scatter activity.

UPDATE 0916z:  MS spots from all over the place including Norway, Germany and Italy.

UPDATE 1906z: Now spotting Switzerland on 6m MSK144.

Sunspots - Sunday August 13th 2017

Solar flux is 70 today. Sunspot number is 11. A=11 and K=2.

Reviews - NOT amateur radio

It seems that almost everything you do on the phone or internet now is followed up by a request for feedback asking how good they were. Being a cynic these days I refuse to complete these. Some may well be genuine, hoping to get feedback so they can do better, but I suspect many sell your details on so you can be targeted with junk mail and junk phone calls.  So, I just delete these. Call me a boring old fart, but I am not increasing my chances of being a target.

If I get very good or bad service I am quite happy to write an email. Many years ago I wrote to the MD of Dell. Within days I had a phone call back from their head office and my PC was fixed. Sometimes this works. The last thing big companies want is adverse publicity. When you get very good or very bad service you tell people. They prefer you to tell others when things are good.

4m QRP transverter

It is some years since I was active on 4m.  Several years ago now, I designed and built this transverter as I had no gear for this band. I worked a few stations in a 4m contest with it and just a wire dipole.

Of course, these days the IC7300 from ICOM covers 4m.  These days there are lots of EU countries on the band, so it can be good in the Es season.

Years before I recall working ZB2VHF with 4W of AM in my university days by Es.

At some point I intend to get on 4m again.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/vuhf/4m_tvtr .

12 Aug 2017


One of our grandsons in Australia. He loves all animals and looks in his element with these birds.

Perseid Fireballs?

This weekend the Perseid meteor shower peaks. According to Southgate News relaying a post on spaceweather.com the Perseid shower produces more fireballs than any other shower.

See http://spaceweather.com/  .

Nostalgia - SW interval Signals

Well I am pretty sure I've posted this link before, not that it matters.

When I started in the 1960s my first experiences were with short wave broadcast stations.  There was no such thing as TV live from the USA or Australia. Skype and FaceTime were in the far future.

Radio Australia would fade in and out. Radio New Zealand was a good catch. Many broadcasters had English language services. On the hours and half hours we'd listen for the interval signals. Many communist nations tried to blast us with propaganda. All I wanted was a QSL card!

Anyway, grab a drink and listen to the past. Enjoy.

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

In Australia - NOT amateur radio

At the moment a couple of our grandchildren are in Australia visiting their Australian grandparents with their mum and dad. The photo was taken on Hamilton Island in the Whitsunday Islands. The grandparents live in Brisbane.


In my professional life I worked first for Pye Telecom. My first ever job (I think it was really a test of my capabilities) was converting the PF1 (a small UHF portable with separate RX and TX) to 12.5kHz channel spacing. In those far off days we had 995 signal generators and these took hours (really) to stop drifting! The task was completed OK as I recall.

The task was set by Mike Gotch , G0IMG, who is now a SK. At the time I had no idea Mike was interested in amateur radio. Apparently years before he had been a pirate and got caught! In the early days of UK CB he was a keen DXer and I last worked him on 6m I think.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/vuhf/pf1.

6m MSK144 RX

As the Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend, I intend to stay on 50.280MHz MSK144 RX all weekend. Certainly here in Europe this frequency is much more used than 50.360MHz recommended by WSJT-x v1.8. So far, 9 countries spotted in the last 12 hours on 6m MSK144. Best DX so far is LA7DFA (1312km).

Sunspots - Saturday August 12th 2017

Solar flux is 70 today and the sunspot number 11.  A=7 and K=2.

11 Aug 2017

Insurances (car and home) - NOT amateur radio

House and car insurances - call me a grumpy old man, but a couple of phone calls to the SAME insurance company and I get £172 off.

If they wanted to keep me why not offer the best prices to start with? Don't answer, as I know the answer already. They assume most won't bother and will just pay up at the inflated prices.

Personally I find this STUPID. This is an immoral racket preying on the old and vulnerable.

Insurance companies - you should be ashamed!

70cm QRM

A friend of mine in Cambridge Richard G3TFX is getting QRM on the GB3OV repeater. OFCOM cannot help.

He writes:

Can anyone pin down the direction of a pulsing telemetry signal causing QRM on the OUTPUT channel of the St Neots repeater GB3OV, 433.125 Mhz? It's a pretty strong signal in the center of Cambridge and my guess is it might be a device on a crane.

Rally this Sunday

Cobham Sports and Social Club Ground, Merley, near Wimborne, Dorset. BH21 3DA There will be a talk in station on S22 and the venue has free car parking. Doors open at 10am and admission is £3.50. There will be trade stands, a car boot areas and indoor and field pitches for traders. Lectures will take place during the day. there is catering and a licensed bar on site. Camping is available on Saturday night only in an adjacent field. More information from hamfest@frars.org.uk
A list of rallies can be found at http://rsgb.org/main/news/rallies/

Eddystone receivers

When I first entered the hobby in the early 1960s, many here in the UK aspired to Eddystone receivers, made in Birmingham, UK. They were beautifully made with velvet touch drives.

I wanted an 840C, but never had one. When I started work a friend had a dad who worked for Eddystone. I was lucky enough to get an EC10 in the early 1970s. These were the first transistorised  receivers that they made. They sold for £48 when they first came out. 10m bandspread was appalling and in all honesty, by modern standards, they were not very good. I think the IF was very low. They still had lovely mechanical construction and velvet smooth drives, but the receivers were really average.

For quite a while I used mine on the lower HF bands and as a tuneable IF for VHF and UHF RX converters. As an IF they were fine.

They used germanium transistors and they occasionally turn up on eBay and similar. These days, I would not bother apart from nostalgia.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/hf/ec10 .

Sunspots - Friday August 11th 2017

Solar flux is 71 today and the sunspot number is 11. A=5 and K=1.

Overnight and this morning on 6m MSK144 RX

As we are near the peak of the Perseid meteor shower, I have been on 6m MSK144 RX overnight and this morning. I decided to look around 50.280MHz rather than the "new" frequency recommended in WSJT-X v1.8. So far, 9 countries spotted on 6m, although not all of these will have been via meteor scatter as there is still Es on 6m.

UPDATE 1520z: 16 countries spotted on 6m MSK144 RX so far today.

UPDATE 2122z: "Just in case", I have just done a manual time sync in readiness for the overnight period on 50.280MHz MSK144.

10 Aug 2017

Now on 6m MSK144 RX on 50.280MHz

At about 1830z I turned off the 10m WSPR TX beacon (no spots all day) and moved from FT8 RX on 50.313MHz to 6m MSK144 RX on 50.280MHz. I'll check the logs later and tomorrow to see if I see spots as a result of the Perseid shower. At this time of year it is sometimes hard to tell which is Es and which meteor trail reflections. If during the early hours, it is more likely to be meteor scatter.

UPDATE 1938z: No 6m MSK144 spots yet.

6m FT8 RX

Since mid-morning I have been on 6m FT8 RX. So far, 8 countries spotted. Although I have also been on 10m WSPR TX (500mW), no 10m spots today at all.

Perseid Meteor Shower

Tonight, I will try MSK144 on 50.280MHz RX. The Perseid meteor shower peaks, so there is a good chance of copying many European stations by this mode. This frequency is still better liked in Europe than the 50.260MHz recommended in WSJT-X v1.8 and the new band plan. Not sure why this is.

See https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/meteor-shower/perseid.html .

North Korea - NOT amateur radio

There is a crisis brewing.

The North Koreans are treading dangerously. The USA is being provoked and Trump is a loose cannon. If the USA fires a pre-emptive strike all hell would be let loose with unpredictable outcomes. Talk is always better.

70cm Moxon Beam

This has been posted before, but it is to show amateur radio need not be expensive or hard. I built this antenna in minutes and it worked remarkably well.

Moxon beams have a useful gain, a broad main lobe, and they work. They are ideal for portable work. As this example shows they are low cost to make, especially if you scavenge bits.

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

Sunspots - Thursday August 10th 2017

Solar flux is 71 today and the sunspot number 11. A=4 and K=1.

9 Aug 2017

Final QRT tonight

Finally, I went QRT on all bands about 1930z. I may go on again tomorrow.

QRT - thunder

My wife said she heard thunder, so I have disconnected everything again. At the moment it is rain, rain, rain. Tomorrow looks better. I suspect I'll be QRT until tomorrow.

UPDATE 1444z: At the moment the storms look to be confined to Kent, so I have gone back on the air again. Outside it is still very wet! The photo shows a group (with umbrellas) arriving at our museum and windmill. The photo was taken out of the lounge window.

UPDATE 1627z: 8 countries spotted on 6m FT8 in the last hour.

Trump and North Korea - NOT amateur radio

So, what happens next?

North Korea is run by Kim. The USA is led by Donald.

In years past I had confidence in the leaders to wisely "do the right thing". This time I have my doubts. Both are unpredictable.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/40857783/trump-north-korea-threats-will-be-met-with-fire-and-fury.

Mini Rally (Scotland)

Port Seton Resource Community Centre, South Seton Park, Port Seton, East Lothian EH32 0BQ Doors open 6 to 9pm and entry is £2. A raffle will be held on the night and refreshments will be available. Bring along your own 'junk' and sell it yourself. No charge for a table but they are on a first come first served basis. More information from gm4uyz@csparc.com A list of rallies can be found at http://rsgb.org/main/news/rallies/

Sunspots - Wednesday August 9th 2017

Solar flux is 71 today. Sunspot number is 11. A=5 and K=2.


Several spots of my 10m 500mW WSPR beacon, mainly from Germany. Early Es.

UPDATE 1115z: 9 unique spots of my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon so far today. The map shows the spots so far today.
UPDATE 1912z: 13 unique spots today on 10m WSPR TX (500mW).

6m FT8 RX

At the moment my best DX on 6m FT8 RX is LZ2NW (2139km) in Bulgaria. There seems to be early Es from southern Europe with early spots of Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland and Germany. I have also spotted a couple of UK stations.

UPDATE 1032z: 10 countries spotted so far on 6m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 1854z: Best DX on 6m FT8 RX was EA8YV (2982km) earlier this evening.

No storms yet, so back on air

At the moment all the nasty storms are far away, so I have returned to 6m FT8 RX and 10m WSPR TX.

8 Aug 2017

Wednesday looks dire!

The WX tomorrow looks miserable with lots of dark clouds, rain and thunder/lightning. Shortly I shall go QRT and it is doubtful if the rigs will get switched on tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow is a day to read a book instead.

Visit by Richard G3TFX

An old work friend, Richard G3TFX, called in today. He stopped for a cup of tea, before rushing to catch a bus.

I owe my life to him as it was he who told my XYL to get me to A&E when I had my stroke 4 years ago. I was in hospital for 3.5 months. Had I collapsed at home, I might be dead now.

Storm gone through, so on air again

The thunderstorm has passed and is currently well east of us and moving away, for now. So, I am again on 10m WSPR TX (500mW) and 6m FT8 RX. Assuming the storms stay well away, I expect to be on for many hours.

UPDATE 1532z: Just a couple of G spots since returning to 6m FT8 RX. Nothing, as yet, on 10m WSPR TX.

Thunder, so QRT

In the distance I can hear thunder. I have still to check the storm map to see exactly where the storms are, but I am taking no chances, so have gone QRT and disconnected everything. Darn it!  It was such a promising Es day.

Now it is raining. The forecast says dry now!

See https://www.lightningmaps.org/blitzortung/europe/index.php?lang=en  .

UPDATE 1228z: The storms are just to the south, but I cannot tell (yet) if they are getting closer.

365project - NOT amateur radio and NOT Microsoft

For several years now I have done a photo a day as a kind of visual diary. It is interesting to look back and see what we did, say 2 years ago to the day. Some would find this hard to keep up, but I have found it fun. It is totally free but if you want more albums and total privacy this only $19.99 a year. See http://365project.org/ .

Don't confuse with Microsoft's Office365 which is totally unrelated and which is a subscription service. I use OpenOffice instead and that is free. See https://www.openoffice.org/download/  .

10m WSPR TX (500mW)

With 5 unique spots of my little WSPR beacon already very early by Es, today is already better than yesterday on 10m WSPR. The Es season may be drawing to a close, but there is still Es about on 10m and 6m.
10m WSPR spots of my 500mW as of 0945z today

70cm UKAC tonight

If memory serves me correctly, tonight starting at 1900z, for 2.5 hours, is the August leg of the RSGB's activity contest on 70cm. I had to miss last month as we were on holiday. I only have a 2m halo and 5W but still manage to work some reasonable ranges especially towards the Midlands. Usually I am active for about 40-60 minutes maximum because of my poor voice. This is usually my limit.

UPDATE 1936z: With just 1 QSO and dire conditions, I gave up! Even G4CLA in the Midlands was weak: usually I manage to work him despite my 5W and 2m halo.

6m FT8 RX

There is early Es on 6m this morning with widespread early reception of southern Europeans. Best 6m FT8 RX DX is IK7EOT (1847km). 6 countries spotted already and it is only 0846z.

UPDATE 0900z: 8 countries spotted so far on 6m FT8.

UPDATE 0921z: 16 countries spotted already! Hum dinger of a morning so far.

6m FT8 RX up to 1030z today
UPDATE 1030z: The map shows my spots on 6m FT8 so far today. A good Es day.

UPDATE 1152z: Best DX is currently SM2A (1816km) in the north of Sweden. Nothing outside of Europe so far.

UPDATE 1734z: After a break because of storms, the best DX on 6m FT8 RX is EA8AQV (2988km).

Back on again

Just before breakfast I resumed operations. I am on 10m WSPR TX (500wW) and 6m FT8 RX again.

Sunspots - Tuesday August 8th 2017

Solar flux is 73 today and the sunspot number 11. A=5 and K=1

7 Aug 2017


After a brief period looking at 20m FT8 (very busy at 1930z), I have now gone QRT on all bands.

All being well, I hope to return to 10m WSPR TX (500mW) and 6m FT8 RX at breakfast time tomorrow.
20 minutes on 20m FT8 RX this evening

Es season ending?

Today, there were just 2 unique spots here on 10m WSPR of my 500mW beacon, although I did much better on 6m FT8 RX. My feeling is the Es season is drawing to a close in the northern hemisphere, although there will still be DX there for those looking. Es occurs at any time of the year although in the UK and USA the best months are May, June and July.

I have worked Es 6m DX on QRP SSB in September and with newer digital modes quite brief openings can now be spotted. Never give up!

As we enter the "quiet sun" years E layer propagation becomes more important and may be the best hope of DX on 10m and higher bands.

For reasons I do not understand, there is a smaller Es peak around the end of December and early January. So, for those alert, there are plenty of opportunities for DX by E layer at any time of the year. OK, outside the peak months there may be long quiet periods, but stick with it and search out those brief openings!

Storms Tuesday?

The weather forecast for the next few days is bad. Rain (heavy at times) is forecast before things might improve on Thursday. There is a chance of thunder too. If so, I may be off air for a few days.

See https://www.lightningmaps.org/blitzortung/europe/index.php?lang=en .

UPDATE 1558z: At the moment, it looks like we may miss the storms tomorrow. I''ll check in the morning.

Plenty of Colour - NOT amateur radio

Last week we visited Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk, where there was still plenty of colour in the walled garden. This place is owned by the National Trust.

10m WSPR

Although on since breakfast time, no spots received at all so far.

UPDATE 1015z: Still no spots received today so far on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1354z: Still no spots on 10m WSPR today.

UPDATE 1548z: Since 1358z EA1FAQ (1249km) has been spotting me intermittently by Es. At the moment, he is my only reporter today on 10m WSPR His last spot was at 1446z.

UPDATE 1825z: 2 unique spots of my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon

Return to 6m FT8 RX

Yesterday was very good for Es, so I am again on 6m FT8 RX.  I am amazed how this mode has taken off. It is  not officially released yet. There were loads of stations on this mode yesterday.

UPDATE 0835z: Only G0GGG (210km) spotted on 6m FT8 so far. No Es today as yet.

UPDATE 0858z: OZ1DJJ (763km) spotted, I assume by Es. Also G8TTI (185km).

UPDATE 1016z: Now 5 countries spotted with best DX today so far being SM0NKZ (1404km).

UPDATE 1253z: 12 stations in 8 countries spotted so far on 6m FT8 today.

UPDATE 1806z: Plenty of Es today on 6m FT8. The photo shows the stations spotted in the last day.

Maudlin? - NOT amateur radio

As we get older (this year I enter my 70th year) I guess we become grateful for small things. Even waking up in the morning is a blessing! Seeing migrant birds return always fills me with wonder at nature.

Years ago, I had quite a strong faith. These days I am unsure.  There are so many faiths and I am sure all are an attempt to come to terms with our humanity. Yet it seems hard to think we just become nothing when we die. I am sure all world religions hint at the truth, but all are wrong. You only have to think of all the evil in the last few thousand years done in the name of religion.

Indeed, it is possible that what each of us experiences is unique to us, but this is straying into philosophy. The simple answer is that not one of us knows with any certainty.

In the meantime, we must live each day as if our last: be kind to others and kind to ourselves. Milk every day for the best.

Sunspots - Monday August 7th 2017

Solar flux is 74 today and the sunspot number 13. A=13 and K=1.

More VLF success?

This was posted Saturday by Stefan DK7FC:


After nearly 8 days the carrier is still on the air without an interruption, despite occasional thunderstorms :-)
It looks like the SNR is suffering by summer QRN, as expected.

The stable carrier was good for doing local tests with my Raspi+Octo-soundcard. The system is now completely configured including system time setting via the GPS module. I recorded a few days from the carrier, converted the data files into wav, reprocessed them in SpecLab: The carrier is stable and on the expected frequency, so the sample rate correction via vlfrx tools seems to work.

Forthermore i corrected some bugs in the circuit of my portable RX loop preamp for VLF (must have been late in the night when i built it up a few months ago). Now the noise is much lower. It looks promising! So it is time for a portable VLF experiment in the far field, just to check the system more seriously.

The crew of DL0AO has built up and optimised their VLF system to receive the weak 3675.005 Hz carrier in abt 220 km distance. Looks like there is something on their cardioidal spectrogram pointing to West,
Something like 10 dB SNR in 31 uHz. That's not so bad!

I will run it for some more time until the trace is a bit longer. Then in some days i like to start transmitting an EbNaut message on that frequency which can be stacked until a decode appears. Markus has developed a tool for windows to do the stacking, maybe it works in that experiment... It will also be a test to see if i can decode the message from my own recording using vlfrx tools, an important step to pass...

So far so good. What are YOUR projects you are currently working on, LF/MF/VLF related?

73, Stefan

Back on again

At breakfast time I resumed 10m WSPR TX and 6m FT8 RX. Although dull, I think there are no storms likely locally today.

6 Aug 2017

QRT until tomorrow

As the Es seems to have stopped, I have gone QRT on 10m and 6m. I should be on at breakfast time in the morning.

Patio - NOT amateur radio

Our patio was enlarged in the spring. Luckily the weather has been good, so we have managed to use it! Our alstroemeria plants (one on RHS and one out of shot) have done well this year. We have managed a few meals outside, which has been good.

QRP and QRP Club

As usual, Oleg gives his weekly report:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Weekly Rendezvous and Parade (WRP) Report (August, 6, 2017)
Of  course,  any  MW (milliwatt) or SR (simplest radio) operators are
welcome  on  the  Rendezvous  and  MRP  (Micro  Radio Parade) events.
Strongly recommend to use "CQ MRP" if you use MW or SR equipment.

Visitors  of  the week: OM6TC, IT9QAU/m, G3XJS, PA3JD, HB9DAX, I2AOX,
MRP operators - UA1CEG, UA1CEX, RV3GM, UA3APU, RW3AA, Z35M, RA7RA, UR5FA

F3MB became Frequenter (regular visitor)
New Visitors - PA3JD, YU1RK, DL5DBY, UA3APU, F8BBL, IK2WQH - you are welcome!
See full Visitors and Frequenters lists on the Club 72 page

see full version of the WRP Report including comments and pictures on
the blog page - https://qrp-club72.blogspot.ru/
That's all Folks for now!
Thanks all for activity, comments and pictures
See you on next week RV and MRP

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.

6m FT8 RX

After  a successful outing in this mode yesterday, I am again on 6m FT8 RX. It does seem to have really taken off.

UPDATE 0822z: Quite a few early Es spots this morning. Widespread too.

UPDATE 1251z: Lots of 6m JT8 spots today  (more than 26). Best DX on 6m FT8 Rx is currently OH5ELO (1942km). Es.

6m FT8 RX up to 1739z today
UPDATE 1739z: Lots of 6m Es today.

10m WSPR TX (500mW) again

As the 10m WSPR TX beacon (500mW) is "stand alone" and does not need the PC and uses a different antenna from that used on 6m, I am on 10m WSPR this morning.

UPDATE 0823z: No 10m WSPR spots yet today.

UPDATE 1230z: Several spots on 10m WSPR this lunchtime. Germany, Poland and Denmark spotted my 500mW. Es I assume.

UPDATE 1733z: Best spot today of my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon was by EW2ABC (1812km).

UPDATE 1902z: 10 unique 10m WSPR spots today. Not bad.

Sunspots - Sunday August 6th 2017

Solar flux is 74 today and the sunspot number 13.  A=16 and K=3

5 Aug 2017

10m WSPR

Since the storm passed through this afternoon, I have been on 10m WSPR TX (500mW). After a slow start, lots of spots from Germany and Austria by Es.

UPDATE 2125z: 8 unique spots today on 10m WSPR, although I only started this afternoon. Now QRT on all bands.

Swifts gone? - NOT amateur radio

We spent about 40 minutes outside enjoying a cup of tea in the late sunshine this afternoon.

Although looking, I saw not a single swift overhead. A few weeks ago and I'd have seen maybe 20. Most have started to move south. They only stay for a few months then they are gone. Ephemeral.

A few may still be around, but most have left us until next spring.

Back on again after storms

As the storms seem to have cleared through and we are now bathed in sunshine, I am back on 10m WSPR TX (500mW) and 6m FT8 RX after a very brief TX period.

The impression I am getting is there is less Es than a month, or so, ago. There is still Es but not as frequent.

UPDATE 1454z: A couple of stations copied my brief 6m FT8 CQ. Best DX was a spot by G6GEI (91km).

UPDATE 1604z: IZ1AZJ (967km) was recently spotted on 6m FT8.

UPDATE 1612z: Nothing at all on 10m WSPR TX.

Kangaroo - NOT amateur radio

My younger son is with his family visiting the Australian in-laws. Here is a shot of one of our granddaughters feeding a kangaroo. Actually, I think the joey is helping itself!

QRT - storms

Just before 1300z, there was thunder forecast (and it came) so I went QRT on all bands and disconnected everything. Although it is still raining, the forecast for the rest of the day is now better. I may come back, this time on 6m FT8. As there are still plenty of storms around, I may wait a bit.

See https://www.lightningmaps.org/blitzortung/europe/index.php?lang=en .

MLS offers

Yet again, I received a "something for the weekend" email from Martin Lynch. They also have offers on other items.

See https://www.hamradio.co.uk/ .

Sunspots - Saturday August 5th 2017

Solar  flux is 74 and the sunspot number 13. A=23 and K=4.

7 countries on 6m MSK144 so far

Since yesterday, I returned to 50.280MHz MSK144 RX. So far, 7 countries spotted. There seem to be most users of this mode on the old frequency rather than the new.

4 Aug 2017

Return to 6m MSK144 - but on 50.280MHz

After reading some of the recent comments, I have returned to MSK144 on 6m, but on 50.280MHz RX.  Already I have spotted PA5JS (370km).

More OFCOM rubbish?

Sorry, but my personal view is OFCOM seems incompetent. Recent tests on VDSL seem to re-enforce this. Is OFCOM really saying the noise pollution of the spectrum, especially in cities, is not getting worse? If so, they must be plain stupid. Even in my village it is much worse than 20 years ago. Please OFCOM get real. There is more to life than money. Sometimes I hear/read nothing but bollocks.

In the USA you have the FCC.

Perhaps OFCOM assume we only go on the internet and digital radio/TV? Well, if you know very little or nothing, about radio you might think that.

See http://rsgb.org/main/files/2012/12/VDSL-RFI-RSGBOfcom-meeting-June-21-2017.pdf

Busy bee - NOT amateur radio

This afternoon we visited the walled garden at Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk. This bee was busy collecting pollen.

6m FT8 RX

After a day on 6m MSK144, I have now gone on 6m FT8 RX monitoring 50.313MHz.  Already spotted G0MBL (130km) in Kent.

North Norfolk, UK - NOT amateur radio

Norfolk is one of the most rural and unspoilt counties in the UK. Today we drove up there and back 167 miles in all.

Our favourite place to eat in Norfolk is The Old Reading Room at Kelling, which is run by real locals. "We don't do change in Norfolk", one of them said. This is a place not "up itself". Food is low cost, simple and just great. Surrounded by second hand books in the longest sale in history,"all books half marked price". I think the signs are so old they have faded. 😊

UK Rallies this weekend

Gaywood Community Centre, Gayton Road, King's Lynn, Norfolk PE30 4DZ. Car parking on site is free and talk in will be provided on 145.550MHz. Doors open at 9am, with admission £2. There will be trade stands and a Bring & Buy. There are amateur radio pitches outside as well as tables inside. On site Catering will be available. Details from Ted, G4OZG on 01553 768 701, 0794 683 8656 or email g4ozg@raynet-uk.net www.klarc.org.uk

Crianlarich Village Hall, Main Street, Crianlarich, Perthshire FK20 8QN Doors open at 10.30am and entry is £2. There will be trade stands (tables are free but a raffle prize appreciated) as well as a Bring & Buy. There will be a raffle drawn at 1.30pm. Catering is available on site. Details, by email, to lornradioclub@gmail.com

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

New Weather App (free) - NOT amateur radio

Those who know me know that I have little faith in the UK weather forecasts from the Met Office. Quite often the local forecast for now is wrong! There is a new (free) app that might be useful. My thanks go to Richard Fusniak for bringing this to my attention.

See http://www.anglia.ac.uk/news/app-can-help-banish-those-barbecue-blues .

Sunspots - Friday July 4th 2017

Solar flux is 75 today and the sunspot number 13. A=12 and K=4.

6m MSK144 - what frequency to use?

The "old" 6m MSK144 frequency (still used by some) was 50.280MHz but in the latest WSJT v1.8 this is now 50.360MHz. I have been monitoring the "new" frequency since just before breakfast, but nothing spotted so far.

I am beginning to think many who I'd have copied on the "old" frequency have not yet moved. With the Perseid meteor shower I was hoping to catch some activity. Maybe I turned on too late. Even so I would have spotted a few stations by aircraft reflection by now.

UPDATE 1855z: Well, I was monitoring 50.360MHz MSK144 RX all day until just now and not a single spot all day.  I have now swapped to 6m FT8 RX and already spotted a station in Kent.

3 Aug 2017

472kHz band

In the autumn and winter, this is one of my favourite bands.

For several seasons now I have been on 472kHz WSPR transceive with my earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. Despite the very low ERP (around 5mW!) it has been spotted well over 1000km away several times. My transverter which appeared in QST magazine about a year ago produces 10-15W, so with a decent antenna it could do well.

As far as I know, the USA is still awaiting access to this band. This is a fascinating band, well suited to WSPR.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/mflf/472khz_tvtr

6m FT8 - plenty of Es

All morning, I have been on 6m FT8 RX. There is plenty of activity and plenty of Es from all over Europe. The take-up of this new digital mode is nothing short of phenomenal. It seems that this is being adopted as the successor to JT65. It takes less bandwidth and it takes far less time to complete a QSO.

UPDATE 1550z: Best DX on 6m FT8 RX, so far, is SV1DH (2432km). There was a lot of 6m Es earlier.

UPDATE 1920z: There has been no Es lately on 6m FT8. The last was EB1DWF (1215km) at 1741z. I am still on 6m FT8 RX.

OFCOM annual communications market report

OFCOM as released its annual report on the communications market.

See http://ofcom.cmail20.com/t/ViewEmail/i/818C622B3FCCEACB2540EF23F30FEDED/59D1BD3EA2F08127C67FD2F38AC4859C

DXing with crystal sets

OK, a confession: it is a long time since I last listened with a shortwave crystal set.

One thing is certain: at the right time it is possible to hear true worldwide DX, and not via relays.

These days there are fewer English language SW broadcasters and it is much tougher. We are also in a period of declining solar activity, so fewer HF bands are open and these stay open for less time. Nonetheless, crystal sets are easy to make and require no power. DXing with crystal sets is a fun activity.

One of my many planned projects is a multi-band crystal set capable of covering from VLF to VHF. It may never get made, but this would be fun.

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

Perseid Meteor Shower

See http://spaceweather.com/ which writes:

"This week, Earth is entering a stream of debris from huge comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, source of the annual Perseid meteor shower. Specks of dusty debris hitting the top of Earth's atmosphere at 110,000 mph are burning up in the night sky, producing a spray of shooting stars from the constellation Perseus."

Wicken windmill - NOT amateur radio

Yesterday we did a walk at nearby Wicken where this windmill is. There is another at Wicken Fen which used to pump water. I think this one ground corn for flour.

Sunspots - Thursday August 3rd 2017

Solar flux is 75 today. Sunspot count is 12.  A=5 and K=1.

2 Aug 2017

Return to 6m FT8

Actually, I was going to go on 6m MSK144 RX, but the frequencies recommended in WSJT-X v1.8 are not those I expected, so I have returned to FT8 instead. I see that M1BXF (14km) copied my brief CQ, but mostly I am RX only.

UPDATE 1925z: Best DX on 6m FT8 RX this evening is G8AQP (123km). This is probably aircraft reflection, although it could be tropo.

UPDATE 2035z: G3YDY (65km) is the latest on 6m FT8 RX. I think I'm too late for Es.

UPDATE 2118z:  Although I have spotted no new stations in the last hour, I think I'll remain on 6m FT8 RX overnight.

Near Wicken Fen - NOT amateur radio

This morning we enjoyed a walk near Wicken Fen. Fenland skies are large and, in their own way, beautiful.

The walk was longer than I thought. These days I find it harder to judge distances and speeds.

Old friends - NOT amateur radio

We got a surprise visit from some old friends who moved from our village to the Cotswolds some years ago. They just turned up in their camper van. They stayed for a cup of tea and came back for lunch the next day. The photo was taken as they left. It was good to see them.

Where I was born - NOT amateur radio

It is fun to say I was born in a grand stately home, but I was! After WW2 Flete House was a nursing home. In another age, I would have been born in a very modest place.

I am pretty sure I've posted this before, but it is fun to pretend I was born of nobility. 😏

20m FT8 RX overnight

Well, as an experiment I stayed on 20m FT8 overnight. There is a big take-up in the USA and Europe of this new mode. I lost count of the USA stations spotted using 20m FT8, but it was at least 21. In the other direction Kuwait and all over Europe were spotted. There is little doubt this will become the de facto digital mode for QSOs, especially on 20m.

It is a pity there is not a WSPR mode with a shorter period, maybe 30 secs. Several brief openings are missed on WSPR and WSPR is an ideal beaconing mode.

UPDATE 1708z: JA1BOQ (9484km) is currently the best DX on 20m FT8 RX.

2m UKAC activity contest last night

Last night was the August 2m UKAC activity contest organised by the RSGB.  Best DX was 182km, although I was on for less than an hour with just 5W and a big-wheel omni antenna.

As before, if I had been able to stay on longer, I'd have worked several more squares and stations. Sadly, my stroke affected voice said, "stop".
Stations worked last night in the contest.

Sunspots - Wednesday August 2nd 2017

Solar flux is 73 today and the sunspot number 0. A=6 and K=1.

1 Aug 2017

Visits - NOT amateur radio

Even without the regular trawling by our Eastern European "friends", visits to this blog are way up. All I hope is that the content is enjoyed. I enjoy doing it, as it does not involve my poor voice. Usually, the content is pretty mixed. Mostly, but not exclusively, it is amateur radio related.

Swifts - NOT amateur radio

So, the swifts have nearly gone until next year. I heard some screaming this morning and saw one this evening, but already they are moving south to warmer climes.

Most swifts have gone by mid-August although swallows are often seen much later.

With swifts you just realise they are no longer here. Sad, but they will be back. To me, the screaming swifts are a mark of an English summer.

10m FT8

As of about 15 minutes ago, I am now on 10m FT8. After a brief period on TX, I am now on RX only. Sadly, no spots given or received so far.

UPDATE 1848z: Just M1CVJ (327km) spotted so far. This is too near for Es and too far for tropo, so could be aircraft reflection? He is in North Devon in IO71 square.

QRT - storm risk

The latest weather forecast show the greatest storm risk here is now 1300-1400z, so I have decided to go QRT and disconnect everything including rigs, PC, antennas and mains plugs. I may be back on later after the storm risk has passed. Already, the wind is blowing. Bad weather is coming.

See https://www.lightningmaps.org/blitzortung/europe/index.php?lang=en .

UPDATE 1524z: So, the storms never came and there are no storms forecast. Shortly I shall reconnect things and start TXing again.

OFCOM monthly update - August 2017

Every month OFCOM produces an update.

See http://ofcom.cmail20.com/t/ViewEmail/i/CF2593BB1808A8092540EF23F30FEDED/59D1BD3EA2F08127C67FD2F38AC4859C

Whistlers at VLF

As an undergraduate (a long time ago!) I did a project on whistlers, which are natural VLF noises produced as a result of VLF emissions being dispersed along magnetic field lines. I nearly did a PhD studying these. There are lots of different natural sounds at VLF. Whistlers are just one type. Tweeks are far more common. I recall going out to quiet parts of Wales to make recordings, although tweeks could even be heard in the centre of Liverpool after the manmade noises subsided late at night.

See https://soundcloud.com/nasa/whistler-waves2 . Eerie noises and not manmade.

Trump - NOT amateur radio

Apologies to all my readers in the USA who voted for him, but personally I find your current president sad. Maybe many in the world are misjudging him?

Allegedly, he has now sacked his latest media chief after a few days in the job.  How can we in the rest of the world take your president seriously? It is about time he acted as a president. This is my personal view and others may well disagree, which is your perfect right.

Sending tweets, claiming lots of the news is fake and sacking people after a few days in office does not sound like a leader of the western world. "You're fired" belongs in a TV show, not in the White House.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-40782299 .

Sale again? - NOT amateur radio

Yet again, Alibris UK is having a sale. Nobody in their right mind would buy at the full price as nearly every week (every week?) they seem to have a sale.

Kentwell Hall - NOT amateur radio

Yesterday, we visited Kentwell Hall, which is a fine moated Tudor house just outside Long Melford, Suffolk. Years ago, my wife took kids there on school trips when she was a teacher.

20m FT8

At the moment I am on 20m RX. After a brief period in which I called CQ and was heard in GI, I have reverted to RX only for now. I have spotted several Europeans including European Russia.

20m FT8 early
UPDATE 0835z:  Lots of Europeans seem to be on 20m FT8. Later I'll try TX again on  20m FT8. I need to check the storm maps first and do some shopping as we have friends for lunch. They are very easy going. Once, they were coming for tea at 4.30pm. They arrived at 10.30pm! They never change and I like them as they are. The map shows the stations received this morning on 20m FT8.

UPDATE 1610z: As the storm was a non-event, I have reconnected everything on 20m FT8. I was TXing for a few minutes (calling CQ) and was copied in Southern Europe, but have now reverted to RX only on 20m. Plenty of Europeans spotted.

20m FT8 RX last few hours
UPDATE 2136z: For the last few hours I have been on 20m FT8 RX. Plenty of stations, even with my low, poor 20m antenna.

Sunspots - Tuesday August 1st 2017

Solar flux is 72 today and the sunspot number 11. A=5 and K=0.