31 Aug 2019

2m FT8

At about 1820z, I switched to 2m FT8, initially calling CQ. Best DX spot was by DL3YCX (475km), which is not bad with 10W to the big-wheel omni. In all 5 stations in 3 countries spotted me.

UPDATE 1855z: On 2m FT8 RX just 3 spots so far this evening.

UPDATE 2024z: A recent 2m FT8 CQ was spotted by 4 stations. On RX just 4 G stations spotted. In all, 7 stations have spotted my 2m FT8 CQs this evening.

UPDATE 2146z: A recent 2m FT8 CQ (10W) was spotted by 9 stations with best spot being by EI2FG (565km) in southern Eire. I shall probably remain on 2m FT8 RX overnight. 8 stations spotted so far on 2m FT8 RX in 4 countries. This is disappointing as it feels people have now had their FT8 fun and have "moved on", but what to and where?

Icom's IC-705

Image on the ICOMuk link shown
Great! ICOM has just announced a new multi-band QRP transceiver at the Tokyo Ham Fair. It should be available March 2020 and for less than $1000.  I hope they sell this world-wide as it exactly fits my needs.

See https://icomuk.co.uk/Icom-IC-705-and-IC-PW2-Prototypes-Shown-at-Tokyo-Hamfair-2019/2/1982/

See also https://dx-world.net/new-icom-ic705/

See also https://qrpblog.com/2019/08/icom-ic-705-hf-vhf-uhf-portable-transceiver-announced

See also https://icomuk.co.uk/files/icom/PDF/newsFile/IC-705_Tokyo_Hamfair.pdf

The last but one link has lots of photos. It looks to me like a great addition to the range and a bit like a 2020 IC703, but based on SDR technology!

Fred tells me 4m will be available on European versions - even better!

My thanks again to Steve G1KQH and Fred G4BWP for spotting this.

6m FT8

An earlier 6m FT8 CQ was spotted by 6 people including 9A5CW (1253km).  This looks like Es. It was very early. So far, I have just spotted a couple of Gs on 6m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 1040z: Quite a bit of Es now in 6m FT8. An earlier CQ was spotted by several Gs with one G QSO. Best DX this morning on 6m FT8 RX is UW1HM (2293km). In all, 34 stations from across Europe already spotted this morning.

UPDATE 1202z: Now 49 stations spotted today on 6m FT8 RX.

UPDATE  1532z: 50 stations in 13 countries spotted so far on 6m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 1605z: A recent 6m FT8 CQ was spotted by 3 G stations only.

UPDATE 1743z: A very recent 6m FT8 CQ resulted in no QSOs and was spotted by just 1 G station.

Darts with the grandchildren - NOT amateur radio

When all the grandchildren came to stay this week, a great hit was the new darts board. We attached this to a tree and we all had hours of fun.

Heathkit Twoer and similar

The older generations may remember the "Benton Harbour Lunch boxes" that were popular rigs back in the 1960s. These were 5W AM rigs with super-regen RXs. In many areas these were mainstays of VHF activity.

Compared with FT8 today we would be amazed. DX was 10 miles! On FT8 every day Germany is copied. With a super-regen and its broad selectivity even 50 miles would be considered amazing!

I always wanted the 2m version, but the nearest I got was the manual. Several similar designs were made by yours truly, but the styling never was quite as good.  To this day, I like the styling. As a QRP rig on any band I think this style is classic. Maybe one day I shall finish the Tenbox in a similar styling, although I would be very happy if someone else did this as my building skills are nothing like they were.

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

Bike fun - NOT amateur radio

Our younger granddaughter riding her bike and having fun near her home yesterday.

137kHz transverter

Because of my poor health, it is some years since I have done any serious experimentation or building, so I hope some of the ideas on my main website inspire others to have a go. In many cases, the designs can be further optimised. If you can make a better circuit I shall be very pleased. Treat my ideas as starting points and don't be afraid to experiment!

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

Comments by "loan" - NOT amateur radio

It doesn't happen very often and as soon as I spot them, they get permanently deleted, but if you see a comment by "loan" let me know and then ignore it. These are irrelevant, off topic adverts. I hate them. Just go away.

Unless the comment has relevance to the post it will get deleted at the first opportunity. Such blatant ads have no place here.

Sunspots - Saturday August 31st 2019

Solar flux is 67 and the SSN is 0. A=10 and K=4.

30 Aug 2019

Telford Hamfest - new location

Southgate News has a piece on the new venue for this Sunday's Telford Hamfest.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2019/august/telford-hamfest-at-new-venue.htm

6m FT8 RX

14 stations in 7 countries spotted from across Europe this morning on 6m FT8  Still Es about.

UPDATE 1224z: Now 79 stations spotted this morning on 6m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 1934z:  224 stations spotted on 6m FT8 RX today with best DX being EK7DX (3590km) in Armenia.

UPDATE 2134z: Now QRT. A recent FT8 CQ was only spotted by a couple of Gs.

Very old photo - NOT amateur radio

We found this very old photo hand-tinted and on a metal plate whilst clearing my mum's house after she died many years ago. This lady (in mourning?) has family features and we think it dates from the mid 1800s. We think it could be a great great grandmother.

Sunspots - Friday August 30th 2019

Solar flux is 65 and the SSN is still zero.  A=5 and K=1.

29 Aug 2019

Bury St Edmunds - NOT amateur radio

Earlier this week one of our sons went to Bury St Edmunds with my wife and his 2 children.

This is a photo of him with his children in the Abbey Gardens with St Edmundsbury Cathedral behind.

Rallies this weekend


Event to be held in the evening of 31 August in Telford. Details to follow. Contact Martyn on 01952 255 416.


Harper Adams University, near Telford, TF10 8NB. More information and e-mail details may be found on the Telford HamFest website www.telfordhamfest.org.uk or by contacting Martyn, G3UKV on 01952 255 416.

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

DRM+ at low VHF?

According to John's excellent blog, the FCC in the USA has had a request to open up 45-50MHz for DRM + broadcasts in the USA.

On a slightly different subject, I have heard of no progress on a small 8m (40MHz) allocation in Europe. There are a very few enlightened national organisations, but sadly very few!

See https://ei7gl.blogspot.com/2019/08/fcc-petitioned-to-open-up-45-to-50-mhz.html

6m FT8 Es

Overnight I again remained on 6m FT8 RX. Already stations from all over Europe being spotted with LA9VFA (2460km) in the very far north of Norway as the best DX spotted so far.

UPDATE 1537z: So far today 138 stations spotted on 6m FT8 RX, with best DX spotted being 4Z5AV (3633km) in Israel. A recent 6m FT8 CQ was just spotted by 7 G stations.

UPDATE 1924z: In the last 12 hours 132 stations spotted on 6m FT8 RX. As this is fewer than earlier, it suggests there was some very early Es propagation. At the moment we are still seeing 6m Es. Usually there is some Es throughout the year with the peak in the summer.

Sunspots - Thursday August 29th 2019

Solar flux is 66 and the SSN is still zero. A=5 and K=1.

28 Aug 2019

Grandchildren together - NOT amateur radio

Today for about 6 hours we had all our 4 grandchildren together. It was great.

The boys played well together as well as the girls.

My wife and I are behind.

6m FT8

6m FT8 RX today
Once again, Es on 6m FT8 has been good. As the internet returned, uploads to PSKreporter worked.

UPDATE 1910z: 390 stations spotted on 6m FT8 RX today. Another great Es day on 6m. As the internet was off most of the morning I may well have spotted far more than are shown on PSKreporter maps. The maps shows the stations spotted so far today on 6m FT8 RX.

Internet back? - NOT amateur radio

About an hour ago our internet came back after about 36 hours. There was a fault preventing our box in the road getting any signal. I hope it stays on!

Luckily we had 4G phones which still worked.

Sunspots - Wednesday August 28th 2019

Solar flux is 65 and the SSN 0. A=10 and K=2.

27 Aug 2019

Cooling off - NOT amateur radio

Today it felt even hotter than yesterday, but the grandkids found a way to keep cool as the photo shows.

More on the threats to 2m

You may be aware that France wants to discuss the possibility of Aeronautical Services having access to the 2m band. Apparently Germany has opposed this. This may be discussed at WRC 2023. 

6m FT8 overnight

Although 6m FT8 RX was running overnight, nothing was spotted.

UPDATE 0833z: As the Internet is still offline nothing I spot will reach PSKreporter. On the PC screen I see that Italians, Spaniards and Sicilians have been spotted probably by Es. A brief FT8 CQ was spotted in Spain at 1366km.

UPDATE 1320z: My Internet is still offline, so I cannot upload to PSKreporter. A CQ with FT8 resulted in a couple of Es QSOs on 6m.

UPDATE 2023z: Still no Internet apart from 4G. Hopefully it will be on later.

Sunspots - Tuesday August 27th 2019

Solar flux is 67 and the SSN 0. A=6 and K=3.

26 Aug 2019

Bikes - NOT amateur radio

One of our sons is staying with us with his son and daughter until later in the week. Th photo shows them on their bikes last night. Luckily it is very quiet here with very few cars.

Early 6m Es

Although it is very early and I have not yet had breakfast there are several Italian stations coming in already on 6m FT8. This is a promising start.

UPDATE 0740z: Amazing! Already 76 stations from all over Europe spotted today on 6m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 0836z: Already 120 stations spotted on 6m FT8 this morning! Many (most) are Es.

UPDATE 0948z: My 6m FT8 CQ (10W) was widely copied in southern Europe. So far this morning, 170 stations have been spotted on 6m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 2120z: Quite an extraordinary day on 6m with hundreds of stations copied via Es from all over Europe and North Africa. I am beginning to wonder if there is some correlation between climate change and Es?

Sunspots - Monday August 26th 2019

Solar flux is 66 today and the SSN is still 0. A=4 and  K=2.

25 Aug 2019

Cricket - NOT amateur radio

Usually cricket can be quite boring, but the last ashes test against Australia was extremely tense until the very last ball. It could have gone either way.  In the end England won with a superb last wicket stand that will go down in history as one of the very best ever. The photo shows me with my son and grandson watching the match.

6m FT8 - no Es yet today (but it came later!)

In the last hour, I switched to 6m FT8. As yet, just Gs spotted here apart from DF4UE (756km). On TX (10W to the V2000 omni vertical) just 6 G spots so far today.

UPDATE 1050z: Later there was, again, plenty of 6m Es. I have, so far, spotted 20 stations (many probably Es) and I have been spotted, and worked, in Eastern Europe. Many were in response to my 6m FT8 CQ.

UPDATE 1114z: Plenty of Eastern Europeans spotted and several worked on 6m FT8.

UPDATE 2004z:  137 stations spotted on 6m FT8 today as the map shows. It seems still that there is 6m Es there for the taking. Another good day. Best DX spotted was EA8AQV (2989km).

2m FT8 - still a lift?

There still seems to be a lift on 2m FT8 with EA1SA (1034km) being spotted. Although I called him, I was not successful. He was the best DX spotted this morning.

2m Fredbox

Many years ago, I designed this 2m QRP AM transceiver. This was in the days when 2m AM was very popular. For its day, it was very small!

I do not recommend you copy this design nowadays, but you may find some useful ideas here.

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

Sunspots - Sunday August 25th 2019

Solar flux is 66 and the SSN 0. A=5 and K=1.

24 Aug 2019

Overnight on 2m FT8

After calling CQ, I am now on 2m FT8 RX overnight. On TX just a single QSO with a fairly local station, although 9 stations spotted me with EI2FG (565km) the best DX spot. On RX the best so far is PA0O (437km).

Miracle Whip? - NO

It is years since I last used my Miracle Whip, so I thought now was a good time to try this on 10m FT8. Sadly I can't find it anywhere! The last time I used it must have been 6 years ago. I shall have to try it out another time.


Since buying my FT991A, I have not been on 10m as my antenna blew down. Then it occurred to me that I had a Whiz Whip antenna that although small and indoors would at least tune on 10m.

So, I connected this to the back of the rig (it is a loop about 0.5m diameter) and went on 10m FT8. On 10m FT8 RX I have already spotted stations all over Europe (37 so far at 1312z) and on 10m FT8 TX my 4W has been spotted by several stations (6) with best DX spot by IK8YFU (1963km).

6m Es .....again

Why do so many desert 6m when it is so good?

On and off I have been on 6m FT8 again this morning with 10W and the V2000 vertical omni. Already  (1118z) 78 stations spotted from all over Europe. There was an SM0 coming through at an incredible +17dB S//N. When I called CQ I was spotted all over Europe and worked an Italian.

Honestly, I don't think there has been a single daytime time this month when there has not been 6m Es. It seems every time I look there is Es propagation. In the past I know I have worked Scandinavians in September with QRP SSB on 6m.

Stations that spotted my 6m 10W 
FT8 to the V2000 vertical to 1838z.
UPDATE  1833z:  With 261 stations spotted and 68 people spotting my 10W to the V2000 vertical, this is one of my best days on 6m FT8.

UPDATE 2130z: Still 261 stations spotted today on 6m FT8. I think that is it.

Crab apples - NOT amateur radio

We have one crab apple tree. Two years ago we had about 500 fruits and made crab apple jelly which is delicious with some meats. Last year we had just 15!  This year we have a bumper crop as the photo shows. Someone once told me these are good every other year.

See https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/7661/crab-apple-jelly

2m FT8

There seems to be a lift on. Stations in Devon and North Wales called me after my 10W to big-wheel FT8 CQ calls and I am copying stations on 2m FT8 in Northern Spain. 2m FT8 is busy!

Sunspots - Saturday August 24th 2019

Solar flux is 67 and the SSN 0. A=4 and K=1.

23 Aug 2019

2m FT8

As usual, I have switched to 2m FT8. Best report of my 10W to the big-wheel is GI6ATZ (479km)  in IN74.

On 2m RX 13 stations in 3 countries spotted with best DX being F0GOW (609km) in IN96.

Merry go round - NOT amateur radio

This was seen in NW England a few weeks ago. Simple pleasures for little ones.

Es again on 6m FT8

Yet again, there is early Es on 6m FT8. Well before breakfast I was spotted up in the Faeroes and just now I worked a Norwegian and was spotted by lots of Finns and others in Scandinavia. Remember, this is 10W to the V2000 vertical omni.

Maybe people are getting the message that 6m Es goes way beyond July! As I said yesterday, it seems that every time I go on 6m FT8 calling CQ with 10W I work someone by Es.

The map shows the stations that spotted me to 0945z this morning on 6m FT8.

UPDATE 1353z: Still plenty of Es activity on 6m FT8.

UPDATE 1652z: The second photo shows the stations received today on 6m FT8 RX. Es season over? I hardly think so!

How it all started

Back in 1961, my dad bought me a Heathkit Electronics Workshop one Christmas. That was the start of a hobby and a career in telecommunications design.

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

Sunspots - Friday August 23rd 2019

Solar flux is 66 and the SSN 0. A=4
6 and K=2.  The bottom.

22 Aug 2019

Back to 2m FT8

After yet another good Es day on 6m FT8 (some OHs were copying my 10W at a staggering +8dB S/N), I have now returned to 2m FT8.

My initial 2m FT8 CQ was copied by 9 stations with G4ELI (449km) as the best DX spot of my 10W. He is in Cornwall.

On 2m FT8 RX plenty of stations again spotted with DF6DW (562km) as the best DX spotted.

UPDATE  1947z: 10 stations spotted so far on 2m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 2102z:  Now 25 stations spotted this evening on 2m FT8 RX in 4 countries. Most reports are in the -12dB to -18dB S/N region. This suggests "flat band" tropo as the most likely propagation.

Rallies this weekend


Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre, Waldron Road, Broomfield, Montrose DD10 9BD. Indoor event and tables available to sell your own junk. Open to the public from 10am, disabled access and minor catering available. Details from Ewan, MM0BIX on 01674 676 740.


Newton Abbot Racecourse Devon TQ12 3AF. Doors open at 10am with disabled visitors gaining access at 9.30am. Indoor event with plenty of free parking on site. There will be a Bring & Buy as well as an RSGB bookstall. Catering will be available on site. To book tables call Pete, G4VTO on 01803864528 or Mike, G1TUU on 01803557941 email rally team at rally@tars.org.uk.


MKARS, Irish Centre, Manor Fields, Watling Street, Bletchley MK2 2HX. Entrance £3 per person. Various trader options available with extra indoor pitches available for 2019. Free parking and on-site catering. Open to traders 7am, Public from 9am. Additional information at www.mkars.org.uk/rally or contact Francis Hennigan, M0UKF rally@mkars.org.uk or 07563 498 156.


Ernulf Academy, St Neots PE19 2SH. Gates open for Traders at 7am and 9am for the public. Entry is £3. There is Free car parking, an RSGB Bookstall, Bring & Buy with indoor and outdoor stands available. Catering provided on site. Talk in will be on 145.550MHz on GX0HSR. Contact Malcolm, M0OLG on events@hunts-hams.co.uk for details or phone 01480 214282.

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

Es yet again on 6m FT8

It seems every time I venture on to 6m FT8 there is Es. An early 10W 6m FT8 CQ using the V2000 vertical omni brought QSOs with Lithuania and Italy. On 6m FT8 RX the best DX so far spotted is CN8LI (2114km) in North Africa. 6m dead did someone say?

UPDATE 1806z:  Plenty of SMs and OHs worked after calling CQ on 6m FT8 TX this evening. Loads more spotted me too. 7 people have spotted my 10W FT8 in just the last 15 minutes! Most of these were in Finland by, what I assume is, Es.

2m FT8 early

Overnight I stayed on 2m FT8, around breakfast time there were lots of stations spotted with the best again being Germany. On TX my 2mFT8 CQ was copied by 4 stations with the best being a spot by EI2FG (565km). Not bad for 10W and a big-wheel omni antenna.

Sundial at Peterborough Cathedral - NOT amateur radio

On the west wall at Peterborough Cathedral is this fine, and very old, sundial. The date says 1762, but it looks like it has been repainted.

See http://sundialsoc.org.uk/dials/peterborough-cathedral0589/

LF and VLF ideas

In recent years there has been an increasing interest in amateur VLF work. You may find some ideas on my webpage.

Although big antennas and high power help on TX, this is not so on RX where some very compact antennas can be really effective. E-field probes are very small yet are very effective VLF RX antennas. They are every bit as effective as much larger antennas.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/vlf

Sunspots - Thursday August 22nd 2019

Solar flux is 66 today and the SSN 0. A=5 and K=1.

21 Aug 2019

2m FT8

Well, I thought something was wrong! Then I found that my UHF adaptor was not in properly. My recent 2m FT8 CQ was widely spotted, but no QSOs resulted. Best TX (10W to the big-wheel) DX was EI2FG (565km) in southern Eire. Also spotting me were 3 Cornish stations as well as a French station and a Belgian station.

On 2m FT8 RX DF6PW (562km) is the best DX.

2m FT8 certainly works!

UPDATE 1930z:  My last 2m FT8 CQ was copied by 6 stations, although no QSOs resulted.

UPDATE 2025z: 5 stations spotted my 10W FT8 2m CQ just now, including one station in Cornwall. No QSOs resulted.

UPDATE 2054z: 26 stations spotted this evening on 2m FT8 RX with the best DX being DJ6AG (689km) deep into Germany. All this on the big-wheel omni.

Back on 6m FT8

Earlier we went by train to Peterborough, where we went to the Gaia exhibition and had lunch.

Now we are home again, I am on 6m FT8. After a few CQ calls, I am currently RX only. On 6m FT8 TX I was spotted by LA7DHA (1902km) way up in Norway. I assume this is Es. Other spots were by stations in  England.

So far on 6m FT8 RX just one G spotted.

Every time I go on 6m FT8 TX I seem to be spotted at great range, presumably by Es. I think it is disappointing that people desert the band in August thinking that the Es season is over. Clearly with FT8, we are seeing Es every day so far this month that I have been active.

UPDATE 1540z: Another FT8 CQ (10W) was spotted by 6 stations with (again) LA7DHA (1902km) spotting me. Still just one spot on 6m FT8 RX.

Globe - NOT amateur radio

At the moment there is an exhibition on inside Peterborough Cathedral called "Gaia". The centre piece in the nave is a 7m diameter globe of the Earth (see photo). It is very impressive and free in the daylight hours.  They charge in the evenings when there is music and the globe is illuminated.

End fed half wave antennas

The problem with end fed half waves is they are a high impedance at the ends. This is often outside the range that can be tuned with auto-ATUs in many modern rigs that tune out mismatches to about 3:1 VSWR. The common solution is to add a matching transformer so the auto-ATU can cope. There are several ideas around.

See https://vk3il.net/projects-antenna/efhw-matching-unit/

Sunspots - Wednesday August 21st 2019

Solar flux is 67 and the sunspot number 0. A=4 and K=1. Still no sunspots!

20 Aug 2019

BREXIT deal? - NOT amateur radio

We have a Prime Minister who is on record as saying that we will be leaving the EU at the end of October deal or no deal. He has also said the chances of a no deal are 1 million to 1 against.

At the moment both the UK and EU seem to be playing chicken to see who blinks first. It seems to me that the divisions are only over the border between Eire and Ulster. Surely to goodness a compromise can be found that suits both the EU and UK?

If a compromise is not worked out, both lose. No-one wants that.

2m FT8

A few moments ago I switched to 2m FT8 TX. 4 spots with best being GI6ATZ (479km). Yet again, I am running just over 10W to the big-wheel omni antenna.

Already a couple of Germans are in the RX log. FT8 makes things possible that simply would not be possible on SSB or CW for me.

UPDATE 2048z: Just worked F6BTP (323km) on 2m FT8. I called him in answer to his CQ call. I was also copied in Germany (562km) and Eire (565km). Quite amazing with just over 10W to an omni antenna.

Punts in the rain - NOT amateur radio

This photo was taken earlier this summer.

We had a shower of rain, so all the punt occupants suddenly erected umbrellas! They are on the Cam just outside Kings College.

136kHz and 472kHz RX with the E-field probe.

In the coming LF and MF DX season, I hope to be on RX with an E-field probe antenna. As this has to go in a tree, this depends on getting some help as it needs ladder work!

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/mflf/winter

FT991A web page updated

Yesterday I had occasion to ring MLS about my FT991A. Their service on the phone was very good, so I have updated my webpage to share the advice they gave me.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/ft991a

Norwich - NOT amateur radio

In our minds, Norwich is one of the nicest cities in the UK. It has a Norman cathedral and castle, some very old streets, fine shops and a good market amongst its many attractions.

The photo shows one street not far from the cathedral.

6m FT8

An early 6m FT8 CQ 
this morning (0800z)
Yet again, the evidence suggests Es on 6m FT8. A recent FT8 CQ was spotted by 7 stations including SQ9KFZ (1305km). On FT8 RX just G3XDV (45km) and G6NNS (26km).

The moral is stay on 6m!!

One of the issues is people monitoring 6m FT8 RX when at work. Clearly the band is open, but FT8 CQ calls go unanswered. My recent CQ was spotted by 9 stations in 5 countries including OH1QX (1823km).

An FT8 CQ was spotted by 3 stations including 9A2DI (1530km). Es, but no takers.

Another 6m FT8 CQ call by me was spotted by 7 stations in Southern Europe (Es I assume) although no QSOs resulted again. It looks like there is widespread, strong, Es on 6m yet again.

Just after 1100z I again called CQ on 6m FT8. This time I was spotted only by 4 G stations.

UPDATE 1238z: Yet again, good evidence of 6m FT8 Es this morning.

UPDATE 1420z: A recent 6m FT8 CQ call was spotted by 6 people as far apart as Poland and the Faroes. OY1OF (1163km) was getting me at +5dB S/N, which is very strong. He was +17dB with me - just like a pipe. I thought he was a local!

UPDATE 1540z: A recent 6m FT8 CQ was only spotted by 3 G stations.

See the photo of the 6m FT8 RX spots this morning.

Sunspots - Tuesday August 20th 2019

Solar flux is 67 and the SSN 0. A=6 and K=1.

19 Aug 2019

More 2m FT8

2m FT8 TX spots this 
evening so far (1847z)
As the storms seem to have passed, I am back on 2m FT8.

A recent 2m FT8 CQ (10W to the big-wheel omni antenna) resulted in 11 spots, but no QSOs. Best DX was a spot by GI6ATZ (479km).

On RX 28 spots so far this evening with the best DX on 2m FT8 RX being DF6PW (562km).

2m FT8 RX spots this 
evening so far (1847z)
Although some RX reports will be aircraft reflections, quite a lot will be normal "flat band" tropo as these distances (N.Ireland and Devon + Cornwall) seem to possible at any time, not just when aircraft are in the right spots.

Stations spotted on 2m FT8 to 2020z 
this evening in the last few hours.
UPDATE  2020z: It seems hard to believe that all these were spotted on 2m! It seems this sort of DX is available all the time with FT8. And remember, this is with the big-wheel omni - no beams!

Storms stop play

We have quite nearby storms. According to the gap between the lightning and the thunder, it is about 2 miles away (5 seconds a mile). I have disconnected antennas, rigs, and PSU.

UPDATE 1452z: All quiet again. Have the storms passed? Everything reconnected.

Flightradar24 - NOT amateur radio

On my Android phone I am able to track my son and family on their plane journey back from Australia. This is a free app available on the Play Store. It has quite a good rating (4.7 out of 5) and is supported by ads.

Be careful!! There are several with very similar names.

UPDATE 1957z: After a flight from Hong-Kong of almost 12 hours they are now approaching the UK. They will be knackered!

6m Es

It is now the second half of August and there still seems plenty of Es around on 6m FT8. At this time of year, I think the main issue is too few people and not propagation.

Try 6m FT8. You might get a nice surprise.

6m FT8

After the help from Steve at MLS the issue with FT8 on the FT991A seems to be resolved. Using about 10W and the V2000 vertical omni, I had plenty of East Europeans replying to my 6m FT8 CQ calls just before lunch.

On 2m too it seems to be working fine with 2m FT8 spots by 10 stations in 5 countries.

MLS - thank you FT991A issue solved

Well, that was good service from Steve at MLS who phoned me 3 times to resolve my FT991A issue on FT8.

I did a full factory reset but the real trick seems to be to use USB rather than D-U to get the full RX bandwidth. I cannot thank him enough. He was bending over backwards to help.

This was the reply I got from MLS:

"You are very welcome Sir; it’s not just selling a radio to a customer for us it’s looking after them once the item has been purchased.

When we’re asked to match other traders’ prices that generally can’t get anywhere near us for aftersales support, (I employ 4 on-site engineers) we try our best.  Occasionally we have to walk away because I won’t compromise my company standards & indeed reputation.

It’s my name above the door after all.

Enjoy your radio and you are welcome to print my reply on your Blog if you so wish.

Best 73,

Best Regards

Martin Lynch  G4HKS
ML&S Martin Lynch & Sons Ltd.,
Wessex House"

QRP 6m FT8

A few moments ago I switched from 2m FT8 on the big-wheel to 6m FT8 on the V2000 vertical. So far just M0NKR (27km) and G0BNR (37km) spotting me. As before running 2.5W. Nothing yet spotted on 6m FT8 RX.

Operating Pedestrian Portable

This has been on before, but as it is holiday season, now is a good time to remind people. Some surprising results can be had out portable. Even though the power is normally low, the antenna can be optimised for the best angle and some remarkable DX can be worked, especially in the Es season on the higher HF bands and 6m.

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

2m FT8

At the moment, I am on 2m FT8 RX using the FT817ND and the big-wheel omni antenna. So far, 8 stations in 4 countries spotted today, with the best being DF7IW (612km).

UPDATE 0858z: A brief CQ call (2.5W to the big-wheel) was spotted by G4RRA (334km) in Devon amongst others.

UPDATE 1400z: A recent 2m FT8 CQ (about 10W to the big-wheel omni)) was spotted by 6 stations in 3 countries. At +3dB S/N I think the spot by F4HRD (182km) must have been aircraft reflection.

Sunspots - Monday August 19th 2019

Solar flux is 68 and the SSN 0.  A=6 and K =1.

18 Aug 2019

Back to 2m FT8

A few minutes ago, I switched to 2m FT8 QRP (2.5W to the big-wheel omni). My best report on TX is G7RAU (461km) in Cornwall. On 2m FT8 RX the best DX is DJ6AG (689km).

The impression I am getting is that there are fewer stations now on 2m FT8. This may just be a "time of day" thing, but it could be people now know what is possible on this mode and band and are moving on.

Stations spotted this evening 
on 2m FT8 RX to 2118z
UPDATE 1925z: So far this evening, 7 stations spotted including 3 Germans.

UPDATE 2052z: Now 14 stations spotted on 2m FT8 this evening. Judging by previous occasions, I think this is normal "flat band" tropo although I guess it could be some aircraft reflections and MS.

UPDATE 2123z: Now 17 stations spotted on 2m FT8 this evening.

Yaesu FT991A

The dealer, MLS, has been contacted (web form) and I am awaiting a phone call tomorrow. This has been a good radio, but certainly in its current state, it is not fit for its intended purpose. If a software upgrade can fix this fine.

Oscar 100 - never seen it so busy!

As you know, I periodically check the Goonhilly SDR that monitors the narrowband transponder on this geosynchronous satellite. I have never seen it so busy! When I looked a few moments ago there were 10 SSB signals at once. I get the feeling that people are realising this is up and works and is a reliable route to DX.

See https://eshail.batc.org.uk/nb/

QRP again on 6m FT8

Well, I decided to go back on 6m FT8 using the FT817ND at 2.5W. Almost immediately my CQ call was spotted by 4 stations with the best being SM7CAD (1140km). On 6m FT8 RX the most distant station spotted so far this morning is EA5BRE (1548km).

UPDATE 1330z: 79 stations spotted on 6m FT8 RX so far today and a QSO with an HA7 earlier (I was using 2.5W to the V2000 vertical). Most of the time I have been on FT8 RX. We had an internet outage, so I may have spotted more that did not get uploaded to PSKreporter. Best FT8 RX DX is SV3BSF (2275km).

UPDATE 1342z: A recent 6m FT8 QRP CQ call was only copied by G8VR/P (69km).

UPDATE 1553z:  A recent 6m FT8 QRP CQ was copied by M1BXF only. So far today, 85 stations spotted on 6m FT8 RX, many Es.

2m FT8

As reported in an earlier post, I am currently on 2m FT8 using the FT817ND (2.5W) and the big-wheel omni antenna. Best DX on TX is G4HGI (244km) and on 2m FT8 RX PD1BHZ (366km).

6m FT8 and FT991A bugs?

I think my FT991A has some bugs.

Yesterday I mentioned that I could not adjust the bandwidth to 3000Hz on 2m FT8 using USB digital. Now, the power on 6m FT8 is far lower and it looks like the audio to the PC is "different". On a different rig (my FT817ND) all seems fine. The antenna is the same.

Unless I can prove this is "finger trouble", I am afraid the rig is going back. This is a pity as the rig suits me well.

UPDATE 0845z: Back to the FT817ND. On 2m FT8 I have been spotted by 3 stations in 2 countries using 2.5W and the big-wheel omni antenna. On 2m FT8 RX the best DX so far is ON3ML (236km).

15m Pipit QRP CW transceiver

It is amazing to think this was first designed and made in the 1980s! It worked some impressive DX in its day and worked very well with just a low wire dipole. At one time I used a borrowed trap dipole from G3TFX for 10m and 15m and even this worked well.

With just this rig on the bench, it looked quite empty! I am pretty sure this has been on the blog before, but it may give some people some ideas. You definitely don't have to spend much or have high power to have good fun! This rig was 800mW output. If you bought all parts new you'd probably get change from a £20 note.

The USB position just chose a VXO frequency in the SSB part of the band so I could have cross mode QSOs. Most QSOs were CW around 21.060MHz.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/hf/15m_pipit