Solar flux is 106 and the SSN an amazing 60. A=8 and K=3. For this part of the solar cycle, these are incredible numbers.
27 Nov 2020
Maybe it is the time of day (Friday evening in Europe), but this evening there was more SSB activity than I have ever seen. I think there were 13 stations on the screen in the narrow-band transponder. As usual, I check the web SDR at Goonhilly in Cornwall.
As 10m FT8 was quiet late afternoon, I have QSYed to 2m with my 2.5W and big-wheel omni antenna. Already spotted by G7RAU (461km) in Cornwall with 6 stations spotting me so far. Nothing yet seen on RX and no QSOs. It is now 1649z.
UPDATE 1706z: 4 stations in 2 countries spotted on RX and 9 stations in 3 countries have spotted me on TX. No QSOs. Monitoring my signal on G0LRD's grabber (http://22.214.171.124:8080/cap/) at 26km, I may be seeing some QSB.
UPDATE 1843z: 11 stations have spotted me on TX and I have spotted 11 stations on RX.
Today, I read that some very big UK retailers have decided not to offer Black Friday deals. I cannot say I blame them.
As I have mentioned before, some may really be bargains, whereas others are not. It is basically about commercialism and extending Christmas sales. To me, it sucks.
Whilst trying to get to sleep earlier in the week I tried to think of placenames starting with "A", then "B" etc. It was interesting how hard "J" was. I guess this is because some names are very old and pre-date "J" being in the alphabet. In old Latin both J and W were missing.
It is now 0916z. Since 0900z, I have been on 10m FT8 with 2.5W and the indoor loop. No spots yet.UPDATE 1107z: 20 stations spotted so far today on 10m FT8 RX with the furthermost being OD5YA (3466km). Nobody has yet spotted me. 10m is coming back to life!
26 Nov 2020
As 10m is now quiet, I have QSYed to 2m FT8. Nothing yet spotted on RX, but 3 stations have spotted me so far. No QSOs. As usual, 2.5W to the big-wheel omni antenna.
UPDATE 1840z: So far this evening 5 stations spotted on RX with best DX G1BHM (355km) in IO70. On TX 6 stations have spotted me with the best DX G7RAU (461km).
UPDATE 1933z: Now 7 stations have spotted me and I have spotted 8 stations on RX. So far this evening all have been G, which is unusual.
UPDATE 2238z: QRT. 2 QSOs this evening.
It is now 1117z and I have been on 10m FT8 with the tiny indoor loop antenna and 2.5W for about 30 minutes. So far, just EA8CZL (2987km) spotted on RX and no spots of me on TX. I wonder how far down my tiny indoor loop is on a full sized dipole?
UPDATE 1254z: Nothing further.
UPDATE 1545z: The USA and Caribbean spotted on 10m FT8 Rx this afternoon, but no spots of me! OK, just a handful spotted, but better than nothing. Who knows what a year will bring. Next autumn we could be spotting far more on 10m FT8.
25 Nov 2020
People have remarked that the upward slope from sunspot minimum looks faster than we were expecting. It is still far too early to tell, but this is a promising. Many thought this would be a slow climb. It will be interesting to see new forecasts for the next maximum.
Transnistria is a breakaway state between Moldova and Ukraine. Until today, I had never heard of it!
24 Nov 2020
As 15m was quiet, I have QSYed to 2m FT8 QRP (2.5W and the big-wheel omni antenna) for the evening. That was at 1738z. It is now 1820z. So far, 7 stations in 3 countries have spotted me already and I have spotted 3 countries on RX. No QSOs.
The drawback of FT8 is the very "rubber stamp" nature of the QSOs, with just the bare essentials exchanged. As specialist software is needed (free), newcomers cannot just chance upon it.
The advantages are it only takes 50Hz of bandwidth and is far more sensitive than SSB or CW. A second advantage is most activity is concentrated in a few kHz, making DX easier to spot. In my case, not having to use my poor voice is another benefit.
Even with 2.5W and an omni antenna, I get reports from over 500km away every day. I suspect this is some sort of scatter. 2m FT8 has been transformative, although I can see why some do not like it.
There were lots of long tail tits flitting about too. These were too fast for me.
Apparently, the UK aid budget is to be cut by law to help the chancellor balance the books and to help pay the enormous budget deficit as a result of Covid-19.
If this is made permanent, some will see this as a backwards step. I hope that we still continue to provide meaningful aid (not arms) to countries that need it.
About 10 minutes ago, I turned on 15m FT8 QRP (2.5W and the indoor loop). It is now 1007z. Just 6 stations copied on RX so far with one in East Africa.
UPDATE 1235z: 4 spots of me so far from Eastern Europe, but 95 stations spotted on RX including Africa and South America.
23 Nov 2020
As there have been no spots here on 15m FT8 for several hours, I have QSYed to 2m FT8 using 2.5W and the big-wheel omni antenna. Although nothing spotted on RX so far, 5 stations have spotted my QRP.
UPDATE 1855z: So far, 6 stations have spotted me with the furthermost being EI2FG (565km).
UPDATE 2216z: QRT.
Recently (about 6 weeks ago) I bought an Echo Dot from Amazon. It even recognises my poor voice, which surprised and impressed me. In the latest Black Friday deal, Amazon are offering the latest version for about 30% more than I paid.
Sometimes, these bargains are not what they seem!
Although there may be some good bargains, do check.
Southgate News has a link to a USA YouTube presentation on these modes. There are lots of presentations about these digital modes on YouTube. FT8 works with low power and simple antennas, but is not a mode for chatting.
I have to admit, I have not yet tried FT4.
Most definitely I am not a contest person! However, I usually take part in the RSGB organised activity contests each month on 2m and 70cm on Tuesday evenings. Usually most activity in these friendly contests is on SSB and after a short while I give up because of my poor voice.
Results for the November 70cm UKAC activity contest have just been published and I remain about a third of the way down the low power section. Seeing I only use 10W and the 2m (not 70cm!) big-wheel omni and rarely stay on for more than an hour of the contest, this is fine.
A little while ago I turned on the gear to go on 15m FT8 QRP. As usual, 2.5W and the indoor loop on the shack windowsill. Better results expected on 15m compared with 10m.
On 15m FT8 TX I have been spotted by 1 station in Greece and 18 stations spotted on RX. No great DX yet.
UPDATE 1204z: 2 spot of me on TX with 53 stations spootted so far on 15m FT8 RX.
22 Nov 2020
OK, as a non-US person I admit that I am not a great fan of President Trump.
He still seems totally against conceding he lost the presidential election and has tried, in vain, to contest the results in courts alleging "election fraud" despite no evidence. To the rest of the world he comes across as a spoilt child. He has been noticable by his absence of late.
It would be much better for world democracy if he just conceded and went back to running his business empire and playing golf. Hanging on to power does no good for democracy and reminds me of a certain leader in 1936 at the Olympics.
The people of the USA have spoken. Just listen.
Overnight, I left 2m FT8 running on RX only. Just after breakfast I resynced the time and turned on TX (2.5W to the big-wheel omni antenna).
In the last 6 hours, 5 Gs have spotted me and I have spotted 19 stations with the furthermost being DL6YBF (471km). No QSOs yet.
UPDATE 1324z: 41 stations in 7 countries so far spotted on 2m FT8 RX today. 1 QSO. 17 stations in 4 countries spotted me on TX.
UPDATE 2230z: QRT.
Steve G1KQH has informed me that this USA amateur radio dealer is closing. They will operate online to clear orders. See their website for more information.
I can see several dealers closing shop in the years ahead not only in the USA. This is because of their reducing margins as fewer new radios are bought and as the average age of radio amateurs increases.
As I have said many times already in 20 years time many radio amateurs will be very old and our hobby could just fizzle out. Magazines will get fewer, fewer dealers, less revenue, those mags that survive will get smaller....
Already Waters and Stanton seems to have stopped advertising in RadCom and we now see one USA dealer closing.
21 Nov 2020
At 1827z, I returned to 2m FT8 QRP with 2.5W and the big-wheel omni antenna after a fairly fruitless day on 10m.
So far this evening, I have been spotted by 3 stations and I have spotted 1 station according to PSKreporter. I also spotted a PA0 but this was not reported for some reason.
At 1027z, I QSYed to 10m FT8 with the tiny indoor loop and 2.5W. No spots yet.
UPDATE 1050z: Nothing yet on 10m FT8 RX, but spotted on TX by G3NSM (123km) in Oxford, UK.
UPDATE 1508z: Still nothing spotted on RX and just the single spot on TX. In a years' time I expect things to be much better. At the moment, 10m seems very quiet. On FT8 I was expecting to spot a few stations. I am RX only just now.
It is now 0924z. Since 0857z I have been on 2m FT8 with 2.5W and the big-wheel omni antenna. So far, nothing spotted on RX and 4 stations have spotted me on TX with the furthermost being G4RRA (333km) in Devon.
UPDATE 1000z: 6 stations spotted and 8 stations spotted me on TX. 1 QSO so far.
20 Nov 2020
Back in the mid 1960s, the huge dish at Arecibo, Puerto Rico was used for amateur EME experiments. As the gain was so large, this gave more modest stations a chance "via the moon". Sadly the dish was badly damaged in a storm and it is to be decommissioned according to a piece in Southgate News. FT8 and other digital modes have opened up EME to others now, but this is sad news.
Since about 1145z, I have been on 2m FT8 with the usual 2.5W and the big-wheel omni antenna. So far, I have been spotted by 5 G stations. It is now 1204z.
UPDATE 1252z: 8 spots of me and 9 stations so far today on 2m FT8.
UPDATE 1400z: 11 spots of me today including GI6ATZ (479km) on TX and 15 spots of others on RX.
19 Nov 2020
In the next 12 months, 10m is returning as a great DX band. At any part of the solar cycle it can be good for Es contacts in April- August in the northern hemisphere. There is a smaller Es peak in the depths of winter.
When I was fitter, I had the outlines of a simple single band QRP rig for 10m. My idea was DSB based as this was simpler. This was to be paired with a direct conversion RX.
Then my 2013 stroke happened and all development work stopped. 7 years later there may be better options. My hope is that someone else will take this on and try to create a simple, single board, single band transceiver.
It is hard to believe that I have had my Asus Chromebook for 12 months.
Not once have I regretted my decision. It is so much faster than my Window 10 PC and there is nothing (yet) that I have found I cannot do. In my view these are so much better than Windows machines.
At this time of year it looks quite drab. In the summer the herbaceous flowers and dahlias look good and in the winter there are masses of snowdrops and daffodils.
Yes, there are a few autumnal colours to enjoy, but......
18 months after it was removed from service following 2 fatal crashes, the Boeing 737 max has been declared airworthy again. My simple question is why has it taken so long? My brother-in-law was on one. Little did I know at the time that his life was in danger.
This whole affair is utterly disgraceful. I hope Boeing, and whoever deemed it safe to fly originally, reflect on this.
In a few minutes I shall go on 2m FT8 QRP with 2.5W and the big-wheel omni antenna.
UPDATE 0953z: 2 stations spotted on RX and I have been spotted by 6 stations already.
UPDATE 1210z: So far today I have spotted 11 stations in 4 countries and I have been spotted by 9 stations in 3 countries on 2m FT8.
UPDATE 1537z: At about 1220z I had a QSO and have been RX only since then until a few moments ago. So far today, 34 stations in 7 countries have been spotted here on 2m FT8 RX and I have been spotted by 12 stations in 4 countries with 1 QSO.
18 Nov 2020
It is now 1002z. For about 10 minutes I have been on 2m FT8 QRP using my 2.5W and the big-wheel omni antenna. So far I have been spotted by 11 stations already with the furthermost being G7RAU (461km) in Cornwall.
I am still puzzled by WSJT-X RX with Windows 10 and the SignaLink USB. At times it works whereas at other times the waterfall is smeary and I get no decodes. At first I thought this was just the first few minutes, but I have seen this be OK then not.
UPDATE 1434z: Spotted by 18 stations in 3 countries and I have spotted 44 stations in 7 countries today with furthermost OZ1CCM (796km). Just turned TX on again as it was turned off.
17 Nov 2020
My original one gave good performance at this and the old QTH. It stopped working last year.
Thanks to Keith, I am a little closer. Apparently Vibroplex now sell these.
Nevada sells a 30W MFJ version covering 10-40m.
16 Nov 2020
During the next few months I have a couple of antenna projects that need doing.
Firstly I need to get an antenna for 10m erected. The easiest would be either an dipole or inverted vee. My problem is erecting this, even though it is small. At about 5m overall length this is quite compact.
My second project is to replace the wire back to the shack from the far electrode of my earth-electrode "antenna". This should be straightforward.
Another possibility is an end fed antenna via a 49:1 unun. This should be a low impedance and multiband antenna even without an ATU. With a modest ATU I should be able to get a good match on all HF bands.
It is now 1047z. I have been on 2m FT8 with 2.5W and the big-wheel omni antenna for about 25 minutes. So far, I have been spotted by 5 stations with the furthermost being GI6ATZ (479km). I was also spotted by G7RAU (461km). Just a single station spotted on RX.
I still find this too random for aircraft scatter. Random times? 2.5W? Omni antenna? To me, this feels like some other form of scatter that FT8 enables. Yes, some may be aircraft scatter. There is never a day when I go on 2m FT8 QRP when I don't get spotted at massive distances. For me, FT8 has totally transformed 2m.
UPDATE 1410z: 9 stations have spotted me so far on 2m FT8 QRP. I have spotted 3.
UPDATE 1846z: 13 stations have spotted me and I have spotted 19 stations on 2m FT8 today.
15 Nov 2020
After a fruitless day on 6m FT8, I have QSYed to 2m FT8 QRP with 2.5W to the big-wheel omni antenna at 1710z.
So far (at 1725z) nothing spotted and no-one spotting me, which is unusual. As I was suspicious I restarted the program and checked my signal at http://126.96.36.199:8080/cap/, which is the grabber at G0LRD. Everything there from me looks fine.
UPDATE 1735z: Just G0LRD (26km) and M0KKM (37km) spotting me so far on 2m FT8. Unusually quiet. Nothing spotted on RX.
Although quite a few people have been been to space, it is still hazardous. Later, a crew is blasting off to the International Space Station on a private Space-X rocket. Rather them than me!
There are quite a few apps that allow you to see where the ISS is and what can be seen from their cameras.
Now, not being a politician, I have no idea what is really happening between th EU and UK on a post-BREXIT trade deal.
However, I expect both sides are playing bluff to see who blinks first. Time is getting short and it is time for brinkmanship to be replaced by compromise on both sides. A good trade deal is in everyone's interest.
Southgate News has a piece on a recent meeting that the IARU attended on this subject. I think the regulators are trying to see what issues are on the horizon in region 1. I have not yet read the minutes.
There is a "release candidate" version of WSJT-X that introduces some new modes. Normally, these are issued as fully released versions soon when they have been beta tested and bugs removed.
The photo shows our front garden today.
Most leaves have now gone. It will be fun to await the new buds in the spring. I also look forward to seeing the first migrant birds back from Africa. Before that we have the birds from the Arctic and Scandinavia who think we are warm! Maybe this year I'll see a waxwing.
Certainly we seem to have little or no Es on 6m at the moment. Most of the morning, I have been on 6m FT8 QRP with 2.5W and the V2000 vertical. So far (it is now 1133z), I have been spotted by G0PQO (50km) and I have spotted G4FKA (207km).
UPDATE 1206z: Nothing further. I shall stick with 6m FT8 most of the afternoon "just in case".
UPDATE 1500z: Now 2 stations have spotted me and I have spotted 2 on RX. The latest is G3XDV (45km). Hardly great DX! Unless things change, I suspect today will pass with the band acting very much as a VHF band. I am sure with a big horizontal beam, more power and greater height, 6m could be a useful band inter-G in the quieter times. Imagine what 10-20dB could do on marginal paths. With my V2000 vertical, 2.5W and cheap CB coax I think many would say I am "playing". I get the impression that 2m is better for "scatter". Probably the cross sectional area in terms of wavelengths is smaller on 6m. Some debate what type of scatter I experience on 2m FT8. Some think it is aircraft, but I have my doubts. Certainly some paths are aided by aircraft scatter, but to me it seems too random.
14 Nov 2020
For those not in the UK, the National Trust owns some gardens, homes and wild places for the nation. Members can visit free and non-members can visit for a fee.
At 1417z, I QSYed to 6m FT8 using 2.5W to the V2000 vertical. If I spot anyone today, or if anyone spots me, I shall be pleasantly surprised.
UPDATE 1426z: Well, pleasantly surprised! M0MVB (31km) has spotted my 6m FT8 QRP already. As I recall he has a very good 6m antenna and station. We are probably cross polarised.
UPDATE 1807z: Just the single spot of me today on TX. 2 stations spotted on RX with the furthermost GW0GEI (308km) in west Wales.
UPDATE 2300z: QRT.
Since 0855z, I have been on 2m FT8 with the usual 2.5W and the big-wheel omni antenna. It is now 0930z. So far, I have been spotted by a couple of stations with the furthermost being G4MSA (222km).
UPDATE 1400z: 6 stations in 3 countries have spotted me today with the furthermost being GI6ATZ (479km).
13 Nov 2020
Southgate News reports on some super 70cm DX in the Southern Hemisphere. They report on an FM QSO between South Africa and Saint Helena. This over 3100km!! Makes you wonder if they will work Cape Verde Is at some future date from South Africa especially with FT8.
Many years ago, my brother and I traced our family tree on my dad's side continuously back to the 1500s. We have an isolated record from 1428.
Now, each of us has 2 parents, 4 grand-parents, 8 great-grand-parents and so on. Going back to the 1500s I would have had about 8000 ancestors. Going back a few more generations and I would have had more ancestors than the whole population of England at that time! So, in all probability I am related to royalty, as are most in England!
If just one of these had not had children, I would not be here today. Sobering and humbling thought.
12 Nov 2020
It is now 1007z. For about 10 minutes I have been on 2m FT8 using 2.5W and the big-wheel omni antenna. So far, I have been spotted by 4 stations.
UPDATE 1036z: Spotted by 6 stations in 2 countries. What amazes me about FT8 is that even with QRP the signal actually gets to where it is going. Every day I get spotted by stations at great range on 2m FT8 with 2.5W and the simplest of stations.
UPDATE 1055z: On 2m FT8 RX so far today 5 stations in 3 countries spotted. the grabber at http://188.8.131.52:8080/cap/ run by G0LRD is useful.
UPDATE 1844z: 30 stations in 5 countries have spotted my 2m FT8 QRP today.
One of the aspects of our hobby I have never tried is ATV apart from SSTV reception. My SSTV reception was with some free software using a smartphone on the desk. It worked surprisingly well.
There used to be some interest in narrow band TV (30 or 32 lines) that used ordinary speech bandwidths much like the very early days of TV.
These days there is quite a bit of interest in digital TV as the bandwidths are narrower and we have some experimental frequencies near 70 and 144MHz. One local has been building the Portsdown 4 transceiver based on the Raspberry Pi.
11 Nov 2020
At 1935z I QSYed to 2m FT8 with 2.5W and the big-wheel omni antenna. Already 3 stations have spotted me with the furthermost being G8TIC (170km). No stations yet spotted on RX.
UPDATE 1905z: 6 stations have spotted me so far today on 2m FT8. GI6ATZ (479km) is the furthermost station spotting my QRP on 2m FT8 TX. 3 stations spotted so far on 2m FT8 RX.
UPDATE 2250z: QRT. Several German stations spotted on RX.
Now, let me start by saying all people of whatever colour or religion have equal worth in my book. I have many friends of all colours and religions.
However, I was appalled that the head of the FA, Greg Clarke, felt compelled to resign when he referred to "people of colour" as "coloured" if I recall correctly.
This reminds me of the BBC sacking Carol Thatcher some years ago because she said someone looked like a gollywog. Years ago we innocently collected gollies on jam jars and really looked forward to the golly badge.
Personally I think we have all gone PC mad!! Soon we will be afraid to say anything in case we offend someone or get sacked.
This still attracts me, although the price is too high. Now, if they were to throw in the 5 year warranty for "free", I might be more tempted.
As I have said before, you can buy it in France with VAT with a 3 year warranty for less than you pay in the UK. One thing is certain: were I to buy one in the UK the 5 year warranty would be free the month after! So far, Yaesu is still playing catch-up and we seem some time from a Yaesu equivalent. It seems ICOM has this market for themselves.
Every review I have seen for the IC-705 has been positive, although some think the lack of a stand or support is an omission. Will 4m TX coverage come with a firmware upgrade?
At one point my website tried to give the latest news, but YouTube has new videos every few days.
This month, even PW has a review. of sorts. I expect a detailed review in RadCom will be soon.
At the moment, the pound is appreciating in value against the euro. This may be just a blip or it may be sustained.
The big unanswered question is will there be a trade deal. I hope so, as this is in the interests of the UK and EU. Expect some brinkmanship in the next few weeks! If the UK leaves without a deal I think this would be the height of stupidity. Having said that, nothing would surprise me with Boris, the UK Prime Minister. He has some very similar traits to Donald Trump.
At about 1025z, I turned on my 2.5W 6m FT8 to the V2000 vertical omni antenna again. No spots yet. Yesterday, I was only spotted by a couple of Gs on 6m FT8.
UPDATE 1223z: No spots. At the moment, today is even worse than yesterday on 6m FT8! I shall stick with it for now. The problems are poorer conditions and fewer stations. I am quite surprised not to have been spotted by some Gs.
UPDATE 1430z: 2 stations spotted on RX with G4FKA (207km) the furthermost. Nobody has spotted me.
UPDATE 1620z: 2 Gs have spotted me today on 6m FT8.
Every few weeks I give an update on narrow-band activity through this geosynchronous satellite. I listened last night and this morning.
When I listened there were between 5 and 7 QSOs only on SSB, so plenty of room. I am sure the lack of easy commercial gear is stopping more people getting on. I guess compared with an SDR HF rig, the quantities are just not there. Also, there is the risk: if a part fails and the satellite just stops working the whole market just goes.
In all, 6 stations were worked with 10W and the 2m (not 70cm!) big-wheel omni antenna. The contacts are shown on the map. This is a friendly contest.
10 Nov 2020
In this contest I worked just 3 locals when active. I was quite close to the bottom in the results.
The last time I seriously entered this contest (30-40 years ago?) I was using 1W AM and ran a large parabeam antenna /P from a good QTH.
This time we could not operate /P and only from home. My antenna is just the big-wheel omni antenna.
Unless I am mistaken, this evening, starting at 2000z, is the 70cm activity contest organised by the RSGB. I use 10W and the 2m big-wheel. As yet, I have not seen an email reminder. I usually stay on for less than 1 hour, although the contest lasts 2.5 hours.
UPDATE 1815z: Guess what? The reminder email has just arrived.
At 1433z, I QSYed to 2m (FT-817ND) FT8 with 2.5W to the big-wheel omni antenna. At 1445z, 3 stations had spotted me with the furthermost being G7RAU (461km) on the Lizard in Cornwall. So far today, just 1 station spotted and that was G8VDP (182km).
UPDATE 1520z: A quick look at G0LRD's grabber showed my QRP signal a little down on normal, so I have increased the ERP just a little by adjusting the SignaLink USB. See http://184.108.40.206:8080/cap/ . Now being spotted by 7 stations in 3 countries with the furthermost being EI2FG (565km). Also spotted by GI6ATZ (479km). If I got these ranges on 2m SSB with QRP I would be totally amazed. On 2m FT8 this is daily.
UPDATE 1800z: 18 spots of me so far today.
OK, I must like white noise!
For a change today I am on 6m FT8 QRP with 2.5W and the V2000 vertical omni. It would not surprise me at all if the whole day passes without any spots. Outside of the Es season people often leave the band. With FT8, there is some chance.
UPDATE 0945z: Well, I have already been spotted by G0PQO (50km) at -21dB S/N. This was almost immediate. So much for the whole day without spots!
UPDATE 1035z: I have been spotted by a second station! M1ABK (70km) at -18dB S/N. I suspect this is ordinary tropo i.e. these stations, if active, would spot me most of the time.
UPDATE 1430z: 1 station has spotted me and I have only been spotted by the 2 G stations earlier. I think I shall QSY to 2m FT8 shortly.
9 Nov 2020
At about 1645z I QSYed to 2m FT8. So far (it is now 1652z) 6 stations in 3 countries have spotted my 2.5W to the big-wheel omni antenna. On RX no-one yet spotted.
UPDATE 1757z: 9 stations in 5 countries have spotted me so far on 2m FT8 today with the furthermost being GI6ATZ (479km). On RX 3 Gs spotted so far.
UPDATE 2055z: 18 stations have spotted me and I have spotted 8 stations.
This afternoon, I tried in vain, to mend my "better" 10m loop antenna. I failed.
Before, there was a distinct peak when tuned and the SWR dipped significantly on resonance. Sadly, just a few minutes of soldering work left me totally exhausted and giddy. I shall have to try again another day. After about 10 minutes of physical or mental work I am just knackered. Whether this is my stroke or just old age I do not know.
At the moment I am still on 15m FT8 on the "poorer" loop.
It is now 0916z and I have been on 15m FT8 for about an hour with 2.5W and the tiny indoor loop antenna on the shack windowsill. So far, just 1 station spotted on RX and no-one has spotted me.
UPDATE 0950z: 12 stations spotted on 15m FT8 RX and nobody has spotted me yet.
UPDATE 1040z: 1 station in Germany near the Danish border DJ3LE (666km) has spotted my QRP and I have spotted 21 stations so far today on 15m FT8.
UPDATE 1235z: 3 stations have spotted me so far today.
UPDATE 1340z: So far today, 81 stations spotted on RX and 4 stations have spotted me with the furthermost being UA3D (2519km). With QRP and the tiny tiny loop indoors I am amazed that anyone spots me!
UPDATE 1512z: 4 stations have spotted me and I have spotted 107 stations today on 15m FT8 RX.
Ever wondered if you are related to royalty? Well, certainly in Europe, you probably are.
I can trace my father's line back to the 1500s. Everybody has 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great-grandparents and so on. Going back to the 1500s that means I needed over 8000 people to marry and have children. Going back just 10 more generations, way after Magna Carta, and I have over 16M ancestors, which is far greater than the whole UK population at that time!
Now I am sure some of my ancestors married distant relatives, so the number will be a bit less, but you get my point: if you go back far enough we are connected. If we go back to the time the Romans came to England certainly one of those is in my family tree.
This is humbling. Just think, we are only here now because those people had children. If just one had not, we would not be here now.
8 Nov 2020
All those that fought in those dreadful WW1 trenches are now dust. How futile this slaughter was.
One of my wife's relatives (see photo) fought and survived WW1, although the experiences haunted him all his life.
Since 1900z I have been on 2m FT8 QRP with 2.5W and the big-wheel omni antenna. So far just 2 stations have spotted me with furthermost PA2M (311km). On RX nothing yet spotted.
UPDATE 2034z: Just 1 station spotted on RX this evening F4HRD (182km), whereas 10 stations have spotted me with the furthermost being G7RAU (461km) in Cornwall many times.
In the last century, our views of physics were radically changed by Einstein and then quantum physics. Things we had believed in for centuries required new ways of thinking. One wonders what our world view will be like in the next century. You can almost hear them saying,"did they really believe that?".
I wonder about time and memory. In our minds we wake up each day with our understanding of the passage of time and the assumption that our (fading) memories are as old as us. It is entirely possible that this is an illusion and each day is unique and the memories we think we have are illusions too. I have already discussed the mystery of human consciousness.
No, in 100 years' time our whole world view could be totally different.
At about 1515z, I switched to 15m FT8 using 2.5W and the poorer indoor loop. Several USA stations already spotted, although they did not appear on PSKreporter for some reason.
UPDATE 1548z: 1 station has spotted me and I have spotted 4 so far with the furthermost being KB8BIP (6266km) in West Virginia.
Several times I have noticed a bug with WSJT-X with FT8.
When I use my Windows 10 machine, it seems not to recognise my SignaLink USB interface until a few minutes after I have switched on. After a while it recognises it and starts to decode OK. Before then, signals on the waterfall look smeared and there are no decodes.
At first I thought it was RF feedback, but it seems to be any band and any antenna. I have still to try the new release candidate version 2.3 to see if this has been corrected.
When I was working, I managed to scan some of my early logbooks. These are available as files on my main website.
One of my winter projects is to join Logbook of the World (LOTW). Another is to update my eQSL entries.
7 Nov 2020
At VLF, LF and MF I have used this at 2 QTHs with great success. My own theory is this acts as a loop in the ground which gets bigger with rising skin depth i.e. as frequency is reduced. I am sure a full sized antenna would be better, but this works way beyond expectations.
One blog reader very kindly sent me a great gift in the post. This was a total surprise and very much appreciated. To avoid embarrassing him, I won't name him, but the parcel arrived safely - thank you so much.
There are some very kind people in this world, certainly far more good people than bad.
It is now 1525z on Saturday days after the US election and still they have not finished counting!! You would think one of the biggest economies in the world could organise this better. Perhaps this goes with the territory and the country that can only find old men to govern them can only find a pathetic system to count votes.