31 Jul 2014

QSYed to 6m WSPR at 1642z

As 10m Es is so good, I have now QSYed up to 6m in the hope of catching some Es on this higher band. As yet, just G4IKZ (18km) spotting me on 6m, but I'll stay on 6m for some hours to give the higher band a fair chance.

On 10m, DK0SC was spotting me just before I changed bands up to 6m.

UPDATE 1802z:  OZ7IT (853km) in Denmark was spotted on 6m WSPR by Es at -12dB S/N (strong) at 1730z.

UPDATE 1844z:  DL4MFC (916km) spotted on 6m WSPR a few minutes ago at -8dB S/N. Es is good on 6m.

UPDATE 1852z:  HB9TJM (764km) now being spotted. 6m is good this evening.
6m unique spots to 1844z-1915z today
DB0ZDF spotted me on 6m Es (for 1W ERP) at a respectable -15dB S/N.

UPDATE 1954z:  F6HTL (831km) was spotted on 6m at 1944z.

UPDATE 2130z:  No more Es and GDX since 1944z. It may yet return, so I am leaving the WSPR kit running through the night in the hope and have reset the PC clock to internet time.

PS  Get Israel to make peace, not war.

10m WSPR - Es all over Europe

Currently there is Es coming through on 10m WSPR from all over Europe. Conditions on 10m Es seem wide open.

Sunspot count today is 146 (good) and 20-30MHz conditions are described as "good".  We should expect F2 propagation on 10m today. Yesterday we saw South Africa on the band. Today should be at least as good, or better, for F2 DX.

UPDATE 1535z:  GM4SFW (662km) and I are exchanging WSPR spots and still plenty of Es from across Europe on 10m.

UPDATE 1740z:  PD0OHW (459km) just spotted on 10m WSPR. Probably Es, but short skip. May QSY to 6m?

PS  Get Israel to make peace, not war.

30 Jul 2014

USA yet again on 10m - multi-hop Es?

KZ8C (6290km) was spotted twice this evening from EM88pm around teatime. It seems WSPR is proving the summertime Es path to the USA on 10m is open far more than I previously thought.  I am losing count of how many times this season I have copied the USA on 10m, but it is a lot - on 6 days now I think.  I assume it is multi-hop Es but could be F2 backscatter? More WSPR stations would help. Remember, if this is Es the same may be possible any summer including right at the sunspot minimum in 5-6 summers from now. Now there's a thought.

UPDATE 1835z:  DK0SC (827km) copied me very strongly at +7/+8dB S/N at 1758z. Since then just wispy weak signals which are probably GDX stations not quite strong enough to decode. G8VDQ (93km) was decoded at 1730z.

UPDATE 1950z:  Worldwide just 13 stations on 10m WSPR and only 12 stations on 6m. This is pathetic. People are really missing out on an excellent mode for propagation studies and more. To be fair, the list does not show people on WSPR who have not spotted or been spotted in recent minutes, so there may be more people active than are shown on www.wsprnet.org .

UPDATE 2222z:  Three Es spots this evening of SI9AM (1503km) up in N.Sweden on 10m so far this evening. Will leave 10m WSPR kit running overnight.
More recent WSPR spots today

PS  Get Israel to makr peace, not war.

ZS on 10m F2

ZS5PMB (9563km) was just spotted on 10m WSPR. I am pretty sure this is N-S F2 propagation. It is a pity there are not more stations active this early evening on 10m WSPR. Currently there are just 14 stations active on 10m WSPR in the world.

Low WSPR activity levels

At the moment, in the entire world, there are just 20 active WSPR stations on 10m and just 16 on 6m.  These are very low levels of activity: Es and F2 openings are being missed as there are no stations active in the target areas.

UPDATE 1425z:  No new Es on 10m since switching down to 10m from 6m WSPR.

UPDATE 1505z:  Now just 5 stations on 6m and 25 stations on 10m in the world on WSPR.  Pathetic levels of WSPR activity.

Back to 10m WSPR from 6m

With little Es on 6m, I am going to QSY back to 10m, hoping to catch some F2 propagation.  6m is a great band but 10m is more productive of DX.   Initially I'll use WSPR but hope to try JT65 and JT9-1 later after I've finished helping my XYL with the ironing.

UPDATE 1340z:  Now QSYed back to 10m WSPR.

Israel, Gaza and war crimes

I don't like getting political on this blog but feel the actions of Israel overnight attacking a school designated a UN safe area, is nothing short of a war crime.  15 innocents killed and dozens injured - disgraceful in any language. There is absolutely no excuse for this slaughter. Even if rockets were fired from the local area it is no excuse to kill already traumatised children. Slaughter of the innocents.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-28558433 .
See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-28559537 .

For years, the state of Israel has treated the Palestinian people like scum. They deserve to be treated as full humans and accorded the full rights all humans deserve. No more settlements on Palestinian land. After the horrors to the Jews in WW2 you would think Israel would want to help build a kinder world. Not a bit of it! They seem to want to spread hate.  I know Hamas must stop firing rockets at Israel and I know there are good Jewish people, but the war on Gaza is fostering hate and yet more resentment.

What is needed are real substantive talks leading to a comprehensive and fair peace for all in the region. Now is the time for jaw, jaw not war, war. Will Israel never learn? If you treat the Palestinian people as less than human what do you expect?

At the moment, Israel, supported by the USA and the UK amongst others, is not even seriously trying to get a lasting peace. I am embarrassed by my government.   An eye for an eye seems to be all Israel understands.

I am sorry, but I get increasingly frustrated by the continued violence.   Now is the time for real love and kindness to be shared and long-term peace to be given a real chance.   People of  Israel - wake up! USA and UK - support the Palestinians at the same level as Israel.   Give peace a chance!

6m WSPR again

At around 0920z I moved from 10m up to 6m to see what's doing on 6m WSPR. At first just the usual (strong) spots from local G4IKZ (18km) but I've now, at 1038z, been spotted by OH5RM (1860km) on Es.  I run 1W ERP on 6m WSPR with a V2000 vertical antenna.

UPDATE 1120z: G3WKW (134km) in IO91og has been spotted a couple of times, -20/-24dB S/N, presumably with the aid of aircraft reflection.

UPDATE 1200z:   No further Es or GDX spots since OH5RM , just spots by local G4IKZ.

10m - transatlantic yet again by Es

Just before midnight local time here KZ8C (6290km) was spotted running 5W WSPR on 10m. This is the 5th transatlantic Es opening I have caught on 10m this summer.  Despite letting WSPR run through the night, no other transatlantic DX was seen and no EU Es either, just wispy traces from G8JNJ/A (184km) - partial decodes of Martin's QTH locator through the night, but no full decodes. Signals had all the hallmarks of aircraft reflection or MS - several traces in each burst , Doppler and short duration.

This morning (early) I am seeing EU Es DX from SI9AM (1503km) Sweden and IK1WVQ (1084km) Italy by 0702z.
Sunspot count today is 160 (good) and 20-30MHz conditions are expected to be "normal". We may see F2 propagation. but none was seen here on 10m yesterday, surprisingly. This may be a lack of active WSPR stations rather than a lack of F2.  WSPR is the ideal mode to check for fleeting band openings. I would never have noticed KZ8C without WSPR. I just wish more people would use it, and in more places.

UPDATE 0918z:  OH1W (1646km) spotted me at 0848z.  I think I'm switching to 6m now!

29 Jul 2014

Same callsigns?

One of the drawbacks of WSPR (currently) is you tend to get spotted, or spot, the same stations over and over again. I am even seeing the same stations being spotted on 10m and on 6m.

It would be very nice if there were a lot more active stations, so spots came from a variety of stations. I am even seeing this on JT65 and JT9-1.

Perhaps people think these "new fangled" digital modes are hard and so only a limited number of people (currently) use them. Let me say, if even I can use these modes then anyone can! All these modes are great with low power and have really opened my eyes as to how far very low powered signal can be detected.

10m unique WSPR spots this afternoon (duplicates not shown)

Over priced KX3 options

Steve G1KQH has spotted the price of "after-market" mics on eBay.  Under £5.

"The price of a Microphone:

Someone is having a good laugh at stitching folk up with those KX3 Mics.  The whole KX3 price is through the roof but there are plenty on the bands?"
I stand by my assertion that, sadly, the KX3 is overpriced, certainly over here in the UK. I know that it is a truly exceptional radio with a first class specification but, as I have said before, for my sort of operating - mainly from home and occasionally /P, the FT817ND is FAR better value and it covers 432MHz all modes too. I cannot fault the FT817 although I appreciate the KX3 is better on RX. My FT817 has worked the world on SSB and always with simple wire antennas. I have worked a lot of continents with whips on the rig indoors too.

Back on 10m WSPR

For the next several hours I have gone back to 10m WSPR.  This means I can monitor progress in the lounge. So far, SI9AM (1503km) from Sweden, running 200mW, is coming in pretty well by Es.  I am running about 2W ERP on 18% TX duty cycle, so mostly listening/looking.

Sunspot count today is good at 143 and the 20-30MHz forecast is "normal", so I am hopeful of some F2 propagation on 10m today.

UPDATE 1435z:  OH6GKW (1839km) and I have just exchanged WSPR spots on 10m.

More JT65 and JT9-1 operation

Over the lunch period I operated JT9-1 and JT65 on 20m. Although I got plenty of reports of my CQ calls on JT9-1 (via PSKreporter) not a single QSO. When I went to JT65 on 20m I had a decent 2-way QSO with EA3KU (1307km) in JN00 square. Seems JT65 operators outnumber JT9-1 operators by about 10:1.

100kHz - 1.7GHz SDR

This data was passed to me by Steve G1KQH (again). It looks like an SDR in a screened box with proper interfaces. It comes from Hong Kong. Price is £36.99. I have never played with SDS dongles.


28 Jul 2014

Near miss - 11742km on 10m JT65

This evening CA3SOC (Chile) was calling CQ on 10m JT65. I called and called him - he called CQ about 14 times - but I was unable to raise him. At the start he was -16dB S/N but in the end was down to -22dB S/N. I was copied in Sweden at the same time, but that was no compensation.

Earlier in the afternoon I worked an E74 on PSK63, my first ever QSO on PSK at that speed. I am finding real-time keyboard operating in PSK modes quite "challenging".  Whenever I use the keyboard e.g to write this blog, I make lots of errors that need correcting. This is hard on PSK31 and PSK63 in real time.   JT65 and JT9-1 are a lot easier. Currently I am using Digipan software which is simple and basic for PSK modes. I am using WSJTX V1.3 r3673 for JT65 and JT9-1.

PSK Reporter maps

See https://pskreporter.info/pskmap.html.

This is a really useful resource when using modes like JT9-1 and JT65. Even if you get no replies, the map gives a good idea of where your signals are reaching. As an example, I recently transmitted JT65 on 20m and worked OE5DML. As the map shows, my signals were widely received including in the USA.

10m - JT65 QSOs first thing

Well, I've had success on 10m digital with a couple of JT65 QSOs on 10m. Managed to work CT1AYO and LY3OO on 10m JT65 early this morning.

No success this time in JT9-1 on 10m. I listened for a while - heard nothing - so put out some CQ calls in JT9-1, but sadly without success. It was a case of lack of activity. Currently I am monitoring (i.e. not TXing) on 50.276MHz JT65.

Tried 7.076MHz JT65, but the 40m band was very noisy.

Although PSK reporter maps show I've been copied outside Europe, I have still to work anyone outside Europe this summer since I started on digital 2-way modes a few days ago. It will certainly happen as JT9-1 is only about 2dB worse than WSPR.  JT65 is about 4dB worse.  So, on many stations, I should be in range, even with my compromise antenna system on 20m and 10m.

27 Jul 2014

Second JT9-1 QSO today

This evening I worked my second station on JT9-1, again on 20m as 10m was dead when I listened. The station was DL1KCQ (475km) in JO22 square. He was running 10W to a vertical.  I was using 5W to my Par 10/20/40m end-fed.

I have still to try JT65 and JT9-1 on 10m as the band has not been open when I listened. 20m seems to be an ideal band as it is open pretty often. Although I heard some stateside stations on JT9-1,  none were worked or indeed called. So far 4 JT65 QSOs and 2 JT09-1 QSOs in the log since yesterday.

Anyone know the recommended JT65 and JT9-1 preferred operating frequencies on 40m?  7.076 and 7.078MHz?

A real advantage of JT9-1 is it only occupies just over 16Hz of bandwidth whereas JT65 is about 10 times this bandwidth.  JT9-1 is really only suited to lower HF, MF and LF bands as the tone separation is very small and HF Doppler and rig drift can play havoc.

KX3 antenna failure

I read on the M1KTA blog that an antenna lead on one of his Elecraft KX3 units has failed. I know these have seen some harsh portable field use but I would not have expected this.  I have owned an FT817 for close on 14 years and, touch wood, it has never once failed me - still the same PA, same everything.

In my view, the KX3 is overpriced (over here in the UK) and not well built for rugged field use. I don't doubt it has excellent features and an excellent receiver, but it is still over twice as much as an FT817ND which covers DC to blue light, out of the box ready built. The KX3 is a mess for leads, coming out all over the place. The FT817 is neat, rugged, and compact.

For me, the FT817 still wins.

First JT9-1 QSO this summer

Like David G0LRD, I think WSJT-X (latest version certainly) seems as easy to use as JT65-HF. What's more it supports JT9-1 as well as JT65.

I tried 10m, but soon QSYed down to 20m where there was activity. Managed to work an OE (Austria) on JT9-1 (easily), for my first JT9-1 QSO is some while, running 5W from the FT817.   Just tuned to 14.078MHz and clicked away with WSJT-X.  Must try again on 10m and 6m.  JT65 is at 14.076 and 28.076MHz. USB dial.  JT9-1 is 2kHz higher. On the FT817mI use the DIG setting.

On 6m, I suspect my rig will not be stable enough for JT9-1. It should be fine for JT65.

Continuing JT65/JT9 today

When we get back from shopping I shall return to JT65-HF and JT9-1 modes hoping to work more stations. Yesterday, staying on 20m, I worked 4 Europeans running 2.5 or 5W. JT65-HF is very intuitive and works well. Althought I have had JT9-1 QSOs on 10m in the past, I suspect the rig stability is "challenging" and JT65-HF gives me a better chance. JT65-HF is some 4dB worse than WSPR but the TX period is only 48 secs (1 minute TX period but actual TX is less) so may be better with QSB?  JT9-1 is a narrower bandwidth mode than JT65-HF and is about 2dB worse than WSPR. Of course, JT65 and JT9 are proper QSO modes.

Sunspot count today is 76 (decent) and 20-30MHz conditions are supposed to be "normal" so there could well be some F2 (as well as Es) on 10m today. JT65-HF and JT9-1 on 10m are calling I think.

The great advantage of WSPR is you can set the rig running and monitor things in another room. JT65 and JT9 seem to require "hands on" operation, which is fine.

26 Jul 2014

More JT65 QSOs

This evening I went on 20m JT65 again and managed a couple of European QSOs in reply to the CQs of others. I am using JT65-HF software that is very simple to use. So far I have used the FT817 at either 2.5 or 5W.
JT65-HF screenshot
If you see a station calling CQ (shows up in green) you just click on it to start a QSO with that station. If he copies you and replies then the started QSO shows up in red - all very simple. Wonder if there is a similar (easy) package for JT9-1 on HF?

Looking on PSK Reporter I see plenty of USA stations were copying me too, so it should not be too hard to work DX with just a little effort even with my compromise antenna. When 10m and 6m are open, DX should be easier still.

With JT65-HF and JT9-1,  I have to be in the shack, but at least there is no speaking, saving my poor voice.

JT65HF and JT9-1

Well, I made a start today.   Nothing much doing on 10m, so I QSYed down to 20m where answering CQ calls got me replies from UR4UHE (KO50 square) and SP6ECQ on JT65HF. Although I heard an Italian calling CQ on JT9-1 I failed to get a reply.

No great DX but the first couple of countries in the log.

6m WSPR this morning

I QSYed back to 6m about 50 minutes ago and already been spotted by G4IKZ (18km), OH5RM (1860km) and have myself spotted G6AVK (78km) and OH5RM strongly. Looking quite promising on 6m Es so far today.
6m WSPR this morning (1W ERP)
Sunspot count today is 65 (creeping up again) and 20-30MHz forecast to be "normal". I expect some F2 on 10m today.

I may stick with 50MHz (6m) WSPR today, but want to give JT65 and JT9-1 a good go on 10m and 6m. I have had JT9-1  QSOs on 10m before but believe the rig stability is probably better with JT65. At 6m I suspect JT9-1 will be unsuitable.   JT9-1 is better suited to LF and MF use. I shall use JT9-1 on 630m again soon.

UPDATE 1235z:   Still very much a Scandinavian colour to the Es with OH7AI (2000km) a new call today at 1126z. He is also spotting me. G6AVK is also spotting me.

10m - early

Until 0930z I was on 10m WSPR. GDX overnight included G8JNJ/A (184km), M0ITC (164km), G8VDQ (93km) and M0XDC (65km). The was also Es from Scandinavia early on today (SM,LB). I have now QSYed to 6m WSPR.

25 Jul 2014

10m Es- central Europe

This evening, the 10m Es is favouring central Europe with HB9, DL and OK since teatime. I may give JT65 and JT9-1 a try tomorrow on 10m and maybe 6m.

UPDATE 2200z: The 10m Es event means 10m WSPR is open to EA5 to the south and SI9 (Sweden) to the north. It is pretty widespread.  I am leaving 10m WSPR on overnight again to see how extensive the opening is.

10m - Es returns

At teatime, Es returned to 10m WSPR with EA5CYA (1376km) and GM4SFW (662km).   No F2 propagation seen here so far today. I suspect there will be further Es this evening.

10m - GDX this afternoon

After a busy Es morning, all is quiet this afternoon. I am seeing wispy traces towards to lower WSPR band edge which I think are from M0BOB (74km) whom I decoded earlier. These have the usual GDX "signature", which is multiple traces (often well below 2mins in duration) due to aircraft. Since 1446z, these have NOT decoded.

10m Es - southern Europe

The 10m Es season continues, this morning with solid opens to southern Europe with Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and Italy in the logs since last evening. Even during the night, 10m was open to Italy.  Another decent Es day on 10m WSPR.

24 Jul 2014

10m - Es season continues

When 10m is very good, with Es openings across Europe, it is all too easy to take this for granted. The Es season (in the Northern Hemisphere) is May, June, July but I think there will be openings most days through August and into September on 10m but less probable on 6m. I hope enough "stay faithful" to 10m WSPR to help us find out how many openings Es and F2 there are at other times of the year.

No transatlantic Es here today.

10m - decent EU Es today

Overnight and today, I have been on 10m WSPR. Es has again been decent with plenty of EU spots.
Unique 10m WSPR spots today so far
Sunspot count today is 55 and 20-30MHz propagation is described as "normal". I would expect some N-S F2 today.

Today, I have not looked on 6m. Yet again,there are pitifully few USA stations active, making the chances of stateside reception on 6m very slim only.

23 Jul 2014

10m - real DX tonight

CX2ABP (11127km) has just been spotted by F2 propagation and K9AN (6505km) has also been spotted by multi-hop Es in EN50wc square which is Illinois. 10m has been good all day and this is the second time the band has opened to the USA today.

10m WSPR - excellent across Europe this afternoon

WG2Z (5600km) copied me just once at lunchtime - he may have copied me more times if I was operating on the correct frequency initially - but this afternoon 10m has been in excellent Es shape today with stations from across the continent copyable after lunch with a few G stations copied out to 184km by tropo or plane reflection.
10m WSPR unique reports since lunch today (repeats not shown)

6m then 10m WSPR - no Es here (right frequencies help!)

Overnight until 1115z, I was on 6m WSPR before QSYing down a band to 10m WSPR. Although locals G4IKZ and G0LRD were spotting me on 6m, no-one is currently spotting me on 10m. There appears to be no Es on either band at present. It is very quiet on 10m WSPR.

Sunspot count is 40 (creeping up again) and 20-30MHz conditions are described as "fair". We just might see some F2 DX on 10m today. if we are lucky.

UPDATE 1158z:  Just spotted that I had the wrong 10m frequency for 10m WSPR!  For some reason I was 3kHz  too high. No idea why. It remains to be seen now if this now results in 10m spots.

UPDATE 1205z:  First spot of my 2W on 10m was from WG2Z (5600km) just outside of New York by multi-hop Es (I assume).  Report was -22dB S/N, not too bad.  This is now the third time I have caught North American DX this summer on 10m.  WSPR is excellent for spotting such DX on the band. Sadly there is zero 6m WSPR activity from the Eastern USA at this time, so trying 6m WSPR is a waste of effort at the moment with regard to transatlantic DXing.

22 Jul 2014

Back on 6m WSPR tonight

One of the great advantages of WSPR is it can be done silently and activity can be monitored in the lounge. Tonight I am WSPRing on 6m in the shack and watching progress in the lounge on WSPRnet whilst the grandchildren sleep, peacefully.

G6AVK has spotted me 5 times so far and local G4IKZ plenty of times, but no Es on 6m here since this morning. Tomorrow, I shall go back to 10m.

6m UKAC this evening

As my little grandson is asleep in the adjoining room, I was unable to stay on the 50MHz UK activity contest for more than a few minutes tonight.  In the short time I was on I heard plenty of QTH locator squares (JO02,JO03, IO81, IO82, and others). It would appear quite a number of stations must be vertically polarised like me. The next chance of being in this 50MHz UKAC is about a month away.  If I can, I'll come on 6m to see what can be worked. My voice is not good, so I'll have to limit talking to about 1 hour.

One way to see the windmill next door

There was a man dangling from a rope painting the cap of our local windmill. I felt like telling him there are easier ways of seeing the windmill! Rather him than me.
Someone suggested I string a long wire to the top of the mill from my bungalow next door. But what happens when the cap turns and the sails go around?

6m - GDX WSPR this evening

As well as lots of local spots from G4IKZ (18km), I see there are GDX spots from G8PMA (90km) this evening. As far as I recall these are the first spots from this station. They are at quite a low level (around -27/-28dB S/N). The was no Doppler, suggesting pure tropo?

UPDATE 1920z:  G6AVK (78km) is spotting me at -21/-26dB S/N.


Since just after 1030z I have been on 6m WSPR. Apart from a couple of spots from OH7AI (2000km) early on, all spots have been by local G4IKZ (18km). I shall stay on 6m but really 10m is a much more productive band for Es and the occasional F2 DX.

Sunspot count today is just 16 and 20-30MHz conditions only "fair", so 10m F2 is unlikely.

UPDATE 1620z:  From 1054z up to now, the only 6m WSPR spots have been by G4IKZ (18km), all rather boring now on 6m. 

UPDATE 1640z:  Later tonight, if I can creep past my sleeping grandson in the adjoining bedroom, I may give the 50MHz UK Activity Contest a brief go this evening. Brief as it will strain my voice to stay on too long.  I am vertically polarised, so this will compromise my chances and I can only use 5W maximum.

Overnight 10m Es and GDX

Overnight, I left 10m WSPR running. It was a productive night with 10m Es more or less all the time with spots from GM, DK, SI9, SM, LA3 and OZ. I also spotted similar Northern European stations plus PD0OHW. I am glad I left the kit running as this was as good as it gets on 10m ES around Europe.

I still don't understand why later in the Es season the openings are more northerly in direction. It is similar every year.

G8JNJ/A (184km) was copied during the night a couple of times too (GDX).

21 Jul 2014

Staying on 10m WSPR overnight

As the lightning map looks very clear, I have decided to leave 10m WSPR running overnight.

Although it has quietened down in the last 30 minutes, I can still see lots of watery traces, probably GDX, coming through, but not decoding.  We'll see if any of these decode during the night. If the good Es conditions continue, I'd expect some EU decodes during the night.

Should there be any storms, I can be QRT very very quickly. 

UPDATE 2230z:  No decodes in last hour. Bedtime.

HF JT65 and JT9-1

A few people have suggested I try these modes more seriously. I have used both these modes in the past but never too seriously. As I cannot do much building or "in the field" experimenting until my health really improves, these modes will provide me with a "no talking" challenge for the autumn - my voice is still poor making modes like SSB challenging. I can manage VHF and UHF contests for short periods, but it really strains my voice and voice modes are best avoided. Unlike WSPR which is an excellent beaconing mode, the JT modes are 2-way so allow proper QSOs, if rather rubber stamp. WSPR is a few dB more sensitive but JT65 and JT9-1 use 1 minute transmission slots.

10m Es - still good here at 2100z

Well, 10m has been in good shape all afternoon and evening here.

This afternoon it opened well to the USA east coast by Es and it is still wide open to great chunks of Europe as I write. This is a great Es day on the band - in my opinion the best this season. Mind you, I have been on 6m WSPR a good part of the last few months and only recently moved down to 10m in a more serious way. Today I might have tried 6m transatlantic WSPR but there were very few USA stations active on the mode, so I stuck with 10m. 10m is a far more productive Es band, but being nearly half the frequency, that is to be expected. 2W WSPR, even to my indifferent antenna, is enough.

UPDATE 2112z:  Best DX in the last 15 minutes is TF3HZ (1837km) up in Iceland. Still lots from continental Europe coming through too. LA3JJ (993km) in Norway is a very consistent signal.

UPDATE 2135z:  My 2W is still being spotted on 10m WSPR, now by DK0SC (827km) at a strong -9dB S/N.  The 10m band is still humming.  I shall have to go QRT before too long, more is the pity.

Monday night East Cambs Net 2m

Every Monday night at 8pm clock time, a number of amateurs in Cambridge and the villages in East Cambridgeshire meet for a net on 144.575MHz FM.  This is down in the "all modes" section as originally we used AM until one who joined the net did not have that mode.

At the moment, I tend to speak very little as my voice is so poor still. There are usually a few of us on and please feel free to call in and join the net. We always finish by 9pm local time and often well before.

Currently I am monitoring the net and WSPRing on 10m.

10m - transatlantic Es this afternoon

I switched to 2W WSPR on 10m around 1406z and was rewarded (in addition to reception of a Dutch station) by reception of K3NAL (5930km) and  KZ8C (6920km). Neither has copied me yet, if they are indeed monitoring on RX. Both are using 5W.

This must be multi-hop Es. It is certainly my best Es DX this season.  At this time of the year it is highly unlikely to be F-layer. Anyway, today F2 conditions today are very poor. K3NAL and KZ8C have been copied lots of times. K3NAL has been copied 10 times by 1608z!
10m Es WSPR - transatlantic today
It is a great pity there are not more stations in the USA on WSPR on 6m. Good to copy USA stations in the summertime on 10m.

UPDATE 1700z:   K3NAL has been copied 14 times already.  WG2Z (5600km) has now copied my 2W at 1626z.

UPDATE 1820z:   Lots of EU Es audible on WSPR but the transatlantics have stopped.

UPDATE 1856z:    PD0OHW (459km) at +12dB S/N on WSPR - incredibly strong Es propagation.

6m after the storms.

Last night I decided to stay off air until the storms were well clear. They moved away from this area by mid evening but as they were very scattered I decided to stay off-air until the morning.  A check on WSPRnet showed I was not missing too much - just Es around Europe and no "super DX".

In the end, I returned to 6m at 1058z this morning after a shopping trip into Newmarket with the wife.  Apart from usual G4IKZ (18km) I was rewarded by a -21dB S/N spot by OH7AI (2000km) up in Finland at 1106z. At 1120z, he was spotting me at a strong -6dB S/N.
WSPR spots of OH7AI and G4IKZ on 6m this morning
Sunspot count is 17 today (low) and 20-30MHz conditions are described as "fair", so F2 DX is less probable on 10m. I may QSY to 10m later just in case.

UPDATE 1150z:  SQ9SIM has just been spotted on 6m WSPR. The band is opening well by Es.

UPDATE 1400z:  My WSPR software was stopped (for a short while after lunch) but just G4IKZ spotting me now. Maybe there will more 6m Es later.

20 Jul 2014

Solar activity

See http://www.solen.info/solar/ .

Looking at the data on this excellent page, it now looks pretty certain that we have started on the downwards part of the current cycle. This does NOT mean an end to decent HF conditions. For several years to come there will be good days and 15,12 and 10m will still support DX but far less easily than around the sunspot maximum years.

Even in the depths of the last minimum N-S DX was still there to be worked on QRP SSB, so expect some decent openings. This is really where regular WSPR operation will help, by seeing just how often 10m opens up.  As I have said before, operating on the weaker parts of the solar cycle are, in many ways, more challenging and interesting. When 10m is wide open it becomes too easy.

Also, don't forget Es (sporadic-E) which can produce some spectacular DX at the right time of the year - in the northern hemisphere this is usually May, Jun, July and August but Es can occur (more fleetingly) at other times times of the year. This is why regular WSPR operation will help.

6m - storms stop play

Just as things on 6m Es were hotting up, I can hear distant thunder and an approaching storm. Currently the storm is tracking to the west of Cambridge and may miss us, but as a precaution I have disconnected antennas, PSU and rigs. If the storm moves further away I will reconnect things. Darn! 6m was great today and I fear I may miss some good DX.

See http://www.lightningmaps.org/realtime?lang=en .

UPDATE 1912z:  Looking at WSPRnet.org it appears I am not missing any great super-DX from across the Atlantic on 6m. All I can see are decent Es paths around Europe. For now,the antennas and rigs will remain disconnected just in case the storms reappear. For now, the storms seem to have moved away east.

6m WSPR Es

In the last few minutes IK1WVQ (1084km) has been spotted a few times at up to -5dB S/N (strong) and HB9FGQ (804km) at -12dB S/N (pretty strong). There is still plenty of Es around on 6m.

Most spots were by local G4IKZ (18km) though.
6m WSPR spots this afternoon (so far)
UPDATE 1605z:  IK6HIR (1312km) has just spotted my 1W 6m ERP at an amazing +11dB S/N - stronger than if he was local. Phenomenal conditions.

UPDATE 1615z:  Strong signals on 6m now from OK1DX and OH7AI. This opening seems Europe wide.

UPDATE 1630z:  In terms of the spread and intensity, today here is one of the best days on 6m this season.  It would be nice to round off a great EU Es day with a transatlantic 6m opening.

10m WSPR - unique spots this morning

10m WSPR - unique reports this morning
As already mentioned, the 10m Es reports have been good this morning. The above shows the unique spots (repeats are not shown) on 10m Es today. G0LRD (25km) is a local. I am running about 2W out.

I am now going to QSY to 6m WSPR.  On 6m my ERP is lower because of cable losses - around 1W ERP maximum on 6m.

Doppler on local and GDX 10m and 6m signals

G0LRD has already shown that what I have described as Doppler on 6m is, sometimes, the drift as my FT817 goes from TX to RX and cools down. Certainly some WSPR signals are affected by aircraft reflections, evidenced by multiple traces. It is an open question whether or not some signals are only propagated at decent GDX distances as a result of aircraft or whether it is just the tropo signal that is decoded. My strong suspicion is that at least some GDX is only possible when planes are in the right orientation and Doppler shift is low enough to allow a successful decode.

Notice the (additional), aircraft reflected, signal from G0LRD ((above 100) earlier. Clearly the decode was on the flat trace coming directly and not that coming via a plane. Sometimes I have seen as many as 6 aircraft reflections. The traces lower in frequency did not decode as the Doppler was too great. Doppler on 6m is worse.

10m Es - Sunday morning

This morning I was late starting 10m WSPR, but already it has been very good with WSPR spots sent and received from across Europe already (S51, EA, DL, SM , OZ, LB, I etc). I would describe Es conditions as "wide open" on 10m. I may QSY up to 6m shortly.

Sunspot count today is 27 and 20-30MHz conditions described as "fair". I shall be lucky to see any 10m F2 propagation today.

19 Jul 2014

What next for the autumn?

My thoughts are starting to turn towards amateur radio this autumn.

Unlike in previous years, I cannot imagine being fully fit by then. So, I shall be on the lookout for some new challenges that don't involve driving, don't involve building and probably don't require much, if any, antenna work. Also, it would be helpful if actual talking is kept to a minimum as I find talking very tiring.

I suspect JT65 and JT9-1 will be on the list as I can use (some of) these modes on 630m, 40m, 20m, 10m, 6m, 2m and 70cm with existing antennas.  I may ask for some help to improve my earth electrode antenna for 630m. With luck I may be able to drive again later this year. This means I might be able to restart some field work again.

If you have any suggestions let me know.

Maybe I should try for QRP DXCC on JT65/JT9-1? No talking, use existing antennas and rigs, and a new challenge.

Sprites and Es?

DK0SC (827km) spotted my 2W at 1938z this evening. I wonder if there is correllation between lightning and Es? There is intense lightning over (close to) the mid path. I seem to recall that the link relates to sprites rising upwards from lightning clouds but forget the details.

Currently the storm centre appears to be tracking up the North Sea.

10m GDX

The 10m Es seems to have stopped at around 1806z, for now. I am still copying GDX from G8VDQ (93km). I shall be disconnecting the rigs and antennas shortly if the storms get closer, although the nearest storms seem to be moving further away.  It certainly feels very close and stormy here.

Storms - missing us again?

See http://www.lightningmaps.org/realtime?lang=en  .

Having just got back from my twice daily "constitutional" walk of 400m "around the block" (to help my balance post brain bleed), I noticed how close and thundery it feels this evening.

The nearest storms currently are about 70 miles west of here, but this could change. It certainly feels like we are in for a storm within hours, although there is no thunder audible locally at present. The lightning map is proving very useful and I have unplugged rigs, PSU and antennas when storms are on their way.

At present, the storms seem to be tracking well west of us. We'll see how the storms move in the next few hours.

10m WSPR unique reports today (so far)

Currently it is 1712z. These are the unique spots today, so far, on 10m.  Repeat reports are not shown. It has been a decent day on 10m WSPR. I was late starting because of the risk of local storms this morning.
WSPR unique reports on 10m today, so far.
EA5CYA has been coming through for the last hour very well with good signals for 200mW.

Sunspot count is low today (29) and 20-30MHz propagation described only as "fair".  No F2 DX seen here today as yet, and I am not expecting any.

UPDATE 1800z: The risk of storms locally seems to have subsided , at least for now. Overnight I'll still disconnect everything, just in case.

I wonder if there will be Es at some (low) level all year around on 10m?   I suspect that if I leave WSPR running on 10m all year I'll find openings into Europe every week. At the moment, the "common wisdom" is Es is mainly a May, June July phenomenon in Europe with a smaller peak in January. This is probably correct as the peak months  - the question is how common is it at other times of the year?

UPDATE 1810z:  EA5CYA (1376km) has been spotted no less than 8 times since 1636z.

10m WSPR after a brief foray on 6m

After the storm risk had passed, I ventured on to 6m but was only spotted by usual local G4IKZ (18km) so QSYed down to 10m WSPR where there is more happening.
Spots seen of G4MLA (53km) and G0LRD (25km) with lots of airplane Doppler on G4MLA. Later Es seen from SM, OZ and EA5.

Storm risk passed?

See http://www.lightningmaps.org/realtime?lang=en  .

About 3 hours ago there was thunder and lightning less than a mile away and very heavy rain, but all is now quiet here.  The nearest storm activity was at Wicken and Dullingham but these have subsided now. I suspect the main danger has now passed and I can safely reconnect rigs and antennas.

Will probably go on 6m WSPR later today.

18 Jul 2014

Back to Par 3 band external antenna

Now the threat of storms has gone for the day I am going back on the external Par 10/20/40m end-fed wire antenna. This happened at 1515z.

Sunspot count today is zero (very low) with 20-30MHz propagation forecast to be just "fair". I shall be lucky to see F2 DX today on 10m. Es has been very good on the indoor loop.

UPDATE 1520z:   First 10m WSPR spot back on the external Par antenna was from SM6WZI (1007km)  at -1dB S/N for my 2W. This is a very good report. Again, the Es seems to be favouring more northern latitudes.

10m WSPR spots since going back to the Par wire antenna outdoors
UPDATE 1727z:  Still just the mix of EU Es stations since going back to the Par antenna.

UPDATE 1830z:  Just G8JNJ/A (184km) being spotted currently. All Es seems to have disappeared.

UPDATE 1940z:  Out of the blue pops OK2SAM (1283km) just detectable on 10m WSPR at -32dB S/N. So there is still ES about on 10m.

UPDATE 2140z:   Plenty of 10m Es this evening including spots from 3VSWL in Tunisia and DK0SC . I spotted I and EA.  As thunder storms may build overnight I shall be going QRT and disconnecting rig and antennas.

10m WSPR with Wander Wand Compact Loop

Averaging all the signals over the day so far on the Wander Wand Compact Loop indoors on 10m and comparing with the external end-fed Par 10/20/40m wire antenna, I believe the loop is perhaps just 2 S-points down or less. With Es and widely varying signal levels, it is quite hard to do the comparison. Also, the loop was not rotated, and it is possible the difference is slightly less.

On lower frequencies I think the difference will be slightly greater. Overall, I am impressed  with the indoor loop. Seeing how it is not positionally optimised (it just sits above the rigs and runs just over 2W), it does pretty well.

For future 10m WSPR use I think a 6mm or 10mm copper pipe (fixed tuned) loop will make a good external antenna. I suspect a thicker loop will be only be very little down on a 1/2 wave vertical or dipole at a similar height. The disadvantage of a loop, especially an efficient one, is the narrow bandwidth. This of course, helps on receive as the antenna rejects out of band interferers. Bandwidth should just about cover JT65/JT9-1, PSK and WSPR allocations 28.076-28.126kHz.

WSPR distances

LB9YE and I have exchanged WSPR spots several times today. When he spots me the distance is 1489km. When I spot him it is 1533km. I assume it is to do with where in the QTH square the measurement is taken from.

Storms to miss us?

According to the lightning map, it looks like the nasty thundery weather is tracking up west of us (Peterborough and Stamford area?)  and could miss us altogether. We'll see.  See http://www.lightningmaps.org/realtime?lang=en . For now, I shall keep on the Wonder Wand Compact indoor loop to see how it performs.

UPDATE 1127z:  Storms are dying out now. I think we'll miss them.

Wonderwand loop on HF


Rather than go QRT because of the approaching storms, I decided to try my Wonder Wand Tunable Compact Loop antenna indoors on 20m WSPR. The loop is about 0.5m diameter. In my case, more for convenience, it goes to the rig via my Z817 ATU. SWR is perfect 1:1 on the tuned frequency. No TX spots seen yet at 2W, but no shortage of RX spots across Europe so far. The loop is just above the rigs in a far from ideal, indoors location.
WSPR spots so far today on 20m with the indoor Wonder Wand Compact Loop

UPDATE 0916z: My first TX spot on the indoor Wander Wand Compact Loop came from DJ6LB at -28dB S/N.

UPDATE 0944z:  Second TX spot was by DJ7KA at -26dB S/N.

UPDATE 1010z: I QSYed to 15m and am getting lots of spots on TX at just 2W.  Best DX report on 15m is from SM6WZI (1007km) at -6dB/-9dB S/N (i.e. strong) - it is amazing this tiny indoor antenna works so nicely. So far 6 TX spots of my 2W in just 8 minutes on 15m. Incredible. Sorry about the poor photo of the loop, but you get an idea of the set-up. It will work even better on 10m and 6m as the loop is larger electrically. Set-up is totally un-optimised: the loop just happens to be where it is.

UPDATE 1230z:  Now QSYed to 10m and the best DX on the Wonder Wand Compact Loop indoors is now LB9YE (1489km) at -25dB S/N with 2W.
10m WSPR spots with 2W today with indoor loop

Storms ever nearer

Currently, there are violent storms over North London and East Midlands, and they are moving towards us in East Anglia. Not sure of the pace yet, but looks like we could have storms within hours. For now, I shall keep antennas disconnected and the PSU disconnected from the mains, just in case. 10m and 6m can wait. Or I  may use an indoor wire loop instead?

See http://www.lightningmaps.org/realtime?lang=en  .

17 Jul 2014

Approaching storms

Although the nearest electrical storms are some way off (West Country and over the Cherbourg Pennisula) they are likely to be here tomorrow. As a precaution, I shall disconnect all rigs and antennas before bedtime. Probably they won't be here until later in the day, but better to be safe than sorry.

See http://www.lightningmaps.org/realtime?lang=en .

SPAM comments WILL be deleted!

In the last 24 hours on both my blogs I have had SPAM comments from someone in India extolling the virtues of yoga and meditation. Nothing wrong in the right context, but the comments are totally out of context and therefore SPAM.  Both have been deleted as soon as noticed.

A word of warning to potential SPAMMERS: similar irrelevant and totally off topic comments will always be treated as SPAM and deleted.  Go away or expect such comments to be immediately deleted.

10m - evening Es

Quite out of the blue IK1WVQ (1084km) was spotted just now at -12dB S/N. Es just happens - sporadically. Also copied was G8JNJ/A (184km) by GDX. There have been watery, Doppler affected, signals visible for hours, without decodes.

HAARP - stay of execution?

It looks like the HAARP (supposedly auroral research) facility in Alaska may remain until May 2015 although non critical (movable) kit is already being moved out. It remains to be seen what happens after next year. HAARP is also known for its generation of ELF radio signals as a result of ionospheric heating. The peak power of the facility on HF was massive.

10m - tropo?

In the last few hours, I have spotted PB0AIC several times with low(ish) Doppler at 288km.  This is far too short for Es (unless the skip is extremely short, suggesting a 2m Es opening?) so I wonder if this is pure tropo? The distance exceeds most GDX  (usually possible with aircraft reflections) out to around 200km.  I have spotted PA stations before on 10m now.
Recent WSPR spots today

10m Es and GDX already

Since resyncing the clock and restarting the software around 0830z, G3JKV (123km) has been spotted several times as GDX and LA3JJ (993km) and I have exchanged WSPR spots once via Es. Strange how later in the Es season, it seems to favour more northerly latitudes.

Sunspot count today is just 11 (low) and 20-30MHz propagation described as "fair". We'll be lucky to catch any real DX by F2 today I think. This is the lowest sunspot count in a long time. Although there will still be good days, I think we are "on the slide" now and have passed the peak of this cycle.

As Es conditions worsen, I seem to be spending more time on 10m now than 6m. With patience, both bands will still be good for Es for some time yet.  Last summer I was still regularly working Es DX on 6m right into September.

I was in hospital from mid-Sept to January, so have no idea of 6m conditions during that period. In my current (wobbly) state of health, digital modes (no talking) are easier on my voice than SSB or FM.

UPDATE 0930z:  TF3HZ (1837km) in Iceland spotted at  -26dB S/N via Es.

16 Jul 2014

10m - real F2 DX at teatime (and later)

LU8EX (11208km) running 5W was spotted at 1726z this evening on WSPR at -25dB S/N. This is clearly N-S F2 propagation, much to my surprise today. Even though the sunspot count was just 25, it goes to show there can still be very decent DX around. going N - S. I assume my lower power was buried in the local noise at his end. And/or there was no propagation when I was TXing.
10m unique WSPR spots today, so far - duplicates not shown
LU8EX is just NW of Buenos Aires, Argentina.  It is still possible other S.Americans will be seen before the day is over.

UPDATE 1925z:  LU8EX has now been spotted 5 times at up to -13dB S/N (strong),  No other S.Americans seen so far this evening. At this strength I am surprised not to have been heard in Argentina.  Maybe LU8EX has no WSPR RX capability or a very high noise floor?

UPDATE 2025z:  No further F2 sen here after 1902z (LU8EX).

10m - Es

At 0930z, 10m opened to Scandinavia with SM6WZI (1007km) copied. Later,, SI9AM (1503km) was copied 4 times. I will see if it opens again later.

UPDATE 1712z:  By teatime, the  10m band was pretty productive WRT WSPR via Es. Best Es DX spot was Z35BY (1956km) in Skopje. Also spots seen to/from Italy and some GDX.

10m - early GDX G8VDQ

This morning, I turned on 10m WSPR early at around 0615z. All was quiet until G8VDQ (93km) was successfully decoded a couple of times in the last hour. He is in IO91um square. There were a few weak and badly Dopplered signals (multiple aircraft reflections) copyable, but these were not decoded. Of course, some of the shift is my rig warming, but multiple aircraft reflections are clear to spot. He is using 5W (antenna not known) whereas my ERP is just 1W meaning I am probably below his noise floor. I use the FT817 (2.5W setting) via a length of lossy RG58 to a V2000 vertical.
Although early still, no Es seen yet today on 10m.

Sunspot count is low at just 25 but 20-30MHz propagation is forecast to be "normal". We'll be lucky to see N-S F2 propagation today I think, but 10m is a fickle band and you never quite know.

15 Jul 2014

10m WSPR spots at last

G8JNJ/A (184km) has been spotted 3 times now. I had a partial decode hours ago (just the QTH locator IO90hx). Spotted between 2114z  and 2118z. No Es seen since turning the rig on. Today has been a very quiet day on 10m here.

FT817 - wrong setting!

Just realised that I had my FT817ND set to USB and not DIG, so I was not sending any modulation on WSPR TX! This has now been corrected, so I am hopeful of some spots this evening. This is the second time I have made this mistake. It remains to be seen if this was the reason for no spots earlier.

UPDATE 1820zStill no 10m spots!  Must be conditions. Will leave the rig on 10m this evening to see if things improve.

A quiet radio day

With physio this morning and gardening (as best I am currently able), the radio has only just been switched on to 10m. A few weak and watery signals are visible on the WSPR software with several Doppler shifted traces - obviously GDX - but none of it has yet decoded.

Sunspot count is 109 and 20-30MHz forecast is "normal" meaning some F2 DX may be possible. I see CX2ABP is being spotted over 8000km away in the USA.

No 10m Es seen here yet since I switched on about 1 hour ago. 

UPDATE 1745z:  Still no 10m WSPR decodes of anyone  - no locals no GDX, no Es and no F2. I was even wondering if the software had crashed, but it and the clock are spot-on. It's just a very quiet day on 10n here, so far.

14 Jul 2014

14MHz to Australia - Adelaide

This evening, I went on 14MHz WSPR with a couple of watts and was rewarded with a spot by VK5AK (16224km) just outside Adelaide, Australia.  Apart from this spot and K9AN (6505km) the other spots, so far, have been from Europeans and of Europeans. I shall stick on 14MHz for a while longer.
14MHz WSPR this teatime (2W)

Semi sked 7MHz

This evening, I shall try again to work a local who is on the Isle of Arran in Scotland. Currently he is working in Glasgow but camping on Arran.

I have an S8 noise floor on 7MHz and am limited to 5W pep maximum. Although WSPR  On 7MHz at 2W WSPR is pretty easy, it is much harder work on SSB.

10m WSPR this morning - good Es

Whilst cutting the rear lawn today, I have been on 10m WSPR. There is still plenty of Es around on 10m.
10m WSPR this morning
Cutting the grass is still challenging: I still get very giddy when on my feet, but stamina is slowly improving. It may be a while before doing the lawns becomes "easy" again.  Still, the fact I can do it at all is something that might not have been possible: the worst outcomes of my brain bleed would have been horrendous, possibly leaving me paralysed, deaf or blind. Overall. I was lucky.
Rear lawn
Sunspot count today is 102 (good) but with blackouts and 20-30MHz forecast is "good", so surprised not to have seen any F2 propagation (yet) on 10m. Es so far is all from N.Europe including Scandinavia.  Nothing yet seen here from S.Europe.

UPDATE 1600z:  The Es opening today seems to have favoured N.Europe and Scandinavia with no S.Europeans seen here all day.. The 20-30MHz propagation forecast is now only "fair". As yet, no F2 openings seen here today on 10m. In past years I have noticed more Es to Scandinavia and N. Europe in the later part of the season. There must be some good reason for this, but I don't know why this is.

Ultimate 3 kit - offers of help

Our community in Amateur Radio is truly wonderful.

Already, I have had three kind and generous offers to build and test my Ultimate-3 beacon kit, which is currently beyond my building skills because of my brain injury. I still hope to build this myself, but may wait a few more months until I'm less wobbly and clumsy.

This is not the first time I have been touched by the genuine kindness of others. It restores one's faith in humankind: there are some truly kind people around. Thank you all.

Sometimes we hear about all the bad things in this world. Believe me, the world has very many kind and caring people in it.

13 Jul 2014

40m WSPR

Having (unsuccessfully) tried to work a station on the Isle of Arran (Scotland) on 40m SSB, I went on to WSPR and was rewarded with the following in a single 2 minute transmission at 2W to my low (for 40m) end-fed Par antenna.
WSPR really is a great mode. I remember back earlier in the year on 40m when my second spot (on this antenna) was by a VK.


So far (it is now 1425z)  CN8LI (2113km) and I have exchanged WSPR spots all morning since I first went on 6m. We have exchanged spots 14 times already. Es conditions between us are perfect. My TX is on about 16% of the time only.

Unless the storms get a lot closer - currently most are north of Norwich  - I shall stick with 6m all day. I can hear thunder, but it is very distant and moving further away currently.

UPDATE 1530z: The "pipe" to CN8LI has been disconnected since lunchtime. I wonder if it will come back at teatime? Es often has a second peak at teatime.


No storms?

According to the lightning map, the nearest storm is over Boston in Lincolnshire some 90 miles away. There are no very recent strikes. I'll keep an eye on which way it is moving, but things here look benign, for now.

Will leave the gear on 6m for the time being unless things change. That storm map is a very useful guide to what is brewing up and heading this way.

UPDATE 1255z: Can hear distant thunder, although nearest storm is now Attleborough, Norfolk some 60 miles east of this location.

10m, then 6m WSPR

After a brief outing on 10m WSPR, I've returned to 6m WSPR since 0900z. 10m was in good shape with lots of Es about from right across Europe.
Unique 10m WSPR spots early today (repeats not shown)
6m is good too with CN8LI (2113km) already in the logs early this morning along with local G4IKZ (18km).

UPDATE 0938z: CN8LI spotted for 3rd time already.  He is getting stronger  at+7dB S/N just like a local! He is also spotting me.
6m spots to 0942z today
UPDATE 1150z:  CN8LI and I have exchanged WSPR spots twelve times already. Amazing.

12 Jul 2014

Closed down station - thunder storms close

As there is thunder/lightning around, I have decided to disconnect antennas and switch off the rigs. The storms are getting closer according to http://www.lightningmaps.org/realtime?lang=en .  As much as I'd like to continue to monitor on 6m, I think to go QRT is the right decision tonight. There will be plenty of other times to monitor 6m and 10m.

UPDATE 2110z:  The worst of the storms missed us.  However, there is a lot of storm activity around still, so the rigs and antennas will remain off tonight.   Meanwhile I am watching Brazil getting beaten by Holland. Current score Brazil 0  Holland 2. Unless Brazil create some magic, they are doomed.

UPDATE 2207z: Would not like to be in the Brazilian national football team this evening.

6m - first Es WSPR today

At 1204z, the first 6m Es today was spotted here with  HB9TJM (764km) being spotted at -15dB S/N on WSPR.  A little later and he was spotting my 1W ERP at around -17dB S/N on WSPR.  No doubt there will be other 6m Es openings later. 6m Es is less common than Es on 10m. In turn 2m Es is far less common than 6m Es: the higher you go, the less frequent it gets. 10m is the easiest Es band (in my opinion) and you get F2 openings more frequently, especially N-S, than on 6m,where F2 openings are rare.

HB9TJM claims to be running 10W, which, if correct, is quite high power for 6m WSPR.  A more common power is 5W or less.

UPDATE 1427z:   CN8LI (2113km) has been spotted twice so far (by 1745z this was 4 times) on 6m this afternoon at 1340z and 1348z. On both occasions he was very strong indeed on WSPR.
The first 3 spots of CN8LI today on 6m WSPR
UPDATE 1440z:  G4IKZ (18km) must have his horizontal Moxon in just the right position as he has been giving me excellent reports all day. No further Es seen here since CN8LI earlier.

Ultimate 3 beacon - still unable to build it

I am still far too clumsy to build this kit. This morning I was going to start on the LPF but I am still far too wobbly and clumsy to do it. Before my brain bleed this would have been a piece of cake, but today it is too much for me. Damn. I shall wait another month to see if I feel better. Blogging and WSPR I can manage. Talking in contests is hard work, but I can just about manage it for short periods.

Maybe I have to conclude it is too much for me and call on the help to build and test the unit so kindly offered? I did check the full pack and the GPS module is definitely not there but a surplus relay board is. I shall have to contact Hans Summers and return the unwanted PCB and request the GPS module that I paid for but that has not been delivered. It is some months since the bits came. I resisted opening the package until I thought I could build it. I photographed the opening and was very careful.

On reflection, I wonder how much they would have charged to build and test the unit for me?

I hate being unable to do this sort of thing: it feels like I am past it. Please no.

6m WSPR this morning

Since 1026z, I QSYed back to 6m WSPR. So far here, just locals and GDX, no Es seen so far.
6m WSPR this morning - no Es so far today.

10m - early morning GDX and Es

The 10m WSPR kit ran overnight. WSPR spots of G6NHU (78km), G7EOB (76km)  and G8JNJ/A (184km) and Es early this morning from IK1WVQ (1084km) , EA6GF (1428km) , EA5CYA (1376km) .  Spanish Es was being received at 0722z - very early.

Will be QSYing up to 6m shortly.

UPDATE 0950z:  10m WSPR is mainly from stations in southern Europe by Es now.

11 Jul 2014

10m - evening Es and F2

10m was open this evening for Es around Spain and N. Africa with WSPR spots exchanged with several stations in Spain and SWL reports from 3VSWL (1845km) in Tunisia.

Also audible at 2044z and 2130z was CX2ABP (11127km) in Montevideo - very late. These are the 9th and 10th spots of this station today. I just wonder if we are seeing an Es opening to Spain linking up with an F2 opening nearer to the equator? Or is this just pure F2?

UPDATE 2156z:  EA5CYA still being spotted here strongly at -10dB S/N on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 2212z: Being spotted strongly by EA2CNU as late as 2204z. Just off to bed now.  I shall leave the 10m WSPR kit running overnight.

EA5CYA - teatime Es on 10m WSPR

Since 1626z EA5CYA has been coming in via Es at a reasonable level for his 200mW.  I suspect there will be further Es spots this evening. It has been rather quiet on 10m Es today so far.

CX2ABP - 7 times so far this afternoon

CX2ABP (11127km) has been spotted here seven times since lunch so far. Rodolpho is using 2W but is a very consistent signal with me. He has one of the best signals from South America. Not sure what antenna he uses?

UPDATE 1645z: CX2ABP has now been spotted 9 times this afternoon. Conditions N-S on 10m are good today.

10m F2 propagation this morning. GDX this afternoon

FR1GZ (9724km) was spotted several times on 10m WSPR around 0930-1000z this morning.

Sunspot count is 159 (good) and 20-30MHz propagation "good",which is probably why FR1GZ was putting in an appearance today.   

EA5CYA was spotted (by Es) at 1118z and LB9YE at 1156z.

Also spotted were local G4KPX and more distant G6NHU (78km).

In terms of GDX, 10m seems better than 6m. Es is also better on 10m and there is still F2 around on 10m, which is all but absent, from here at least, on 6m. If I had to choose between the two bands, 10m would be my favourite. At the moment I am enjoying both bands.

UPDATE  1445z:  Best DX spot is of CX2ABP (11127km) by F2. Best GDX spot is of G8JNJ/A (184km). The best spot of my 2W ERP is from G3JKV (123km). Lots of spots exchanged with local Richard G4KPX (14km). who lives in Ely.

10 Jul 2014

10m GDX and Es

My PC was doing odd things again earlier - said WSPR was TXing when it was not - but restarted WSPR software and all OK now.

G8JNJ/A (184km) GDX and EA5CYA (1376km) via Es (twice)  seen here in last hour.  The long F2 DX to South America seems to have gone now?  I love 10m -  a band of true variety and not hard in any way. My antenna is a 3 band Par end-fed 10/20/40m just strung to a nearby tree and not that high. On 10m I am currently using 2.5W from the FT817. The cable loss take this down to about 2W (max) at the antenna. This seems to get out fine. I am sure with a more efficient antenna just a few mW would be enough, although 5mW to this antenna has got spots from Israel and 100mW from the USA. Maybe it is somewhat directional?

At the moment my TX is only active 6% of the time on 10m. I am mostly on RX.

UPDATE 2030z:  Nothing further heard from CX2ABP in Montevideo since late afternoon.  He is using 10W, so if the 10m band is open, I would expect to copy him.  G8JNJ/A (184km GDX) has now been copied several times already this evening at up to -22dB S/N. Not strong, but there.

UPDATE 2112z:  G6NHU (78km 100mW) has been copied at -24dB S/N from JO01ou. Just a local and GDX currently.

UPDATE 2128z: Just when you think that is it for the evening up pops EA5CYA at 2118z at -21dB S/N and again at 2126z. So there is still Es around. even this late. I shall reset the software and clock and leave the kit running on 10m overnight.

UPDATE 2204z: G6NHU and EA5CYA are still being spotted.

Free Microsoft eBooks

Steve G1KQH has again passed on some data, this time about free eBooks from Microsoft.

The collection covers Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Office 2013, Office 365, Office 2010, SharePoint 2013, Dynamics CRM, PowerShell, Exchange Server, Lync 2013, System Center, Azure, Cloud, SQL Server, and much more.

I am just acting as postman here as I have not read any of them.

Again, my thanks to Steve for finding these.  See Eric Lygman's blog which has more details.

10m WSPR

As 6m was looking pretty quiet, I decided to QSY down to 10m at around 1500z. Within a few minutes CX2ABP (11127km) was being spotted (F2 propagation) at -22dB S/N. 10m is in decent shape. So far, CX2ABP has been spotted 5 times in the last hour. Best report is -15dB S/N with his 10W.  He has yet to spot me, as has anyone else on 10m.