31 Oct 2014

472kHz DX this evening

DX from EA3NE (1198km) and IW4DXW (1190km) is appearing very early on 472kHz WSPR this evening. F5WK (364km) is a consistent signal too.  On TX, just locals and relatively locals spotting me so far.


Sunspot number today is 138 and 10m daytime conditions,are expected to be "fair". So far 10m is in good shape with immediate spots from LZ and OH at excellent strengths. No F2 DX outside Europe yet seen.

30 Oct 2014

SPRAT on DVD - new version

I am a great supporter of the GQRP club. Their quarterly magazine SPRAT represents the very best in Amateur Radio. If you are interested in QRP then please join the GQRP Club. It is excellent.

There is now a new, up to date version of the DVD with all back copies of the excellent SPRAT magazine.  If I had to stop all subscriptions and magazines then the GQRP club (and SPRAT every quarter) would be the only one I'd keep  - it is that good.
Tony & I have been working away and we have produced the latest version of the Sprat-on-DVD. This includes all Sprats right up to the one that has just been sent to members (number 160).
It is now available to members at £5 plus £1.20 postage. I will have them at the Galashiels rally and at Rishworth of course. The local guys who represent us at some of the other rallies will also have some shortly.
As we have known that this issue has been on the way for a while, as a concession, we will let anyone who bought the current DVD (1 to 148) after 1st August this year, have a copy of the new DVD for the special price of £2.50 including postage. To get this deal, you have to tell me when you bought the old DVD – if at a rally, which rally it was, and send me the CD case paper label together with the £2.50 in stamps. I do not want the actual DVD, just an assurance that you will destroy it when you receive the new one.
I should add that this is for members only of course, and applies just to UK members! Overseas members who think they also qualify should contact me direct and we may be able to work out a deal for them also.
Overseas prices are on the club website - http://gqrp.com/sales.htm
The new DVD is available to non-members at £12 plus the appropriate postage.

WSPR 4.0 (Beta release)


This is a beta release of WSPR (version 4.0). It has worked fine for me.

This is the version I currently use on all bands. Unfortunately, it does not have the real-time waterfall. You see the action only after a 2 minute TX period and not during the transmission as was the case for WSPRX.

The interface looks very similar to WSPR V2.2.

Please let me, and others, know if there are more recent releases by adding a comment and link.

Sunspots and 10m WSPR today

I ran 500mW again on 10m WSPR, which was quite enough to reach the USA plenty of times and a lot further.

Sunspot number today was 84 (lower than recently) but 10m daytime conditions "good". Best DX today with 500mW was Australian VK3KCX at 16883km around lunch time. Best stateside DX was 8732km.
Last 12 hours with 500mW WSPR on 10m

472kHz WSPR overnight

Overnight, in fact before midnight last night, my 5mW ERP 472kHz WSPR signal was copied by DL-SWL at 701km. Although quite a lot less far than my best DX report from this QTH (1042km) it is my first spot from Germany on 472kHz.

Including spots tonight by M0PPP/A, I have now been spotted by 26 different unique stations on 472kHz WSPR in the last 2 weeks and even more this season.

UPDATE 2140z:  6 unique spots of my 5mW ERP WSPR on 472kHz in the last hour.

29 Oct 2014

30m WSPR transceiver kit

By now, you probably realise that I just love WSPR. With quite simple equipment it is possible to be decoded across the planet consistently with real QRP power levels.   I am always on the look-out for new ideas, although until my health improves I am not in a position to build too much myself. See http://www.knology.net/~gmarcus/WSPR/wspr_v4.pdf for an example of a complete 30m WSPR transceiver.

This is NOT a new circuit  - it has been around for some years - and it still needs a PC for the WSPR software. Some TX-only WSPR beacons use microprocessors to generate the WSPR TX messages, thereby freeing up the PC and consuming little power overall. Some sync to GPS to avoid timing issues too.

QSYed to 472kHz WSPR

For some reason the WSPR4 software stopped working late this afternoon. I decided to restart it but on 472kHz with 5mW ERP instead of with 500mW on 28.1246MHz. As yet, I am being spotted by the 472kHz WSPR stations that have already spotted me before and I am seeing stations I have spotted before.  Now I have my shack back I shall leave the 472kHz WSPR running overnight.

UPDATE 1852z:   Best DX so far this evening, on 472kHz WSPR RX, is F1AFJ (607km).  I expect this will be exceeded later.

UPDATE 1940z:   Best DX on 472kHz WSPR RX this evening so far is now DH5RAE (995km). My 5mW ERP on MF has reached PA3ABK/2 (306km) this evening.

UPDATE 1945z:  A single TX burst on 472kHz WSPR with just 5mW ERP  gets me typically 2 to 4 spots per transmission, which is not too bad I reckon.

UPDATE 2000z: I should really try a bit on 137kHz WSPR from this QTH.  This QTH is quiet and I should be able to hear WSPR from the nearer Europeans and there is an outside chance of being copied by a few semi-locals. I really need a longer baseline earth-electrode system though and the 137kHz transverter needs a rebuild and my health is not really up to these tasks.

UPDATE 2100z:  LA3EQ (769km) running 2mW ERP has been spotted 3 times so far this evening on 472kHz WSPR.

10m results with 500mW out

Just 500mW seems quite enough to get plenty of 10m WSPR spots. The table below shows just recent spots. The actual power from the antenna is probably 1-2dB less than 500mW because of cable losses.
Recent 10m WSPR spots running 500mW from rig.
UPDATE 1520z: So far today on 10m, with 500mW, I have received 174 reports and the day is far from over.

USA copying my 500mW 10m WSPR before lunch

WG2Z (5600km) was the first USA station to copy my QRP 10m WSPR signal at 1152z this morning. 500mW is again quite enough to span the Atlantic Ocean on 10m WSPR. Today looks like being another good day on the 10m band.

I may try JT65 or JT9-1 for some 2-way QSOs on 10m.

Sunspots and 10m conditions

Sunspot number has drifted down to 138 (still good) and daytime 10m conditions are forecast to be "fair".

I am using 500mW WSPR on 10m and am having no problems getting plenty of spots. Best DX so far this morning is 4X1RF (3519km) who gave my -12dB S/N.  I expect the band to open to the USA shortly.

UPDATE 1052z: Best 10m WSPR DX on RX here (so far) is HS0ZKM (9485km).

28 Oct 2014

QRT for the night

At 1822z I had to go QRT as my shack is being used as a nursery. Normal service will be resumed tomorrow. I finished on 10m with 500mW. Normally, I QSY down to 630m around this time. Slowly but surely the number of stations spotting me is increasing on 630m (472kHz) WSPR. I have still to calculate the all-time 472kHz WSPR spots from this QTH. Best DX report is just over 1000km (LA4ANA) with 5mW ERP. On RX the best DX is EA and I. At the moment I am lucky that this QTH is electrically quiet on RX on 472kHz WSPR.  It is actually better than the old QTH. Of course, this could change overnight.

500mW on 10m

A few minutes ago I turned the WSPR power back to 500mW, 5 spots from the first transmission with 3 of the 5 being spots from the USA and Canada. Yet again, 500mW seems quite enough on 10m. Very few extra stations spot me with higher power: just better reports on the whole with 2W.


Sunspot number today is a respectable 138 but daytime 10m conditions are described as just "fair". Nonetheless, 10m is again wide open with very strong 10m WSPR signals from the USA. Right now conditions on 10m are very nice. In previous sunspot cycle peaks we may have seen 6m F2 propagation but with the current state of play, this is unlikely.

27 Oct 2014


For GDX on 6m at this time of year I think more than 1W ERP is needed. The cable loss to my V2000 vertical is at least 1dB as I use a run of RG58 coax. I was quite surprised just how few UK stations were active on the 6m band. Back in the summer months when Es was plentiful I used to copy and be copied by, GDX stations by tropo or plane reflection out to around 200km most days. It seems outside the Es season the band gets largely vacated at this time of year, on WSPR at least. The couple of active UK stations were not copied here and did not copy me. As Doppler from moving planes is a big problem on VHF WSPR, it can take all day to get a favourable reflection that actualy decodes.

So, I am giving up on 6m for now. Life is too short and I lack the patience. I could run 5W from my FT817 but don't want to risk blowing the PAs at full power for nearly 2 minutes.

Not on tonight

As my shack is being used as a nursery for a couple of nights, evening MF operation is out of the question. Normal evening operation will resume on Wednesday.

For now, I am giving up on 6m. After 4 days and not a single spot given or received, can you blame me? Day time I shall concentrate on 10m and in the evenings I'll QSY down to MF, 630m (472kHz) WSPR.

6m WSPR - one last try today

I was going to give up on 6m until next spring, but, having had early success on 10m, I've decided to give 6m one more chance today.  I am using 30dBm ERP from my V2000  tri-band vertical.  Nothing at all yet!

UPDATE 1720z:  After 4 days of trying, I have now given up on 6m, at least for now. In 4 days not a single spot given or received! Not even a hint of GDX.

10m - very early USA spot on WSPR

WG2Z (5600km) was spotting my 2W WSPR signal on 10m at 1110z today. This bodes well for North and South America later on 10m.  In addition, there is no shortage of Europeans on 10m.  This could be Es or more probably F2 backscatter.  Also spotting me on 10m WSPR this morning was VK5MR (16144km).


Sunspot number today is 157  but 10m conditions (daytime) expected to be "fair". Already 10m looks in good shape here.

26 Oct 2014

QSYed from 6m to 630m (472kHz) WSPR

After 3 days of trying on 6m with not a single spot given or received I have decided to stop trying on 6m until next year. I have now QSYed down to MF and met with immediate reports both received and given, despite just 5mW ERP from my highly compromised antenna not at all designed or optimised for 472kHz use.  All I have done is resonate the strapped feeders to my existing V2000 vertical and HF end-fed PAR antennas.
Early WSPR results on 472kHz this evening.

6m WSPR - still trying

So, I have been on 6m WSPR most days in the last 3 days running 30dBm (1W) ERP from my V2000 vertical.  So far, I have neither received anyone and nor has anyone spotted me. I shall keep trying, but watching paint dry is more exciting!  I am very disappointed with 6m and will soon give up on the band, unless things look up, until the next Es season starting in April.

Portable SDR project

From Pedro:
Good morning Roger look at this fantastic project from Michael KE7HIA  I believe it will be fantastic for some digitals because of the low power.

73 and fast recover

Pedro Almeida

Sunspots and 10m

Sunspot number today is 115 (not bad) and 10-12m conditions are described as "fair". It remains to be seen how much F2 propagation there is on 10m today. I am currently ploughing a very lonely furrow on 6m WSPR - so far no spots given or received on 6m.

You will notice my "propagation" sidebar is now from a new source. I'm not sure how much longer the feed from SK G4ILO will continue to work. I suspect Olga (Julian's XYL) will close his sites soon.

Looking at the WSPRnet database I see both North and South America are being spotted in Europe.

G4SMX in JO01pc looks my best hope on 6m. Not copied him yet.

Microvert antenna

Quite a few people who use WSPR use the tiny Microvert Antenna whose design seems to have originated in Germany. For example, this diminutive antenna is only about 30cms long on 28MHz. It uses the coax intentionally as a counterpoise with an RF choke the right distance down the coax. Performance is several S points down on a full sized antenna like a 1/2 wave dipole. With small antennas there is always a compromise! Versions have been made for most HF bands. The  antenna looks ideal for portable or balcony use, being small and easy to erect. Perhaps I should test my (currently poor) build skills by making one for 10m or 20m WSPR use?

I wonder who reading this post has used a Microvert Antenna and how they found it?

See http://download.antennex.com/preview/archive4/Apr601/microvert.pdf .

25 Oct 2014

Julian G4ILO has died, sadly

From Julian's blog:
Julian died yesterday on 24 October in the presence of his wife Olga and two Hospice nurses at home at 19-45 peacefully and painlessly. He will be always loved and always remembered.
See  http://onefootingrave.blogspot.co.uk/ .

We all knew this was likely but it saddens me greatly to report this here.

RIP Julian - you brightened our lives and we will all miss you. Olga, our sympathies to you in your great loss. Julian inspired a great many people. He will be remembered for a long time.

I have no details of memorials (flowers, donations, etc.) or funeral arrangements.

Glutton for punishment? 6m WSPR again

I must have a masochistic streak in me! After seeing that I could exchange spots with Australia on 10m WSPR, I have again moved up to 6m WSPR. Yesterdays 6m trip resulted in absolutely no spots either given or received.

As there are a few more people on 6m than yesterday I am hopeful of some GDX and there is a (remote) chance of some F2 or TEP.  Sunspot count is good today, so I guess today will be one of the better chances for the latter, if very unlikely this far north. Yet again I see there has been TEP between VK and JA on 6m.

If I spot just one GDX station on 6m then the outing on the band will have been worth it. I am running 30dBm ERP from a vertical.  In the summer I could exchange spots by tropo/plane reflection out to around 200km on 6m with this set-up.

UPDATE 1520z:  As yet, still very quiet here on 6m WSPR. No stations received here, not even wispy Doppler shifted, non-decoding, signals. I shall stick around for at least a few more hours - ever hopeful.

UPDATE 1634z:   Still absolutely nothing spotted and no-one spotting me on 6m, for the second day. This is very disappointing , although not unexpected.

UPDATE 1705z:  Still drawing a total blank on 6m. Another hour and I'll switch to 472kHz.

10m to the USA on WSPR

The first stateside station K3GEN was spotted, at 1206z on 10m WSPR today, at -15dB S/N. I was first spotted in the USA at 1146z by KJ4SPG (6328km) in FM05dm square. The band has been open to the USA on 10m WSPR every day now for at least a month, presumably via F2.

I suspect next autumn things "across the pond" will be considerably tougher on 10m WSPR, but not a complete no-no.

High sunspots

Sunspot count today is high at 147 (with blackouts) and 20-30MHz propagation is "excellent". Earlier this morning I was copying a VK portable on 10m WSPR and I was being spotted early by Souty 1310zh Americas on 10m WSPR. F2 conditions seem very good on the 10m band.

UPDATE 1312z:  VK3KCX (16883km) was spotting my 2W at 1250z on 10m WSPR at a decent -17dB S/N.  VK5MR (16144km) was spotting me. This morning, PU3WSF (10416km), PY3FF (10440km) were spotted and ET/G8DYK (5931km) in KJ98ix square was spotting my 2W on 10m WSPR. VK5MR has spotted me 7 times on 10m WSPR today and ET/G8DYK (5931km) was spotting me in Ethiopia.

24 Oct 2014

No luck on 6m WSPR this afternoon, so far

I have been on 6m WSPR since 1424z but I have spotted not a single station. Not a single station has received me either. Perhaps this was to be expected.

I'll stick on 6m WSPR for a few more hours just in case things improve. As well as poor DX conditions, 6m WSPR is not helped by the very low level of activity. GDX to around 200km should be possible, but this needs active stations!

If I see just a single station on 6m I shall be pleased.

UPDATE 1742z:  Still nothing here on 6m WSPR. Will keep trying for a few more hours.

UPDATE 1842z:  Still nothing, but sticking around for another hour or so on 6m WSPR.  Ever hopeful!

UPDATE 2030z:  Not even a hint of a Doppler shifted signal on the WSPR 4.0 interface. I'll stay on the band until bedtime, but it looks if 6m is going to be a dead loss today. Nothing, zlich. You can't say I've not tried! I even published my activity on WSPRnet but still minimal 6m activity worldwide.

No SAQ transmission today after all

The famous SAQ 17.2kHz VLF transmitter was NOT in action today, October 24th 2014.  There was always some doubt whether today's transmission was to happen or not.

See http://alexander.n.se/evenemang/extra-transmission/ .

RA3APW - 100mW 10m WSPR beacon

Karen RA3APW's 100mW, GPS controlled, Ultimate 3, Moscow WSPR beacon (2443km) that uses just a short whip antenna in his shack is coming in well again today. He is getting plenty of WSPR spots over 2000km right across Europe today. I am seeing an 8dB variation in his S/N (-14dB best, -22dB worst) and I think I tend to get him worse than some others in the UK who may have better receivers and antennas. Karen carefully measured his power so his 100mW is genuine. -14dB S/N suggests that at times just 5mW would be enough.
RA3APW on 100mW 10m WSPR today - 9 spots already.
UPDATE 1532z:  RA3APW has now been spotted 13 times at up to a very strong -5dB S/N. This level suggests 1mW would have been copied, possibly 250uW. Amazing.

10m WSPR - busy!

10m WSPR has been very busy this morning. This is a recent shot of the WSPR V4.0 screen showing stations being received here.
10m WSPR screen a few minutes ago showing stations being copied here.

UPDATE 1220z:   My first 10m WSPR spot from a USA station was at 1110z today by WG2Z (5600km). The earliest times are getting earlier and earlier as the season progresses.


Sunspot count today is 126 and 20-30MHz propagation "excellent". Earlier in the day it was "good".  Expect decent 10m conditions. Yesterday conditions on the band were good .

UPDATE 1100z:  CX2ABP is already being spotted on 10m WSPR by F2.  Lots of Europeans being spotted and spotting me on 10m WSPR this morning.

UPDATE 1112z:  13 spots of my 1110z 2W transmission on 10m WSPR.

OR7T on 472kHz

Last night OR7T copied me several times overnight on 472kHz WSPR. This was the 22nd unique spot on the band of my 5mW ERP signal in the last 2 weeks. I need to calculate the total number of stations that have spotted me on the band this year from this QTH.

23 Oct 2014

Returned to 472kHz WSPR

Since 2024z I have been back on 472kHz WSPR and am already spotting DLs and F stations and being spotted by the local and semi-locals and G3WCB (101km).  Still hopeful that more new spotters will be on this evening and overnight. The number of unique reporters of my QRP signal is gradually increasing. Still a long way to go to match results on 500kHz from the old QTH.

Last 28MHz WSPR USA DX was at 1942z here this evening. Since then, only locals and semi-locals on 10m.

10m GDX

In along side the "real" DX on 10m WSPR today I notice G3ZTY (232km) and I were exchanging WSPR spots (-22dB S/N for my 2W signal) by what looks like tropo late lunchtime. I guess it could be F2 backscatter. There were also lots of Europeans as well as EI and GI stations too.

Genesis Q5 1W QRP TX - not available?

I have been told that this 1W QRP TX from Australia, mentioned on the blog a few days ago, may no longer be available to order. I suggest you email the address on the Genesis website to see if it can be ordered. Certainly some of the SDR transceiver kits are only available in limited numbers. I am sorry if I got some hopes up only to be dashed.

See http://www.genesisradio.com.au/Q5/ . The website gives detailed schematics so you could always "roll your own".

First USA 10m WSPR spot at 1150z

WG2Z (5600km) was spotting me at 1150z. This is pretty early, confirming good 10m conditions. Others in the USA have been spotting me too.

FR1GZ (9724km) and I are also exchanging 10m WSPR spots (F2 propagation).


Sunspot count today is 123 and 20-30MHz propagation is forecast to be "excellent". 10m seems in good shape (plenty of Europeans already) but no F2 DX seen here as yet.

22 Oct 2014

472kHz WSPR - spots of me in the last 2 weeks

Over the last 2 weeks, I have been spotted now by 21 different stations with best DX LA4ANA (1042km). The latest station to spot me is F5WK (436km). These are the unique stations spots of my 5mW ERP.  Duplicate spots are not shown. Spots are arranged by distance.
Unique WSPR spots of my 5mW ERP in the last 2 weeks.

472kHz WSPR tonight

I have been on 472kHz this evening with 5mW ERP from the "strapped feeders" antenna. So far, no new reporters or new stations spotted but some good DX received nonetheless. Best DX so far is LA4ANA (1042km). Maybe overnight the DX will be even greater?
Stations spotted on 472kHz WSPR this evening so far.

TI3/AB4AW - 10m WSPR

This station TI3/AB4AW (8752km) in Costa Rica, Central America  was spotted on 10m WSPR several times this afternoon running 5W.   It remains to be seen if he copies my 500mW too.

10m WSPR - power dropped

In the last 30 minutes I have dropped my power on 10m WSPR to 500mW. I am still being spotted in the USA. At 2W it was far too easy.

10m is in excellent shape yet again

Yet again, 10m is excellent with plenty of DX about. Lots of USA stations being spotted and spotting me. Also spotting and being spotted on Reunion Is and in South America. Another good F2 day on the band with plenty of Europeans too.
Busy on 10m WSPR this afternoon

Sunspots today

The sunspot count today is 120 (very good, but with blackouts) and 20-30MHz propagation "excellent". 10m is certainly in good shape yet again.

21 Oct 2014

472kHz ERPs

Something seems wrong to me in that the difference between reports I give and I get on 472kHz WSPR suggests either my ERP is higher than I think or the ERPs stated by some others is lower than they think.  I am pretty sure my ERP is about right give or take a few dB "experimental error".  I am able to measure antenna current, I know the actual antenna height and can calculate the effective height. If anything, I believe my ERP is over-stated as my losses are pretty high.  I suppose my reports of others may be a few dB down because of the poor-ish sensitivity of my FT817 at 472-479kHz?

UPDATE 1740z:  I have been on 472kHz WSPR for just over 1 hour now. Just the usual early evening reporters with some very decent reports from G3WCB (101km) and G8LCO (58km) amongst others.   As always, PA3ABK/2 (306km) is putting in a big signal again this evening from across the North Sea. 

UPDATE 1752z:  Just been spotted in Wales by GW0EZY (251km) at -25dB S/N.

Genesis Q5 1W QRP kit from Australia

A trawl of the internet earlier found this kit, a 1W QRP transmitter for any band from 3.5MHz to 14MHz. It is available for S19.95 (US Dollars) + S9 (US Dollars) shipped anywhere worldwide. That seems pretty good value. Also on the website are SDR transceivers.

I last showed this particular kit on my blog 5 years ago.

See http://www.genesisradio.com.au/Q5/ for more details including how to order the various kits. Details on the page include parts lists, schematics and building details.

The are some pretty good SDR transceivers on this site.

Day off amateur radio operating

As I had my U3AC course on Human Evolution in Cambridge , I have decided not to be active on amateur radio today.  I may go on 472kHz WSPR this evening. 10m WSPR, even at 500mW, is becoming quite easy of late with good DX to be had with no real effort.  Even on 472kHz my genuine 5mW ERP has spanned over 1000km already.

I am beginning to feel like I need a whole new challenge,  but I just wish I felt better inside: my remaining stroke systems are getting me down.

Tuesday Sunspots

Sunspot count has climbed further to 93 (with blackouts) and 20-30MHz propagation is forecast to be "normal".  We should expect some decent F2 propagation on 10m today. Already, well before noon, Europeans were being spotted in the USA. FR4OZ was being spotted in GM before 0900z by F2.

20 Oct 2014

10m 500mW success

Running 500mW to my end-fed PAR tri-band antenna, I have so far been spotted by 4 stations on 10m WSPR. Best DX is UA3ARC (2436km) and 4X1RF (3529km). The band has not yet opened to the USA yet at the time of writing. Yet again I am spotting Karen RA3APW's 100mW Moscow WSPR beacon strongly (-14dB S/N) at 2443km.

UPDATE 1345z:  USA stations are now spotting my 500mW and also being spotted by PY3FF (10440km) at a decent -19dB S/N.  500mW seems quite enough to be noticed around the world on 10m WSPR even with my less than ideal antenna.

UPDATE 1610z:  Dropping power to 500mW really seems to have made very little difference to the stations spotting me. I may be less strong, but that is all. Apart from quite a few stateside spots (best DX in that direction is KD6RF (7547km), my best DX spot is from PY3FF at 1250z.

UPDATE 1630z:  These are the unique stations reporting my 500mW so far today on 10m WSPR. Quite a decent selection.
10m WSPR unique reports today with 500mW TX

HF conditions and sunspots

Although the sunspot count is up to 86 (with blackouts), the 20-30MHz propagation forecast is only "fair".  Conditions on 10m are therefore hard to predict. With such a high sunspot count I would hope we'd see some decent F2 openings, but 10m is a fickle band and it can be hard to tell. As yet, I have not started up on 10m.

UPDATE 1012z:   Both PY3FF (10440km) and CX2ABP (11127km), plus several Europeans, coming through on 10m WSPR already.  Conditions on 10m are good!  So much for 10m propagation being just "fair".  Today I am running 500mW on 10m WSPR. So far just locals spotting me.

UPDATE 1036z:  No more South Americans seen since the earlier spots.

Over 1000km on 5mW ERP on 472kHz!

Last night, for the first time, my 5mW ERP WSPR signal broke the 1000km barrier with 2 spots of my signal from Norway by LA4ANA (1042km). He was spotted here 9 times too. Conditions must have been good. I need to recheck how many stations have received my 5mW ERP on 472kHz WSPR as I was also copied by GW0EZY (251km) at 2252z last night. Several (nearer) stations should be able to copy me too, but they need to be active!

19 Oct 2014

472kHz WSPR - LA4ANA copied already

LA4ANA (1042km) has already been spotted here this evening at 1812z right on the limits of copy (-31dB S/N) with his 50mW ERP.  This is a new station I believe on the band from this QTH.

33 unique WSPR spots (of others) in last 2 weeks on 472kHz WSPR
I am still hopeful of some new reporters of my 5mW ERP overnight.

UPDATE Oct 20th 2014 0908z: LA4ANA was spotted here 9 times last night. A couple of new reporters of my pipsqueak 472kHz signal too. A good night on MF for me.

10m WSPR in good shape again

Although I have remained on MF all day, I have been checking WSPRnet to see how 10m WSPR has been shaping up. Well it appears, with USA stations exchanging spots with Europeans and LU8WAG exchanging spots over 13000km. Good F2 propagation on 10m again today.


The sunspot count today is 60 with a risk of blackouts. 20-30MHz propagation is "normal" so I'd expect (on 10m) USA stations and more distant stations by F2.

As mentioned earlier, I am not on 10m WSPR today, instead concentrating on 472kHz WSPR.
Recent 472kHz spots of my 5mW ERP signal.

472kHz - PA3ABK/2

PA3ABK/2 (306km) is always an excellent signal on 472kHz WSPR. Today I stuck with 472kHz WSPR during the day and PA3ABK/2 running 500mW ERP is still around the -10/-11dB S/N level - a very good strong signal all the time here.

Sadly, overnight my 5mW ERP 472kHz WSPR signal was again reported by stations in the UK and The Netherlands who have reported me already. No new overnight reports. Briefly OR7T was active (I spotted him) but he was not on overnight on RX. I think Rik should be able to copy my pipsqueak signal.

18 Oct 2014


My soldering skills are rather "challenged" since my brain bleed 13 months ago. I have an un-built Ultimate 3 kit waiting for my better health. Several kind people have offered me help to build and test it: you know who you are and thank you!  The kindness of fellow QRPers knows no bounds. It is so lovely to find how many really kind people there are around. There are far more good people in the world than bad ones.

Some years ago W5OLF sold a very simple, single board, few parts, WSPR TX which I think I could manage to build. I could not find it advertised. Anyone know if it is it still available?

UPDATE Oct 19th 2014 1208z:  Good news - Jay tells me (by email) that kits are still available.

Extra SAQ 17.2kHz VLF CW transmission on Oct 24th?

Message from SAQ (sic). There appears to be some confusion over the time. If I get clarification I'll let you know later.   The transmissions are CW from the World Heritage transmitter that dates from about 90 years ago. It is run up on special occasions only.
There will hopefully be a transmission with the Alexanderson alternator on 17.2 kHz on “United Nations Day” October 24, 2014 at 10:00 UTC. Start up and tuning from about 11:30 UTC.

There will be a message written by students in Denmark.

We are not hundred percent sure we have access to the antenna this day because of other organization using it.

Returned to 10m WSPR

Having returned to 10m WSPR my first spot from the USA was at 1244z from KK4ZUU (5933km) near Washington DC. First of many I expect today. At the moment there are fewer USA stations on 10m than I was expecting, but it is early days still.

UPDATE 1255z:  More USA stations coming through no.

UPDATE 1257z:   FR1GZ and PY3FF (10440km) also audible. My old work colleague Karen RA3APW must be back in Moscow: his 100mW 10m WSPR beacon is really booming in here at -6dB S/N.

WSPR - V4.0 r4171

For the last few days I have been using this latest beta version of WSPR software. It appears to work stably but I miss the real-time scrolling waterfall that was on WSPR-X, which I gather is no longer being developed.  The version V4.0 r4171 I have is the best available, or so I am told.

At the moment I am trying this software on 12, 15 and 17m with the "strapped feeder" antenna via the ATU.

UPDATE 1632z:  Have now gone back to 472kHz WSPR.

UPDATE 2150z:  29 unique stations spotted on 472kHz WSPR in last 2 weeks. I need to check the all time number, which is higher. Right across Europe! The 2 USA stations are band reporting errors and were NOT on 472kHz!

Blogging errors

Please pardon my blogging errors. On most posts I make at least one spelling or grammar error, but I try to correct the mistakes as soon as I notice. Maybe it is an after-effect of my brain bleed that I react too slowly? Sometimes it is the next day (or later) before I notice the error. Although a lot better than I was, I still feel giddy walking and I tire easily. Slowly, oh so slowly, things are getting a little easier, but this is far longer than I ever expected. Patience!

Sunspots today

Sunspot count today is down again, this time to 39 but 20-30MHz propagation remains "normal" so some decent F2 propagation is likely. I expect the USA to be audible around lunchtime onwards. These days, it is the norm. South Americans are usually copyable on WSPR as long as there are active stations.

First Spanish station logged on 472kHz

At 2352z last night EA3NE (1198km) in JN11an square in Spain was copied at -30dB S/N on WSPR. He is NW of Barcelona.  This is with a totally unmodified FT817 (original version) and my "strapped feeders" compromise antenna.

On TX, sadly no new reporters yet again. I think on RX I have now received most of the active stations on 472kHz WSPR.
Unique 472kHz WSPR spots on RX overnight

17 Oct 2014

Back on 472kHz WSPR

This evening I have returned to my 5mW ERP WSPRing on 472kHz.  As yet, just the same stations are spotting me and being spotted. All being well, I shall leave things running through the night. Hopefully the PC will not decide to close down at 3am as it did last night. G3ZJO is a better signal now and he seems to be receiving better. I am on the "strapped feeders" antenna tonight rather than the earth-electrode. Incidentally, SP5XSB has been very pleased with MF results with his low milliwatts ERP signal from his earth-electrode antenna.

UPDATE 1922z:  F1AFJ (607km) is already being spotted here at -30dB S/N (just) at 1922z.  He is some way down in France JN06ht square. Half an hour later he was 6dB stronger

UPDATE 2145z:  F5WK (436km) has been spotted here 21 times already this evening on 472kHz WSPR. His signal has averaged about -21dB S/N so far, peaking at -17dB S/N. He is located in the Pairs area and claims to use 500mW ERP.

Driving again

For the last few days I have been allowed to drive the car again. It had been 13 months without driving because of my brain bleed. Several (safe) journeys later I am, at last, starting to think again about doing some field experiments. Local driving/sitting in the car is fine, but doing any physical activity tires me totally and I still feel very wobbly when on my feet.  Doing the simplest of VLF or light beam field test is likely to exhaust me. Field work will be on the agenda soon, but I may need my wife to help set things up "in the field".

Predictable 10m WSPR

10m WSPR has been predictable again today with my first spot by a USA station W3CXW (5886km) at 1158z and several times since.  CX2ABP (11127km) has been spotted here 9 times this afternoon already by 1414z. Conditions to North and South America are good on 10m today.

80m WSPR overnight

Unfortunately my Windows 7 PC decided to try an update at around 0300z so the PC (and WSPR software) closed down about then and never restarted until I helped it at breakfast time!  All 80m WSPR results are before the (premature) close down or just after breakfast.
80m WSPR TX  unique spots overnight
Best spot of my signal was from OH8HTG (2002km) a couple of times. Even my "useless" 80m antenna can get spots across Europe it seems.


The sunspot count is almost unchanged at 66 and 20-30MHz propagation is expected to be "normal". Another decent 10m day is in prospect.

16 Oct 2014

Now trying 80m WSPR since 1812z

After the successes on 160m WSPR last night, this evening I am having a go with the "strapped feeders" antenna on 80m WSPR. The first 2W (from FT817) burst resulted in 5 reports across the UK, Belgium and The Netherlands. Reports are generally good. My first receive burst netted 3 stations.

UPDATE 1900z:  A decent selection of Western Europeans spotting me and being spotted.
80m unique WSPR spots this early evening
UPDATE 2135z:  Best DX on 80m WSPR so far this evening is OH8GKP (1994km).

10m WSPR - busy today

10m WSPR is "humming" today with lots of stateside stations, Europeans and CX2ABP (11127km) coming through here or spotting my 2W. I have just downloaded beta release WSPR V4.0 r4171 which seems stable, but lacks the scrolling waterfall.
10m WSPR today

160m WSPR overnight

WSPR really is a very good mode. Overnight I left my 160m WSPR running, just using the strapped feeder to my V2000 and Par end-fed antenna tuned with an ATU against mains ground.

Even this most rubbish antenna seems to get me spots over 1000km on 160m WSPR when running 2W from the FT817. Although I claim 1W ERP, I suspect the real ERP is in the milliwatt region. Best DX spot was by SM7WZI (1007km) who copied me several times after midnight.  Tonight, I may try 80m for a change.
160m unique spots of my QRP last night
On 160m WSPR receive the best DX was OZ7IT at 853km:
160m unique WSPR spots on RX here


Today's sunspot number is 90 (still going up again in recent days) with 20-30MHz propagation "normal". Conditions on 10m should remain good again. USA stations should be audible very soon again as well as South Americans.  In the last few days, lack of activity rather than conditions have been the issue on 10m WSPR to South America.

15 Oct 2014

160m WSPR

For a total change I have fired up the "strapped feeders" antenna on 160m WSPR.  No spots yet given or received,  but UK/Europe activity is very low so far this evening.   If I manage to get out on 472kHz, it should work OK (but not brilliantly) on 160m.

Last night I meant to go on 70cms for the UKAC activity session, but I completely forgot about it!

UPDATE 1845z:  Best DX report, of me, is from OZ7IT (853km) at -24dB S/N.   My power out is 2W.  My ERP  (claimed as 1W) is more probably in the low mW region. I'll stay on 160m this evening, and probably overnight.
Early evening unique WSPR spots on 160m

Will try a new band later

Later today, or this evening,  I shall try WSPR on a new band, probably 160m or 80m with the "strapped feeder" antenna via my ATU.  Both 630m (472kHz) and 10m are getting rather predictable! 160m or 80m will make an interesting change I think. I may try 60m too as I hold an NoV.

Back on 10m for now

Yesterday and overnight I tried 472kHz using the 12m baseline earth-electrode antenna. No new reporters but the results are good.

For a while now I have been back on 10m WSPR.   Plenty of Spanish,  Austrian and Swedish activity and best DX so far Israel 4X1RF (3519km). No great DX as yet but the band should open to the USA shortly.

UPDATE 1255z:  WG2Z (5600km) was the first USA station to spot me today on 10m WSPR at 1200z.

UPDATE 1505z: 10m has been very good to the USA all afternoon. It really is too easy with plentiful spots in both directions.  I have a visitor until about 1615z, but will then change bands, probably to 160m.#

UPDATE 1514z:  The lack of S.Americans  - only 51 stations active on 10m WSPR in the world at the moment - makes it look as if propagation is not there in that direction. I am sure if there were LU, CX or PY stations on 10m WSPR I would copy them pretty well right now. My visitor (speech therapist) has not turned up. She may be held up in traffic. She is normally very reliable.


The sunspot count is climbing again to  70 (stable) - I assume a more active region has rotated to face the Earth - and 20-30MHz propagation is "normal". I assume 10m will be good again today.

14 Oct 2014

472kHz - F1AFJ JN06ht

My map showing stations I copied on 472kHz WSPR left off F1AFJ (607km) who is quite a long way down France in JN06ht square. He is running a decent ERP and this may explain why I copy him so well, even on the earth-electrode "antenna" aiming the wrong way.

1 million visits

A significant milestone on this blog was passed today with over 1 million visits!  I continue to be amazed that so many people read my blog and keep coming back.

Thank you all for your continuing support. I hope the mix of content meets with your approval and continues to do so in the months ahead.

My poor health has prevented me doing what I most enjoy, which is building simple circuits and carrying out experiments "in the field" locally. With time, I hope I get much fitter so these things can start again.  In the meantime, I experiment as best I can at home.

10m WSPR - not on today

As I was out for much of the morning, I decided not to go on 10m WSPR today. Checking WSPRnet logs the band was well open (again) from Europe to the USA, although I missed this.

Currently I am operating with 5mW ERP on 472kHz using the 12m baseline earth-electrode "antenna" across the garden.

472kHz - directionality of earth-electrode "antenna"

Last night and today, my 5mW ERP on 472kHz WSPR from the 12m baseline earth-electrode "antenna" was copied by 9 unique stations with best DX being F6GEX (590km) in IN97 square. In a crude attempt to plot the directionality of the "antenna" I have shown the QTH squares in which I was received as purple coloured squares marked with a cross. Other purple squares shows where I received stations from too.
5mW ERP 472kHz - crossed + coloured squares shows where spotted
This is crude, but the directionality is roughly E-W I think, which makes sense. The reception by F6GEX (590km) in IN97 is south of west, but not orthogonal to the loop. DK7FC is very strong and I would expect to copy Stefan off the side of the loop.

I shall leave 472kHz running with the earth-electrode antenna again tonight.


Sunspot count has increased to 41 and 20-30MHz propagation is "normal". Today should be a good day on 10m.

13 Oct 2014

472kHz WSPR using earth-electrode antenna

As an experiment this afternoon and evening I am using the (short baseline) earth-electrode antenna. I am being copied by G0LRD (25km) and G3ZJO (79km) so far. It is now 1620z. Initial results suggest G0LRD is getting me very slightly better on the earth electrodes, whereas G3ZJO is getting me slightly weaker. This is comparing the earth-electrode "antenna" with the HF /VHF antennas with strapped feeders tuned against mains earth. In the latter case I resonate the antenna with a 110mm diameter coil with many taps.

One end of the earth-electrode is tied to mains earth. The "far" earth is a 1m long earth rod driven into the soil. The connection to the far electrode is 32 x 0.16mm PVC covered wire running along the fence at a height of about 2m. This wire dog-legs and is about 15m long. The spacing between the "far" electrode and mains ground in the shack is about 12m max. At the old QTH the baseline was more like 20m.

I think the earth-electrode antenna acts a bit like a loop so best results tend to be in the line of the loop. It also means there is not a huge difference between the two systems. You could say they are both equally bad, but the earth-electrode system needs no matching coil. I have optimised the resistive match using a 3C90 toroid (step up) between the transverter and earth-electrode antenna. At the old QTH it looked close to 50 ohms so the toroid was not needed.

When fitter, I'd like to try an earth-electrode system with a much bigger baseline.

There is no doubt that my 472kHz antennas can be much improved. The question is, "how seriously do I want to try?"

Para-saki all diode QRP transceiver

This looks like a design by Michael Rainey AA1TJ, but this one was on a German blog site of Peter DL3PB. I was very annoyed by the Facebook pop-up that kept appearing. I kept closing the pop-up but it is really annoying. Website owner - PLEASE get rid of it!

See http://streampowers.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/para-saki-qrp-transceiver-fact-diodes.html .

The design makes extensive use of tunnel diodes, a Michael Rainey favourite.

Real 10m WSPR DX appears

TJ3TS (5478km) in Cameroon has just been spotted here on 10m WSPR.  This is the first "real" DX that has been seen so far. I suspect greater distances will be logged soon as the band "warms up". Pretty sure this is F2 propagation.

UPDATE 1100z:  CX2ABP (11127km) has just been spotted for the first time today on 10m. 4X1RF (3519km) has spotted me a few times already.#

UPDATE 1330z:  My first USA spot was at 1200z.  Plenty of stateside stations since then. The 10m band is well open to the USA.

Overnight on 472kHz WSPR

Another disappointing night on 472kHz. Spots exchanged with stations already logged. I really need to improve my system if I am to spot, and be spotted by, a lot more stations. My 5mW ERP is fun but I need a lot more to increase my coverage.

G4KPX who claims to use 1mW ERP is achieving far better results than me. I suspect he is using his meager power efficiently whereas I suspect my very poor antenna system warms up birds instead!

At the moment, all antenna work has to be on hold because of my poor health.

Lots on 10m WSPR

10m WSPR is off to a decent start this morning with plenty of European and Russian activity despite the falling sunspots. This is the WSPR log in recent minutes. As you can see, stations from from all over the place, although no "real" DX yet - just Europe and Russia so far.
Recent 10m WSPR spots this early morning

Sunspots today

Sunspot count has fallen even more today to 28 and 20-30MHz propagation is forecast to remain "normal".

Already, I an getting 10m WSPR spots from several Russians.

Karen, RA3APW is in the UK this week so his Moscow based 100mW 10m WSPR beacon will not be active whilst he is in the UK he tells me.

12 Oct 2014

QSYed to 472kHz WSPR

Tonight, at the moment, there are no less than 60 stations active on 472kHz WSPR.  This is more than I can ever recall.

Since QSYing to 472kHz about an hour ago I am spotting, and being spotted by, the same stations as previously.  I guess I need to "up" my ERP to at least 100mW to start to reach new stations. That means antenna work, which is currently out of the question because of my health.

DK7FC (669km) is currently the best DX here on RX. Stefan puts out a potent signal on 472kHz and 137kHz WSPR. My best report (on TX with 5mW ERP) is G3WCB (101km).

Solar Cycle 25 Predictions

It has been notoriously hard to predict future solar cycles, but the science is improving all the time. Right now, the experts are predicting that solar cycle 25 will be very small indeed. Some think we are moving towards another Maunder Minimum when solar sunspots all but vanish for around 50 years. If so, most of us alive now will never experience "good" HF conditions ever again in our lifetimes. Experts can be wrong!

See http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/25/first-estimate-of-solar-cycle-25-amplitudesmallest-in-over-300-years/  .

On a positive note, poor solar activity often means the lower frequency bands are better. With some luck, we may have a new international contiguous band at 60m in a few years' time. This depends on WRC2015.

Regarding cycle 24, it looks like the peak was Feb 2014.
See http://www.solen.info/solar/  .

Simple 10m rigs

As 10m slides to the "quieter years" of the solar cycle it will soon be time to look again at using this band for local communications. It makes an ideal band to natter across town and I still think a 10m Fredbox is worth a go. The receiver, a simple super-regen is extremely simple, very sensitive with a simple RF amplifier, but lacking in selectivity so would NOT be useful when the band is busy. At night time in the quieter years it would be perfectly fine. The alternative is a simple 10m DSB rig, which would  be compatible with SSB transceivers.

At the moment, my poor health is stopping me doing both of these projects.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/hf/10m_op?pli=1  .
See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/hf/tenbox .
See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/hf/10msimple_sb .

10m from N.Ireland

An interesting spot this afternoon on 10m WSPR in the form of GI4BTG (498km). This unlikely to be Es (skip too short) and the most probable mode is F2 backscatter.  As far as  I am aware, this is the first time GI has been spotted here on 10m WSPR.

Good 10m conditions

Several different 10m WSPR stations in the USA being spotted this afternoon. CX2ABP has been spotted 4 times already from South America. With Japan this morning, 10m has been good today already by F2.

UPDATE 1740z: Good 10m propagation to the USA. These are recent spots on 10m WSPR. Some VERY strong reports!
10m WSPR recent spots here.

Fredbox schematic

Fredbox 2m AM transceiver
The Fredbox was my design for a 10mW AM transceiver for 2m use back in the 1970s. It was rebuilt a few years ago and a 6m version was spun off. The same basic approach would work on 10m and 4m too, but I have not completed versions for these bands.

Even 2m 10mW AM was enough to work across the English Channel handheld on 2m and the 2m Fredbox made several 60 mile handheld QSOs . For quite a while it was used to natter across town in Cambridge. The Fredbox was named in honour of local Fred G8BWI back in the 1970s.

The Fredbox and Sixbox have appeared in G-QRP SPRAT and in Practical Wireless mags. The schematics also appeared in several foreign language magazines too. The circuits are basic and certainly capable of being improved.

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

Declining sunspots

Sunspot count today was down still further to 38 yet 20-30MHz propagation remains "normal", With 10m open to the east (Japan) and west (USA) F2 conditions on 10m seem pretty good so far today.

First 10m WSPR spots from Japan and USA here today

JH1GYE (9380km) was spotting me at 0834z this morning and I have spotted him too. JH6LAV was also spotted this morning

WB4CSD (6025km) spotted my 2W 10m WSPR signal today at 1224z. This was the first (for me) in the USA today. Since then, WSPR spots have been exchanged with several stations in the USA. Since before breakfast Europeans have been spotted here and this has continued all day.

11 Oct 2014

CX2ABP (11127km) - South America

CX2ABP (11127km) in Montevideo has been spotted here 27 times so far today on 10m WSPR until 1856z. He has been coming in most of the day and evening   Although the band was open to North America too, I think conditions have been better. CX2ABP was peaking at -15dB S/N here. Since 1900z only locals have been spotted.
Spots of CX2ABP today on 10m WSPR

WSPR-X woes again

With exactly the correct settings, my WSPR-X running on a Win 7 machine refused to upload spots to the WSPRnet.org database today. When I realised it was not working I did 2 things: (a) I closed the program and restarted it, and (b) reset the PC clock to internet time.

Since doing these things, my "lost" spots successfully uploaded to the database. I have no idea why WSPR-X seems to be so temperamental.Otherwise I like it, especially the realtime,scrolling waterfall and support for WSPR-15, although I have only tried this slower mode once, on LF. Stability needs to be pretty good (over a 15 minute period) for WSPR15.

QRP kits search on eBay

See http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_nkw=qrp+kit .

Occasionally I look on eBay to see what is on offer. Searching for "QRP kits" throws up quite an interesting selection of stuff, much of it only available by eBay and not otherwise advertised. Some of these items are good bargains.

Touch wood, I have never yet had a bad experience on eBay when buying or selling. Mind you, I would be very careful and not spend too much. Some dealers are good (the vast majority) but there are always a few "bad eggs".

Caveat emptor.

No 10m USA here yet

Although 10m WSPR is open here to South America with CX2ABP (11127km) spotted at -28dB S/N (weakly) at 1216z, there have been no North Americas seen here yet. This suggests conditions are not as good as they have been in recent weeks. To be fair, there are hours yet for the USA and Canada to appear. Even on bad days, the USA has appeared very briefly.

UPDATE 1252z:  KZ8C (6290km) has just spotted my 2W 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1330z: The 10m band does seem to be waking up to the USA now after a slow start.

See post about WSPR-X woes above. 

RA3APW's 100mW 10m WSPR pounding in again

Karen  RA3APW's 100mW 10m WSPR to an indoor whip in Moscow (2443km) has been detected 10 times already this morning. He seems to put out a very decent signal. I assume this is single hop F2 propagation. Best DX on 10m WSPR RX today, so far, is South Africa.

Sunspots today

The sunspot count has slipped further to 54 (stable) yet 20-30MHz propagation remains "normal". Already on 10m WSPR I am seeing Europeans (SM and EA5) either on F2 backscatter or Es.

Later in the sunspot cycle, i.e when sunspot count is very low, it will be interesting to see how frequently Europeans are copied on 10m WSPR outside of the peak Es months. If stations stick with 10m, I suspect there will be Eu's copied most days, albeit just fleeting openings, ideally found using WSPR.

10 Oct 2014

G1KQH blog

See http://g1kqh.blogspot.co.uk/ .

Steve, G1KQH has just started his own blog.  Steve has frequently supplied useful information to me. I usually post these gems to my blog. I wish him well with his new venture. Personally I find blogging compliments what I do in amateur radio, compliments my main website http://www.g3xbm.co.uk and acts as a diary for future reference. I find it fun to share my exploits with others. I hope my readers enjoy it too.

Steve, best of luck with your blog.

10m JT65 and JT9-1

As my wife was having "girly" friends around I was banished to the shack.  Usually, since my illness, I turn on WSPR in the shack and monitor progress in the lounge on another PC. WSPR beaconing usually suits my health as it requires minimal intervention.

As I was actually in the shack today, I took the opportunity to try JT65 and JT9-1 modes on 10m. On JT65 I worked the USA, Georgia, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Russia and on JT9-1 I worked the USA.  Time was limited and I am sure lots more could have been worked.

Since the guests went I QSYed down to 472kHz WSPR. As before, the same stations are being spotted and are spotting me, which is disappointing.

Driving again after 13 months

For 13 months I have not been allowed to drive because of my brain bleed. I have had to rely on my wife totally.

Today, I drove to and from the local garden centres at Fordham. This is a round trip of nearly 10 miles. Both the neurosurgeon and my doctor said "yes" and DVLA agreed I could drive again. I informed the insurer too just in case.  I would probably not want to drive too far for a while, but at least I can drive again locally. This is a major step for me. Just a little more independence.

With luck, I hope to be able to resume some amateur radio field experiments quite soon. I am still wobbly on my feet though. It would be good to try some earth-mode tests from this QTH.

10m to North and South America

10m is again wide open, with lots of stateside stations spotting my 2W or I am spotting them. In addition, CX2ABP (11127km) in Montevideo has already been spotted here 5 times so far.
10m WSPR spots from a single 2 minute TX burst today
RA3APW's 100mW to an indoor whip from Moscow is again blasting in here and Karen has been a good signal a lot of the day so far. In all, another good day on 10m WSPR.

146-147MHz to full UK radio amateurs soon

Today, OFCOM announced that 146-147MHz will be temporarily released to full UK licencees from Oct 31st this year, by NoV.  Personally, I would have preferred other parts of the spectrum to have been released instead as 2m is never that busy, at least it is very quiet usually around here. If you  plan to operate 146-147MHz in the UK you will need to get an NoV via the RSGB. Note that this is temporary.

I wrote to OFCOM suggesting officially allowing UK amateurs access legally to sub 8.3kHz, re-releasing the 73kHz band and a new allocation around 40MHz (ideal for Es experiments). In OFCOM's release they say I asked for a new band at 400MHz. I did not.

Japan on 10m WSPR

JO3VSR (9403km) using 5W was copied on 10m WSPR at 0854z this  morning at a strong -16dB S/N.   In addition, lots of stations across Europe have been spotted. Conditions on 10m are still pretty good.

UPDATE 0924z:  4X1RF (3519km) just spotted on 10m WSPR.

Sunspot activity

The sunspot count today is 65 (slipping lower gradually) and 20-30MHz propagation forecast to be "normal".  F2 long distance 10m propagation is probable.

I think we are seeing the slow post-peak decline now. It will be some years before conditions on 10m hit rock bottom though. This autumn and winter should still be very good on the higher HF bands.

9 Oct 2014

472kHz WSPR - instant success

Since QSYing back to 472kHz (630m) I have met with instant success: up to 5 reports per 2 minute WSPR TX transmission. No new reporters as yet, but lots of support on 472kHz this evening. Last time I looked there were 59 stations active, a new record.   G3ZJO seems to be receiving better and putting out a stronger signal recently.

6m WSPR today so far - a non-event?

Well, I am trying! Despite the low level, apparently, of activity on 6m WSPR, I have been active most of the day on RX and TX. So far - it is now 1510z - I have spotted and been spotted by precisely nobody at all! No locals, no GDX, no surprise Europeans, nothing at all. I have checked and double checked that all is working and antennas are connected. All are. Today was just a bad day with nothing, so far at least, to show for my efforts. I even advertised my presence twice on the "chat" facility on WSPRnet. A station on the south coast of the UK said he was also trying 6m. I'll keep trying for a few more hours. Things just might change.

Even on 472kHz last night I was frequently getting 4 reports a call with just 5mW ERP. On 6m I am using an ERP of around 1W (30dBm) but it is doing me no good it seems!

There are just 16 spots for 6m in the worldwide WSPRnet database today. Not the best of days clearly!

UPDATE 1615z:  Just looked at the 10m database on WSPRnet. Although there is some transatlantic activity, it is not exactly great. Looks like today has been quite poor generally.

UPDATE 1922z:  Still no reports in/out on 6m.Will be QSYing to 472kHz WSPR shortly.

UPDATE 1924z:   Well, that was a waste of time on 6m today. Not a single report given or received all day on 6m, and others seemed to be having a bad time too. QSYing now to 472kHz WSPR.

Simple,but good,DC transceiver kits

At under $30 the Hendricks Kits DCxx series of direct conversion transceivers look good value. See http://www.qrpkits.com/. With a decent mixer, these rigs should do better than many. The image below is actually on the Hendricks Kits site. Link to image will be removed if this is a problem.

Ploughing a lonely furrow on 6m WSPR

There are very few active stations on 6m WSPR, but I am giving it a try!  The best I can hope for are some locals, some GDX, and just maybe a fleeting bit of Es into somewhere in Europe. The latter is a low chance I think but not zero. I shall probably stick around on 6m until after teatime. In the Far East there has been 6m TEP JA-VK but the UK is a bit too far north.

On 6m I am using a vertical with about 30dBm ERP. This is usually OK for GDX out to about 200km off planes.


Today's sunspot count has fallen to 61 and 20-30MHz propagation is forecast to be "poor". I am currently on 6m and I have not checked out 10m today. Long distance F2 propagation may be more problematic on 10m today.

8 Oct 2014

Time to QSY to 472kHz, 6m tomorrow?

10m has been in good shape again today, but at the moment it is getting too predictable, even a little boring! Every single day it opens to the USA and frequently much further.

So, I shall be QSYing down to 472kHz quite soon this evening where there are already 37 active stations on WSPR.

Tomorrow I may well try a different band, possibly 6m.

UPDATE 1940z:  G3WCB sent this screen shot of my signal last night to the RSGB's LF group. I am the signal near 693. Weak but clear.

10m to the USA

10m WSPR opened to the USA just after 1200z here today. The 10m band has opened to the USA every day now for weeks and weeks by F2.

UPDATE 1355z:  As well as all the  USA stations, there is a wide spread of stations from across Europe too. FZ5ZX and TJ3TS are also coming through reliably from the Indian Ocean and Africa respectively. Not sure if FZ5ZX is a Reunion Is local or a visitor? FR4OZ (9733km) was spotted at 1444z. He is a new station to me, the third on Reunion Is. He claims to be using 5mW but I think this is an error. Otherwise he was putting in a remarkable signal at -3dB S/N. I find it hard to believe 5mW somehow.

100mW from RA3APW on 10m WSPR

Yet again, my old work colleague Karen RA3APW in Moscow is putting an excellent signal into the UK on 10m WSPR using a genuine 100mW from his Ultimate 3 beacon. It really is very impressive. Last time we spoke he was using a small 10m antenna in the shack as well! Not sure if the same antenna is being used.

UPDATE 1345z:  So far, 11 spots of RA3APW's 100mW beacon on 10m WSPR.


Sunspot count today is 75 and 20-30MHz propagation "normal".   Judging by the stations copied on 10m JT65, and recent WSPR spots, conditions on 10m seem pretty good.

10m JT65

This morning, I gave JT65 a go on 10m and managed to work Russia, Ukraine and Georgia.  Copied, but not worked, were China, Japan and New Zealand. I have now gone back to WSPR as it requires less manual intervention.

7 Oct 2014

21 unique (I think) with 5mW ERP on 472kHz WSPR

As far as I can tell, I have now had reports from 21 unique stations on 472kHz WSPR when using 5mW ERP (or less). A new reporter this evening is G3ZJO (79km). Up to now,  Eddie had been unable to decode me: I was just too weak and in the noise.  Maybe he has improved his RX?  His reports (4 so far this evening) are right on the edge at -28 to -30dB S/N.

My best DX report remains GM4SLV (896km) back in the summer. My best DX reception here on 472kHz is Italy at 1815km some evenings ago.  I have still to receive any stateside stations.

On 500kHz I had far more reports. I think my antenna at the newer QTH is poorer and there are fewer different stations active within my range.

Judging by my results with NOTHING special in antennas and grounds for 472kHz. I can recommend 472kHz WSPR to everyone. Even just a few new reporters  with RX only would be very nice.

UPDATE 2145z: IZ7PDX (1815km) already spotted at 2136z. Very early on 472kHz WSPR.

UPDATE 2212z:  About to reset the PC clock and turn down the TX percentage. I want to have a good chance of copying some decent DX tonight. Conditions look very good so far.

Stateside DXing on 10m WSPR

10m really is getting too easy this autumn. These are the most recent recent spots on 10m WSPR this evening.
10m WSPR spots this early evening
Oh, G8LCO told me in an email that I missed a great opening to the USA on 472kHz last night  - of course it was the night I had everything turned OFF because of storms - Sod's Law! In earlier years I have copied the USA from my old QTH, on 500kHz,  but not yet on 472kHz and at the new QTH.

From Southgate News - very low cost 70cm handhelds

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2014/october/price_of_70cm_handhelds_falls.htm#.VDP48MnTCSo  .
This is incredible: a 5W handheld for less than £8.

Looking on eBay, just £6.99 will buy a 70cms unit with charger from Singapore. Tell  me, how can ANYONE make money on these?

Thanks to G1KQH, a link to a review:


Today's sunspot count has slipped back to 86 but the 20-30MHz forecast is "good".   Already 10m WSPR is producing yet more F2 DX. Long may it continue. If there are USA stations looking, I might even try 6m WSPR in case there is any transatlantic F2 propagation.

UPDATE 1427z: Sadly 6m WSPR activity is very very low. I'll stick with 10m for now.

Late 10m WSPR start today

Last night I went QRT quite early because of nearby storm risks: the lightning map showed flashes quite close last evening. Until a few minutes ago I ventured (on the bus) into Cambridge for a U3AC course. This was my first excursion on my own for over a year! The course is good on Human Evolution.

10m WSPR was turned on a few minutes ago. As well as lots of USA stations, I see my 2W was spotted in Australia by VK5MR (16144km) at 1358z today. The 10m band is in good shape again.

Great to log a HUGE signal from Karen RA3APW (2443km) in Moscow. He runs a genuine 100mW from an Ultimate 3 kit.

UPDATE 1440z:  RV3DQC (2523km) is a collosal +7dB S/N  signal on 10m WSPR. This is either single hop F2 (most likely) or Es.  I think the former is more likely.

6 Oct 2014

Giant solar filament

More data c/o G1KQH again, this time something that appeared in The Register.


10m WSPR results today

I have just been comparing my 10m WSPR results today with fellow local G0LRD (25km away). He is copying FAR more than I am this morning - stations across Europe, Russia and Australia whereas I have apparently copied NOTHING and I've only been spotted by the locals.  It could be antennas, WSPR-X playing up, or something else. I have just restarted WSPR-X in case this is the reason. Over the weekend I was getting spots from distant places with just 500mW.   It  is odd as G0LND was spotting RA3APW (2466km) running a genuine 100mW very well indeed. I used to work with RA3APW (Karen) years ago. I certainly should have copied this station. Odd.

UPDATE 1318z:  Well, I don't understand this at all. Nothing had changed (i.e all WSPR-X settings were as before which worked previously), but I had to switch WSPR-X  to Direct-X input before decodes were successful and were being uploaded. Now all seems to be well again after a wasted morning. I think I have to note which settings (i.e. PC assignment of audio settings) work, then make sure these are selected next time WSPR-X is opened, rather than assume the same PC settings are assigned when the software is opened. I think this was my problem earlier. Darn it.