30 Jul 2015

472kHz WSPR this evening

At the moment I am copying PA0A and G8HUH on 472kHz WSPR but, as yet,  no-one is copying my 5mW ERP signal. I shall remain on MF overnight.  At the same time I am on 10m WSPR (100% TX).

There was very little Es on 10m WSPR today with just DK6UG (633km) spotting me at teatime today on 10m WSPR.

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday July 30th 2015

Sunspot number has climbed further to 66 (K=1) but 10m propagation is expected to remain "poor" today yet again.  Es will again be the main hope on 10m and 6m. The main Es season in the northern hemisphere usually last through until September but the peak months are May, June and July. Careful observers may see really sporadic openings at other times. This is where WSPR could really help. There is a smaller peak around Dec/Jan.

29 Jul 2015

Return to 472kHz WSPR

I QSYed down to 472kHz at 2000z. So far, no-one has spotted me but I have spotted PA0A (417km) and G8HUH (250km). I'll stay on overnight to see who copies me. Someone is bound to. I am still using 5mW ERP (at most) and the earth electrode "antenna". 472kHz is  more productive than the 6m band at night.  PA0A and G8HUH are among the better equipped MF stations with good ERPs. This autumn I must get a better antenna for MF erected. It would be good to have an ERP of 100mW - QRO for me!

6m WSPR Es

LA1IC appears to have reported my 10m WSPR as 6m by mistake early teatime. I think he changed bands but still was reporting some 10m spots as 6m ones. OK1DX (994km) was genuinely spotted at 1914z. I am still on 6m but may QSY to 630m (472kHz) shortly.

UPDATE 2050z:  I QSYed to MF at 2000z approximately. See next post.

Windows 10

If you want to upgrade to Windows 10 for free Steve G1KQH (Font of all knowledge) has given me this link:
Windows 10 for FREE!
73 Steve
I have not tried this so caveat emptor. You use the link at your own risk.

Sunspots and 10m. Wed July 29th 2015

Sunspot number is 56 today (up a very little) and K=2. 10m propagation is expected to remain "poor". Early 10m Es livened up that band although 6m is quiet here so far.

Early Es on 10m WSPR, but 6m quiet

There was breakfast time Es on 10m WSPR with DK6UG (633km), OZ7IT (853km) and DK0SC (827km) all spotting me. I stayed on 6m through the night but only G0OQK (98km) and I exchanged spots on that band, but no Es DX spotted here on 6m. I should have gone to 630m overnight!

28 Jul 2015

10m Es and tropo

There has been Es on 10m WSPR but the openings seem to have been very localised with F1VMV (947km) spotting my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon most of the morning. Also spotting me was EA6ALL (1423km) just once.  There were also a few Germans spotting me much earlier.

UPDATE 1242z:  4X1RF before breakfast was the only E layer (I presume) DX on 6m WSPR. If this was classic Es I'd have expected to see intermediate distance stations too - there were none. In fact there was no evidence of Es here on 6m WSPR at all to this time.

UPDATE 1340z:  Overnight I was spotted on 10m WSPR in The Netherlands. This looks like it was by tropo as the distance was too short for Es. Time was right (0332z to 0416z) for tropo too - just before dawn.

UPDATE 1345z:  I see that I was spotted on 10m WSPR by GM4SFW (662km) by Es at 1240z.

UPDATE 1930z: 10m WSPR is filled with EU Es stations from across the continent. Great Es conditions on both 10m and 6m.

Sunspots and 10m - Tues July 28th 2015

Sunspot number is 53 (K=3) but 10m propagation remains "poor".  There was early Es on 10m and 6m which bodes well for nearer DX.  4X1RF (3519km) was copying me on 6m WSPR before breakfast. I think this is some form of E layer propagation, although I have grave doubts it is classic multi-hop Es.

Back on 6m WSPR (daytime)

As there were no MF reports since last evening and there were Germans by Es early today on 10m, I have returned to 6m WSPR for the daytime. I shall probably switch back to MF later.  A reminder that I use 1W ERP on 6m and my 6m antenna is a V2000 vertical omni. On MF I use 5mW ERP to my earth electrode "antenna".

UPDATE 0850z:  The daytime move was worth it with very early (before breakfast) 6m spots by 4X1RF (3519km) as well as lots of spots of G0OQK (98km).

UPDATE 1350z:  No further DX spots at all on 6m WSPR.

UPDATE 1900z:   As there is still good Es on 6m WSPR, I am sticking on the 6m band for now. 4X1RF (3519km) again spotted me this afternoon. In recent minutes, OK1DX (994km) was spotted strongly on 6m WSPR. Several Scandinavian stations have spotted me on 6m WSPR. I may QSY to 630m (472kHz) later.

UPDATE 1922z:   Now being spotted in Germany on 6m WSPR. This opening is very good with strong reports.

27 Jul 2015

G3XBM amateur radio history

Me - a VERY long time ago!
Since my cerebellum brain bleed nearly 2 years ago, I have managed very little experimental work such as fieldwork and building. At one time (and I hope again in the not too distant future) these aspects of the hobby gave me the most pleasure and fun.

For a potted history see:  https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/home/history .

EA8BVP (2986km) - first 10m DX WSPR spots for weeks

EA8BVP (2986km) was spotting me recently (1026z) on 10m WSPR weakly at -25dB S/N.  It is possible this was F2 propagation and not Es.  It will be interesting to see if he spots me again later. Certainly EA8 is quite possible by single hop F2. It is also in 2/3-hop Es range.

UPDATE 1147z:   F1VMV (947km) was spotting me on 10m by Es at 1134z.

Stroke update - NOT amateur radio

Although overall I get less tired (but some things still exhaust me), I still have poor speech and I feel giddy when walking, especially when turning. Thin liquid swallow is still not good - in fact I can only take sips of any liquids - but my taste is returning to normal. Real orange juice was a "no no" as was cheese and bread, but these are fine now.  In fact I enjoy orange and cheese again. Wine and whisky still taste odd (bitter) and I have yet to enjoy these again. Very very slowly things are improving, although I was expecting to be my old self a year ago! Overall, I still feel not right.

Others think I am fine. Indeed I look well, but inside I am not still. Climbing ladders is basically out of the question and anything over about 15-20 minutes of physical or mental effort really floors me. I really want to do some antenna work but this will require help unless things rapidly improve in the next few months.

I am able to drive, but this requires lots of concentration.

Sun? Surely not - NOT amateur radio

Is this really the sun in the sky? We have hardly had any sun for days now - just lots of rain. The sun has popped out from behind the clouds. I think I must be seeing things.

10m WSPR - just locals so far

I have remained on 10m overnight and this morning, but only local G4IKZ (18km)  has been spotting my 500mW beacon so far. Maybe there will be some Es later. There is no doubt that getting 10m WSPR spots is getting more difficult. This is a combination of summertime conditions, falling sunspots and fewer active WSPR stations. Undaunted, I shall carry on on 10m WSPR!

Sunspots and 10m - Mon July 27th 2015

Sunspot number today is 38 (K=2) and 10m propagation is expected to remain "poor". We will probably have to wait until the autumn for better 10m conditions, although some N-S F2 propagation can occur. 10m (or even 6m) openings to North America may occur by Es. Even QRP SSB can work the USA in the right Es conditions on 10m. I worked the USA in summer 2007 with real QRP (about 1W ERP) CW on 6m.

472kHz WSPR overnight

Overnight I was spotted by PA0RDT (243km) for my best DX on the band. Even though summer time, it is good that stations are still able to copy my weak 5mW ERP signal.

26 Jul 2015

Blog post numbers

I never fail to be amazed by what is popular on my blogs. Today, nothing special (I thought) was posted yet we seem to be heading for a new record number of visits. I have no idea why.

Now QSYed to 472kHz WSPR

OK, so I have now left 6m and QSYed down to MF instead. I am still on 10m WSPR at the same time.

It is still summer time and I think people will struggle to copy my very weak (5mW ERP) signal, especially in daylight. Anyway, I am still using the earth-electrode antenna for now. At least I have a better chance on 472kHz. As mentioned before, with some help, I hope to erect a better antenna that will raise my ERP on 472kHz. This may not happen before late autumn.

UPDATE 1510z:  I see that G6AVK (78km) is spotting me on 472kHz WSPR. This is daylight. So far, I have not copied anyone, but at least I am getting out OK on MF. I am not sure why I like MF so much, but I guess it is because I am using my homemade transverter and a fairly unique "antenna". Let no-one tell you you cannot radiate a useful signal on 472kHz. If I can get out with my low ERP (I have been copied over 1000km away on this set-up) and just a couple of earth-electrodes about 12m (at most) apart in the garden, I am sure you can do at least as good or better.

UPDATE 1535z:  No further Es on 10m WSPR since the Italian earlier today.

UPDATE 1645z:  G6AVK (78km) is now getting me at 5dB S/N better than earlier, not sure why. Still no reports of others or reports from anyone else yet. Things may change as night falls.

UPDATE 1655z: WSPRnet show 17 stations worldwide on 472kHz WSPR. I need a few more "in range" stations active this evening, such as G8HUH (250km) who copied me last time I was active in the summer.

UPDATE 1840z:  Plenty of spots by G6AVK but no-one else spotted or spotting me so far on 472kHz WSPR.

UPDATE 1910z:  G6AVK spotted (eventually) in the last few minutes. Also G8LCO (58km) spotted me.

UPDATE 2102z:  PA0A (417km) and G8HUH (250km) are the best DX on 472kHz WSPR today, well so far.

Chinese factory video

Steve G1KQH sent me this link to a video. It shows the Quixang factory in China. Few people and lots of automation. Watch out Japanese amateur companies! Change or die. The writing is on the wall for Icom, Kenwood and Yaesu. I can see these will go under unless they cans lash prices by designing in Japan and making in China.

See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2FOZvtD9wU .

Last day on 6m WSPR?

Today will probably be my last day of this Es season on 6m WSPR. I am not ruling out the occasional outing to 6m, but I do not intend to be on 24/7 as I have largely been for months. Apart from 4X1RF (3519km) no great DX was had on the band (given or received spots). This was disappointing but I am flogging a dead horse on 6m WSPR. We need hundreds of active stations and, sadly, these are just not there.

It is getting harder now on 10m WSPR too with less activity, but I intend to run the 10m beacon 100% of the time when not doing anything else. I am still hopeful that this will show up fleeting 10m openings in the quieter years. I just hope a devoted core of WSPRers stick with 10m. In the quiet solar years there may be days with nothing before a fleeting N-S opening. I think this autumn and winter we will still have decent 10m conditions although autumn 2016 onwards may be much harder. There will be openings even in the quiet solar years, especially N-S.

UPDATE 1150z:
  This morning, just 6m WSPR spots exchanged with G0OQK (98km). No Es DX seen on the band, well not yet. G0OQK seems to be nearly always there, although sometimes a 2min WSPR transmission is too long to decode. I think some of the problem is drift as I go from TX to RX in the FT817. WSPR software can handle with a few Hertz drift, but more than that and it just cannot cope. This is one reason why other modes may be better: JT65 and JT9 only need 1 minute TX times. Although not as sensitive as WSPR the shorter transmission time may be better.

UPDATE 1316z:   EA1KV (1304km) has been spotted by 6m Es WSPR since 1154z. He has also be spotting me. No other Es seen on the band.

UPDATE 1320z:  IK0OKY (1480km) was spotting me on 10m WSPR just now. No other Es seen so far on 10m WSPR.

Sunspots and 10m - Sun July 26th 2015

Sunspot number today is 41 (K=1) and 10m is expected to remain "poor". We are hoping that Es will liven up what otherwise may be a quiet band.

25 Jul 2015

Low WSPR activity

Worldwide, the total number of stations shown as active is just 46 for 10 and 6m combined. With this low level of activity it is hardly worth continuing. I shall continue with 10m WSPR but I may leave 6m as early as tomorrow and head to MF.

UPDATE 2145z:  I have come to the reluctant conclusion after trying for 2 summer Es seasons that WSPR does not appear to be the best mode to capture real DX openings. VE7SL reports trans-Pacific openings on 6m to Japan, but it seems very high power and big beams are necessary. This mode does appear to need mesospheric reflections (not Es) and these occur in June and July. We still have a lot to learn but WSPR does not appear to be much help sadly.  As I run neither high power or a big beam on 6m, I shall leave exploiting these very long polar paths on 6m to the grown ups.

Historic adverts?

Thanks to Phil G4HFU (see earlier post) I have been reacquainted with the old PW adverts that got me dreaming over 50 years ago. I wonder if other blog readers can point me in the direction of old UK magazines and adverts? I was first interested in radio and SWLing in the early 1960s.

Back then, the world was a very different place. The Beatles were still in the future.  We lived under the constant fear of all out nuclear war (I was terrified in the 1962 Cuba crisis) and most amateur DX was by CW or AM. Although RTTY was around, most digital modes were not. Magazines like Practical Wireless, Radio Constructor and Short Wave Magazine were filled with goodies I drooled over, but could not afford. Even now I do not like parting with money for amateur gear unless there is a good chance of getting very many years of good service from it.

Swifts - NOT amateur radio

This evening, in a further attempt to beat my giddiness, I went for a decent (for me!) walk. One of the joys of an English summer evening is seeing swifts on the wing high in the sky and hearing their calls - a high pitched scream. To me, this is the sound of summer. Their wings are scythe like and they spend most of their lives on the wing.

They arrive late (around the end of April) and go before summer is done. It an ephemeral sound that they make. When you hear it, it is truly late spring or summer. Soon the summer migrants will head south to warmer skies and we will be joined by migrants from the north such as whooper and bewick swans from the high Arctic and Russia as well thrushes like redwings and fieldfares from Scandinavia. To them we represent warmth and mildness!

For now I am content to hear those swifts, although they will soon be on their way. Hopefully, I'll still be around for their return in the spring. Seeing the first swifts in late April brings joy to my heart. The cycle of life that has happened for thousands of years goes on. No doubt this cycle went on when we still lived in caves and when Roman soldiers walked these lands and this cycle will still be going on long after I am dust again.

See http://www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/discoverandlearn/birdguide/name/s/swift/ .

Sunspots and 10m - Sat July 25th 2015

Sunspot number is 54 today (K=2) somewhat up on yesterday, but still not high. 10m conditions are expected to remain "poor".  So far today, there has been very little DX about with only marginal Es early on on 10m WSPR.

Another poor Es day on 10m and 6m WSPR

Just a brief Es opening on 10m WSPR to northern Spain (EA1) but nothing else apart from Gs on either band. I am definitely leaving 6m after the weekend.

24 Jul 2015

Thunder and lightning?

Since I cut part of our hedges after breakfast, we have had non-stop rain all day. This is expected to get stronger overnight. We badly need the rain as our lawns are going brown. There is a good chance of a thunderstorm overnight so I shall go QRT on 10m and 6m later this evening.

UPDATE 2136z:  All rigs and antennas disconnected, so totally QRT.  Storms currently over English Channel. For storm maps for the UK see http://www.lightningmaps.org/realtime?lang=en .

Kits list

I see that http://www.amateurradio.com/ had a link to a blog that listed lots of amateur kits. If you are looking for kits you may want to browse the list. Caveat emptor of course and I advise a look at reviews on http://www.eham.net/reviews/  before parting with your money. Some are well known, but many were new to me.

See http://fofio.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/radio-kit-guide.htm .

Ranger 2 and Ranger 3 from Henry's Radio

In my youth (a very long time ago!) there were adverts for Henry's Radio on the rear cover of Practical Wireless and Radio Constructor, I think. The most memorable adverts were for Ranger 2 and Ranger 3 radios covering "Medium wave, top band and shipping". I notice that details of the Ranger 3 are available on the Radio Museum website. I always wanted one but could not afford it with my pocket money.

See http://www.radiomuseum.org/r/hernrys_ranger_3.html .

6m Es

There was a brief Es opening on 6m at 1140z today during which WSPR spots were exchanged with CT1PT (1685km).  On 10m WSPR I have just been spotted by G stations so far.

Poor start on 6m and 10m WSPR

It has been a poor start on both 6m and 10m with just G stations overnight and this morning so far. No evidence here of any Es on either band on WSPR.

I shall stay on 6m over the weekend but I shall probably QSY to 472kHz WSPR after that. I think the best of the Es season is now over, especially on 6m?

Sunspots and 10m - Friday July 24th 2015

Sunspot number has slipped further and is just 27 today (K=2) and 10m is expected to remain "poor".

It has just started to rain here (miserable day!) but the garden badly needs the rain, which is due to get worse and last 24 hours. I managed to cut part of my hedge before the rain started.  My wife and I got married 44 years ago today.

23 Jul 2015

Last few days on 6m?

Well, today has been a pretty poor day here on 6m WSPR. A few more days like this and I am going QRT on 6m and looking elsewhere.   Of course, the day after I close down on 6m you can be sure of the biggest transatlantic 6m opening in years!

In a few weeks I shall need some help with antennas. I want to replace my small hand-rotated 2m/70cm beam with big wheels and I want a long wire that can be used on 472kHz.  At the moment I am just too wobbly on ladders. How I wish I was fit again!

Sunspots and 10m - Thurs July 23rd 2015

I am afraid this is much later than normal as we have only just got our broadband back: it has been off most of the day. Sunspot number is little changed on yesterday at 35 (K=3) and 10m remains "poor".

In a minute I'll check how 10m and 6m have been today. I resynced the 10m beacon before we lost internet just after breakfast. 6m has depended on the PC clock and may have drifted off during the day.

UPDATE 1930z:  There was a little Es evident from Italy at teatime on 10m, but just Gs by tropo and planes on 6m, with no evidence of 6m Es here.

No internet all day

It is unusual for our internet and phones not to work, but we had been without both for most of the day. Our services come via fibre and our broadband speed is pretty good. So, this is my first chance to update blogs  and check social media and emails. Our service is via Virgin Media.

I think they may have increased the speed now. Certainly download speeds which were good are now very good.

22 Jul 2015

Time to go QRT on 6m WSPR?

I am seriously considering closing down on 6m altogether. I may give it a few more days but it is really not worth the effort, especially on WSPR. The trouble is, I have very little choice WRT antennas.  I use my 40/20/10m end-fed on 10m so I would not be able to use another HF band at the same time as 10m.

4m band across Europe?

This article appeared on the 70MHz website last week. It may mean 4m becomes a common European amaallocation in the near future?  At the very least it makes it easier for individual countries to allocate 4m to radio amateurs.
"A new revised edition of ERC Report 25 - the European Common Allocation Table - has been published. The revision was approved at the WGFM#83 meeting and takes into account the latest Decisions made at the ECC#40 (30 June - 3 July 2015).

The new ECA inter alia includes a secondary allocation to the amateur service in the band 69.9 - 70.5 MHz.

However everyone should be aware that implementing the ECA is not mandatory on CEPT administrations."
A reminder of the current 4m allocations is available at http://www.70mhz.org/index.php?categoryid=2&p2_articleid=316 .

Some Es on 10m and 6m

CN8LI (2113km) spotted me just once at 1744z on 6m WSPR at a strong -13dB S/N. I suspect this was a brief Es opening.  Earlier EA1KV (1304km) was spotting me on 10m WSPR at 1146z.  Es today was not outstanding on 6m, well so far at least. On 10m, there were WSPR reports from across Europe albiet no brilliant.

Sunspots and 10m - Wed July 22nd 2015

Sunspot number has fallen slightly to 37 (K=1) and 10m F2 propagation is expected to remain "poor". Es may make 10m and 6m liven up a bit.

Soon be time to return to 472kHz WSPR?

Another poor start?

I have been on 10m and 6m WSPR overnight but no Es seen, even in daylight, on either band. Of course, things may well change, but I am now convinced more than ever that sticking with WSPR is causing me to miss some DX. Activity levels on WSPR are just too low, which is a great shame  Also, when conditions are more marginal a bit more antenna gain and power might help? In the past I have questioned this.

21 Jul 2015

Quitest day yet?

It is now 1540z and on 10m I have only been spotted by local G4IKZ (18km) all day and not a single station on WSPR by Es or F2. 6m has been equally dire with just Gs by tropo and maybe off aircraft. Around teatime there is often a small Es peak so I am not giving up just yet!

Conditions are a little disturbed, but I am amazed how little Es there is here (none!) on both 10m and 6m WSPR. Maybe later or tomorrow things will be better?

Come September we will start to see autumnal conditions returning on 10m. Last autumn, winter and spring there were stateside spots of my 500mW 10m WSPR on most days. I was spotted in every continent, including Antarctica and Australasia on 10m WSPR.  It will be interesting to compare this year with last, as sunspot numbers will, on average, be way down. Soon be time to improve the LF/MF antennas too.

Just wondering if I should move to JT65 and JT9 for the F2 DX season? I like WSPR as it fits my operating style (and poor health) and I can monitor it remotely in the lounge.  JT modes are really 2-way and need more active intervention on my part. Maybe this will be good for me? Maybe JT65 and JT9-1 will ease me back into 2-way QSOs?

UPDATE 1908z:   I notice that G4IKZ (18km) has had a bad day on 10m too. Apart from an ON (tropo?) around breakfast there were only G spots in his log according to WSPRnet.

UPDATE 1942z:  I see that G4IKZ has spotted PY and CX on 10m WSPR just now. There is obviously some F2 propagation.  I guess Nick's Moxon beam is helping! He is probably able to copy signals at least 10dB weaker than me, although I am 100% TX currently on 10m WSPR.

Stroke update - NOT amateur radio

I am still having great difficulty with giddiness when walking. Also, I have poor speech and poor thin liquid drinking, although most foods are OK. I still get days when I am profoundly tired, especially after physical or mental exertion, although I seem to bounce back more quickly. Overall, my poor voice and giddiness are my biggest concerns. Getting better, but only very slowly.  Overall, I still feel very unwell. By this time last year I was expecting to be back to full health.

Still no Es here today on 6m or 10m

It is now 1305z and still there is no Es evident on either 6m or 10m WSPR here. This is, by a long way, the worst day on both bands for some time, here at least.  I wonder if we really are seeing a poor Es season?  Of course, there is always the chance that people are moving to other modes and deserting WSPR.  WSPR activity levels are very low on both bands currently, which is a pity. Without active stations on WSPR openings are being missed. Of course, WSPRnet only shows stations very recently spotting or spotted, so if they have been active but unsuccessful they appear as inactive and do not get shown. On a poor day there may be lots of stations trying on 10m and 6m WSPR but without success.

Sunspots and 10m/6m - Tues July 21st 2015

Sunspot number has drifted lower and is 39 today (K=3). 10m is expected to remain "poor". With lowish sunspot number, somewhat disturbed conditions and summertime, I am not expecting much of 10m, although Es may liven up things a bit on 10m and 6m.

Apparently stations in South America were being worked on 6m at the weekend. There was zero "real DX" on 6m WSPR, probably due to the low level of activity on that mode. This is the last season I shall try WSPR on 6m. I shall either abandon the band (which would be a pity) or chose another mode. For the last two Es seasons I have been on 6m quite a lot with only 4X1RF (3519km), CN8LI (2113km) and EU Es to show for it. For the time spent, results on 6m have been disappointing.

All quiet here on 10m/6m Es

No signs here yet (1038z) today of any Es yet on 6m and 10m WSPR. This can well change, but this is a quieter start to the day than I can remember in some time. Is the main Es season drawing to a close already? Surely not. In 2013 there was plenty of European Es on 6m and 10m SSB right up until I was in hospital which was mid September.

20 Jul 2015

Some life on 6m WSPR, but not much

CN8LI (2113km) and I exchanged WSPR spots earlier on 6m WSPR. At the moment there seems very little Es about on 6m and 10m WSPR.

East Anglian Churches: blog updated - NOT amateur radio

Today we visited Clare church in Suffolk and I have updated the East Anglian Churches blog. It is a light, airy and welcoming church. It was visited by Daniel Defoe who called it a "good church".

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

Sunspots and 10m - Mon July 20th 2015

Sunspot number is 46 today (K=1) and 10m propagation is expected to remain "poor". We should not expect great things of 10m today (summertime conditions) unless the band is livened up by Es. If recent days are typical, 6m will be the better band for Es.

Quiet start on 6m and 10m WSPR

So far, and things can well change later, only G spots on 6m and 10m WSPR. No Es evident yet. Very slowly, we are falling from the peak of the cycle, although I think we will have one more good autumn/winter season on 10m.

UPDATE 1045z:  G0MQW (123km) was the best overnight DX.   This was on 6m WSPR.  He spotted me at 0300z. Still no Es evident (yet today!) on 6m or 10m WSPR.


Just received this letter from the RSGB. I was somewhat chuffed to be awarded this trophy! It was a total surprise.
Hello Roger,

Good to hear from you in which I hope is improved health.

You were awarded the Wortley-Talbot Trophy which is awarded, annually, for the most outstanding experimental work in amateur radio.  I enclose a photo.

It is, physically ,the largest trophy that we present and for this reason winners usually leave it in the custody of the Society!

Best Wishes  

Graham Coomber, G0NBI
General Manager
Radio Society of Great Britain

19 Jul 2015

VLF amateur experiments

See https://sites.google.com/site/sub9khz/vlf-news-2015 .

In Germany there has been discussions about possible VLF amateur transmissions around 1.72kHz (tweek resonances) and even whistler mode with reception in the Southern Hemisphere.

As we move to "quiet sun" conditions maybe more people will be enticed to the VLF, LF and MF bands?

Linears in the UK

I think the RSGB must be getting short of articles for RadCom.

Last month they reviewed a linear that cannot be legally used in the UK because of its high power. There were a couple of critical letters about this in the August RadCom. Why did the RSGB print this review at all? We, in the UK, have a power level of 400W pep on most bands and we should encourage UK amateurs to keep to this. I have rarely used more than 5-10W pep and even 100W sounds like incredibly high power! No, let us have more articles in the spirit of amateur radio. Not everyone is interested in big, overpriced radios, linears, towers and huge HF beams. Just a few watts is enough to span the globe.

Anyone can work the world with 1000W and an HF beam on a tower. You can also video conference world wide for free with Skype!

QRP is a real challenge. High power rigs, big HF beam and linears are more about egos. Personally they do little for me.

All quiet on 6m and 10m WSPR, so far

On both 6m and 10m WSPR I am just being spotted only by G stations with no sign of Es as yet. Of course, things can change very quickly, although at this time yesterday I was being spotted, or had spotted, many Europeans by Es.

UPDATE 1025z:  I was spotted by F5UBP (661km) on 10m WSPR a few minutes back by Es.

UPDATE 1045z:  All quiet still on 6m with WSPR spots exchanged only with G0OQK (98km) so far this morning and no 6m Es seen yet.

UPDATE 1118z:   CN8LI (2113km) was just spotted on 6m WSPR. I think he may have just switched his rig on as there was quite a bit of drift on his signal. I see he has also spotted me on 6m WSPR a couple of times.

UPDATE 1622z:  Plenty of 6m WSPR spots being exchanged with CN8LI (2113km) now.

UPDATE 1912z:  Very very little Es evident on 10m WSPR with just EA1KV (1304km) spotting me (once) earlier.

UPDATE 1938z:  So far today, the better Es has been on 6m rather than 10m.

UPDATE 2100z:  CN8LI (2113km) has spotted me 13 times today so far on 6m WSPR. Not bad.

Poor MPs - NOT amateur radio

Yesterday, the Daily Mirror reported that an MP (UK Member of Parliament) was having to "count the pennies" on a salary of £90k a year and needed a pay rise! I think this MP is so sad and pathetic. Does he live on the same planet as me? Many struggle to get by on a very very small amount of money. Please, if the Mirror quoted you correctly, get a life.

Sunspots and 10m - Sun July 19th 2015

Sunspot number is slightly up at 52 (K=1) but 10m propagation remains "poor".  Es is the main hope on 10m and 6m.

18 Jul 2015

No super DX yet on 10m or 6m Es

As yet, I have not seen any evidence of really long distance Es propagation on either 10m or 6m WSPR. My best DX is still several spots on 6m from 4X1RF (3519km), but I am still elusively looking for transatlantic stations on either of these bands by Es.  I suspect lack of activity is a real issue on 6m WSPR and other modes might be better.

6m Es - CN8LI

I see that CN8LI (2113km) in Morocco, was spotted strongly at 1002z on 6m WSPR. I think he was there earlier but not decoding. Perhaps he has only recently turned the rig on and it is still stabilising?

UPDATE 1250z:   Spots were (and still are) being exchanged with CN8LI strongly on 6m WSPR all morning and lunchtime.On 10m WSPR it has been pretty quiet for several hours with just spots by local G4IKZ (18km).

UPDATE 1512z:  CN8LI and I are still exchanging 6m WSPR spots and I am also spotting CT1PT  (1685km) at intermediate range. A reminder that my ERP is about 1W. I use a V2000 (vertical omni) fed via a run of lossy UR58 coax.

UPDATE 1715z:   CN8LI and I are still exchanging WSPR spots.  He has been spotted, and has been spotting me, most of the day. Recent reports of CN8LI have been very strong.

UPDATE 1919z:  CN8LI (2113km) has spotted me on 6m 14 times today at up +5dB, that is up to now.  It is possible there will be yet more spots. I have spotted him 31 times so far today on 6m WSPR. His ERP is higher than mine, I believe, by at least 10dB.

Lincoln President Mk2

I have owned this rig for several months now but it hardly get used as I prefer, because of my poor voice, to run my WSPR beacon on 10m.  It certainly works well with my last QSO being a W8 on SSB.

In the picture, the small WSPR beacon is far left with the Lincoln  with green illumination on the left of the FT817s and to the right of the WSPR beacon.

Sunspots and 10m - Sat July 18th 2015

Sunspot number is 40 today (K=1) and 10m is predicted to remain "poor". Our best hope is that Es propagation livens things up a bit on 10m WSPR.  No Es seen yet on 6m WSPR.

Early Es on 10m

There was early Es on 10m today with spots from CT, EA1 and LB9 before 0936z.  Still no "exotic" Es DX seen here yet on 10m WSPR. 6m WSPR has been quiet, so far.

UPDATE 1252z:   GM, I and D spotted by Es in addition to the above on 10m WSPR today so far.  Nothing by Es on 10m WSPR since much earlier today.

17 Jul 2015

6m WSPR Es

Since returning home from a week on the Isle of Wight with our younger son and family I have been on 10m and 6m WSPR this evening for about one hour.  Spots exchanged on 6m WSPR with F1VMV (947km) and so far just G4IKZ (18km) spotting me on 10m.

UPDATE 2041z:   G0OQK (98km) is now spotting me.

Sunspots and 10m - July 17th 2015

Sunspot number has climbed back to 55 (K=2) but 10m propagation is still "poor". Don't expect wonderful F2 conditions on 10m.

16 Jul 2015

UK thunder and lightning

Storms are currently moving up from Hampshire into East Anglia over night. Better stay off the air until these are well out of the way.

UK MP salary - NOT amateur radio

With unbelievably poor timing UK MPs have just been awarded a 10% pay rise taking their BASIC annual salary to around £74k. At the same time nurses and similar are getting rises of 1% or nothing and some benefits are being cut.

Back on 10m and 6m WSPR

I should be back on 10m and 6m WSPR before the weekend although I don't think I have missed too much.

Sunspots and 10m - July 16th 2015

Sunspot number remains at 39 (K=2) and 10m propagation remains "poor" .  Apart from Es we should not expect great things of 10m today.

15 Jul 2015

Sunspots and 10m - July 15th 2015

Sunspot number is 39 today (K=2). 10m propagation is expected to remain "poor".

The next few solar cycles

According to recently published UK forecasts the next few solar cycles will be very poor with abysmal conditions on the higher bands but good LF and MF conditions

See http://www.amateurradio.com/solar-cycle-25-and-beyond/

Looks like many will not see a return to good 
HF conditions in our lifetimes.

Low cost mics

Steve G1KQH  has made me aware of some very good deals on mics for under £10. If you need mics this may be worth investing in.

See http://www.gearbest.com/speakers/pp_193557.html

14 Jul 2015

6m Es

Another day when I was unable to get on 6m WSPR but I don't appear to have missed much. 4X1RF copied OZ,  but apart from that only shortish range Es on the band.

70cm UKAC tonight

A reminder that at 8pm UK clock time is the 70cm leg of the RSGB's 70cm activity contest. Unfortunately I cannot take part tonight but activity is usually good. Usually I can work 200km with 5W and a 5el from home.

Sunspots and 10m - July 14th 2015

Sunspot number has fallen further to 44 (K=1) and 10m is expected to remain "poor".  F2 propagation is not expected to be great.

13 Jul 2015

Sunspots and 10m - July 13th 2015

Sunspot number has dropped back to 59 (K=4) and 10m is expected to be "poor". F2 conditions are not expected to be anything special today.

Still no great DX on 6m WSPR

July 13th 2015 and I was unable to get 6m on WSPR again. Looking at WSPRnet I see that only EU Es was being reported and less than 500km too. I am still waiting for some transatlantic DX but nothing yet.

12 Jul 2015

6m Es

For a few days I have not been on 6m WSPR but I don't seem to have missed that much with most spots today being less than 500km.


Years ago I wanted a Heathkit Lunchbox HW30  rig for 2m AM. Although at the time I bought a manual I never did buy the rig as it was too much at the time. These days there is too little AM on the band and the RX would struggle at times.

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

Sunspots and 10m - Sun July 12th 2015

Sunspot number is 131 today again. K=1 so pretty undisturbed conditions. 10m is expected to remain "fair".

11 Jul 2015

6m Es but no super-DX

Although there has been Es on 6m, there has been no evidence of super-DX on the band.

Sunspots and 10m - Sat July 11th 2015

My usual source of sunspot data has not updated his data since yesterday so I am unable to give new forecasts for today. The best hope at this time of year is 10m and 6m Es.

10 Jul 2015

Sunspots and 10m - Friday July 10th 2015

Sunspot number is still 131 (K=1) and 10m is expected to remain "fair" .

9 Jul 2015

2m SSB history

For me, 2m SSB began with the purchase of a 10W pep Belcom Liner 2, which opened up 2m SSB to the masses. Before then, people used homebrew transverters and HF rigs to get on VHF SSB.

After that I owned the IC202 from ICOM which had a very good VXO but less power (3W pep).  Later, the first digital synthesised rigs appeared and 2m SSB really took off.

In the last 20 years or so, certainly here in the UK, VHF/UHF SSB took a nosedive and what little VHF/UHF activity there is is mainly using FM. Here in the UK there is good SSB activity in contests and in good lifts, but little casual use of the SSB/CW modes, which is a pity. Ranges on SSB can be much greater than FM for similar power levels.

When I first used my Liner 2 I was amazed how far I could reach in flat conditions, even with 10W and a small indoor antenna.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/vuhf/ic202 .

10m Es on WSPR - very quiet

Apart from an early morning WSPR spot from Italy, it has been quiet here on 10m WSPR with just spots from local G4IKZ (18km).  At the moment, 6m is getting more spots and from greater distances. No F2 DX seen on 10m WSPR here.

6m Es on WSPR

There was quite a bit of Es on 6m this morning with some even in the night.  We are at the height of the Es season in Europe now.

Sunspots and 10m - Thurs July 9th 2015

Sunspot number is still a respectable 131 (K=1) and 10m propagation is expected to remain "fair". Although because of summertime conditions we should not expect too much of F2 on 10m, Es is likely again to liven up both 10m and 6m.

8 Jul 2015


Steve, G1KQH (Font of all knowledge) passed me information on this company. He was trying to help me with crystals, but they stock a lot of good stuff. I think this is stuff remaindered by others and sold on. They accept payment by PayPal and orders over £30 have free delivery. Looks like a place worth checking out.

See http://www.surplectronics.com .

New country (I think) spotting me on 6m WSPR

IH9YMC (1946km) on Pantelleria Island (JM56xt) was spotting me at 1114z on 6m WSPR.  I think this counts as a separate country. It is not too far from Tunisia.

UPDATE 1330z:  EA6GF (1428km) has spotted me several times on 6m WSPR today.

UPDATE 1822z:  At 1758z and at 1820z I was (yet again) spotted by 4X1RF (3519km) in Israel on 6m WSPR. This is a very long way for Es and seems to happen very often.

Chinese stock market losses - NOT amateur radio

We should be afraid of what is happening in China. There, stock market losses are huge in the last month and these will affect China and the West. The article linked shows parallels with the 1929 Wall Street Crash. Worrying. With Greece and China the world is facing another financial crisis.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-33440565 .

15m QRP

Another rig that rarely gets used these days is my 15m 1W CW transceiver, the MFJ Cub. This works very well and has worked South and North Americans. Currently I have no antennas up for 15m so it has not been used at this QTH. This uses a superhet RX. I guess this is another rig I should consider selling or trading in? If it is not getting much use this is especially true. I must have had it about 15 years now. It is a good little single band radio covering about 70kHz (as I recall) of the CW band. There is a small hole in the case so this can be centred where ever one likes in the band. Another example of a simple "station in a box". A CW key, battery, Walkman phones and 15m antenna and you are on the radio and able to work DX.  It never fails to amaze me how effective simple radios can be. You really do not need to spend a lot. A 15m dipole can be made by just about anyone and does not need to be that high to work well.  If I could work >8000km with mine I am sure you can do at least as well.

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

Sunspots and 10m - Wed July 8th 2015

Sunspot number is 131 (K=1) and 10m propagation again expected to remain "fair".  Es will liven up 10m and 6m. Whether or not we get any real 10m F2 DX remains to be seen. It is mid-summer and most F2 DX (if any) will be N-S.

Most early mornings, I seem to be spotted in Italy on WSPR by 10m Es. Years ago I used to work a station in Rome very regularly who was using 100mW AM on 28.500MHz from a small handheld. I was on SSB.  His equivalent SSB power (i.e. the power in the upper sideband) was a few milliwatts. I had no trouble working him.

2m UKAC contest last night

Only 4 contacts on 2m last night before I had to stop because of my poor voice. Some decent DX heard including an F in IN99 and GJ on Jersey. In all, I was on TX for only about 50 minutes. The contest was 2.5 hours but I had given up by 2000z.

6m Es this morning

In the end I remained on 10m and 6m WSPR overnight. Only G0OQK and G3ZJO 6m WSPR spots. Yesterday G3ZJO was spotted several times in Israel on 6m WSPR by 4X1RF.  

OH7AZL (2000km) is now spotting me on 6m WSPR at 0924z.

7 Jul 2015

Pipit 15m transceiver

This rig was designed and built many years ago. It spanned some impressive distances and worked well. The receiver was a direct conversion and the gain adjustment was before the mixer, so RF gain could be reduced easily which helped strong signal handling. No RX-TX offset was needed as this was just about right anyway. For quite a time it was the main rig used and every QSO felt like a million dollars! It was written up in GQRP SPRAT a very long time ago (30 years ago?). It is hard to get much more fun than using something this simple and working a long way regularly with it.

Before I had crystals for the CW part of the band my very first QSO was a USA SSB station that I called that was located near Chicago some 4000 miles away. I nearly fell off the chair when he replied.  After than I knew anything was possible. I really should rebuild it someday.

It crossed the Atlantic many times. I even used a 10/15m trap dipole (very low) occasionally and never used anything bigger than a low wire dipole. Output power was 800mW, quite enough I found for solid CW QSOs.

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

Old home movies online - NOT amateur radio

See http://player.bfi.org.uk/new/

Since lunchtime, the BFI has made available thousands of old digitised home movies online. This is a treasure trove as some are well over 100 years old.

Chinese SPAM and British Gas - NOT amateur radio, just amateurish

I am sorry to report that most of my SPAM messages (deleted at the earliest opportunity) come from the Far East and most are from China. I am now getting expert at spotting these, which have no relevance to the actual post. Most want to advertise a link. Sorry, you are wasting your time as these comments rarely get
as far as being published even. Many are probably generated by computers anyway.

By the way, weeks after waiting in for British Gas to install smart meters I have received many emails but no explanation why no-one turned up in the agreed 5 hour slot. British Gas seem hopeless, but so are many energy suppliers here in the UK. "Arse and elbow" comes to mind: they only seem able to communicate with customers by computer and they do not seem to know what other divisions in the same company are doing.  Despite billing me at the new QTH for 2 years, they have my wrong details on their system. I can only change this if I say I've moved house. Doing this would probably just throw their system into total confusion, so for now I am still awaiting a phone call from a human being. Smart meters? Oh I forgot to mention that their system says smart meters will not be available here for several years to come.  Despite this, it was British Gas who contacted me to arrange the date for installation that never happened. Basket case? You bet they are! I can remember when you could actually talk to people who knew. Same with my bank. You used to be able to talk with a  local bank manager. Nowadays you get a call centre 5000 miles away. We have moved backwards.

In my business life, people would have been retrained or even sacked for the sort of customer service that seems to be the norm these days. Does no-one really care about customers any more? I guess not.

British Gas - more like British Crap based on my recent dealings with them. British Gasbags maybe?
Barclays - your friendly local bank?  Only if you want to talk with people in India who have no idea who you are at all.

Furthermost G on 6m WSPR

G4IJM (271km) was spotted on 6m WSPR at 0908z today. This is the furthermost G that I have copied on 6m WSPR by any propagation other than Es or F2. I suppose it could have been some form of backscatter or aircraft assisted tropo?  Interesting distance. Unfortunately I was too late checking the trace to see if there was any evidence of aircraft reflections. Most signals  in the last hour from G0OQK (98km) have had some evidence of aircraft reflections - usually multiple traces every time the signal decodes.  IU1DZZ (973km) has been copied multiple times this morning by Es on 6m as has IK1NET (981km).

UPDATED 1343z:  Spots exchanged both ways with CN8LI (2113km) just after lunchtime on 6m WSPR.

UPDATE 1652z:  So far today CN8LI (2113km) has been spotted 9 times (sometimes very strongly) and he has spotted me twice.  I shall be going QRT on 10m and 6m late this evening and not stopping on overnight.

UPDATE 2028z:  CN8LI (2113km) has been spotted 14 times today so far and he has spotted me 10 times on 6m WSPR.

UPDATE 2125z:  I have only just seen that I was (yet again) spotted by 4X1RF (3519km) at 0738z this morning.

Terrorism - NOT amateur radio

It is now 10 years since many people were killed in a terrorism attack in London. Terrorism is not the way and will never, ever, result in good.  No,  hearts and minds are changed by acts of true love and kindness, and by forgiveness.  This may take a long time, but it ultimately is the best way.

I am moved to tears when I read of Japanese soldiers and their captives in WW2 forgiving past wrongs. In the past nearly every nation has done great wrong. The world would be a happier place if we were all able to forgive and work constructively for a fairer, just world. Each of us has a small part to play by doing our bit to make a kinder world.

Although not a Quaker, I have much sympathy with their quiet way of peace. It was the Quakers who encouraged both sides to work constructively for peace in Northern Ireland. Who would have thought that Martin McGuiness and Ian Paisley would sit together and enjoy a laugh? 15 years before this would have been unthinkable.

No, in the end talking true peace and reconciliation is the only way, not bombs and bullets. Bombs and bullets ultimately stir up more hate.

Sunspots and 10m - Tues July 7th 2015

Sunspot number is 131 (K=1) and 10m is expected to remain "fair" today.

UPDATE 0912z:   This was a screen shot of my WSPR received near Moscow earlier this morning before we had breakfast.  It was received by Alexander UA3ARC from his country QTH (which looks very nice Alexander).  It is always interesting to see how my signal is being received.  It is also interesting to see what else Alexander was copying, presumably by Es.  I use 500mW on 10m WSPR from a tiny little single board beacon (WSPR-AXE-CW by W5OLF). The little beacon makes the FT817 rig look big, HI. The tiny beacon is totally stand-alone and needs no PC. It has been copied all over the world. I love it and use it most days. One of these days I must get one for 20m too.

UPDATE 1512z:  Plenty of Europeans by Es on 10m WSPR this afternoon.

6m and 10m WSPR overnight

Since the Es openings yesterday only G stations overnight on both bands. I shall probably stop these overnight sessions as they have proved rather unproductive.

Best DX overnight was a report from G4CUI at 172km on 10m WSPR.

I see that I am now getting reports from Russia and Italy on 10m presumably by Es (see later post).

6 Jul 2015

Chinese rip offs - NOT amateur radio

Sorry, but the Chinese should not be allowed to do this, in my view. Pariahs? They get away with this because we allow them to. Allow them free reign and all western businesses will be ruined.

See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tx5zdf-bG4c .

Elecraft K1

One of my least used rigs (it has still to be used at this QTH!) is my 4-band Elecraft K1 CW transceiver. This covers 40m, 30m, 20m and 15m CW at up to about 7W. It has the auto-ATU built in so just needs a 12-13.8V supply, CW key and end-fed antenna to be on the air.

At my old QTH it has worked lots including the USA on all bands with a simple end-fed wire antenna down the garden.  I really should consider selling it or trading it in as it is not being used.

Cranial osteopathy for stroke - NOT amateur radio

Some people think that cranial osteopathy is a "snake oil" treatment. I have now had 4 sessions in Cambridge to help me with my remaining stroke related issues and I think it is helping me to relax.

Certainly the massages are very relaxing. Although I still have problems with speech and swallow of thin liquids and I still feel drunk (wobbly) when walking,  I do seem less tired than I was.  For now, I am continuing the sessions in the belief they are helping. Overall, I desperately want to get back to normal.

6m and WSPR settings

CN8LI (2113km) has been very strong with me but often just outside the lower band edge on my WSPR setting. I have readjusted my frequency so CN8LI is now appearing 20Hz higher. I assume this is Es propagation but it could just be F2 propagation. This is probably my settings being off rather than CN8LI as I had the same issue last summer.

Sunspots and 10m - Mon July 6th 2015

Sunspot number has risen to 131. K=4 which suggests quite disturbed conditions. For the first time in a while 10m propagation is described as "fair" rather than "poor".

5 Jul 2015

Flattered? 472kHz TX transverter kit

An anonymous comment in my last post brought to my attention that there is now a kit based on my 472kHz transverter. I see the kit uses toroids whereas I used homemade coils wound on PVC pipe pieces. Flattered!

See http://njdtechnologies.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/MF-Solution-Flyer-2015.jpg .

6m Es

Apart from a brief opening at 1350z to CN8LI (2113km) I have seen no evidence of Es on 6m WSPR. Weather (and storms) allowing, I shall stick with 10m and 6m WSPR through the night again.

UPDATE 1052z:  It looks if the bad storms are over eastern Germany, so I shall remain on 10m and 6m WSPR overnight.

Yaesu copy?

Latest from G1KQH (font, or is it fount?, of all knowledge):

Just brought to my attention by G0FTD
Chinese Michael takers 

You can bet its Baofeng based?

73 Steve
It amazes me that no copyright is safe in China. They will, it appears, rip off any radio. Even the name is a give away. But note the ridiculously low retail price.

Yaesu watch your backs. The Chinese are on the march and you are in the firing line!

Big wheel antennas

Next winter I want to replace my hand rotated beams for 70cm and 2m with a big wheel stack for either 2m or 70cm. I was going to erect a 2m big wheel stack (of 2) but looking at the logs it may better to erect one for 70cm which is the more interesting band.

2 big wheels, suitably stacked, should give about 5dBd gain horizontal and need no turning. This is not far off the gain from my 5el yagi in the best direction.  Quite often I work stations off the direction of maximum gain. For my kind of operation (mainly UKAC contests and beacon monitoring) I think a big wheel is well suited.

70cm big wheel stacks are a lot smaller than the 2m versions. The stacking distance is smaller too. Commercial big wheels are available from Wimo in Germany.

See http://www.wimo.de/big-wheel-antennas_e.html .

Four metres

Four metres (70MHz) is now quite widely allocated in Europe and a few other countries.  At one time this was only allocated in the UK and some UK territories. A few years ago I wanted a way of getting on 4m as this was one of the few bands not covered by my rigs. A simple transverter was called for. The following design fitted the bill. There are very few commercial rigs for the 4m band, among them being the IC7100 from Icom.

It is possible this design has appeared here before.

At the current QTH I have no antennas (even dipoles) for 4m, but I worked some decent distances on an fixed indoor dipole at the old QTH. It should certainly be possible to work Es DX with this transverter although I have not tried. I need to erect a 4m antenna!

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

Sunspots and 10m - Sun July 5th 2015

Sunspot number is 111 today and K=3 . 10m is again expected to remain "poor".  Although F2 conditions are not expected to be up to much, Es may well liven things up on 10m and 6m WSPR.

I usually give a sunspot post each day, but I missed yesterday.

4 Jul 2015

Canary Is again - EA8BVP

EA8BVP (2986km) has been spotting me yet again on 10m WSPR. I think this is single hop F2, but it could be Es.  There has been a very little 6m WSPR evident today.

Back on 10m and 6m WSPR after the storms

Antennas,rigs and mains power reconnected at 0811z .  Now back operational on 10m and 6m WSPR.

Overnight storms

All rigs and antennas were disconnected last night. This was just as well as there was a nasty storm at about 0115z with thunder, lightning and lots of needed rain.

3 Jul 2015

No storms here - yet

Well the weather is very hot for the UK and temperatures here are around 30 deg C again today. No sign of the promised thunderstorms, which are still a long way away.  According to the map, the nearest are in SE France and S Germany.

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

It certainly feels like we are due a storm. The weather has all the signs, although there are no thunder clouds building yet. Give it a few hours maybe? If feels close and muggy as if the air needs to be cleared. For now, I shall leave rigs and antennas connected to the 10m and 6m WSPR kit, but I shall be watching those maps carefully.

UPDATE 1548z:  At the moment all the storms are missing us.

Morocco again on 6m WSPR

CN8LI (2171km) has spotted my 1W ERP 6m WSPR signal 3 times so far today (at 1438z).  I'd like to be spotted much further, but no luck yet today on 6m. Plenty of Es so far already on 6m WSPR, but it is really some transatlantic or Gulf states DX that would really be nice. I keep active, but no luck as yet.

Sunspots and 10m - Friday July 3rd 2015

Sunspot number has climbed back to 111 today (K=1) with settled conditions. 10m is again expected to remain "poor". We just could see some 10m F2 DX today, just maybe.

Overnight on 10m and 6m WSPR

Overnight I saw no evidence of Es until breakfast time this morning on 6m with station in Finland coming through. The common wisdom is Es but I still wonder if noctilucent clouds are responsible for some of these very northern openings. It requires someone to correlate 6m openings and the presence of these clouds. I  could well be totally wrong.

On 10m WSPR no Es DX  since last evening. Late breakfast time I see Norwegian and German stations are spotting my 500mW WSPR. EA8BVP (2986km) is spotting me this morning, although this could well be single hop F2.

UPDATE 0935z:   Widespread Es now on 10m WSPR.  Also decent Es on 6m WSPR this morning.

2 Jul 2015

England and storms

It looks, for now, as if the worst of the storms have passed but I am continuing to monitor the storm risks. The worst of the storms seem to be over the North Sea. I shall go QRT (again) if the risk looks too high. According to the maps, there is a higher risk of more storms in S.W. England and in the north. Maybe we'll see more storms this way tomorrow?

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

UPDATE 2210z:  10m Es evident until about an hour ago, since when just G4IKZ (18km) on that band. 6m has just been G stations so far.  Maybe I missed 6m Es earlier in the day?  At the moment, all the big thunderstorms seem to be missing the UK, according to this map.

Back home again - so back on 10m and 6m WSPR

With the XYL at a pub near Eyam
For a couple of nights we have been away at a sibling reunion at my brother-in-law's in Lichfield.  So my blogging activity has been very low.This was my longest drive since my brain bleed (about 110 miles each way).

I am now back on 10m and 6m WSPR.

Sunspots and 10m - July 2nd 2015

Sunspot number is 49 (K=1) and 10m propagation is "poor" again.