31 Oct 2015

Last 10m USA WSPR spot

Yet another good day for USA spots on 10m WSPR. The last spot of the day from the USA seems to have been N2NOM (5581km) at 1804z. 10m has been good to the USA for several weeks now. I suspect there will be the odd days when the USA won't be there but on present form it will be open to the USA most days this autumn and winter.

UPDATE 2035z:  I did think about going on 472kHz tonight but this may have to wait until tomorrow night.  I shall be going QRT on 10m WSPR and 6m WSPR shortly.

All quiet on 6m WSPR

As you will know, as well as 10m I have been on 6m WSPR most of the day (20% TX, 80% RX). Yet again here I have had no success at all on 6m. Not really sure why I try 6m.

Tonight I may return to 630m (472kHz) WSPR and try my luck with the 5mW ERP and earth-electrode "antenna". I have no idea how many others will be active.

Low tech internet - NOT amateur radio

We get very spoilt here with internet speeds approaching 30MB per second commonplace with fibre-optic cable. In some rural areas such speeds are unheard of, especially in 3rd world countries. Some have taken to making their own internet networks.

See http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2015/10/how-to-build-a-low-tech-internet.html?utm_source=amateur-radio-weekly&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter

Australia (again) on 10m WSPR

It took me CQWW SSB last weekend to realise that I get more fun from my tiny 10m WSPR beacon, the size of a pack of cards - totally stand alone with no PC needed - as I would from a rig costing 20 times more. My beacon (by W5OLF) costs just $49. It has been spotted all over the world this autumn already including lots of spots by VK2KRR (16789km). My antenna is nothing at all special. In CQWW I only stayed for 1 QRP QSO across the Atlantic. WSPR with 500mW is more fun. In the last year I have used my tiny 10m WSPR beacon far more than any other rigs.

UPDATE 1305z:  The first 10m WSPR spots from the USA were by K9AN (6505km) at 1244z. I see there were nearer Europeans spotting me, which may have been Es or F layer backscatter.

UPDATE 1435z:  I don't think I'll be buying a new HF rig until my voice is much better. Lots more 10m WSPR spots from the USA.

Sunspots and 10m - Sat Oct 31st 2015

With a sunspot number of 88 (K=1) and a decent solar flux, I expect decent results on 10m WSPR even though the 10m forecast is "fair". This is better than recent days.

Return to 6m and resync'd 10m WSPR

At around 1035z I turned on the PC and FT817 and returned to 6m WSPR. At the same time I reset and resync'd the 10m, stand alone, WSPR 10m 500mW WSOR beacon. So, I am back on WSPR on 10m and 6m for the day. Earlier I was being spotted by an RZ6 station on 10m WSPR so the sync was good overnight, although I was spotted by no-one through the hours of darkness on 10m.

30 Oct 2015

Still on 10m WSPR

Although my chances of being spotted are low, I am staying on 10m WSPR overnight.  100% TX (500mW) but with randomised transmit frequency. My best hope is some GDX -  perhaps a bit of tropo/aircraft reflection. There is an outside chance of some out of season Es. I think the chance of any F2 propagation is almost nil overnight.  Anyway, look out for me.

F2 and Es on 10m WSPR?

KK1D (5455km) was the first USA spot on 10m WSPR today at 1304z. There have been several USA spots since. As well as Africa, West Indies and Russia, I have had several 10m WSPR spots from "near" Europe. These could, I guess, be F layer backscatter or possibly Es?

UPDATE 1730z:  KC1AWS (5308km) is spotting me still. 

UPDATE 2035z:  KC1AWS (5308km) was the last USA station to spot me on 10m WSPR at 1812z. I went QRT on 6m many hours ago but am still active on 10m WSPR and may stay on overnight.

Amazing prices on Beofeng portable transceiver

Amazon is currently selling Baofeng UV-5RE dual band handies for £19.92 with free delivery. This is an amazing deal. This radio has had mostly 5 star reviews.

See http://www.amazon.co.uk/B00EYYVEH6/dp/B00EYYVEH6/ref=as_sl_pc_tf_til?tag=thesouthgatam-21&linkCode=w00&linkId=&creativeASIN=B00EYYVEH6  .

UK Rallies


United Services Club, 8 Roe Mill Rd, Limavady, Co Londonderry BT49 9DF. TI S22, free CP, OT 11am, £3. TS, B&B, DF, C. www.bushvalley-arc.co.uk.

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

Grandchildren - NOT amateur radio

As we have 2 of our very young grandchildren staying for a few nights, these take priority over amateur radio. At the moment, the elder grandson (aged 7) has gone shopping with his grandma and I am at home with the granddaughter (aged 4) playing Lego. I am not feeling too brilliant today.

Sunspots and 10m - Fri Oct 30th 2015

With a solar flux of 112 and a sunspot number of 101 (K=0) we should expect some decent 10m WSPR results today, yet the forecast for 10m remains "poor" today.

UPDATE 1150z:  As well as lots of Russians spotting me on 10m WSPR, I see FR1GZ (9724km) and EA8/LA3JJ (2870km) are spotting me. I get the feeling 10m WSPR will be good today.

29 Oct 2015

Low cost QRP rigs

There is little doubt that the Elecraft KX3 is the very best QRP radio on the market, but it is very expensive here in the UK. The most popular QRP radio is the FT817 and the price of this has dropped considerably. It is rumoured that an FT817 replacement will be announced at Dayton next year. The IC703 is no longer produced and there is a scarcity of good priced QRP radios in the UK. Yes, there are a few Chinese radios appearing and there are a few QRP radios covering single bands or a very limited number of bands. I find it amazing that ICOM do not propose to market the IC7300 10W version outside of Japan or that the big Japanese companies never tried to produce an FT817 beater. It has taken Yaesu all this time to think about an FT817 successor.

Grandchildren - NOT amateur radio

We have our young "London" grandchildren here for a few days. "We always spend Halloween at Granny's". Hide and seek in the dark, pumpkins, blind man's buff, cooking, Halloween hats etc. These days it has become very commercialised sadly, but we will do our best to give them a good time. My health is not as good as it could be.

Halloween is the eve of All Hallows Day (All Saints Day). Some believe the celebration of Halloween dates back to Pagan times.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween .


The internet has not been reliable today. It comes via cable and is normally fast and reliable. I sync'd the 10m beacon after lunch when I could get accurate time off the internet. I have now gone QRT for the day. There have been lots of 10m WSPR spots today again and the last USA spot was at 1702z.  6m has been quiet again here today, although the 6m station (which depends on the PC for audio and timing) was off air some of the day.

Power cut and first USA 10m WSPR spots

We had a power cut at lunch time and our internet was off for about 1 hour. The first 10m WSPR spot from the USA was WJ9H (6361km) at 1344z. I suspect the first spot would have been earlier had the internet not been off and my time sync wrong.

OFCOM and the 5MHz contiguous amateur allocation

I am very pleased to see that OFCOM (on behalf of the British government) has signed the common European position in support of a contiguous amateur (secondary) allocation at 5MHz at WRC15 starting next week. It is still far from a "done deal" with 150 countries represented there.

Sunspots and 10m - Thurs Oct 29th 2015

Sunspot number is little changed at 71 (K=1) and 10m propagation remains "poor".

28 Oct 2015

Rain - NOT amateur radio

Rear lawn and ornamental cherry
For some reason we seem to have had far more rain than normal in East Anglia, UK. The west of England seems to have had better weather.  Is this climate change?

As I write this it is, guess what, raining again. I am not sure if this is why we have such intense autumnal colours this year. The reds seem more intense this autumn.

Solar storms

With falling solar activity, the likelihood of extreme solar storms is falling. I see the Southgate news site reports that research has indicated the earth suffered a couple of destructive solar storms more than 1000 years ago. If these happened today they would pose a real threat to power supplies, satellites and our whole way of life in the 21st century. We cannot ever be complacent as these events often happen "out of the blue".

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2015/october/extreme_solar_storms.htm#.VjCdPCtEd80  .

10m WSPR and 6m WSPR so far today

The 10m 500mW WSPR beacon and the 6m WSPR station were switched on at breakfast time. F2 spots on 10m from RA3UDF (2693km) and EA8/LA3JJ (2870km).

All quiet on 6m  WSPR so far.

UPDATE 1115z:   More Russian 10m WSPR spots as well as Finland. All F2 propagation I think.

UPDATE 1120z:   FG5LA (6689km) was the first South American to spot my 500mW WSPR on 10m today at 1118z.

UPDATE 1850z:  W4DEX (6390km) was the first USA station to copy me on 10m WSPR at 1218z. Plenty of 10m USA spots since then.

UPDATE 2020z:  K9AN (6505km) was the last USA station to spot me on 10m today at 1656z. All quiet on 6m although I did spot M0ICR early today although the spots were not uploaded to WSPRnet.

Sunspots and 10m - Wed Oct 28th 2015

Sunspot number is little changed at 78 (K=1) but 10m is expected to remain "poor". It remains to be seen if this means another profitable day on 10m WSPR as often I get best results on 10m when conditions are supposed to be "poor" for some odd reason.

27 Oct 2015

A little activity on 6m WSPR

G6AVK (78km) was spotted at 2048z on 6m WSPR.  Judging by the Doppler or drift, I suspect aircraft reflection was involved, or G6AVK had just come on the band and he was still drifting.

A few minutes ago I went QRT on both 10m WSPR and 6m WSPR until after breakfast tomorrow.

The back garden in autumn - NOT amateur radio

We are clearly in autumn now, with the back lawn carpeted in fallen leaves. Soon the ornamental cherry (just visible on the RHS) will be bare until the spring. There is something good about all UK seasons.

Here is my wife taking a photo.

WRC-15 in Geneva

The important conference at which a contiguous 5MHz amateur band is being discussed opens next week in Geneva for 3 weeks. This item, for a new secondary amateur allocation, is an agenda item (1.4). Watch this space...

We will certainly need this band in the quiet years ahead.

A useful resource

See http://www.w5dor.com/w5dor-links.html . Originally the link was wrong (thanks for telling me), but it was corrected.

This looks a very useful page to add to your bookmarks. It is filled with useful links of all sorts mostly related to amateur radio. I see my Tenner 500mW 10m CW transceiver is listed.

Sunspots and 10m - Tues Oct 27th 2015

Sunspot number today is 72 (K=1) but forecasts for 10m remain "poor". Despite this, 10m seems in good shape to me (see earlier post). It never fails to amaze me how I seem to get good 10m results when the forecasts are "poor". Moral is to never give up on this band which is full of surprises!

Australia already on 10m WSPR!

As well as spots from RA3, LZ and EA8 I see that VK2KRR (16789km) was spotting my 10m 500mW WSPR beacon at 0942z this morning. This looks promising for another good day on 10m. Recent reports from LZ have been very strong.

On 6m WSPR, all quiet so far today.

UPDATE 1136z:  Apart from Australia, the best 10m DX report today so far is from FR1GZ (9724km) at 1058z.

UPDATE 1415z:  The first 10m WSPR spot from the USA today was W4DEX (6390km) at 1250z. There have been plenty more USA spots since.

26 Oct 2015

QRT on 10m WSPR

My 10m 500mW WSPR beacon was closed down about 15 minutes ago. It is some hours since I was spotted by any DX stations. It will be back on again around breakfast time in the morning. As has been the case for several days now, USA spots are a common occurrence, and likely to be regular now unless conditions are very bad.

OFCOM ......again

See the latest from OFCOM. Oh dear me, they really do try so hard to justify their existence! Bureaucrats and all that matters is £££!

"This document sets out Ofcom’s decisions on outstanding issues connected with the award of the 2.3 and 3.4 GHz spectrum bands. In particular, it sets out our decision to proceed with an auction of all the newly available spectrum without imposing spectrum caps, and our decision on the reserve prices that will apply to spectrum awarded in the auction."


Last words on Sputnik Days?

From ON6WJ and Oleg....

"to Sputnik
dear Oleg (and radiofriends)
thank you very much for the magnificent “Sputnik” Certificate:
Here proud to be the owner of such exclusive “Award”
will print this on “brilliant photopaper” to decorate the shackwall.
Here no contester at all , neither a chaser for Diploma’s,Awards or Certificates,
but this “Souvenir” will be cherished ,always remembering me the ufb  QRPp QSO’s we had !

Spasibo Oleg

(ps Sputnik Certificate already to see at my QRZ.com page hi)

> Dear Space Friends,
> Thanks for all operators taken part in the Sputnik QRPp Days!
> I send memorable certificates for all "Cosmonauts" and "Astronauts".
> The  list  of  all  participants  over  all  years  (2015 and before)
> published on the "Sputnik" page of Club 72 site - www.club72.su
> Cosmonauts: AA1TJ, DL3PB, OM6TC, ON6WJ, UA1CEX, UA3UAD, US5EVD
> Astronauts:  AA1TJ,  DL3PB,  OK1DPX,  ON6WJ,  RV3GM,  UA1ASB, UA1CEG,
> Also,  you can see results and pictures on the "Archive" page of Club
> 72 site.
> If  I  miss or forget somebody or something, put my nose to the facts
> :-)
> 72! beep-beep-beep...
> Deep Space Communications Center
> operator on duty -
> Oleg ("Mr. 72") RV3GM / KH6OB"

10m in good form (again)

FG5LA (6689km) was the first South American to spot me at 1224z on 10m WSPR. Again, I was using 50mW to my indifferent antenna.  The first USA spot was W4DEX (6390km) just 2 minutes later. Since then, other USA stations have spotted my little beacon as well as being spotted by EA8/LA3JJ (2870km).  Already the little 500mW 10m WSPR beacon has been spotted in 5 continents today.

As I needed the PC for something else, I went QRT on 6m WSPR some hours ago.

World Climate - NOT amateur radio

Opinions vary widely on the effect Man may be having on the climate. Some say it is mostly down to Man whereas others say the world has always gone through heating and cooling cycles.

I was interested in this NASA site as it is from the USA. Until very recently both the USA and China have denied that our climate is changing. Of late, both seem more disposed to look at the evidence.

There is little doubt in my mind that it is up to Man to help keep the rise in global temperatures within safe limits. Whether or not Man is to blame we can argue later. The world needs a co-ordinated effort. It can be done.

Active again on 10m and 6m WSPR

Bothe the 10m and 6m WSPR stations were turned on again before breakfast Plenty of Russian spots on 10m WSPR by F2. I think today will be another decent day on 10m WSPR. 6m? We'll see.

Sunspots and 10m - Mon Oct 26th 2015

Sunspot number has fallen to 63 today but K=1 so conditions are not very disturbed. 10m propagation is again forecast to be "poor", although yesterday there were lots of USA stations on 10m WSPR and conditions in the CQWW SSB contest seemed fine on 10m. As I've said many times,when the 10m forecast is supposed to be "poor" I have got some of my best DX on the 10m band!

25 Oct 2015

QRT on 10m and 6m WSPR

So I closed down my WSPR stations on 10m and 6m at about 2045z. The chance of hearing any more F2 DX on 10m is nearly zero and on 6m WSPR I have copied, and been copied, by not a single station all day. Both 10m and 6m WSPR should be active again after breakfast tomorrow.

10m and 6m WSPR - Oct 25th 2015 - update

So far today, I have received 16 unique reports on 10m of my little 500mW WSPR beacon. Of these, 9 were from the USA.
Unique 10m WSPR spots today (but more below)
So far, 6m WSPR has been very quiet with not a single spot given or received all day.

It is still possible other stations may spot me on either band. I continue to look for others 80% of the time on 6m.

UPDATE 1752z:  K5XL (7660km),  WJ9H (6361km) as well as KD4RLD (6402km) spotting me on 10m WSPR, so now 19 unique station spots with 12 different USA stations. Much better than yesterday by a long way.

UPDATE 1935z:   The last 10m USA spot appears to have been at 1800z.

CQWW SSB contest

10m is filled with contest stations from across the Atlantic. After a quick contest exchange with a Canadian station (worked with 5W SSB), I have gone back to 10m WSPR instead. With my poor voice, an HF contest was just too much hard work! In the past I have filled pages in the logbook in CQWW SSB, but I know I can work these stations if I persevere, even with 5W, so I decided to give it a miss.

Currently I am on 10m and 6m WSPR.

Title change

You may have noticed the very slight title change.  Although the vast majority of posts will continue to be amateur radio related, a few are on other things. These other posts are proving quite popular so I shall continue to add other stuff from time-to-time. When not amateur radio related I hope to continue the trend of saying, "NOT amateur radio" so people can choose to ignore these posts if they want.

A reminder the URL of this blog is http://g3xbm-qrp.blogspot.co.uk/.

Plenty of USA spots today on 10m WSPR

W4DEX (6390km) was spotting me as early as 1240z. There have been plenty of USA spots on 10m today. At the moment, things look better than yesterday, even though the sunspot number is a bit down and conditions were expected to be more disturbed. In 2 minds whether or not to bother with CQWW SSB contest. I don't feel brilliant and may stick with WSPR to save my voice.

UPDATE 1436z:  6m WSPR remains stubbornly quiet with no spots given or received on that band again today.

10m Es or backscatter?

I4ZTO (1185km) is spotting me on 10m WSPR. This is too close for F2 (I think) so I wonder if this is out of season Es or F2 backscatter?

The UK and China - NOT amateur radio

The wooing of China by the UK bothers me. This last week we have bent over backwards to "love" China. I guess this is a move to get inward investment, more exports and help with our nuclear power plants. At the same time China is carrying out a sabotage job on UK manufacturing (partly of our own making) and soon we will have no industry left at all, with all our manufacturing in China or its neighbours.

No, I have the feeling this is not in our best interests at all.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34626936 .

Early 10m F2

UB9OCQ (4859km) in MO95ek square is the best DX spot of my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon so far today.  There have been plenty of WSPR spots from the far eastern edge of Europe too on 10m this morning.

So far today, 6m WSPR has remained very quiet.

Sunspots and 10m - Sun Oct 25th 2015

Sunspot number has dropped back a bit to 74. K=3 so conditions are a little more disturbed. 10m propagation is expected to remain "poor". With CQWW SSB contest in full swing expect plenty of 10m SSB activity this weekend. I am currently on 10m and 6m WSPR but may come try CQWW later, although these days I prefer WSPR - I never enter HF contests but may try them to work a new country, although I only use QRP.

24 Oct 2015

Strictly Come Dancing - NOT amateur radio

This is the only "reality" show on TV I watch. "Strictly" makes good entertainment on a cold autumn evening, with tea on a tray and a small glass of wine in front of the fire. My XYL enjoys it more but I do enjoy it too. In my teenage years I enjoyed ballroom dancing, although that was a long time ago!

Even though in the lounge I still monitor WSPRnet to see what is happening on 10m and 6m WSPR.

First 10m WSPR spot today - FR1GZ

Although I was very late getting on 10m WSPR today the first spot was by FR1GZ (9724km). As yet, nothing on 6m again. Our younger grandson only left mid-afternoon.

UPDATE 1555z:  The first USA 10m spot  today was W4DEX (6390km).

UPDATE 1630z:   W4DEX (North Carolina)  is the only 10m USA spot today at present. I guess there could be more later, but I doubt it.

UPDATE 1708z:    Several spots on 10m from K9AN (6505km). The USA spots are still coming in. Overall, conditions did not seem quite as good as in recent days on 10m with fewer different USA stations spotting me.

Sunspots and 10m - Sat Oct 24th 2015

Sunspot number is 91 (K=1) but 10m is forecast to be "poor" again. CQWW SSB contest is in full swing with good signals from LU and PY stations, but I feel too exhausted to take part today. Maybe I shall try tomorrow? Today I have just turned on the 10m 500mW WSPR beacon and the 1W 6m WSPR station.

We have had our younger grandson with us until about 1 hour ago and I think this has taken it out of me. I was fine yesterday.

23 Oct 2015

Time to go QRT

The last USA spot of my 10m 500mW WSPR signal was at 1740z and that was K9AN (6505km). Since them just local G4IKZ (18km) and G4CUI (172km) by a mix of tropo and aircraft reflection. 6m WSPR has been quiet all day. Now it is time to go QRT.

Another UK Rally

Barnsley Premier Leisure Complex, Queens Road, Barnsley S71 1AN or follow the brown Metrodome signs. GNHF in association with SYRG. OT 10am, TS, SIG, C, FAM. Ernie, G4LUE, 07984 191 873. www.gnhf.co.uk.

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

6m WSPR today

I have been active on 6m WSPR most of the day but no spots whatsoever given or received so far. I am looking for others 80% of the time on 6m. It was a bit surprising that not a single G was copied on 6m. On 10m there were some nearer Europeans so I wonder if this was out of season Es?

Both 10m and 6m WSPR will be active here for a few hours yet, so there is still a chance of copying some Gs on 6m WSPR.

Tomorrow and Sunday I hope to be active for some of the time in the CQWW contest on 10m SSB. Most activity is likely to be on Sunday afternoon. A lot depends on my (poor) voice.

Park and Ride - NOT amateur radio

Younger grandson and XYL
Today we went into Cambridge to visit the Dinosaur Museum (free and on the Sedgewick Site) and John Lewis for a snack with our younger grandson.

We used the "Park and Ride" bus for the last part of the journey as we can use our bus passes and it saves worrying about the city traffic and parking. In John Lewis we treated our grandson to some Lego too.

Best day on 10m WSPR this season so far

6 x 10m WSPR spots from Australia, plenty of USA spots as well as Europe, Africa, Asia and South America. Today the 10m forecast was "poor" but, for me, it has been the best day on 10m this autumn. What do "good" conditions bring on 10m?

Last words on Sputnik QRP tests?

These emails came in from Bert and Oleg:

"Hello dear Sputnikers,
Although I did not participate on the bands, I enjoyed to follow your
"adventures" here on the Sputnik Days report.

I enjoyed all, from the wigwam shack to Pampus.
Thanks to all.

73, Bert PA1B"

"Dear Space Friends,

> I enjoyed all, from the wigwam shack to Pampus.
> 73, Bert PA1B

Bert,  thank you very much for nice comments! Hopefully, milliwatting
will be continued all the year, not only in Sputnik Activity Days. We
can inform about mW results here in discussion e-mail group any time.
Dead  line  for  all Sputnik Days results is October 25. Send me your
results/pictures/comments  if anybody forget it before. After October
25  I'll  send  e-mail  nice  art  memorable  Certificates  for  all
participants    (including   assigned  personally honor titles, hehe)
Club  72  art designer Vlad UR0ET (Dnipro, Ukraine) have hardly works
with it now - thanks Vlad!

72! beep-beep-beep...
Deep Space Communications Center
operator on duty -
Oleg ("Mr. 72") RV3GM / KH6OB"

Sunspots and 10m - Fri Oct 23rd 2015

With a high solar flux (119) and a decent sunspot number of 94 (K=1) I am surprised to see 10m only expected to be "poor" today. Yesterday it was "fair".  On the face of it conditions look at least as good as previous days and possibly a little better.  Only time will tell.

I shall turn on 10m and 6m WSPR shortly.

UPDATE 0940z:  Early 10m WSPR spots by F2 from 4X1RF (3519km) bode well for the day. Two spots on 10m WSPR by VK2KRR (16789km) are even better!! Remember this is meant to be a "poor" day on 10m!

22 Oct 2015

Solar Panels? - NOT amateur radio

Just received this from Steve G1KQH. I thought about solar panels on the roof but decided not to in the end. Our electricity bill is well below average already due to widespread use of LED and economy lights. I doubt solar panels would repay the investment in my lifetime. Also they have a finite lifetime too. Also new panels are getting smaller and more efficient all the time.

"The washing stacked up there wasn’t enough produced to heat the kettle? Soon the subs will be nowt..
Only once in Summer did the output peak at 3.9KW read on:
Glad I have never bothered.

73 Steve

More 10m F2 DX

At 1324z I got a spot from FR1GZ (9724km) on 10m WSPR.  A few minutes later he spotted me again twice. It looks likely that my little 10m WSPR beacon will be spotted in the USA later.

UPDATE 1855z:   USA spots started today at 1542z. There seem to be spots from the USA on 10m WSPR most days now.

UPDATE 1924z:  Lots of Germans on 10m WSPR. Out of season Es?

UPDATE 2010z:  All quiet now on 10m and 6m WSPR, although I shall be on both bands overnight.

6m Es?

At 1104z IK1WVQ (1076km) was spotted on 6m WSPR. This may well have been Es, even though it was at an odd time of the year.

UPDATE 1425z:  I think this was Es as it was only the single spot. Out of the blue then gone again. I was glad to be around for this. This is where WSPR scores.

More quangoese?

The latest from OFCOM to justify their existence? Really I have no time for bureaucrats who add no real value. Sorry if I am being harsh but my own dealings with OFCOM have been crap.  All they do is hide behind "the law" and to a man/woman they seem unable to make decisions. Bring back pragmatists and sack the rest! Unless they add value they serve no purpose.

See http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/general-policy-on-information-gathering/?utm_source=updates&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=general-policy-on-information-gathering

Another UK Rally

I have been notified of another UK rally. Please note this is this weekend. I get sent these reminders by the Cambridge Club.

Whitehall Road Methodist Church Hall, Bensham, Gateshead NE8 4LH, organised by Angel of the North ARC. OT 10.30am, £2, TS, B&B, RSGB bookstall, C, CP. Nancy Bone, G7UUR, 01914 770 036 (eves), nancybone2001@yahoo.co.uk. www.anarc.net.

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

Back on 10m and 6m WSPR

Rather later than planned I have been on 10m WSPR and 6m WSPR since about 1100z. It takes about 15-20 minutes for the 10m beacon crystal to stabilise, whereas the 6m WSPR (which uses the FT817 and PC) usually stabilises more quickly.

UPDATE 1112z:  Quite a few 10m spots from Europeans by F2 (I think), but nothing further yet. As there was 6m propagation to Italy I wonder if we there was some Es today?

UPDATE 1204z:   Recent 10m spots of 4X1RF (3519km) are probably F2.

Sunspots and 10m Thurs Oct 22nd 2015

Sunspot number is 73 today (K=2) and 10m is expected to be "fair" again. 10m propagation should mean my 10m 500mW WSPR beacon will be copied in the USA again. A sunspot number of 73 and K=2 implies reasonably settled conditions.

21 Oct 2015

The Search for Life in the Universe - NOT amateur radio

This afternoon I have my U3AC course on the above subject. We have a great variety of courses in Cambridge. We are very lucky having many ex-university people with a wish to share their vast knowledge.

Someone turned the switch on!

Although the locals are not active or they have their beams away from me, I can see clear evidence of F2 spots on 10m WSPR appearing. EA8/LA3JJ (2870km) and LZ1OI (2153km) have both spotted me lots of times today already on 10m WSPR this morning. It bodes well for the day.

UPDATE 1635z:  Plenty of USA 10m WSPR spots now. This is the 4th day in a row that I've had 10m WSPR spots from the USA.

CQWW Contest

Although I am not a great contest fan - although I do like the VHF and UHF RSGB UKAC contests on Tuesday evenings - I usually go on 10m SSB for the CQWW SSB contest. The SSB leg is this coming weekend. Last year I forgot it (doh!) and the year before I was in hospital. Although we have visitors for some of the time, I hope to be on Sunday PM and occasionally beforehand. It is a good chance to work lots of stations.

Even in quiet sunspot years CQWW usually brings out the stations.  It is a good contest although I have never used much power or actually submitted a score. See you there?

Next autumn will be very interesting: sunspot numbers will have fallen but I bet CQWW will prove 10m is open despite this. Often lack of activity on 10m makes a band seem "closed". All it needs is a bit of activity to prove this. This is where 10m WSPR should prove its worth.

See http://www.cqww.com/ .

Sunspots and 10m - Wed Oct 21st 2015

Sunspot number has fallen slightly to 77 (K=3) but 10m propagation is again expected to be "fair". We have seen USA 10m spots now for several days in a row and I expect this to continue, except on very disturbed days, until the spring.

Clocks go back in the UK this weekend! Dark evenings. CQWW SSB this weekend.

Back on 10m WSPR and 6m WSPR

After a temporary glitch with the PC (internet time sync failed) I am now back on both 10m and 6m WSPR. It takes about 15-20 minutes for the 10m beacon to stabilise. Anyway, back on both bands.

20 Oct 2015

QRT on all bands

A few minutes ago I turned off the 10m and 6m rigs until after breakfast tomorrow. Quite late in the day I spotted M0ICR (90km) on 6m WSPR. This is the only spot on 6m in several days of trying. Tomorrow I may only go on 10m.

Tony Benn - NOT amateur radio

Currently, I am reading the diaries of Tony Benn, lent to me by a friend. Tony Benn was very much on the left politically. He was well respected as an honest man even by those who were on the opposite side of the UK political divide.

In the UK we have a very right wing media (papers etc.) and Tony Benn was often the person they liked to ridicule and misquote. He always "stuck to his guns" and talked much good sense.

He died aged 88 of a stroke in 2014 after a long political career.  He is a UK politician many loved to hate.  Personally I think he deserves to be better understood and seen as "his own man" and not the man hated by the right wing press. Someone said, "he was a principled politician". We have very few of these today.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Benn .


Many VHF, UHF and microwave enthusiasts use  http://www.on4kst.com/chat/start.php to arrange skeds, certainly here in Europe. There are also chats for EME and for the LF and MF bands.

To use the facility you need a user name and password.

F2 on 10m WSPR

I see that lots of far Europeans and near Asians are spotting my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon including LZ, YO, RA3 and 4X. Nothing further yet. I think these are all single hop F2.

Still very quiet on 6m with no spots given or received on that band. I am still active on 6m, ever hopeful.

On 6m 30dBm 20% TX, 80% RX and on 10m 27dBm 100% TX with randomised TX frequency.

UPDATE 1500z:  Not a single spot from North or South America today on 10m so far. I am surprised as F2 conditions on 10m looked so promising. Things may change, although I would have expected spots from these areas by now. 10m is indeed fickle with a mind of its own!

UPDATE 1528z:  Eventually a 10m WSPR spot by K9AN (6505km) at 1518z. There have been other USA spots since. Not sure why 10m opened later today than yesterday?

UPDATE 1915z:  It looks as if 10m USA openings will be most days now. These are the unique stations that spotted me on 10m WSPR today:
10m WSPR unique spots today

Sputniks again

Just received this email from Peter in The Netherlands...

"Hello to all Sputnikers/Vanguarders,
We spent two days in rain and cold on the island, so we expected visitor count to be low...

That tuned out not to be the case and as I already said: Putting old computers with a morse-key attached to it in a radio room generates questions, need for demonstration and a general unbelief that "we" actually could reveal all sorts of trials into text by simply listening while talking to somebody else...

As a result real radio was at times possible but we also had to cope with noise and power drops as the generator did not function 24/24.

I first tried 40 metres with the GRC9 and managed to make two QSO's, checked activity on 30 metres, sent some CQ's there on what I guessed must have been around 10.115 MHz but no response... I then unpacked my KX3 that I took with me as a last minute decision, to have a monitor and after checking the transmitted sigs decided to rapidly go back to 40 metres with the GRC9... Work to do.

I made three nice QSO's on 30 metres with the KX3 short before we had to arrange our leave for the day. It may be an island but I rather would not leave expensive things for the taking.

Sunday was just as rainy and cold. After switching on the GRC9 40 literally burst with activity with rapid 5NN's all over the place. Not a good environment to try a QSO using a simple superhet with DC-receiver-like bandwidth.

But even more visitors arrived that needed insight in what we were doing and more children that, once shown some action with a morse key, could hardly be persuaded to hand it over to someone else.

So: Did we make a lot of DX? No. But we did a lot of PR for CW, for Hamming and for showing that sending messages with simple means still is possible in this internet day-and-age...


PS: As I have no good pictures of this session, the attached photo is an older one I took on a similar summer session. Later we decided to use no more that two laptops as 4 in a row is near impossible to manage...:-)"

And this from Oleg... 

"Dear Space Friends,
thanks Peter PA0PJE for interesting story/picture. Sure, new young PA operators will be on the air soon.
Sputnik  Days  finished. But somebody can send results before October 25. After that date an "officially" totals will be published.  Thanks to all participants and readers! Even Sputnik Days closed but milliwatting is continued. Our discussion group is not closed, you can inform about your milliwatting news here."

Sunspots and 10m - Tues Oct 20th 2015

Both sunspot number and solar flux are higher. Sunspot number today is 94 (K=3) and for the first time in a while daytime 10m conditions ar expected to be  "fair" rather than "poor". I am not surprised. We should expect decent 10m conditions today.

UPDATE 0918z: Well we are off to a promising start with spots on 10m already from EA8/LA3JJ (2870km) and RA3UDF (2693km). Both are probably F2 propagation. 6m is still quiet.

19 Oct 2015

Another good 10m day

It is almost as if someone has turned on a big switch in the F2 layer! Yet again, 10m has been good to the USA and elsewhere. It suddenly happened a few days ago. Before that, conditions on 10m were not too good. Things on WSPR were tougher because of the relatively low activity levels.

I think conditions will be generally good this autumn, winter and spring, although I suspect this time next year things on 10m will be much tougher, unless we are lucky. Sunspot numbers are gradually falling and a year from now things could be a lot worse.

In the meantime, let us enjoy the good conditions on 10m.

UPDATE 1950z: EA8/LA3JJ has been spotting me all day, no less than 50 times. IK1SKC (977km) is a puzzling distance: it could be Es or F layer backscatter. Still, it has been another good day on 10m WSPR. The timing would suggest Es, but no other stations in Europe copied at the time. I have just gone QRT on all bands but will be back on 10m WSPR and 6m WSPR after breakfast.

Quiet day - NOT amateur radio

Anglesey Abbey this afternoon - signs of autumn
OK, so I am still not feeling fully back to normal following my stomach bug. This really did hit me for six. My immune system must be relatively poor. On top of the stroke after-effects I really have suffered more than I would have in the past.

Today, my wife has her U3A course in Cambridge so I have had a fairly quiet morning so far. I shall prepare lunch later and there are a few household jobs to do, but I think one has to "listen to one's body". At the moment it is telling me to go easy and don't do too much.  I expect I shall soon be back to my new "old self".  At the moment most things leave me exhausted.

I am monitoring 10m WSPR and 6m WSPR mainly in the lounge.

UPDATE 1325z:  We are off to Anglesey Abbey to see the autumn leaves.

Our hobby - very diverse

There can be few hobbies that embrace so much as amateur radio. Some enjoy QRP, often making their own simple gear and each QSO is a thrill. Others spend a great deal of money on rigs, towers and antennas and enjoy just talking to others around the world. Some like the challenge of microwaves or optical.  The list is endless.

We are lucky that our hobby can be enjoyed by all ages and abilities and in so many different ways.  It is very easy to be critical of how others enjoy the hobby - I know as I am guilty of this!  We should be thankful we are a "broad church" and allow each of us to enjoy the hobby in the way that suits us best. I used to enjoy building and field work, but because of my stroke I have had to adapt. Thankfully, I enjoy the hobby as much as ever.

Sunspots and 10m - Mon Oct 19th 2015

With a still climbing sunspot number, currently 81 (K=2) I think we are set for another good 10m day, even though the 10m forecast is "poor". Yesterday was a good 10m day with several spots of my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon in the USA as well as elsewhere by F2. I'd be surprised if conditions today were down as, if anything, conditions are less disturbed today.

I am again active on 10m WSPR and 6m WSPR. 6m I am only hoping for some inter-G DX. Anything else on that band would be a bonus. On 10m I am hopeful of some decent DX spots via F2.

My very first 10m spot was by EA8/LA3JJ (2870km) via F2. All quiet on 6m so far today.

UPDATE 1320z:  EA8/LA3JJ (2870km) has spotted my 10m 500mW WSPR beacon 19 times so far this morning, but no other spots received.  At the moment 6m is still very quiet. The impression is that 10m is not as good as yesterday, although it is really too soon to tell.

18 Oct 2015

Ego trip?

Just seen a copy of the tweet about the antenna at GB3GP for JOTA. Does this give Scouts a fair view of amateur radio? I think this is about egos and little else.

Incidentally, with a tiny, low, wire antenna my 500mW WSPR on 10m today has been spotted in 5 continents. You do NOT need monsters.

A promising start on 10m WSPR

Very early today I was getting spotted on Reunion Is and in Brazil on 10m WSPR.  Conditions seem even better than yesterday, so I am very hopeful for more USA spots today on 10m.

Is it too much to hope for some TEP F2 on 6m WSPR? Yes, probably too much to hope!  So far, absolutely nothing on 6m WSPR, given or received.

CQWW SSB contest is next weekend, so I hope we see good conditions for this major contest. For the last 2 years I have missed it. Although we have visitors over the weekend I hope to get on.

UPDATE 1205z:  Several spots from LZ stations on 10m WSPR, which I assume are via F2. They could be Es, but this is less likely.

UPDATE 1254z:  Spots on 10m WSPR from DK6UG (633km) are harder to explain. I guess these could be some sort of back-scatter? Also getting spots from Greece.

UPDATE 1338z:   W1VR (6965km) was the first USA station to spot my 500mW 10m WSPR today. Looks like he is in Florida. I do find USA call areas SO confusing these days! I blame the FCC.

UPDATE 1530z:   More USA spots, another station spotting me on Reunion Island and EA8/LA3JJ  for the first time in months. Autumn has returned to 10m WSPR! Great conditions.
Unique 10m WSPR spots so far today

Yet more Sputniks

I had these 2 emails from Oleg yesterday and today:

"Dear Space Friends,
yesterday   was   nice QSO between Sputnik US5EVD (two rod valves 500
mW) and Vanguard UI7K (one Ge pnp transistor 100 mW) on 3579 kHz. Also
US5EVD  operated  with EW6FA on 80 m. Day before op. Alexander US5EVD
can't to finish QSO with EW6FA because his battery was discharged. See
the  picture  of  Alex's  Sputnik  TX  on  the "Sputnik Days" page on
www.club72.su Note: all components are old ex USSR types. On the green
battery you can see words "Сделано в СССР" (Made in USSR by Russian).
Two big size Ge transistors rectifier for high (anode) voltage used in
the TX.
Tomorrow October 18 is the last day in the Sputnik/Vanguard activity.
I  wish  all  Cosmonauts and Astronauts good luck and looking for any

>> It will be nice to log QRP QSO with Pampus Fort Island

For  sorry  I  have not radios for 30 and 40 m so far. I see a lot of
RBNs  reports  of  PA6FAP  today.  Hopefully, Peter PA0PJE enjoyed in
Pampus Fort shack today :-)

72! beep-beep-beep...
Deep Space Communications Center
operator on duty -
Oleg ("Mr. 72") RV3GM / KH6OB"

"Dear Space Friends,
Sputnik activity days close to finish. Jos ON6WJ informed about 4 QSOs
today,  all QSOs on 80 m band in a circle distance of 150 ml - PA and
ON. I be happy to get any news in last Sputnik hours.
Have a nice soft landing!

72! beep-beep-beep...
Deep Space Communications Center
operator on duty -
Oleg ("Mr. 72") RV3GM / KH6OB"

Sunspots and 10m - Sun Oct 18th 2015

Sunspot number has climbed up to 83 (K=4) with a solar flux a respectable 117 today. 10m is again forecast to be "poor" but after yesterday I am expecting decent results on 10m WSPR. I am again active on 10m WSPR and 6m WSPR. On 6m I am not expecting any F2 but might catch some Gs.

17 Oct 2015

At last - 10m WSPR spots from the USA

They were a long time coming, but starting at 1414z I have received 10m WSPR spots from the USA. K9AN (6505km) was the first followed by KB9AMG (6300km). I am sure we will now see openings to the USA regularly I think on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1736z:  Lots more spots from the USA. This is definitely the best day on 10m this autumn so far.

UPDATE 2104z:  It ended well with lots of USA spots as well as WSPR spots from Reunion Is and Brazil. A great day on 10m WSPR.
Uniques on 10m WSPR today

Autumnal garden - NOT amateur radio

Gradually, the gardens are taking on a more autumnal look. The sunflowers have passed, the apples are ripening next door, we have harvested our crab apples and taken in the sunshade for the winter ahead.  Every season has something good about it and this year the autumn colours are splendid. I hope to run an antenna down the garden for 472kHz. Not visible in this picture is my current 472kHz "antenna", which is a couple of earth rods separated about 12m apart! With an ERP of around 5mW this reached over 1000km last winter. The 472kHz wire or loop will only be in place over autumn and winter and be taken down next spring. Every season has something good about it here in the UK.

RadCom and the IC7300

My RadCom arrived by post today. Unlike in the recent edition of PW, the advertisers were publishing details of the new ICOM radio and were keen to take deposits. Perhaps they have got later data? I quite like the look of the new IC7300 radio, but feel the price will soon fall to £799 or less. I can wait. I may wait to see what the FT817 replacement looks like. A 5W (or maybe 10W) radio would suit my needs better.

The latest RadCom has a review of ICOMs latest flagship radio, the IC7851, selling for around £9000. Does anyone really spend this sort of money on amateur radio gear?  With PSU, tower, big beam and big rotator this implies over £10000 on amateur gear. I suppose some people must spend this sort of money. My FT817 has served me for over 14 years now. To me, this was an investment and I had to give it careful thought.  I wonder how many XYLs are happy for their husbands to spend over £10000 on a hobby?

Each to their own. If you really have that kind of disposable income how you spend it is your decision.

10m F2 DX

I see that KD0VWO (7412km) has been spotting my 10m 500mW WSPR beacon in Brazil today. I remain hopeful of some USA spots later today on 10m WSPR.

FR1GZ (9724km) has already spotted me too.

This looks like another good day on 10m WSPR, despite the "poor" forecast.

So far today nothing at all (given or received) on 6m WSPR.

Electric cars - NOT amateur radio

Electric cars have been on sale for years but today I saw my first electric car in use. This was a Nissan Leaf. To me the electric car is not the best solution. The range, even with new batteries, is quite low. Battery technology is still poor and huge batteries are needed to get quite modest ranges.

Although politically a "good idea", I feel we will see better solutions. Maybe this will be hydrogen fuel cells or power buried in the roads and paid for by the actual amount used? The latter would reduce the weight of batteries. Even with large subsidies, electric cars are expensive. We definitely need a clean, efficient alternative to petrol and diesel cars but I am not convinced by today's electric cars.

I watch the next few years with interest and wonder what motorists will be driving in 20-30 years' time.

Sunspots and 10m - Sat Oct 17th 2015

Sunspot number is a little better today at 68 (K=3) but 10m propagation is again expected to be "poor". What 10m WSPR will be like today is a guess! I shall be active on 10m and 6m WSPR all day. Yesterday was disappointing with just a few spots by G6AVK on 6m and only DX inter-G on 10m WSPR. G4CUI (172km) was the best report on 10m.

16 Oct 2015

Shortwave interval signals

See http://dl.dropbox.com/u/15047843/SWintervalsigs.mp3

This was flagged by Facebook today as a memory I first posted there in 2011. I have no idea where I first found this. If, like me, you grew up with these then I very much hope you enjoy a little trip down memory lane. Memories of simple shortwave receivers and broadcast DXing. Simple pleasures long before the internet.

Even more Sputniks

More on Sputnik tests...
"Dear Oleg,

I have the same experience...
I used both my Vanguard 40 mW tx and the 1P24 Sputnik tx when I was at the fort but no QSO, no response.

Tomorrow and Sunday Ger, PA3GKX and I will be showing what CW can do on the Fort-Island Pampus using two Pixies to send and receive but only over a short distance for demostration to children that (I hope in large numbers) will visit us. Yesterday we arranged the tables, light etc in one of the rooms and put up a dipole. When time permits we will be QRV with an old army-radio AN/GRC9 on 40 or 30 metres as PA6FAP but I know that most of the time will be used to show how to "send" morse code to old DOS-computers that can decode what is sent with a straight key... A challenge that beats any tablet or iPhone, I can assure you.

On 20 October I will be giving a presentation about the "Sputnik days" in one of the local club meetings, showing all details I collected and of course the transmitters I have used so it seems more true than I expected: Get retired and find out that you have even less spare-time...

72/73 and keep beeping and VVV-ing.

Peter - PA0PJE"

"Dear Space Friends,
New Cosmonaut Alexander US5EVD informed: October 15 he repaired valve
TX  and called CQ on 3560 kHz. EW6FA called Alex but QSO not finished
because battery discharged, sorry. Alex going to try PSU today.
Only two days before Sputnik Days finish, I looking for any comments.

72! beep-beep-beep...
Deep Space Communications Center
operator on duty -
Oleg ("Mr. 72") RV3GM / KH6OB"

OFCOM - quango?

I'm not sure why I feel this, but I get the impression that OFCOM (and the FCC?) is filled with bureaucrats who really do not have a real grasp of radio. Certainly in the UK OFCOM has little real interest in amateur radio as it gains no revenue from the service. These days all that seems to matter is money sadly. OK we have gained a few new temporary allocations, but these are in parts of the spectrum where there are no real revenue generating opportunities yet. As soon as OFCOM sees ways of generating a revenue stream, these will go.

For the latest OFCOM pearls see: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/satellite-filings-15/statement/?utm_source=updates&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=satellite-filings-15-statement . Quango psycho-babble.

No sorry, I think OFCOM serves little real value here in the UK.

Sunspots and 10m - Fri Oct 16th 2015

Sunspot number is much the same at 49 (K=3) and 10m propagation is expected to remain "poor". Yesterday, despite the poor forecast, we saw some useful F2 DX on 10m WSPR, so I remain cautiously optimistic for today. I am active on both 10m and 6m WSPR during the day.  By now, I was expecting almost daily USA openings on 10m WSPR.

More UK Rallies (Scotland and Devon)

The Volunteer Hall, St Johns Street, Galashiels, Scottish Borders TD1 3JX. OT 11.15, £2.50. B&B, TS, C. Jim, GM7LUN, 01896 850 245, gm7lun@qsl.net.

Holsworthy Community College, Victoria Hill, Holsworthy EX22 6JD. TS, B&B, C, DIS. Register at http://harc.postalboard.com/login to make any enquiries. www.radioclubs.net/harc/.

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

Be careful of USB sticks

Steve G1KQH sent me a link yesterday about a Russian USB stick that kills virtually all devices into which it is plugged in. Apparently it sticks 220v into your device. So the message is only connect known safe USB devices into your PC or phone. This is rare and scaremongering but be safe. Don't forget USB sticks can also be a route in for virus's.

"I don’t fancy one of them up my USB port:

15 Oct 2015

FR1GZ spots me on 10m WSPR

Many times I have found that when 10m is expected to be "poor" I have found just the opposite. As an example FR1GZ (9724km) spotted my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon a couple of times this afternoon. So far, 10m has been "good" for me today. 4X1RF, OZ7IT and FR1GZ - not at all bad, and the day is not done yet!

More Sputniks

From Oleg...

"Dear Space Friends,
bad  condx last days, it is not good for QRPp activity. Even RBNs did
not copied my 50 mW CQs.
Yesterday op. Jozef OM6TC logged QSO with OM3PV with Sputnik clone TX
160 mW on 21060 kc to 30 m LW. Congrats Jozef!
Only  three  days  before  finish  of Sputnik Days. I looking for any
reports, please.

72! beep-beep-beep...
Deep Space Communications Center
operator on duty -
Oleg ("Mr. 72") RV3GM / KH6OB"

F2 DX on 10m WSPR

4X1RF (3519km) has spotted my little 500mW 10m WSPR beacon several times this morning. This is a hopeful sign as I think it means we could see more F2 later. I am assuming this was F2.  OZ7IT (853km) has spotted me several times too in the early hours on 10m WSPR.

Another UK Rally


Middleton Leisure Centre, Middleton Ring Road, Middleton, Leeds LS10 4AX. Tables £6 if you bring your own, our tables £12. B&B, C. Tony, G0JVI, 07740 003 159, tonymawson@btinternet.com.

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

FTSE 100 - NOT amateur radio

At the moment, the UK FTSE 100 share index is up 0.95% on the day.  A lot can still happen during the day but it is trying to claw back recent losses.

Sunspots and 10m - Thurs Oct 15th 2015

Sunspot number is little changed at 56 (K=3) and 10m propagation is again expected to be "poor". With the solar flux at 100 there is a chance of some DX spots on 10m WSPR. We live in hope.
Unique 10m WSPR spots here so far today

The value of 10m WSPR - overnight success

In the small hours OZ7IT (853km) spotted my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon. I have no idea about propagation. It was probably a fleeting Es opening but it could have been tropo or even aircraft reflection.  He only decoded me once but had I not had the beacon running overnight this opening would have gone unnoticed.  This was the first non-local for several days to spot me on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1057z: OZ7IT (853km) spotted me several times in the early hours.

14 Oct 2015

Quiet 10m

Yet again, 10m WSPR has been very quiet here, at least so far today. Although others may have done better, I have not seen any DX for several days. With climbing sunspots, I expect things may soon change and F2 DX will become commonplace.

Sunspots and 10m - Wed Oct 14th 2015

Sunspot number is a little higher at 58 (K=4) but 10m propagation is expected to remain "poor". After yesterday, I am not expecting much on 10m today but with 10m you can never be really sure! Sunspot count is little changed on yesterday and conditions remain disturbed.

Somewhere I read that solar flux needs to be over 100 for things to really "take off". At the moment solar flux is 95.

New QRP eBook from Australia

News from Steve G1KQH:

"New QRP ebook from VK3YE

73 Steve

13 Oct 2015

FTSE 100 - NOT amateur radio

The UK FTSE 100 share index fell earlier, but seems to be staging a recovery. It may even end the day slightly up. There is still over an hour of trading left and a few shocks could change that!

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business/markets/europe/lse_ukx .

UPDATE 2015z:  In the end, the recovery "ran out of steam" and the FTSE 100 closed down 0.45% on the day.

10m doldrums

We seem to be a bit in the doldrums on 10m WSPR. Summer Es is now a thing of the past until next spring, although we will still get the odd opening, and F2 seems yet to become commonplace. There has been the odd F2 opening that my 500mW 10m beacon found, but not the daily USA openings I was expecting by now on 10m WSPR. By the time we get io November I expect daily F2 openings will be commonplace on 10m.

UPDATE 1528z:   Still only local G4IKZ (18km) spotting me on 10m WSPR. Very quiet.

70cm UKAC contest this evening

Starting at 1900z, there is the monthly RSGB 70cm activity contest. This lasts 2.5 hours. Activity levels are usually very high during these events, although I imagine the number of portable stations drop off as the evenings get darker. As usual, I shall be using 5W pep and my 2m big-wheel horizontal omni which matches and gets out quite well on 70cm. The main limitation is my poor voice. Usually less than an hour of operating and I am "done in".

UPDATE 2000z: After a single QSO I called it a night on 70cm. I heard quite a few squares including IO90, IO91, IO92, JO02, JO03, at reasonable distances but my voice was not up for it.  The Leicester 70cm beacon was at normal strength.

Yaesu FT991 issues?

The price is certainly falling for this rig, but quite a few people have expressed disappointment. I cannot comment on these reports. Some are disappointed saying it is, "cheaply made".

This is a trend of our age: I have noticed that M&S underpants are now thinner and not as good. My wife recently bought a coat (not M&S) and this was thinner than the one it replaced.  No, making goods to fit a price seems to be the way things are today, rather than built to last. This says lots about our "consumer society". Things are not made to last any more: they are designed to wear out or fail so we buy new items.

This is a state of affairs that ultimately cannot last.

Sunspots and 10m - Tues Oct 13th 2015

In the last 24 hours there has been very little evident on 10m WSPR here. Today, sunspot number is 51 (K=4) and 10m propagation is expected to remain "poor". To be honest, I am not expecting much today on 10m, but I hope to be pleasantly surprised. You never know...

12 Oct 2015

East Cambs Net - 144.575MHz FM, 8pm Mondays

This evening, I was late joining the net and when I arrived there was no-one on!  Usually there are at least 3 of us on. Maybe some are away. All being well I shall be there on time next Monday evening.

Grass cutting - NOT amateur radio

We are now clearly in autumn and the leaves are starting to fall. Today, I cut our front lawn (rear later all being well) but the intervals between cuts is lengthening as the grass is growing less. One, maybe two, more cuts and that should be it until the spring arrives. I usually give it a small tidy-up if needed on a dry winter day. The first cut of spring is usually March.

As Melanie Reid said in The Times on Saturday (she is tetraplegic since a riding accident in April 2010) there are those that live and those that live in fear. We are not in control, despite our best efforts, so let us all try to be with those who live and embrace all life.

5MHz band?

The next world radio conference (WRC-2015) is drawing close to opening. Worldwide, radio amateurs are hoping for a contiguous 5MHz allocation, rather than the channelised allocations common in many countries. A 60m band would be really useful as the sunspot numbers decline and the higher HF bands become far less useful for DX. Whether this contiguous allocation will happen remains to be seen. Most of the lobbying has been done, so I guess we now have to wait and hope.

Sunspots and 10m - Mon Oct 12th 2015

Sunspot number, although low,  is slowly climbing again and is 36 today (K=3) but 10m is yet again forecast to have "poor" propagation.

So far, just local G4IKZ (18km) spotting my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon (100% TX, randomised frequency), although I'll leave this running all day. 6m WSPR is also running (20% TX, 80% RX 1W ERP).

UPDATE 1137z:  Still just local G4IKZ spotting me on 10m WSPR and nothing at all on 6m either given or received.

11 Oct 2015

MLS FT991 video

MLS have dropped their price to match the competition this weekend, but I expect to see further falls soon They have a nice video introducing this radio.

ICOM IC7300 in RadCom?

My new copy of RadCom is due towards the end of next week. I wonder, if as in PW, there will be a "tight lipped" policy as appears to be the case for all advertising in PW a few weeks ago? You can almost hear ICOM saying, "do NOT sell the IC7300, as this is for NEXT year, if at all".

Certainly the UK selling price of the Yaesu FT991 has, as predicted, dropped some way. This will go lower still in the months ahead. If the IC7300 has had to be delayed (software issue maybe, or are they afraid the lack of 2m/70cm will be a problem, or is there a major design issue, or are they worried about the selling price versus the Yaesu FT991?) this would be a great shame.

I was expecting to see this in the UK by Christmas and selling for less than the FT991. I now have my doubts. The next RadCom may give us some clues.

See http://www.cqdx.ru/ham/new-equipment/icom-ic-7300-hf-50-mhz-transceiver/ .

Illness - NOT amateur radio

This last week, in addition to the problems that remain as a result of my stroke, I was laid low by a nasty stomach bug.  Even now, I am sure this is draining me as I feel even more exhausted than normal. Usually I feel wobbly when walking but the levels of extreme fatigue were easing. I still got exhausted doing physical or mental things for 15-20 minutes or more, but with rest I soon recovered.

These last few days I have lost weight because of my stomach bug and I feel abnormally tired. I have routine doctors appointment on Thursday and I will discuss if there are not signs of things getting back to todays' "normal".

To be honest, I have not felt well for some weeks.

Sunspots and 10m - Sun Oct 11th 2015

Sunspot number is still low at 22 (K=2) and 10m propagation is forecast to be "poor". I see some decent F2 distances are being reported by some in Europe, especially over the equator.

UPDATE 1537z:   Because of family and grandchildren, I have only just turned on the 10m 500mW WSPR beacon. I may have missed the best today. Just local G4IKZ (18km) logging me so far on 10m WSPR.

10 Oct 2015

10m and 6m WSPR so far today

I have been WSPRing on these 2 bands for about 40 minutes so far today.  No success, as yet, but I hope to be on both bands all day. Even some DX inter-G would be of  interest.

UPDATE 1142z:  Although 10m remains quiet, I have spotted M0ICR (90km) and been spotted by G6AVK (78km) on 6m. When my PC closed unexpectedly it left my power on 6m as 5mW, whereas it has been 1W ERP all day om 6m and my 10m beacon (does not use PC) is 500mW.

UPDATE 1400z next day: The M0ICR spots were in error. The settings were NOT for 12 hours but a whole week, and M0ICR was spotted earlier in the last week.

Salcombe Lifeboat Disaster - NOT amateur radio

100 years ago next October, there was a disaster when 13 of the crew of the Salcombe lifeboat were lost at sea. Salcombe is in south Devon, UK.  One of my aunties remembered this when she was a child.  In those days these brave men rowed out in very rough seas.  The RLNI has a book out soon about the disaster. At the time, the event was devastating on Salcombe.

Sunspots and 10m - Sat Oct 10th 2015

With a sunspot number of 11 (K=3) and 10m propagation expected to be "poor" again it looks like we'll need a lot of good luck if 10m and 6m are to be any good. These are magic bands and often I have been surprised on so called "poor" days.

Never give up - on 10m especially! The band may appear dead but really be open and this is where WSPR TXing and RXing will really prove itself - catching openings that would otherwise be missed.

9 Oct 2015

Autumn SPRAT

I always enjoy getting my GQRP Club SPRAT magazine every quarter. It is worth every penny. Every edition has circuits and useful ideas. I have said many times that SPRAT would be the last to go if I had to stop amateur radio mags. Currently I get SPRAT, RadCom and PW. I used to get QST digitally, but stopped this.


Is this real? Are they really coming back? My very first introduction to radio was a Heathkit, so I do hope this is true. At one time Heathkits were the very best. There have been a few false dawns.

See https://shop.heathkit.com/shop .

Another rally in the UK

I have been notified of this rally:

Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker, Nantwich, Cheshire CW5 8AL. 

Electronic equipment, amateur gear, components, military radio sets and vehicle spares. OT 10am, TS, C. 

Lucy, 01270 623 353, Lucy@hackgreen.co.uk. www.hackgreen.co.uk.

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

Sunspots and 10m - Friday Oct 9th 2015

With a sunspot number of 24 this is little changed. K=3 which is a bit less disturbed than yesterday. Propagation on 10m is again forecast to be "poor", although I would soon expect to see regular openings to North America on 10m WSPR. So far, I have only caught just one.

UPDATE 1025z:  Although I have been active, and still am, on both 10m and 6m WSPR, I have drawn a blank so far on both bands. On 10m it is again 100% 500mW TX (frequency randomised) and on 6m 1W TX for 20% and RX 80%.

8 Oct 2015

"Give us a Nadiya" - NOT amateur radio

"I can and I will". 

If you live in the UK and have a TV then the chances are you saw Nadiya, the 30 year old mother of 3 from Leeds, win "The Great British Bake Off" last night. She was the delightful girl who wore the world on her face and in her eyes. Her expressions of sadness and joy were just wonderful. She deserved to win, although they were all good.  All day my wife has been saying, "give me a Nadiya" whenever I have been pathetic with my stomach bug. Perhaps this will become an expression?

Wouldn't it be good if our politicians could let their guards down and show us the real people behind their facades? Go on David Cameron, UK Prime Minister, "give us a Nadiya".

See http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2015/oct/08/great-british-bake-off-nobel-prize-acceptance-speeches-nadiya-hussain .

The image below is at http://ichef.live.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/1376xn/p034mtz9.jpg and NOT on this blog. The link and image will be removed if showing it is a problem.

Great post! - like heck!

Well, being human, I can spot these a mile away these days. You read on a bit more and see it refers to an old post and goes on to advertise something. It has nothing at all to do with the post. Thankfully "dodgy" comments go to my email and simply get deleted before they appear on the blog.

Should you see any comments, especially on older posts, that got through, please let me know so I can delete.

If you are a spammer - get lost - play your silly games somewhere else or jump in a river?  You are wasting your efforts on this site.

10m WSPR - blank here today so far

My 10m 500mW WSPR beacon has been on most of the day. So far, it has been copied by no-one at all, with not even a spot by the locals. I'll leave it running,although I am not too hopeful!

If you are a G why not see if you can spot me by tropo/aircraft? This works, especially when planes are in the right places. Inter-G on 10m is very interesting. Yesterday it was copied in North Devon, which is quite away. The more usual range for G stations by tropo/aircraft is 120-200km away.

Sometimes signals can be strong but will not decode. Other times you may see multiple reflections - 6 is not uncommon. The Doppler just has to be right.

RSGB Convention - Oct 9 to 11th (this weekend)

The convention programme of lectures (all interests) is available on the RSGB website.  The principal sponsor is Martin Lynch and Sons.

What a pity that the RSGB depends on sponsors, but I guess they need them these days. No doubt MLS, and other sponsors will have some good deals.

All rallies can be found at http://rsgb.org/main/news/rallies/

Yet more Sputnik QRP QSOs

This from Oleg:

"Dear Space Friends,
today I logged two "vanguard" QSOs on my new DC TRX 50 mW on 14060 kHz
- UR7VT (2 watts) and UR5FEO (4 watts). Both gives me 539 reports.
I looking for any Sputnik/Vanguards/SWLs reports, please.

72! beep-beep-beep...
Deep Space Communications Center
operator on duty -
Oleg ("Mr. 72") RV3GM / KH6OB"

472kHz antennas

One of the last things I managed before being taken ill with my stomach bug was to use my end-fed Par long-wire HF antenna, suitably matched, via the preamp on 472kHz RX.  My very unscientific test conclusions are that none of these compromise antennas are much different. All copied about the same number of different WSPR stations at much the same strengths. As the tests were done on different nights conditions may have been different. The earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground is the easiest, so, for now, I shall continue using this on MF.

Maybe I should go back to bed as I still feel unwell.

Sunspots and 10m - Thurs Oct 8th 2015

Forget it! Go and cut the grass instead.

With a sunspot number of 24 (K=6) and 10m propagation (in fact all HF) expected to be "poor" today HF conditions are not expected to be any good today.

Yesterday I was not on the radio at all -I was ill and I still feel well below normal - and "Sod's Law"applied: my absence corresponded withe the best MF propagation in years.

Anyway, the 10m 500mW WSPR beacon has been turned on and is active, more in hope than expectation.

7 Oct 2015

Poorly - no amateur radio

Most of today I have been in bed with a nasty stomach bug. It has meant no amateur radio today. To be honest I slept a lot and have eaten nothing. This is the first time since my stroke that I have been ill from anything other than the stroke.

Sunspots and 10m - Wed Oct 7th 2015

Sunspot number is a bit higher at 24, but conditions are disturbed (K=6). 10m propagation is again expected to be "poor".

6 Oct 2015

OFCOM email - NOT amateur radio

This is the latest email from OFCOM. It looks like it was written by a bunch of bureaucrats who probably have never used a radio. To me it is a quango. Sorry, WHAT do they actually do that adds value?:

"This update provides a list of selected recent Ofcom publications. For all latest documents, please visit: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/
This month’s update covers:
  • Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator Update 
  • BBC Significance Test: Radio 5 live Sports Extra
  • BT Undertakings: BT’s temporary use of the Enterprise Cloud for specified Openreach operational support systems
  • Made out of London register
  • PSB Nations and Regions compliance reporting
  • Radio licensing monthly update
  • Television broadcast licensing update
  • Consumer Protection Test
Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator Update
The Independent Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator (OTA2) has published its update for September 2015. At the end of September 2015, the number of unbundled lines stood at 9.81 Million. There were 5.50 Million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS was 1.97 Million.
BBC Significance Test: Radio 5 live Sports Extra letter
Ofcom has published a letter providing input into the BBC Trust’s significance test of proposals to increase BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra programming. Ofcom has considered the potential impact of the proposals on other players in the market. Ofcom’s input forms a specific part of the BBC Trust’s significance test but any decisions are made by the BBC Trust.
BT Undertakings: BT’s temporary use of the Enterprise Cloud for specified Openreach operational support systems
Ofcom has published an exchange of letters between BT and Ofcom concerning BT’s use of the BT Enterprise Cloud, which is shared across BT, for specified Openreach operational support systems. The letters include Ofcom’s agreement to a request from BT to allow it to use the Enterprise Cloud in this manner on a temporary basis until December 2015.
Public Service Broadcasters’ nations and regions compliance reporting, 2014
Ofcom has a duty under the Communications Act 2003 to ensure certain public service broadcasters comply with quotas for programmes made and shown in the nations and English regions. Ofcom has reported on ITV, STV, UTV, S4C and BBC programmes made and shown in the nations and English regions. The report also sets out the delivery of original and independent productions by ITV, STV and UTV.
‘Made Outside London’ programme titles register, 2014
The BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 are required to broadcast a proportion, range and value of programmes made outside the M25. This report sets out the programmes the broadcasters have certified as ‘Made outside London’ broadcast during 2014.
Radio licensing monthly update
The monthly update provides information about Ofcom’s broadcast radio licensing activity with regard to both the commercial and community radio sectors, including news of the planned advertisement of a new local analogue commercial radio licence in Scotland.
Television broadcast licensing update
The latest broadcast licensing update provides information about Ofcom’s broadcast TV licensing activity, including details of new licences issued and changes to existing licences.
Consumer Protection Test
The Consumer Protection Test for telephone number allocation focuses on communications providers that have used numbers to cause serious or repeated harm to consumers. Ofcom will not allocate 070 personal numbers, 0871/2/3 special service higher-rate numbers or 09 premium rate numbers to anyone who appears on either of two lists. Ofcom strongly encourages all providers that assign telephone numbers to others to take best use of numbers and consumer protection into account, and to refer to the following two lists when making assignment decisions. "