30 Nov 2015

Stroke artifacts - NOT amateur radio

I have only just noticed this one! It seems I miss out some key words when I write on my blogs. It is as if I think they are there and they are not. As always, I try to correct the errors as soon as I spot them. If any words are missing please blame it on my brain!

First 10m WSPR spot today

You can tell it is not too great on 10m WSPR today as I have only just had my beacon spotted for the first time today.  This was by RA3UDF (2693km) at 1110z - single hop F2.  Today is going to be a struggle.
UPDATE 1404z:  FR1GZ ( 9724km) has spotted me a few times on 10m WSPR and M0LMH (223km) has spotted me a few times in daytime on 472kHz.

UPDATE 1648z:  With no USA spots on 10m so far today, I think this is going to be another day without the spots from the USA on 10m WSPR. Others may have been luckier: my 10m ERP cannot be great.

CQ-DATV mags free

See http://cq-datv.mobi/ebooks.php .

CQ-DATV is available for free download. I have not tried amateur TV but some remarkable results are being achieved by DATV in the 146-147MHz band. Like all things in our hobby, you can only do so much. I think the use of digital techniques has given amateur TV a new lease of life.

Time passing - NOT amateur radio

Someone said that time passes faster as you get older. It certainly seems this way.

November came and went in no time at all. October was just as fast. It will soon be Christmas, January will soon go, February is a short month and before you know it there will be buds and daffodils everywhere. I am not wishing my time away, but time does seem to disappear.

I do so hope that I feel much better in 2016.  It is 2 years since my stroke and I was expecting to feel so much better by now.

472kHz WSPR

Returned to 10m WSPR at breakfast time. Still on 630m (472kHz) WSPR but I am having trouble accessing the WSPRnet database. Overnight, no new stations copied, or copying me, on 472kHz WSPR. I may switch from 630m to 6m soon.

UPDATE 1040z: M0LMH (223km) is spotting me in daylight on 472kHz WSPR.

Sunspots and 10m - Mon Nov 30th 2015

Sunspot number is 47 today (K=5) but solar flux is 95 and the forecast for 10m remains "poor". With disturbed conditions, I am not expecting great things on 10m, but you never can be sure. No spots as yet on 10m WSPR.

There is often a small Es peak at the end of the year, so we could see some nearer Europeans on 10m Dec/Jan via Es. This is also the case on 6m.

29 Nov 2015

Sunset - NOT amateur radio

We are at the "pits" end of the year as far as sunlight is concerned, but the evenings start to get lighter from mid December even though the mornings get darker for a few weeks more. By the end of January the evenings are getting better light-wise by almost an hour. February is a short month. It is good to think the nights will soon be getting lighter again. It may be a little different where you live.

See http://www.timeanddate.com/sun/uk/cambridge?month=12&year=2015 .

Family weekend - NOT amateur radio

This weekend we had our "London" grandchildren here with their mum and dad. As you can see, our grandson, aged 8 years old,  decided to play dead on the rug.  They left quite late in the afternoon.

472kHz WSPR - same stations

It is now 1800z and I am still spotting the same stations as previously and the same stations are spotting me. I enjoy 472kHz WSPR but we do need more new stations.

It is not hard to get on the band and, as I have proved, large antennas and high ERP are not needed for WSPR. My approach using a simple transverter and FT817 will get you going.

UPDATE 1900z:  I see Ive been spotted by G0HWW (29km). Not too far, but a new station.

Quiet day on 10m WSPR

I was late getting on 10m WSPR today, but I was on early enough to catch any USA openings. There were none today.  

FR1GZ (9724km) spotted me at 1500z and, apart from this, all was quiet. CQWW CW was in full swing so this may have reduced WSPR activity, but the main reason was poor conditions.

Daylight 472kHz WSPR

It was more convenient to stay on 630m (472kHz) WSPR today. I have only just turned on my 10m WSPR beacon. I was quite surprised to see LA3EQ (769km) being spotted in daylight.

Sunspots and 10m - Sun Nov 30th 2015

Solar flux is 96. Sunspot number is just 36 (this will be much lower this time next year) and K=2. 10m propagation is again expected to be "poor".

UPDATE 1123z:   I am still on 630m WSPR (I was on 630m WSPR overnight) as we have family here.  I shall QSY to 10m and 6m later.

UPDATE 1130z:   The best DX on 630m (472kHz) WSPR RX was DH5RAE and the best DX on 472kHz WSPR TX (5mW ERP) was DL-SWL at 701km.

28 Nov 2015

472kHz WSPR - odd behaviour explained

Although I was being spotted by several stations, I was puzzled why I was apparently not spotting others. A quick check the PC showed "no internet access" on the wi-fi symbol: I was receiving many stations but these were not being uploaded to WSPRnet. I turned off the PC and rebooted it .  All is now fine again. LA and DK were soon being spotted and uploaded.

UPDATE 2324z:  Plenty of MF stations in Western Europe spotted and uploading to WSPRnet.  All these are stations I have seen before though.  EA5DOM is active although I have not copied him yet. My best DX is DL-SWL (701km) on TX and  DH5RAE (995km) on RX. Still using 5mW ERP and earth-electrode "antenna".

Very early daffodils - NOT amateur radio

This evening we went to nearby Anglesey Abbey, a National Trust property near Cambridge, to see the winter lights. To our utter surprise there were a couple of daffodils already out. This is only Nov 28th!! This particular clump is always early, but November is just odd.

6m WSPR spot and all quiet on 10m WSPR

G4APB (88km) spotted me on 6m WSPR at 1340z. The high drift (-3Hz) suggests aircraft involvement, although this could be his station stabilising. So far again today, no DX on 6m outside the UK.

UPDATE 1418z:  All very quiet on 10m WSPR with nothing stateside so far this afternoon.  I guess this is a mix of not brilliant conditions and the CQWW CW contest this weekend.

UPDATE 1440z:   FR1GZ (9724km) has spotted me on 10m WSPR at 1438z. Still no USA spots today.

UPDATE 1515z:  FR1GZ has spotted my 500mW 10m WSPR 4 times so far today, but still no signs of the USA on 10m WSPR here.

UPDATE 2115z:  No USA stations spotted me today on 10m WSPR.  I would have thought one might have.

Sunspots and 10m - Sat Nov 28th 2015

Solar flux has dipped below the magic 100 level to 98. Sunspot number has dropped to 48.  K=1. Forecast for 10m propagation is again "poor". Somehow I feel this is going to be a less good day on 10m WSPR, but only time will tell.

UPDATE 1018z:  Quiet so far on both 10m and 6m WSPR. Maybe CQWW CW has got to everyone? This big CW contest runs all weekend.

UPDATE 1148z:  Russians (only) spotting me on 10m WSPR out to 2401km. All still quiet on 6m WSPR.

Surplus parts supplier in the USA

I received this email yesterday. As I have not used the service, I cannot comment, but pass it on to readers in the hope that you may find it of use.

"I have started  a website selling surplus electronic parts would like any help getting this to the QRP groups. Over 400 line items and growing.

If can help I would appreciate it

Thank You
Billy R. Jones  K0CIY"

27 Nov 2015

Southgate News of $5 computer made in Wales

Southgate News has information about a new Raspberry Pi computer that is made in Wales and is just $5. I have no idea how they do it for the price.

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2015/november/new_raspberry_pi_zero.htm .

6m WSPR spots

It helps to connect the right antenna! I noticed I was still operating into a dummy load until lunchtime,  when I connected the V2000 vertical. I see that G8EPQ (77km) has spotted me twice on 6m WSPR. This is probably aided by aircraft, but it is just possible he gets me directly.

UPDATE 1606z:  I see that I am spotting G8EPQ too on 6m WSPR. 
6m WSPR spots this afternoon

Stroke update - NOT amateur radio

Things here seem to be on a plateau with no real improvements for months. Just after breakfast seems to be my worst time, as I am always exhausted. A short sit-down rest and I am back to normal - well normal as I can be for now. My main issues are my voice, which is still poor, liquid swallow, giddiness when on my feet and bouts of exhaustion after physical or mental exertion.

Sunspots and 10m - Fri Nov 27th 2015

Solar flux is good at 106. Sunspot number is 56 (K=2) but the official 10m propagation forecast is "poor". Don't believe it!  With many spots already from Australia and Reunion of my tiny 500mW 10m WSPR beacon, my advice is get on 10m and enjoy the band while you can.

UPDATE 1030z: All quiet on 6m here (but see later post - no antenna!).

UPDATE 1500z:  K9AN (6505km) was the first USA station to spot me on 10m WSPR today at 1418z.

CQWW CW this weekend

Usually I don't do this contest as CW is often sent at breakneck speed, but the CQWW CW contest is on this weekend. If you enjoy CW and contests, this one may be for you?

10m WSPR - very good early today

Already VK2KRR (16789km) has spotted my tiny 10m WSPR beacon 7 times today starting at 0910z on 10m WSPR.  FR1GZ (9724km) was spotting me from 0824z. Amazing conditions.

UPDATE 1230z:  No further 10m WSPR spots since VK2KRR.

26 Nov 2015

470kHz WSPR - too few TX stations

Although I have been on 470kHz WSPR most of the evening, very few stations have been spotted and only one has spotted me. It seems that most of the stations "in range" are on RX only. I think I  have copied most stations that are active on WSPR that are within western Europe. We definitely need more TX stations on 470kHz WSPR.

Nevada deal on new Lincoln 10m rig

From Steve G1KQH:

Tempting Black Friday:
73 Steve

First stateside today on 10m WSPR

VE3GEN (5593km) was the first "over the pond" spot of my little 10m WSPR beacon at 1418z. This was followed by spots from several USA stations during the afternoon. Best 10m WSPR DX spot of my beacon today was from FR1GZ (9724km) at 1440z.

No spots given or received on 6m WSPR today.


I have now gone QRT on 630m and am again active on 10m WSPR and 6m WSPR. I QSYed at about 1030z. So far, no spots on 10m or 6m. Overnight, there were no surprises on 630m (472kHz) with the same stations spotted and spotting me. Yet again, my best DX report came from DL-SWL/1 at 701km. Not bad with my 5mW ERP.

Sunspots and 10m - Thurs Nov 26th 2015

Sunspot number has fallen a little to 58 (K=0) and solar flux is still decent at 108. Although this seems a poor guide to 10m WSPR conditions, the forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor".

25 Nov 2015

Cambridge Parks - NOT amateur radio

Parker's Piece, Cambridge
Each Wednesday, I go into Cambridge for my "Life in the Universe" lectures as art of the U3AC programme.

Cambridge has several parks and, of course, the famous Backs (of the colleges) along the River Cam. This is the park that is behind Drummer Street bus station. Most trees are now bare.

Australia yet again on 10m WSPR

At 1048z my 500mW 10m WSPR was (yet again) spotted by VK2KRR (16789km) in Australia. This is getting so common now that I am losing count of the days when this has happened. Yet again 10m propagation is forecast to be "poor".  Don't believe all the experts say!

These DX spots  are becoming so common now that they almost become expected.

UPDATE 1817z:  I have now gone QRT on both 10m and 6m WSPR and started up on 630m WSPR. On 10m WSPR the first USA 10m spot today was at 1338z by KC1AWS (5308km). Also several spots today by FR1GZ (9724km). In all, quite a good day on 10m WSPR despite the forecast for 10m propagation of "poor".

Sunspots and 10m - Wed Nov 25th 2015

Solar flux is 112 and sunspot number 66. K=0. The forecast for 10m is "poor" which usually means (perversely!) that 10m WSPR will be quite good here.

UPDATE 1025z:  No 10m or 6m spots as yet. I went QRT on MF around 0800z.

IC7300 - not yet?

The IC7300 is being actively "pre-sold" with UK dealers asking people to part with £50 deposits to secure these transceivers when they become available. I don't think any have shipped yet and I suspect it will be late spring before they appear in the UK.
The price will drop once the dealers have creamed good profits from those who must have the rig at any price - the early adopters. Really I would like the 10W version which would be a class QRP rig. This would be even better than the IC703.

It is quite likely that the early sets will have some software or hardware issues which will be corrected on later models sold.

Of all the products around, it looks the most attractive and I like the SDR architecture. Let's hope the ball grid arrays are soldered well! From bitter experience I know this can be a nightmare tweeking the process.  I can wait.

ICOM America has more information on this transceiver.

24 Nov 2015

Best DX on 472kHz this autumn

DL-SWL/1 (701km) has spotted my 5mW ERP on 472kHz WSPR this evening. This is the furthermost I have been spotted this autumn. The 472kHz WSPR station here will remain on this evening and overnight.

Best DX on RX remains DH5RAE (995km) this evening. EA5DOM does not appear to be on WSPR tonight, yet.

10m WSPR USA spots today

K9AN (6505km) is, so far, the first USA station to spot my 500mW 10m beacon today. First USA 10m WSPR spot was at 1318z. I am quite surprised that I don't have a log full of USA spots on 10m WSPR from the USA today. So far only K9AN and KK1D (5455km) have spotted me on 10m WSPR from the USA today.

UPDATE 1900z: I have now gone QRT on both 10m and 6m WSPR. I am QRV on 630m WSPR with the homemade transverter running 5mW ERP, listening 80% of the time for others. No RX preamp and using the earth-electrode "antenna". First station received was F6GEX (590km) in IN97 square at -27dB S/N. Next was DH5RAE (995km).

Stroke - NOT amateur radio

I am truly fed up with the after-effects of my stroke. Most of the time on my feet I am exhausted and giddy. My voice is still very poor. Nobody, and I mean nobody, seems to comprehend the hell I am living through. Outwardly I look "normal" and healthy. Inside is a different matter.

All I want is for things not to totally exhaust me and not to feel so wobbly. I feel so useless inside. Sitting down on the PC is fine, but the moment I try to do anything physical or mental I am soon "done in".

It seems a long time since I was my old self.

Made in China - NOT amateur radio

Today is my XYL's birthday and one of her presents was a Cath Kitson 3-tier cake stand for the table. Even this is marked "Made in China". Surely suppliers can source this from the UK? It is just 3 slabs of plates, a few screws and some wood.

In the end this "Made in China" rubbish has to end. The wealth of the UK depends, in the end, in adding value and making things. They must make huge profits on this stuff. A few pence more to source from the UK would mean a few pence less profit. So?

John Lewis - try harder!

It is very hard to find anything that is made anywhere in Europe or the USA these days.

Sepura - NOT amateur radio

Shares never fail to amuse me. I finished working for Sepura in 2008. Today they gave interim results for the last 6 months and these exceeded expectations. A betting man would expect their shares (SEPU) to rise. Oh no, they have fallen!!

Sepura is a FTSE listed company. They make profits every year. They recently bought their Spanish rival Teltronic. Sepura specialises in TETRA and DMR, mainly secure radios.

UPDATE 1745z:  Shares in Sepura ended the day down to 174.75, down 1.5% on the day.  Totally perverse!

Sunspots and 10m - Tues Nov 24th 2015

Sunspot number is 77 today (K=0) and solar flux is good at 119.  Sadly the 10m propagation forecast is "poor" today. It will be interesting to see how 10m WSPR is today.

UPDATE 1017z:  From Australia VK2KRR (16789km) has already spotted me 4 times today on 10m WSPR!  Ignore that "poor" forecast, HI. I find it quite amazing how a "poor" 10m forecast is given and yet my little W5OLF 10m 500mW WSPR beacon is spotted right around the planet. 6m and 10m are "magic bands" as sometimes they spring real surprises. Wolf's 10m beacon does not need a PC and would fit in a very box. It is great. I have had mine a year and I have had such fun with it. It never fails to amaze me how something so small on the desk is regularly spotted at great distances, even with a very small, modest, wire antenna. The antenna is hardly visible. Spots from the USA are almost daily and it has been spotted in Australia on 8 different days (I think) this autumn. -18dB S/N (twice today from Australia) suggests even 40mW might have been enough! Quite amazing.

UPDATE 1052z:  No further 10m spots and all quiet so far on 6m WSPR.

Early 10m WSPR spots

RA3UDF (2693km) has spotted my 10m WSPR beacon several times this morning already starting at 0938z. This is single hop F2.

UPDATE 1200z: VK2KRR spotted me 4 times earlier and now I am being spotted by OE6PWD (1232km) and I4ZTO (1185km). I am unsure whether this is F2 backscatter or even Es.  All quiet on 6m WSPR.

23 Nov 2015

Happiness - NOT amateur radio

Seen on Facebook. Written by 92 year old lady.

Remember the five simple rules to be happy: 

1. Free your heart from hatred. 
2. Free your mind from worries. 
3. Live simply. 
4. Give more. 
5. Expect less.

Not bad advice.

472kHz WSPR

I have closed down on 6m and 10m WSPR and have been on 630m (472kHz) WSPR for about an hour with 5mW ERP and no preamp using the earth-electrode "antenna". Best DX on RX is DH5RAE (995km). For the second night in a row GW0EZY (251km) has spotted my 5mW ERP WSPR.

UPDATE 1946z:  We definitely need a few new stations on 472kHz WSPR. I am rapidly exhausting stations "in range".

First USA WSPR spot on 10m today

K9AN (6505km) was the first to spot me today on 10m at 1334z.

UPDATE 1642z: Surprisingly, 10m is quite poor to the USA so far today on WSPR. So far, just 2 unique stations spotting me with KK1D (5455km) spotting me at 1538z. Nothing since then.

Sky Box Questions?

This came via Steve G1KQH:

Is the new Sky Q box just about to spoil our hobby?

Sky Q PLT interference maker?

Sunspots and 10m - Mon Nov 23rd 2015

Sunspot number has climbed again to 76. K=1. The daytime forecast for 10m propagation remains "fair", so reasonable 10m conditions can be expected today. Solar flux is a respectable 122.

UPDATE 1022z:  So far, the 10m WSPR spots have been from RX3DHR (2533km). All quiet on 6m WSPR so far.

UPDATE 1024z:  As the above indicates, I am again active on both 10m and 6m WSPR and QRT on MF until after dark this evening.

UPDATE 1135z:  3 spots of G8VDQ (93km) so far on 6m WSPR, but no further spots yet on 10m WSPR.  Despite higher sunspot numbers, good solar flux levels, and undisturbed conditions, 10m WSPR is quiet this morning. 10m is definitely a band of surprises: when you expect it to be good it is not and vice versa.

22 Nov 2015

QRT on 6m, return to 630m (472kHz) WSPR

At 1710z approximately I closed down the 6m WSPR station and returned to 630m WSPR (TX 5mW ERP 20% and RX 80%, using the earth-electrode "antenna").

UPDATE 1722z:  No spots exchanged yet on MF.

UPDATE 1730z:  At the moment I am still on 10m WSPR too.

UPDATE 1908:  GW0EZY (251km) has spotted my 5mW ERP 472kHz WSPR several times this evening. Signals are clearly "marginal", so I guess he has a quiet location. Best DX on 472kHz WSPR RX, so far this evening, is DH5RAE (995km). EA5DOM has not put in an appearance yet.

UPDATE 1946z:  PA3ABK (306km) is my best DX on my 5mW ERP so far tonight.

UPDATE 2120z: I went QRT on 10m WSPR a little while ago.

10m WSPR TX beacon

Some years ago, I used the following circuit to get on 10m WSPR at low cost.

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

Although I also built a simple WSPR RX for 10m, I never got around to combining both the TX and RX into a single unit. Sadly, my stroke got in the way.

Tiny APRS transceiver for PC

This transceiver looks like it should be possible to duplicate. A neat design. I think this connects via a USB socket so the PC acts as a node for digital modes like DSTAR.

See http://unsigned.io/forum/viewtopic.php?id=2

6m WSPR so far today

As well as spotting G8VDQ (93km) several times, I have been spotted by G4APB (88km).  No DX outside the UK on 6m WSPR, well so far at least.
6m WSPR so far today
UPDATE 1705z:  More spots of G8VDQ but no-one else today.

First USA 10m WSPR spot today

KK1D (5455km) was the first USA station to spot my 10m WSPR today at 1258z. There will be plenty more today! FR1GZ has spotted me 4 times already.  K9AN (6505km) was the next USA station to spot me on 10m WSPR. Today, 10m is in very good shape.

UPDATE 1605z:  VE3GEN (5593km) has been spotted several times.

No longer tell XYL about DX reports on 10m

As I get so many DX reports with my 500mW WSPR, I no longer tell my XYL. An Australian station was spotting my 10m WSPR again today. I think this is the 6th or 7th time this autumn.  With WSPR and a very modest, low, wire antenna I find DX easy. With SSB or CW you are competing against the "big boys".

10m has been good now for about 4 years. This time next autumn things are likely to be much harder. Sunspots are still high but this time next year they are likely to have fallen a fair bit. Somewhere I read that a solar flux of over 100 equated to "good conditions".  It is more likely solar flux will be in the 70-80 region next autumn.

The greatest danger is low activity on 10m as people leave the band for lower frequencies. Many times I have said this will be when 10m WSPR should be really useful winkling out those elusive DX openings. Please, still use 10m WSPR even when the band seems dead. I am convinced it will be "open" far more often than people realise. WSPR is so much better than SSB or CW. Using WSPRnet, you can instantly see who is copying your WSPR signal. Low power is all that is needed.

UPDATE 1254z:  I see that FR1GZ (9724km) has spotted me on 10m WSPR. This is no longer remarkable! WSPR really is amazing  - just 500mW to a low wire antenna. On SSB it is a battle against those using big beams and high power.  On WSPR just a few milliwatts and you can find out how your signal gets around the world.

UPDATE 1530z: VE3GEN (5593km) was spotted several times today.

Loft trawl - lost amateur gear

It is now 22 months since I was discharged from hospital following my stroke. I have yet to get into the loft to properly explore the things I put there when we moved QTH over 2 years ago. My problem is ladders, although I am getting close to getting up there to have a good rummage around the boxes!

As I recall there were quite a few boxes with odd pieces of amateur gear, although these were mainly wires, SMPSUs and the like - nothing of value. You could well argue that if I have managed without these for over 2 years then they need a new home and certainly I don't need them. Maybe the next junk sale or rally?

Sunspots and 10m - Sun Nov 22nd 2015

Sunspot number has risen a little to 59 (K=1) but solar propagation predictions for 10m have improved to "fair". Solar flux today is 121, which is not at all bad.

UPDATE 1000z:  VK2KRR (16789km) has already spotted my 500mW WSPR beacon 3 times on 10m. Today is going to be a good day on 10m WSPR. I feel it in my bones!

UPDATE 1006z:  All quiet so far on 6m WSPR here with no spots yet given or received.

UPDATE 1010z:  As the above reports indicate, I went QRT on MF at breakfast time and am now active on 10m and 6m WSPR for the day.

21 Nov 2015

QRP on Wikipedia

This link has been posted before but it is worth repeating. This is the Wikipedia link all about QRP.

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

I am a firm believer in QRP. Simple gear can span the globe, although rising noise floors are making it tougher for some, especially in cities and towns. In theory, 5W is just a few S-points down on a 100W rig, but these days the limit is more likely to be man-made noise sources at the receiver especially on LF, MF and the lower HF bands. Up to now, I have been blessed with a low RX noise floor here. I am still lucky.

A second chance - NOT amateur radio

A very moving, and uplifting, account from a Paris hostage.
See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-34889539 .

"We've been given a second chance - we have to live life to the full!"

USA spots on 10m

K9AN (6505km) was the first USA station, and so far the only one, to spot my 10m 500mW WSPR this afternoon at 1418z.

UPDATE 1540z: Still just K9AN spotting me on 10m in the USA this afternoon.

UPDATE 1715z: In the end I got spots from 4 different USA stations on 10m WSPR. I have now gone QRT on 6m (where G8VDQ at 93km was spotted a few times) and on 10m WSPR and am back on 630m (472kHz) WSPR for the evening and night (5mW ERP TX 20%, 80% RX no preamp). So far, on 630m G7NKS (46km) has been copied at -11dB S/N. Still using the earth-electrode "antenna". G7NKS copied me at -22dB S/N. Also copied on 630m WSPR was DK7FC (669km) at -25dB S/N.

No snow - NOT amateur radio

We seem to have missed the snow. Although there is a biting cold north wind, it is dry and the sun has come out. It would not surprise me if we got a frost tonight. This would be the first time this autumn. Up to now it has been very mild.

This afternoon, a walk is called for, although we will have to dress in warm clothes!

UPDATE 1540z:  We walked around the village.

Sunspots and 10m - Sat Nov 21st 2015

Sunspot number is 52 (K=1) and 10m conditions remain "poor" according to the forecasts. Solar flux is a respectable 111. Often I find I get good 10m WSPR spots when conditions are supposed to be "poor".  Not sure why this is!

UPDATE 1204z:  So far, just spots from Russia and nearby areas on 10m WSPR. No great DX on 10m WSPR as yet. All quiet on 6m WSPR.

In praise of Jay W5OLF's WSPR beacon

I received this email from Jay W5OLF:

"Hi Roger,
I was catching up on your blog and saw the comment about how much you like the 10M beacon. That warms the heart.  We all try and make a contribution to the hobby and guess I at least made one.

Cheers, Jay, W5OLF"

W5OLF WSPR beacon
To which I replied, with great pleasure:

"Hi Jay,

I can honestly say I have had more fun from your 10m WSPR beacon than from ANYTHING in all my time in amateur radio. Thank you!

Roger G3XBM"

I was an SWL in 1961 and had a licence since 1966. The beacon needs no PC and is totally self contained. As a routine I reset to internet time every day but you could use a radio for this and once a day is probably far more frequently than necessary.  As you can see, it is very small. The last time I looked there were 1W beacons for 30m and 20m and a 0.5W one on 10m. If you enjoy this mode, I can recommend these. It never fails to amaze me how something so small to a small, low, wire antenna regularly gets spotted around the planet.

See http://w5olf.com/2014/12/18/new-wspr-axe-cw-beacon/ .

Late QSY

Much later than usual, I have closed down on 630m (472kHz) WSPR and am now active on 10m and 6m WSPR for the day. I did the QSY at around 1040z, which is much later than normal. Overnight I was on 472kHz RX only with the preamp in circuit. 472kHz is definitely suffering this autumn from a lack of transmitting stations in Europe. The is no shortage of stations on receive. Tonight I shall be on 472kHz TX again. Last night I copied all the usual 472kHz WSPR stations in range. We could do with some new stations!

20 Nov 2015

472kHz WSPR - now RX only with preamp

Since 1954z, I have gone RX only on 472kHz WSPR with the preamp in circuit, so the FT817 is running at maximum sensitivity. This will be on overnight all being well.

Sunshine - NOT amateur radio

Even if it is very quiet so far on the amateur radio front, at least the sun is shining. We have friends joining us for lunch. The wind is turning and it is definitely getting colder. Not that I have much faith in the weather forecasts, but there is an outside chance of snow this weekend here.

All quiet on 10m and 6m WSPR here so far today

As yet, not a single spot on 10m or 6m WSPR here. By now, I would have expected to have got some spots. Solar conditions don't look bad. Patience!

There are regular, strong, traces on the 6m WSPR screen, but these have too much Doppler to decode. I suspect this is G8VDQ (93km). If there was a WSPR mode with 1 min TX period, I suspect he would decode. JT65 or JT9-1 would probably work.

UPDATE 1715z:  There were USA 10m WSPR spots this afternoon. The last USA spot was at 1600z.

UPDATE 1720z:  G8VDQ (93km) was decoded on 6m a couple of times around lunch, presumably aided by aircraft reflection.

UPDATE 1725z: I have gone QRT on 10m and 6m WSPR and am now QRV on 630m (472kHz) with 5mW ERP again (20% TX, 80% RX, no preamp,earth-electrodes). M0LMH (223km) has copied me on 472kHz WSPR and DK7FC (669km) has been spotted.

Terrorist attacks - NOT amateur radio

The FTSE 100 is recovering but it would only take a successful terrorist attack in the UK or USA to send both the FTSE 100 and the Dow into downward spirals.

Back on 10m and 6m WSPR. QRT on 630m (472kHz) WSPR.

As is my normal routine these days, I have QSYed from 630m to 6m WSPR and turned on my 10m WSPR beacon and synced it to internet time.

UPDATE 1015z:  No spots on 10m or 6m as yet.

Sunspots and 10m - Fri Nov 20th 2015

Sunspot number has risen to 51 (K=3) but 10m propagation remains "poor" according to the forecast.  Solar flux is 107 which is still respectable.  Yesterday was another day without USA spots of my 10m WSPR beacon.

19 Nov 2015

QSY to 472kHz (630m) WSPR

10m and 6m WSPR were closed down at 2030 and I have now moved to 630m (5mW ERP 20% and RX 80% without the preamp). Still using the earth-electrodes.

UPDATE 2205z:  All the usual 472kHz "suspects", i.e. the active stations in western Europe, are being copied including lots of spots of EA5DOM (1525km) on the barefoot FT817 without the preamp. I think I'd spot him more often and at better S/N with the preamp in use.

Smart Meters - NOT amateur radio

This amused me as my energy supplier contacted me to arrange an appointment to fit smart meters but failed to turn up! I asked for a human being to contact me, but months have passed and they don't do humans. It seems their computers don't communicate!

This came via Steve G1KQH:

"Why they really want you to have a SMART Meter:

A Smart meter is NOT compulsory:

5MHz amateur band - it is now official

WRC-15 has ratified the first new HF amateur allocation since 1979. Although only 15kHz wide it was agreed internationally. I hope that CEPT allows a wider contiguous allocation. I am sure I cannot be alone in finding all these non-contiguous 5MHz allocations very confusing.

From the RSGB report on WRC-15:
"Z8 has now officially been agreed as the prefix for South Sudan and will be formally entered into the Radio Regulations. Meanwhile the revised Radio Regulations from WRC-15 will officially come into effect from the 1st January 2017. "

Another UK Rally

I've been notified of the following UK rally this weekend:

St Vincent de Paul's, Caldershaw Rd, off Edenfield Rd (A680), Norden, Rochdale OL12 6BU. OT 10.15/10.30, £2.50 (concessions U12 & seniors), TI S22, C. Pitches £5. Dave, G0PUD, 0161 285 1600, dave.shaw1@sky.com. www.radars.me.uk.

A list of rallies can be found at

Back on 10m and 6m WSPR

As the previous post showed, I am back on 10m and 6m WSPR. I went QRT on 630m (472kHz) around breakfast time. G8HUH (250km) was copied on 472kHz WSPR at 0830z a few minutes before closing. This path was in daylight.

Sunspots and 10m - Thurs Nov 19th 2015

Sunspot number is 36 today and K=2. Solar flux is 107 but the forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor".

UPDATE 1020z:  Just Russian and Sweden spotting me on 10m WSPR and no spots given or received yet on 6m.

18 Nov 2015

Getting fun from amateur radio

My current operating is almost exclusively WSPR. I go on the 8pm East Cambs net on 144.575MHz FM on Mondays and Tuesday UKAC contests (especially on 2m)  but my voice struggles. I tend to go on MF WSPR at night and 10m and 6m WSPR during the day.

On all bands I do not use very good antennas. I quite like the way I operate: it is a "low intensity, low cost" way of enjoying the hobby. I miss my field work but I am just too wobbly still.

QSYed to 472kHz

I have now gone QRT on 10m and 6m and am active on 630m (472kHz) WSPR instead for the evening and overnight.  As for last night, I am on 472kHz WSPR TX 20% 5mW ERP and RX 80% without preamp. I am still using the earth-electrode "antenna".

Early evening 472kHz WSPR
So far G4KPX (14km) has spotted me several times, M0LMH (223km) has spotted me once, PA7EY (306km) has spotted me once but I have copied no-one yet. It is nice to be copied by 3 different stations before 1900z.

UPDATE 1855z:  DH5RAE (995km) has just been spotted.

10m USA WSPR spots

KK1D (5455km) was the first station in the USA to spot my 10m WSPR beacon at 1420z.

Australia (again) on 10m WSPR

As well as spots from Brazil and Russia there are spots from 2 different VKs this morning of my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon. As expected, today is another good 10m day, despite the 10m forecast being "poor".

472kHz - an analysis of EA5DOM with and without RX preamp

The night before last EA5DOM (1525km) was copied 45 times on 472kHz with the preamp in circuit, so the FT817 was at maximum sensitivity. My best report of him was -16dB S/N.

Last night he was copied again but without the preamp. Last night I copied him 35 times with a best sensitivity of -19dB S/N.

Although conditions may have been different, I think the 472kHz preamp is worth having. It allows signals too weak to copy to be successfully decoded. Incidentally, EA5DOM was copied as late as 0740z today at -26dB S/N without the preamp on 472kHz WSPR.

Sunspots and 10m - Wed Nov 18th 2015

Solar flux is 106, which is quite good still. Sunspot number is 33 (K=2) and the forecast for 10m remains "poor". Since turning on the 10m WSPR beacon before breakfast, no spots yet received. On 6m I have spotted G8VDQ (93km) twice but nothing else as yet.

With relatively undisturbed 10m conditions it would not surprise me if this turns out to be another quite decent day on the band.

17 Nov 2015

QSYed to 472kHz WSPR (TX and RX)

472kHz station. Transverter is box with yellow LED on top shelf.
Both my 6m and 10m WSPR stations have been closed down for the evening and night and I am active again on 630m (472kHz) both TX (5mW ERP) 20% and RX 80% without the preamp. Note the strong trace on the PC from DK7FC (669km) at -16dB S/N at 1920z shortly after turning things on.  Still using my earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. I match my transverter to the earth-electrodes with a 42mm diameter step-up 3C90 toroid. This is located to the RHS of the transverter. Also visible is the current meter from which ERP is calculated. At the old QTH this matching transformer was not needed. Here, at the bungalow, the soil/rocks must be different. The earth-electrode spacing is also quite a bit less here. Who said 472kHz has to be complicated? Mine is a simple station, including the "antenna" which isn't!

UPDATE 2200z: The  best DX reports of my 5mW ERP are from Holland PA3ABK and PA7EY (both 306km). On receive the best DX is (again) EA5DOM (1525km).

Blog visits - NOT amateur radio.

It puzzles me who visits my various blogs. Already today, the number of people visiting this blog is more than for the whole day a few days ago. I try to include items that appeal to others, although I confess it is as much a diary for me: it records what I have done and the things that matter to me.

Anyway, thank you for visiting and reading this and my other blogs. If you find any postings not to your liking you have some choices. One is to not read similar posts in future or you can tell me! I cannot please everyone but I hope, on the whole, you approve of the things posted.

For the record, my other blogs are:

East Anglian Churches - usually updated every few weeks. East Anglian churches we have visited.
Miscellaneous Musings - updated several times a week. Miscellaneous thoughts.

More on 5MHz

This is on the RSGB's WRC-15 pages:

"Progress is slow but steady…

5MHz: The 5 MHz item has cleared another hurdle and hopefully it will be tabled at a Plenary meeting scheduled for Wednesday, when it will receive two readings. The approval of the last reading is a key milestone, subject of course to the final signing and national administration processes.
50MHz: The revised future agenda proposal for 50-54 MHz has been resubmitted and may be considered at a meeting of Working Group 6B during Tuesday afternoon.
47GHz: It seems that the Primary amateur and amateur satellite service band at 47-47.2 GHz is strongly being considered as a candidate band for IMT (5G) for the next WRC study period, although opinions differ over the definition of ‘candidate’. We are closely following this development.
Small Satellites: Meanwhile the focus has now shifted to the subject of identifying Space Operations Service spectrum below 1 GHz for small satellites in Non Geo-Stationary Orbit (NGSO). Needless to say this is generating a considerable amount of discussion, especially where frequencies around 144 MHz and 430 MHz are concerned.

Colin, HB9/G3PSM

NB: Further background and updates are at rsgb.org/wrc-15 and in our news"

A 15kHz wide allocation across the world! Well, I suppose it is a start assuming it is finally approved. It is great pity this is not a 200kHz wide band. 15kHz is very very small. Let us hope that in CEPT countries, at least, they let us use more contiguously. Some countries have already allowed wider contiguous secondary amateur allocations.

Terrorism - NOT amateur radio

One of the answers to the recent spate of terrorism is to work on the false certainty of those willing to die as "martyrs".  In any religion, anyone who sets out to kill innocents would not be a martyr at all. No, they face hell or nothingness and their cause is reduced to pure criminality. We need to understand what really motivates these individuals. They have a grievance that must run very deep.

Yes we need fair societies in all countries but violence is not the answer.

G8VDQ spotted on 6m WSPR

G8VDQ (93km) been spotted several times this morning on 6m WSPR at good strength. As yet, no DX from outside the UK and no-one has spotted me on 6m.

UPDATE 1600z: G8VDQ's signals (often not decoded) have lots of Doppler on them, suggesting multi-path and aircraft involvement. There is a direct signal too but I think the multi-path causes WSPR decodes to fail. If the 'planes are moving in the right direction then decodes occur. The direct (tropo) signal is much weaker and subject to heavy QSB.

Australian spots (again) on 10m WSPR

VK2EMA (16558km) spotted my 10m 500mW WSPR beacon at 1028z. This is (I think) the 5th day this autumn that my little WSPR beacon has been copied in Australia. So much for the "poor" 10m propagation! As long as conditions are not too disturbed, WSPR seems to get through on 10m.

UPDATE 1107z:  VK2KRR (16789km) has also spotted my little 10m WSPR beacon several times this morning. So far, 5 spots from Australia on 10m WSPR ths morning.

UPDATE 1205z:  I think the 10m opening to VK has ended as I am only being spotted in Russia at present. Things look hopeful on 10m WSPR for South and North American WSPR spots later. On 6m I guess there is an outside chance of some nearer Europeans by tropo and some more Europeans via Es, although we are well "out of season" now.  I seem to average a single European about once every 2 weeks on 6m WSPR currently.

UPDATE 1225z:  Almost as I was writing the above, my 10m 500mW W5OLF WSPR beacon was spotted on 10m WSPR in Brazil. I have the feeling today is going to turn to be quite a good day on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1230z:  I cannot begin tell you how much pleasure this tiny little 10m WSPR beacon has given me. Apart from syncing the beacon time, no PC is needed as the beacon is fully stand-alone. For the timing, I could use the pips on the radio. There is no doubt at all that this has given me more fun than anything in all my years in the hobby and that goes back 53 years. It is excellent value and is very small. It still amazes me that with a low wire antenna this is copied on the far side of the planet.

UPDATE 1345z:  My little 10m WSPR beacon has been copied 6 times already in Brazil today. No USA spots yet.

UPDATE 1458z:  First USA spot was KC1AWS (5308km) at 1444z, which is quite late.

UPDATE1808z:    There have been no USA 10m WSPR spots of my signal since 1500z.

EA5DOM (1525km) on 472kHz overnight

EA5DOM (1525km) was spotted 45 times through the night at up to -16dB S/N. He must be well equipped to have such a good 472kHz WSPR signal. My conclusion is the preamp does help with weak signals. Although EA5DOM would definitely have been copied last night without the preamp, having it in circuit meant I could still copy him when he was weak. There were at least 3 times (maybe more) when he would not have been copied without the preamp.

Sunspots and 10m - Tues Nov 17th 2015

Solar flux is 105. Sunspot number is 44 (K=1 so relatively undisturbed today). The forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor" today. We'll see!

I QSYed back to 10m and 6m WSPR a few minutes ago and turned off 630m RX until tonight. I usually takes about 10-15 minutes for the 10m 500mW WSPR beacon to stabilise after being off all night. I think the reference has to stabilise.

16 Nov 2015


My 10m and 6m WSPR stations have now been closed down. I have turned on my 630m (472kHz) RX kit on for the evening and overnight, this time I am RX only with the preamp. My antenna is again the earth-electrodes in the ground. My view overall is the preamp helps with weak signals but most stations are not too weak!  In theory it would be good to have some very weak stations active on 472kHz WSPR. Really, I should give OPERA another try.

My 630m (472kHz) RX was turned on about 1945z.

Winter projects

At this time of the year I like to set out some project objectives for the months ahead. Sadly, my poor health means I cannot do that much without getting very exhausted. The only project I can possibly manage is the erection of a MF loop antenna at some point. Even this will really tire me but I shall have to try. Maybe my son can help me with the ladder work?

5MHz band

This is from the RSGB pages:

"5MHz: An allocation at 5351.5-5366.5 kHz was agreed with regional variations in power between 15 W eirp/20 W eirp and 25 W eirp. In Region 1 this equates to a power output of 60 W. This was passed up to the next stage to Committee 4B where it was approved with minor changes to which geographical areas have what power limits. The next stage is for approval by Committee 4 which should take place on Monday and finally by a plenary meeting next Wednesday. While not an ideal solution, it has at least obtained an international allocation across all three Regions which is common or close to a number of national assignments. Everyone is equally unhappy, which is usual for a World Radio Conference."

Assuming this is approved, this is a tiny harmonised band and much smaller than we wanted. I am not sure if this is "it" or whether there is still a chance of larger harmonised bands in each region which is far from ideal but would be better than nothing, or a only a very small band.

Death - NOT amateur radio

This remains a total mystery. Many religions talk about "life after death" and who knows? With talk of multiverses who knows, maybe the universe is unique to us only and everyone else experiences something different. Maybe what we experience when we die is a total absence of life, much like we before we were born. The only thing we can say with any certainty is no-one really knows.

USA again on 10m WSPR

It was a late start on 10m WSPR today with KK1D (5455km) being the first USA station to spot my 500mW WSPR beacon at 1446z. Since then quite a few other USA stations have spotted me including KD6RF (7571km) who I think is in Texas. At present, this is my best DX report from the USA today.

UPDATE 1730z:  Best DX (from the USA) today is K5XL (7660km).

UPDATE 1922z: The last USA 10m WSPR spot was WB2TQE (7097km) at 1604z.

Cooking - NOT amateur radio

Before the orzo added
On Mondays, my wife goes to her U3AC course in Cambridge and I have her lunch ready when she gets back. My "speciality" is orzo, which is a pasta that looks like rice. I just throw it in a frying pan for 8 minutes onto anything that has cooked, like bacon, peppers and mushrooms. You add boiling water and some cheese and seasoning. Usually there is too little pasta.

See http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipes/tag-3951/orzo-recipes.aspx  .

Sunspots and 10m - Mon Nov 16th 2015

Solar flux is 107. Sunspot number is 63 today. K=3 and 10m propagation is again expected to be "poor". This morning on 10m WSPR there were single hop F2 spots from Eastern Europe including Russia. No sign of 10m WSPR spots (yet) from further afield.

On 6m, just the usual spots of G8VDQ (93km) and nothing else.

Return to 10m and 6m

About 15 minutes ago I went QRT on 630m and returned to 10m and 6m.

15 Nov 2015


As we went to London for our grandson's 8th birthday party I have only just started up on 630m and 10m WSPR. I am probably too late to catch any 10m WSPR DX but the best DX on 472kHz WSPR RX so far (earth-electrode "antenna" and no preamp) is DK7FC (669km).

UPDATE 1758z:  Best DX on RX is now DH5RAE (995km).

UPDATE 1815z:  My best DX so far on 472kHz WSPR TX (5mW ERP) is a spot by PA3ABK (306km).

UPDATE 1825z:  As I seem to have missed the DX on 10m WSPR, I shall go QRT on 10m WSPR shortly and save the (small) electricity that the beacon takes. It will be back on tomorrow.

UPDATE 1835z:  Now QRT on 10m but will be on 630m (472kHz) WSPR this evening and overnight (5mW ERP TX 20%, 80% RX, earth-electrode "antenna", no preamp).

Grandson's birthday - NOT amateur radio

We have been to London today for our grandson's 8th birthday party, with his English cousins. The day went well. We drove there and back and managed to get back just before dark.

472kHz WSPR overnight

EA5DOM (1525km) was spotted 16 times overnight on 472kHz WSPR.  I think he must have a pretty good set-up there in Spain. When he is active on WSPR I seem to copy him on the earth-electrode "antenna".

Sunspots and 10m - Sun Nov 15th 2015

Sunspot numbers are rising and stand at 48 today (K=3). 10m propagation is again expected to remain "poor".

14 Nov 2015

QRT on 10m and 6m WSPR, active on 630m WSPR

I have now swapped to 472kHz (630m) WSPR. The last 10m WSPR spot was just after 1600z. On 6m WSPR G8VDQ (93km) was copied several times until I QSYed.

UPDATE 2133z:  No-one has yet spotted my 5mW ERP on 472kHz and best DX so far on RX is a DL at 983km. The night is young though!

10m and 6m WSPR today

After single hop F2 reports from Eastern Europe including Russia, I got my first report on 10m from Brazil at 1200z. I think it is probable that I'll get USA spots on 10m this afternoon.

UPDATE 1322z:  The first spots from the USA were from N2NOM (5581km) at 1312z.

UPDATE 1455z:  Several USA stations now spotting my 10m WSPR.  On 6m WSPR I have again spotted G8VDQ (93km) a couple of times, but nothing further.

Sunspots and 10m - Sat Nov 14th 2015

Sunspot number has recovered to 50 (K=2) and the 10m propagation forecast remains "poor" today.

13 Nov 2015

QSYed from 6m to 630m

At 1846z I QSYed from 6m to 630m for the evening and night. I am still also on 10m WSPR at present, but will probably go QRT on 10m in the next few hours. On 6m today a few spots of G8VDQ (93km) but nothing further.

UPDATE 2100z:  I see that G0KTN (210km) has spotted my 5mW ERP for the first time this autumn at 2028z on 472kHz WSPR.

UPDATE 2105z:  So far this evening just 6 unique stations spotted here on 472kHz WSPR.  I expect this number will increase overnight.

UPDATE 2300z: I find it hard to believe but there are only 6 TXing 472kHz WSPR stations in the whole of Europe shown on WSPRnet and I appear to be the only UK TXing station currently! Just copied OZ0IL (788km). This is the first OZ I have seen on 472kHz WSPR this autumn. I am still using the barefoot FT817 with no preamp and the earth-electrode "antenna". As EA5DOM appears not to be on tonight, my best this evening is DH5RAE (995km) on 472kHz WSPR RX.

10m WSPR spots today so far

So far today, my 10m 500mW WSPR beacon has been spotted by 7 different USA stations as well as by one more American who is actually located in Brazil. Despite the "poor" 10m forecast, this seems quite a decent day on 10m WSPR with me. I often find this.

I expect there will be more unique stations spotting me from the USA as the day progresses. It is likely I'll remain on 10m until well after dark here. My 630m WSPR station will be active again this evening and overnight.

UPDATE 1540z:  On 6m I spotted G8VDQ (93km) but this was the only spot. No-one has spotted me on 6m today.

UPDATE 1748z: 11 unique stations spotting me from the USA so far today on 10m WSPR.

UK weather - NOT amateur radio

The UK weather is fickle. We had rain this morning, despite a forecast a few hours earlier that it would be dry, and now there is blue sky and bright sunshine. The only reliable forecast is looking out of the window!


Harewood House, The Ridgeway, Plympton, Plymouth PL7 2AS. CP, TI, OT 10am, £2, TS, C. Sheila Hart, 2E0YSH, 07815 542 477, sheo@fsmail.net.

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

Wind and leaves - NOT amateur radio

At this time of the year here in the UK, sweeping up fallen leaves from the lawns is an almost endless task! We have quite gusty winds (although nothing like those in Scotland), so I expect the remaining leaves to fall soon. I spent some time this morning raking up leaves, but the rear lawn will be covered again by tomorrow.

We have an ornamental cherry that lost its leaves a few weeks ago. The silver birch was next and a copper maple (?) on our boundary is losing leaves now. The lilac next door is dropping leaves as well. Oh the joy of seasons.

It won't be too long before the nights start to get shorter again and a new cycle of life is evident. It is good to think that the fallen leaves help to produce the strength in the new season.

I like our seasons. In each there is something good. We have had rich colours this autumn and there is something lovely about a crisp winter day with a low sun and no leaves on the trees. There is also something good about drawing the curtains early and just watching the telly.

Then, before you know it, it is spring again, with breakfast sun and lighter evenings and mowing those lawns! England - still lovely.

Sunspots and 10m - Friday Nov 13th 2015

Although solar flux is still just above 100, sunspot number has fallen to 29 (K=1) and the forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor". I am not expecting great things on 10m today.

UPDATE 1040z:  First spots of my 10m WSPR beacon today are from EA8BFK (2880km). This is single hop F2. Maybe Brazil later? KD0VWO (7412km), monitoring in Brazil, spotted me first at 1204z.

UPDATE 1045z:  On 6m G8VDQ (93km) was spotted at good strength (-19dB S/N) earlier. I assume this is tropo and aircraft. He is nearly always there but only some 2 minute bursts decode, suggesting aircraft Doppler is affecting decodes.

UPDATE 1130z:   LZ1UBO (2039km) has been spotting me for the last half an hour on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1355z:   The first USA 10m WSPR spot was KC1AWS (5308km) at 1302z.

12 Nov 2015

East Anglian Churches blog updated - NOT amateur radio

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

Today we visited Moulton Church near Newmarket. The church blog has been updated to include this.

10m WSPR USA spots again

Spots from the USA returned today. First to spot me N2NOM (5581km) at 1250z. Since then K9AN (6505km) has spotted me a couple of times. I expect there will be more stations and more USA spots on 10m WSPR today.

Sunspots and 10m - Thurs Nov 12th 2015

Sunspot number is 64 (K=2) and the propagation forecast for 10m is "poor" still.  Despite this, my 10m 500mW WSPR beacon has already been spotted in N. Brazil. Just a single G spotted on 6m WSPR so far today.

6m and 10m WSPR

G8VDQ (93km) has been spotted on 6m WSPR but all quiet, so far, on 10m with no spots yet today.

UPDATE 1050z:  Guess what? The very first 10m WSPR spot today was a few minutes ago from KD0VWO (7412km) who is monitoring in Northern Brazil.

11 Nov 2015


The latest RadCom and PW came this week and I see that the ICOM IC7300 is being "presold" asking for £50 deposits to secure. The price is being advertised as "less than £1000".  I think it will end up around £799 later in 2016. I am sure the dealers will milk the high prices (and high profits) from early adopters before dropping the price. I wish they would sell the 10W version in the UK.

472kHz WSPR

I have just QSYed to 630m (472kHz) from 6m. ERP is around 5mW (20% TX, 80% RX without preamp) using my homebrew transverter. I really ought get a better 472kHz antenna up for the winter. The earth-electrode "antenna" radiates, but I reckon a loop would be at least 6dB better. I not sure about a low Marconi.

UPDATE 1906z:  F5WK (436km) was the first MF spot this evening.

UPDATE 2025z:  PA0A (417km) has been spotted and has spotted me on 472kHz WSPR.

UPDATE 2315z:  I find it hard to believe, but according to WSPRnet I am the only G station transmitting on 472kHz WSPR. G3XKR (347km) in North Devon has just spotted me.


Plenty of 6m WSPR spots of G8VDQ (93km), but nothing else. It definitely looks as this path is affected by aircraft as several bursts were received with lots of Doppler but no decodes.

No 10m USA WSPR spots today?

It looks like today will be another day with no WSPR spots from the USA on 10m. There have been no spots since this morning and these were all single hop F2 from Eastern Europe/Russia. I shall go and do a resync just in case for some reason something is amiss. I think it is conditions.

I shall QSY from 6m to 630m WSPR but stay on 10m WSPR for a few more hours.

Sunspots and 10m - Wed Nov 11th 2015

With decent solar flux levels, a sunspot number of 65 (K=4) and 10m propagation again expected to be "poor", it is hard to know how 10m WSPR will be today. Yesterday was yet another day without USA spots.

So far today, my 10m 500mW WSPR beacon has been spotted by single hop F2 in Russia and Eastern Europe, with no spots from further afield.

On 6m WSPR nothing at all so far today.

10 Nov 2015

70cm UKAC

This evening was the 70cm leg of the UKAC, a cumulative contest held every Tuesday evening on a different VHF/UHF band on a rotating monthly cycle. Activity levels are usually good in these. I worked just 4 stations tonight before I went QRT. This was partly because my voice was poor and partly as my antenna (a 2m big wheel) was not the best. If you want activity, these sessions are a good way to find it.

10m WSPR

At the moment it looks like this is going to be another day without USA 10m WSPR spots. KD0VWO, who copied me yesterday, was actually monitoring in Brazil. I had completely forgotten that he was not actually in the USA!

At the moment, just spots from LZ1UBO on 10m WSPR today.

UPDATE 1854z:  Right now this looks like one of the worst days in a long time on 10m WSPR here.

Contentment with radios

After considering buying a new transceiver, I have decided to stick with the rigs I have. At present, my poor voice makes all speech QSOs an effort. I enjoy WSPR as this is really a true QRP mode and it tells me a lot about propagation, without shouting!

I'll still "window shop" and might consider a new radio transceiver next year. I get by far the most fun from my $49 10m WSPR rig and my home-brew 472kHz transverter, proving that you do not need to break the bank to have fun. I am not against those who think differently - each to his/her own.

Sunspots and 10m - Tues Nov 10th 2015

Solar flux has dropped a bit (107) and sunspot number has dropped to 67 (K=5). 10m propagation is expected to remain "poor". I am not expecting great things on 10m today, but I am frequently surprised!

On 6m WSPR I have spotted G8VDQ (93km) only so far. He was a decent -19 dB S/N. No reports yet on 10m.

UPDATE 1122z:  Several 10m WSPR spots from LZ1UBO (2039km) which I assume are single hop F2 propagation.

472kHz preamp - a good idea?

The FT817 is a bit low in sensitivity on 472kHz so I was expecting a decent improvement with a preamp. To my surprise I am copying no more stations. In fact I am hearing just as many without as with! The result has surprised me. The rig sensitivity is definitely better with the preamp and stations are stronger but it is far from clear cut whether it is worth using it in reality. At the moment my 472kHz transverter does not have the preamp.

Maybe the FT817 sensitivity is good enough. In marginal cases (and these seem few) it probably helps, but most of the time it seems fine without.

9 Nov 2015

472kHz WSPR RX

472kHz WSPR RX this evening without preamp
All evening (since about 2000z) I have been active on 472kHz (20% TX 5mW ERP, 80% RX) using the earth-electrodes without a preamp. All the usual suspects were copied. Since 2240z I have gone onto 100% RX with the preamp in circuit to see if I am able to detect  weaker signals and give better reports. On previous nights it was hard to draw conclusions.

Autumn - NOT amateur radio

Trees at Anglesey Abbey earlier
This afternoon we visited nearby Anglesey Abbey. There are clear signs of autumn all around. Rather surprisingly the dahlia border was still looking good and this is Nov 9th. Many of the trees are shedding leaves.


Despite the disturbed 10m conditions KD0VWO (7412km) has spotted me several times starting at 1208z. So far, he is the only USA station spotting me on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 10.11.15 1720z: KD0VWO is actually watching 10m WSPR in Brazil, not the USA. I'd forgotten!

6m Es?

DK8NE (755km) was spotted on 6m WSPR at 1109z. He was incredibly strong (+9 dB S/N) so I wonder if this was Es?  As I have had to use the PC for something else, I am not on 6m WSPR presently, but hope to return to the band later. There were lots of Germans on 10m WSPR earlier too.

Sunspots and 10m - Mon Nov 9th 2015

With a sunspot number of 70 (K=4) and a forecast of 10m propagation being "poor", I am not expecting great things today on 10m. So far just spots of my 10m 500mW beacon from Europeans. It will be interesting to see if there are any DX spots today. Conditions do not look promising.

On 6m WSPR just G8VDQ (93km) spotted.

Overnight on 472kHz WSPR

WSPRnet was playing up overnight and would not register my 472kHz RX spots, which included EA5DOM again. Overall, without the preamp, I copied at least 17 unique 472kHz WSPR stations in 8 countries including EA and I using the earth-electrode "antenna". My best DX on 472kHz WSPR this autumn (with 5mW ERP on TX) was DF2JP (448km).

8 Nov 2015

More Pixie transceiver price madness

From Steve G1KQH:

"Continuation of the Pixie price saga, the more you buy the cheaper they are, £1.94p each if you buy 10

Its just impossible to even think how they do it:

Stroke - NOT amateur radio

It is just over 2 years ago that I had my stroke. By now I was expecting to be back to normal, but I still have problems. The main issues are poor liquid drinking - I have to take small sips, I have a poor voice and I tire easily. 20-30 minutes of physical or mental activity and I am really done in. A short rest and I am OK again.

One unexpected impact is spelling: sometimes I find it hard to know if a word is spelt correctly, so I change the word to one I am more sure of. Another one is my short-term memory. My wife swears blind I told her something and I have no recollection of having done so! I am also unsure if I read something or it was something in a dream.

Overall, I am lucky but this stroke is still having a profound impact on my life and that of people close to me. I have changed and only time will tell what changes will always be there and which will eventually get better.

Daytime on 472kHz (630m)

M0LMH (223km) is spotting my 5mW ERP WSPR even now in broad daylight in IO93 square. I assume this is ground wave. Signal reports are "only just" at around -28 to -30dB S/N.  Earlier G3XIZ (46km) was a very good signal with me on RX without a preamp. I think the preamp may help with weaker signals, but I am able to copy most of the active stations without it in circuit.

UPDATE 1534z: PA0A (417km) is being copied well here on 472kHz WSPR.

UPDATE 1920z: It is dark here.  EA5DOM (1525km) has already been spotted here a few times without the preamp.The antenna is still the earth-electrodes in the ground.

UPDATE 2120z:   The first spot this autumn of an Italian 472kHz WSPR  station this evening. I shall leave the 472kHz WSPR station running through the night.
Unique 472kHz WSPR stations received here this evening so far.

10m WSPR so far today

It seems that most of the spots of my little 500mW 10m beacon have been from nearer Europeans. This could be "out of season" Es or F-layer backscatter, but today there were far more than usual.

UPDATE 1600z:  No USA 10m WSPR spots today, well not so far. I am surprised as usually they would appear well before now.

UPDATE 1614:  Well, just to prove me wrong KK1D (5455km) has just spotted me on 10m WSPR. As they say, "one swallow does not make a summer", but at least I am being copied in the USA today on 10m.

UPDATE 1905z: KD0VWO (7412km) copied me at 1700z. Overall, this is has not been a good day for USA WSPR spots on 10m.

UK weather forecasts - NOT amateur radio

OK, this is yet another moan about UK weather forecasts.

I checked the BBC and the local Burwell weather just 1 hour ago. Both said dry until tonight so I planned a last cut of the grass. Stepped outside to, yes you guessed, rain.

Yes I know that the UK weather is complex, but surely they can get it right just 1 hour ahead? Apparently not.

472kHz WSPR overnight

With 18 unique stations spotted last night without a preamp this was the best night so far this autumn on MF.

EA5DOM (1525km) was spotted 30 times over night at up to -14dB S/N without the preamp.

Sunspots and 10m - Sun Nov 8th 2015

With a decent solar flux, sunspot number of 79 (K=2) we could be in for some decent propagation on 10m WSPR today despite a "poor" 10m forecast.

I decided to stop on 472kHz (630m) WSPR today and give 6m a miss. Of course, Sod's Law will ensure there are some excellent 6m conditions today as I am not on!

7 Nov 2015

472kHz WSPR RX and TX

 For the last hour or so I have been on 472kHz RX (no preamp) and TX (5mW ERP) with the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. I went QRT on 10m and 6m WSPR at the same time. So far this evening best DX with 5mW ERP is 223km and 995km on RX. It be interesting to see if I can spot EA5DOM without the preamp.

UPDATE 2024z: Best DX on TX with 5mW ERP and the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground is PA3ABK (306km). At the moment, most stations are only just copying my weak 5mW ERP signal. I think copying this weak signal is quite challenging for most MF people.

Leaves - NOT amateur radio

The back garden looks more autumnal by the day. In the last few days our silver birch has lost most of its leaves. With heavy winds and rain, I think the remaining deciduous trees will lose theirs in the next few days.

Portuguese AM Day

Southgate Amater Radio News reports that the Portuguese national society is promoting AM on HF and VHF bands on Sunday Nov 8th. The link shows where to look for others on AM. There is plenty of space for AM on 10m where the frequency recommended is 29.075MHz. On other HF bands there is less space for AM normally, although AM is popular on 160m and 80m.

See www.southgatearc.org/news/2015/november/portuguese_national_am_day.htm#.Vj3oyGtEd80

Sunspots and 10m - Sat Nov 7th 2015

This could be another bad day on 10m. So far, just early spots on 10m WSPR from G4KPX (14km). Sunspot number is 75 (K=6) and the forecast for 10m propagation is "poor". So far today, no spots given or received on 6m WSPR.

UPDATE 1335z:   So far only those early spots and one at 1222z from G4KPX on 10m. I think we are going to have a quiet day on 10m based on the results so far.

6 Nov 2015

472kHz WSPR RX

I have just gone QRT on 10m and 6m and am now active on 630m (472kHz) WSPR RX with the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground and with a preamp in circuit.

UPDATE 1952z:  G8VDQ (93km) was spotted a couple of times on 6m WSPR before I went QRT on that band. On 472kHz (630m) I have already spotted several DX stations including EA5DOM (1525km).

Another UK rally

Kempton Park Racecourse, Staines Road East, Sunbury on Thames, TW16 5AQ. TI, free CP, OT 9.50/10am. TS, FM, B&B, SIG, C, DF, WIN, LEC. Paul, M0CJX, 08451 650 351, info@radiofairs.co.uk. www.radiofairs.co.uk.

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

OFCOM consulting on white space devices

See http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/wireless_telegraphy_white_space_devices_exemption_regulations/?utm_source=updates&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Proposed-regulations-allowing-white-space-devices-access-to-unused-frequencies-in-the-UHF-TV-band&utm_term=TV%2C%20white%20space%2C%20Devices%2C%20Licence%20exemption%2C%20UHF

OFCOM are consulting on the regulations relating to so called "white space" devices.

10m WSPR - USA spots

KC1AWS (5308km) spotted me first at 1346z. It is good to see USA spots again although conditions seem "subdued".

UPDATE 1802z:  After a slow start on 10m WSPR there been spots from lots of different USA stations.

UPDATE 1825z:  All is very quiet on 6m WSPR.

UPDATE 1938z:   The last spot by a USA station seems to have been WB2TQE (7097km) at 1722z. No further spots from the USA after this time.

No real DX DX on 10m WSPR

4L1QX (3299km) is the best DX spot on 10m WSPR so far today. One Russian spotted me early on and quite a few nearer Europeans, but nothing further afield, as yet. I hope to be spotted in the USA today, but only  time will tell. When 10m is open it is usual to get WSPR spots about now from the USA.

UPDATE 1314z:  SP9LJE (1261km) is the most common spotter of my little W5OLF "stand alone" 10m 500mW WSPR beacon.  As yet, no 10m WSPR spots from stations in the USA.

Sunspots and 10m - Friday Nov 6th 2015

Solar flux is still good at 110. Sunspot number has dropped a bit to 75 (K=2) and 10m propagation is again expected to remain "poor". Despite the poor 10m forecast, I have already had some decent 10m WSPR spots from Russia and nearer Europeans.

Over 1500km on 472kHz RX last night

There were several 472kHz WSPR spots of EA5DOM (1525km) here last night, with 17 unique MF stations logged on 472kHz RX. Some of the spots of EA5DOM would not have been  possible without the preamp. FR5ZX in Reunion copied several Europeans, so conditions on 472kHz were good.  As before, I am still using the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground.

5 Nov 2015

QSYed from 6m to 630m (472kHz)

I have turned off the 6m WSPR station until the morning after breakfast and turned on 472kHz (630m) WSPR RX only with the preamp.  I am using the "earth-electrode "antenna".  I have left the 10m QRP WSPR beacon running and resync'd it to internet time, although I don't think this was really needed. I'll probably turn off the 10m beacon later tonight.
Initial WSPR spots on 472kHz RX this evening
UPDATE 2014z:  So far this evening spots given to just 7 different stations on 472kHz WSPR.

UPDATE 2100z:   472kHz RX, even with the preamp, is disappointing with not a single station over 1000km spotted again so far. I shall leave the RX running overnight just in case, although I am not too hopeful.


See http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/amendment-regulations-2015/?utm_source=updates&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=amendment-regulations-2015

I had better watch what I say about OFCOM as they are involved in WRC-15 negotiations which include a possible new 5MHz allocation!

In the above link they are consulting on changes to the Wireless Telegraphy Regulations 2015.

Back pain - NOT amateur radio

Well, I have enough to contend with as a result of the after-effects of my stroke, but now I have a re-occurrence of lower back pain. Usually this goes within a few weeks. I am taking pain killers and I am OK if I am flat on my back. Walking is painful. My wife has given me a hot-water bottle for my back.

More 6m WSPR spots

G8VDQ (93km) seems to be regularly spotted here on 6m WSPR. The last spot was at 1332z. I suspect this is tropo with the influence of aircraft. I suspect it needs aircraft moving in the right positions and directions for the path to "work". The pure tropo path does not seem to be there, otherwise I'd spot him most of the time when he is active on the band.