31 Dec 2016

Now Australia (nearly) on the 60m band

Southgate News reports that Australia is about be granted the new WRC15 15kHz wide 60m band. It seems that many countries are gaining access.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2016/december/new-60-metre-amateur-band.htm#.WGg3AYXXL4g

10m JT65 all day

I have been on 10m JT65 since early yesterday, but without internet I was unsure of my PC clock sync until this morning. Also, updates to PSKreporter maps will not have occurred yesterday and overnight.

As in recent days, no DX with the best spot being of 2E0NEP (123km). G4NUA (12km) was the best DX (!) on TX.

Solar data

My source is 2 days behind, so either the site maintainer is unwell or away. So, I am again unable to pass on this information. This week, I shall look for a new source, as the one I use is not reliable any more.

In the meantime check out http://www.solen.info/solar/ .

No internet

My apologies for the few postings this last day. My internet packed up Friday morning and I was only able to get on again late today. We also have young grandchildren staying, so I have had no time today until now.

30 Dec 2016

10m JT65

I have now QSYed from MF to 10m JT65. Let us hope we see more winter Es on 10m, or even some real DX from outside Europe. The latter will depend on conditions but southern Africa is certainly possible on 10m JT65.

Tropo DX on 2m

Here in the UK there has been some good VHF tropo of late, not that I have tried! Martin Cranage in Salisbury has been copying European beacons at great range and he has worked quite a bit of DX on 2m via tropo.

See http://www.dxinfocentre.com/tropo.html .

Solar data

As my source is still showing yesterday's data, I shall update the solar data later, assuming it is available.

Overnight on 472kHz WSPR - disappointing

Although I was on 472kHz WSPR overnight, it was disappointing. Best TX DX (5mW ERP) was Holland and no new spotters on the band. I was expecting better.

29 Dec 2016

QSYed to 472kHz WSPR

Initial 472kHz WSPR spots this evening
Much later than normal, I QSYed from 10m JT65 to 472kHz WSPR (5mW ERP). This was about 2250z. I'll leave the WSPR running overnight.

Facebook "deaths" that aren't - NOT amateur radio

There must be plenty of us on Facebook these days. I am appalled by the ads I see on the RHS which purport to give notice of deaths of famous people. In my experience these are all untrue. How can people do this? If I believed all I read there would be hardly anyone left! I guess these are designed to grab attention so you click the links. Don't.

Welcome to the post-truth world?

23cm transverter by SG Labs

It is years since I listened on 23cm but there is good lowish cost transverter (2W RF out) for the band that is tempting, even for me.

See http://www.sg-lab.com/TR1300/tr1300.html . The photo above (courtesy http://www.sg-lab.com/TR1300/tr1300.html) shows the SG Labs unit.


PA3FQA has posted his DXCC status on Twitter and very impressive it is too.

Although my DXCC for 10m QRP SSB is well over 100, I have not counted for years!

To be honest I am not really a great DX hunter. I am happy for others who do this, but if I work DX it is not through acts of patience and perseverance on my part. I guess I just don't have the staying power these days!

Recurring Dreams - NOT amateur radio

It is probably a very common theme to dream about upcoming exams and not having done any or enough revision. At one time I repeatedly dreamt about catching trains to Devon. Both probably are easily explained.

In recent years, I dream of being at work and about to retire again. Usually I am wondering how I am going to manage (again) on my pension. I have been retired now for almost 8 years!  I have no idea why I dream this!

In my current state of health there is no way I could work again. Apart from my health issues, I am very happy to be retired and I have no wish to return to a job.

PSK Reporter Maps

Before I go on, I accept this could be my end and the internet connection playing up, but I am struggling to get a connection to PSK reporter maps at the moment. I use this regularly to see where I am spotting and who is spotting me on 10m JT65.


Via Southgate News, news of a new antenna from InnovAntennas.  I am sure they are very well made and perform well, but to me they are just too expensive!

See http://www.innovantennas.com/ .

All quiet on 10m JT65 so far

Having been on 10m JT65 all morning, nothing has been spotted so far. I shall go and check sync to internet time.

UPDATE 1308z:  Time sync is fine. Still no spots on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1445z:  Still all quiet on 10m JT65. With people going back to work after the Christmas break, I expect there are even fewer people active now on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1724z:  Just G4CJC (73km) in north London spotted a few minutes ago on 10m JT65. A disappointing day.

Tiny radio?

See http://electroiq.com/blog/2016/12/worlds-smallest-radio-receiver-has-building-blocks-the-size-of-2-atoms/ .

This looks like it was written by a sensationalist national newspaper writer, but it wasn't. Behind the sensationalist headlines there are probably some factual data. To me this looks like it was written by a teenager who did history for his/her degree, although am probably being grossly unfair. Bah humbug!

DP1POL in Antarctica

Since changing to a 20m dipole my old work colleague G4NUA has been spotted across the world with a few watts on 20m JT65. Yesterday he was copied in Antarctica by DP1POL. In 2017 I am pretty sure he will get every continent on QRP.

This is from QRZ.com:

"DP1POL is located at the German research station "Neumayer III" in Antarctica, about 1,300 miles North of the South Pole. My home call sign is DL5XL, and I was a member of the 29th Neumayer wintering team as an electronics engineer. The station was officially inaugurated on February 20, 2009. My first assignment at "Neumayer III" lasted from December 2008 to February 2010, and I was back on the air from the same location from December 2011 to February 2012, from December 2013 to February 2014, from December 2014 to February 2015, and from November 2015 to February 2016. Another activity is planned from November 2016 to February 2017 - and I hope it will not be the last one!"

UPDATE 29.12.16 1446z: Ted G4NUA called me, but I was beaconing at the time.

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday December 29th 2016

Solar flux is 73 again today and sunspot number 14. A=6 and K=1.

28 Dec 2016

Salcombe - NOT amateur radio

Many times before I have mentioned that I was brought up in Salcombe, Devon. This picture of Salcombe in the sunset was posted on Facebook yesterday by an old colleague who now lives in Dartmouth.

Es on 10m JT65 again today

Yet again, there was Es in evidence on 10m JT65. I was spotted twice in Poland with best DX being HF9D (1305km) and I spotted several others around Europe.

Another windmill view - NOT amateur radio

Last week I posted a view of "our" windmill in a posting called "winter sun". On Christmas Day we went for a brief walk around the village and saw the windmill from a different direction over the allotment gardens. We had much better weather than we expected.

No solar forecasts yet

As my feed is still showing yesterday's data I have not yet been able to update the solar data yet. This will be done as soon as it becomes available.

UPDATE 1858z:  My source is still showing the data for yesterday, so I am unlikely to post the solar data for today now.

10m JT65

Although I stayed on 10m JT65 overnight, there have been no new spots since G4CJC in north London yesterday. I am still hopeful of some winter Es and possibly some N-S F2 propagation to southern Africa. We had this in recent days when there were no sunspots and conditions were not too brilliant on 10m JT65.

Really I should QSY to MF at night as this tends to be more successful, despite my poor "antenna" and low ERP (5mW) on 472kHz.

27 Dec 2016

Pink auroras

Thanks (again) to Southgate News comes news of pink auroras. There were 3 days now without sunspots although today the sunspot number is 13.

See http://spaceweather.com/ .

Silly Games Season - NOT amateur radio

Christmas time and silly games times!

Here we are playing "Pie Face" with Lis (my XYL) getting cream all over her nose thanks to our grandchildren! This is in the kitchen, although the rest of our house looks like a disaster area. As my wife says, "clean mess".

UKAC 2016 70cm results

Overall in 2016 I came 121st out of 184 in the AL section of the 70cm part of the Tuesday evening UKAC sessions.

Considering I run 5W to a 2m halo fed with lossy coax and I am on for usually well under 1 hour because of my poor voice, I think this is fine.

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday December 27th 2016

Solar flux is 73 today and sunspot number 13. A=22 and K=2. We might see some N-S propagation on 10m?

10m JT65

Last night, I remained on 10m JT65 overnight, but just G4CJC (73km) in north London spotted. No Es or F layer DX so far today.

26 Dec 2016

Christmas TV - NOT amateur radio

From the BBC website, Christmas TV viewing figures. I am not a royalist at heart but cannot think of a president who would do as well as our current queen. At 90 years old she does a remarkable job. Her husband Philip is 95! Charles will have a hard act to follow.
  1. The Queen at 3pm - BBC One and ITV - 7.7m
  2. Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special - BBC One - 7.2m
  3. The Great Christmas Bake Off - BBC One - 6.3m
  4. Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas Special - BBC One - 6.1m
  5. Call The Midwife - BBC One - 6.1m
  6. EastEnders - BBC One - 5.9m
  7. Coronation Street - ITV - 5.8m (not including ITV +1)
  8. Doctor Who - BBC One - 5.7m
  9. Frozen - BBC One - 4.7m
  10. Emmerdale - ITV - 4.2m

An end to hatred? - NOT amateur radio

See http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/brendan-cox-alternative-christmas-message-a7495491.html .

Jo Cox the MP was murdered earlier this year. This is an alternative Christmas message by her husband.

Forward Error Correction for the Mathematically Challenged

This is worth looking at if, like me, you never found maths that easy. It is an article by Paul Nicholson on FEC, written so we can understand!

Paul is famous for his DX reception of amateur VLF and ULF signals. I am not sure if he is involved in VLF professionally. He certainly knows his stuff.

See http://abelian.org/fec/pn161218.pdf .

Visit - NOT amateur radio

Later today our son who lives in Kent is coming to stay with his wife and 2 young children. They prefer to be at home to unwrap their presents.

Here, on Christmas Day, we had much better weather than the forecast led us to expect. In the afternoon we even managed a short walk in the village. On the walk we had a blue cloudless sky.  Here is my XYL standing by a hedge filled with red berries.

Sunspots and 10m - Monday December 26th 2016 (Boxing Day in the UK)

Solar flux is 72 today and the sunspot number zero again. A=21 and K=3. Luckily 10m Es does not depend on these factors.

10m JT65

For about an hour now I QSYed from MF WSPR to 10m JT65, really hoping to catch some winter Es on the band.

UPDATE 1124z: There is definitely Es about. I have copied stations in Slovakia and Poland and I was spotted by OE3BUB (1228km) in Austria and it is still early.

UPDATE 1154z: Now being spotted in Poland on 10m JT65 and spotting Sweden.

UPDATE 1416z: Widespread Es on 10m JT65.
Courtesy: https://www.pskreporter.info/pskmap.html
UPDATE 2056z:  Es was good on 10m JT65 today as the map below shows. This was a good example of wintertime Es in the northern hemisphere. The map shows who was spotting me and who I was spotting.
Courtesy: https://www.pskreporter.info/pskmap.html

Overnight on 472kHz WSPR

Overnight, there were 9 unique spots of my 5mW ERP signal on 472kHz WSPR with best DX again DL-SWL(701km). 4 Dutch stations in the list.

25 Dec 2016

Moved to 630m WSPR

Early evening spots on 472kHz WSPR
At about 1916z I went QRT on 10m JT65 (2W) and started up on 472kHz (630m) WSPR (5mW ERP). With the shack PC I get lots of noise on the band when using the external SMPSU so only the strongest signals are copied on RX. I shall have to run on batteries if I want to copy weaker signals, or swap PCs over if the other PC has a less noisy PSU.

Merry Christmas from Oleg - QRP and QRP Club

From Oleg:

Merry Christmas and the best wishes for all QRPers!

WQR Report (December 25, 2016)
Visitors  of  the  week:  UA1ADF,  UR7VT, RA1M, IK2RMZ, F5POJ, RV3GM,
LZ2RS and O1DNZ became Honor Frequenters
See full version of the report on the blog page -

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

This is a periodic Newsletter of the Club 72. Don't reply to Newsletter address! Send any requests or news to
mr72@club72.su please.

Back on 10m JT65 after a night on 630m WSPR

Last night I was on 472kHz (630m) WSPR. DL-SWL (701km) was again the best TX DX (5mW ERP). No new reports or reporters sadly.

For the last 30 minutes or so I  have been on 10m JT65, but no spots as yet.

UPDATE 1252z: F1GTU (754km) spotted earlier on 10m JT65. Es?

UPDATE 1738z: LA7DFA (1312km) spotted me on 10m JT65 about 22 minutes ago. G4CJC (73km) in North London has been spotted here.

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday December 25th 2016 (Christmas Day)

Solar flux is 73 again today. Sunspot number is zero.  A=14 and K=2.

Stroke update - NOT amateur radio

Over 3 years on now, and I am still affected by my stroke.

My main issues remain my poor voice, drinks, and giddiness/tiredness when on my feet. Overall, I am frustrated, although I know the sooner I come to terms with the new "me" the better. I feel unable to do the things that once would have been so easy. Compared with many I came off lightly. Outwardly, I look fully recovered, which is probably why I feel so frustrated. If there are now any improvements, they are painfully slow.

Nobody, and I really mean nobody, really understands: doctors and others think they understand, but they do not. For years now I have been living a sort of half-life.

Happy Christmas

May I take this opportunity to wish all my readers a very happy Christmas and all the best for 2017?  I try to write about what I have done and what interests me and hope you are able to find something of interest here or on my webpages at www.g3xbm.co.uk .

Most days the blog gets updated, unless I am away or too unwell.

For some, Christmas can be a stressful time. Whilst most are happy and with friends, some are lonely and feel unloved. If you feel this way, please accept my love - that sounds naff, but you know what I mean.

24 Dec 2016

Return to MF

At around 1735z I went QRT on 10m JT65 and moved to 472kHz (630m) WSPR (5mW ERP).  Plenty of spots with best DX on TX being G4FTC (123km) in IO91 square.

From the drift reports, I am still settling. This is the crystal in the transverter warming up.

As last season, I am using my own transverter design to my earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. This design was in QST in September 2016. Although the transverter puts out 10-15W, the earth-electrode "antenna" is not too efficient and the measured ERP is only 5mW.

Nebula picture - NOT amateur radio

This image of the Christmas Tree Cluster (2500 light years away) was on the Twitter feed from @marsrader. Although I have a Twitter account I rarely use it, but get sent an email about postings most days.

Eating Dahlias - NOT amateur radio

My wife is reading a Winston Graham book that mentioned eating dahlia roots as an alternative to potatoes. So, as you do, I googled "eating dahlias". It turns out that these were originally from Mexico and were, at one time, a low cost alternative to potatoes.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/0/22185875

Elector free of 3 months

The electronic edition (plus 1 paper copy) will be available free for a few months. The offer runs out shortly.  See https://www.elektormagazine.com/pages/newsletter . I cannot see the catch. Maybe they assume if you like the free ones you will sign up when the free ones end?

If my memory serves me correctly, this started as a Dutch mag that went international in the late 1960s or early 1970s?

MLS discount for Christmas

One of the largest UK amateur radio retailers, MLS, is offering a £15 discount this Christmas for orders over £150. I suspect that orders are "thin" at this time of the year and this is to encourage us to spend. You cannot blame them.

Eire and 5MHz

Thanks to Southgate News I have learnt that radio amateurs in Eire are gaining access to the WRC15 5MHz allocation right away.

See http://ei7gl.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/irish-radio-amateurs-gain-secondary.html

"ComReg has just today published an amended version of the Amateur Station Guidelines in Document ComReg 09/45R2. The main revision is that the WRC-15 band of 5351.5 to 5366.5 kHz has been released with immediate effect on a secondary basis. No application or fee is necessary for this segment. The power is 15 watts PEP (12dBW) measured at the output of the transmitter or amplifier. All modes including digimodes may be used. The WRC-15 decision was for 15 watts EIRP and this will be taken up with ComReg. The Society recommends that USB be used for voice as has been the convention on this band and as used by the primary user and that the provisional IARU band plan be used: 5351.5 - 5354.0 kHz CW, Narrow band Modes
5354.0 - 5366.0 kHz All modes USB for voice
5366.0 - 5366.5 kHz weak signal narrow band modes."

I have said many times that the 5MHz (60m) band will become increasingly important as the solar activity declines.

Well, THAT was a surprise - 10m DX

V53DX (8471km) in Namibia (JG87 square) has been spotted here on 10m JT65. This was a total surprise!

G0CHE (IO90) replied to his CQ, although my spot of him was not uploaded to PSK reporter.

UPDATE 1402z:  No other 10m JT65 spots since.

UPDATE 1534z: Still no further 10m JT65 spots. I guess any South Americans will come through in the next few hours, if at all.

UPDATE 1725z: No further 10m DX. Time to QSY to 630m.

Sunspots and 10m - Saturday December 24th 2016 (Christmas Eve)

Solar flux is 73 today and the sunspot number zero. A=24 and K=3. If we get any 10m DX today I shall be pleasantly surprised.

Keep an eye/ear out for winter Es though. In the UK this could be Europeans on 10m. It happens most years. With JT65 we have no excuse.

23 Dec 2016

Back on 472kHz (630m) WSPR

Since about 1714z I have returned to 472kHz WSPR. Best TX DX (5mW ERP) is G8HUH (250km).

WSJT-X v1.7

One thing to be aware of with WSJT v1.7 is the TX watchdog timer. I was on 10m JT65 and was wondering why the "TX enable" kept going off. Then the penny dropped. There is a TX watchdog  timer which by default is set to a number of minutes. If beaconing, this has to be set to "never" so the TX continues. Since adjusting this, I have had no further problems on JT65.

Bridge at Anglesey Abbey - NOT amateur radio

Everything looks wintery at this time of year. It is little wonder that Christmas, and before that a pagan festival, is held close to the winter solstice.

Another month and new growth starts to appear clearly. By mid January there should be some snowdrops and daffodils. Dark nights, short days - roll on spring!

Sunspots and 10m - Friday December 23rd 2016

Solar flux is 74 today. Sunspot number is 12.  A=24 and K=4.

10m JT65

We should soon see the small winter peak in Es bringing more Europeans in on 10m JT65. I returned to 10m after breakfast using WSJT-X v1.7 after an evening and overnight on MF (630m). On MF the best TX DX was again DL-SWL (701km).

As yet, no 10m spots.

Winter Trees - NOT amateur radio

Anglesey Abbey, near Cambridge yesterday. There were a few daffodils out at the end of November last year but none this year. Just one patch of snowdrops so far. Another month and things will really be happening.

22 Dec 2016

472kHz (630m) WSPR

For the last few hours I have been on 472kHz (630m) WSPR (5mW ERP) using WSJT-X v1.7. I expect to remain on MF overnight. Best DX is again DL-SWL (701km) but this may be bettered during the night. There was a new reporter G4ETG (44km).

Burwell Museum - NOT amateur radio

See https://www.facebook.com/burwellmuseum/

May I suggest ALL locals visit in 2017? It is probably the biggest and best local museum, certainly in the area and probably in the whole of the UK.  A real gem with so much to see and do. When they can't go, our little grandchildren cry!

Return to 10m JT65 (with WSJT-X v1.7)

My shack PC did a Windows update and WSJT v1.7 installed perfectly without me needing to manually install any missing files. I suspect my earlier issue may have been due to the Windows update.

Anyway, I am now back on 10m JT65, but as yet no spots.

Winter Sun - NOT amateur radio

We live next door to a windmill. Here it is bathed in winter sunshine.

OFCOM and 3.6GHz

OFCOM are looking at the 3GHz region of the spectrum and are consulting. This part of the microwave spectrum could be where 5G goes. With all this attention on parts of the spectrum ripe for commercial use (i.e. money), I hope this results in amateurs getting more access to low VHF and other less popular slices of the spectrum e.g. at HF, MF, VLF and ULF.

See https://www.ofcom.org.uk/consultations-and-statements/category-3/changes-to-spectrum-trading-regulations

Shack PC and WSJT-X v1.7

Later today, I shall again try to install WSJT-X V1.7 on my shack PC and get active on JT65 again. If all else fails, I can swap the lounge and shack PCs, but that should not be necessary.

5MHz in Germany

My German is poor, but I think the Germans have been granted early access to the WRC15 15kHz wide band at 60m (5MHz).

I have said many times before, it would have been better if CEPT countries were allocated a contiguous 100kHz wide 60m band. 15kHz is good, but a wider band would have been so much better.

As the solar conditions worsen, the 60m band will become very important. As a secondary allocation, I am surprised that a contiguous wider band is not being allocated as many countries have daft allocations in channels, which differ around the world.

See http://www.darc.de/der-club/referate/hf/aktuelles/

SAQ this Christmas Eve?

Encouraging news from Sweden following the recent fire at SAQ (17.2kHz VLF):

"We are now planning for the traditional transmission with the Alexanderson 200 kW alternator on VLF 17.2 kHz on the morning of Christmas Eve, Thursday, December 24. The message transmission will take place at 08:00 UTC and the transmitter will be tuned up from around 07:30 UTC.

Since the plant is old, there is always the risk that the transmission will be cancelled with short notice. An updated information will be published on our website

There will be activity on Amateur Radio Frequencies with the call SK6SAQ.
Frequencies: - 7,035 CW or 14,035 CW

QSL-reports on the SAQ transmission or SK6SAQ are kindly received via:
- E-mail to:
- or via: SM bureau
- or direct by mail to:
Alexander - Grimeton Veteranradios Vaenner,
Radiostationen Grimeton 72

The radio station will be open to visitors.


Lars SM6NM"

Low cost 10GHz

My thanks yet again to Southgate News for finding this very low cost approach to 10GHz. My friend G6ALB has also been using these low cost motion sensor modules at 10GHz.

See http://home.deds.nl/~knol/HB100/

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday December 22nd 2016

Solar flux is 75 today. Sunspot number is 15. A=23 and K=4, so things look quite disturbed.

21 Dec 2016


As yet, I have still to install V1.7 of this software on the shack PC. On another machine it installed OK. We had visitors this afternoon and I am still doing my tax return online. Basically I ran out of time.

Christmas Tree - NOT amateur radio

My wife took this photo of our Christmas tree earlier. My birthday is Friday and one son is coming up tomorrow. I hope we have a peaceful Christmas.

Winter Solstice Dec 21st - NOT amateur radio

So, we are at the turn of the year and the days get longer from now. Not before time! Although I enjoy all seasons and enjoy cosy dark evenings, I prefer lighter and longer days. The one thing I do not like is just how fast time seems to fly: it seems no time since the summer.

January always feels a long,dark month, but February flies by. Then it is March and spring is coming and lighter, brighter days.

Sunspots and 10m - Wednesday December 21st 2016

Solar flux is 77 today and the sunspot number 25. A=6 and K=1. Not too bad.

No WSPR or JT65 currently

As mentioned in an earlier post, I am downloading WSJT-X v1.7 to my shack PC, but it failed saying it was missing a dll. I have a clean copy of the file and have emailed it to myself and will try to reinstall on the shack PC later with this dll installed first. Until then, I am not currently active.  With Christmas, operation is likely to be intermittent!

20 Dec 2016

WSJT-X and missing Qt5core.dll

WSJT-X V1.7 (available now from https://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/k1jt/wsjtx.html) successfully installed on one PC but not on my shack PC saying "Qt5core.dll" was missing. Version 1.6 installed on the shack PC fine earlier this year.  I am no Windows expert and have not a clue what this is! BTW both PCs use Windows 10.

Does anyone know where I can get a free and virus free copy of this file please?


OFCOM has outlined why it is reviewing the Wireless Telegraphy Act licences held by the BBC for its TV and radio services across the UK.

See http://ofcom.createsend1.com/t/ViewEmail/i/4AD2C82AB9E3890B/59D1BD3EA2F08127C67FD2F38AC4859C

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday December 20th 2016

Solar flux is 73 today. Sunspot number is 12. A=5 and K=1.

More ULF amateur DX

The latest ULF DX news from Stefan DK7FC:


In addition to the informations from older mails about this experiment, here are the results of the post-processing:

First, a spectrogram in 424 uHz FFT bin width (after sferic blanking) showing the whole transmission:
The SNR reached levels up to 22 dB. Even during the (relatively) strong QRN periods at night, the transmissions are still visible. Even the EbNaut transmissions were visible. All this is about 10 dB stronger than i expected. The low winter noise levels and the quiet location certainly plays a big role here. The 'short' DFCW-10800 (3h per element) message "FC" is O copy as the experts say. Inbetween the "F" and "C" there is an EbNaut message (#2) with the content "73". One more example showing the power of EbNaut.
In the last experiments i've shown reference spactrograms beeing generated in low distance (tree grabber) just to give a better overview of what was transmitted, but this is not necessary here :-)

3 EbNaut messages were transmitted. All of them have been decoded with a strong SNR:
1st message:
2nd message: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/19882028/ULF/65_EbNaut_2970Hz_Message2.png
3rd message: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/19882028/ULF/65km_EbNaut_2970Hz_Message3.png

Last but not least a spectrogram showing the recorded range from 0...12 kHz, without a noise blanker:

A new experiment in 140 km distance is in the pipeline.
The plan is to run it in 2016.

73, Stefan

Waters and Stanton

My friend Steve G1KQH has sent me this:


Is this the end for W&S as we know it, or a new beginning? I hope a new beginning, as they have been fair to me in the past.

In my view many UK, mainland European and US amateur radio dealers will be looking for ways to streamline their businesses and reduce costs. The alternative is closing down. Dealers in the amateur market have seen better times.

We can expect many well known names to disappear in the years ahead as the amateur radio hobby evolves, active amateurs get older and maybe buy less. One thing is certain. That is we can expect the amateur radio hobby to be very different in the years ahead.

I have said this before, but expect fewer and smaller radio magazines, fewer adverts, fewer suppliers, fewer kits and fewer dealers.

Have you counted the number of radio magazines on the newsagents stands recently compared with mags on other subjects? 30 years ago there were several magazines about amateur radio, but these days they are rare.

2m UKAC results

In the yearly totals, I was 80th out of 193 in the AL section of the RSGB's 2m UK activity contests held on the first Tuesday evening each month. As I only run 5W QRP to a big-wheel omni (3dBd gain max) and am only on for 30-60 minutes because of my poor, stroke impaired, voice, I think this is not too bad.

If you want 2m SSB activity in the UK, then I can recommend these Tuesday evening contests, even if you don't send in a score. Activity levels are usually very good and a very modest set-up works. It has been successful for me with just an FT817ND.  My typical maximum distance is 200km in this contest. On RX it is unusual not to hear lots of DX even in the short time I get on.

19 Dec 2016

Sunspots and 10m - Monday December 19th 2016

Solar flux is 72 today and the sunspot number 13. A=9 and K=1.


OFCOM is consulting on the use of UHF bands in the UK from 410-470MHz. I think this will not involve a look at amateur radio use of the 70cm band in UHF (band 1).

They are also looking at some microwave allocations.


See http://ofcom.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/i/67C9780756CAEC6A/59D1BD3EA2F08127C67FD2F38AC4859C

Snow - NOT amateur radio

This picture was taken 7 years ago today. It shows our local churchyard enveloped in snow. Today by contrast it is mild and dull! Last winter we got very little snow.

10m JT65 all yesterday evening and overnight

Instead of moving to MF WSPR, I decided to stay on 10m JT65. I am still on 10m now. Perhaps none too surprisingly, nothing spotted overnight.

Most (sensible?) people QSYed or went QRT.

QRP and QRP Club

More from Oleg:

WQR Report (December 18, 2016)
Visitors  of  the week: US3EN, SQ7SAU, OH6NPV, DK1HW, UA1ADF, UR5EFD,
OK2PDT,  DL3HXX,  UA1AQC,  F5IN,  DJ2DW,  UW5EKR,  DK2SC became Honor
Frequenters (regular visitors) of the "rendezvous"
See full Frequenters and Visitors lists on the Club 72 page -
See full report with comments and pictures on the blog page -

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

This is a periodic Newsletter of the Club 72. Don't reply to Newsletter address! Send any requests or news to
mr72@club72.su please.

18 Dec 2016

Local Pub - NOT amateur radio

Our local pub is the "Five Bells". It looks very Christmassy with the lights tonight.

Climate Change - NOT amateur radio

At the moment, the jury is still out, but most seem to be saying the Earth is getting warmer and that this is largely down to Man in recent times. Some argue this is just natural variation and we should ignore it. A recent Guardian article makes you wonder.

See https://www.msn.com/en-gb/weather/other/arctic-ice-melt-could-trigger-uncontrollable-climate-change-at-global-level/ar-AAkJqic?ocid=spartandhp

In the USA, there seems to be a "Canute" attitude: it is all a Chinese conspiracy and it will just go away. I am far from convinced! We ignore these worldwide risks at our peril. Some cities and island states could be inundated and we should get all the facts and act accordingly.

New radio - later

As you may recall, I was thinking about investing in either a KX2, FT991A or IC7300. At the moment, the IC7300 is the favourite, although I am still expecting the price of this rig to drop next year, despite the exchange rate.

To me, if the FT891 and FT450D are much lower priced, then so should be the IC7300, which has a much less complicated RX architecture.

At the moment, I am in no great hurry. Once the FT991A starts to make inroads, the IC7300 price will drop. Sub-£1000 is definitely likely in my view It is only at the current price because people are prepared to buy it at the current price.

At their present prices most users can't see a real difference between the IC7300 and the FT991A. OK one has 4m (IC7300) and one has 2m and 70cm (FT991A), but to the end user, the architectural differences mean nothing.

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday December 18th 2016

Solar flux is 71 today. Sunspot number remains zero. A=6 and K=2. Not great for the higher HF bands?

Stroke and taste - NOT amateur radio

It is fascinating (as well as very frustrating!) how my stroke 3 years ago is still affecting me. The worst aspects are feeling giddy all the time when on my feet (I think the giddiness makes me tired), poor voice and taking a long time with drinks.

My taste is also affected. Before my stroke, I always had a little sugar in tea and coffee. These taste sweet in their "naked" form these days, so no sugar is added.

Most people say how well I look and they are pleased I can do so much. This is how I look on the outside. Inside me it still feels odd. I'd be very pleased to return to the "normal", pre-stroke me, but I guess I have to come to terms with the "me" I am. No, things are still very difficult.

Solar updates

At the moment, my source of solar data has not been updated, so I am unable to update on this blog. I'll do this later in the day, all being well.

10m JT65 since breakfast

Although I have been on 10m JT65 all morning, no spots given or received as yet.

UPDATE 1212z: G4CJC (73km) has been spotted on 10m JT65, but no DX as yet.

UPDATE 1426z: G0LRD (25km) is spotting me on 10m JT65, but still no DX.

UPDATE 2115z: 2E0XXO (120km) has been spotted this evening on 10m JT65. I shall stay on 10m JT65 overnight  "just in case".

17 Dec 2016

Return to MF

At about 2024z I QSYed to 472kHz (630m) WSPR. So far, 4 UK stations have spotted me.

Return to 10m JT65

After an evening and night on 630m WSPR, I have returned to 10m JT65.

There was no new DX on MF last night with my best TX DX (5mW ERP) being DL-SWL (701km) again. No spots from Norway sadly.

UPDATE 1115z:  Nothing as yet on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1204z:  Still no 10m JT65 spots.

UPDATE 1530z: Still nothing on 10m JT65.

Lighter evenings - NOT amateur radio

Although mornings get darker until early January the sunset gets later from December 18th here. Winter Solstice is Dec 21st.

At first the change is very slow, but at least we are moving in the right direction! We'll blink and it will be the longest day.  By the end of January the sun sets almost an hour later. I enjoy all seasons but look forward to lighter evenings.

Sunspots and 10m - Saturday December 17th 2016

Solar flux is 72 today and the sunspot number is zero. A=2 and K=1.

Family Clock - NOT amateur radio

My brother-in-law recently had this grandfather clock restored.  It has been in their family since it was made in the late 1700s. It is wonderful to imagine how this has been in their family for well over 200 years and to think of all the generations that have gazed at its face down the years.

16 Dec 2016

Alibris - NOT amateur radio

Well, I have had a moan about this company before.

Every week it seems they have a sale with at least 10% savings. To be honest it is a joke and their emails get deleted right way. If you we ever want to buy something from them, you can be sure it will be cheaper next week or later the same week!

Decision time?

Tomorrow, I shall probably ring around the UK dealers to see who can offer me the best cash deals on the IC7300, the FT991A and the KX3.  I have read the reviews, so I need a good deal on price and guarantee.

Back on MF WSPR

At around 1924z I returned to 472kHz (630m) WSPR. At the moment G4FTC (123km) in IO91 is the best DX on TX with 5mW ERP. As yet, we are seeing no skywave reports.

6m JT65 and 10m WSPR

Since breakfast, I have been on 6m JT65 and 10m WSPR. So far, nothing on either band.

Sunspots and 10m - Friday December 16th 2016

Solar flux is 72 today and the sunspot number 12. A=3 and K=0


OFCOM are holding some public meetings to review their plans for 2017.

See http://ofcom.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/i/E6E549BF4512C7DC/59D1BD3EA2F08127C67FD2F38A

They are also consulting on commercial gateways.

See http://ofcom.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/i/B66A67CA9536B759/59D1BD3EA2F08127C67FD2F38AC4859C

15 Dec 2016

Back on 472kHz WSPR

For the evening and overnight, I have returned to 472kHz (630m) WSPR using 5mW ERP.  So far, just local spots out to 80km.

UPDATE 2015z: G4FTC (123km) in IO91 spotted me as the best DX spot so far.

UPDATE 2242z: PA0RDT (243km) is the best TX DX so far this evening on 630m.

10m JT65 now and MF overnight

About an hour ago I stopped 472kHz (630m) WSPR and started up again on 10m JT65, but no spots as yet on 10m.

Last night on MF G3XIZ (46km), G4FFC (45km) and best DX this season so far LA3JJ (993km) spotted me on 472kHz WSPR. As usual, I was using 5mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground on 472kHz (630m). All great - thank you! So far, I think I have been spotted by 24 unique stations in 5 countries this season on 472kHz WSPR.

UPDATE 2010z: DG0OPK (730km) spotted me on 10m JT65 3 hours ago. No "real" DX though.

Screening for aortic aneurisms - NOT amateur radio

Apparently men in their 65th year are eligible for free screening for aortic aneurisms. I was never informed! Today I found out about someone who died suddenly abroad from this treatable condition. Locally, the contact is via http://www.cuh.org.uk/abdominal-aortic-aneurysm-screening .

UPDATE 1850z: So I rang the help desk and was told they had my results from 3 years ago! Well, it was not me as I have never had this test. NHS efficiency??

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday December 15th 2016

Solar flux is 71 today and the sunspot number 25. A=4 and K=1.

14 Dec 2016

Visible Aurora

The Space Weather website reports on a world famous surfer who sees a visible aurora in Norway.

See http://www.smh.com.au/sport/surfing-great-mick-fanning-seeks-new-adventures-20161213-gtaaxn.html

ULF amateur success

Stefan DK7FC has successfully decoded his radiated signal at 65km on 2.97kHz. He refers to an attachment that is not included here.

"Hi ULF,

My post-processing of the 4 day recording is still running, almost 50% of the data is shown on the spectrograms now.
I'm happy to confirm the successful decode of a
5 character EbNaut message over 65 km on the 101 km band, with a BIG SNR! It's the one which started on 08.DEC, 7 UTC. First there was no decode until i found that i made a mistake, the actual start of the transmission is 6:58:40 UTC, an offset of -1 symbol.
Capture in attachment. I also attach the wav file, if someone wants to play with it, the size is very small.

73, Stefan"

For EbNaut resources see: http://www.abelian.org/ebnaut/

10m JT65

I have returned to 10m JT65 (2W QRP). So far, I have spotted one G in IO93 and SV4RRK (2194km). So far, no-one has spotted my QRP. Are we seeing the start of the small winter Es peak?

Sunspots and 10m - Wednesday December 14th 2016

Solar flux is 71 today and the sunspot number 14. A=4 and K=0.

472kHz (630m) WSPR

So far, I have now been spotted by 21 unique stations in 4 countries this autumn using 5mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" on 472kHz WSPR. I have now QSYed to 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1938z: I am about to go QRT on 10m JT65 and QSY to 472kHz (630m) WSPR.

13 Dec 2016

70cm UKAC

As this was the second Tuesday in the month, it was the 70cm leg of the RSGB's activity contest. I was only running 5W to a 2m halo fed with lossy coax. Best DX tonight was just 105km, although I was only on for 20% of the time because of my poor voice.

IC7300, FT991A or KX2?

I am thinking of getting a new radio. The choices are the above. The KX3 is just too expensive in the UK. Any views?

5W would be enough for me, but sadly the ICOM and Yaesu transceivers are not available in QRP versions in Europe. At the moment I favour the FT991A, if the price is right. It would rarely be used at 100W but having 430MHz could be useful.

60m in Finland

Southgate News reports that the 60m WRC band (15kHz wide) is being allocated in Finland a year early. It is a great pity that a wider allocation is not being made in CEPT countries. 100kHz wide would have been so much better. Still, the 15kHz band will be allocated world-wide in the end. Of course, the FCC in the USA might eventually allocate this band, maybe in 2020? I joke not. The FCC has been unbelievably slow with the 137kHz and 472kHz bands.

Luddites? - NOT amateur radio

One can't help feeling really sorry for Southern Rail passengers who pay over the odds for season tickets and get a rubbish service, with crowded trains, cancellations and strikes. The dispute is over who oversees the closing of doors!  In this case my sympathies are with the commuter who is getting a poor deal. The unions are wrong

It is beholden on unions to act on behalf of their members, but they have to act responsibly. Yes, I know they are concerned about jobs, but this is plain stupid. If I was in charge I would sack them all (union members that is). Normally my political sympathies are left of centre. We cannot behave as if we lived in the 1800s. This is the 21st century for goodness sake.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-38296623 .
See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luddite . The Luddites were textile workers and weavers who destroyed machinery in the hope of preventing job losses. We have to be efficient - end of story.

Southern Rail union members - grow up!!

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday December 13th 2016

Solar flux is 70 today and the sunspot number 13. A=6 and K=1.

10m JT65

Around 0815z, I went QRT on MF WSPR and started up on 10m JT65 again. FR1GZ (9724km) has already been spotted. It remains to be seen whether or not he spots me too. FR1GZ is on Reunion Island in the south Indian Ocean not too far east of Madagascar.

UPDATE 1326z: No other DX on 10m JT65 so far. I think this is more to do with a lack of activity than conditions. Please, use 10m. G4CJC (73km) has been spotted on 10m JT65 -  either tropo or aircraft reflection.

MF TX so far this season

So far this autumn on 472kHz (630m) WSPR I have been spotted by 20 unique stations in 4 countries (G, F, PA and DL). I am running 5mW ERP from my earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. I think this is fewer than last year, although I started much later this year.  My impression is that there are fewer active stations, although I may be mistaken. It will be interesting to see the total by Easter. Best DX is DK6XY at 723km.

12 Dec 2016

PC update and 630m WSPR

My shack PC needed an update. When this happens it does not sync to an internet time server. This occurred during the day (probably after lunch) so no South Americans on 10m JT65 may have been because of timing being out rather than propagation.

Anyway, the PC is now updating and I shall be on 472kHz (630m) WSPR for the rest of the evening and overnight.

Smallest APRS TX

See https://git.scd31.com/laptopdude90/smallest-aprs-transmitter .

Looking for a small APRS transmitter? You might like this, which was on Twitter earlier. Although I have a Twitter account I rarely use it, but I get emails about Twitter most days.

The mystery of MH370 - NOT amateur radio

It is almost 2 years since this Malaysian Airlines plane just disappeared. Now relatives are looking for clues as the official authorities seem to have all but given up. One can imagine the nightmare these people have been though.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-38257433 .

Sunspots and 10m - Monday December 12th 2016

Solar flux is 71 today and the sunspot number 13. A=15 and K=1.

Although the 10m propagation forecast is "poor" I have been spotted well over 9000km away using 2W 10m JT65 QRP and a very average wire antenna.

Take over? - NOT amateur radio

The company I used to work for may be the subject of a take over bid from a rival Chinese company. Watching the share chat you realise that most stock brokers are simply gamblers in for a gain. And to think these parasites earn big bonuses! For what? Makes my blood boil.

See http://www.lse.co.uk/ShareChat.asp?ShareTicker=SEPU .

Cold Arctic

See http://www.spaceweather.com/ .

The Space Weather website has some great images of stratospheric polar clouds saying the Arctic Circle is getting very cold.

Mesospheric clouds (higher than the stratosphere) are often associated with 6m DX from Europe to Japan. I don't know if such propagation is possible at this time of year. These openings are usually in late June, I think.

I don't know if stratospheric clouds reflect radio waves as do mesospheric clouds.

See https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sunearth/science/atmosphere-layers2.html for details of atmospheric layers.

QRP and QRP Club

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

WQR Report (December 11, 2016 - Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous)
Visitors  of  the  week:  UA1CEX,  EA2LU, DK1HW, US5ERQ, RW3AA, RD2A,
OH7QR,  UY1IF,  PD7CJT,  UR5IFM  became  Honor  Frequenters  (regular
visitors) - Thanks!
See full "rendezvous" report -

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

This is a periodic Newsletter of the Club 72. Don't reply to Newsletter address! Send any requests or news to
mr72@club72.su please.

10m JT65 - DX spots

As well as a German spot in the middle of the night, FR1GZ (9724km) spotted me in the last hour. 10m DX.

UPDATE 1948z: As a later post indicates, the PC needed an update installing, so the lack of spots this afternoon and early evening may have been due to timing rather than propagation.

11 Dec 2016

Geminids meteor shower

Peaking around December 13-14th is the Geminids meteor shower. This will help with MS communications as there will be more "pings" and longer ones. Look at the constellation Gemini to see early signs. MS using digital comms is popular on 2m.

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday December 11th 2016

There are no sunspots visible today so the sunspot number is zero. K=3 (quiet). See http://www.spaceweather.com/ . As you can see, I looked elsewhere for the data as it is already 1515z.

Stroke after-effects - NOT amateur radio

Even years after my stroke, I am still becoming aware of some of the after-effects. My short-term memory is poor and I seem unable to see quite obvious spelling and grammatical errors. Clearly my brain is not able to process things in quite the same way it once could. I try to correct mistakes as soon as I notice them, but if I miss things, you'll know why!

Yet again - no solar forecast, as yet

Yet again, the source of my solar data is still showing data for yesterday, so I cannot put up today's data yet. If this continues I shall have to look elsewhere. Please accept my apologies.

I'll update the data as soon as I get it.

10m JT65 overnight and Sunday

We have visitors and my shack involves walking through their room, so I remained on 10m JT65 overnight rather than moving to MF. It was interesting with LA9LOA (1414km) spotting my 2W QRP just after 0400z on 10m JT65. This is a very odd time.

UPDATE 1520z: G0LRD (25km) has also spotted my 2W QRP 10m JT65, but no DX as yet. Clearly David gets me better on 6m, as the antennas are somewhat better on that band.

UPDATE 1645z: G4CJC (73km) has been spotted on 10m JT65. As yet, no South Americans spotted on 10m JT65 here.

UPDATE 1944z: It looks like no DX on 10m JT65 here today. The chances of spotting South Americans, or being spotted myself, have probably gone for today. I'll stay on 10m overnight in case anything else pops up.

10 Dec 2016

South Hams - NOT amateur radio

Until I went to university I was brought up in the South Hams of Devon where my family have been for centuries (definitely) and probably for millennia. I expect we were Stone Age farmers on Dartmoor thousands of years ago and we fished these waters long, long ago, probably when the coastline was quite different. The picture shows Bolt Tail  in the far distance from Thurlestone.

A and K indices

Some ask what these mean.

See https://www.electronics-notes.com/articles/antennas-propagation/ionospheric/solar-indices-flux-a-ap-k-kp.php for explanations.

Blog issue?

At the moment I am experiencing an issue with my blog. I have tried to correct a post error using both Edge and Chrome but neither will allow me to make the correction!

In the 10m JT65 post it should say "using the format "B callsign locator"" and the bit in bold should not be. My apologies.

UPDATE 1500z: It appears the blog does not like me using the sort of brackets used in URLs. Changing these to colons works OK.  I have now corrected the 10m JT65 post.

Back on 10m JT65

Shortly before lunch, I went QRT on MF WSPR and started up on 10m JT65. As yet, no spots on 10m JT65 where I run 2W.

It has been fairly quiet of late on 10m, although the last week has seen 10m JT65 spots of my 2W signal from the USA and South America, despite the much lower sunspot numbers now and just QRP power. I only use simple wire antennas on HF.  JT65 really is a great mode without the need for much power or big beams.

My recommendation is switch to 10m JT65. The DX is harder to find these days, but using weak signal modes gives you the best chance of being copied.

Using the format  "B callsign locator" as a beacon when not looking for QSOs will show up on PSK reporter maps if you tick the "upload to PSK reporter maps" in your JT65 software.

WSJT-X V1.6 is stable and freely available. I've used this now for JT65 and WSPR for about a year.

UPDATE 1606z: 10m JT65 has been very quiet so far. I'd expect South Americans and maybe the USA to appear in the next couple of hours or not at all.

UPDATE 1706z: LW2DAF (11211km) was spotted about an hour ago on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1758z: 3 South American spots so far tonight on 10m JT65.

Old friends - NOT amateur radio

This weekend we have old friends over staying with us. When I was in hospital, they regularly drove 90 miles each way to come to see me in hospital. Up until 2009 they lived in our village but moved to the Cotswolds, partly to be close to their daughter who has MS.

I have said many times that a real illness shows true friends. Sadly, a church-going couple next door never once asked how I was and never came to see my wife.  Some people just don't "do" illnesses. It is some years since I was in hospital for 3.5 months, but our Cotswold friends are as close as ever.

In a time of real crisis, some people "came up trumps".  Others just fell away.

Still on 630m WSPR

Usually by now I have switched to 10m JT65 (2W), but I am still on 472kHz (630m) WSPR with 5mW ERP. We have visitors and I'll probably change to 10m JT65 when they go out.

G0VQH (15km), G8LCO (58km) and M0XDK (80km) are all copying me on MF.

Amateur Radio blog

The Amateur Radio blog continues to provide lots to read most days. Every week they provide a summary Amateur Radio Newsletter by email if you subscribe. It is well worth checking in my view.

Sunspots and 10m - Saturday December 10th 2016

Solar flux is 72 today and the sunspot number 12. A= 24 and K=3.

9 Dec 2016

Early success on MF

Only about 15 minutes ago I switched from 10m JT65 to 630m (472kHz) WSPR.  DL-SWL (701km) has already spotted me twice. As usual, I am running 5mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. This very very early.

UPDATE 1855z:  DK6XY (723km) has just spotted me.  This is the best DX so far this season.

UPDATE 1922z: These are the spots on MF of my 5mW ERP so far this evening:

£11 for a dual band hand held?

This came from Steve G1KQH:

A Dual band HT .... wait for it £11.00!!

South Devon - NOT amateur radio

Many years ago I came from, and was brought up in, South Devon. The picture shows where our family lived for hundreds of years. The earliest record I have is 1428, although I am sure we've ancestors in this part of the world going back thousands of years. Very humbling.

WRC 2019

The next WRC is in 2019. I understand the IARU is trying to get a harmonised 6m band 50-54MHz in all parts of the world.

These are the things I'd like to see:
  • a 500kHz wide 4m allocation worldwide
  • a 100kHz wide allocation at 60m worldwide
  • a small 8m allocation worldwide. 50-100kHz wide would do
  • open sub 8.3kHz to all worldwide on a non-interference basis
  • a small allocation worldwide at 73kHz.
I doubt these will happen. What would you like to see?

10m JT65

I am still using WSJT-X V1.6.  V1.7 download will have to wait, probably until next week.

About 30 minutes ago I turned on 10m JT65 again. Usually I try 630m at night, but as I was out I gave this a miss. We have visitors over the weekend, so I am unsure of activity this evening. and overnight.  On 10m JT65 I use 2W and on 630m 5mW ERP WSPR.

As yet, no 10m spots but I see Bas in Holland was spotted yesterday on 10m JT65 presumably by aircraft reflection?

UPDATE 1532z: Still no 10m JT65 spots given or received here today.

With my brother - NOT amateur radio

This photo was taken earlier this week in the delightful Suffolk village of Moulton, which has plenty of thatched cottages. It show me (RHS) with my brother (LHS) who stayed with us for a few days.

Sunspots and 10m - Friday December 9th 2016

Solar flux is 73 today and the sunspot number has fallen to 14. A=23 and K=3.

8 Dec 2016

Packhorse Bridge - NOT amateur radio

On Monday, I mentioned in an earlier posting that we went out to nearby Moulton for a meal with my brother. Moulton is a small village not far from Newmarket. It has a famous, very old, packhorse bridge as it was once the main route from Cambridge to Bury St Edmunds. Packhorses went over the bridge and horses and carriages went across the ford. The bridge dates from the 13th or 14th century and is a mix of brick and stone.

Geomagnetic Storms?

Southgate News reports that a minor geomagnetic storm (G1) which may result in good auroras is likely.

10m JT65 and overnight on 630m WSPR

Overnight I was on 630m (472kHz) WSPR but nothing new. I did get copied again (many times) by DL-SWL (701km) when using the 5mW ERP, but I am spotting, and being spotted, by the same few stations. There certainly appear to be fewer on this band and mode than this time last year. I wonder if I should try beaconing in JT9-1 on MF? Any advice?

For about 20 minutes now I have been back on 10m JT65 but no spots as yet.

UPDATE 1305z:  No spots yet today on 10m JT65 here.

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday December 8th 2016

My source is around today!

Solar flux is 77 today and the sunspot number has dropped to 18. A=11 and K=3.

10m today? It should be no goos, but I am often surprised.  Keep 10m JT65 or WSPR running as you never know!

7 Dec 2016

Solar data

As I have been  unable to bring you solar data from the normal source today, try this one: http://www.solen.info/solar/ .

Solar data late again

My source of solar data is still showing yesterday's details even at 1344z, so I have yet to update the sunspot and solar flux information. Sorry.

UPDATE 1830z:  Still not updated, so I shall not be showing sunspot and solar activity today, unless I find another source.

Return to 10m JT65

After a reasonable evening and night on 472kHz WSPR, I have now returned to 10m JT65. On472kHz WSPR the best DX least evening on RX was DJ0ABR (983km) and the best DX on TX (5mW ERP) was DL-SWL (701km). As yet no spots on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1340z: EA8GF (2973km) has spotted me on 10m JT65.

New version of WSJT-X software (v1.7)

If you are like me, you will enjoy weak signal modes like WSPR and JT65. There is a new beta version out, WSJT V1.7-rc3, which includes some new modes. This is still beta so there could still be a few buglets. I shall probably download it later and give it a try.

My thanks to Bob G3WKW for bringing this to my attention. For the last year I have used WSJT-X V1.6 on JT65 and WSPR. It has worked well.

6 Dec 2016

2m UKAC this evening

I could only manage about 30 minutes this evening as my voice was poor and we had a guest staying. Best DX 151km, although I could have worked more had I stayed on. Activity was high. As usual I was using 5W and a big-wheel omni antenna.

OFCOM Updates

OFCOM has produced a Dec 2016 update. Merry Christmas.

See http://ofcom.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/i/96987FB7F93EAA95/59D1BD3EA2F08127C67FD2F38AC4859C

Late switch to 10m JT65

Rather later than usual, I have gone QRT on MF and am now on 10m JT65 (2W).

Although I have copied South America on most days recently on 10m JT65, my own signal has not been spotted for a few days. Better luck today? Ever hopeful!  I think there are fewer people on 10m JT65, which is a pity.

We should get some Es in the northern hemisphere as there is a small peak around December and January, although I do not know why.

UPDATE 1150z: No spots as yet on 10m JT65. I shall be on until this evening.

UPDATE 1700z: KK1D (3361 miles) Spotted me on 10m JT65 an hour ago. This is the first USA station to spot me this winter on 10m. I was quite surprised.

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday December 6th 2016

The solar data has been updated.  Solar flux is 81 today. Sunspot number is 37.  A=4 and K=1.

Solar data - delayed

My solar data comes from http://www.hamqsl.com/solar.html but this is still showing yesterday's date, so I am unable to update this as yet.

Overnight on 472kHz

Last evening and overnight I was again on 472kHz (630m) WSPR with 5mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. No new reporters, but I was copied by DL-SWL (701km) again, this time in the late evening.

More ULF tests in Germany

Stefan DK7FC has been busy winding a loading coil so he can carry out radiated tests at 2.97kHz at a distance of 65km. He has already tested successfully at 30km. Up to now his loading coil has not quite reached resonance. At these frequencies very slow data rates are needed, but he is hopeful of success.

5 Dec 2016

Moulton, Suffolk, UK - NOT amateur radio

My brother came up for a few days from Devon, so we went out for a lunchtime meal in the nearby village of Moulton. Here is my wife and my brother on our walk around the village before our meal. There are lots of thatched cottages in this village a few miles from Newmarket. As always, the food at the Packhorse Inn was excellent.

Soar Mill Cove, Devon - NOT amateur radio

This photo was taken 4 years ago in South Devon, UK where I was born.  The cliff walk from Hope Cove to Salcombe is perhaps one of the most beautiful in the world, although I am biased!

Winter sun - NOT amateur radio

We seem to have moved very rapidly from warm summer days to winter. Already we have had more frosts than in all of last winter and it is still December.

Yesterday we did a walk at nearby Anglesey Abbey, where the trees are now bare and the herbaceous borders "sleeping". Another month and the snowdrops and some daffodils will be out.

10m JT65

For about 10 minutes now I have been QRT on 630m WSPR and I am now again on 10m JT65. As yet, no spots given or received.

UPDATE 1648z: LU5MT (11576km) has been spotted on 10m JT65 near the border with Chile. This is very early at 1616z.

Sunspots and 10m - Monday December 5th 2016

Solar flux is 82 today. Sunspot number is 37. A=2 and K=0 .

QRP and QRP Club

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous Report (December 4, 2016)
Visitors  of  the  week:  ON6KZ,  R1OA,  UR7VT, SM7RYR, RV3GM, R1CAF,
EA5EQ entered in the Honor Frequenters list (regular visitor)
See full Visitors and Frequenters lists on the Club 72 web page.
Read full report here -

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

Overnight on 472kHz (630m) WSPR

Last night and overnight I was on 472kHz WSPR. Results were disappointing. Are there fewer on than last year? Only 6 unique spots with 5mW ERP and best DX just 250km.

4 Dec 2016

10m JT65 since breakfast

Overnight I was on 630m (472kHz) WSPR. It was rather disappointing with the same stations spotting me. Since breakfast I have been on 10m JT65, although no spots as yet. It was teatime yesterday before I spotted South America on 10m. Unless there are active stations in South Africa or short skip to Europe, I might have a similar wait today.

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday December 4th 2016

Solar flux is 84 today and the sunspot number a respectable 62. A=3 and K=0. As the last few days have shown, 10m does open for DX.

3 Dec 2016

More digging on HF needed!

The DX on the higher HF bands is getting harder to find now. I have been on 10m JT65 all day but not a single spot. Although conditions are not as good as they were, I am sure one of the issues is people take a casual look and give up. A major contest brings the higher HF bands alive, proving it is activity (or lack of it) and not conditions. Switch to weak signal modes and stick at it.

10m remains good far more often than is realised. This is a great opportunity for JT65 to prove its usefulness. WSPR should be even better, but sadly activity on 10m WSPR seems much lower than JT65.

UPDATE 1830z: As if to prove the point, LU1AMH (11207km) in Argentina was spotted at 1702z on 10m JT65. There is definitely life still on 10m.