31 Jan 2016

WSPRnet - owner trying to fix it

The database query form has been taken down so the owner (W1BW) can try to fix it.  I hope he succeeds.  Like many, I'd happily pay something if this would help reliability. WSPRnet is so useful when it works, allowing almost instant feedback of propagation. In my current state of health it has been wonderful.

UPDATE 2152z:   At the moment, the database seems to be working.  I am QRT on all bands until after breakfasttime.

Looking forward a few years

I just spotted this image from the last solar minimum. See http://www.solan.info/solar for the latest info. By comparison, things are still good. Note months without sunspots and the low solar flux. 2020?

Now on 10m WSPR

For just under an hour now I have been on 10m WSPR. WSPRnet is still unreliable so I am unsure who has copied me. I have copied G4KPX (14km) but I need to check WSPRnet!

UPDATE 1340z:  WSPRnet is back again (for now) and I see I was spotted on 10m WSPR by VK2KRR (16789km) at 1140z. Who said 10m was "poor"? Don't believe all you read!

UPDATE 1552z: W1VR (6965km located in Florida) has been spotted several times this afternoon, as well as CX5BBF (11123km). Today has been another good 10m day. There is still plenty of life left in the band. It is just a pity some just don't bother.

60m WSPR overnight

I stuck with 60m WSPR overnight, although all attempts to access WSPRnet before breakfast were unsuccessful. This service definitely needs help, both financial and practical.  If WSPRnet cannot be relied on, WSPR is dead. The unreliability of WSPRnet is one reason I want to do more with JT9-1 and JT65 this year.   PSK Reporter seems very reliable.

On 60m I was being copied in the USA by KK1D (5409km) well before midnight despite 2W and a very poor antenna.  A few stations were spotted here too, despite the high local noise floor. At the moment I am still on 60m with plenty of Europeans spotting me.

60m looks useful.

Sunspots and 10m - Sun Jan 31st 2016

Both solar flux and sunspot number are lower today.  Solar flux is 104 and sunspot  number is 30 (K=3). The forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor".  I think 10m will not be great today.

UPDATE 1625z:  I have been wrong about 10m so many times! Today turned out to be another cracking day on 10m WSPR.

30 Jan 2016

60m WSPR

I have QSYed to 60m WSPR, RX only at the moment. I may go on TX later.  Although I went on 60m some time ago, it is a long time since I last used the band.  As we approach poorer solar conditions, I expect I'll use this band far more. It is a pity that the international allocation coming is so small. I hope CEPT countries decide to allocate a larger contiguous secondary amateur allocation. I always have to check the sub-bands I can legally use. It would end a lot of confusion if we had a contiguous allocation.

UPDATE 2036z:   I am now on TX (2W 20%) on 60m.  Although I have not (yet) spotted others, my 2W has been spotted by stations in Switzerland and Germany on 60m WSPR.  The antenna is only my tri-band Par resonated with my ATU.  For 60m it is very low.

UPDATE 2255z:  My best DX, so far, with 2W on 60m WSPR is a spot by SV8RV (2269km). I shall leave the kit running through the night. As yet, I have still not copied others on this band tonight. I must have a bad noise problem on this  band? It is bad on 80m.

20m WSPR, so far

K3SC (5869km) spotted me at 1654z. This is the best DX so far on 20m WSPR. I expect I'd get further on 20m, but I may QSY to another band overnight.

10m winter Es again?

DK6UG (633km) spotted me before lunch on 10m WSPR.  Was this wintertime Es on 10m again?  G4KPX (14km) was spotted here but did not make it onto WSPRnet.

UPDATE 1440z:  Several spots by/of G4KPX (14km) now getting through to the WSPRnet database. No USA 10m WSPR spots as yet.

UPDATE 1526z:    WSPRnet seems very flaky today. I am having great problems with it.  No USA spots today or is it WSPRnet?

UPDATE 1620z:   I have now QSYed to 20m WSPR, although WSPRnet is still flaky.

Stroke: not a good week - NOT amateur radio

Some days are like this. This week has been a bad week and I have felt particularly giddy and very tired. Hopefully next week will be better.

Unlike "pre-stroke" days, things exhaust me far more and I seem to stress more easily.  Despite this, we have still managed to get out and about. Maybe I am pushing myself too hard and my body is screaming "slow down"? Oh, how I wish I was well again.

For most of the last 2 years I have been living a hell interspersed with better days. I have felt giddy now for more than 2 years. Will it never get better?

When I am seated or resting, I'm fine.  The main issues are when I am on my feet, walking and active.

Sunspots and 10m - Sat Jan 30th 2016

Solar flux is 114 today. Sunspot number is 49 (K=1) but 10m propagation is again expected to be "poor". It will be interesting to see how 10m WSPR actually is today. Solar flux is good, sunspot number not bad and conditions not very disturbed. Judging by yesterday, I'd expect 10m to open to the USA this afternoon, although 10m can be fickle!

Back on 10m WSPR

Last night, I was not on any band at all. I had a night off. I returned to 10m WSPR (2W TX 20%, RX 80%) at 1020z, although it could be a while before any spots appear.

This evening I may give 60m RX a go as I have not tried this band for a long time. I do have a 5MHz NoV so I could TX too if the antenna tunes up via the ATU.

29 Jan 2016

Wicken Fen this afternoon - NOT amateur radio

We did a walk along the boardwalk at Wicken Fen this afternoon. As I am still wobbly from my stroke, this was much harder than usual. It took all my energy (in the wind) to stay upright and walking in the right direction, so little time to enjoy the views. Still, the walk did us good and the light was amazing.

10m WSPR good to the USA today

Several different USA stations spotted on 10m WSPR today and a couple of different USA stations spotting me too. Today is quite a good day on 10m. So much for the "poor" 10m forecast!

As I have said many times, I often find I get good results on 10m WSPR when the propagation is expected to be "poor". It sometimes (often?) pays to stick with 10m WSPR. 10m is a band filled with surprises and I am sure it is "open" far more often than people realise.

What band?

With my poor voice and often monitoring WSPR activity elsewhere in the home and not being physically in the shack (it takes only seconds to be in the shack though), I wonder what bands I should concentrate on. Habitually, I go on 10m daytime and either 630m (more recently 40m) WSPR after dark. I used to also go on 6m daytime but in several months I only had a handful of WSPR spots logged. Outside of the main 6m Es season, this band is hard work.

When in the shack, I try 20m JT9-1 and JT65 for 2-way contacts. WSPR suits my current needs well most of the time. I use voice modes infrequently as I find these hard going nowadays. I wish this was not so, but there you go! One has to adapt. I still lack the fine motor skills and energy for field work at present.

At some point I want to resume 481THz and VLF field work again. These gave me a lot of pleasure.  At present I am too lacking in energy. I tried a couple of field excursions last year, but it was too soon: my body was not ready. Instead, for now, I am concentrating on what I can do, at home.

So what would you recommend?

New radio?

For a while I have been considering investing in a new radio, possibly the Yaesu FT991 or the ICOM IC7300. As my voice is still poor, my inclination is to wait. Radios, once bought, are usually kept for many years. I consider them investments rather than "whim" purchases. My preference is another QRP radio as I prefer lower power. The low power (S version) of the IC7300 would be ideal but this is only available in Japan. This is a real shame.

Wicken Fen - NOT amateur radio

So far this month, we have been to 4 different National Trust properties and one of them twice. If the weather is dry, we hope to visit Wicken Fen this afternoon. This is near here. It is a small remnant of original fen. It can be quite bleak, but is very good for birds if one is patient. Years ago I saw a bittern here. The National Trust is hoping to buy land all the way to Cambridge so there is a corridor for wildlife for years to come.

UPDATE 1742z:  See later post.

Sunspots and 10m - Fri Jan 29th 2016

On average, solar conditions are deteriorating but this the average and we still get better days. Today solar flux is 111 (quite decent) and sunspot number is 64 (K=1). 10m propagation is expected to be "poor" again, although it would not surprise me if we see the USA appearing in WSPR spots after lunch.

After a night on 630m (472kHz) WSPR, I returned to 10m WSPR at 0955z. There were no surprises on MF overnight. It will take a while for things to settle on 10m, where I am again using 2W TX for 20% and on RX for 80%. Even at 2W, I seem to spot others more than I get spotted.

With the W5OLF beacon I TX 100% at 500mW but the TX frequency is randomised. Yesterday early evening there was evidence of wintertime Es on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1056z:  No 10m WSPR spots as yet.

UPDATE 1242z:  SP5TWA (1302km) was spotted at 1230z. Is this another case of wintertime Es?

28 Jan 2016

Stroke - NOT amateur radio

Although I have been allowed to drive again for well over a year and I drive quite a long way if need be, I reckon driving now requires about 3-4 times the energy and concentration it did in pre-stroke days. I drive more slowly than I did and after a period of driving I feel very exhausted. My furthermost drive at a stretch is about 135 miles, with one short break on the way.

Return to 472kHz WSPR

After being on 10m WSPR during the day, I have returned to MF for the evening and overnight. Certainly it is a case of "more of the same"with best DX on RX being EA5DOM and the same people spotting me.  I shall stay on overnight in the hope that some new people are spotted or spot me.

Churches blog updated - NOT amateur radio

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

Bell Cage at East Bergholt Church
Today we visited Flatford Mill (made famous by John Constable's paintings) and called in at East Bergholt on our way back. We visited the church and I have updated the blog accordingly.
Will Lott's cottage at Flatford Mill

USA again on 10m WSPR

W1VR (6965km) was spotted several times on 10m WSPR earlier this afternoon. This time last year there would have been several spots. I guess it is the decline in solar activity and people going lower in frequency now.

Now on 10m WSPR

I have just QSYed to 10m WSPR from 20m and re-synced the clock to internet time. It will take a little while for things to stabilise.  Running 2W TX 20%, 80% RX. With a reasonably high sunspot number, good solar flux and relatively undisturbed conditions, today might not be a bad day on 10m WSPR. We'll see.

Sunspots and 10m - Thurs Jan 28th 2016

Solar flux is 113 today. Sunspot number is 75 (K=3). 10m propagation is again expected to be "poor" today.

27 Jan 2016

QSYed to 20m WSPR

As I am in the home, but not in the shack, I have QSYed to 20m WSPR and monitoring results on WSPRnet on a different PC in the lounge. If need be, I can be in the shack within 10 seconds to make any adjustments.

UPDATE 28.1.16 1000z:  Just European spots this morning on 20m WSPR.  No spots overnight.

QSYed to 20m JT9-1

In the end I QSYed from 10m WSPR to 20m JT9-1 looking for some 2-way QSOs. Although I called a K8 (5000km) he did not copy me. Looking at PSKreporter I see than I was copied in Italy and Portugal. I have now gone QRT for a cup of tea.

10m quiet (..and late activity)

Although I was expecting half-decent results on 10m today, it looks like others have had a bad time too, judging by the lack of 10m DX spots on WSPRnet today. This could still change, but I think we are now seeing people deserting the 10m band. It is certainly much easier to get spots on lower bands. Apart from G8VDQ (93km) I have given and received no other 10m spots all day.

UPDATE 1420z: 10m is a band of surprises! Just as I write the above K9AN (6505km) spots me on 10m WSPR. I was just about to QSY to JT9-1 on 20m, but will now remain on 10m WSPR for the afternoon.

UPDATE 1528z:  It is now nearly 1.5 hours since the last 10m WSPR spot. I'll give it a few more minutes, but I may QSY to 20m JT9-1 after all.

Cambridge - NOT amateur radio

Bikes in Cambridge outside Sydney-Sussex College
Most Mondays this term,  I go into Cambridge for my U3AC course, "Living with less". The course is very good.  I travel into Cambridge and home on the bus and enjoy the bus ride. It involves a walk through the centre of Cambridge, which is quiet at this time of year.  In the summer it can get busy with language students and visitors. I am fortunate to have a wide choice of U3AC courses and Cambridge on my doorstep. Many people travel the world to see sights I just take for granted.

Sunspots and 10m - Wed Jan 27th 2016

Solar flux is 112 today. Sunspot number is 61 (K=1) and the 10m propagation forecast remains "poor" today.  With decent solar flux and quite respectable sunspot and K numbers, I would expect 10m WSPR to be quite decent today.  OK, on average, solar activity is declining, but this is on average. Today the numbers are quite good.

UPDATE 1038z:  So far, just G8VDQ (93km) spotted on 10m WSPR today. It is still quite early though.

40m WSPR overnight

Only in the last few minutes have I QSYed to 10m WSPR. 

I was on 40m WSPR overnight. It was worthwhile even with 2W to the very low antenna on 40m (a 10/20/40m end-fed Par) at about 4m (at most) above ground. Several 40m WSPR spots received from the USA overnight, although none from South America.

Since daybreak, just Europeans and G stations spotted and spotting me on 40m WSPR, although W4MO (7272km) spotted me as late as 0748z.

UPDATE 1005z:  No spots given or received yet on 10m WSPR.

26 Jan 2016

QSYed to 40m WSPR

Rather than 630m, I have QSYed to 40m WSPR from 10m for the evening and (probably) overnight. On 40m (as on 10m) I am using 2W TX 20%, looking for others 80%.

UPDATE 1725z:  Plenty of spots already with best DX on TX, so far,  a spot by UA1ASB (2042km).

UPDATE 2306z:  No 40m WSPR DX outside Europe so far tonight.

10m disappointment

Apart from G3JKV this morning, no other spots given or received on 10m WSPR today. I was honestly expecting a half decent day on 10m WSPR today. I even went to double-check all the settings and that the PC is synced to internet time. All seems to be in order, so maybe this is just a bad day.

UPDATE 1604z:   W1VR (6965km) was spotted at 1558z.  10m WSPR DX at last!

More from G1KQH

Steve G1KQH has just sent me this:

Here is one for you 817 FansJust flagged up on me when I was on Facebook, so you know as much as me at the moment but it looks good.

CCS concert - NOT amateur radio

A reminder that my XYL is taking part in a Cambridge concert in April. Tickets are available by post or on the door.

Sunspots and 10m - Tues Jan 26th 2016

Solar flux is 108 today.  Sunspot number is 58 (K=1) and the forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor". So far this morning just a spot of G3JKV (123km) off aircraft I think on 10m WSPR. There was a lot of Doppler on his signal so pure tropo is unlikely. As yet, no international 10m WSPR spots.

25 Jan 2016

New spotter on 472kHz WSPR

G0HNW (200km) has spotted my 5mW ERP WSPR this evening several times. I am pretty sure he is a new reporter.

More QRP

From Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,
The "Snowman" QRP Winter field game will be in January 30 and 31, two
periods  in  9.00 to 13.00 UTC both days. This is not contest but QRP
activity only. See details at Club 72 web page, please - www.club72.su
Welcome  all QRP operators to play the game and enjoy QRP in Field or
Home  position  (or both). No any points, no logs but declaration and
photos only. Just for FUN!

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

10m and no internet connection on the shack PC

10m has not been bad today, but none of my spots are not appearing on WSPRnet as my shack PC refuses to connect to the internet. W1VR and G4CUI have been spotted and appear in the local log. I think the signal in the shack is too weak and I need a stronger signal. I think I need a range extender but I wonder about SMPSU noise.

How I dislike "like" - NOT amateur radio

If you see a group of young people, it seems every other word is "like".  Is this the new "um" or "ah"?  I am definitely becoming a grumpy old man as I find this very annoying. It grates on me so much.  I want to go up and say,"do you realise you said "like" 12 times in the last 2 minutes?". Then I think, what is the point? No some things are best not said.

More from G1KQH

This came from Steve last night:
Just caught this little write up:

TYT TH-9800

73 Steve

Back on 10m WSPR

For about 10 minutes so far, I have been back on 10m WSPR, having gone QRT on MF after a night. I expect to remain on 10m WSPR all day (20% TX 2W, 80% RX).  It will be interesting to see how things compare with Sunday on 10m.

Sunspots and 10m - Mon Jan 25th 2016

Solar flux is 103 today.  Sunspot number is 47 (K=1) yet 10m propagation is again forecast to remain "poor".

You will recall that yesterday, despite the poor forecast, 10m was actually quite good. Never quite believe all you read!

10m is a band of surprises - often you find CB activity just below 10m when 10m seems dead. Get on 10m and use it!

UPDATE 0956z:  No spots yet on 10m WSPR.

24 Jan 2016

QSYed to 472kHz WSPR

At 1905z I moved down to MF for the evening and night.  My best DX with 5mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" this season is 995km. Last year, with the same kit, I managed 1047km. As yet, no spots given or received, but the night is young.

UPDATE 1940z:  Just had a spot from M0LMH (223km)  but I received PA3ABK/2 earlier which did not make it to WSPRnet.  I wonder if WSPRnet was not accessible at the time?

UPDATE 1955z:  These are the spots so far:

10m WSPR so far today

It has been a mixed bag with what is probably wintertime Es with a spot by DK6UG (633km) earlier as well as several spots inter-G both given and received.

UPDATE 1525z:  Both North and South America spotted on 10m WSPR, so plenty of  F2 propagation.  W1VR  (6965km) was spotted at 1428z and  CX5BBF (11123km) was spotted at 1324z. Both stations were using 5W. So far, this looks quite a good day on 10m WSPR. Earlier there was also an ON by tropo too.

UPDATE 1818z:  Several further spots of W1VR this afternoon, with the latest at 1612z. I shall shortly be going QRT on 10m WSPR as I think we've had all the real excitement today. In the end, 10m was pretty good today.


A further note from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,
see the weekly "QRP Rendez-Vous" report here -
It's included some comments and pictures.

Congrats! PA3DEU became Honor Frequenters of QRP Rendez-Vous!
See full Visitors and Frequenters lists on the Club 72 web-page.
Welcome  all  QRP  operators  on  the next week "QRP Rendez-Vous, see
schedule here - www.club72.su

Note: usually I add all new visitors e-mails into the "72 Newsletter"
mail list.

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

What happens after death? - NOT amateur radio

As one gets older - I am now 67 - I suppose thoughts naturally turn to the end of life. It comes to us all, but we prefer not to think about it.

I honestly have no idea and the most likely is we'll not be aware, as we were before we were born, so it may not matter.  MAN has a real problem with finality, and nearly every religion has talk of life after death. It bothers me that some are so certain about this. At the moment I have an open mind. Like so much in this universe, or even multiverses, we really have no idea.

Sunspots and 10m - Sun Jan 24th 2016

Solar flux today is 99 and the sunspot number 54 (K=2).  The forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor".  I have been on 10m WSPR (2W TX 20%, RX 80%) for nearly 1 hour.

23 Jan 2016

More wintertime Es on 10m WSPR?

Late this morning my 500mW 10m WSPR was spotted by DK6UG (633km). This was probably wintertime Es. Only the one spot, and this just popped up and then was gone. The only other 10m spot was by G4KPX, who is local.

Wisbech - NOT amateur radio

As the weather was good today (I never believe the weather forecasts these days) we drove up to Wisbech and visited the gardens at Peckover House (NT). We also ate there.

Afterwards we went to the market and bought some sprouts. At one time this must have been a fine town with merchant's houses lining the river.  These days it looks a bit drab and run-down. It is a hub for immigrants from Eastern Europe who work in the agricultural  business. Good luck to them.

By the way, these sprouts cost us £1.  Pheasants were £2.99.

Sunspots and 10m - Sat Jan 23rd 2016

Solar flux is 100 and sunspot number 50 (K=4). 10m propagation is expected to be "poor" again today.

472kHz WSPR - a new DX record for this season

Last night I was spotted by DH5RAE (995km). This beats by 2km (!!) my previous best on 472kHz TX record this season.  Not bad for 5mW ERP and an earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. So who says you must have lots of power and big antennas on 472kHz?  I am sure with a larger antenna and ERP I'd get much further, but it shows you don't need this to get useful results. My grounds are about 12m (if that) apart. I need to work out how many stations have spotted my 472kHz WSPR this season. There have been 17 unique station spots of my 5mW ERP in the last 2 weeks.

22 Jan 2016

472kHz WSPR - a new reporter (I think)

At 2034z I returned to 472kHz WSPR and had 3 spots on my first transmission at 5mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" including a spot by G0NNF (93km) who I am pretty sure is a new reporter.  M0LMH (223km) has spotted me a couple of times so far tonight. On RX DK7FC (669km) is a good signal as always without the preamp.

FT817 - a great radio

Because of my poor voice still, I tend to severely restrict the time I spend on speech modes. I can manage about 1 hour or less on SSB or FM as long as don't say too much.  Modes like WSPR , JT65 and JT9-1 suit me better currently. As you know, I much prefer QRP (2-2.5W) and for this the FT817 is ideal. So much so that my Lincoln President Mk II (mint) has virtually been unused. It has not been used for a QSO for almost a year! I may pack the Lincoln away.

FTSE recovery? - NOT amateur radio

At the moment the FTSE 100 share index has recovered about 2%, although some think a fall to 5200-5300 could happen. It certainly feels "wobbly".  If I was a betting man, I would expect heavy falls, but I am not a betting man. The markets don't like the slowdown in China, the general gloom around prospects in the world economy, and the rapidly falling oil price.

At some point, not too far away, the whole economy of the world has to change with a realisation that fairness is important and that resources are limited. Growth as a mantra for years will no longer be the watchword. Unabated growth and consumerism cannot be the way. We have finite resources and a finite world. Numerous surveys have shown that more money does not make us happier, in fact the opposite.

QSYed to 10m WSPR

As of a few minutes ago, I have now moved to 10m WSPR (TX 2W 20%, RX 80%) probably for the rest of the day. We have visitors due for lunch, so it is unlikely I can be in the shack for JT65 and JT9-1 2-way QSOs. I can monitor WSPR elsewhere in the house and pop into the shack if anything is amiss.

UPDATE 1156z:   So far this morning only G8VDQ (93km) has been spotted on 10m WSPR.

Sunspots and 10m - Fri Jan 22nd 2016

Solar flux is 103 and the sunspot number is 56 (K=3). The forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor" today.

40m WSPR overnight

Although I spotted and was spotted in South America overnight, there were no USA stations logged on 40m WSPR overnight. Plenty of Europeans though. At the moment, I am still on 40m WSPR, but will soon QSY to 10m WSPR.

21 Jan 2016

QSYed to 40m WSPR

I have gone QRT on 10m WSPR and am now on 40m WSPR 2W TX 20%, RX 80%. It may take a few minutes for things to settle.

UPDATE 2010z:   I see I am being spotted on 40m in middle Europe.

10m open to the USA again

W1VR (6965km) was spotted this afternoon on 10m WSPR. This is the third time this month I have found 10m open to the USA. This time next year will be much harder as the sunspots fall.

UPDATE 1948z:  The intercontinental DX seems to have ended, but G4CUI (172km) is coming through again on 10m WSPR. I think it will soon be time to QSY probably to 40m WSPR.

Brazil (again) on 10m WSPR

Despite the forecast of "poor" 10m conditions, I see that I was spotted in Brazil again on 10m. KD0VWO (7412km) who is monitoring in N.E.Brazil spotted me at 1334z. He is located in GI95rg square.

472kHz WSPR last night

Yesterday evening and night I was again on 472kHz (630m) WSPR. There were no surprises with the same stations spotted and spotting me.

This evening, I may go on 40m WSPR again.

Until I get a better antenna I think no new stations are going to spot me, or be spotted, on MF.

Sepura shares (SEPU) - NOT amateur radio

Shares in my old company have fallen  a bit yesterday and this morning. They design and make TETRA and DMR radios, mainly where security is important.

Now may be a good time to buy? These days I have no connections with the company having long ago retired. In uncertain market conditions shares in a company involved in public safety may be a good bet?

Sunspots and 10m - Thurs Jan 21st 2016

Solar flux is 101 and sunspot number 59 (K=5). The forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor". These were the early spots:
DF1KZ still has problems knowing where he is! It should be EA8/DF1KZ or DF1KZ with a corrected QTH locator!!

20 Jan 2016

QSYed to 472kHz WSPR

For the last 15 minutes or so, I have been on 472kHz WSPR with 5mW ERP, looking for others 80% of the time. DK7FC (669km) and G8HUH (250km) have been spotted and G0VQH (15km) has spotted me. The night is young still. I intend to stay on overnight.

RA3APW on 10m WSPR

Among the stations copied on 10m WSPR today was the 100mW beacon of old work colleague RA3APW who lives in Moscow.  Karen is really "into" amateur radio.

His homepage is at http://www.qsl.net/ra3apw/ra3apw/ .

Decent results on 10m WSPR

As I write this it is 1400z and results so far on 10m have exceeded expectations. This is the log so far today on 10m WSPR:
DF1KZ is either in the Canaries using the wrong callsign again or he is in Germany using the wrong QTH  locator. Either way, something is in need of attention! I am also puzzled by the large drift seen on most 10m WSPR stations today. I don't think the drift is at my end. Could it be moving clouds of Es or F2 layers?

Despite the "poor" forecast for 10m today, it is yet again saying, "Keep at it. I am a band that will always surprise you".

UPDATE 1518z:  Although no international DX seen since lunchtime, G4CUI (172km) has recently been spotted on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1730z:  G4CUI (172km), running 5W, has now been spotted 4 times so far today.  This suggests that 10-20W of JT9-1 would span this GDX at almost any time.

Overnight on 40m WSPR

It was quite a surprise to be spotted in South America so often, and even more so the various 40m WSPR spots by stations in the USA. My best DX on 40m was a spot by KD6RF (7575km).  I have now moved to 10m WSPR for the day.

Sunspots and 10m - Wed Jan 20th 2016

Solar flux is 97 today and sunspot number 55 (K=4). 10m propagation is expected to be "poor" again. I am not expecting conditions on 10m to be much good today, but in the past I have had a surprise.

UPDATE 1020z:  Although I am still on 40m WSPR, I shall be moving to 10m WSPR shortly.

Safari - NOT amateur radio

For no apparent reason, the Safari browser on my iPod Touch 4g has stopped displaying the graph of visitors to the various blogs I do. They appear fine in Firefox on the laptop. This has only recently happened. I used to check visits to the blogs when in bed, but am unable to do so now. I tried a complete reboot, but still the same. It is as if blogger.com has changed something. Anyone else had a similar issue?

19 Jan 2016

QSY to 40m

In a few minutes I am going to QSY to 40m WSPR for a change from 10m WSPR. On this band, the antenna is very low, but I may leave the rig running overnight to find out what is possible. I shall be TXing at 2W for 20% of the time and on RX looking for others for 80% of the time. It may be a little while before things stabilise.

I shall be monitoring WSPRnet on a different PC in the lounge, with periodic visits to the shack to check all is well.

UPDATE 1924z:   I had to install Windows Updates on the shack PC, but I've been on 40m WSPR for a little while and have been spotted in Germany and Holland so far at 2W.   Even though the antenna is low on 40m, it gets out.
UPDATE 1938z:  These were the results in the first 30 minutes on 40m WSPR.

UPDATE 2135z:  So far this evening my best DX is FY5KE (7117km) in South America who has spotted my 2W on 40m WSPR 4 times. This is despite my antenna being very low for 40m. The reports were very good too. I have also spotted him on 40m WSPR this evening.

UPDATE 2300z:   Now W4MO (7272km) is spotting me on 40m WSPR.  Despite my antenna being very low for 40m, it has already reached 3 continents this evening.

UPDATE 2315z:   FY5KE (7117km) has spotted my 2W to a very low antenna on 40m WSPR 14 times so far this evening on 40m WSPR.

Good advice - NOT amateur radio

I found this on Facebook earlier.  Personally, I think it is good advice. I think it originated in the USA judging by the style.

Following Graham's link below, here is an earlier version (added 1918z):

RSPB Garden Bird Count - NOT amateur radio

The annual UK RSPB bird count is any hour in the last weekend of January. I have been doing this for years. You just choose a spot and count the maximum number of each species seen in the hour. It can be surprising. When done, I submit results to the RSPB online. It is always a great pleasure and you do not need to be an expert birder to do this. Each year, the RSPB get a great deal of data.  Some years I see very little. Some years I have seen up to 11 different species.

Most times you will see quite common birds, but occasionally you may see something unusual. It is the number of the ordinary birds seen that tells the real story.  If you can, grab a coffee and sit down, look out the window, and count the birds in your garden or park.  I am sure, like me, you will enjoy it.

See https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/discoverandlearn/birdwatch .

Back on 10m WSPR

Just a few minutes ago I QSYed from 630m to 10m WSPR and re-synced the clock. Currently I am running 2W TX 20% and on RX looking for others 80% of the time.

UPDATE 1150z:  Overnight and this morning on 630m there were no surprises with the same stations spotting me and being spotted. Tonight, I might give another band a try for a change. LA3JJ (993km) did spot me on 472kHz (630m) overnight though. I was still using just 5mW ERP and the earth-electrode "antenna". He must have a quiet location!

UPDATE 1200z:  No spots on 10m as yet.

UPDATE 1240z:  Some evidence of wintertime Es on 10m with DK6UG (633km) spotting me. There is also some F2 around with 10m spots from the Canary Is.

UPDATE 1830z:   EA1KV (1304km) spotted several times, presumably wintertime Es again.

New record number of visits to blog

Yesterday saw a new high in daily visits to this blog. I have no idea why!

As you know, I try to reflect what interests me, what I am doing in our hobby and a few things which are unrelated to amateur radio. I intend to continue in much the same way, hoping you all find something of interest here. Please let me know if you think the blog is missing anything important.

Clearly there is a QRP bias, but my stroke has made me concentrate on what I can do. This year, I want more 2-way QSOs but as I find speech hard (for too long) I will be looking for JT65 and JT9-1 QSOs in the main.  Of course, these will be with just a few watts.  When not in the shack I shall be on WSPR monitoring elsewhere in the house.

As I am slower at spotting errors than I was, please let me know if you see any. I try to correct any I notice but I must miss some.

Sunspots and 10m - Tues Jan 19th 2016

Solar flux is 99 today and sunspot number 48 (K=3) and the forecast for 10m propagation continues to be "poor".   I am not expecting great things on 10m today, but I am often surprised.

18 Jan 2016

QSYed to 472kHz WSPR

After most of the day on 10m WSPR, I have now QSYed to 472kHz WSPR for the evening and night.  For some time I have had problems accessing WSPRnet. Again I am TXing with 5mW ERP and on RX for 80% of the time using the earth-electrode "antenna" with no preamp on RX.

10m USA yet again

As well as G8VDQ (93km) earlier by tropo and aircraft this morning, WA4ZZW (6873km) was spotted on 10m mid-afternoon. Both stations were using 5W. I have been on 10m TX (randomised TX frequency) continuously until the last few days since when I've been on RX for 80% of the time.


As a proud owner of Yaesu gear going right back to an FT7 in 1979, I wish them well.  In  recent times, life has been very hard for them, and they seemed to lose their way. Today, they still face a threat from China and many of their radios are struggling to compete on price. I was totally amazed at their stupidity at not bringing an FT817 successor to market as we approached the solar peak.

It is rumoured that an FT817 successor will be announced at Dayton in May this year. Like many around the world, I hope they do. There is (was?) a vast market for this product as the original FT817 is now very very old. To do a successor would be so easy.  Yaesu - get real and release this product before you lose the market. To not put too fine a point on this, I think if you do not, then you risk bankruptcy within 5 years.

My recommendations to Yaesu are:

1. Design in Japan but make in China (but with excellent quality control in place from the start).
2. Launch a successor to the FT817 soon.
3. Look at your product range and rationalise it.

You must survive. This is the real world.

QRP Kits

The kits that were Hendricks are now Pacific Antenna. I have no idea how long ago this change happened. They market a fine range of QRP kits.

See http://www.qrpkits.com/ .

QRP and low sunspot activity

There is some debate over QRP and declining solar activity. Certainly more power helps when conditions are marginal although often if a path is open then a few watts are fine for a QSO. At present, I use 5W maximum and most times 2W yet still seem to get spotted around the world on WSPR and JT 2-way modes. As I have mentioned before, even at the rock bottom of earlier solar cycles I have still worked LU (over 11000km) on QRP SSB on 10m with very modest wire antennas. No, more power may help with a pile-up but even QRP is fine if the band is open. Of course, summertime Es generally needs only QRP. I have worked Es DX on 6m with QRP and a helical whip on the FT817. Es can be great fun.

Sunspots and 10m - Mon Jan 18th 2016

Solar flux is 101 today. Sunspot number is 48 (K=0) and the forecast for 10m propagation is "poor" still.  I QSYed to 10m early and am already TXing for 20% of the time at 2W and looking for others on 10m for 80% of the time. Overnight I was on 472kHz (630m) RX with the preamp, but nothing new copied on that band.

UPDATE 0910z:  Not surprisingly, no spots given or received yet on 10m WSPR.  It is still very early.

17 Jan 2016

QRP club

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

See QRP Rendez-Vous weekly report on the Club 72 blog -
Thanks all for activity and for comments.
This week visitors:
See you all on the next week QRP Rendez-Vous, schedule -

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

472kHz WSPR

At 1750z I QSYed to MF (5mW ERP TX 20%, RX 80% with no preamp).  As yet, no spots but it is early evening and the crystal in the transverter is probably still settling on TX. On RX the transverter simply passes the signal directly to the FT817.

UPDATE 1815z:  I see local Jenny  G0VQH (15km) was the first spotter on 472kHz WSPR this evening.
UPDATE 1835z:  These are the 472kHz WSPR spots so far this evening.

UPDATE  1935z:  Currently I use WSJT V1.6 for WSPR and JT modes. At 1916z I spotted PA3ABK/2 (306km) for the second time this evening but the spot did not appear on WSPRnet. I checked my clock was synced (it was) and I have internet connectivity. Maybe there is a bug with  V1.6 or WSPRnet was down at the time this would have been uploaded?

UPDATE 2016z:   I am now RX only on 472kHz WSPR with the preamp.

A nice mix on 10m today

This afternoon, there was a nice mix on 10m WSPR. KA3JIJ (6680km) was spotted mid-afternoon by F2 and later G4CUI (172km) was spotted as GDX by tropo and aircraft. No-one spotted me this afternoon.

UPDATE 1745z:  Time to QSY to 472kHz (630m) WSPR for the evening and overnight.

10m - still quiet

Apart from 4X1RF (3519km) earlier this morning, 10m WSPR has been very quiet. I may QSY to JT9-1 on 20m later for some 2-way QSOs. We plan to go out shortly, so this would be later in the afternoon.

Stroke - NOT amateur radio

A nurse who worked in neurology at Addenbrookes hospital today described me as, "a walking miracle", but I'd settle for my old self please!  Although I still feel I'm living "on the edge" each day,  I am thankful to be here, but I wish I had no problems with my voice, swallow, felt less giddy, and got less tired.  My fine motor skills are still far from right.

In many ways I am lucky and I could have been left much worse. Today I have to adapt to the new "me" and hope things still improve, albeit slowly.  Everyone says that I look so well. This, in many ways, makes it worse as they all assume I am well, when I really am not at all well inside. I have mentioned this before, but in some ways a visible form of disability might be easier. At least people would know one is not well.

Imagine you are living in a fog: this is how I have felt for over 2 years. It gets you down, no matter how hard you try. When I drive it takes all my concentration. Life is hard and I wish this on no-one.

Hawkedon - NOT amateur radio

The East Anglian Churches blog has been updated to include Hawkedon, Suffolk. This is a fine old church now in a very rural setting. See http://eachurches.blogspot.co.uk/ . I may add more photos later.

UPDATE 1230z:  I have now added photos of the bench ends.

Sunspots and 10m - Sun Jan 17th 2016

Solar flux today is 101 and the sunspot number 38 (K=2). 10m propagation is again expected to be "poor". I have been on 10m WSPR at 2W for about 10 minutes and am on 10m WSPR RX 80% of the time.  I was not active on any band overnight. It is still very early, but no spots given or received as yet.

UPDATE 1045z:   I see that I was spotted by 4X1RF (3519km) at -22dB S/N at 1022z. I assume this is single hop F2 on 10m.

16 Jan 2016

Milky Way and Aurora - NOT amateur radio

See https://www.facebook.com/greenpeace.canada/videos/10153577012364961/ .

If you have a Facebook account you may be very impressed by this time-lapse photo. It certainly impressed me!  I am unsure you can see it without a Facebook account.  If not, try the Greenpeace Canada site.

QSYed to 10m WSPR

Rather later than planned, at around 1600z, I have QSYed to 10m WSPR from 20m. I think I left this rather too late. Earlier, I was spotted in the USA on 20m WSPR.  On 10m, I am using the FT817 and more power (2W) and on RX 80% of the time.

UPDATE 2230z:  I have now gone QRT on all bands.  Only G8VDQ (93km) spotted on 10m WSPR early evening, although I was late getting in 10m today.

Heathkit comeback?

There is a very mixed review of the new Heathkit kit (the GR-150) on http://www.amateurradio.com/ today. Although I admire the attempts to resurrect Heathkit, they have to have excellent quality control, competitive prices and good kits. Selling anything else is not a recipe for success. The amateur kit market is a cut-throat business and second class is not good enough. Heathkit has to be first class or they will fail.

20m WSPR

As I was getting lunch for my XYL and I, I remained on 20m WSPR.  K9AN (6505km) was the first USA station to spot me on 20m today. I may well switch to 10m later. At the moment I am just resting and watching WSPRnet on a laptop in the lounge.

Sunspots and 10m - Sat Jan 16th 2016

Solar flux is 104 today and sunspot number 38 (K=1). Forecast for 10m propagation is "poor" again. At present I am on 20m WSPR but will probably move to 10m WSPR later, unless I try for more JT9-1 2-way QSOs on 20m.

15 Jan 2016

QRT on all bands

No more 10m spots since the YL station this afternoon. I have gone QRT on all bands.

10m - magic band!

Many times before I have said 10m, like 6m, is a "magic band" that likes to surprise you. Today was no exception. Little did I expect to both give and receive WSPR spots with South America, but that is what the band turned up today. 4X1RF also spotted me in Israel on 10m. Magic band indeed!

UPDATE 1610z:  I now see that YL2GL (1747km) is being spotted. This is probably wintertime Es.

10m WSPR with FT817

For a change I am on 10m WSPR with the FT817 at 2W (more power) but listening for 80% too. As yet no spots, but I shall be on 10m most of the day.  I am hopeful of some wintertime Es and maybe some inter-G DX too on the band. I think F2 10m DX is unlikely.

Sunspots and 10m - Fri Jan 15th 2016

Solar flux is 104 and sunspot number 36 (K=3) today. 10m propagation is expected to remain "poor".

14 Jan 2016

GM4SLV: John Pumford-Green

For many weeks no-one had heard any news of GM4SLV.  After hearing nothing I rang his home in the Shetlands this evening (fearing the worst) and I was so pleased to hear his voice. John is taking a break from the hobby, but all is well.  So the message is "don't panic Captain Manwaring". He is fine.

Australia on 20m WSPR

As we had visitors, I decided to use the WSJT-X V1.6 on 20m WSPR this afternoon. As well as lots of USA spots, I was spotted in Australia twice. Obviously the low Par antenna does a very credible job on 20m. Best DX was VK3AXF (16850km).

Another JT9-1 2-way QSO

Not long ago I had a 2-way QSO with OK2PDH by 20m JT9-1. There is little doubt that JT9-1 and JT65 are ideal modes for me currently. They don't need much power and QSOs do not require me to use my (poor) voice.

Stroke after-effects

I am still suffering with the after-effects of my stroke 2.5 years ago. I still have a very poor voice and still feel giddy walking. I also still tire easily and my fine-motor skills are not good. Although others tell me I am still improving, improvements are now very slow coming, so it is a case of coming to terms with me as I am now. Things upset me more easily and I seem more emotional. I also wonder about some aspects of my memory.   It seems harder than it was to spot errors in spelling and writing: words that shouted out at me as being wrongly spelt no longer do so. Of course, I am putting all this down to my stroke, but it may be old age creeping up on me!

JT65 20m 2-way QSO

About 45 minutes ago I worked EA1EAS (1335km) on 20m JT65. This was with the Par tri-band antenna running 5W via the ATU. I received a better report than I gave.  I don't think there is much wrong with the Par antenna and wonder if the wet weather has made it go off tune? The ATU easily corrects the mis-match and it certainly works. From PSK reporter I see than I was being copied all across Europe again.

Sunspots and 10m - Thurs Jan 14th 2016

Solar flux is 103 and sunspot number 26 (K=3) today. 10m propagation is again expected to remain "poor". 10m is not likely to be great today, at least not on F2,  although wintertime Es may liven things up again.

13 Jan 2016

Antenna faulty

It looks like my tri-band Par antenna, which should be a good match on 10m, 20m and 40m is faulty.  It is a good match on 10m, but only on 20m and 40m via the ATU. Tomorrow I shall try loading it up as a long wire tuned against ground via the ATU. Somewhere I have a Sandpiper Poliakov vertical that I should erect. As I recall  this has a 9:1 unun so it matches well on most HF bands via an ATU.

Even soldering on a coax is hard work these days! Oh to be fit.

At the moment I am on 630m WSPR using the earth-electrode "antenna".

Yet more wintertime Es on 10m WSPR

All afternoon, 10m WSPR has shown plenty of evidence of wintertime Es with lots of spots from middle Europe.  December and January are the peak months in winter for Es although May, June and July are the best for Es.

Lincoln President Mk 2

This rig (mint) has barely been used since last winter. It works well too. The FT817 does all I need really. Because of my poor voice, I mostly use digital modes these days.  So, I shall probably box the Lincoln and use it as a trade-in later.

Sunspots and 10m - Wed Jan 13th 2016

Solar flux is 106 today and sunspot number 29 (K=2). The forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor". More in hope than expectation, I have been on 10m and 6m WSPR since breakfast. Overnight I was on 630m WSPR but just the usual stations, again.

We are definitely on the slide down the solar cycle, but 10m becomes more interesting, not less, as the sun goes "off the boil". Es enlivens 10m for several months each year and the band still supports QRP SSB DX N-S even in the worst years. 10m is a great band if you like a challenge and WSPR in the declining years on 10m should help to winkle out those fleeting openings. Never give up on this great band, our biggest HF band by far with space for most modes.

UPDATE 1010z:   No spots as yet on 10m or 6m WSPR although it is still very early.

12 Jan 2016

UKAC - 70cms leg tonight

Tonight is the first 70cm leg of the RSGB's 70cm activity contest:

This contest takes place on Tue 12-Jan-2016 20:00 UTC

The rules for the contest can be found here



UPDATE 2154z:  With just 1 station heard (G3YDY) and a high SWR on the antenna, I gave the contest a miss tonight. I went briefly on 10MHz WSPR and then back on 472kHz WSPR.


Well, everyone in our hobby is a little mad I suppose!

See https://twitter.com/PI4CQ/status/686684040406142976?t=1&cn=ZmxleGlibGVfcmVjcw%3D%3D&sig=619126d5851ba6cc8594d82b29d11956a49fe6dd&al=1&refsrc=email&iid=ad255aadf0224eeeb292bd8bcdf32522&autoactions=1452612574&uid=3032771439&nid=244+595

DXpedition to Scarborough Reef I think.

20m JT9-1

After lots of CQs without QSOs I worked UA2FAK in reply to his CQ. I got a better report than I gave him, despite running 2.5W from the FT817. When I was calling CQ I see from PSK reporter that I was getting all over Europe from Scandinavia and Greece to Southern Spain.

I have now QSYed to 20m WSPR so I can monitor in the comfort of the lounge. Best DX so far on 20m WSPR is a spot from EA8/LA3JJ (2870km).

Sunspots and 10m - Tues Jan 12th 2016

Solar flux is 109 today. Sunspot number is 41 (K=3). 10m propagation is expected to remain "poor" although, like yesterday, some wintertime Es may liven things up a bit.

10m and 6m WSPR

Overnight I was on 630m WSPR where I gave and received spots to/from the same few stations. At the moment I am in 10m and 6m WSPR but I hope to go on JT9-1 (probably on 20m) later in the day.

11 Jan 2016

10m and 630m WSPR

My 10m WSPR beacon is still running and I am also active on 630m (5mW ERP 20% TX, 80% RX no preamp and earth-electrode "antenna").  At 2000z I shall QSY to 144.575MHz FM for the East Cambridgeshire net. As my voice is not good, I try not to speak too much and usually finish by 2030z. I shall go back to 630m WSPR after I finish on the net.

UPDATE 2255z:  I see that David G0LRD (25km), who very kindly came over and erected my 2m Big-Wheel antenna,was spotting me on 630m.  I shall remain on 630m (472kHz) WSPR overnight although I went QRT on 10m WSPR some hours ago.

G0VQH and 472kHz RX

Jenny tells me she uses orthogonal loops and an active antenna on 472kHz located at the far end of her garden, which must be quiet electrically.  It certainly works very well as she decodes far more than I do on 472kHz RX. If my health permits, I must try an active RX antenna on the band.

10m Es

There was wintertime Es about today on 10m WSPR with spots (lots) of my 500mW WSPR beacon from Germany and Hungary. At the time of writing, 1540z, there have been no DX spots and nothing at all on 6m.

UPDATE 1556z:  I think there are definitely fewer stations on 10m WSPR and 6m WSPR, so the value of going on this mode diminishes. It needs a decent number updating to WSPRnet to get the real value from the mode. It is a pity there are not more people on WSPR. JT65 and JT9-1 really are 2-way modes and need me to be actually in the shack.  SSB is hard work for me at present and even CW requires my brain to work overtime! As I said before, I propose to use 2-way digital modes far more this year.

UPDATE 1756z:  HA4ULB (1456km) is still spotting me on 10m. I have also been spotted in Italy: classic wintertime Es.

Sunspots and 10m - Mon Jan 11th 2016

Solar flux is 108 and sunspot number 73 (K=3). 10m propagation is again expected to be "poor". Currently I am active on 10m and 6m WSPR.

10 Jan 2016


More from Oleg..

Dear Club 72 members and friends,
thanks all visitor of this week QRP Rendez-Vous:
Congrafts OH5LP, RV3DSA, EW1CY - they became Frequenters!
See the full Frequenters and Visitors list -
www.club72.su (72 Net in menu)
Thanks to all for comments, see soapbox here - http://qrp-club72.blogspot.ru/
Welcome  all  QRP  operators  to  round  tables  "QRP Rendez-Vous" in
Tuesdays,  Thursdays,  Saturdays  at 9 UTC on 14060 +/- QRM, QRL, VXO
(use RIT to find out XTAL stn's) Alternative 10116 kc if big contest.

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

"Dear Club 72 members and friends,

keep this week QRP Rendez-Vous schedule:
Tuesday,  Thursday,  Saturday at 9 UTC on 14060 (alternative 10116 if
contest) +/- QRM, QRL, VXO. Use RIT to give a chance XTAL operators.
Theme of this week - WEATHER in your location. Add WX info in reports,
All comments, reports, pictures appreciate to my e-mail "mr72".
All details here - www.club72.su

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

472kHz compromise antennas

Looking at nearby G0VQH's list of WSPR stations successfully decoded on 472kHz WSPR it is clear Jenny is copying far more stations than me. Even with my preamp in circuit and maximum sensitivity I am simply not copying, at all, some stations. I think it is time I tried an E-field probe on this band on RX. It is a combination of antenna (in)efficiency and directivity I think that is stopping me copying more on MF now.  I'm not sure what Jenny is using on MF but it clearly works well.

No JT9-1 TX today

We got home late after lunch so I did not get a chance to go on 20m JT9-1 TX. Tomorrow I am out much of the day on my U3AC course, so it may be Tuesday before I get another chance. For now, I have gone back to 630m (472kHz) WSPR.

East Anglian Churches - NOT amateur radio

Today we visited a couple of Suffolk churches and I have updated the East Anglian Churches Blog with one of them - Denston in Suffolk. Although small, it is a gem.

More JT9-1 on 20m TX later

At the moment I am on RX only on 20m JT9-1 but I hope to get back on TX later today.

Sunspots and 10m - Sun Jan 10th 2016

Solar flux is 106, sunspot number 84 (K=1) and the forecast for 10m remains "poor" today.  I am not expecting great things of 10m today.

9 Jan 2016

Back on MF

As I don't have to be in the shack for WSPR (I can monitor in the lounge, or even in bed!) I have returned to 472kHz (630m) WSPR.  It takes a few seconds to pop in the shack if anything is amiss.  I am able to use a different PC in the lounge and my iPod Touch in bed.

UPDATE 1846z:  Nice no see I was spotted by a new reporter this evening M0TAZ (79km). DK7FC (669km) has been spotted as usual.

JT9-1 20m QSO

Photo thanks to Bas.
I had my first JT9-1 QSO of the year on 20m a little while ago working SM3HHI (1376km) with 2.5W from the FT817 and using the new baby shack PC running WSJT-X V1.6. It looks like this should be a good mode with my poor voice.  With this software it is very straightforward. QSOs take about 6 minutes to call CQ, exchange grids and reports and the confirmations.

UPDATE 1202z:  As interesting as the QSO, I see from PSK reporter that I was being received all over Europe.

UPDATE 1638z:  We have had visitors all afternoon, so I have not been TXing.  A couple of stations were lost (OK and RA9) on 20m JT9-1 just after lunch. These stations replied to my CQ but were lost before the QSOs could be finished.

UPDATE 1646z:  I left the 20m JT9-1 running on RX all afternoon. I see that I spotted N2LD (5645km) and OD5PY (3466km).

Sunspots and 10m - Sat Jan 9th 2016

Solar flux today is 109 and sunspot number 80 (K=2). 10m propagation is again expected to be "poor".

8 Jan 2016

10m WSPR earlier today

EA8/DK5HH (2951km) spotted my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon at 1202z today. I think this was single hop F2 propagation. Although not super-DX, it does show that there is still life on 10m. WSPR is ideal for "smoking out" short transient 10m openings.

Anglesey Abbey NT - NOT amateur radio

Anglesey Abbey - Jan 8th 2016
We visit the extensive grounds at nearby Anglesey Abbey, owned by the National Trust, most months.  There is always something to see whatever the season.  Everything is early this year because it has been so mild down here. Many snowdrops are out, some daffodils are already dying and lots of other flowers are in bloom.  The photo shows one of the lawns in winter with bare trees. The weather is expected to be much colder next week.


It seems odd to me that the Chinese haven't taken the amateur radio market by storm already. When the Chinese do wake up I think ICOM, Yaesu and Kenwood will struggle. It would not surprise me if at least one goes bankrupt. They are "swimming against the tide". China is currently a low cost assembly area and even Apple take advantage of this.  So far, the Chinese products we have seen have not been a match for the Japanese, but surely this will change? Volumes are not the issue as some variants are made in decent numbers. No, the Japanese amateur manufacturers need to wake up fast or they will go under.

Sunspots and 10m - Fri Jan 8th 2016

Solar flux is 95 today and sunspot number 29 (K=2). 10m propagation is expected to be "poor" so I am not hopeful of decent results on 10m today.  We are definitely seeing the effects of falling solar activity sadly, although at times 10m is good so never give up on the band. This is exactly where WSPR is useful. At present I am active on 10m WSPR and 630m WSPR.

7 Jan 2016

472kHz WSPR

I am back on 472kHz (630m) WSPR (5mW ERP 20%, RX 80%) and will remain on overnight.

UPDATE 1004z 8.1.16:  No surprises overnight.

20m WSPR and JT9-1

As I was busy with other things all morning I was active on 20m WSPR. We are out most of the afternoon so JT9-1 may have to wait until I have more time in the shack.

Sunspots and 10m - Thurs Jan 7th 2016

Solar flux is 101 today and the sunspot number 38 (K=3). 10m is expected to remain "poor" again today.

Presently I am on 20m WSPR using the new shack PC running WSJT-X V1.6 and the Par end fed 3 bander, which is low on 20m. Already VKs have spotted me.

6 Jan 2016

New shack PC

I have just fired up a new shack PC (Asus X205ta) which has an 11.6 inch screen and runs Windows 10. After a few set-up issues (nothing major) it runs WSJT-X V1.6 very well. I have the feeling this little PC will serve my needs well.

It has a SSD and runs very fast and without a fan. For additional local storage I bought a 64GB micro-SD card although I have very little need for storage on this PC.  It comes with 2 years of free 500GB cloud storage and a year of MS Office 365. It was a bargain from Tesco Direct. Currently it is running WSPR on 630m using WSJT-X V1.6.

ICOM IC7300 - still made in Japan

It looks from the pictures on the MLS site that this new radio is still made in Japan although the fan on the back says "Made in China". One wonders when one of the big Japanese manufacturers will design in Japan but make the radios in China? This would certainly be less expensive. At some point, the high Japanese manufacturing costs will bankrupt one of the big three. It is a case of who jumps first.

With decent volumes of the same design, the manufacture of Japanese designed radios in China makes some sense. Just wait until we see a quality amateur radio product both designed and made in China. It will happen. Then Kenwood, ICOM and Yaesu will be seriously undercut and worried. Why do so many products say "Made in China"? Manufacturing costs are much lower than Japan.

See www.hamradio.co.uk/amateur-radio-main-equipment-base-station-radio-icom-base-station-radio/icom/icom-ic-7300-hf-50-70mhz-transceiver-deposit-pd-6016.php

This image is located on the MLS website and not on this blog.

Sunspots and 10m - Wed Jan 6th 2016

Solar flux has fallen to 95 and sunspot number is 29 (K=3). The forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor". It would be a pleasant surprise if 10m was any good today. I shall switch on my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon shortly.

5 Jan 2016

144MHz January UKAC

Stations worked tonight with 5W and big-wheel omni antenna
This evening was the first leg of the UKAC 144MHz RSGB activity contest.  In the limited time on-air I made 7 QSOs with 5W SSB and the big-wheel horizontal omni antenna. I was only on for just over 1 hour because of my poor voice. Several of the usual locals were absent tonight, so no JO02 stations worked. Best DX was G0VVE who was on the far side of London at 123km. Heard, but not worked, were F stations in IO10 and IN99 squares. Several Gs in the north were also heard. A lot more stations would have been worked had I stopped around longer.

More on the IC7300

There is a little more on this new ICOM radio on the MLS website. Deliveries are expected "in early 2016" with a UK (initial?) price of "under £1000". I shall wait.

See www.hamradio.co.uk/amateur-radio-main-equipment-base-station-radio-icom-base-station-radio/icom/icom-ic-7300-hf-50-70mhz-transceiver-deposit-pd-6016.php

Tax return online. Is there a calculation error? - NOT amateur radio

I have just completed my UK tax return online, but I think there is an error with the calculation algorithm when working out interest on bank and building society accounts. I need to double check but I am pretty sure I am being over-charged. If I am right then millions may be owed to people. As I said, I need to check, but I shall certainly write if I am correct. Also, yet again, I got caught by the stupid part asking if you have any other comments to make. It said I had 1 error but would not tell me where the error was. Whoever designed the form needs the sack or re-educating. Surely in this day and age we can expect a free-form form that you can just write in? Surely this is not too much to ask?

Sunspots and 10m - Tues Jan 5th 2016

Solar flux is 95 today and sunspot number 60 (K=2) and 10m propagation is expected to remain "poor". As yet, I am not active on any band. I expect to be on 10m WSPR later, although we are out later so JT65 and JT9-1 may have to wait until Wednesday. I may be on 630m WSPR later.

4 Jan 2016

Christmas over - NOT amateur radio

The "official" end of Christmas is January 6th, but with all the grandchildren gone home we decided to take down the tree, cards and decorations today.  For a few days the house looks bare.

JT65 and JT9-1 on hold

As it took much longer than I expected to (nearly) complete my tax return, it will now be tomorrow that I will get on JT65 and JT9-1. Apparently I owe the Inland Revenue much more than I thought.  I am sure I must have made a mistake. My XYL says look at the form again tomorrow when my head is clearer. She is dead right.

A night away - NOT amateur radio

This last weekend we drove up to Barnsley, Yorkshire, staying one night away, to help one of the relatives of Lis (bottom LHS of photo) celebrate her 30th wedding anniversary.  It was my furthermost drive since my stroke. The weather driving back was appalling. I now think I should be able to drive to Devon in May with a stop with friends on the way there and back. I miss Devon.  The get-together was a good chance for Lis to see relatives she has not seen for many years and to revisit old haunts.

FTSE 100 - NOT amateur radio

So the FTSE 100 share index has opened the year well down and is currently some 2.62% down on the day. I wonder where it will be in Jan 2017?

Sunspots and 10m - Mon Jan 4th 2016

Solar flux is 102 and the sunspot number is 52 (K=0). 10m propagation is again forecast to be "poor" today.

UPDATE 1338z:  10m WSPR has been dead here with no a single spot all day, so far.  At the moment I am just active on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1846z:  No 10m WSPR spots of my signal all day.

3 Jan 2016

JT65 and JT9-1

Tomorrow, all being well, I shall make a start on 2-way QRP QSOs in 2016 using these digital modes with WSJT-X V1.6.  Probably I'll start on 20m.  Up to now we seem to have been busy with grandchildren over the holidays, or away. Apart from doing my tax return online (a job I love not one bit - the hardest thing is finding all the documents), I think we have a fairly free week.

QRP Newsletter

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,
see the QRP Rendez-Vous weekly report and comments on the Club 72 blog
page here - http://qrp-club72.blogspot.ru/
Visitors of the week:
IK2RMZ  entered  in  the honor QRP rendezvous "frequenters" list. See
full  "frequenters"  and  "visitors"  lists  on  the  Club  72 page -
Remind QRP "rendez-vous" schedule:
- Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday at 9 UTC on 14060 (alternative 10116 if
Contests) +/- QRM, QRL, VXO. Your comments and results are appreciated
to "mr72" e-mail. please.
Thanks ALL for activity and comments!

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"
=== In QRP We Trust! ===

630m WSPR and 10m WSPR

I am again spotting plenty on 630m (472kHz) WSPR although no-one has yet spotted my 5mW ERP on that band today. No luck on 10m WSPR, although I was very very later getting on the band. I only started up just before it was dark here. I left 10m too late.

Sunspots and 10m - Sun Jan 3rd 2016

For the last 24 hours we were away visiting relatives in Yorkshire, so I had no chance to update the blogs. In the gloom and rain we are now home again and I am currently on 10m WSPR and 630m WSPR.

Solar flux today is 100, sunspot number 52 (K=2) and the forecast for 10m remains "poor". I am not expecting much on 10m WSPR today.

2 Jan 2016

Sunspots and 10m - Sat Jan 2nd 2016

Solar flux is 97 and sunspot number 40 (K=3). 10m propagation is expected to remain "poor" today.

1 Jan 2016

Low 472kHz WSPR activity on TX in Europe

Although WSPRnet shows 64 active stations on 472kHz WSPR,  just 8 of us are transmitting on 472kHz WSPR in Europe! This is a very low number. I do wish more were active.

UPDATE 1948z:  EA5DOM (1525km) is now the best DX on 472kHz WSPR RX here this evening. I am still using the "barefoot" FT817 without an external preamp and with the earth-electrode "antenna". At this QTH I am blessed with a very low man-made noise level. On TX the ERP remains close to 5mW (20%).

Sunspots and 10m - Fri Jan 1st 2016

Solar flux is 95 today and sunspot number has fallen to 18 (K=3).  10m propagation is forecast to be "poor" again. With such a low sunspot number and K=3, I was pleased to be copied in South America this morning on 10m at 1132z. I somehow doubt we'll see the USA on 10m WSPR today.

UPDATE 1922z:  FY5KE (7110km) was the only station to spot me all day on 10m WSPR all day.  I have now gone QRT on 10m WSPR and 6m WSPR and am active on 630m (472kHz) WSPR with 3 stations already spotted (best DX on 472kHz RX is DJ0ABR (983km).

UPDATE 1927z:  Best DX on 472kHz WSPR RX is DH5RAE (995km).

10m and 6m WSPR

It is New Year's Day and I am active on 10m and 6m WSPR at present.

UPDATE 1315z:   G8VDQ (93km) has been spotted several times already on 6m (he was also copied earlier on 630m) and FY5KE (7110km) spotted me on 10m WSPR.  A promising start to the new year.

2016 - A Happy New Year!

So, the new year is with us. A time for new beginnings and new hopes. May I wish  every reader of this blog, where ever you live on this small, shared, planet of ours, a very happy and peaceful 2016. I hope we can all enjoy 2016 in peace and goodwill.

My main ambition is to make the most of life: it is a precious gift.

Amateur radio wise, I think I shall try to work 2-way QRP QSOs  on JT65 and JT9-1 on HF and maybe some PSK31. I shall continue with WSPR when not able look for 2-way QSOs.

So I really hope you have a great 2016 whatever your situation. We must grab life with both hands.