29 Feb 2016

QSYed to 40m WSPR (from 10m WSPR)

I QSYed down to 40m WSPR around 2010z but only EU spots so far.

UPDATE 2238z:  The first USA 40m WSPR spot (of my 2W) was by N2NOM (5581km) at 2110z.

Kingsbridge, Devon passageways - NOT amateur radio

I spent about 10 years living in Kingsbridge, Devon. It has some famous "backways".  I see this paper, of interest to those who know this Devon town, was written by the local U3A (University of the Third Age) group.

See http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache%3ArQmow_WwQ5wJ%3Au3asites.org.uk%2Ffiles%2Fk%2Fkingsbridgeestuary%2Fdocs%2Fkingsbridgepassageways.pdf+&cd=25&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk

USA on 10m WSPR again

Well, I was right. W1VR (6965km) was spotted here on 10m WSPR at 1450z. So, the band did open to the USA today. I was not too surprised. No spots of my signal, well not yet anyway. I am convinced that these brief openings would go unnoticed without WSPR.

UPDATE 1736z:  Still just the single spot of a USA station here today on 10m WSPR.

Morrisons via Amazon - NOT amateur radio

Morrisons is signing a deal to sell its food via Amazon in the UK. Does this spell the beginning of the end of the high street as we knew it?  I have to confess to buying quite a few things via Amazon, but never food.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-35684829  .

Shortwave interval and announcement signals

Nostalgia time!

See https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15047843/SWintervalsigs.mp3 .

I first shared this some years ago, but I guarantee these sounds will bring a tear to some eyes.

I cannot recall where I found this recording and I hope the originator won't mind me sharing it here.

These are shortwave interval/announcement signals now long gone. For many of us I think these sounds will bring back happy memories. The communist broadcasters tried hard, but I was more interested in the interval signals than their propaganda. 

No, it is not the same these days.

Sunspots and 10m - Mon Feb 29th 2016

Don't forget this is a Leap Year!

Solar flux is 93 today and sunspot number 38 (K=0). Yet again the forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor".  Despite the forecast, I remain quietly hopeful that this will prove to be quite a decent day on 10m WSPR.

10m WSPR overnight

At some point my shack PC decided to close the WSPR programme, presumably to install updates, but I was pleased and surprised to see M0XDC (65km) was spotted in the early hours of the morning. Judging by the Doppler, I think this was aircraft reflection.  Although I'm unsure when the program stopped I turned the PC and WSPR program on again at around 0700z and checked time sync.

QRP Club News (from Oleg)

From Oleg...

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

DL8NBG became "rendezvous" Frequenter - Congrats!
See full Visitors and Frequenter lists at Club 72 web page.
Welcome QRP operators to QRP Rendez-Vous "round tables", see schedule
- www.club72.su

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

28 Feb 2016

Ebola nurse released from hospital - NOT amateur radio

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-35683091  .

The British nurse who was in hospital 3 times because of Ebola has been released from hospital. They say she is not infectious.

Still on 10m WSPR

Although the chance of international DX has now passed on 10m, I am sticking with 10m WSPR overnight in the (faint?) chance of catching some GDX or near continentals by tropo or aircraft reflection during the night.

UPDATE 2212z:  No stations spotted on 10m WSPR since 1738z.  It will be interesting to see how soon stations are spotted on 10m WSPR in the morning.

Chippenham Park, Chippenham, Cambs - NOT amateur radio.

This afternoon the sun was shining and we fancied a different walk, so we visited Chippenham Park (sometimes called Hare Park), at Chippenham, Cambs. This is a private property but it is open to the public on certain days. The spring flowers were out. Kings Edward VII and George V came here for shooting parties in the early 1900s.

Don't confuse this with Chippenham in Wiltshire. This park is surrounded by a wall that would have cost a small fortune when it was built centuries ago. The wall is many miles long


There is some good stuff on these pages. Today, for example, are some tips on how to organise RF connectors. I fall into the "disorganised" category just shoving mine in a drawer, although I do not have that many.

See http://www.amateurradio.com/  .

Solar data link working

See http://www.solen.info/solar/ .

I was very pleased to find this link worked fine today. I find this site a great resource. I hope others do too. Maybe they had a short-term issue? 

Looking at the data, the smoothed sunspot number has almost halved since the peak. 10m conditions are still quite good on many days though and it is far too soon to give up on the band.

Sunspots and 10m - Sun Feb 28th 2016

Solar flux is 90 today and sunspot number 37 (K=2). The propagation forecast for 10m remains "poor" again. I have been on 10m WSPR (was on 40m WSPR) since about 1015z.

UPDATE 1032z:  Unsurprisingly, no 10m WSPR spots, as yet, apart from an exchange with local G4KPX (14km).

UPDATE 1148z:   Only Gs on 10m WSPR this morning. G8VDQ (93km) has just been spotted. 

27 Feb 2016

Return to 40m WSPR

Since returning to 40m WSPR (from 10m WSPR earlier this evening) I have been spotted in the USA several times and have spotted XP3A (3206km) in GP44de a couple of times. This is Nuuk in Greenland.

Kit Building Page of Chuck Adams, K7QO

A useful page explaining kit building techniques at K7QO.

See http://www.k7qo.net/k7qo-kits.html.

Only Gs on 10m here today

Today has been disappointing on 10m WSPR with just G stations copied so far. I shall stay on the band until after dark, but I fear no DX spots will be exchanged on 10m WSPR today. This is a great pity. I am sure a lot has to do with fewer stations and not conditions. I'll be back on 10m tomorrow after breakfast.

UPDATE 1900z:  G4CUI (172km) has been spotted several times this evening by what looks like aircraft reflections on 10m WSPR. I shall probably QSY shortly but I have not yet decided onto what band.

UPDATE 1620z: So far on 10m WSPR just one non G spot by EA8/LA3JJ (2870km) around lunchtime. I also spotted him. I assume this was single hop F2. The question is will we see any USA spots on 10m WSPR later?

Windmill - NOT amateur radio

This is the view from our lounge window. The photo was taken through the glass. The wind is from the east, so cold. The windmill is nearly 200 years old.

The buildings on the right are our local museum open Thursdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays Easter-October. Our grandchildren love it. The windmill forms part of the museum.

See http://www.burwellmuseum.org.uk/ .


The resurrected Heathkit company has launched a dual band antenna.  As much as I want them to succeed is this the best they can do?

They absolutely have to produce decent kits at decent prices or they will not survive. Their offerings so far do not exactly set the world alight. No, the offerings so far have not excited me. Years ago I started out with a Heathkit  Electronics Workshop. Years later I had an HW8 which gave me loads of contacts with small wire antennas.

Please, think of your potential customer base, think about prices, and look at your competitors. I have no doubt a few loyal USA customers will support you, but far far more is needed in the competitive world of the 21st century.

Amazingly low cost Chinese kits

See http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/like/262131628596?adgroupid=13585920426&hlpht=true&hlpv=2&rlsatarget=pla-131843262066&adtype=pla&ff3=1&lpid=122&poi=&ul_noapp=true&limghlpsr=true&googleloc=1006598&device=c&chn=ps&campaignid=207297426&crdt=0&ff12=67&ff11=ICEP3.0.0-L&ff14=122&viphx=1&ops=true&ff13=80

There are some amazing bargains on eBay. The link above is for a full Pixie 40m CW transceiver kit with sockets, PCB, IC and crystal all for £2.30 delivered free. There are other kits available including the Frog which is more expensive but has more power and a better RX. Last year I bought a 40m Pixie kit from a different Chinese supplier and it worked well first time on the air.

You'd be very hard pressed to buy the crystal for the price of the full kit delivered free.  With these sort of prices it is hard to go wrong.

Shaking off a cold - NOT amateur radio

I have had a cold for a week now. Last weekend I was rough with it and felt really under the weather. A week later, although I no longer feel unwell, I still have a runny nose. It is taking longer to shake off the symptoms. It is some years since I last recall having a classic cold.

Sunspots and 10m - Sat Feb 27th 2016

Solar flux is 89 today and sunspot number 41 (K=2). Predictions for 10m propagation remain "poor" although they were "poor" yesterday and I managed to be spotted, and spotted others, in Australia with 2W on 10m WSPR yesterday! I always treat these forecasts with a degree of skepticism and the band often supports DX when it seems quiet. Use WSPR and find out.

UPDATE 1102z:  So far the only 10m spot this morning is of G8VDQ (93km) who I think was coming in via aircraft reflection judging by the Doppler, from IO91um.

Switched to 10m WSPR

All night I was on 40m WSPR, but since 1007z I switched to 10m WSPR. Several spots from the USA on 40m WSPR again.

26 Feb 2016

40m WSPR

At 1905z, with all chance of 10m WSPR DX gone, I QSYed to 40m WSPR. There have been plenty of spots of my signal but I have only spotted one other station so far tonight because of my high local noise floor.

UPDATE 2240z:  Stations in the USA are again spotting my 2W 40m WSPR to an antenna that is far from any good for DX on 40m. It will be interesting to see how many USA stations spot me on 40m WSPR.


Since this morning the only spots on 10m WSPR have been G stations with the latest being G8VDQ (93km).  I suspect this is tropo and aircraft reflection. No international DX spots since this morning on 10m WSPR.

7-day high - NOT amateur radio

Last weekend I was away staying with one of our sons with limited internet access. Yesterday, the number of visitors to this blog was at a weekly high again.

In the past I have been able to update the blogs using my Apple iPod Touch 4g and Safari, but this no longer works for some reason. So, unless I take a PC with me I have to wait until I get back home.

Yet another stroke after-effect - NOT amateur radio

I have mentioned this before, but I seem far slower at noticing errors than in the past.

As an example I used the Roman phrase caveat emptor on my blog yesterday. Only a day later when this appeared on AmateurRadio.com did I notice that I had the wrong spelling caveat emtor . On my blog I have corrected the mistake, but I had not seen it! Sometimes it is a keying error, but I should have noticed this.

Sunspots and 10m - Fri Feb 26th 2016

Solar flux is 90 today and sunspot number 26 (K=1). The forecast for 10m propagation today remains "poor". I have been on 10m WSPR since breakfast but no spots given or received as yet.

UPDATE 1030z:  It helps to check the right band on WSPRnet - not 20m.  10m WSPR stations in Australia have been spotted yet again today and I have (yet again) been spotted in Australia this time by VK5AKK  (16231km) and G4CUI (172km) has spotted me.

25 Feb 2016

20m JT9-1

As 10m WSPR appeared dire here this afternoon, I QSYed down to 20m and had a 2-way QSO using JT9-1 with  SP6EIY.  My power was 2W.

I have now gone on 20m WSPR so I can monitor in the lounge and enjoy a cup of tea.  These are the 20m WSPR spots so far.
UPDATE 1830z:  Several 20m WSPR spots from the USA, both received and given. I shall probably QSY to 40m WSPR later.

UPDATE 2020z:   Still lots of 20m WSPR spots from Canada and the  USA. For now, I shall remain on 20m.

UPDATE 2130z:   The last 20m USA WSPR spot was at 2106z from K3SC (5869km), so I am staying on 20m for now, whilst the band is still open E-W.

Migrants trying to reach the UK - NOT amateur radio

Mixed views. I do not like unrestricted EU access into the UK and firmly believe it is up to the UK to decide who can live and work here. At the same time I feel so sorry for the true refugees who have fled war and conflict who wish to come to the UK for a peaceful life. Some of these people are really desperate.  In all conflicts it is the children who suffer the most. One woman is trying to make life in Calais just a little better for some children.  She is trying to raise money to buy a double-decker bus to convert.

If you would like to help just a little see https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/sophie-besse-bus?comment_id=1325867307439276&fb_comment_id=1324719837554023_1325867307439276#f30de133eed222e

Whatever your views, the little ones are the innocent victims. Life can be cruel and hard. You could help just a little?

More QRP Club News

More from Oleg...

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

just  reminder  about  QRP  Rendez-Vous  round  table  in  Tuesdays,
Thursdays,  Saturdays  at  9.00  UTC  around  14060  kc +/- QRP, QRL,
RIT/xtal (alternative 10116 kc for Contests QRM).
Comments and reports appreciated to "mr72" e-mail

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"


Continued stroke after-effects - NOT amateur radio

One of the post stroke effects I think I have mentioned before is driving the car.  I have done some quite longish drives in the last year but my brain "feels" like I am going faster than I am. To me, 40mph feels like 50mph and 50mph feels like 60mph. So, I drive at slower speeds than I did.  I have no idea why this should be so. I assume this is to do with the way my brain is processing data.

Also, time seems to be different. I take longer to do things and yet time seems to be going along faster - but this may just be me getting older!

So far, all very quiet on 10m WSPR

At the moment (1242z) this looks like being another very quiet day here on 10m WSPR with no spots at all so far! I remember a few days ago when 10m WSPR seemed quiet and then I got a spot from Texas. I shall stay on the 10m band until this evening, ever hopeful.

If there is no long distance DX, it would be good to see some DX inter-G.  In the past I have spotted, and been spotted, on 10m WSPR out to about 250km by a combination of tropo and aircraft reflection.

After dark, I shall QSY to either a MF or lower HF band.

UPDATE 1344z:  Still no 10m spots.

More on the IC7300

See http://sdr-radio.com/Blog/ArticleID/25/ICOMs-IC-7300 .

The UK pound to Yen exchange rate has deteriorated lately, although I think this will recover.

The blog linked above seems to have a good collection of links and data on the ICOM radio. Although announced, I don't think it on the market yet. Dealers are keen to take a deposit so they know they have "reeled you in".  It also allows them to judge likely demand and quantities to stock. If the price is right, this should sell well in all markets.

But,  please, can we have the 10W version in Europe?

Useful propagation charts

This series of charts (change months and bands as required) is a useful guide to HF propagation. Like all such forecasts, caveat emptor as they said in Rome. I think this comes from G0KYA.  See http://www.infotechcomms.net/propcharts/february/ .

Another source for solar data was http://www.solan.info/solar , but when I last checked this page had gone. I am not sure what happened. All I get now is a link for hotels!

Another source (which works) is http://www.solarham.net/ .

As you know, I try to add current data on my blog most days. This comes from http://www.hamqsl.com/solar.html .

Somewhere in this lot you should find the data you need.

Sunspots and 10m - Thurs Feb 25th 2016

Solar flux is dropping and is 89 today.  Sunspot number has risen a little to 39 (K=2).  The forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor".

UPDATE 1040z:  Unsurprisingly, zero spots on 10m so far today.  I have been on 10m WSPR about 30 minutes so far only.

40m WSPR DX overnight

There were quite a few spots of my 2W 40m WSPR overnight by stations in the USA, although nothing from further afield.  I managed to copy quite  few stations too, presumably when my noise floor was lower locally.

I have now QSYed to 10m WSPR for the day.

24 Feb 2016


Since early evening, I have been on 40m WSPR rather than 10m WSPR. My signals were spotted by W4MO (7272km) and this is the best DX on the band so far. My antenna is very low for 40m.

Guided Busway - NOT amateur radio

Today, my wife and I took the guided busway up to St Ives, Cambridgeshire. With our bus passes the trip was free.

The sun shone and we ate out inexpensively in the cafe at the URC church which is in the heart of the town. Food, service and prices were excellent.

St Ives is on the River Great Ouse and has some fine buildings.

Australia yet again on 10m WSPR today

Yet again, despite the low sunspot number  and "poor" prediction for 10m propagation, I have been spotted in Australia by VK2KRR (16789km) at 0914z. There has been plenty of short-skip activity from Europe on 10m already. 10m is still good.

Sunspots and 10m - Weds Feb 24th 2016

Solar flux is 91 today and the sunspot number just 27 (K=2). The forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor" although short-skip has lived things up here.

10m WSPR - a good start

After overnight on 630m WSPR I QSYed to 10m WSPR after breakfast and was rewarded with lots of short skip.  I received several Italians and one Czech station so far.

23 Feb 2016

50MHz RSGB UKAC contest

This evening was the February leg of the 50MHz UKAC (activity contest). As usual, I was unable to be on for long because of my poor voice. I was also handicapped with a vertical antenna (V2000 omni) and 5W pep. I made 3 QSOs with no great DX in the limited time. The contest is still on for another 70 minutes or so.

QSY to 630m (472kHz) WSPR

With the last 10m WSPR spot at 1726z, I am about to QSY to 630m (472kHz) WSPR in the next few minutes. I shall stay on MF overnight with my usual set-up (20% TX 5mW ERP, 80% RX) using the earth electrode "antenna" in the ground.

UPDATE 1912z:  I am now active on 472kHz WSPR and have been for about 5 minutes.
UPDATE 1940z:   A very promising start on 472kHz WSPR this evening (see above spots).

10m WSPRing still

With late 10m WSPR spots of the USA , I shall be on 10m WSPR at least for the next 90 minutes. I was hoping for USA spots, but was thinking this would be unlikely after such a quiet day.

UPDATE 1822z:  No further 10m WSPR spots, so I think the day has ended on 10m WSPR here. I shall probably QSY at around 1900z.

More OFCOM crappery?

See http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/2GHz-mobile-satellite-systems/?utm_source=updates&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2GHz-mobile-satellite-systems.

Why do I dislike OFCOM so much? I think it is because I am turning into a "grumpy old man" who has a dislike of organisations that seem to be forever justifying their very existence. My own direct dealings with them proved them to be "yes men" who were incapable of making decisions. To me, they come across as a QUANGO and the sooner they go the better. I appreciate this is a personal view and others may well have had a better experience.

Personally, I think it would be good if they were replaced by an organisation able to make pragmatic decisions without forever having to check what the law says. With regard to UK amateur radio, they have released 2MHz of under-used spectrum at VHF on a temporary basis which has been of use to a very few.

No, in my book they add very little value. Sorry, my view.

10m WSPR - disappointing again, so far today

As I write this at 1325z there has been not a single spot given or received on 10m WSPR here all day. This is a great pity and says as much about 10m WSPR activity as conditions. Although there may be the odd spot this afternoon, this looks like yet another disappointing day on the band. I am sure with more 10m WSPR activity, more paths would be proved to be "open".  I shall stick with 10m WSPR until after teatime, probably moving to 630m (472kHz) around 1900z. Yesterday the only spot was at 1754z and this was E-W DX.

UPDATE 1725z:  Well, 10m has a habit of springing surprises! In the last few minutes W1VR (6965km) in Florida has been spotted twice after a very quiet day.

UPDATE 1738z:  W1VR has now been spotted 3 times on 10m WSPR.

More QRP Club

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

QRP  Rendez-Vous  Visitors  of  the last week:  UR0ET, RV3GM, SM2FIJ, OH6NPV,  UA1CEG, RW3AA, RU3NJC, RD7K,HB9DAX,  UA0SBQ,  RD6MZ, UA1CEX, PA3DEU,  UR7VT,  DF5SF,  DL7MA,  DL8NBG, G3UD, RN4NAA, EA7JUK, OM6TC, LA9QJA, LZ1HM, DK1AY, RA1M

RD7K  op.  Max, DF5SF op. Uli and LZ1HM op. Hristo became "rendezvous
Frequenters"! Congrats!

See "QRP Rendez-Vous" weekly report and "soapbox" here -
See  full  Visitors  and Frequenters lists as well as QRP Rendez-Vous
schedule - www.club72.su

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

More about Socialhams

From OE8APR:

Hello dear OM Roger,
there is a new upcoming socialhams feature in preparation.

It is called APRSCaching and you can find a short description about
it in the attached PDF file. Before we can go live with this extension
we have to finish our own initial caches. So there will be some more
weeks before it is released to the public.

Anyway, I would be very happy if you can publish the attached PDF on your
blogging site and spread the word about this exciting step we will do soon.

Many thanks in advance!

vy 73 de Andreas

See https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15047843/APRSCaching_Abstract_en(1).pdf

Sunspots and 10m - Tues Feb 23rd 2016

Solar flux is 93 today and sunspot number just 29  (K=1). 10m is expected to remain "poor" today.

22 Feb 2016

40m WSPR

Earlier this evening I switched from 10m to 40m WSPR. As I have an S8 noise floor I have not spotted anyone else yet although VA3KV (5318km) has spotted me on 40m WSPR as the best DX so far this evening. I'll remain on 40m WSPR overnight.

10m WSPR - a disappointing day

Well, what a disappointing day on 10m WSPR! Just a single spot all day! This was from KD6RF (7571km) at 1754z. I re-synced the PC and checked things were OK as until this time I got not a single spot and thought something was wrong at my end. We are seeing reduced 10m WSPR activity, even though conditions suggest more should have been possible.

Cambridge day - NOT amateur radio

On Mondays I go into Cambridge on the bus for my University of the Third Age course. As I have an hour to kill after the course, I usually grab a bite to eat choosing different places most weeks. This week, I tried one place which was busy and ended up getting the £3 lunch deal (filled roll and drink) which was very good value at Subway. Sadly, because of my poor voice, the assistant treated me as if I was simple-minded: she spoke very slowly as if I was stupid. I found this very frustrating, but for many it must be far worse.  Never, ever, assume someone is stupid just because they have a disability.

Sunspots and 10m - Mon Feb 22nd 2016

Solar flux is 95 and sunspot number 47 (K=0) today although 10m propagation is again expected to be "poor".

21 Feb 2016

IC7300 First Impressions

AmateurRadio.com has a nice link to AB4BJ's blog on first impressions of the ICOM IC7300 transceiver including videos that I have not seen before. Look for Amateur Radio Weekly - issue 99.

If you are considering this radio, it is worth checking out. He was impressed. So was I.  At the moment, the IC7300 looks the favorite for my shack unless Yaesu announces a neat FT817 replacement that is stable, bug-free and available in the UK later this year at a sensible price.

As an IC703 replacement, I'd prefer a low power version, but this is unlikely to be available with CE (EU approvals) marking outside of Japan. 10W would suit me fine.

See http://ab4bj.com/wordpress/2016/02/first-impressions-of-the-icom-ic-7300-hf-6m-transceiver/?utm_source=amateur-radio-weekly&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter

FT817 replacement?

Somewhere on the grapevine - it may have been an earlier comment to a post (?) - I heard that the FT817ND is being discontinued. Is this another sign that a replacement is (eventually) on its way?

On the other hand it could be that Yaesu is in financial trouble and rationalising its product range. I sincerely hope it is not the latter. I have used Yaesu rigs for 40 years and they have never gone wrong.  Yaesu make some good products but as a proudly Japanese manufacturer they are not immune from the ravages of the economy.

Sunspots and 10m - Sun Feb 21st 2016

Solar flux is 98 today and sunspot number is 46 (K=1). 10m propagation is expected to remain "poor". All being well, I shall be back on 10m WSPR tomorrow now we are back home again.

Away for a long weekend - NOT amateur radio

As you probably guessed, I was away for a few days. My wife and I were down in Kent, just outside Canterbury, visiting our son and his family including 2 of our young grandchildren. So I have not done blogging for a few days. Sorry, but family comes first. The photo shows my wife and grandson. Canterbury Cathedral, where he was Christened, is in the background.

19 Feb 2016

South Hams, Devon - NOT amateur radio

See www.southhamssociety.org .
If you like the natural beauty of the South Hams in South Devon, you may be interested in this link. In my view, parts of the South Hams are the best places on Earth. I come from there, so am slightly biased!

10m WSPR spots so far

G8VDQ (93km) has been spotted here on 10m WSPR (presumably involving aircraft reflection judging by the Doppler and I have been spotted by G0HWW (29km) a few times. No DX outside the UK as yet, although it is still quite early.

Sunspots and 10m - Fri Feb 19th 2016

Solar flux has fallen a little to 96 and sunspot number is 35 (K=2). Predictions for 10m propagation remain "poor" today.

18 Feb 2016

IC7300 yet?

As yet, I have not heard that the ICOM IC7300 is available in the UK or the rest of Europe. Dealers are still keen to take deposits and are still quoting a price "below £1000". With an SDR architecture I think the final price will be somewhat lower. At a lower price I might consider this, especially with 4m coverage. At current rates we may have to wait until next Christmas before we see this rig with stable software at a decent price.

See http://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 .

FTSE 100 - NOT amateur radio

At lunchtime the FTSE 100 UK share index is down 0.38%. It was higher, but still negative on the day.

We should expect it to gradually slide in the months ahead as investors are still nervous about Greece, the EC, China and the world economy at large. It always bounces back, although this could take years.

My expectations this year? I think it will fall to around 5000 then bounce back to 6500. Of course I am only guessing and it could end up anywhere between 4000 and 7000.  I suspect there will be a bounce if we vote to stay in the EU in the summer. If we vote to leave, I suspect the pound and the FTSE 100 will lose value.

RSGB Band Plans

I have a love/hate relationship with my national society. In many ways they do a very good job. At the same time they seem to have a "thing" about AM.

Yet again, there is ZERO acknowledgement of 10m AM except a (begrudged?) comment that 29-29.1MHz is in the 6kHz wide all mode section. No explicit mention that this is where AM can be found. Indeed a year ago an RSGB official told me he had no idea about 10m AM!! AM has been just above 29MHz for as long as I can remember: got it RSGB?

The 2m AM centre of activity of 144.55MHz gets again a (begrudged?) footnote, whereas other modes get explicit mention.

No, the RSGB  hates AM. This is my conclusion. This is a stupid stance. There is plenty of space for AM on 10m and the VHF bands. AM gear is low cost too.

I love digital modes but AM has a place.

10m WSPR - just local so far

G0HWW (29km) is the only station spotting me on 10m WSPR today so far.  Although there may be some DX later, I am not too hopeful on 10m.

UPDATE 1535z:  Just been spotted in Brazil on 10m WSPR by KD0VWO (7412km). So far this is the only DX spot on 10m WSPR all day.

Sunspots and 10m - Thurs Feb 18th 2016

Solar flux is 97 today (lower than of late). Sunspot number is 60 (K=4). 10m propagation is expected to be "poor" today. I am not expecting great things of 10m again today as conditions look quite disturbed.

17 Feb 2016

Kia - NOT amateur radio

Just (a few days ago) received this from EMG in Cambridge. I wonder if Kia also needs to quietly update its software? This is the first time I heard about this. Suspicious or a genuine product enhancement?

Dear Mr xxxxx

Service Action notice

We have been advised that a product enhancement is available for your car, xxyyyzzz.  It is important that these improvements are applied and we have been requested by Kia Motors to do so.

As your Kia dealer we like to take care of our customer’s cars.  We believe in Family-Like Care, and that extends from our service to you and to the care we give your car. 

While your car is in our care we will complete a comprehensive Vehicle Health Check to make sure that it is in the best condition possible and will advise you of any actions required. 

We can provide collection and delivery at your home or workplace and we can also arrange alternative transport if required.  You are also welcome to wait in our customer area; we’ll make sure we don’t keep you waiting any longer than we need to. Just let us know what suits you best.

Remember that if repairs are needed we will always use genuine parts from Kia, which are covered by a 2-year warranty and the correct specifications of the latest lubricants.  Our technicians are trained by the Kia Academy and use Kia specialist tools.  At the same time we will use the Kia Global Diagnostic System to make sure the latest updates from Kia are applied to your car.

Please get in touch with us on 01223 478478 to arrange a convenient appointment.

We look forward to seeing you soon.

Yours sincerely

Grandchildren in Paris - NOT amateur radio

This afternoon both sets of grandchildren are in Paris. The "Kent" ones are just there for a few days holiday and the "London" ones are there visiting their grandparents. Both sets went by Eurostar train. The picture shows the "London" ones on the train with their mum. Centre of London to centre of Paris by direct train in about 2.5  hours. Wonderful.

10m DX on WSPR

EA8/DL9XJ (2981km) and KD0VWO (7412km) are the best DX so far on 10m WSPR today. No USA spots, although with fairly disturbed conditions I am not expecting much.

Sunspots and 10m - Wed Feb 17th 2016

We have had no internet most of the day, so I have been unable to check things and update blogs until now.

Solar flux today is 102 and sunspot number 49 (K=4). The 10m forecast is "poor" today. I am not expecting much today.

16 Feb 2016

10m GDX

G4CUI (172km) has been spotted several times this evening. I assume this is tropo and aircraft reflection. There were no USA 10m WSPR spots here today although I was spotted in Brazil several times.

House quiet - NOT amateur radio

After 4 nights, the "London" grandchildren have been collected and have returned home. We enjoyed having them , but by the end I was exhausted. The house is quiet again - but tidy! We love having them though and will miss them.

10m not as good?

Although I have been spotted in Brazil several times, at the moment there have been no USA spots on 10m today. There have been a few short-skip spots as well.

Sunspots and 10m - Tues Feb 16th 2016

Solar flux is 107 and sunspot number is 48 (K=3). 10m propagation is expected to remain "poor".

QRP Club

From Oleg:

"Dear Club 72 members and friends,
"72 Net" weekly report (February 8 to 13, 2016)
This  week  QRP  Rendez-Vous  visitors:  UA1CEG, RD6MZ, UR7VT, ON6KZ,
R2FAE entered in the Honor Frequenters list - congrats!

See "soapbox" here - http://qrp-club72.blogspot.ru/
Full Visitors and Frequenters lists here - www.club72.su
Welcome all QRP stations on the "72 Net" QRP Rendez-Vous round tables.
See schedule on the Club 72 web page.

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72" "

15 Feb 2016

Snow - NOT amateur radio

We had our first real snow of the winter briefly this morning. It was on the ground, but soon went. Our "London" grandchildren thought it was magical and enjoyed eating the snow, having a snowball fight and making a very small snowman. Like childhood itself, the snow was soon gone.

10m to the USA again

Yet again, spots were exchanged with the USA on 10m WSPR.  Some spots were very strong. It now looks like the USA will be spotted most days this winter and spring. As I have said before, next autumn could be more difficult, although on present trends we might see the USA for another autumn. It is entirely possible 10m will open to the USA this summer by multi-hop Es.

Very early 10m WSPR spots

As early as 0632z SI9AM (1503km) was spotted. There were lots of 10m short-skip spots early today on 10m WSPR. This could be promising.

Sunspots and 10m - Mon Feb 15th 2016

Solar flux is 109 today. Sunspot number is 52 (K=3) and 10m propagation is expected to be "poor" today. How will 10m WSPR be today? This is anyone's guess!

14 Feb 2016

Walk - NOT amateur radio

At this time of year we go for a walk at nearby Landwade to see the daffodils, snowdrops and aconites. This year, everything is early. It was a cold and dry day with a strong east wind. The temperature was 3 degrees C, though it felt much colder. We went with our "London" grandchildren.

10m WSPR today

I am using 2W on 10m WSPR and am looking for others 80% of the time.

UPDATE 1630z:  Plenty of USA WSPR spots (both given and received) this afternoon. Also spotted a 10m station in Greenland again. Certaoinly conditions on 10m are still good.

Sunspots and 10m - Sun Feb 14th 2016

Solar flux is a respectable 111 and sunspot number is 46 (K=2). The 10m propagation is "poor" today.

13 Feb 2016

Ely - NOT amateur radio

We have our "London" grandchildren here for a few days. After lunch we visited Ely and went to Ely cathedral. They had a great time.

Yet again, 10m has been good today

Yet again, 10m WSPR has been good again. Lots of spots of my 500mW beacon from the USA after lunch and Australia this morning. Lots of life in the band still.

Australia with 500mW this morning on 10m

My 500mW 10m WSPR beacon was spotted in Russia and Australia this morning. I have gone QRT on 6m WSPR (I was on overnight, but no spots given or received) but I still have my tiny 10m beacon running. This was recently re-synced although the Australian spotted me earlier - VK5MR (16144km) at 0934z.

Later, I may go back to the FT817 which allows me to run more power and listen on RX.

Sunspots and 10m - Sat Feb 13th 2016

Solar flux is 111 today and sunspot number 74 (K=3). 10m propagation is forecast to be "poor" today.

12 Feb 2016

Late USA 10m WSPR spot

My 500mW 10m WSPR beacon was spotted in the USA by WA4ZZW (6873km) in Alabama at 1720z this evening. No other USA stations spotted me on 10m today.

Back on 6m WSPR

As well being on 10m WSPR with my 500mW beacon, I have now returned to 6m WSPR (20% TX 1W ERP, 80% RX) since about 1530z this afternoon. On 6m I am only hopeful of some Gs. Even these be a bonus. Anything else would be totally unexpected.

UPDATE 1035z:   No WSPR spots given or received on 6m WSPR today.  I was hoping for some GDX but found nothing at all on this band.

Gravitational waves detected - NOT amateur radio

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-35553549 .

It amazes me how some astronomical experiments are done. Some work require mS timing and  
staggering distances. Often, the co-operation of researchers scattered across the planet is needed. The hunt for gravitational waves is no exception.

600m DX QSO

Steve, G1KQH has brought my attention to a Southgate News item about a DX QSO on 600m CW across the Pacific.

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2016/february/greater_distance_achieved_on_600m_band.htm.

Reverted to W5OLF 10m WSPR beacon

At 0950z I reverted to my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon by W5OLF. This is 100% 10m TX at 500mW but with randomised frequencies changed every 2 minutes. This does not need a PC and is entirely self-contained and tiny. With 6dB less power I wonder what difference it makes to spots? It will take about 20 minutes for things to settle.

Possibly, I may go on 6m WSPR later as I cannot go on another HF band as I need the antenna for the 10m beacon.

UPDATE 1344z:  Several spots of my 500mW 10m beacon by EA8/DL9XJ (2981km) today as well as spots by GM4WJA (624km). I wonder if my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon will be spotted in the USA later?

UPDATE 1440z:  Several spots received from Brazil this afternoon on 10m with the 500mW WSPR beacon. 6dB lower? - you'd never know! Perhaps I'd get more spots at 2W, but I'm getting plenty at 500mW from a tiny box not much bigger than a pack of cards. Fabulous fun for almost nothing.

Sunspots and 10m - Fri 12th Feb 2016

Solar flux is good at 120 and the sunspot number is good at 68 (K=2). Even the 10m propagation forecast is "fair" whereas it has been poor for a while. Already this morning I was being spotted in Brazil on 10m WSPR, which is promising.

11 Feb 2016

Lots of USA stations on 10m WSPR

This afternoon, there were lots of USA stations spotting me, and being spotted, on 10m WSPR. The last was W1VR (6965km) at 1832z. All this despite a "poor" for 10m propagation today! On top of VKs again this morning, it has been yet another good 10m day.  I think we are going to see USA stations most days this spring. 

Next autumn? Who knows. With falling (average) solar conditions it depends whether the solar conditions hold up or not. This autumn will be interesting on 10m WSPR that is for certain.

Skyscape - NOT amateur radio

This afternoon we enjoyed a walk at Ickworth, a lovely National Trust property near Bury St Edmunds. It is about 20 miles from home. The sky was mostly sunny, but it occasionally popped behind the clouds. It was about 7 deg C.  We saw some tree creepers (birds).

Sunspots and 10m - Thurs Feb 11th 2016

Solar flux is 111 today and sunspot number is 82 (K=2) and 10m propagation is forecast to be "poor" again.

UPDATE 1258z:   10m has certainly not been "poor" here.  I have been copied many times in Russia and by 4X1RF (3519km) and earlier by VK8RR (13784km) three times.

UPDATE 1315z:  It seems that I have been spotted in Australia most days of late on 10m. Who said 10m is dead? Rubbish!

10 Feb 2016

USA again on 10m WSPR

Yet again, the USA was spotted, and spotting me, on 10m WSPR. Also spotting me was FR1GZ (9724km), who spotted me many times.

UPDATE 2150z: KD6RF (7585km) was the last USA station copied here on 10m WSPR at 1740z. Spots were exchanged both ways. Nothing on 10m WSPR since then. I am still on 10m WSPR and will be on 10m overnight, ever hopeful! Maybe I'll catch some GDX or early European/Russian DX before breakfast.

USA president - NOT amateur radio


The people of the USA continue to trouble me.

If it was just the USA that mattered, then I could not care less, but the leader of the USA has his hands on the nuclear trigger and will be key to so much in the world. Is a rich billionaire really who many in the USA want as their leader?

I have no wish to get embroiled in a debate over the US presidential elections, but if a large number of Americans think their best interests are served by a rich billionaire then this says a lot about American society as a whole.

I am not advocating any candidate or any party, but this vote matters for the whole fragile planet we share. All I ask is that every single person in the USA thinks very carefully.

Reasonable start on 10m WSPR

My 2W 10m WSPR has been spotted by UA6038SWL (2907km) 4 times so far today. Although G3JVL has been spotted here several times on 10m WSPR for some reason these spots have not appeared on WSPRnet. I'll try restarting the software to see if my spots get uploaded. In the past I put this down to issues with the WSPRnet database but I wonder if it is a bug in WSJT v1.6?

UPDATE 1156z:  It helps to tick the "upload spots" button!! Just pressed it, so spots should now be sent to WSPRnet. Stupid fool me! Yes, that was the problem. 2 spots uploaded to WSPRnet already.

UPDATE 1204z:  Lots of nearer Europeans. I wonder if Bas is right and this is by backscatter?  No 10m WSPR DX outside Europe and near Asia so far, although I was late on 10m WSPR today.

Sunspots and 10m - Wed Feb 10th 2016

The question is will today be a repeat of the good 10m conditions of yesterday? Possibly. Solar flux is 116 and sunspot number 79 (K=2). Yet again, the 10m propagation forecast is "poor". I rarely find this correct!

40m WSPR overnight

Several USA stations spotting me on 40m WSPR overnight. I am still on 40m WSPR but will QSY to 10m shortly. K9AN (6505km) was still spotting me at 0820z on 40m WSPR.

9 Feb 2016

QSYed to 40m WSPR from 10m - already spotted in Australia

In the last few minutes I QSYed down to 40m WSPR for the evening and overnight. VK6XT (14718km) spotted my very first transmission. I have not heard outside Europe on the 40m band this evening, probably because of the high local noise level on 40m WSPR. It amazes me that 2W on 40m makes it to Australia with my very low, poor, antenna. Yet again this shows what a good mode WSPR is.

UPDATE 2210z:  W1UU (5292km) is the best  RX DX on 40m WSPR so far this evening.

10m - a really good day so far

10m WSPR spots so far today
It has been a very good day so far, as you can see. I expect the USA be received on 10m soon.

UPDATE 1435z:  KK1D (5409km) was spotted at 1358z, which is quite early. He was also spotted later.

UPDATE 1738z:  Several more USA spots plus a huge signal from PY4MAB (9403km) who says he is using 10mW. If correct, I am amazed.

Shares - NOT amateur radio

Share prices, certainly in London, are falling on the continuing uncertainties over China, Greece and the World. The FTSE 100 index has fallen from a peak of over 7100 last year to about 5630 as I write. Things do recover but this can take years.

At such times people look for a safe haven. Many have chosen my old company, Sepura. Sepura make radios for (mainly) public safety. They recently bought a Spanish rival and now do DMR as well as TETRA.

See http://www.lse.co.uk/ShareChart.asp?chart=intraday&sharechart=SEPU&share=sepura.

UPDATE 1436z:  FTSE 100 shares are still falling.

Amateur Radio Blog

This blog often has interesting posts, including the occasional ones from me and Steve G1KQH! Although an American blog, there is often content of interest to those in Europe.

See http://www.amateurradio.com .

EC and the UK - NOT amateur radio

When it comes to our UK national referendum on whether we should stay in or leave the EC, I am undecided. In many ways the EC is a good thing. On the other hand it is a creaking bureaucracy in great need of reform. I like that Europe has been (largely) at peace in my lifetime. I like free trade in Europe. However, we are a small island running out of room, with creaking services and the UK should have the final say over who lives and works here.  I am in favour of a common market. Why do we need more?

I really feel for the genuine migrants fleeing conflict. Having had a nasty tummy bug in the comfort of my own home, I cannot help thinking how much worse this would have been if I was also cold,wet and hungry and thousands of miles from home. Even worse if you are a child who does not understand. Personally I think we should take more real refugees but not economic migrants.

No, there is still a great deal that needs fixing. Mr Cameron has not basically changed anything during his recent negotiations. We are being asked to stay, when really very very little has changed.

So, in summary, I am undecided which way to vote. At the moment I am voting to leave, but I may well change my mind.

Good start on 10m WSPR today

This morning, 10m WSPR has been good, with spots from Australia, Israel and Rhodes already (see above). As yet, I have not spotted anyone else. I have the feeling today is going to be good. As I have cautioned, do NOT believe the forecasts!

UPDATE 1120z:  PE4NSP (374km) has been spotted here. This is probably tropo with aircraft reflections too, although he is using 50W. G0LUJ (278km) has also been spotted.

UPDATE 1155z:  EA8/DL9XJ  (2981km) and I have exchanged strong reports on 10m WSPR. Probably single hop F2, but it could be Es I guess. Very strong signals.

UPDATE 1300z:  So far today. I have been spotted 5 times in Australia on 10m WSPR.

Sunspots and 10m - Tues Feb 9th 2016

Solar flux is 116 (quite good) and sunspot number 82 (not bad).K=2 which is quite low. Although the 10m forecast is still "poor", my 2W 10m was decoded times very early in Australia. Today could turn out to be not a bad day at all on 10m WSPR.

More QRP Club

From Oleg...

"Dear Club 72 members and friends,

the Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous Net report of the last week here -
G3UD became new honor frequenters of the "rendezvous" round tables.
See  full  "visitors"  and  "frequenters" lists on the Club 72 page -
Note! All new visitors I subscribe to this "72 Newsletter".
Welcome  all  QRP  operators  to  QRP  Rendez-Vous  round tables, see
schedule  on  the  Club  72  page,  please.  Comments  and  pictures

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72""


"Dear Club 72 members and friends,

just  uploaded  totals  page  of the Winter "Snowman" QRP Field Game.
There are the totals table, soapbox and photo gallery - enjoy that!
Links for results from "Snowman" or "Archives" in menu - www.club72.su

The Winners by nominations:
UA0SBQ - the lowest temperature in the field position
UA1CEG - the unusual original field position
RU3NJC - the original home brew radio in the field
RV3GM - the lowest power in the field
Z35M - the greatest number of QSOs in the field
UT8NR - the greatest number of QSOs with field operators in home
R4NX, UA1AQC, UA1ASB - the most absurd comic position design

Thanks all for game, for comments and for pictures!

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

8 Feb 2016

10m DX again

As well as spotting the USA again this afternoon, spots were exchanged (both ways) with 9Y4DG (7207km) on 10m WSPR. His QTH is Trindad and Tobago.

KX3 and FT817

Further to my earlier comments in a blog post yesterday, I have received several comments about both rigs. The general view remains that the performance of the KX3 exceeds that of the FT817ND although it is in many ways less suited to field use than the FT817.

I have never owned a KX3 as these are very expensive in the UK. I own both a very old FT817 and a recent FT817ND. For the modes I use mostly, the FT817s do a great job. I just wish Elecraft radios were not so expensive and looked, and were, more robust. I for one would think twice about using an expensive KX3 as a field radio. I am sure they work really well, but they look flimsy. A fully loaded KX3 is currently more than twice the cost of the FT817, which is a fine radio. My FT817 gets used from MF (with my homebrew transverter) all the way to 70cms. The FT817 has worked all over the world, including indoor handheld SSB QSOs with the USA.

For the avoidance of any doubt I love the FT817 radios and would like a KX3 for home use, if the latter was less expensive.  My views, others may not agree.

If you have views, please leave your name and callsign. In future, unattributable, anonymous, unkind, comments will be deleted.  I want to foster debate, but please keep it civil.

QSYed to 10m WSPR

At 0930z I went QRT on 40m and moved up to 10m WSPR. It will take a few minutes to stabilise before any WSPR spots appear. Any spots (received or given) will be a bonus on 10m today. As before, 20% TX at 2W and 80% RX.

UPDATE 1006z:  Well, yet again some surprises on 10m WSPR. Already VK2KRR (16789km) has spotted me on 10m WSPR,before 1000z and I have spotted a Russian.

Sunspots and 10m - Mon Feb 8th 2016

Solar flux is good again at 117. Sunspot number is 84 (not bad at all) although K=4 so quite disturbed. 10m propagation is expected to be "poor" today. I am not expecting great things of 10m today.

Stroke or old age? - NOT amateur radio

When driving the car I seem to drive less fast than I did. To me, 50mph seems more like 60mph or faster. It is as if the world seems faster to me, at least on the roads. Also, I seem much slower doing things these days. I put these down to my stroke 2.5 years ago, but I guess I am getting older and slower.  At 67 I don't think of myself as very old though.

When our children were little we had a family joke about drivers with hats. There seemed a high correlation between drivers with hats and slow, doddery drivers. We put this down to age (most hat wearers were old) and maybe they started driving before the driving test became compulsory?

Anyway, I guess I am looked at as "a hat" these days,  even though I don't wear a hat to drive! Ho hum!

USA again on 40m WSPR this morning

After the Canadian spot last evening, I was spotted in the USA a couple of times around breakfast time this morning on 40m WSPR with the low antenna. I'll stay on 40m WSPR a little longer, then move up to 10m WSPR for the rest of the day.

7 Feb 2016

QSYed to 40m WSPR

After a very successful day on 10mWSPR, I have now moved to 40mWSPR overnight until tomorrow morning. As yet, there are no spots either given or received.

UPDATE 2150z:  Luckily I noticed that the "Enable transmit" was not on. It is now enabled. As yet, it has not gone on to TX.

UPDATE 2235z:   My first 40m WSPR spot was by VE2DPF (5260km) at 2222z.

Aldi - NOT amateur radio

For a long time, fellow blogger Steve G1KQH and my relatives have been urging me to shop at Aldi's. Sadly, our nearest Aldi's is in Ely, which is a fair bit further by car than our nearest Waitrose or Tesco. I have noticed that prices for a weekly shop seem to have gone up by around 20% at Waitrose when groceries and food generally have had negative inflation. As we were going to Ely anyway this afternoon, we called in at Aldi's to do a basic shop. For branded items you do indeed pay far less than at Waitrose. Either Aldi has very low margins or Waitrose is creaming off the profits. Either way, we'll go to Aldi's again when in Ely.  I like Waitrose as a shop, but do not like being ripped off.

10m is in good shape today - use it!

EA8/DL9XJ (2981km) has been spotted several times this morning on 10m WSPR along with Australia, Belgium and the  UK. I have been spotted in Australia, Israel and the UK on 10m WSPR a few times today too.  It looks like 10m is in quite a good mood!

A year from now it is likely to be a lot harder as the solar activity drops off. As I have said many times, even in the quietest years, N-S propagation supports QRP SSB contacts at times and Es is good at the right times of year irrespective of the sunspot cycle.

I am a great believer in WSPR (have you guessed?) and regular WSPR use of 10m will reveal the openings which otherwise would be missed.

UPDATE 1620z:  Several different USA stations spotted this afternoon on 10m WSPR here and KD6RF (7571km) has spotted me. The band is in good shape still.

Elecraft KX3

There is no doubt that the very best radio for QRPers is the Elecraft KX3. In the UK this is not low cost as VAT and duty are both payable if importing from the USA. One UK dealer sells either kits or ready made units. For the price of the KX3 you can buy a couple of Yaesu FT817ND radios covering more bands. The KX3 is the better radio. I guess one has to save up if one wants the Elecraft.
This image is located on the Elecraft site and not on this blog. It will be removed if having the link is a problem.

See http://www.elecraft.com/KX3/kx3.htm .

Sunspots and 10m - Sun Feb 7th 2016

Solar flux is 118 (good) and sunspot number a respectable 71 (K=1).  10m propagation is forecast to be "poor" today.  Despite this "poor" forecast, my 2W 10m WSPR has already been spotted in Australia more than once and Israel.

I cannot tell you how often I have been spotted on the other side of the planet on 10m WSPR when the 10m forecast is "poor". Just go on 10m WSPR, regardless of the forecasts, as they are often no guide!  10m is still good - it just lacks activity: some think it is no good and go to lower frequencies. As WSPR proves, 10m propagation is still good. Like 6m, 10m is a magic band and you can never be sure.

6 Feb 2016

10m WSPR

As of about 1056z,  I closed down on 40m and have moved to 10m WSPR. It takes a few minutes for things to settle. On 10m, the cycle is as 40m i.e. 2W TX for 20%, followed by RX for 80%.

UPDATE 1112z: VK2KRR (16789km) has already been spotted and spots exchanged with FR1GZ (9724km) both ways. I have also been spotted in Brazil. A very good start on 10m WSPR today.

UPDATE 1138z: 4X1RF (3519km) has also spotted me. Local G4KPX (14km) was spotted with -4Hz drift at 1124z. I was too late getting into the shack to check the WSPR-X screen, but this must be due to aircraft coming into or leaving Lakenheath or Mildenhall. Normally Richard shows no Doppler.  With aircraft reflections you often see multiple traces with different Doppler shifts. WSPR decodes the trace with least Doppler or fails to decode if it gets confused, even if the traces are strong.
10m WSPR spots to 1150z today
Conditions on 10m are excellent today. I think USA 10m WSPR spots are a near certainty this afternoon.

UPDATE 1810z:  Surprisingly, not a single USA spot today on 10m WSPR.  Lots of spots of G4KPX (14km) with large Doppler shifts by aircraft movements in the Ely-Burwell area.

UPDATE 1425z: G4KPX (14km) was spotted not long ago with a huge Doppler shifted second signal as strong as the direct signal. The Doppler shift was about 20Hz or more. I think the direct signal decoded. No USA 10m WSPR spots yet.

Sunspots and 10m - Sat Feb 6th 2016

Solar flux is 122 (good) and sunspot number 113 (very good). K=2 which is also quite good. 10m propagation today is forecast to be "fair" again, so we could be in for a decent day on 10m WSPR.

Spotted in Australia on 40m

VK3WE (17019km) spotted my 40m WSPR at 0830z this morning. This was very pleasing considering the antenna is very poor and low on 40m. The actual ERP must be very low on this band. I was pleased with this and the USA 40m WSPR spots. Shortly, I shall QSY to 10m WSPR.

5 Feb 2016

Budding artist? - NOT amateur radio

The Santa Maria by our grandson, aged 6.

For a 6 year old I think our little grandson has REAL artistic talent. This is ALL his own work. We have seen him do similar and he totally switches off when doing this sort of painting or drawing. I think he could earn a living from his artwork when a grown-up. He loves drawing money!

Kaifeng Scroll - NOT amateur radio

There has been a fascinating TV programme narrated by Michael Wood about the history of China. I was particularly interested in the Kaifeng scroll  of the Sung dynasty.  Nearly 1000 years ago a Chinese artist created a massive scroll showing the capital city (of 1 million people even then) in immense detail. The scroll has been recreated with moving people and animals in a museum in Shanghai.

See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kRA9it9bKk .

Whatever your views on China today, it certainly has a rich history, much if it unknown in the West.

40m WSPR for the night

The 10m station hs been closed down as I was just spotting G4CUI (172km) and I am now active on 40m WSPR. So far, I see I have spotted EA4 and been spotted by TA2AEG (2547km) in Turkey on 40m WSPR despite a high local noise level on that band and a poor, low antenna for 40m..

10m WSPR - TX was NOT enabled

It was strange that I was getting no spots (of me) on 10m WSPR despite the band being wide open. I see I had not enabled TX.  How stupid can you be? Rather too late in the day, I have now enabled TX on 10m WSPR. W1VR (6965km) in Florida has been spotted several times.

UPDATE 1935z:  I have now gone QRT on 10m and QSYed to 40m WSPR.

Cambridge - NOT amateur radio

Cambridge - more bikes!
Today we visited the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and had a very nice meal at a cafe at the URC church just down the road. Cafe prices were very good, as was the food. All the cafe staff are volunteers and many have mental disabilities. The Fitzwilliam has some famous exhibits.  It is funny how one takes this wonderful city for granted. People travel half way around the world to see sites we can see every day if we want, for nothing. I am sure a visitor would love Cambridge.

Inspiron battery issue

Advice needed! I am in need of some help please.

I have a Dell Inspiron 1545 laptop which recently was updated to Windows 10. Most of the time it was used as the shack computer with a mains cable attached. Recently, it has been used elsewhere in the house mainly for web browsing. It has an after-market battery pack that is not that old.

My problem is the battery (which started at 30% charged) has gradually lost charge and now shows 0% and the laptop only works when plugged in on mains. Despite adjusting all the battery management plans the battery will not charge! I cannot see how to make it charge at all.

My question is....

Is there a way of making the battery charge, maybe by adjusting something in the BIOS?

Australia early on 10m WSPR

VK3KCX  (16883km) was being spotted here as early as 0820z on 10m WSPR. He has been spotted several times since at up to -18dB S/N running 5W.  Also spotted was VK6XT (14719km).  No spots yet of my 2W 10m WSPR. Things are certainly looking promising on 10m WSPR today.

UPDATE 1530z:  Several spots of Australians on 10m WSPR this morning, but no spots of my 2W so far today.  G4CUI (172km) has been spotted several times since lunch.

Sunspots and 10m - Fri Feb 5th 2016

Things are looking up.  For the first time in many weeks to 10m propagation forecast is"fair" rather than poor. Solar flux is 120 and sunspot number 95 (K=3).  Today should be decent on 10m.

4 Feb 2016

472kHz (630m)

Since moving QTH 2.5 years ago, I have been active (mainly at night) on 630m with my "antenna" that consists of 2 earth rods in the ground about 12m apart. The ERP was measured at 5mW.  Despite this, my best DX this winter was a WSPR spot by DH5RAE at 995km and last winter I reached 1047km to Norway.  On RX, I have copied stations even further away.

Although more ERP and a better antenna would certainly help, let no-one tell you either are necessary. A lot of fun can be had with just an FT817 and a simple transverter to an indifferent "antenna". On RX just the barefoot FT817 (a bit deaf on MF) is enough to decode most of Europe on 472kHz WSPR.

UPDATE 1944z:  I am about to QSY from 10m to 630m.

UPDATE 2018z:  Now active on 472kHz WSPR (20% 5mW ERP TX, 80% RX). QRT on 10m until tomorrow.

UPDATE 2026z:  DL6TY (629km - new?) and DH5RAE (995km) spotted.  Local G0VQH (15km) spotting me.

UPDATE 2106z:   DL-SWL (701km) is the best DX on TX this evening so far.

Yet more 10m Es, I think

As well as a spot from the USA by KD6RF (7571km) I see that I am spotting IK1WVQ (1076km). Although these latter spots could be back-scatter, I think it is wintertime Es yet again on 10m.

UPDATE 1840z:  Other short-skip stations copied here this evening on 10m WSPR.

Weather in the UK - NOT amateur radio

Our village green in winter
Some have been forecasting a very cold winter here. So far, we have had very little frost and lots of dull,wet days. The ground here in East Anglia is wetter than I can ever recall. If we do get a cold snap, this will be the first real snow here for several years. I'd say our weather is changing. East Anglia used to be cold and dry, but not any more.

Australia on 10m yet again today

VK2KRR (16789km) spotted my 2W 10m WSPR twice this morning. Despite the "poor" forecast for 10m, the band is again far from dead as WSPR shows. The band does need more activity.   It is still good for real DX. These days it is a lack of activity rather than conditions that is the main issue. People casually listen, hear nothing and go away.  My recommendation is try WSPR and you'd be surprised how good conditions are on 10m.  In a few years things will be a lot tougher but right now on 10m DX is still there to be had. Also, my antenna on 10m is far from the best and another 10dB of antenna gain should easily be possible. If you run 5W rather than 2W that is already about 4dB.

Sunspots and 10m - Thurs Feb 4th 2016

Solar flux is 112 today (quite good) and sunspot number is 78 (quite good). K index is 2 (not bad). 10m propagation is expected to remain "poor", although I am expecting decent results today on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1035z:  Just G8VDQ (93km) spotted so far on 10m WSPR, but it is still very early.

3 Feb 2016

Stoke, poor voice - NOT amateur radio

Today and in December I had appointments with probably the 2 best speech consultants in the UK. Sadly, both said the same - there is little wrong with my voicebox (both put cameras down my throat through my nose) and, as I have a neurological problem, there is nothing they can do for me. I hope my voice does improve, albeit slowly, but I guess I have to come to terms with the possibility that my voice might be poor for ever. There are things I can do to improve the situation - I cannot tell when my diction is poor or I am speaking too quietly (to me it sounds loud enough!) - so I need to work on these! Not long ago I was told I might never eat again and I proved them wrong. Let us hope I prove them wrong about my voice too.

QRP Club

More from Oleg...

"Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Firstly, thanks everyones for Snowman QRP Game support!
If someone have even one QSO with "field" stations in Snowman, fill the
declaration form on the page - www.club72.su please.

Remind  about  QRP  Rendez-Vous  round  table in Tuesdays, Thursdays,
Saturdays  at  9.00 UTC around 14060 (alt 10116 if Contests). Log and
comments to "mr72" e-mail please.

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

Amaryllis - NOT amateur radio

Our son and daughter-in-law gave us an amaryllis for Christmas, which we potted in early January. After a slow start, it has shot up and will probably be in flower in the next week. There are 2 flower heads, one looks ahead of the other.

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

10m WSPR

I have been on the band for about 15 minutes. So far, no spots given or received but it is still very early. TX is 2W 20% and I am on RX 80%.

UPDATE 1120z:  Still no spots on 10m yet today.

UPDATE 1328z:  KD0VWO (7412km) monitoring in Brazil has spotted me 6 times already on 10m WSPR. There is also some GDX with G0LUJ (278km) spotted. Not a bad start on a 10m band where the forecast was "poor". The lesson is, yet again, 10m is open more than you may think.

UPDATE 1406z:  These are the 10m WSPR spots today so far. ON7KO (295km) could be aircraft assisted tropo or pure tropo.
UPDATE 2010z:   Even more short-skip (Es?) this teatime on 10m WSPR in the form of SP5TWA (1302km) and YL2GL (1747km). Short-skip has been very good on 10m WSPR this winter.

Sunspots and 10m - Wed Feb 3rd 2016

Solar flux today is 103 and sunspot number 52 (K=2). 10m propagation is forecast to be "poor" again today. Yesterday the band was brought to life by a lot of short-skip, which I think was wintertime Es. I am again on 10m WSPR today.

2 Feb 2016

2m UKAC contest this evening

2000-2230z tonight is the second leg of the RSGB's 2m activity contest. I missed this last month still thinking we were in December! All being well, I shall be on 2m SSB (5W to the omni big-wheel) this evening. Because of my poor voice, 1 hour is about enough for me. I usually manage 5-10 QSOs with best DX 150-200km. At this time of the year there are fewer portable stations. I cannot blame them! These are very friendly contests which are aimed at focusing activity.

If you come on, you are almost bound to work someone, unless you are on some remote Scottish island. If you have 50-100W and a small beam, the whole of the UK is in range. Even with my QRP set-up, it is a bundle of fun.  I shall be using the FT817ND at 5W. Activity levels are usually good in these sessions. Even if you don't send a score in, it is a good way to work new squares (and maybe new countries) on 2m.

Next week is the 70cm leg.

Logs can be transcribed on line. If you are like me and usually work 5-10 stations only, this only takes a few minutes.

UPDATE 2130z:  I had to give up after about an hour as my voice was finding it very hard. Although I worked only 4 stations, I heard stations in France, Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany, as well as stations on the Welsh borders. Most of the strong locals I usually work were not on and one was on but using "pounce and capture" so I never did manage to work them (G2XV). An enjoyable experience but another 10dB of power and 6dB of extra antenna gain would have made it a lot easier! My best DX was the Isle of Wight (216km).
Stations worked on 2m with 5W SSB and big-wheel this evening

10m short-skip (wintertime Es?)

Yet again, plenty of short-skip European stations on  10m WSPR today. This is probably wintertime Es, although we are moving into February now and the peak is usually December and January. I guess this could be back-scatter although the distance suggests Es as does the restricted a rea affected. If back-scatter I'd have expected a much wider spread geographically of stations.

UPDATE 1716z:  Still plenty of 10m short-skip, although no DX spotted here on 10m WSPR, unlike recent days. I think my antenna could be far better on 10m.

UPDATE 1838z:  SP5TWA (1303km) was spotted as late as 1836z on 10m WSPR. I shall stay on 10m WSPR until the 2m UKAC at 2000z, maybe later.
Unique 10m WSPR spots today - Es?
UPDATE 1930z:  HA9AL (1455km) is still coming in on 10m WSPR. This must be Es. He was still coming in at 1940z. I suspect 6m will have opened to central Europe too during the day, although I am not on that band currently.

BOF - NOT amateur radio

On Mondays I travel into and out of Cambridge on the bus. As a boring old f**t (BOF) I have a new hobby - "like" spotting. A teenage girl got on the bus and she said "like" 52 times in 2 miles. As a BOF I said nothing, you know what I mean like.

Sunspots and 10m - Tues Feb 2nd 2016

Solar flux is 99 today with sunspot number 42 (K=2). 10m propagation is expected to remain "poor" although Australia has been possible on the last 2 days here on 10m despite a "poor" forecast!

1 Feb 2016

QSYed to 60m WSPR

At around 2045z I QSYed again to 60m WSPR. Most spots have been by Europeans although a few minutes ago I was spotted by KK1D (5409km) at 2210z. Up to now, no stations have been spotted here this evening. I am staying on 60m overnight and hope for some more DX. KK1D is in the south of New England,  USA.

UPDATE 2244z:    I have been spotted by KK1D again on 60m WSPR.

Australia again on 10m WSPR

VK2KRR (16789km) was spotted here this morning along with many Europeans by short-skip. Yet again, 10m DX is coming through. Never give up on 10m.

Sunspots and 10m - Mon Feb 1st 2016

Solar flux is 100 and sunspot number 39 (K=3) today. 10m forecast for propagation remains "poor".  So far, just one OH spotted on 10m WSPR today.