31 May 2016

QSYed to 40m WSPR

As of about 2120z I went QRT on 10m WSPR and 630m WSPR and started up on 40m WSPR (2W TX 20%, 80% RX). Best DX from the first TX session was SV8RV (2269km). My antenna is far from ideal on 40m.

House quiet again - NOT amateur radio

Our "London" grandchildren were collected by their dad this afternoon. Once again the house is quiet. It was lovely to have them.

The picture of the body was by our little granddaughter aged just 5. She copied it from a book, which was a birthday present. Like her slightly older cousin, she enjoys drawing and painting.

Tonight - what band?

OK, I think I am wasting my time during the late spring and summer on 472kHz WSPR. So, the question is what band, if any, do I WSPR on this evening and overnight? 40m is usually a good bet and it is a few months since I have tried this band. Maybe I'll try 40m this evening.

New HF band Plan

See http://www.iaru-r1.org/index.php/downloads/Documents/HF/IARU-Region-1-HF-Band-Plan-2016/  .

Southgate News has a link to the new Region 1 HF band plan.

10m WSPR - some Es

EA1FAQ (1249km) spotted my 10m WSPR 4 times this morning. So, there was Es about, but not a lot. Reports weren't bad but localised.

UPDATE 1906z:  Several more spots from EA1FAQ as late as 1902z. I shall stay on 10m WSPR a little longer then QSY to 40m WSPR.

The EU referendum - NOT amateur radio

With only a few weeks to go, the outcome is hard to judge. Yes, the EU needs to reform, we are probably better off as a nation IN the EU than out of it, the campaign has been poor, leaving the EU would be hard but not a disaster.

ICOM IC7300 reviews

There are now 10 pages of reviews (93 reviews) of the new ICOM transceiver on eHam.net. Most reviews are 5/5 which is very good. Just a few have had a few niggles so scored it lower. When the price drops, I shall probably invest in one. I am sure the price will fall later in the year, although at the moment they are creaming off sales at silly prices from early adopters.

See http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/12742 .

Overnight on 630m (472kHz) and 10m WSPR

Just G8LCO (58km) copied me last night on MF and PA3ABK/2 (306km) was received. There are fewer stations on until the autumn. This is normal.

On 10m WSPR, just spots from G4KPX (14km) with no signs here so far of Es.

Sunspots and 10m - Tues May 31st 2016

Solar flux 86 today. Sunspot number is 56 (K=2) and the forecast for 10m F2 propagation is "poor" again.

30 May 2016

Anglesey Abbey - NOT amateur radio

This afternoon we visited Pilgrim's Lawn at Anglesey Abbey with our "London" grandchildren. They had a great time and were able to run around and burn off some energy.

We visit here most months. Today being a Bank Holiday in England, it was quite busy in places.

W+S Open Day

I heard about this too late to notify people! Usually I get 1-2 days of notice of upcoming rallies and similar, but not on this occasion. Let's hope that those that went along had a good time.

10m and 630m WSPR today

10m was open (again) early for Es propagation with my 10m 500mW spotted as early as 0706z this morning right across Europe. I have been spotted by G8LCO (58km) on 472kHz (630m). I have still to be spotted by Es outside Europe. I am still hoping for some transatlantic Es on 10m but I've been unlucky so far.

 6m was open for Es today, but I suspect most are working DX on SSB and CW rather than WSPR.

UPDATE 1950z:  It seems odd that most of the late 10m Es spots are from Scandinavia. This evening there were spots from Denmark and Norway LA3JJ (993km). In past Es seasons I have noticed later openings from the north. I resynced the beacon and PC about an hour ago.

Grandchildren still here - NOT amateur radio

We still have our "London" grandchildren here until tomorrow afternoon. They are full of energy!

This is a photo of one of my granddaughters. At the moment they are both playing in the garden but we may go out for a picnic this afternoon.

Sunspots and 10m - Mon May 30th 2016

Solar flux is just 83 today. Sunspot number is 25 (K=3).The forecast for 10m F2 propagation again remains "poor".

29 May 2016

Late 10m WSPR Es again

OE3BUB (1229km) was still spotting me at 1836z this evening on 10m WSPR. I have the feeling there will be Es around on 10m for a while yet.

QRP and QRP Club

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Visitors  of the week: UR7VT, RU3NJC, US3EN, UA1CEG/p, UA1CEX, EW1CY, RV3GM,  UA1ADF,  UA4ATL,  OH6NPV, DL4KC, UR5EFD, RA1M, UA1ASB, UR0ET, R1OA
See full Visitors and Frequenters lists on the Club 72 web page.
See all QRP operators on the next "rendezvous" QRP Nets, schedule here
- www.club72.su

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

Sod's Law?

So today I decided to give 6m a miss only to be told that it was open to Europe this morning! 10m WSPR has been good with Es spots all day. MF (630m) has been good too all day.

Cancer - NOT amateur radio

On of my wife's friends has, out of the blue, been told she has breast cancer that has spread. It was a total shock. It was picked up by a routine screening. She had had no pain or warnings. She has been told she has less than 5 years to live. Both my father and grandfather died in their 60s of heart conditions. I know my time is limited. Maybe I'll live to 95 or I could die next week. However I have hope. What she has been told is, in effect, a death sentence. I'd find this hard to accept. Clearly she is very worried. She has not been helped by her doctor who was rather uncaring about the whole thing. With cancer there is always hope. Some do recover and surely she should have been told this.

472kHz WSPR overnight and this morning

PA3ABK/2 (306km) was spotted and is still coming in on 472kHz. G8LCO (58km) is spotting me.

UPDATE 1730z:  PA3ABK/2 is still being spotted and G8LCO is still spotting me on 472kHz WSPR.  PA3ABK/2 seems to be spotted all the time, so I guess his signal does not depend on ionospheric conditions.

Overnight Es on 10m WSPR

As I left the 500mW 10m WSPR beacon on overnight I was pleased to get spots from LB9YE (1533km) and OZ7IT (853km) overnight. I was also spotted in Italy and Scotland.

Sunspots and 10m - Sun May 29th 2016

Solar flux is just 87 today and the sunspot number 31 (K=2). The forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor" today.

28 May 2016

472kHz WSPR

Despite it being nearly the longest day, I still go on 472kHz WSPR most nights. Although there are fewer active stations on the band at this time of the year, the activity is surprising. Quite a few stations spot me and most nights at least 3 unique stations are spotted. For most, this is a noisy time of the year with QRN peaking in the summer months. For me at least, this band is more productive than 6m WSPR. It is easy to switch bands after dark, so I shall probably keep plodding along on 6m WSPR in the daytime and MF after dark. I also tend to be 100% TX on 10m WSPR most days. The Par end fed is used on 10m and the V2000 vertical on 6m WSPR. WSPR gets used far more than JT modes as I do not have to be in the shack and can monitor on a PC in the lounge or iPod Touch in the garden. The shack gets visited as soon as I spot a problem (it takes seconds) or to resync the PC and 10m WSPR beacon to internet time. This happens automatically every 10 minutes, but I do a manual resync most days a couple of times just in case.

Late 10m Es

OZ7IT (853km) was spotting my 10m 500mW WSPR as late as 2010z this evening. I turned off the 10m WSPR beacon but did a resync and turned it back on!

Norwich - NOT amateur radio

We have grandchildren staying with us for a few days. Today we went to Norwich and the little ones had a great time. Clearly amateur radio take a back seat when they are here.

Sunspots and 10m - Sat May 28th 2016

Solar flux is 90 today. Sunspot number is 19 (K=2) and the 10m F2 propagation is, yet again, "poor".

27 May 2016

QSYed to MF WSPR (no longer on 6m WSPR)

Well I've gone QRT on 6m (no spots all day) and am active again on 630m WSPR. I have resynced time on 10m too and am still active on 10m, although I'd be surprised to hear any Es now.

UPDATE 2000z:  G8LCO (58km) has spotted me several times on 472kHz WSPR. I have spotted PA3ABK/2 (306km) on 472kHz WSPR.

Down the pan - NOT amateur radio

My daughter-in-law managed to drop her iPhone in the loo! I have no idea how this happened or if it was insured. I hope it was covered.  She now has a replacement and has sold the damaged phone on eBay. She tried to dry it out and salvage the SIM.

Why? AMATEUR radio?

So Flex Radio has introduced a 2kW linear. My only question is why? To me, this is not amateur radio at all. OK, if you burn holes in the F2 layer you may be able to make (perhaps) a few more QSOs, but where is the fun?  I know with a big beam, and a big linear I could make contacts, but I can do this for nothing and with video on the Internet. No, to me, there is no skill in this and it makes a mockery of our hobby.

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2016/may/2kw_amplifier_from_flexradio_systems_skysat.htm

QRP is much more of a challenge. To me, even 100W is high power.

Quiet on 10m and 6m WSPR?

It looks very different, so far at least, on 10m WSPR with not a single spot in the log apart from G4KPX earlier in the day. Things may change, but I am not holding my breath.

So far today, not a single spot on 6m WSPR either given or received. I had the same problem on 6m in previous years with more activity on SSB/CW and not that much on 6m WSPR. It is a pity there are not a few more 6m WSPR users as it is a great way to "smoke out" DX if it is there, albeit briefly.

No FT817 replacement announced at Dayton

So, there was no FT817 replacement announced at Dayton. In my view this means one is unlikely to appear ever now. I am amazed by the stupidity of Yaesu.  Yes, I know many are very happy with their FT817 units but it would have been so easy to upgrade it with a LiIon battery pack, an internal auto ATU and a speech processor. Darn it, they could even have reused the case and sprayed it a different colour.

No, they have well and truly missed the boat and they have only themselves to blame!

Return to 6m WSPR

As well as 10m WSPR (500mW 100% TX) I am back on 6m WSPR (1W TX 20%, 80% RX, vertical omni). I have been on 6m for about 7 minutes. If this is a repeat of yesterday there will be no 6m spots, but I am an optimist!

10m Es

Yesterday, 10m WSPR was good for Es all day. I was being spotted by OZ stations until very late. This morning, so far, just G4KPX (14km) is spotting my 500mW WSPR beacon on 10m.

Sunspots and 10m - Fri May 27th 2016

Solar flux is just 88 today. Sunspot number is 30 (K=3) and the forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor" today.

UPDATE 1300z:  Even 10m Es seems poor here today, well so far at least.

QRP News: Beacon Hunt

From Oleg:

Dear QRP Friends,
keep in your diaries, please. Friend of mine Igor R2AJA ask me to help
in  announce original game - Beacon Hunt. He'd like to invite as much
QRP operators as possible. Detailed rules on his blog page -
Wish you all the best, 72!
Oleg "Mr. 72" RV3GM / KH6OB

472kHz WSPR overnight

Much to my surprise, my 5mW ERP was copied by G8LCO (58km), PA7EY (306km) and PE1RKT (285km). The reports from the Dutch stations were marginal but at least I was copied. Both the Dutch stations were in JO22 square.

26 May 2016

QSY to 472kHz WSPR

As 6m WSPR was not at all productive all day, I have QSYed to 472kHz WSPR, which I shall stay on all night. I started on MF about 10 minutes ago. I also did a time resync. I am still on 10m WSPR too.

UPDATE 2020z:  PA3ABK/2 (306km) has been spotted on 472kHz WSPR already. The last 10m WSPR spot of me was at 1906z.

UPDATE 2044z:  G8LCO (58km) has spotted me on 472kHz WSPR.

Evening walk - NOT amateur radio

As it was a lovely evening, we decided to go for a walk in our local meadow this evening.  At the moment the cow parsley is splendid. Altogether, a perfect late spring evening.

Still no 6m WSPR spots

Although 10m WSPR is still very good for Es with spots received from all over the place (in Europe), 6m is still not producing any spots here. Maybe later?

I was also hoping for some brief N-S F2 DX on 10m WSPR, but it has just been Es so far. My 10m antenna is not the best, so others may fair better?

UPDATE 1905z:  Still no spots given or received on 6m WSPR, although 10m WSPR has been good with Es all day long. I shall probably QSY from 6m to MF later.

Spanning the Atlantic on 2m

Southgate News reports that a Cornish amateur was copied in Newfoundland using the International Space Station as a passive reflector. At some point the Atlantic will be spanned by "natural" means (not including EME), probably by Es, MS, aurora or tropo or a combination of these modes. It has happened on 6m and 4m. It is only a matter of time.

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2016/may/gk4loh_received_over_3467_km_on_144_mhz.htm.

QRP and QRP Club

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Just reminder about QRP Net schedule (QRP Rendez-Vous round table). Weekly  on Tuesdays,  Thursdays, Saturdays at 9 UTC on 14060 kHz +/- QRM,  QRL  (alternative 10116 kHz if big contests). Comments, results and pictures are appreciate direct to "mr72" e-mail, please.
Weekly reports published at the Club 72 blog page - http://qrp-club72.blogspot.ru/
All visitors and "Honor Frequenters" lists you can see on the Club 72 web-page - www.club72.su "72 Net" in the menu.  Welcome all QRP operators! Enjoy 2-way QRP QSOs on the "72 Net"

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

Sunspots and 10m - Thurs May 26th 2016

Solar flux is 93 today and sunspot number 27 (K=1). The forecast for 10m F2 propagation is yet again "poor", although Es is definitely livening things up on 10m.

10m Es

I did time resync not too long ago. 10m has been wide open with Es spots from all over Europe this morning. On 10m I am running 500mW WSPR (100% TX). There have been no spots given or received here on 6m WSPR so far.  LA3JJ (864km) was spotting me on 10m WSPR in the middle of the night! I have the feeling that 10m is going to be very with Es today.

Australian in-laws - NOT amateur radio

For the last few days we have been hosting our son's Australian in-laws so my amateur radio and blogging have been restricted. This morning, they returned to my son and family in Kent. It was very good to see them.

25 May 2016

Return to 10m WSPR and 6m WSPR

My shack PC spent a long time this morning installing updates to Windows 10.  For the last 30 minutes or so I have been back in 10m 6m WSPR.

Sunspots and 10m - Wed March 25th 2016

Solar flux is 93 today. Sunspot number is 24 (K=1). The forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor".

24 May 2016

Rear garden in late May - NOT amateur radio

This was our rear garden shortly after we got back home from Devon. Most blossom has now gone sadly. In the front, our laurels are growing and we have roses out.

Waitrose 1 is a CON - NOT amateur radio

They all try it to increase sales and market share. Call me a cynic but the latest marketing ploy from Waitrose is a new line called "Waitrose 1". We have received information through the post. This latest campaign will have cost them millions.  As far as I can tell it is just another way to try to persuade us to buy (yet more) over-priced food items. Even with their 25% off in early June these goods are still expensive. Con.

Sunspots and 10m - Tues May 24th 2016

Solar flux is 95 and sunspot number just 13.  K=2. The forecast for F2 propagation on 10m remains "poor" yet again.

Now on 6m WSPR and 10m WSPR

After overnight on 630m (472kHz) with very few active stations seen here, I QSYed to 10m WSPR (500mW 100% TX) and 6m WSPR (2W 20% TX, 80% RX, vertical) just before breakfast. No spots as yet but it is very early.

UPDATE 0930z:  One early spot on 10m WSPR from OZ7IT (853km) at 0840z at -19dB S/N.

23 May 2016

Alibris ... again - NOT amateur radio

Just had this from Alibris UK. I just ignore these now as I know there will be more later in the week! They kid no-one with these daft Marketing gimmicks.

Today Only! 15% VOUCHER

630m and 10m WSPR

At the moment I am on both 10m and 630m WSPR. Overnight, my shack PC installed updates and closed the WSPR program.  

G8LCO (58km) has been spotting me on MF and there was very early Es on 10m WSPR with DK0SC (827km) spotting me as early as 0738z. Since then I have had further spots on 10m WSPR including from northern Spain in the form of EA1FAQ (1249km).

UPDATE 1406z: Spots on 10m WSPR from Germany all day.

Sunspots and 10m - Mon May 23rd 2016

Solar flux is 98 today. Sunspot number is 15 (K=2) and the forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor".

EU referendum - NOT amateur radio

The UK votes in a referendum on whether to remain in the EU or leave on June 23rd.

Like many, I am undecided.

The UK is not a world power with an empire - this went years ago. The EU is a gravy train for bureaucrats and is an unelected quango in the main creating so many laws that most small companies cannot keep up with them. At the same time, WW3 starting in Europe has not occurred and as long as there is an EU is unlikely. There is much wrong with the EU but much of it is a force for good. The EU needs to reform.

No I am still undecided. What I do know is this is a very important decision which will effect us for years to come. I think the vote will be very close. Should we vote to leave, I think others will follow too not many years down the line. My gut says leave but my logical self says stay in.

UPDATE 1400z:  I am really fed up with NEGATIVE messages and spin. 

22 May 2016

Now on 10m WSPR (TX only 500mW) and 630m (5mW ERP TX, 80% RX)

With just a single spot all day on 6m from a station 33km away, I have left the 10m beacon still running (still Es about) and QSYed from 6m to 630m WSPR with the earth-electrode "antenna". In recent days 630m has not been brilliant.
UPDATE 1915z:  PA3ABK/2 (306km) being spotted on 630m (472kHz) WSPR.

UPDATE  2256z: On 10m WSPR I have been reported at incredible strength (+4dB) by DF4UE (758km) when running 500mW. This implies he would copy me at uW levels!

Dad's Army Van - NOT amateur radio

Our local village museum held a "Classic Car" day today.  Among the exhibits was the original Jones the butcher van used in the filming of "Dad's Army" back in the late 1960s and 1970s. This was a classic comedy about the Home Guard. It is still funny even now. Also at the museum was G6ALB (Andrew) and his wife, his father-in-law and Andrew's boys.

IC7300 video

This was received from Steve G1KQH yesterday. I think he expects me to buy one. With no FT817 replacement shown at Dayton, he may well be right, when the price drops and the bugs are ironed out, but I am in no hurry. It uses 15 band-pass filters in the front end. These stop overload in most, but not all, cases.

15 bandpass filters Roger?

73 Steve

Sunspots and 10m - Sun May 22nd 2016

Solar flux is 99 today. Sunspot number is just 17 (K=2).  The 10m propagation forecast remains "poor". I doubt we will see better F2 conditions until the autumn. Come that time we will be falling solar activity so F2 openings to the USA will be much less often.

Sunday 10m WSPR Es

Today I put the 500mW (TX only) beacon on 10m WSPR. As well as lots of spots by local G4KPX (14km) I was spotted at 1008z by I4ZTO (1185km). This is quite early in the day for Es.

Although also active on 6m WSPR (TX and RX), there have been no spots (yet) on 6m.

UPDATE 1140z:  Quite a few 10m WSPR spots (Es) received in the last few hours, but still no spots on 6m WSPR. Either people are using SSB/CW or there is no Es on 6m.

21 May 2016

10m WSPR Es here

Around teatime there was a widespread 10m Es opening with spots from all over western Europe on 10m WSPR. It is not at all unusual for Es to peak at lunchtime and teatime.

I think tomorrow I shall try 6m WSPR with the FT817 and stick the 500mW beacon (TX only) on 10m.

Even fewer G3 calls

In the Silent Keys list in June RadCom I see another 4 G3 stations have died. Most months there are 4-6 who have died. My G3XBM call was issued in December 1967. Some date much earlier, probably just after WW2?  If the G3s are a dying breed then those issued between the wars must be even rarer. In 20 years there will be very few of us left. There is a real chance that our hobby will just die unless the younger generation is enthralled.  I very much hope I am wrong.

Young people get excited by different things. As a youngster, amateur radio was the only way to communicate around the world. TV was limited to Europe. Short-wave was magic: hearing Radio Australia with heavy QSB early in the morning was very exciting.  These days young people can video conference for nothing with any part of the world. No, amateur radio is no longer magic as it was to me. Getting my G3 call was a passport to worldwide communications. This is no longer the case.

We are not alone: many churches seem to be totally unattractive to young people and the bulk of their congregations are old women. In time, these will die and these churches will die too. There are some exceptions.

472kHz antenna calculator

See http://www.472khz.org/pages/tools/antenna-simulator.php for a very useful tool to estimate the performance of antennas on 472kHz. This tool was produced by Rik ON7YD.  Based on my own limited experience you do not need big ERP at all to have fun with WSPR on the band.

If you know your antenna current you can use it to work out your ERP or EIRP. The tool will show how much power you need to reach the ERP or EIRP limit for the band.

Home again. Active on 10m WSPR

After 9 nights away, we are now home again. I have turned on the 10m WSPR (20% TX 2W, 80% RX). As the gear has only just been turned on, it may be some time before 10m WSPR spots are given or received.

UPDATE 1338z:  Just 10m WSPR spots exchanged with G4KPX (14km) at good strength so far.

UPDATE 1540z:  Still just exchanging 10m WSPR spots with G4KPX (14km).  No Es or F2 seen here today. The best report was -9dB S/N. This was probably aircraft reflection as there was a lot of Doppler.  I seem to exchange spots with Richard more typically at -11dB S/N to -20dB S/N.

10m Es and F2

This morning there is Es on 10m WSPR already and N-S F2 propagation. A promising start.

From Steve G1KQH - Spybot anti-beacon for Windows

This came in on an email from Steve G1KQH. I have not tried the link.

Someone sent me this link stops them spying on you!

Seems to work

73 Steve

Rallies this weekend.

Notification has been received about these rallies:

Portway Lifestyle Centre, Newbury Lane, Oldbury, West Midlands B69 1HE. The venue is 1 mile from junction 2 of the M5. Doors open at 10am and the admission is £2. A raffle will be drawn at 2pm.

Stockwood Park, Luton All the usual facilities will be there. www.ddrcbootsale.org.

Sunday 22 MAY : BroadBand HamNet MEETING
A get together of BBHN Mesh Operators and those interested in this system of digital communications on the amateur microwave bands has been arranged at Tilgate Forest Rec. Centre, Hut 18, Tilgate Forest, Crawley, West Sussex, RH11 9BQ. For details and an agenda contact Ted, G4ELM via BBHN.Event.2016@gmail.com.

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

Sunspots and 10m - Sat May 21st 2016

Solar flux is 101 today. Sunspot number is 43 (K=3) and the 10m propagation forecast remains "poor" today.

20 May 2016

6m WSPR Es

This evening there has been a little Es on 6m WSPR. Not a lot, but some. We need more stations on WSPR.

I have not been on 6m WSPR for more than a week as we have been away but I shall be on 6m and 10m WSPR once home again.

Sunspots and 10m - Friday May 20th 2016

Solar flux is 100 today. Sunspot number is 38 (K=1) and the forecast for 10m (F2) propagation remains "poor".

No longer in Devon - NOT amateur radio

We are on the way home, having left Devon this morning. It was a very good break and I enjoyed being back in my home county after a break of three years because of my stroke. I was surprised that I was able to do most things that I enjoy.

19 May 2016

6m Es

In the last 24 hours there has been 6m Es noted on WSPR.

Elecraft KX2

Elecraft has announced a new SDR based QRP rig covering 80-10m (not 160m and 6m) which is available ready-built only. It is considerably smaller than the KX3. It can house an internal ATU and LiIon battery and can produce up to 10W. I have no idea how good the RX is. It is likely to be considerably less to buy than the KX3.

See www.elecraft.com .

Dayton Hamvention 2016 and the FT817

Well, if there is to be a replacement for the FT817 we are likely to hear about it this weekend at Dayton. This is the biggest amateur event in the world.

There was a rumour about this last year. If there is no announcement then I think Yaesu will have missed the boat for ever and they will not bother to replace it. I for one will be looking with interest.

What amazes me is that none of the other Japanese manufacturers has tried to beat the Yaesu FT817. ICOM?


Hara Arena, Dayton, Ohio, USA. There are large car parks as well as transport to the event from various locations. The venue also has disabled facilities. Doors open at 8am. There will be trade stands and a huge flea market as well as special interest groups and an RSGB bookstall. A lecture programme will take place each day. There are multiple catering outlets and family attractions on site. US exams are available and there is a raffle. Details by email to international@hamvention.org. www.hamvention.org.

St Vincent de Paul's, Caldershaw Rd, off Edenfield Rd (A680), Norden, Rochdale OL12 7QR Doors open at 11am with disabled visitors gaining access at 10.45am. The rally finished around 3pm. Talk in with S22 on 2m (145.550MHz) and entry is £2.50 with those under 12 free. Coffee, tea, soft drinks, bacon/sausage butties, biscuits, crisps will be available on the day. Traders can set up from 8am. Tables may be hired from RADARS at £5/table. Pitches will remain at £5/pitch or £10/pitch and table. Further details from Dave, G3RIK on 01706 633 400 or by email to rally@radars.me.uk

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

/P operation

We leave Devon in the morning and I did not turn my amateur radio gear on once! This is a good sign as we spent far more time than I expected enjoying the walks and the scenery. No doubt I shall be  WSPRing again when I get home.  At least I know that I can still enjoy the things I used to do in my home county.

OK, I am more reluctant to use my (poor) voice on HF SSB. This is much harder than it was. Instead, I was happy to walk and look instead.

10m and 6m Es

In the last 24 hours there has been plenty of European Es on 10m WSPR, but none on 6m WSPR.

Salcombe - NOT amateur radio

Salcombe - I used to live in Coronation Rd which is central in this shot
This morning we went for a walk at Snapes Point, overlooking Salcombe (where I used to live as a child) and the Kingsbridge Estuary.
Kingsbridge Estuary, S. Devon
This is our last full day in Devon. I have been pleasantly surprised that I have been able to do so much. We'll be back.

Sunspots and 10m - Thurs May 19th 2016

Solar flux is 101 today. The sunspot number is 28 (K=1) and the forecast for 10m propagation (F2) remains "poor".

18 May 2016

Crab sandwiches - NOT amateur radio

Salcombe crab sandwiches
This evening we did another walk ending with a pub meal. Lis had a crab salad and I had crab sandwiches and Tinners beer.


I missed this but G3TDZ, John Hey is a silent key now. He wrote a very nice article in Wireless World on a 2m AM handheld some years back and was inventor of the Heyphone which was widely used by cavers. He did a version for the 73kHz band too. He wrote to me several times. I think he died earlier this year.

TEP at 10m, 6m and 2m

Although 6m Es has been rather quiet, there was some TEP between Japan and Australia. TEP often allows stations across the magnetic equator to work each other at MUFs far above those expected. I think chordal-hop is involved. TEP between the Med area and southern Africa has even occurred at 2m!

In most recent years there has been 6m propagation between Japan and Australia. This mode may well account for some of the N-S propagation on 10m. It favours stations a bit nearer the equator. In the UK we need Es as well to get us into the area where there is TEP. Just occasionally it happens this far north.

Bolt Tail - NOT amateur radio

Our holiday continues.
This is the view looking west from Bolt Tail in South Devon, UK. On the RHS is Burgh Island. We dodged showers! Real April weather in mid May.  Bolt Tail was once a promontory fort thousands of years ago. It would be wonderful to have seen the view back then - few settlements, the coast would have been further out, etc..

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

The walk from Bolt Tail to Bolt Head along this coast is spectacular. We parked on Bolberry Down.

Sunspots and 10m - Wed May 18th 2016

Solar flux is a respectable 104 today. Sunspot number is 36 (K=3) and the forecast for 10m propagation is still "poor".

17 May 2016

6m WSPR - Es at last

There was Es in evidence in Europe today on 6m WSPR. Now it has started, we can expect Es most days on this band. When there is Es about on 6m, it can be a really fun band. Even with 6m SSB, just low ERP is needed to work all over Europe and North Africa.


See http://www.iaru.org/ .

The IARU is the "umbrella" organisation guiding the amateur communities around the world.

In region 1 I very much hope that a 100kHz wide 5MHz band will be allocated to radio amateurs in Europe despite a 15kHz wide band being allocated worldwide at WRC15.

There is quite a bit going on to persuade amateurs to adopt a new band-plan for 6m which involves relocating beacons slightly further up the band. It will mean more space for CW lower down, as for most HF bands.

Quiet day - NOT amateur radio

Our Devon holiday continues. Often we hit bad weather, but so far we've been lucky with lots of sun. Today we are doing some washing, going into Kingsbridge for some shopping, and going around to my brothers for tea.
Ivor Dewdney pasties and local strawberries
Tomorrow we plan another walk along the cliffs and eating out at the Sloop Inn in nearby Bantham. We have eaten here before, but when we called for a coffee one winter's morning on a walk with my brother we were turned away. At the time I could not believe how stupid they could be to turn away easy business ...and on the door it said they were open!! Of course, this was a few years ago and the owners have probably changed hands since then. I was very annoyed at the time, but it was their choice and their loss. All they had to do was give us coffee! Madness. We had a coffee and brandy a few miles further on.

I have been pleasantly surprised just how much I can still do despite my handicaps.  As I said yesterday, I am learning to adjust to the "me" I am now. It is far from the end.

10m and 6m Es

There was Es in Europe on 10m WSPR, but little sign of it on 6m WSPR yesterday. As the Es season progresses Es is common (almost daily) on both bands and there have been regular 6m Es openings right up to mid-September. Es is the dominant mode on these bands in the summer months.

Multi-hop Es to some quite exotic places is not that uncommon even on 6m. In earlier seasons I have copied north and south America and the Caribbean on SSB and CW on 6m with very simple antennas. When the 6m band opens these signals can sometimes be strong.

Sunspots and 10m - Wed May 17th 2016

Solar flux is a respectable 102 today.  Sunspot number is 76 (K=3) and the forecast for 10m (F2) propagation remains "poor" again. Es is our only real hope although there was F2 DX from the USA to Australia on 10m yesterday.

16 May 2016

Clifftop /P

Well, yet again I had intentions of walking out to the clifftops for some evening /P operating, probably on 15m. Instead the 2km walk was just that - a pleasant stroll in the late evening sunshine and a chance to take a few more photos. They have removed the 2 seats on the coastal path as well! The weather is becoming less settled, but I may try Wednesday evening as we are at my brother's for a meal tomorrow evening. I think with my voice being such hard work I am less keen than I was on /P operating.

In all we have walked much further this holiday than I was expecting, which is a good sign: I still have a poor voice, I still tire easily, I still feel giddy but I can do more than I expected. I guess I have to learn to adapt to the "me" I am now and not the "me" I used to be.

Before coming away I feared I would never be able to walk the south west coast path from Hope Cove to Salcombe ever again. Although I would be done in at the end, I think I could manage this - just. Maybe on a future visit....

QRP News

This came in from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,
QRP Rendez-Vous weekly report (May 9 to 15, 2016)
Visitors  of  the week: UR7VT, RA1M, UA1CEG/p, RU3NJC, US3EN, IK2JET, IK5SRD,  GM0LVI/p, OY2CJX, R1OA, OM6TC, RV3GM, UA1ASB, RN4AO, UA1ADF, IK2RGV, UT8NR, G3UD, RJ3T, RL3DA
UT8NR became Honor Frequenter of the QRP Rendez-Vous
See  full  lists  of  Visitors  and Frequenters, also QRP Rendez-Vous
schedule here - www.club72.su
The  QRP Marathon "Look In the Horizon" finished in May 1. Thanks ALL for  activity.  The  memory  certificates  has  been  sent  to  all Marathoner's today. See you on the next 2017 year Marathon!

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

Coleton Fishacre - NOT amateur radio

See http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/coleton-fishacre .
This is a very fine Art Deco house near Kingwear, Devon with gardens in a sheltered valley going down to the sea. We visited it (again!) today. It is one of our favourites and the gardens were a riot of colour. It is owned by the National Trust but was owned by the D'Oyly Cart family in the 1920s and 30s.

Bolberry Down - NOT amateur radio

Yesterday, we went for a walk on Bolberry Down

It was from here that I worked a station in France (160km) with my handheld 10mW 2m Fredbox many years ago and South Africa with 1W pep on 10m. It is a lovely spot for a walk.

Sunspots and 10m - Mon May 16th 2016

Solar flux is 103 today. Sunspot number is 78 (K=3) and the 10m propagation forecast remains "poor". Let us hope there is 10m Es today, although there is a chance of N-S F2 on the band.

15 May 2016

Evening stroll - NOT amateur radio

We are lucky that where we are staying is very near the coast. This evening we did a short stroll and got these views. Southernmost Devon really is the best place, although I am a bit biased!

Dad's seat - NOT amateur radio

My dad worked for the local water board in South Devon until he was 60, Then, for a few years he worked for the National Trust supervising youngsters on a job creation scheme restoring coastal footpaths. When he died the NT erected a couple of seats on the coast path in his memory. This is me sitting on one of them earlier.
 On the path it is quite common to see dung beetles and, of course, spectacular coastal views.

Kites (birds) - NOT amateur radio

At one time to see a kite outside Wales was rare. These days they seem to be everywhere. We saw one in the Cotswolds on our way to Devon on Friday.

I have seen a few swallows in South Devon as well as swifts, but I am sure there are fewer swallows about.

5GHz amateur band for wi-fi?

Southgate News has an item about the use of the 5GHz amateur band for wi-fi. This would be a controversial move, although in this case I have some sympathy with OFCOM. There are not many amateur users of this band and there would be widespread use of wi-fi.

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2016/may/ofcom_propose_using_ham_radio_band_for_wifi.htm

Sunspots and 10m - Sun May 15th 2016

Solar flux is 102 today. Sunspot number is 88 (K=2). The forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor".

UK Rallies


Sunday 15 MAY : LAMFEST
Elescar Heritage Centre, Wath Road, Elsecar, Barnsley S74 8HJ Doors open for traders at 7am and tables are provided free of charge. The public gain access at 10am and admission is £2. All monies raise will be donated to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Further details from Ian O'Donnell, M0IOD on 0191 604 0255, 0748 212 3223 or sales@hamradio-shop.co.uk.

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

14 May 2016

Coast walk - NOT amateur radio

So, I was going to do some radio operating from a bench on the coastal path but instead we went for a walk along the coastal path in the glorious sunshine. In all I walked about 3.5km, which in my current state is quite good. Years ago this would have been trivial.  This is Thurlestone, Devon looking towards Burgh Island.

Salcombe, Devon - NOT amateur radio

Many years ago, I was brought up in Salcombe, Devon. At the time I had no idea how lucky I was. This week we returned. During my illness over the last 3 years there had been times when I thought I would never ever see Salcombe again. Thankfully I have been back now and there is every likelihood we'll visit again in the future. The area is very beautiful.

The photo show the main street. Sadly, Salcombe has many second homes that are empty much of the time. Locals are priced out and many of the local shops are replaced by clothes shops catering for the well heeled. Will Salcombe follow St Ives and stop new second homes?

10m Es today?

Later, I may get a change to do some portable clifftop radio with the FT817ND from a location in Devon. Let's hope for some Es!

Sunspots and 10m - Sat May 14th 2016

Solar flux is 96 today and sunspot number 76 (K=2). The propagation forecast for 10m remains "poor".

13 May 2016

50 years ago to the day

It is exactly 50 years ago to the day (Fri May 13th 1966) that I took my RAE (Radio Amateurs Exam) in Plymouth. Passing this was my start in transmitting in amateur radio. In those days we only had access to 70cms and above (not 2m) with a G8 call, but you were allowed to operate a full licensee's station under supervision. I used to operate G4PJ under Bill's instruction when I had a G8 call. I took my Morse test when at university in December 1967 and got my G3XBM call shortly afterwards.

Sunspots and 10m - Fri May 13th 2016

Solar flux is 95 today (creeping up) and sunspot number 67 (K=2). The 10m propagation forecast remains "poor".

12 May 2016

6m Es and DXTV

There seems to have been a little Es in evidence on 6m WSPR this lunchtime with DL3NGN spotted in the UK. Certainly later in the season we can expect 6m Es most days.

In the old days, DXTV on Band 1 was an almost daily occurrence with RAI (Italy) and TVE (Spain) often seen. These were 625 lines whereas Band 1 TV in the UK was 405 lines. French 819 line TV appeared as 2 visible signals side-by-side on unmodified UK sets. I can remember to this day the Es signal from the South of France broadcasting "midi-Pyrenees". At times it was just like a local!

10m Es

Yet again, 10m WSPR has shown Es propagation in Europe this morning. I guess 10m Es will be with us most days now until late summer. I certainly livens up the band, which can seem very quiet compared with a few years ago.

Southgate News - NOT amateur radio

Southgate News (always worth a look every few days) reports that a NASA commercial cargo spacecraft touched down in the eastern Pacific with a valuable cargo from the ISS.

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2016/may/dragon_spacecraft_splashdown.htm .

Nuclear Fusion - NOT amateur radio

There is lots of research going on into nuclear fusion.

Unlike nuclear fission which is used today and results in long-term nuclear waste, nuclear fusion could use the almost endless supplies of non-polluting deuterium in seawater. It is probably decades away from being commercially possible as the technical challenges are immense. Research is starting to yield results though.

Nuclear fusion holds the potential for almost endless, low cost, energy. It could hold the keys to the future, but it is not yet possible, although the research must continue. This is one area where worldwide collaboration would benefit us all.

As for electric cars, although a "good idea" I think range is a real killer. Most journeys are short, I know, but ranges of several hundred miles on a charge are really needed and I just can't see this even with the best battery technology likely in the next few decades. Replacement batteries for electric cards are very expensive. No, this is an area where a lot more research is needed both in transport for the masses in an age beyond carbon and in battery technology. We need some "thinking outside the box" in these areas. Cars that do not need diesel or petrol are essential. We have to crack this one and come up with good solutions.

Sunspots and 10m - Thurs May 12th 2016

Solar flux is 91 today. Sunspot number is 72 (K=2) and the forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor". Some 10m N-S F2 is possible as is short-skip Es.

11 May 2016

BBC programmes under threat? - NOT amateur radio

Who doesn’t love CBeebies? Kids love it, and so do parents. BBC children’s programmes, like CBeebies, allow us those precious few minutes in a day to make a cup of tea. And we can trust that our kids are watching quality TV.

But children's TV as we know it is under threat. It's being reported that the government plans to take money away from the BBC’s children’s programmes. They want to give money-making channels a chance to compete for children’s shows.

The government is expected to announce the cut to the BBC children's budget this Thursday. So a big petition, standing up for advert-free BBC children's television, will show that there's huge public opposition to the government's plans. Please can you sign the petition to save BBC children's television?  See  http://38d.gs/21NJSjN

Personally  I have a problem with children being bombarded with adverts for things they do not need. The BBC is good as it is. There is a danger our government will ruin it.  Save it!

Garden - NOT amateur radio

Another view of the back garden
Not visible are my earth-electrode "antenna" for 630m (are you surprised?) and my end fed wire Par antenna covering 10m, 20m and 40m. This antenna works on other bands with an ATU.  Also out of sight are my 6m, 2m and 70cm vertical V2000 and my 2m horizontal big-wheel omni and 2m halo.

As you can tell, I do not like big, ugly antennas! The garden would fit a 66 foot long wire - maybe next winter?

6m and 10m WSPR

At 1236z I moved to the 10m WSPR beacon (500mW 100% TX) and 6m WSPR (1W ERP 20%, 80% RX, V2000 vertical antenna) simultaneously. It will be interesting to see if there is Es in evidence on 6m too. With 6dB less power on 10m, I expect to get spotted less often.

UPDATE 1325z:  EA1FAQ (1249km) has spotted my 500mW 10m WSPR 2 times so far. Still quite decent reports too.

UPDATE 1445z:  EA1FAQ is now spotting my 500mW 10m WSPR at -12dB S/N, implying that a few milliwatts would have been quite enough. My reports from him are getting better.  No spots yet on 6m WSPR.

10m Es

Within minutes of going on 10m WSPR I am spotting Hungarian stations well by Es. A promising start to what I think will be a good day on 10m.
10m WSPR so far
UPDATE 0934z:  HA9AL is coming in here at a very strong -2dB S/N now. 10m is very good currently to central Europe. This is quite early in the day for Es. 6m is probably good too.

UPDATE 1134z:  Plenty of 10m WSPR Es with lots from central Europe.
The morning on 10m WSPR - clearly Es season!

472kHz (630m) WSPR overnight

Last night I stayed on 472kHz WSPR overnight. I was going to try WSPR on a different band but decided after all to go back on MF.  There are now far fewer active stations than back in the better months. Activity will pick up again come the autumn. No DX spots given or received on 630m WSPR. I think it is now really is the time to pull the plug on 630m WSPR until the autumn.

Sunspots and 10m - Wed May 11th 2016

Solar flux is 90 today. Sunspot number is 70 (K=2) and the forecast for 10m remains "poor" yet again. We might see a little N-S 10m F2 propagation. We live in hope.

At 0910z I switched from 630m WSPR to 10m WSPR.

10 May 2016

70cm UKAC tonight

I very briefly listened on 70cm in the 70cm leg of the RSGB's activity contest - the UKAC that runs for 2.5 hours on Tuesday nights. Very few stations were heard, so I've given this one a miss. Really I have no suitable antennas for 70cm at the moment. On the last 70cm UKAC I just used my 2m halo.

Corsican wind? - NOT amateur radio

Years ago we spent a couple of great holidays on Corsica.

My wife is trying to do a quiz in the newspaper and is stuck on a wind in north east Corsica with the second letter "i" and the last letter "t". She is adamant these letters are right. I tried Googling to no avail. I thought I knew this, but obviously I don't.

Any thoughts?

The quiz was in yesterday's Daily Telegraph which we got free with our shopping.  I try to vary the paper and sometimes get The Guardian or The Times. I only get them as they cost us nothing - well some will (rightly) argue we pay through Waitrose's high prices. Aldi is certainly less expensive, but our local store is some way away.

American hotels and breakfast - NOT amateur radio

One of my first surprises on trips to the USA was that few (no?) hotels offer breakfast. They expect you to get this down the road. Most have places to eat very nearby, but if you are not used to this it comes as a surprise. I have an old work colleague who is in Indiana for a conference and he was caught out. The hotel and conference centre was a place to meet and sleep, but little else.

Once, in eastern Canada, we stopped for breakfast at a roadside cafe. There were 6 fried eggs and lots more on the plate. It was huge. We did not go hungry!

Arecibo EME in 1964?

Way back in my youth, I recall that USA amateurs got access to the huge 1000 foot dish at Arecibo in Puerto Rico for early EME (moonbounce) tests. This was extensively reported in QST and the RSGB Bulletin at the time. I think this was 1964 or 1965.  As the dish was huge, it gave smaller stations a chance with EME. EME started soon after WW2 I believe but for many this was their first chance.

In more recent times there have been other activations. EME takes real dedication but recent advances in digital techniques have made EME more accessible to smaller stations. It still needs a lot more power and antenna gain than I have!  Some of these activations are on YouTube.  See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1agnioRKJw .

Rain - NOT amateur radio

Well, perhaps we have had the good weather for the year!  Our nice dry and warm spell came to an end after dark last night with rain. The big high we had has slipped away and we are now (once again) in a stream of wet and windy weather dominated by low pressure systems. It is not that cold but several degrees lower than the highs we saw in the last few days. The sun has gone.
Part of the rear garden yesterday

Returned to 10m WSPR

About 20 minutes ago I returned to 10m WSPR (2W TX 20%, 80% RX) hopeful of some Es or even F2 propagation on the 10m band.  As yet, no 10m spots given or received.

Just G8LCO (58km) was spotting me on 630m WSPR. I have now gone QRT on MF (630m). It is doubtful I shall bother with this band again now until the autumn in better conditions with a lot more active stations.

UPDATE 1056z:  Still no spots on 10m WSPR, although it remains early in the day.

UPDATE 1115z:   Still no spots on 10m WSPR. If there is to be any Es on 10m today, then I would expect it soon.

UPDATE 1348z:  OH5XO (1943km) spotted a few times around lunch on 10m WSPR, so some Es today again. No F2 seen here today. No Es since lunchtime.

UPDATE 1922z:  EA1FAQ (1249km) spotted me very strongly on 10m WSPR at teatime. Es definitely. Against my better judgement I have returned to 630m WSPR (QRT on 10m now) and am being spotted on 630m WSPR by M1GEO (65km) and G8LCO (58km). I think M1GEO is a new reporter.

472kHz overnight

Last night I went on 472kHz WSPR again overnight. Unlike earlier in the year when I spotted lots of stations and lots spotted me, I only spotted one station last night (a German) and just one station spotted me. At this time of year and through the summer I think I am wasting my time. Maybe I should chose a different band for WSPR overnight now?

Sunspots and 10m - Tues May 10th 2016

Solar flux is 88 today and the sunspot number 68 (K=4). The forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor", although there was F2 propagation on 10m WSPR yesterday.

9 May 2016

Life on Mars? - NOT amateur radio

See http://www.theworldweekly.com/reader/view/magazine/2014-12-18/there-may-be-life-on-mars-after-all/2909 .

It is just possible there is life on Mars.

My website and blogs

Every now and again I like to remind people of my main website and blogs. My main website (not updated too often) has details of my projects. The blogs get updated most days and are where I put news or things that are of interest to me.

www.g3xbm.co.uk  - Main website
g3xbm-qrp.blogspot.co.uk/ - Amateur radio (mainly) blog - updated most days
qss2.blogspot.co.uk/ - Miscellaneous Musings blog - updated most weeks
eachurches.blogspot.co.uk/  - East Anglian churches blog - updated when we visit a church in the area

Back on 10m WSPR

At about 0936z I resumed my 10m WSPR activity. It will take a few minutes before I am ready to give and receive spots.

Let us hope today is better than yesterday, which was dire here. At least the sun is shining, although this has nothing to do with Es!

There has been some work correlating some thunder activity with sprites and Es, but I don't know the details. Es is fascinating and there is still a lot to learn. May, June, July and August are the best Es months in the northern hemisphere with a much smaller peak December and January. Es can occur at any time though, to a lesser extent which is another good reason to use WSPR.

Years ago I remember getting into trouble with my mum and dad when I used the one domestic TV we had to hunt for Band 1 DXTV by Es.  In those days (1960s) you could see all over Europe on Band 1 TV in the summer months. On tropo I could always see the Band 3 819 line transmission (weakly) from Brittany. The antenna was totally in the wrong direction. On a 405 line TV (unmodified) there were 2 pictures side by side.
10m WSPR so far today
UPDATE 1142z:  Some Es on 10m WSPR. No F2 seen here.

UPDATE 1642z:  Much to my surprise, I exchanged spots with FR1GZ (9724km) this afternoon and spotted PU3WSF (10416km) this afternoon by F2.  I was not expecting F2 today.

Sunspots and 10m - Mon May 9th 2016

Solar flux is 83 today. Sunspot number is 42 (K=4) and the forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor".

I have yet to turn on my 10m WSPR. I shall probably use 2W TX on 10m and listen for others 80% of the time. Although F2 is very doubtful, Es is more likely on 10m today.

Declining swallow numbers - NOT amateur radio

See http://www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/discoverandlearn/birdguide/name/s/swallow/population.aspx

Certainly over here in East Anglia there are fewer swallows about than previously.  They have appeared on sightings in Devon, but I have seen very few so far. Swifts seem to be plentiful. I think I have seen as many house martins as swallows and that is just a handful. The RSPB says swallow numbers have been declining since the 1970s. As a harbinger of summer, I hope this is just a blip. Certainly we had a mild, wet winter but spring was late.

8 May 2016

Gs only on 10m and 6m WSPR

On 6m WSPR I have been spotted by G4MLA (53km) and on 10m WSPR just G0LRD (25km) spotting me. No F2 DX and no Es here all day on 10m and 6m.

New rigs?

At the moment I am happy with the rigs I have, so I can wait to replace rigs.

At the moment the IC7300 looks a favourite over the FT991, but a decent FT817 replacement at the right price might fit the bill. All decisions on future investments are predicated on the price being right. I want dealers to make a fair margin, but I do not like being ripped off.  On the IC7300, dealers are making a mint out of early adopters who want the rig at any price. Later, the IC7300 price will drop.

I am awaiting Dayton to see if Yaesu really does replace the workhorse FT817. I have my doubts. As you know, 5-10W is quite enough for me.

Sunspots and 10m - Sun May 8th 2016

Solar flux is 87 today. Sunspot number is 51 but K=7. The forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor". With very disturbed conditions it is unlikely 10m will be any good today, although Es may liven things up. I have been on 10m WSPR and 6m WSPR since before breakfast.

UPDATE 0858z:  Unsurprisingly, no spots so far today! Maybe I'll spot, or get spotted by, some locals?

UPDATE 1454zStill no spots at all on 10m WSPR and 6m WSPR. Dire.I may go on 472kHz WSPR tonight.

ICOM IC7300 first reviews

Steve G1KQH has brought to my attention the first reviews on eHam of the IC7300.

Because of the wide front end filters, some have reported front-end overload issues. Software/firmware updates will not fix this as it is an inherent issue with wide front-end filters: nearby BC or amateur stations can swamp the front end and the rig sensitivity nosedives. As long as the overload does not occur it is a fine rig. I can see no good reason why this rig should be any worse than others that use sub-octave filters rather than narrow bandpass filters for each amateur band. Such designs are common nowadays in front ends.

I think sensitivity starts to collapse if the rig sees more than 70mV in the front end. If you have a nearby 1kW station operating in the same band, you could have problems. You might also have problems with multiple very strong BC band stations.

Although without 2m and 70cms, the European version does have 4m, which is good. I still just prefer the IC7300 to the Yaesu FT991. The price needs to drop though!

Eham reviews point to an overload in the front end:

73 Steve

7 May 2016

10m F2 DX

PU3WSF (10416km) has been spotted on WSPR 2 times in recent minutes. I shall stay on 10m WSPR a bit longer in the hope that my own signal will reach S.America before the band dies out. Good to see some F2 DX on the band. At this time of year it is possible some of these openings are a combination of Es and F2 further to the south. There has been Es right across Europe all day on 10m.

UPDATE 2135z:  Nothing on 10m WSPR for over an hour now. I am staying on the band overnight, but think we have now seen the end of F2 and Es for the day.

FT817 replacement announcement?

If the rumours are to be believed, this month we may get an announcement at Dayton on a replacement to the FT817. Of course, it is entirely possible we will not!

In my view, Yaesu have "missed the boat" and should have launched such a product on the approach to the sunspot maximum rather than on the downward slope.Yaesu certainly need some "must have" features if they are to be as successful as with the FT817.

Plentiful Es on 10m

It will soon be time to get back on 6m as the Es season is really with us now. There is daily Es on 10m and I expect there will be Es openings on 6m too. I have not seen any F2 DX on 10m WSPR for a little while. It will be interesting to see if 10m opens to the USA this autumn. I think it will on a few occasions and certainly far less often than last year. Any USA 10m spots this autumn will be a bonus.

Stroke update - NOT amateur radio

2.5 years after my cerebellum bleed, I am still suffering. The worst are the poor speech, the profound exhaustion I suffer after most mental or physical exertion and feeling drunk all of my waking hours. To others I look fine. This is part of my frustration: everyone thinks I am fully back to normal, whereas I know different. It is very very hard to accept.
UPDATE 1528z: This afternoon I creosoted (actually a substitute these days) our garden shed. In the past this would have been a quick and easy job, but now it really exhausts me. There is still one side to do tomorrow as well as putting up a different bird box for next season.

Sunspots and 10m - Sat May 7th 2016

I have been on 10m WSPR since about 0715z (2W TX 20%, RX 80%).

Solar flux 89 today and sunspot number 56 (K=2). The 10m propagation forecast remains "poor". although withe the Es season we can expect some short-skip in 10m most days.

UPDATE 0908z:  Plenty of Es short-skip on 10m WSPR already, plus locals.  Today could be quite productive on 10m WSPR by Es. It would be good to see some N-S F2 propagation on the band too.

Rally in Northern Ireland (Ulster)


SHARE Centre, Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh, Northern Ireland BT92 0EQ Doors open from 11.15am to 4pm with disabled visitors gaining access 15 minutes earlier. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy, car boot area, flea market, special interest groups and an RSGB bookstall. A licensed bar and catering will be available on site. Lectures will form part of the day's activities and there will be a prize draw during the day. Camping is available. More information from Michael Clarke, M5MTC on 0286 862 1436 or by email to mi5mtc@learc.eu. www.learc.eu.

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

6 May 2016

Secure blog connection if you want

Set your link to https://g3xbm-qrp.blogspot.com if you want a secure blog connection. This is a recent Google change. The old links should still work. Note the https not http:// in the URL.

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

So far, there have been no spots on 10m WSPR or 6m WSPR. No F2 DX and no Es in evidence. This quite different from yesterday when on 10m there was a lot of Es about.

UPDATE 2116z:  EA1FAQ (1249km) was copied on 10m WSPR by Es earlier.  I have now QSYed to 630m (472kHz) WSPR for the night until after breakfast tomorrow.

RRS Sir David Attenborough - NOT amateur radio

The new polar research vessel has been named after Sir David Attenborough and not Boaty which was the outcome of a popular vote. I think this is the right decision.

Sir David Attenborough is a very famous UK naturalist with a world-wide reputation. Most of his life he has inspired others with a love of the natural world. Such a nice tribute.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-36225652 .

IC7300 groups

As you know, I quite like this new ICOM, but not the price. Unless a good replacement for the FT817 comes along I may buy one later when the price drops. Steve G1KQH has sent me details of some IC7300 Facebook groups.

Joined this one

and this one:

73 Steve

People you no longer hear about - NOT amateur radio

If you live in the UK the names Peter Skellern and Richard Stilgoe may sound familiar. These pianists and singers were popular in the 1980s but I have not heard them or seen them for many years. As far as I know both are still alive, but they seem to have dropped from view. Perhaps they've had a change of career?

Change - NOT amateur radio

It probably happens to everyone and certainly does here. One go along a path that is little changed for years and then something happens to change things - like someone stops working, you move, or someone close dies. I guess we all have to accept that change happens. It is part of life. When it happens it comes as a shock, but one has to move on.

Sunspots and 10m - Fri May 6th 2016

Solar flux is 87 today. number is 55 (K=2) and the forecast for 10m F2 remains "poor" although there is now Es to liven things up in the Northern Hemisphere.

5 May 2016

What a difference a day makes - NOT amateur radio

Yesterday I saw my first swift (bird) of the season. Today they seem to be everywhere!

This afternoon there were several feeding on insects high in the sky and there was a house martin high over our windmill. This morning we saw swifts in Newmarket and a number over our village  with a sparrowhawk.

In just one day swifts have gone from being rare to very common.

USA Presidential Election - NOT amateur radio

This is a "democratic" election and I am only observing from afar. Mind you, you need to have millions or billions to have any chance. Neither candidate fills me with joy but I am truly amazed that the republican candidate is so popular.

Come the outcome, the world may be a different place if the USA takes a more isolationist stance in the world again.

Here, in the UK, we are electing some local and semi-local politicians. Here in East Anglia we are just voting for a new Police and Crime Commissioner for which I have received no data at all, so I am not voting for this QUANGO which must be costing UK taxpayer's millions.

Aurora tomorrow?

There is a chance of aurora May 6th according to Dr Tamitha Skov on Twitter. I don't use Twitter much but get a daily email.

Radio Amateur's Exam

It is different these days but I took my RAE on May 13th 1966. Thanks to a link from Steve G1KQH, I can see the paper I took. I have to say I do not recall any of the questions today. It was a long time ago, HI.

"Old RAE papers, do you really know your stuff?:

73 Steve

Sunspots and 10m - Thurs May 5th 2016

Solar flux is 90 today. Sunspot number is 67 (K=2) and the forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor". Yesterday there was a brief Es opening, but no F2 DX.  Today is likely to be similar - I am not expecting great things, but hope to be surprised.

Daytime WSPRing today

The 10m WSPR beacon has been resynced to internet time. I have decided to stay on 10m and 630m WSPR all day today. 6m was a dead loss yesterday so I am not using 6m today.

UPDATE 0854z:  Overnight there we no 10m spots. 630m (472kHz) WSPR was more productive, although there were few stations copied and my best TX DX on 472kHz (5mW ERP) was just Holland. I have already been spotted in France and Finland on 10m WSPR and by G8LCO (58km) on 472kHz WSPR.

UPDATE 1226z:   Lots and lots of Es spots on 10m WSPR today - so many I have lost count!  On MF just spots from G8LCO.

UPDATE 1505z: 10m WSPR has been buzzing all day with 96 spots so far from all over Western Europe. A good day. No F2 propagation here, but made up with good Es.

4 May 2016

Overnight WSPRing

For a change I am WSPRing on 2 bands overnight.  Firstly on 10m, although I doubt anyone will spot me (!) and secondly on 630m (472kHz) where I am pretty sure I shall be spotted and will spot others.

Although I was on 6m WSPR all day until a few minutes ago, I spotted no-one and no-one spotted me. In all, 6m was a bit of a waste of time!

UPDATE 2115z: Just G4ALH and me G3XBM are shown as transmitting on 472kHz WSPR from the UK. There are quite a few more stations on RX and a few Norwegians on TX that I might copy.

First swifts spotted - NOT amateur radio

To me, swifts herald summer. Today, just before lunch, I spotted my first 2 swifts of the season high overhead. This is about the time I first see them here. There have been reports of swifts in Devon for a couple of weeks.

Hearing these summer visitors screaming in the evening sky brings real joy to my heart. Summer is nearly here!

Swifts have much narrower scythe like wings than swallows and house martins. They are late to arrive and leave early. They spend most of their lives on the wing. Years ago one crashed in the road and I was lucky enough to care for it overnight and handle it. The next day it just flew off!

See https://www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/discoverandlearn/birdguide/name/s/swift/

FCC - so so S L O W .....wake me!

It is hard to believe just how slow the FCC is being over the release of the 137kHz and 472kHz bands in the USA.  Years have passed and neither band is released. The FCC is worried about interference to utilities. For goodness sake! Surely they could release both bands with a tight ERP level initially on a "non interference" basis? I moan about OFCOM but the FCC seems far far worse!

This is from the ARRL site...

"Meanwhile, the Amateur Radio community continues to await action on ET Dockets 12-338 and 15-99 that would spell out service rules for the new 2200 and 630 meter Amateur Radio bands. The FCC was expected to issue a Report and Order last fall. That subsequently got moved back to the first quarter of 2016, which also has slipped.
Regulatory provisions under consideration have included a possible notification requirement by some radio amateurs to utilities that operate PLC systems in that region of the spectrum, prior to their starting operation on either new band. Utilities use unlicensed PLC systems to control parts of the electrical power grid.
Earlier this year, the ARRL has asked the Commission not to adopt overly broad requirements to notify utilities in advance of intended Amateur Radio operation on the pending bands. The Amateur Service would gain access to 135.7-137.8 kHz (2200 meters) and 472-479 kHz (630 meters). Both bands have been used by numerous Experimental (Part 5) licensees, and the ARRL’s WD2XSH 600 Meter Experiment continues."

FCC - the world looks on and is amazed!! Wake up!! One cannot help thinking that the FCC is a pile of bureaucrats who do not understand radio. Please, release these bands in the USA.