30 Jun 2016

BREXIT - NOT amateur radio

It is now a week since the UK voted to leave the EU. Although the pound has fallen the stock markets seem to have taken things OK. The UK seems to be on a self destruct route at the moment with the Labour party in civil war and the Conservatives thrown into confusion by Boris not standing for PM. It will be some time before the fog clears and we chart a new path.

Better and better on 6m

It just gets better and better on 6m JT65. Already today on 6m I have had more spots than yesterday by Es and tropo despite my low ERP and omni antenna (1W ERP). Spots are coming in thick and fast from all over Europe. Maybe next year I should replace my lossy RG58 coax with low loss coax?

Rally (N.Ireland)

Donaghadee Community Centre, Manor Street, Donaghadee, Co. Down BT21 0HB.

The venue is just 100 metres from the harbour with car parking available. Doors open at 11.30am and admission is £3. There is a talk by Ian White, GM3SEK on Practical Outdoor Weatherproofing as well as trade stands, a Bring & Buy and an RSGB bookstall. Special interest groups will be in attendance. A raffle will be held on the day. Details from Harry on 0289 142 2762 or by email to norman.newell@yahoo.com.

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


See http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/mobile-data-strategy/update-strategy-mobile-spectrum/.  OFCOM has published a paper on its mobile data strategy.

VLF SAQ 17.2kHz CW - a reminder

A reminder that SAQ will broadcast on July 3rd 2016.

See http://alexander.n.se/the-radio-station-saq-grimeton/saq-transmissions/?lang=en .

Early Es

Both on 10m WSPR and 6m JT65 I am being widely spotted as a result of Es. It surprises me just how good 6m JT65 is proving. See https://pskreporter.info/pskmap.html .

Sunspots and 10m - Thurs June 30th 2016

Solar flux is 74 and yet again the sunspot number is zero (K=1).  The forecast for 10m propagation (F2) remains "poor", but there is Es on both 10m and 6m.

29 Jun 2016

JT65 on 6m

Best DX spotted on 6m JT65 was CN8YZ (2233km) in IM63 square in North Africa. My own 1W ERP 6m JT65 signal has been spotted all over Europe once again with around 30 reports so far today. Every day I seem to spot, and be spotted, by loads of 6m stations. I am still awaiting some transatlantic 6m DX on JT65.  I also want to be spotted by 4X1RF on 6m JT65.

I continue to TX at the same time on 10m WSPR, but I am seriously thinking of stopping these transmissions until the end of the Es season. It is possible I may try 10m JT65 in the autumn.

UPDATE 1752z:  Spotted TA1BM (2499km) in Turkey on 6m JT65.
6m JT65 today
UPDATE 2200z:  Well it is time for bed, but 6m JT65 has looked more like 20m! The map below shows the spots in the last 12 hours when using 1W ERP.
Where I have been spotted in the last 12hrs on 6m JT65 (1W ERP)

Southgate News

Most days I take a look at Southgate News as they usually have things of interest. Sometimes the content takes news items from other sources, but usually I find something of interest.

More QRP and QRP Club

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

I'm happy to inform about new Club 72 member -
UD0LBA Mrs. Yana Karachevskaya (XYL of Sergey RV3DSA)

Also remind about QRP Rendez-Vous in Thursday 9 UTC on 14060

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

Sunspots and 10m - Wed June 29th 2016

Solar flux is 74 today. Sunspot number is again zero (K=1) and the 10m F2 propagation forecast is yet again "poor".

10m WSPR and 6m JT65

About 10 minutes ago I switched on my 10m WSPR beacon (500mW), which had been off overnight. I left the 6m JT65 (1W ERP) running through the night and this is still on.

UPDATE 0906z:  4 G spots so far on 6m JT65. Nothing yet on 10m WSPR.

28 Jun 2016

Our son - NOT amateur radio

Our elder son came up from London to see us this afternoon. He is a professional jazz pianist so works odd hours. When he comes up he helps us in the garden. It is always good to see our boys.

6m JT65 success again

6m JT65 (1W ERP) so far today
It is hard not to be impressed with 6m JT65. Yet again, my 1W QRP from my omni vertical is being spotted all over Europe. I am also spotting others at similar ranges. If this was 6m WSPR I may not have had a single spot all day. For 6m, even though theoretically not as good as WSPR, I am having great success with JT65.

It would be good to spot, or be spotted, across the Atlantic on 6m JT65. I am sure I have a much higher chance than with WSPR.

See https://pskreporter.info/pskmap.html .

UPDATE 2125z:  6m JT65 has been excellent all day. With around 30 spots of my 6m QRP signals from all over Europe I am convinced that JT65 is the mode on 6m for me.
6m JT65 spots of my QRP today so far

Hedgehog - NOT amateur radio

This morning, we found a hedgehog in the back garden. For those unfamiliar with these, they are about 15cms long, prickly, and cover about a mile on their, mainly nocturnal, walks. We used to see them often at our old house but this is the first seen here.  See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedgehog.

Muntjac deer seem to have taken a fancy to our sunflowers as the tops have been eaten! See http://www.bds.org.uk/index.php/advice-education/species/muntjac-deer

Sunspots and 10m - Tues June 28th 2016

Solar flux is 75 today and the sunspot number is zero yet again (K=2). The forecast for 10m F2 propagation is again "poor". Luckily there is Es about on 10m.

27 Jun 2016

QRP and QRP Club

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,
I'm glad to inform about new Club 72 member -
US5ERQ op. Sergey (Dnipro region, Ukraine), membership card # 87.

Remind  about "72 QRP" round table (Rendez-Vous) tomorrow at 9 UTC on
14060  +/-  QRM,  QRL,  keep  RIT  for  xtal  stn's.  See you also on
"rendezvous"  on  Thursday  and  Saturday.  Comments  and reports are
appreciated to "mr72" e-mail, please.

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

6m JT65 and 10m WSPR today

Apart from a couple of G spots of my 1W ERP signal on 6m JT65, all is quiet on both bands here with no signs yet of Es.

UPDATE 0920z: I see there were a couple of EA stations spotted here on 6m JT65 around breakfast time, so there was Es on 6m earlier.

UPDATE 1628z:  EA8CNR (2929km) is best RX DX today on 6m JT65.

2m UK activity contests

Last week, the RSGB published the results of the UKAC 2m so far this year. Even though I have been only active of about 40% (or less) of the time in each session, I only use 5W QRP and an omni antenna, I am half way up the table (AL section) and I appear to be moving up too. Contests have never really been "my thing", but I enjoy these sessions until my voice gives in. Because of my stroke I usually manage less than an hour. Activity levels are usually good, although the last 70cm UKAC was dire here.

UPDATE 0922z: The next 2m UKAC is on the first Tuesday in July starting at 1900z (8pm UK clock time).

Slowly declining solar activity

We have had several days recently with a total absence of sunspots. There is now little doubt that we are now on the slow, downward slide to the next solar minimum. The slide on the downwards few years is usually slower than the rise to the next peak after the minimum. The next peak is expected to be very poor.

Next autumn could be very interesting, although conditions on 10m are very unlikely to be as good as the last few years.

In my lifetime it is very unlikely I shall ever see 10m F2 conditions really good again. This is quite a sobering thought. Es (multi-hop) may be the only real hope of E-W DX on 10m in some summer months. Such DX may also happen on 6m too. The only time I worked the USA on 6m (this was 2.5W CW QRP) was by Es in a quiet part of the solar cycle when F2 propagation was poor on the higher HF bands.

As always, this is the law of averages. There may be good days when 10m is "open" but such openings may be missed as people follow the activity ever lower in frequency.  In the minimum even 20m may be dead. This is a few years away.

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

Sunspots and 10m - Mon June 27th 2016

Solar flux is 76 today. Sunspot number is zero again (K=3) and the forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor".

26 Jun 2016

OK, you win!

OK, I am truly convinced that JT65 is much better than WSPR as a guide to propagation on 6m. The map shows where I reached on 6m (1W ERP) today. If I had been on 6m WSPR, which is better at digging weak signals out of the noise, I would have been lucky to get a spot at all! On 10m, I am still using WSPR as the activity levels are higher on WSPR than on 6m.

See https://pskreporter.info/pskmap.html .

UPDATE 1918z: This is the 6m log today. Not bad for 1W ERP and a simple vertical omni.
Click on log to see a clearer version.

Working in garden - NOT amateur radio

Back Garden
Yesterday, I was going to cut our lawns but it was too wet. Today, the weather was good so I managed to cut both the front and back lawns. My XYL did a bit of weeding and chopping back. It is amazing how everything seems to have grown in the short time we were away.

10m WSPR today

I am still using 500mW on 10m WSPR. There is widespread Es about with spots from Germany, Italy and Spain already.

6m JT65 today

So far today, my 6m JT65 beaconing (1W ERP) has only been spotted in the UK. Last night I spotted an Italian late evening on 6m JT65.
6m JT65 spots so far today (1W ERP)
UPDATE 1038z: One Croatian station has been spotted on 6m JT65 (Es) but all the spots of me on 6m so far have been by G stations. JT65 is far more productive on 6m than WSPR in my view. I think this is because there are far more stations active. I am still hopeful of transatlantic spots on 6m JT65 even at my QRP level.

UPDATE 1218z:  My 6m QRP JT65 was spotted in Finland 20 minutes ago. I assume this is Es.

UPDATE 1255z:  Several more 6m JT65 Es spots from listeners in Finland.

UPDATE 1700z:  More spots on 6m Es (see map).

UPDATE 1755z:  Spots from right across Europe on 6m JT65 (1W ERP). Spots from 18 stations today.

QRP and QRP Club

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,
72 QRP Net (Rendez-Vous) weekly report (June 20 to 27, 2016)
Visitors  of  the week: RU3NJC, OH6NPV, DL6KBV, UR0ET, US3EN, UR5EFD, DK2SC, DM4DB,  UA1CEG,  DK3WX,  UA1CEX, SV8/GM0LVI/p, ON6KZ, SM7PXS,
GM0LVI became "rendezvous" Frequenter - Congrats!
See full Visitors and Frequenters lists on the Club 72 page - www.club72.su
Enjoy a lot of "rendezvous" comments and pictures on the blog -
See you All on the next week "round tables" - 72 QRP Net (rendezvous)

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

OM3CUG op. Igor became a member, Club card # 86

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

Sunspots and 10m - Sun June 26th 2016

Solar flux is 76 today. Sunspot number remains zero (K=2) and 10m F2 propagation is again expected to be "poor". Luckily we are in the main Es season in the northern hemisphere and there is good Es on 10m and 6m.

25 Jun 2016

Best 6m DX today

After the storm I have returned to 6m JT65 and 10m WSPR beaconing. Best report on 6m JT65 (so far) is UX4UA (2082km). I assume this is Es. It is still thundering, although the maps show the storms moving away NE.

Alibris deals again - NOT amateur radio

Yet again,  I have received several money saving offers from this crowd. Will they never learn? Each week I must get 2-3 offers from them.  If I miss one offer I am sure to get another within a few days. No-one in their right minds would pay full price.

Rain, hail, thunder - will we ever see the sun?

At the moment it is hailing here. I will probably disconnect all antennas, PC and rigs until the storm has passed over and moved away. We had a few settled days last week. Maybe that was our summer? We usually see thunder and lightning in late July and August. June is rare.

See www.lightningmaps.org .

UPDATE 1500z:  The storm seems to be moving away now, although I can still hear thunder. I shall wait until all danger is well gone before reconnecting antennas, rigs and PC.

More expensive UK amateur gear?

With the fall in the UK pound as a result of the UK vote to leave the EU it is possible that amateur radio gear (paid for in US dollars) will get more expensive. This is not certain and I hope the dealers will hold or reduce prices and their margins. Fuel will definitely be a bit more expensive.

Cut the grass! - NOT amateur radio

We were only away a few days but our grass is long and is in bad need of cutting!  Sadly we have had lots of showers, so the grass may be left uncut until tomorrow.

Time flies - NOT amateur radio

Maybe it is because I am getting older. Maybe it is an artifact of my stroke. Time seems to be faster these days. We have been home from Amsterdam less than half a day, but the next week will fly by! I have mentioned driving before: everything seems faster: when doing 50mph, it feels like 60mph. I am sure that my perception of time and speed has changed.

Return to 6m and 10m

I am beaconing on 10m WSPR and 6m JT65. Very early (around 0700z) I called G0VUH (157km in IO93) on 6m JT65 and since then have been spotted by a couple of Gs 6m JT65. G4KPX (14km) is the only station to spot me on 10m WSPR. As yet, no signs of Es on 10m or 6m as yet. It is now nearly 1000z.

UPDATE 1010z:  Although no-one outside of the UK has spotted me yet, I have spotted a station in Germany and in Italy on 6m JT65. There is Es about.


Messe, Friedrichshafen, Germany Trade stands, special interest groups and IARU Member Socities all have stands in the main hall. Large flea market. Lectures take place each day, some in English. There will be a large RSGB book stall. www.hamradio-friedrichshafen.de.

This rally is a big international one.  It is a bit like a European version of Dayton, although I've not been to either.

Cheese & Grain, Bridge Street, Frome, Somerset BA11 1BE. The venue has car parking available and disabled facilities. Doors are open from 10am to 2pm and admission is £3 with under 14s free. There will be trade stands and an RSGB bookstall, There is catering on site. More details from Shaun, G8VPG on 01225 873 098 or by email to rallymanager@westrally.org.uk. www.westrally.org.uk.


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

Sunspots and 10m - Sat June 25th 2016

Solar flux is little changed at 76. Sunspot number is again zero (K=2) and the forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor". Hopefully Es will liven up both 10m and 6m again today.

24 Jun 2016

Amsterdam - NOT amateur radio

The last few days we were in Amsterdam, Holland. We traveled there by train, through the Channel Tunnel on Eurostar. Our journey took us through France, Belgium (Brussels) and Holland. My wife and I have "divisions" in cities, with Amsterdam in our top division - we have been there 6 times now. Having had a stroke nearly 3 years ago, I found negotiating the cobbled streets and bikes made me very dizzy. Despite this we had a great few days. Now that I'm back you can expect blog updates most days.

BREXIT the reality - NOT amateur radio

So the referendum has taken place and the UK people have chosen to leave the EU. All of my close family voted to remain IN. The future of the UK is unknown. Indeed, the future of the EU may now be very different. All I hope is that we remain friends with our neighbours in Europe. We have always wanted the EU trade, but we have never sought closer political ties.  The future is ours to forge and we must chose a good future that unites its people not divides them.

Sunspots and 10m - Fri June 24th 2016

Solar flux is 75 today and the sunspot number is zero (K=2) and the forecast for 10m propagation is "poor".  As there is thunder about I shall return to 10m WSPR and 6m JT65 tomorrow.

Been away

As you will have noticed, I was away for a few days so there were no blog entries for the last few days. I have now returned home, so normal service should be resumed. We all need breaks!

20 Jun 2016

QRP and QRP Club

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,
See full report and comments on the blog page   -
See all Visitors and Frequenters lists also "72 QRP Rendez-Vous" round table schedule on the Club 72 web page - www.club72.su

Warning!  If you logged even one QRP QSO in the World QRP Day of June 17  fill  the declaration form on the "W QRP Day" page of the Club 72 site, please. See all last years results on the same page.

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

Sunspots and 10m - Monday June 20th 2016

Solar flux is 82 today. Sunspot number is 48 (K=1) and the forecast for 10m F2 propagation is "poor" yet again.

IN, OUT shake it all about!

If we vote to leave the EU I shall not be too surprised.

The REMAIN campaign has been very negative and focused on the harm to the UK if we vote to leave and not the benefits of being "in the club".  A vote to leave will probably mean that Scotland will want another referendum and lead to the break-up of the UK. If we leave the EU then I think others will follow and the Euro will collapse.

It is entirely possible we could vote to remain in the EU. One thing is certain: the outcome is too close to call. It is possible David Cameron will continue as UK Prime Minister for years to come. On the other hand we could see Boris as PM as early as November. What is certain is that politics is changing. If we leave I suspect a lurch to the right politically will occur. This is happening in many EU nations and this is dangerous.

Although my XYL and I voted IN (remain) the outcome could go either way. The EU cannot continue as a weak protectionist club. It has to change or it will fall apart.

6m JT65 versus 6m WSPR

Although WSPR is better able to dig signals out of the noise I find JT65 far more effective on 6m than WSPR. I think there are 2 factors:
  1. Activity levels on 6m JT65 far exceed those on 6m WSPR so openings get noticed.
  2. The 1 minute transmit cycle probably means that short burst openings get detected. WSPR needs nearly 2 minutes.
In all, I like 6m JT65. Also, JT65 is in the main a 2-way mode although I tend to use it as a 1-way beaconing mode because of my poor health, looking on PSKreporter to see where I was copied and where I am spotting.

To yesterday mid-afternoon I had received 108 reports in 18 countries in the last 24 hours on 6m JT65 with 1W ERP.

19 Jun 2016

Continued success on 6m JT65

It is now 1900z and I am still on 10m WSPR and 6m JT65. On 10m WSPR there are Es spots from across Europe, but 6m JT65 seems to be giving me lots of spots from across Europe too by Es. There is no doubt in my mind that JT65 is a much better mode on 6m because of the much higher activity levels.

10m WSPR

 Whilst beaconing on 6m JT65 I am also TXing on 10m WSPR (500mW). Certainly later, conditions seem to be favoring northern Europe.

Kazakstan on 6m

UN3M (3555km) in Kazakhstan was copied on 6m JT65 early this morning. He was in locator LO61. My own JT65 6m signal (1W ERP) has been spotted across Europe again. JT65 does seem much more productive than WSPR on 6m.
6m JT65 spots today

Sunspots and 10m - Sun June 18th 2016

Solar flux is 84 today and sunspot number 46 (K=1). The forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor".

18 Jun 2016

Tim Peake - NOT amateur radio

Thankfully, Tim Peake who had spent 6 months on board the ISS, has returned safely to Earth. He has done much for the UK in space. We must not forget that space is still a hazardous environment. Getting back from space is still very hazardous.

Es season in full swing.

6m JT65 spots received in last 12 hours (1W ERP)
WSPR on 10m is producing spots from across Europe. On 6m JT65 I am also getting lots of reports. I must say that moving to JT65 on 6m (1W ERP) was an excellent move as there is so much more activity.

UPDATE 1228z:  Plenty of JT65 reports on 6m this morning at 1W ERP.
Last 6 hrs on 6m JT65 (1W ERP)

Sunspots and 10m - Sat June 18th 2016

Solar flux is 85 today. Sunspot number is 36 (K=3) and the 10m propagation forecast remains "poor".

17 Jun 2016

The Quiet Sun and 10m

We could be entering a very long period of very low solar activity, quite unlike anything in modern times. With noise levels much higher on the lower HF bands we may be forced to VHF and UHF satellites to work DX we have become used to. Summertime Es may soon be the only practical propagation mode for DX on 10m.

Don't forget we are dealing with averages and some days will allow N-S F2 DX still on 10m.

I am a great supporter of WSPR and very much hope WSPR users will continue on 10m even when the prospects are not good. I suspect 10m is "open" far more often than people think. A casual tune over the band may result in nobody being heard, so people move down the bands. With regular WSPR use, short openings on 10m would be "smoked out". Since only low power is needed for WSPR, this is an ideal mode for the "quiet sun" years.

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

Tim Peake - NOT amateur radio

After 6 months in orbit on the ISS, UK astronaut Tim Peake returns to Earth tomorrow, Sunday, in a Russian Soyuz space module. Re-entry is always hazardous, so we all wish him a safe trip back to Earth. Rather him than me!

It is funny how we are friends with Russia in so many ways, yet there is still distrust of them and them of us in the West. The sooner we all learn that the Cold War ended in 1989 the better for us all.

10m WSPR and 6m JT65

Although I have been beaconing at 500mW on 10m WSPR for several hours, nobody has yet spotted me. On 6m JT65 I have had more luck with several Gs as well as Belgium and Spain spotted here. I only just realised I had not enabled TX on 6m (I now have).

UPDATE 1845z: So far, 3 G stations have spotted my 6m 1W ERP JT65 transmissions. No Es spots of me this evening, although I have only been on TX for about 75 minutes.

UPDATE 1912z: I see I am now spotting a couple of 6m stations on JT65 in Ukraine. I hope stations over there spot me too.

UPDATE 1920z:  UX4UA (2082km) in KO50el has spotted me, so it did not take long! I have also been spotted by a couple of stations in Finland. Clearly Es.

UPDATE 2005z: DK0SC (827km) has spotted my 10m 500mW WSPR. I am being spotted all over Europe on 6m JT65 with 1W.
6m JT65 spots this evening (1W ERP)

Sunspots and 10m - Fri June17th 2016

Solar flux is 87 today and the sunspot number is 26 (K=2). The forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor".

QRP Day - better late than never!

From Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and QRP friends,
remind about the World QRP Activity Day in June 17 and invite all QRP
operators.  See detailed rules on the page "World QRP Day" on Club 72
web-page - www.club72.su
You  can  QRV  in  Home  or  Field category. Declare your results via
on-line form on the same page (separately of Home and Field results).
Add  picture(s)  and/or  stories,  please.  Contact  "mr72"  for  any
questions.  Also  you  can  see last years results/photos on the same
page. Enjoy QRP activity!

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

We have had friends for the last 24 hours and they have only just left, so this announcement is late I'm afraid.

16 Jun 2016

Bouvet Is

As many know, I am no great DX chaser! However I read with interest about the costs of mounting DXpeditions to very remote places. See https://n6pse.wordpress.com/2016/06/05/bouvet-so-far-away/?utm_source=amateur-radio-weekly&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter .


If you are interested, OFCOM has just published http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/wireless-telegraphy-fees-notice-2016/statement/?utm_source=updates&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=wireless-telegraphy-fees-notice-2016-statement.

In one word - QUANGO.  My view, others may have different views.

10m WSPR

My 500mW 10m WSPR beacon is still running with spots from all over Europe again today. I like the mode as you can monitor WSPRnet in the lounge, and just pop in to the shack if there is a problem or to do a time re-sync.

But I agree that JT65 does seem a better mode on 6m. WSPR would be fine on 6m if there was more activity. Also, I suspect the one minute TX cycle in JT65 is better, even though the mode is less good at digging weak signals from the noise. Overall, JT65 seems right for 6m.

For JT65, I have to use my PC and FT817, so if I want to try the mode on 10m I have to stop TXing on 6m. With 10m WSPR I can use my stand-alone W5OLF WSPR beacon and be on 6m JT65 at the same time. The tiny W5OLF WSPR beacon does not need external audio or a PC.

Beaconing on 6m JT65

For the last few hours I have been running 1W ERP (vertical) on 6m JT65. Spots are being seen from all over Europe. I am monitoring in the lounge using PSK reporter but can be in the shack in seconds.  JT65 does seem to be more productive than WSPR. There seem to be more people using the mode on 6m. Thanks to Bas, it is now clear I am beaconing rather than calling CQ. Best DX on JT65 is still 9A6IV (1515km) in JN95ae. The strongest was a spot by LA7DFA (1312km) in JP33vj.

Recent 6m JT65 reports are shown below.


Saturday 18 JUNE : 19 JUNE 29th NEWBURY RADIO RALLY 
Newbury Showground, next to M4 J13. There will be a talk-in station operating on S22 (V44). The venue has free car parking and disabled facilities24-26 JUNE HAMTRONIC SHOW, 

Messe, Friedrichshafen, Germany Trade stands, special interest groups and IARU Member Socities all have stands in the main hall. Large flea market. Lectures take place each day, some in English. There will be a large RSGB book stall. [www.hamradio-friedrichshafen.de]. 

Cheese & Grain, Bridge Street, Frome, Somerset BA11 1BE. The venue has car parking available and disabled facilities. Doors are open from 10am to 2pm and admission is £3 with under 14s free. There will be trade stands and an RSGB bookstall, There is catering on site. More details from Shaun, G8VPG on 01225 873 098 or by email to rallymanager@westrally.org.uk. www.westrally.org.uk.

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

More JT65 on 6m

I am still on JT65 on 6m this morning and have been spotted by lots of Gs as well as in Spain and France by Es. I call CQ and try to get into the shack to answer calls. I have a couple of questions.

My questions are:

1. I really want to just beacon sometimes. What should I send that will appear on PSKreporter? Calling CQ when I am really beaconing seems wrong.

2. Is there a convention to call CQ in even (or odd) minutes?

Although I am WSPRing on 10m at the same time, surprisingly I have not been spotted yet on 10m.

On 6m I am now beaconing and sending "B G3XBM JO02" at 1W ERP. This seems to be being reported to PSKreporter.

Sunspots and 10m - Thurs June 16th 2016

Solar flux is 87 today. Sunspot number is 22 (K=2) and the 10m F2 propagation forecast remains "poor". Luckily there is Es about.

15 Jun 2016

Gilbert and Sullivan - NOT amateur radio

This evening we went with friends to nearby Swaffham Bulbeck for a Gilbert and Sullivan performance of "The Pirates of Penzance". Every June a local barn is taken over to do a G+S production. It is part of our year. The performance was excellent. It always is good. The cast is amateur but they always put on a first class show. At one point it rained heavily. Luckily the lights stayed on!

Sunspots and 10m - Wed June 15th 2016

Solar flux is 87 today and sunspot number 26 (K=3). 10m F2 propagation is forecast to remain "poor".

It is hard to believe we are approaching the summer solstice and the longest day. It seems 5 minutes since Christmas and the shortest day.

Still on 6m JT65

Today, I shall remain on JT65 on 6m, but continue with WSPR on 10m. A couple of G stations have already spotted my CQ on 6m in JT65, but no Es as yet. I have seen CQs from other G stations on 6m JT65.

UPDATE 1240z:  On 6m JT65 I have spotted GU8BFO (374km) and OZ0TFW (829km) as well as several G stations.

14 Jun 2016

Now active on 6m JT65

For the last hour or thereabouts I have been on 6m JT65 rather than WSPR. I am still just using the FT817 and the V2000 vertical omni fed with (lossy) RG58 coax.

Much to my surprise I am being spotted by G0LFF (146km) not far north of Brighton. At the moment I am calling CQ every 2 minutes, but I shall probably switch to RX only until after breakfast. There seems to be more activity on this mode than WSPR on 6m. It will be interesting to see what I spot, and who I can work, by Es tomorrow using this mode.

UPDATE 2050z:  On 6m JT65 I have now switched to RX only until after breakfast tomorrow.

70cm UKAC contest - dreadful!

Well, although I only have 5W and a 2m omni antenna I usually have a go in this contest and give a few points out. Tonight was truly dreadful. I only worked 2 stations in the limited time I was active and only heard 3 stations in total. Conditions seemed very flat and activity low. Usually I can work far more stations at greater range.

Anne's old house - NOT amateur radio

We have a friend who has been to visit me most months. She lives in a VERY old house. Today we walked to her house for tea and scones.

This roof, to the rear of her house, is a real problem in heavy rain as gallons and gallons of water flows off it, causing her cellar to flood. She has taken measures to minimise the problems but she is always nervous with heavy rain around.

QRT on 10m and 6m WSPR - thunderstorm risk

As there are storms moving this way, I decided to go QRT on both 10m and 6m WSPR and disconnect antennas and power plugs. The shack PC is also off and disconnected. Once the risk passes, I may reconnect. This could be some hours.

See www.lightningmaps.org to see where the storms are.

West Coast Canada to Africa on 6m

See http://www.amateurradio.com/ for a  report by Steve VE7SL of his 6m exploits. This sounds like Es but on these very long paths I question the conventional theories of multi-hop Es. I wonder if this is some kind of chordal-hop Es? As I reported yesterday, my QRP 6m WSPR was spotted for the 3rd year running in Israel. It could be multi-hop but I have my doubts.

There is also the possibility of mesospheric noctilucent clouds being involved in some very long paths on 6m such as Europe to Japan. This 8000km + path seems to be there most summers. We have much still to learn.

Hornets in Kent - NOT amateur radio

One of our sons who lives near Canterbury, Kent, UK reports lots of hornet sightings this year. Maybe it is as they are quite near to France? Normally they are quite uncommon but he has seen lots this month alone. Of course it could be global warming and we are beginning to see less common insects more often? I have seen a few beetles and flies in the garden that I do not recognise. Perhaps they have always been around. I have asked my son to take some photos.

SAQ transmission

"Grimeton Radio Station was listed as a world heritage site because, its original equipment is an exceptionally well-preserved example of the development of communication technology. In fact, it is still in working order.
Grimeton (call sign SAQ) still transmits a message to the world twice a year: at the Alexanderson Day (Sunday at the end of June/beginning of July) and at Christmas Eve. The frequency is 17.2 kHz CW."

Next transmission is July 3rd 2016. I am lucky to have a QSL card for their VLF transmission some years ago.

See  http://alexander.n.se/?lang=en .

Sunspots and 10m - Tues June 14th 2016

Solar flux is 89 today. Sunspot number is 27 (K=2) but 10m F2 propagation remains "poor".

Early start on 6m WSPR and 10m WSPR

OZ7IT (853km) was spotting my 1W ERP 6m WSPR at 0658z this morning. I assume this is Es, but early.

UPDATE 0900z:  Steve VE7SL has suggested I monitor JT65 on 6m instead of WSPR as activity levels are higher. I am seriously considering this.

UPDATE 1002z:  Lots of 10m WSPR spots from stations in Scandinavia this morning. Nothing more on 6m WSPR.

13 Jun 2016

10m still open (Es)

It is 2106z and my 500mW 10m WSPR is still being copied around Europe. 10m WSPR has been good for Es all day. My "gut" feel is reports on 6m Es are generally much stronger than 10m, but there are too few WSPR stations on 6m.

UPDATE 2120z:   IU1DZZ (973km) is still spotting me on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 2138z:  Now DK6UG (633km) is spotting me on 10m WSPR.

East Suffolk Wireless Revival

John G4BAO on RHS. Not sure who is on LHS
This was yesterday. I saw a post on Twitter showing Sam Jewell (G4DDK) and John Worsnop (G4BAO) engaged in conversation, no doubt about microwaves! The photo does not show Sam. John does the microwaves column in RadCom.


See www.lightningmaps.org .

I am very sorry folks. About 30 minutes ago I cut my front lawn and now it is really raining very hard.  According to the maps (see link) the thunder and lightning are heading this way. I shall stay on 10m and 6m WSPR for a little while, but I may well have to disconnect things soon.

UPDATE 1715z:  Well, although it rained hard, the storms decided to miss us, so I am still active on 10m and 6m WSPR.

Israel (again) on 6m WSPR

For the third year running my 1W ERP has been spotted in Israel on 6m WSPR by 4X1RF (3519km). This is a long way on VHF. It has now happened at this QTH for the last 3 summers! It seems too strong and regular for multi-hop Es. To me, it seems more like some sort of chordal-hop Es.

Tropo on the radio

Listen to www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03x0dq0

Southgate News has a link to the BBC Radio Lincolnshire broadcast featuring Jim Bacon talking about tropo.

PW QRP 2m contest - missed it again

Yet again I managed to miss the Practical Wireless 2m QRP contest yesterday. It would have been a good test of my simple station too. It is many years since I seriously entered this 2m contest. This was back in the days of AM I think and we operated portable with a big beam. These days, it would be from home with just my big-wheel omni.

Sunspots and 10m - Mon June 13th 2016

Solar flux is 92 today. Sunspot number is 39 (K=4) and 10m F2 propagation is forecast to remain "poor".

12 Jun 2016

More storms?

At the moment there are thunderstorms in the UK, but these seem to be out to the west and in the Oxford area according to http://www.lightningmaps.org . I shall remain on 10m WSPR and 6m WSPR,but if they get nearer I shall go QRT.

They seem to be moving this way - maybe disconnect everything in a few hours?
Unlike weather forecasts these are actual storms. At this time of year especially, it is worth going to the linked maps to keep an eye on storm progress.

UPDATE 1857z:  At the moment the storms seem to be going in the Chelmsford and Corby directions and not coming towards us.

UK Weather Forecasts are Rubbish - NOT amateur radio

OK, I moan about weather forecasts a lot and here I go again. 

Yesterday the forecast for OUR VILLAGE on the day said rain showers all afternoon. It was dry until we went to bed. 

Today OUR VILLAGE was supposed to be dry all day. It is raining! 

If you cannot rely on the forecast for NOW, what IS the point? Before readers tell me how complex our UK weather is may I say, yet again, our forecasts are rubbish.

The only reliable weather forecast in the UK is to look out of the darn window.

Millions have been spent on super-computers to enable better forecasting - oh yes? 

UPDATE 1400z:  Perhaps the best is to look at the forecast and assume the opposite?

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

It is now, as I write this, 0800z. So far, both 10m and 6m WSPR have been very quiet although it is very early still. Certainly there have been no signs here of Es as yet.

UPDATE 1140z:  So far just a single spot on 10m WSPR from HA9AL (1455km). Nothing as yet on 6m WSPR.

UPDATE 1306z:  Apart from the above Es spot, just G4KPX (14km) spotting me on 10m WSPR. All still quiet here on 6m WSPR.

UPDATE 1342z:  Spots exchanged with G4NRG (58km) on 6m WSPR. I am giving him much better reported S/N. OK, he is running a little more power, but maybe he has a higher local noise level?

UPDATE 1712z: OZ7IT (853km) has just spotted me strongly (+10dB S/N) on 6m WSPR. This is incredibly strong - more than a local! It implies just uW would have been enough.

UPDATE 1852z:  OZ5XN (812km) running 5W WSPR was a colossal signal on 6m WSPR at +13dB S/N. Almost like he is in the same street!

England Football Fans - NOT amateur radio

Yet again, I am ashamed of the England supporters abroad. Now, I am sure it is a small minority who cause all the unrest and violence but these tarnish the game. Also, sometimes others start the violence knowing that England fans will be blamed.

Personally, I think a lot of this is due to drinking to excesses. Maybe there should be a blanket ban on alcohol within a certain radius of games? This seems unfair on "normal" fans who just go to follow the teams.

I am not a great football fan. Some games are watched on TV but I would never follow my teams abroad. It must be 30 years (at least) since I last went to a football match!

Sunspots and 10m - Sun June 12th 2016

Solar flux is 95 today. Sunspot number is 40 (K=2). The forecast for 10m F2 propagation yet again remains "poor". Luckily there has been Es around to liven up 10m and 6m.

Queen at 90 - NOT amateur radio

Although not a royalist, I think the UK queen has done very well over her long reign. The very survival of the institute of monarchy is in no small part due to her. The money that royalty brings in must more than make up for the expense of the royal household.

Ours is a constitutional monarchy: although the queen has weekly discussions with the Prime Minister of the day, she in no way influences the day-to-day running of the nation. She does open Parliament (The State Opening of Parliament) in her "official" role as queen and head of state.

I cannot imagine us as a republic with a president. We are lacking people that we could all look up to and respect. Somehow I cannot imagine the monarchy after Elizabeth dies. It is bound to happen sooner rather than later. Will we still have a monarchy 50 years from now?

QRP and QRP Club

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,
72 QRP Net (Rendez-Vous) weekly report (June 6 to 12, 2016)
Visitors  of  the  week:  US5EFU, UA1CEG, RU3NJC, F/PA0PJE/p, UA1ADF, SM7RYR,  UR0ET,  UA3PCJ,  UR7VT,  UA4NU,  R1OA, RN4NAA, US3EN, ON6KZ, US5ERQ, IT9IFI
IT9IFI became Rendez-Vous Frequenter

See full Visitors and Frequenters lists on the Club 72 web page - www.club72.su
Welcome  all  QRP  operators  on  the  "72  QRP Net" (Rendez-Vous) in Tuesdays,  Thursdays,  Saturdays  at  9 UTC on 14060 kHz (alternative 10116 kHz if contents) +/- QRM, QRL.
P.S. Full "rendezvous" weekly reports published on the blog page -
72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

11 Jun 2016

472kHz transverter

472kHz transverter (homebrew design and build)
All winter, spring and indeed right up to now, I have been using my FT817 and a homebrew transverter for 472kHz WSPR. Although the transverter puts out about 12W, my ERP on 472kHz is a measured 5mW from the earth-electrode "antenna". Although far from efficient, it provides me with a means of radiating a signal on 472kHz WSPR.  Best TX DX this season on the band was well over 1000km to Norway on several occasions. It has copied 1525km on RX with just the FT817 without a preamp.

New UK record on 241GHz

I guess we do things the hard way "because it is there".  There are far easier ways to communicate over this distance! As  I said before, personally I think 481THz (optical) is much easier than microwaves.

UK distance on 241 GHz improved to 400m in latest tests by G8ACE. Tweeted by @UKGHZ which is the UK microwave group.

See https://twitter.com/UKGHZ/status/74124618582711091 .

Local Church Fete - NOT amateur radio

Church Fete in the churchyard
This is usually held the next weekend in June each year, but it was changed to coincide with the Queen's 90th birthday celebrations. Although thundery showers have been threatened all afternoon, they have kept off for now. My wife is running the cake stall as she does most years. It is usually a good chance to meet village people not seen for a while.

6m daytime and thunder

OH5MD (1757km) spotted me on 6m WSPR this lunchtime, but there were no spots on 10m WSPR of my 500mW WSPR beacon.  Because of the risk of thunderstorms this afternoon I have gone QRT on 10m and 6m and disconnected antennas and power plugs to the rigs and PC. I may return at teatime.

There is quite a high risk of storms this afternoon.
See https://www.lightningmaps.org .

UPDATE 1715z:  In the end it was muggy, but dry, all afternoon, The storms seem to be in the Ipswich area and moving away. I shall probably return to 10m and 6m WSPR.

UPDATE 1730z: 10m and 6m WSPR now on. There was a strong signal on 6m just after turning on, but being the first cycle it did not decode.  I shall have to hope this signal returns soon.

6m Overnight

Although my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon was not spotted overnight I did see OH7TE (1861km) running 10W at 0418z on 6m WSPR with quite a bit of drift. Although likely to be Es, I am not certain. G4NRG (58km) was spotted on 6m WSPR this morning.

It certainly to be on the right frequency in the 6m band! See my post yesterday!

Sunspots and 10m - Sat June 11th 2016

Solar flux is 85 today and sunspot number 28 (K=2). The forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor".

10 Jun 2016

Marlon Brando

Tweeted by the RSGB:

Friday fun fact – Marlon Brando used the call signs KE6PZH and FO5GJ. He said amateur radio allowed him to be himself.

10GHz DX

I get excited about German spots on 10m WSPR. Meanwhile I noticed this from G4HTZ:

"Just worked DF6IY on 10GHz SSB at 618km ..fantastic conditions but little activity

Now that is DX!  No doubt helped by being on the coast, but really well done Steve.

6m WSPR - doh!

I knew I had to offset my FT817 on 6m WSPR but it helps to be on the correct frequency! I realised I was set to 50.292700 whereas I should have been 50.292970. As soon as I corrected my stupid error of the last few days I was immediately spotted by G0LRD (25km) at +5dB S/N. I feel so stupid. Maybe now I'll see some 6m Es!  Silly boy.

Meanwhile my fully stand-alone W5OLF 10m 500mW WSPR beacon continues to be spotted across Europe and beyond. This little beacon has given me so much fun - it beats everything I have ever owned. It is so tiny too. If everything else had to go this is the one bit of kit I would want to keep. In terms of DX per pound spent this is incredible value. It is so small it can be overlooked, but boy does it pack a punch.

UPDATE 1835z: My first DX Es spot on 6m WSPR this season: EA1CCM (1301km) spotted me at an incredible +4dB S/N at 1832z. Yes, it definitely helps to be on the right frequency!

UPDATE 2135z: OH7AZL (2000km) was spotted on 6m WSPR earlier this evening.

10m WSPR Es - late, but here

Eventually, I see my 10m WSPR is being spotted in Germany from 1006z. This was later than yesterday, but definitely Es around again. I wonder what the rest of the day will bring?

UPDATE 1215z:  10m WSPR spots from France and Denmark now.

6m WSPR Es - not yet here

As yet, I have still to catch an Es opening on 6m WSPR. Others with higher ERPs have. I use WSPR as I can monitor activity remotely in the lounge on another PC, or even in the garden. WSPR also suits my disability as I do not have to use my voice.

In the last few summers 4X1RF (3519km) has received my 1W ERP WSPR on 6m several times. He is monitoring, so I just have to be patient and see if this path opens this year too. I know I'd have more 6m success on SSB, CW or JT65.

In the meantime, I  am trying on both 6m and 10m WSPR although 10m WSPR is quiet here today.

EME or Moonbounce

See http://www.amateurradio.com/ for details of VE7SL's EME activity. He runs (relatively) low power for moonbounce, but still seems to get lots of contacts via the moon. Inspiring stuff.

More UK Rallies this weekend

Sunday 12 JUNE : 15th JUNCTION 28 RALLY
Alfreton Leisure Centre, Church Street, Alfreton, DE55 7BD. The venue has car parking available and disabled facilities. There will be trade stands, special interest groups and a raffle will take place, there is also a licensed bar. More information from Anya Lawrence on 01159 307 322 or by email to adylawri@btininternet.com.

Sunday 12 JUNE : EAST SUFFOLK WIRELESS REVIVAL (Ipswich Radio Rally)
The Orwell Crossing Lorry Park, A14 Eastbound, Nacton, Ipswich IP10 0DD. There will be a talk in station on S22 and car parking is available on site. Doors open at 9.30am and admission is £2. There will be an RSGB bookstall, a car boot area and a Bring & Buy. Special interest groups will be attending. There is a licensed bar and catering available. An HF station running GB4SWR will be on the air. Details from Kevin, G8MXV, 0771 004 6846. www.eswr.org.uk.

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

BHS recently, so who is next? - NOT amateur radio

In recent years some very well known shops have closed and gone from UK high streets including Woolworths and recently BHS. Sadly, these stores never quite got their acts together in the on-line age. More are certain to follow.

My bet is on W.H.Smith closing next.  These shops always look tired and poorly lit. You get the impression this is a chain hanging on rather than thriving. They have looked tired for many years now. I find shopping there a dismal experience these days. No, they need to work on their lighting and on-line activities if they are still to be around in years to come.

Shops that will survive are those with a good website, good on-line sales, and a "click and collect" option in a bright and inviting local store. The model is John Lewis. Sadly W.H.Smiths is not a John Lewis. They could be though. I think there time to change, but not much.

Storms in the UK and maps

Apart from in N.Ireland, the threat of thunderstorms seems to have receded with the UK largely free from thunder and lightning. It is always useful to check the maps at this time of the year.

See https://www.lightningmaps.org .

Certainly here in the UK, we have had a fine, settled period this week after some very cold weather. Last week there was an E-W split with fine weather in the west but cold, miserable weather further east. We are now moving back to more changeable weather.

No early 10m Es here today

It is coming up to 0900z. As yet there are no signs of Es on 10m WSPR, unlike yesterday which started off early with Es and lasted (here) until 2144z.

Sunspots and 10m - Fri June 10th 2016

Solar flux is 85 today. Sunspot number has risen (!) to 22 and K=1. The forecast for 10m F2 propagation is "poor" again, although Es is livening up the band.

9 Jun 2016

10m F2 or multi-hop Es?

KP2XX (6723km) spotted my 500mW WSPR at 1926z tonight. I think this was multi-hop Es. This is my best DX this summer on 10m WSPR. FK78ni is the British Virgin Is in the Caribbean. Apart from this spot, all other reports were from Europe. Still nothing on 6m WSPR here, given or received.

UPDATE 2125z:  I4ZTO (1185km) was still spotting me on 10m WSPR a few minutes ago.

Rally (of sorts)

Saturday 11 JUNE : MARTIN LYNCH @ 60!

Wessex House, Drake Avenue, Staines (Nr Heathrow), Middlesex, TW18 2AP

Martin Lynch wants to invite you to his 60th birthday party at his new superstore in Staines upon Thames. Customers old and new are invited, with the event co-hosted by Yaesu, Icom & Kenwood.  Instead of the usual hog roast, a 'fine-dining' experience of hot dogs and burgers(!) with hot & cold drinks.

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

New record - NOT amateur radio

Yesterday there were more visitors to this blog than ever before and today, already, the numbers are even higher. Thank you.

Posts are about things that interest me and I hope you find some posts of interest too. Most, but not all, are about amateur radio. 

In the hobby I take a low key approach. My spending is only modest - it is only a hobby - but getting results with low power and home made kit is fun. Since my stroke nearly 3 years ago I have not been able to do as much, but hopefully things will still improve.

Early 10m Es again

10m WSPR started very early today with spots from Denmark. OZ9QV (864km) spotted me at 0654z. It has been busy ever since, but not a peep on 6mWSPR! I am now being spotted in Germany on 10m WSPR. Altogether promising.

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday June 9th 2016

Solar flux is 79 again today and sunspot number 15. K=1. The forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor".

Low low cost Baofeng Dual Bander

This came in yesterday from Steve G1KQH:

Just over a Tenner inc P&P and it is yours!

73 Steve

The price is just insane! No wonder the Japanese manufacturers are having a hard time. It would not surprise me if at least one went bankrupt unless they find a way to compete.

8 Jun 2016

472kHz transverter article in QST

At long last it looks like my article for QST in the USA will be published soon. They were waiting for the band to be released, but I wrote this a very long time ago, before my stroke. The stroke was Sept 2013!!

By the way, QST do not pay much. I think we do these things more for love!

USA President - NOT amateur radio

It is not for me to get involved in the race for President in the USA. The people will vote and they will get the president they deserve.

What amazes me is how old all the candidates are. Mrs Clinton is 68. Her husband is 69 as is Donald Trump. Bernie Sanders is 74. I am 67 and there is no way I would want to be active in politics, even if I was fit and well.

SPAM? - NOT amateur radio

Today I got an email purporting to be from Microsoft saying that they think my email address was compromised.

Now, this may be a SPAM, but if you have received any suspicious emails supposedly from me, please accept my apologies. As always DO NOT open links you do not trust or know to be safe. If you have received anything odd, purporting to have been sent by me, please let me know.

Hopefully the issue has been dealt with and you should not get further trouble. If this is a SPAM please let me know too as my mail account did not see this as SPAM.

Acoustic DXing?

This morning I awoke early and could hear a distant church bell tolling at 6am. It could not be heard at 7am. Acoustic conditions must have been perfect - quiet, maybe a mist? The nearest church other than our local church is 2 miles away. It could have been from much further away. The sound was heard in bed and came from the west I think.

In WW1 the guns on the front in France could sometimes be heard in England over 100 miles away.

Back on 10m WSPR and 6m WSPR

The risk of thunderstorms has passed for now, so I have reconnected rigs and antennas and I am back on 10m WSPR and 6m WSPR. Things went back on at around 0850z. Let hope Es brings some results on both bands today.

UPDATE 1010z:  Plenty of 10m Es on WSPR from central Europe but all quiet on 6m WSPR here.

UPDATE 1136z:  Now there are 10m Es spots from GM too. Some of the reports from Germany are incredibly strong. This is often the case with Es. So far, all very quiet on 6m WSPR.

UPDATE 1450z:  Still plenty of 10m Es, but 6m WSPR is still dead here. I notice G3WKW has managed some Es on 6m WSPR. His ERP is higher than mine, but I am surprised to have copied nothing on 6m WSPR so far.

Sunspots and 10m - Wed June 8th 2016

Solar flux is still low at 79. Sunspot number is now 12, but it has been zero for a few days. K=2 and the forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor".  We have to hope that Es livens up 10m and 6m.

7 Jun 2016


2m QRP QSOs this evening
This evening was the June 2m UKAC organised by the RSGB. Best DX was 221km to the west country. I had to stop after 9 QSOs after about 50 minutes as my voice was done in and there was lightning getting nearer. Several locals were absent. These were stations I'd normally work very easily.


OFCOM (as you know, I love them) has just released an update for June.

See http://ofcom.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/i/3DBC5797D772786F/59D1BD3EA2F08127C67FD2F38AC4859C

Es propagation

I have been on 10m WSPR all day and 6m WSPR since learly afternoon. Nothing (at all) again on 6m - why do I bother? - but several central European spots on 10m WSPR where I run 500mW to an indifferent antenna.

I was on 630m (472kHz) WSPR all morning and copied PA3ABK/2 (306km) again several times.

EU referendum - NOT amateur radio

As we are away on the day when voting takes place, we have voted by postal vote. I posted my vote off today. I am sure the outcome will be close.

Horses in Newmarket - NOT amateur radio

We do most of our food shopping in nearby Newmarket, which is the world home of horse racing. Here everything stops for the horses! We don't mind. This was a string returning from Newmarket  Heath earlier today. It is unusual not to see race horses in Newkmarket.

Much of the land around Newmarket is studs. Many are owned by rich Arabs. The fences alone must run into thousands of pounds, if not millions. To the south of the town are the rolling hills of Suffolk and the countryside is delightful. Newmarket is a right mix of people: jockeys (who tend to be short!) and owners who are very wealthy. Then there are people like me!

A summertime pattern on 472kHz WSPR

A pattern is emerging on 472kHz WSPR during the summer months: I can copy the stronger stations but my weak signal is harder to find.  Last night I copied 4 unique stations but no-one copied me. As I write I am still active on 472kHz WSPR.
Unique stations spotted on 472kHz WSPR overnight

Sunspots and 10m - Tues June 7th 2016

Solar flux is 78 today and we have another day when the sunspot number is zero (K=1). The forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor" again today. Yet again, we need Es to liven up 10m.

6 Jun 2016

Es disappointment

Yet again, it has been very quiet here on both 10m and 6m WSPR, with no sign of any Es here. Yesterday was also poor with just EA1FAQ (1249km) spotting my WSPR on 10m Es. 6m remains hopeless for me on WSPR. To be honest, I'm not sure why I bother with WSPR on 6m. I'd be much better off on SSB or JT65. On 6m WSPR there is just not enough WSPR activity.

OK, there is still a chance of late Es on both 10m and 6m WSPR, but I am not holding my breath!

VHF/UHF tropo forecasting

Usually I go on 2m and 70cm (mainly the Tuesday evening UKAC sessions) and work what I can with my QRP.  Some users use prediction maps, to get some idea of the likely tropo ranges. I came across one today and there is Hepburns available at http://www.dxinfocentre.com/tropo_eur.html . No doubt keen users have their own favorite.

A reminder that tomorrow evening is the June 2m leg of the RSGB's UKAC contest. This is usually well supported. With the fine, settled, weather there are likely to be quite a few portable stations out and about on good hilltop sites. Even with 5W QRP and an omni antenna I can usually work about 200km in flat conditions, further with a lift, from home.

EU referendum June 23rd 2016 - NOT amateur radio

This has not been an easy decision. There have been lies and errors on both sides of the debate. My considered view taking a long hard view of the facts as I can discern them is to vote IN that is remain in the EU.

Yes, there is a lot wrong with the EU but my considered view is we are better off IN than outside. In the coming years we need to work towards changing the EU from within, so that there is more focus on efficiency, a common market and less on a United States of Europe, unless those who want it continue down this path. Leave the rest to strive for a level playing field. As far as the UK is concerned we, of course, want peace in Europe, but this should come by removing trade barriers and not a U.S.E..

There has been a lot of poor debate in this referendum build up.

Sunspots and 10m - Mon June 6th 2016

Solar flux is 79 today. Sunspot number is zero again (K=6). The forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor". Yesterday my 10m 500mW WSPR beacon was spotted by EA1FAQ (1249km) after teatime by Es. With summer conditions, a high K index it very unlikely 10m will be up to much. Es is the only real hope today.

472kHz WSPR last night

There are fewer active stations on during the summer but I was pleased to spot EA5DOM (1525km) as well as PA3ABK/2 (306km). I was spotted by just one station G4GIR (53km).

5 Jun 2016


Southgate News reports that a second attempt is to be made to deploy tiny satellites from the ISS. These are "disposable" satellites operating around 437MHz and weigh just 5g.

See http://www.nature.com/news/tiny-chipsat-spacecraft-set-for-first-flight-1.20006 .

QRP and QRP Club

 More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,
72 QRP Net (Rendez-Vous) weekly report (June 1 to 5, 2016)

See full Visitors and Frequenters lists on the Club 72 web-page.
See 72 QRP Net schedule on the Club 72 web page - www.club72.su

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

All quiet?

Well since this early morning I have had no spots on 10m or 6m WSPR. Dead. Things may change but I was expecting the Es to be lively.

UPDATE 1352z:  Still very quiet here on 10m WSPR and 6m WSPR. even after re-sync.


Yet again I got notification by email from OFCOM. This time it is about licence exemptions for "white space" devices. The statement was dated April 16th but appeared June 3rd. The regulations come in to force June 9th.

See http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/TVWS-amendment-regulations-apr16/statement/?utm_source=updates&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=TVWS-amendment-regulations-apr16-statement .

Sunspots and 10m - Sun June 5th 2016

Solar flux is 80 again today. Yet again there are no sunspots (K=2) and the forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor". Thankfully 10m Es is good.

630m (472kHz) WSPR

Overnight and so far this morning I have been active on MF WSPR. PA3ABK/2 (306km) has been copied many times and he spotted my 5mW ERP during the night. G6AVK (78km) also spotted me. Although the band is noisier at this time, I think the biggest issue is too few active stations at this time of year. At one point I got really excited thinking someone in Sweden had spotted me on MF, only to realise this was on 10m. Doh! Overnight I spotted ON5TA (328km) who I think is new.

In a few minutes I shall be going QRT on MF and QSYing to 6m WSPR.

Pre-breakfast Es on 10m WSPR

It started very early today with several spots before breakfast from SM6WZI (1007km) and several a little later by DK6UG (633km). Local G4KPX (14km) is also spotting my 500mW WSPR beacon. I have the feeling today is going to be a good one for Es on 10m WSPR. I shall turn on the 6m WSPR shortly.

4 Jun 2016

Back on 472kHz WSPR

As 6m was dead here on WSPR all day, I decided to return to 472kHz WSPR for the evening and overnight. I also re-synced the 10m beacon "just in case".

UPDATE 2100z: PA3ABK/2 (306km) was heard with in a few minutes. So far he has been copied 5 times this evening on MF but no-one has copied me.

Kelling and Sheringham Park - NOT amateur radio

When in north Norfolk, we usually eat at this place. It is in Kelling on the main road. Unlike many places, it is not "up itself", is staffed by real locals, and serves reasonable food at reasonable prices. Most visitors there are "normal". They also sell second hand books and other things. It is simple and old fashioned. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelling

We went on afterwards to see the flowers at Sheringham Park. Being a Saturday it was busy. We went here today as our weather forecast today showed "full sun" from 12 noon. There was fog until 3pm! The flowers here are just about past their best - another week and most will be dying. We waited for the sun and today was really our last chance this year to see these in bloom.

No early Es on 10m today

Unlike yesterday, I was spotted by no-one early on 10m Es today. Es is sporadic so it is entirely possible 10m and 6m could open to somewhere later. F2 openings are unlikely although not impossible on N-S paths, especially if we see Es and F2 propagation combined.

UPDATE 1625z:  Just local G4KPX (14km) spotting me on 10m today. No sign of Es on either 10m or 6m WSPR here.

Cynic - me?

As I grow older I think I am becoming a "grumpy old man" and a cynic.

This morning I see my email has yet another "something for the weekend" offer from one of the major UK amateur dealers with Yaesu mobiles at discounted prices. Now, these may be "lost leaders" to encourage us to buy other items. The cynic in me says two things. Firstly, are these items that are over-stocked or not selling well, possibly because there are lower cost Chinese radios around? Secondly, are these items over-priced anyway? Either way, I am not persuaded to buy.

Now, dealers have a tough job. They, rightly, have to make a profit. They have to cope with exchange rates that vary. But, are they taking us all as suckers? I am all for fair and reasonable margins, but please don't exploit us all. We are customers. We want you to remain in business for years to come but offer us fair prices! If you do, we will remain loyal customers. If you take us for a ride we will look elsewhere.

Sunspots and 10m - Sat June 4th 2016

Solar flux is 82 today. Sunspot number is 0 (yes zero) and K=1. The forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor" again.

We are now firmly in a period of low solar activity. This will be poor for many years, although there will be some better days.

241GHz or optical?

Although the world record for DX on the highest microwave band (241GHz) allocated to radio amateurs is measured in several tens of km, the UK record is quite modest.

My own view is 481THz optical is much easier: test gear is trivial and all the gear can be made inexpensively by nearly anyone. Microwave gear is much harder. I know people say you can "do microwaves" with minimum test gear, but I think you will find most who are successful are, or were, in the business professionally and have access to good microwave test gear. With optical gear this is definitely not the case. Before my stroke I built all my optical gear in the back of a garage and I achieved very useful results. Others have achieved far more than me. All you need are a scope, a multimeter and an audio generator. Much of the test gear needed for optical work is freely available software on the internet.

See http://www.microwavers.org/?241ghz.htm .

3 Jun 2016

10m F2?

EA8/G4CAZ (2840km) spotted my 10m 500mW WSPR beacon this evening. Although this could have been Es, I suspect this was single hop F2 propagation. Time and direction point to F2.

UPDATE 2130z:  Lots of spots from this station, including one quite recently. My bet is F2.

Profound exhaustion - NOT amateur radio

Since my stroke almost 3 years ago I have suffered from bouts of profound exhaustion after doing physical or mental work for more than about 20 minutes. No-one and I really do mean no-one seems to get it including medics, my wife, friends etc. They all say how well I look and assume I am fine.

Well, I am definitely not right! No matter what, this exhaustion is profound and quite unlike anything I've known before. It is not tiredness, just a feeling of utter exhaustion. After a short rest I am fine again.

To be honest this gets me down. As hard as I try, this never seems to go away. I hate it. In an ideal world I would rest more, but I know this is impossible.

I have great sympathy for others who have hidden disabilities: people may look fine on the outside but feel dreadful inside. This is how I am a lot of the time. Not always mind you. There are better days and times.