31 Aug 2016

QST - thank you Rupert

Rupert G4XRV very kindly sent me a copy of September QST. Rupert reads my blog from time to time and saw that I had not seen the magazine in which my recent article appeared. This was very kind and much appreciated. Thank you Rupert.

Counting Sheep? - NOT amateur radio

This was one of my grandsons at our local farm shop and cafe. I wonder if he was counting sheep trying to get to sleep? He is eight, nearly nine.

Fun at the fair - NOT amateur radio

On Monday we went to the Fenland Country Fair.

Our grandchildren (5 and 8 years old) went on the helter-skelter twice. For the younger one, it was her first time.

They go home tomorrow.

Operating today

I decided to go on 10m WSPR (500mW) and 6m JT65 (1W ERP) today. 10m has been very quiet here but I had a number of UK spots of my QRP JT65 signal on 6m.  My best report on 6m JT65 was from G0VUH (157km). So far, I have seen no evidence of Es here yet on either band.

Sunspots and 10m - Wednesday August 31st 2016

Solar flux is 99 and the sunspot number 64 today. K=2. The forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor".

No Internet

Yesterday, we had no internet, so no posts were possible. I am very sorry. It is back today, so I hope to post more later, if the internet carries on working!

29 Aug 2016

10m JT65 - South America yet again

PU2TWU (9572km) spotted me a little while ago on 10m JT65. I spotted EA8 (Canaries) about an hour ago. The latter could have been Es or F2. This is in the same direction as the South American station who spotted me. I am amazed how regularly I get spotted on 10m JT65 in South America with just 2W.  My antenna is low and nothing special, so I hope my results encourage others to try 10m QRP.

Fenland Country Fair - NOT amateur radio

We have grandchildren here this week. Today, we went to the Fenland Country Fair at nearby Stow-cum-Quy, where we have been for several years.

Sadly, the toy Land Rovers (electric cars) were not there. Our grandson enjoys driving these.

They went on lots of rides and enjoyed their ice creams!

QRP and QRPclub

More from Oleg:

"Dear Club 72 members and friends,
Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous report (August 22 to 28, 2016)
Visitors  of  the  week: R2FAE, UR0ET, Z35M/p, OH6NPV, RV3GM, IU4HGH, US3EN,  DL1YAY,  RU3NJC,  R1CAF, OK1KW, EA2DT, IZ8FNY, UA1ASB, G3XJS, UR5EFD,  EW1CY,  UA1CEG,  OK1ITK,  DK5TM,  HB9FAB/p, OE5EIN/p, RD3DN, OH5LP, US5ERQ
OE5EIN became Frequenter of the QRP Rendez-Vous round tables
See full report with comments/pictures on the blog page -
Thanks to all for activity and comments! See all QRP stations in next week  Tuesday,  Thursday,  Saturday  at  9.00  UTC on 14060 (10116 if contest). Results, comments, reports, pictures are welcome.

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

Sunspots and 10m - Monday August 29th 2016

Solar flux is 87 today. Sunspot number is 64. K=2 . Yet again, the forecast for 10m F2 propagation is "poor".

28 Aug 2016

Brazil (yet again) on 10m JT65

PU1PJR (9573km) and PT9IR (9662km) were recently spotted on 10m JT65. It remains to be seen if my 2W JT65 on 10m makes it to deepest South America this evening. Most times I've been on in recent weeks I have spotted, or been spotted, deep into South America on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1930z: LU2FGL (11167km) in FF97 square was the best DX spotted on 10m JT65 this evening at 1902z.

UPDATE 2036z: With 4 different South Americans spotted on 10m JT65 (the latest was Paraguay), this is the best DX on the band for some time. I am still curious about the Es link as there was good Es in the right direction.

Rally today

Milton Keynes Amateur Radio Society 2016 Rally 

Sunday 28th August 2016

The Irish Centre, Manor Fields, Watling Street, Bletchley, MK2 2HX(Opposite Dobbies Garden Centre - see map below)
The Milton Keynes Amateur Radio Society (MKARS) annual radio rally is to be held at this superb new location, which has excellent modern facilities together with free on site parking, indoor catering, a public bar and disabled facilities.
The new venue is located on the edge of Fenny Stratford on Watling Street.
From M1 Junction 13 - 7 miles (approx. 16 mins)
From M1 Junction 14 - 6.4 miles (approx. 15 mins)
Follow MKARS signs from the A5 roundabout Fenny Stratford 

TALK IN ON 145.550MHZ (S22)
Indoor trade stalls, club stall, electronics components tools and accessories. Antenna and rigging hardware, computer and electronics surplus.
Disabled parking area


Return to 10m JT65

A short while ago, I QSYed back to 10m JT65 from 6m. There is more chance of  DX on 10m especially this afternoon and evening.

UPDATE 1246z: We had a little rain about 30 minutes ago, but the weather looks good for most of the week ahead. We have grandchildren here, which is good.

UPDATE 1304z: Since returning to 10m I have not been spotted, or spotted, anyone yet!

UPDATE 1500z:  All the 10m JT65 spots were Es at breakfast time, with nothing since, as yet.

Our garden - NOT amateur radio

Our garden is better in spring when the blossom is freshly out.

Our grass is going brown in places as we had quite a decent August after a poor start to summer. It always recovers after some rain.

The picture shows me next to one of our rowan trees in our garden with the windmill in the background. Richard G3TFX took the photo. He thinks I should string a long wire to the top of the mill! Of course the top and sails turn to face the wind. It moves several times in a week. Currently the sails are facing west. In this picture they are facing south.


Southgate News reports that the SARL is trying to get a 100kHz slot at 5MHz. I think this is wise. A larger contiguous band would be so much more useful than the 15kHz worldwide allocation that was granted at WRC 2015. I hope CEPT countries try for a 100kHz wide 5MHz band. It could happen that quite a few countries allocate a 100kHz wide band on a secondary basis to the amateur service. In the coming quiet solar years this could become an important band.

New rig - not at the moment

I was going to invest in an IC7300, but, for the moment, I have decided not to bother. The FT817 serves me well and I am not that interested in running more power. If the price drops a lot I might think again.  The FT817 certainly serves my needs on 10m and 6m JT65 even on the middle power setting. I also have a transverter for 630m (see my design in the latest QST). I also have a stand-alone 500mW WSPR beacon for 10m.

Es - don't give up!

With another day with respectable Es on both 10m and 6m, the Es season is not yet over. OK there are probably fewer openings than a few months ago, but there are openings and when these bands are good for Es they are good. I recommend WSPR or JT65 as a way of detecting these openings. I find JT65 better on 6m as the levels of activity are greater. WSPR is theoretically able to work with even weaker signals. JT9-1 works on 10m and occupies far less bandwidth than JT65, which is already quite narrow and much better than CW.

UPDATE 1155z:  Quite a few Es spots from Europe on 6m JT65. I'll probably switch to 10m JT65 shortly.

UPDATE 1825z: 10m Es has returned. Just been spotted in Sweden.

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday August 28th 2016

Solar flux is a respectable 84 today and the sunspot number is 52. K=1. The forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor". With promising Es, all is not lost.

Early Es on 10m and 6m

I stayed on 10m JT65 overnight but switched to 6m JT65 around 0800z. There has been early Es on both bands, which is encouraging.

27 Aug 2016

Chile - best DX tonight on 10m JT65

Quite late tonight at 2116z I copied CA3LMO (11745km) in Chile on 10m JT65. This was way after dark too.  The rig is still on, so further DX is still possible.

UPDATE 2145z:  Lots of European Es now. This was very late but it is as good as any day this season now.

Storm risk gone - 6m JT65 in the morning (probably)

The storm risk has moved away over the Wash and into the North Sea. There are still storms in north Norfolk but they are moving away NE. So, I shall remain on 10m JT65 this evening.  I could stay on overnight, but I shall probably go QRT later and come back tomorrow breakfast time on 6m JT65. There are fewer DX opportunities on 6m than 10m but more Gs on 6m than 10m JT65.

10m - an amazing band!

OK, so the sun is less active now but 10m is still filled with surprises! After a fairly average day with a few Es spots on JT65 from Scandinavia I get spotted in Southern Brazil! Now the band is open to Latvia, Sweden, Finland and Belarus to name a few, presumably by Es.

Football - NOT amateur radio

My old "local" team, Plymouth Argyle, had a dreadful start to the football season but have now won the last 3 games and are currently in the play-off places. Mind you, it is very early days. My current "local" team, Cambridge United, is currently at the very bottom of the league. Unless they buck up they could lose their league place at the end of the season.

Brazil (again) on 10m JT65

Another theory bites the dust....

PU2POP (9582km) has copied my QRP 10m JT65 in the last 20 minutes. As there was very little 10m Es here, this suggests F layer only. I was not expecting to reach South America today, although I was hopeful.

UPDATE 1545z:  10m Es now to Sweden and Finland.

UPDATE 1608z:  The storms seem to have missed us, passing over Peterborough and Northampton. Mind you, I am still watching the maps with concern as I think there could be further risks later. New Es from Scandinavia in the last few minutes.

Back on air - 10m JT65

Whilst keeping one eye on the storm map, I have returned to JT65, this time on 10m, hoping to catch some DX to South America. Judging by the lack of Es in the right direction, I'd be quite surprised if my QRP 10m JT65 got that far today.

At the moment, the storms are giving us a miss, although things will get disconnected as soon as the risk increases. See http://www.lightningmaps.org/?lang=en .

UPDATE 1505z:  A few minutes ago I was spotted on 10m JT65 by SM5EPO (1347km). Es I assume.

Rally on Bank Holiday Monday

Ernulf Academy, St. Neots PE19 2SH Further info from rally organiser Malcolm Hirst on 01480 214282 or by email to henry_hirst@hotmail.com

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

Remember to contact the organisers to check details if travelling any distance.

Gone QRT

There are thunderstorms moving up the country. At the moment these are tracking west of Cambridge but I have disconnected everything for now. I'll re-assess the risks later.

Before closing down I spotted 4 different UK stations and was spotted by 2 UK stations on 6m JT65. Up to now, I have seen no 6m Es today. When I reconnect things I'll probably come back on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1240z:  It looks like the storms are passing well west of us and we will miss them. It is just starting to spit the odd rain spot. I'll give it an hour then re-assess things.

UPDATE 1252z:  Presently, the storm is over March up in the Fens and moving away and nowhere near us.

UPDATE 1402z:  We seem to have missed this one. See http://www.convectiveweather.co.uk/forecast.php?date=2016-08-27 .
UPDATE 1408z:  Instead of amateur radio we went picking blackberries, plums, apples and runner beans in the orchard next door. The owner is away and said, "help yourselves".

Sunspots and 10m - Saturday August 27th 2016

Solar flux is 82 today. Sunspot number is 44. K=1. Yet again the forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor".

6m and 10m JT65 today

As most 10m DX seems to be late evening and afternoon, I decided to go on 6m at present. I was briefly on 10m JT65 first thing. Already I have been spotted bt a couple of UK stations on 6m and I have spotted some Gs too including G0GGG (241km).

There is an outside chance of storms after lunch, so I am keeping  a watching brief.

26 Aug 2016

Now QRT - storm risk

With the possibility of storms overnight I have decided to go QRT and disconnect antennas, PC and plugs. Tomorrow I shall re-assess the risks.

Amateur Satellites

Next year, if all goes to plan, we may have an amateur satellite in a geosynchronous orbit permitting long distance propagation at almost any time day or night. As the solar activity declines, this could be a lifeline.  I have little experience of amateur satellites and only had a single QSO via a low orbit satellite. Geosynchronous should mean lower Doppler and hours of operation whereas low orbit satellites go out of range within 20 minutes. Years ago I recall the excitement of hearing US and Canadians on Oscar 6 and 7 on 2m. Being on microwave bands should mean much greater transponder bandwidths. Also, dishes can be fixed as the satellite will always be in the same place in the sky like a TV satellite.

Brazil on 10m JT65 today

Well my theory about Es and F layer over the equator being needed to reach Brazil on 10m at this time of year seems to be holding up, after a fashion.   PY2IQ (9585km) in Sao Paulo was copied at 1916z. There was some Es today, although not much. As the autumn "kicks in" we may see more South Americans by F2.

UK Rally

The MK Irish Centre, Manor Fields, Watling Street, Bletchley, Milton Keynes MK2 2HX (Opposite Dobbies Garden Centre) The doors open at 10am and admission is £3. There will be a talk in station on the air. There will be trade stands, special interest groups and local clubs. A licenced bar and catering will be available on site. More details from Roy, G8RCK on 0786 667 3192 www.mkars.org.uk/mkars/rally

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

I get sent this news and reproduce it in good faith, but always advice contacting the organisers before travelling any distance just in case it is cancelled or there is a date change.

10m JT65

With the risk of storms low all day, I turned things back on at breakfast, but nothing on 10m JT65 as yet.

I had trouble with my shack PC initially: it refused to connect to the wi-fi and said it was not set up to automatically connect. I have never had a problem before and in the past it did! Another Windows 10 update? Anyway it is set to connect automatically again and all seems well. I checked internet time sync too.

UPDATE 0916z: I see that I was spotted in Italy on 10m JT65 by IZ0AIS (1506km) about 18 minutes ago. I assume this is Es. He spotted me again later. JT65 is a good mode, especially for me with my very poor voice. As well as beaconing, it also allows QRP QSOs. It is some 10dB better than CW, so ideal for QRP.

UPDATE 1850z:  Just a little Es today on 10m JT65 - a couple of Italians spotted me and I spotted one station in northern Spain. In addition to these, G0LRD - a local - spotted me. As there is a thunder risk tomorrow I shall go QRT tonight and disconnect everything.

Sunspots and 10m - Friday August 26th 2016

Solar flux is 80 today, little changed from yesterday. Sunspot number is 39. K=2.  The forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains (yes you guessed) "poor". As yet, I have seen no Es here.

25 Aug 2016

Low storm risk

According to my maps, the nearest lightning is off the coast of Yorkshire and in the Bay of Biscay, so no risk hereabouts at present. I'll stay on 10m JT65 for now but keep an eye on the storm map, ready to disconnect things if the need should arise.

UPDATE 2204z: The lightning maps show storms coming in our general direction, but still some way off. They may miss us, but I shall disconnect everything just in case.

UPDATE 2212z:  Everything is now off and disconnected, but I found the PC mains was not on so the PC went to sleep and had turned itseld and the WSJT-X software off! So the lack of Es may have been me, due to the PC not being on! Doh! Sometimes me thinks I have a very small brain. Anyway, assuming there is no storm risk tomorrow, I shall be on 10m JT65 at breakfast time.

Swifts gone - NOT amateur radio

It is now several weeks since I last saw (and heard) swifts overhead. I guess they have started their journeys south to warmer climes. For a few months they are an English summer. Then one day you realise they have gone. I miss them and look forward to their return next May.

I think I mentioned before that I had the rare privilege of holding a swift many years ago when one landed accidentally in the road. We kept it in a box overnight and fed it insects. The next day it just flew away. They really are lovely birds.

Farewell and safe journeying over land and sea. See you next year.

Rotten apple - NOT amateur radio

Rotten Apple
Our neighbour has a large garden with an orchard of apples and plums. This rotten apple was on the ground under one of his apple trees.

Windmill next door - NOT amateur radio

"Our" windmill
We are very lucky to have a restored windmill next door. We can see this whilst we eat breakfast and out of the lounge window. Not many have a view of a windmill. This is the view from our neighbour's garden.


All being well, our "London" grandchildren are here next week. We love seeing all our grandchildren, but I shall be very exhausted by next Friday.

It means amateur radio takes a back seat for the duration, although I shall still be able to use JT65 or WSPR during the day-time. I'll probably be on 10m JT65 day-times.

Back on 10m JT65 shortly

The danger from storms seems to have gone for now, so I intend to return to 10m JT65 shortly, although I shall watch and go QRT if the danger returns.

Last night the storms were very near but they seem to have moved away to the North Sea, for now.

UPDATE 0905z: The PC, antenna and rig went back on the air at about 0900z on 10m JT65. There is Es about as Italy and Belarus have already been seen on 10m JT65. This is early, so a good sign.

UPDATE 0912z:  DO2MPS (912km) has spotted me in southern Germany, in JN58 square, already.

UPDATE 1020z:  No further Es spots on PSKreporter map as yet apart from this German. We are definitely at the back end of the Es season. There are still openings. but not on the scale of the peak months.

UPDATE 1306z: Not a single Es spot seen on PSKreporter on 10m JT65 since that German when I first switched on. My PC had gone to sleep! I am unsure if I was uploading spots or indeed if I was actually on JT65 at all! I have now "woken it up" and checked internet time is spot on. Let's see if I get any Es spots now on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1344z: Well certainly no spots since I checked sync and that the PC was awake, so I guess the 10m Es is "marginal" today.

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday August 25th 2016

Solar flux is 78 today (quite low). Sunspot number is 43. K=1. The forecast for 10m F2 propagation is again "poor".

24 Aug 2016

Thunder, so QRT

With thunder clearly audible and now rain, I have decided to go QRT and disconnect all antennas, rigs and PC including unplugging the power plugs. I shall stay off the air until all danger has passed. I do not like storms! Thankfully we do not get many.

UPDATE 2152z:  Storm has passed through, but remaining off-air overnight. The rain will do the garden some good!

No South America again on 10m JT65

There was quite reasonable Es on 10m JT65 with my QRP signal being spotted widely in central and eastern Europe. Sadly, no South American spots again today. If this path on 10m at this time of year depends on Es and F layer I guess the Es was too far east?

FTSE 250 - NOT amateur radio

Many think the FTSE 250 share index is a good guide to the health of the UK economy. Well, it is up again to 18,016.59, which is a gain of 0.19% today thus far. I am not a gambler, but it has certainly not collapsed since the BREXIT vote to leave the EU in June.

Our future is not certain, but I have the feeling the UK will be OK. As for the EU I am less sure. By the way, I voted "remain"! No, in the medium term I think the outlook for the EU is far from certain. It would not surprise me if it all fell apart within 5 years.

10m JT65

As mentioned yesterday, not everyone uploads spots to PSKreporter. Last night, quite late, there was a TF (Iceland) calling CQ, but station he was not shown on the PSKreporter map. I could only see this by looking at my PC screen.

UPDATE 1015z: Belarus and Italy spotted on 10m JT65 this morning, but neither station appear on PSKreporter. Maybe I lost internet connection at these times and they did not get uploaded? There is clearly some early Es around on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1232z: Several Es spots of my QRP JT65 now turning up on PSKreporter. We are late in the Es season, but there are still openings on 10m.


Although we are having a spell of warm, dry, days (31deg C yesterday) and the grass is starting to turn brown in places, we have thunderstorms forecast for tomorrow.  A radio silence with rigs, antennas and PC disconnected will be needed. I do not like storms nearby. Once the danger has passed, I shall be active again.

See http://www.lightningmaps.org/?lang=en .

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday August 24th 2016

Solar flux is 87 today. Sunspot number is a respectable 47. K=3. The  forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor".  At the moment, I have seen no sign of 10m Es.

23 Aug 2016

No South America today on 10m JT65

Although there was some Es today on 10m (not much) I was not spotted in South America today. My theory is/was that I needed Es for the first hop or two, then F layer deep into South America.  I wonder what 10m conditions will be like tomorrow? It is now late in the summer so Es will get far less frequent but as we approach the equinox F layer propagation should improve. At the same time solar conditions are now declining.

Solar forecasts

It is some time since I looked in detail at the expert predictions for the rest of this solar cycle and cycle 25. The last time I looked the outlook was grim with a very small peak expected for cycle 25. I shall probably be around for the next maximum, although I doubt I shall see 10m really "humming" again in my lifetime. Of course, experts are often wrong!

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

I am no expert on climate change, man-made or natural. But, if the sunspot count is low, I think this is likely to mitigate any increase in global temperatures. It maybe the break the world needs.

HA QSO on 10m JT65

JT65 is a nice mode when one's voice is poor, like mine.  Just a few watts on 10m JT65 and a nice solid QSO with a station in Hungary, presumably via Es.  I am still hopeful that my 10m JT65 signal will reach deep into South America later.  We will see.

I have returned to beaconing mode on 10m JT65 sending "B G3XBM JO02" as this shows on PSKreporter maps.

10m Es

There has been some early Es on 10m JT65 this morning with spots of my QRP JT65 signal from Spain and Italy. It will be interesting to see how this develops and if I get copied in South America later. My theory is that my South American spots involve Es for the first hop(s) with F layer over the equator.

UPDATE 1125z: The 10m Es seems to be moving towards eastern Europe and Scandinavia now with my signal being spotted in Hungary and Finland and I have copied Ukraine.

UPDATE 1306z: It pays to check the PC as not everyone uploads to PSKreporter maps. Yesterday I copied EA6 and today I was spotted in Norway but neither showed up on PSKreporter.

Not after a sympathy vote - NOT amateur radio

Outwardly I look fine. Just about everyone who sees me says, "you do look well". Looks can be deceptive as I find speaking hard work, drinking difficult and I have felt giddy and sick for over 2.5 years. Outwardly I look fully recovered. On the inside I feel unwell. I remember how I was, which makes it worse. No, sadly I can do little of what I could before my stroke.

If you see someone who looks well, think how they might really be. Often disabilities can be deceptive: some you can see whereas others you cannot. Mine is the latter kind.

I am not after sympathy: it is a fact of life that I have to deal with. All I am asking is think and do not judge others prematurely.

Sunspots and 10m -Tuesday August 23rd 2016

Solar flux is 81 today and sunspot number 33. K=2. The forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor". We are all hoping for slightly better 10m conditions in the autumn, but don't hold your breath.

22 Aug 2016

2m RSGB Contest - Sept 3/4th 2016

Not quite sure why, but I always seem to miss VHF contests apart from the UKAC sessions on Tuesdays!  I usually find out too late.

All being well I shall be on for some of this one, the weekend after this. At one time VHF NFD was the first week in September, but the RSGB did a change some years ago. This is just 2m now. It should be a good chance to work a few new squares.

Home? - NOT amateur radio

Soar Mill Cove, Devon
This is near where I come from in South Devon, UK. For several years my dad was running a job creation scheme maintaining the coastal path near here. He has 2 seats in his memory. This was probably his favorite spot on Earth.  It is a wonderful spot. I managed to see it again earlier this year.

There is a fabulous coastal walk from Hope Cove to Salcombe running through here. Cornwall is visible in the far distance beyond Rame Head.

QRP and QRP Club

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous report (August 15 to 21, 2016)
Full lists of all Visitors and Frequenters at the Club 72 page.

DL2DXA,  RV3UF,  EA8YV became Honor Frequenters of "rendezvous" round
tables - Congrats!

Enjoy Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous report including comments and pictures -

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

5MHz allocations

Several administrations have now granted access to the WRC15 15kHz wide amateur allocation at 5MHz. Eventually this will be a worldwide allocation.

In CEPT countries, I really wish they would allocate a contiguous 100kHz wide band. 15kHz is very narrow and I for one am confused by the multiple narrow "channels". A 100kHz wide band would be so much better.

End of the Es Season

We are now seeing days with little or no Es (sporadic E) propagation on 10m and 6m. The "season" is all but over. As years go, this has not been great, but most days have seen openings to somewhere in Europe.

It never actually ends, but the number of openings declines dramatically and it is easy to miss the times when they do occur. This is where WSPR and JT modes would prove so useful as long as people stay on the bands and don't go to lower bands for more easy pickings. There is a small peak around New Year (I don't know why) but we'll have to wait until May 2017 for Es to really get going again. With 10m F2 in decline these Es openings will be the lifeblood of bands like 10m.

As I have said before, don't dismiss 10m for local contacts. A small vertical, a few watts, FM and you will reliably work 30km. On SSB,CW, or even better modes like JT65 or JT9-1 and you will work 100km or a lot more. In the quiet years 10m behaves more like a VHF band, but there are wide open spaces, so almost any mode is possible.

UPDATE 0815z: It is still very early for Es, but nothing seen here yet today on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1246z: Just one Es spot of me today, so far, from IZ0AIS (1506km). We are definitely seeing less Es than in the last few months.

UPDATE 1617z: With just a single Es spot all day today, so far on 10m, I think it unlikely I shall be spotted outside Europe on 10m JT65 today. I wonder what 10m will be like this autumn? Will there be much F2 propagation? It is a battle between declining solar conditions and improving HF conditions as we leave summer. I am pretty sure there will be far fewer USA openings on 10m this year than in the last few years. There will be the odd opening, but we cannot expect things to be "humming" exactly.

Sunspots and 10m - Monday August 22nd 2016

Solar flux is 76 today. Sunspot number is 11 (still falling). K= 1. The forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor".

Butterfly - NOT amateur radio

A picture of a brimstone (?) butterfly on the sweet peas. Taken a few weeks ago at Anglesey Abbey, a National Trust house a few miles to the east of Cambridge, UK.

21 Aug 2016

Feeling Unwell - NOT amateur radio

Since my stroke, nearly 3 years ago now, I have felt giddy when on my feet. I tire easily but I am not sure if this is a separate issue or as a result of feeling giddy. To be honest, I have not felt well now for almost 3 years. My health has prevented me doing so much. Yes, compared with many, I know I have come off lightly. But, I know how I was and the frustration is so great.  All my field work is on hold and most antenna work is impossible without the help of others. I am very grateful for the help that has been so generously given, but I would prefer to be able to do this myself. Life can be cruel, but my energy is better focused on making the best of what I have and not hoping to be fully mended and as I once was.

QSYed to 10m WSPR and 6m JT65

I have now moved to 6m JT65 (FT817 and PC) and gone onto 10m WSPR using the stand-alone W5OLF WSPR beacon on 10m.

UPDATE 0952z:  All quiet so far on both 10m and 6m here. No spots as yet on either band.

UPDATED 1212z: No Es seen here on either band so far today. A few G spots of me on 6m JT65 and I have spotted G0LFF in IO90 square on 6m JT65. If my theory about 10m propagation to South America is right (see yesterday) then it is unlikely I'll reach South America today on 10m JT65. I shall probably stop 10m WSPR in the next hour and QSY from 6m JT65 to 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1240z: I have now gone QRT on 6m and am transmitting and receiving 10m JT65 rather than WSPR. I noticed a few ONs and an LX calling CQ on 6m JT65 according to my PC, but these stations were not uploaded to PSKreporter - I probably briefly lost internet connectivity. These were probably received by aircraft reflections or tropo. Our internet connection is flaky today. It recently disappeared then reappeared.

UPDATE 1542z: Just G4CJC (73km) spotted on 10m JT65 so far since the EA6 much earlier.

UPDATE 1856z:  No Es today. No South America today either. OK, the sunspot number was much lower but I am sure that, at this time year, I need Es to link with F layer propagation further south to reach central or lower South America on 10m JT65.

10m Es

EA6FG (1415km) in the Balearic Is was spotted not long ago on 10m JT65. As there is early Es, I may QSY to 6m JT65 until mid-afternoon. As yet, no-one has seen my 10m JT65 although I am QRP.

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday August 21st 2016

Solar flux is 78 today. Sunspot number is 12 (falling). K= 1. The forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor".

23cms the inexpensive way

A very very long time ago I went on 23cms RX with a homemade 4el yagi (tiny, indoors) and borrowed RX converter. This must have been about 1976 or 1977.

There is an relatively inexpensive way of getting on the band (transceive) if you have an FT817 or FT290 to drive it using an SG-LAB transverter. The transverter is about £140 and is made in Bulgaria. Output on TX is a useful 2W. This set-up could be ideal for portable use.

See http://gm1sxx.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/that-elusive-23cms-beacon-gb3csb.html .
See http://www.sg-lab.com/TR1300/tr1300.html .

20 Aug 2016

Yaesu at the Tokyo Ham Fair

It looks like there are no nice surprises from Yaesu, sadly. I think all these radios are ones we have seen before.

South America (again) on 10m

With good Es in Europe I am beginning to think my 10m JT65 South American spots (I have just been spotted in Paraguay again and have spotted a station in Sao Paulo, Brazil) is a mix of Es and some variety of F layer propagation. I am no propagation expert but think equatorial spread-F may be a factor? It seems more than coincidental that all my South American JT65 spots on 10m have been on days with good European Es. I am thinking that Es is linking with some sort of F layer propagation nearer the equator.  Equatorial spread-F is meant to occur after sunset.

There are several papers on equatorial spread-F, so I suggest you Google these if you are interested.

UPDATE 1728z: No further South American spots this evening on 10m JT65, well not so far. No further Es either.

Beacons - some useful data

You may not have seen this comment, so I have reproduced it here:

Hi Roger,

GB3VHF (2m), GB3UHF (70cm), GB3BAA (6m) & GB3SEE (10GHz) are always good signals into the SUWS WEB SDR, so you can check their on-air status anytime.


Many other UK and European beacons are also audible when conditions are good.


Martin - G8JNJ

SUWS is Southampton University, where I nearly did a PhD in 1971. This would have been with Dr Ryecroft in VLF space physics. Still, I did get to lunch with Josselyn Bell who first discovered pulsars. In the end I stayed in industry, but often wonder how life would have been had I done the PhD.

Dragonflies - NOT amateur radio

Black-tailed Skimmer?
This must be the season for dragonflies as we saw loads at Anglesey Abbey near Cambridge today. Most were flying, so hard to photograph. This one was very obliging! The dahlia garden there is now open.

10m Es today

The Belarus station EU7FBB (1931km) was spotted very early (and he spotted me) and there has been widespread Es on 10m JT65 already. This is encouraging.  Best DX on receive JT65 is a station in Finland and it is only 0908z!

Sunspots and 10m - Saturday August 20th 2016

Solar flux is 79 today. Sunspot number is 37 (K=2). The F2 10m propagation is forecast to be "poor" yet again.


Although likely to be far too expensive for me, ICOM is expected to launch the IC7610 transceiver at this year's Tokyo Ham Fair. They may well have already done so. This is an SDR version like a IC7300 on steroids.

19 Aug 2016

No 10m South America today?

Having returned to 10m JT65 mid-afternoon it looks like there will be no spots from South America today. There are fewer monitors on than in the peak Es months, but I wonder if I was seeing Es linking with some other mode like F2 or equatorial spread F? It has been very quiet here today on 6m and 10m with no Es seen at all. If this was pure F2 all the way I might have expected something as conditions are fairly quiet and the solar activity is not bad. But nothing all day - no Es and no South America this evening. Things could still change, but it is getting quite late on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 2150z:   EU7FBB (1931km) in Belarus was spotted at 2108z on 10m JT65. This may have been late Es, but who knows?

UPDATE 2155z: LA9NKA (929km) has spotted me, so I think we are seeing late Es on 10m JT65.

Paralympics - NOT amateur radio

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/disability-sport/37135083 .

Brazil is struggling, but this is a major setback for disabled athletes. Up until these Olympic Games the outlook for disabled athletes was getting better progressively. Now the Paralympics movement is going backwards. Hopefully Tokyo will be better in 2020.

70cms beacons

Last year, I could always hear the Leicester 70cm beacon GB3LEU on 432.490MHz when listening on my 2m big wheel antenna. I can no longer hear it so there are several possibilities: (1) it is not operational at present, (2) summertime and the attenuation through trees over this 100km (ish) path is now too great, (3) there is water in my antenna or cable? GB3UHF in Kent is operational on 432.430MHz I am told. Although the co-sited GB3VHF beacon is a decent signal on the big-wheel omni on 2m, I have been unable to find the UHF beacon with the same antenna so far. It may be just there, but it is below noise most of the time.

UPDATE 1504z: GB3LEU is shown as "off air". That explains a lot! See http://www.leicestershirerepeatergroup.org.uk/beacons/gb3leu.html

Garden birds - NOT amateur radio

Young starling on seed feeder
We have lived here for 3 years now. We see fewer small birds than at our old house despite lots of cover and an orchard right next door. Here we see a young starling on the seed feeder.

More from OFCOM

See http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/EE-licence-variation-1990-1920MHz/?utm_source=updates&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ee-licence-variation-request.

More from OFCOM.

Tokyo Ham Fair 2016

See http://www.jarl.org/English/4_Library/A-4-6_ham-fair/ham-fair.ht

As I mentioned yesterday, this is a big Japanese event, although I expect few outside of Japan will be able to go.Nonetheless, it is worth checking for announcements of new rigs. Last year ICOM launched their IC7300 at this event and there were lots of videos.

UK Rally

Princethorpe College, Princethorpe, Rugby, CV23 9PY Doors open at 8.30 for traders and at 10am to 4pm for the public. Admission is £3. There will be a car boot area and catering will be available on site. More details from Tony, G0OLS on 07759 684 411. www.rugbyats.co.uk.

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

Be sure to contact the organiser to check arrangements before going any distance!

Switched modes and bands

I have returned to 10m WSPR and 6m JT65. About 2 minutes ago, I restarted the shack PC and did a re-sync to internet time.

UPDATE 1102z: Just a couple of G spots on 6m JT65, but nothing on 10m WSPR so far. At the moment there is no Es here on either band.  JT65 on 6m seems to get G spots whereas 10m WSPR does not, well not very often. As we are more or less at the end of the main Es season, activity is dropping off.

UPDATE 1353z:  Still no Es seen here on 10m or 6m. Others may do better, but it seems pretty quiet here to me.

UPDATE 1435z: I have the feeling there will be no Es here today. I may go back to 10m JT65 to see if South America is within reach today.

Es - all quiet here so far

10m JT65 is my mode and band today currently. As yet, no Es seen, although it is still very early. I may give 6m JT65 another go as I seem to spot more inter-G on 6m than on 10m. If so, I shall go on 10m WSPR as the beacon and antenna will be freed  up.

Sunspots and 10m - Friday August 19th 2016

Solar flux is 80 today and the sunspot number 54. K=1. The forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor" although every time I have been on 10m in the last week South America has been in reach on 10m QRP JT65. This band is often "open" even when it appears dead.

18 Aug 2016

More Tits - NOT amateur radio

Long tail tit at seed feeder (close-up)
Well this morning there were three long tailed tits on the bird table. The photo shows one on the seed feeder. I tried to photograph all three but they kept flying away! Long tailed tits tend to go around in flocks. At one point there were long tailed, coal and blue tits at the bird table. We also get great tits.

South America (again) on 10m JT65

On every occasion I've been on 10m JT65 recently I have been spotted, or spotted others, in South America. This evening at 1726z PU2TWU (9572km) was spotted. 10m is still open for N-S paths as JT65 proves. My recommendation is leave WSPR or JT running in the background to spot these openings.

A win at last - NOT amateur radio

As mentioned before, I am not a great football fan, but I still watch the tables to see how my old local team is doing. Plymouth Argyle are in League Division 2. Last season, they were in the running for promotion. This season they lost their first 2 games, but they won away from home on Tuesday evening.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/teams/plymouth-argyle  .


See http://www.amateurradio.com/ .

There are often interesting posts on this site. Yesterday there was a post by VE7SL about the increase in JT65 activity on 6m.

Tokyo Ham Fair reminder

Often this is the place where new rigs are first announced. I doubt many outside Japan will be able to go, but it is often worth keeping an eye out for announcements and videos after the event.


Tokyo International Exhibition Center, 3-11-1 Ariake, Koto-ku, Tokyo, Japan 135-0063.

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday August 18th 2016

Solar flux is 81 today. The sunspot number is 64. K=2. The forecast for 10m F2 propagation is again "poor", although there is Es about, which is some compensation.

10m Es this morning

Well, the Es is back on 10m JT65. Quite early I have been spotted widely in eastern Europe, which bodes well for the rest of the day.

UPDATE 1025z:  Now getting 10m JT65 spots from southern Europe.

17 Aug 2016

Argentina on 10m JT65

LU1MPK (11592km) has been spotted recently on 10m JT65. Every time I have been on 10m JT65 in the last few days I have spotted, or been spotted, by stations deep in South America.

No Es here today?

This is the first day for a long time when I've seen no Es on 10m. I guess we are nearing the end of the Es season and openings will be less frequent? It is still possible there could be some Es around teatime but the 10m band has been very quiet here so far today.

UPDATE 1714z:  Still no 10m Es here.  I have spotted one German but don't think this was Es. No F2 DX to/from South America either so far today, although this could still happen.

Plums next door - NOT amateur radio

Well, our crab apples are nothing like as good as last year, but the orchard next door has plenty of apples and plums already. I think the reason was the odd winter and summer we had. We had a mild, wet winter and a cold, early summer and now it has warmed up. Here are some of the plums.

Goldfinch - NOT amateur radio

This was a goldfinch on the top of our silver birch tree a few days ago. We hear them most days. They are quite common and perhaps one of the most colourful UK garden birds. They tend to fly around in flocks.

10m JT65 - no Es yet today

10m JT65 has been my focus again today. As yet, I have seen no Es but 4X1RF (3518km) spotted me a few minutes ago. I checked sync a few hours ago. Last evening both CE and LU were spotted on 10m JT65.

Sunspots and 10m - Wednesday August 17th 2016

Solar flux is 85 today and the sunspot number 81. K=2. The forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor".

UPDATE 1440z:  The K index has dropped to 1.

16 Aug 2016

Chile spotted on 10m JT65

CE3RR (11751km) has just been spotted on 10m JT65. He was one of 2 stations in Chile spotted tonight. I am still on, so slightly hopeful someone there will spot my QRP.

Feeding Ducks - NOT amateur radio

A few weeks ago we went to Bath. The photo shows one of my granddaughters feeding ducks in a park.

Paraguay om 10m JT65 already!

ZP4KFX (10277km) has already spotted me on 10m JT65. This is earlier than previous days and bodes well for further spots from South America later.

Widespread Es on 10m JT65

There was widespread Es on 10m JT65 today with lots of Europeans spotting me or being spotted quite early. Just off the map extract was a station in Finland that I spotted.

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday August 16th 2016

Solar flux is 88 today and the sunspot number 70. K=0. The 10m F2 propagation forecast is yet again "poor", although my 10m QRP JT65 was spotted in Paraguay again last evening. I presume this was F2.

Our rear garden in mid August - NOT amateur radio

The photo shows our garden in mid August. The rear garden always looks better in spring when there is lots of blossom. The rowan berries are out. The trees in the orchard next door are filled with apples and plums. Our sunflowers (in pots) have yet to flower. The windmill is just visible on the top RHS.

15 Aug 2016

Paraguay (again) on 10m JT65

ZP4KFX (10277km) has again spotted my QRP JT65 on 10m 52 minutes ago. Every time I QSY to 10m he has copied me! PU2PWU (9572km) has been spotted here.

Now on 10m JT65

Earlier this afternoon I switched from 6m to 10m JT65. As expected, no G reports but a few Es spots from middle and southern Europe. I wonder if there will be any South Americans later? I think for now I have given up on WSPR as the WSPRRnet database seems so unreliable.

Expect me to be on 10m JT65 again tomorrow, although I may well stay on 10m JT65 overnight too.

10m WSPR and JT65

Yet again, it is the same stations spotting my 500mW on 10m WSPR - EA1FAQ, OZ7IT, OE6PWD and the WSPRnet database is still very slow. I think it is time for a more permanent move to 10m JT65. I shall change modes this afternoon. 10m WSPR has had its day.

Yes, I may try 10m WSPR again in the autumn. For now I shall be going QRT on 10m WSPR and giving JT65 a try. When not trying for 10m JT65 QSOs, I shall be sending "B G3XBM JO02".

The last time I went on 10m JT65 there were more people active than on WSPR but far fewer G spots than I got on 6m JT65. At least on 10m I am more likely to catch the fleeting F2 openings.

6m JT65 today

Although there is some Es about my best report today on 6m is EI7IX (678km) in the west of Eire. This is probably Es but it could be aircraft reflection.

Sunspots and 10m - Mon August 15th 2016

Solar flux is 87 today. Sunspot number is 61 (K=2) and the forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor".

As yet I have received no 6m JT65 Es spots but plenty from other G stations. I have spotted one IT9 by Es on 6m JT65. On 10m I see there is Es about but WSPRnet is very flaky yet again taking ages to load. Clearly this database needs help. I shall soon be moving to JT65 permanently on 10m in preference to WSPR.

14 Aug 2016

Railways in Burwell - NOT amateur radio

Our local village museum has an exhibition about railways in and around Burwell. Passenger traffic ended in the early 1960s but freight traffic limped on for a few more years. They also had a video of the branch line to Mildenhall from Cambridge. If local, worth a visit.

6m JT65 and 10m JT65

Although I have spotted Asian stations at great range on 6m JT65 this summer,  I have failed to spot, or be spotted, by any North Americans on 6m. I shall stay on 6m JT65 for now, but may well move to 10m JT65 more. The trouble is I just know that there will be a huge 6m opening to the USA the moment I QSY! Sod's Law. Still I have been active on 6m JT65 most of the Es season, so it will soon be time to move.

I shall soon return to 630m (472kHz) WSPR.  Maybe I should try JT65 on MF?
6m  JT65 spots today
UPDATE 2015z: Today 6m has been more like 40m with plenty of Es right across Europe.


For many years back in the 1960s I was an ISWL member. Years later I rejoined for a few years but left way before my stroke. I was saddened that no-one contacted me to persuade me to stay.  Although a friendly bunch, it was no longer for me.

At one time the ISWL had members from all over the world but when I left it was a shadow of its old self with not many members. I contributed to their magazine Monitor most months, but it had passed its "sell-by date". I am not sure how many members it now has but I'd be surprised if the number was much over 150.

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

This is a warning to us all. As radio amateurs (on average) get older we can expect several magazines to go. 20 years from now we might lose pages (or worse) in SPRAT, QST, and RadCom amongst others. Some well known advertisers/dealers may go out of business, there will be less revenue from adverts and a dwindling market for new products. I have said this before, but I fear for the future of our hobby unless we can attract and keep a younger generation.

Old Shack

Old shack in 2009
Facebook throws up memories and today was no exception with a photo of my shack in the old house 7 years ago. In those days I had to share a bedroom, but nowadays I have a dedicated shack. I appreciate this.

Several rigs and the PC have changed.

The UK Pound - NOT amateur radio

At the moment, the UK pound seems to have stabilised since we voted to leave the EU. The value (about 10% lower) should work in favour of exporters, although less so if their raw materials are imported.

Imports become more expensive. Does this mean we will buy more UK food like UK bacon? Much of our food is imported. We could eat more UK grown food and this would help our balance of payments.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business/market_data/currency/default.stm .

Slowly declining solar activity

Sunspot numbers (smoothed) are now about a third of their value at the last peak. Slowly, but surely, the solar activity is falling away. It will be some years to the next minimum (2019/2020?) and the next peak is expected to be poor or even non-existent. We wait and see.

Certainly the lower bands will become more important, although there is still propagation on the higher bands despite people going down the bands. I advocate WSPR or JT modes when the higher HF bands are quieter.

In years gone by I was surprised how useful 10m was with 10W SSB inter-G. In RSGB 10m contests at night I could always work stations on the south coast and Yorkshire despite just using a dipole. WSPR or JT modes should be far better.

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

6m JT65 and 10m WSPR

Well, it is now 1045z and I am still unable to access the WSPRnet database, so I have no idea what is happening on 10m WSPR.  Meanwhile, 6m JT65 continues apace with lots of spots from the UK and lots of Es from across Europe. I like JT65 but am disappointed with WSPRnet as every few weeks it just falls over.

The times I have tried JT65 on 10m I have reached South America every evening. Although it is not quite as good theoretically as WSPR, the higher levels of activity seems to more than make up for this. To be honest, I get better results with JT65 than WSPR.

UPDATE 1302z:  WSPRnet is still unavailable. This is hopeless.

UPDATE 1954z: WSPRnet came back briefly, but when I last looked it was still down.

HF digital audio and video

See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEO9qcg3eyk

Southgate News reports on HF DV with video. Impressive.

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday August 14th 2016

Solar flux is 89 today (not too bad) and sunspot number a respectable 73. K=1. The forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor".

Although there is Es around early on 6m I have been unable to access the WSPRnet database to check on 10m WSPR. This database does seem prone to failure frequently. Like many who use it, I have offered some small financial help as it is run for free and needs some professional help I think. In contrast, PSKreporter has never failed in all the time I have used it. WSPRnet is so useful and I just wish the owner would get help. Without it WSPR is no good, in my view.

QRP and QRP Club

Another newsletter from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

QRP Rendez-Vous weekly report (August 8 to 14, 2016)
op. Oleg R4NX became Honor Frequenter of the "rendezvous? round tables
See full Visitors and Frequenters lists on the Club 72 page -
All weekly reports and Club 72 news on the blog page -
Thanks all for activity and comments!

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

13 Aug 2016

Plymouth Argyle - NOT amateur radio

As football goes you could not wish a worse start. Plymouth Argyle were in serious promotion contention last season but this season they have lost their first 2 games and they are the lowest placed professional team in the entire football league. A lot can, and must, happen if they are not to be out of the league next season. What usually happens is they start by sacking the manager. I certainly hope they have a major turn-around. It is early days.

Plymouth Argyle used to be my nearest club. Although not a football fan, I always look to see how they are doing.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/teams/plymouth-argyle .

WSJT-X v1.7

There is a new version of WSJT-X available in pre-release. Quite a few stations are using it. It was announced on a Yahoo group a few days ago. I am still using V1.6, but may upgrade and give it a try. WSJT-X brings together WSPR with JT modes. V1.7 I believe is better still and adds some more modes I think.

10m WSPR - same old, same old?

There is a difference between 6m JT65 and 10m WSPR. On 10m WSPR I am often spotted by the same stations over and over again. On 6m JT65 there seems more activity and a greater variety of stations.

It is a pity there are not more users of WSPR on 10m. I guess people want it easy so go to lower bands when things get tougher? On 6m JT65, I expect activity will drop after the end of the Es season which is a pity.

WSPR and JT65 are good modes when conditions are marginal or variable as all stations are in a small part of the band and the station can run in the background. With JT65 you can have real 2-way QSOs too.

Rio Olympics - NOT amateur radio

It seems hard to believe that the London Olympics were 4 years ago. At the moment, the UK is 3rd in the medal tables, which is very good.

Preparing for the Olympics takes hours and hours of dedication and very hard work. To all Olympians from any country my thanks and best wishes. There is no place for cheats. For those who perform at their personal very best, my praise. Thank you.

We will blink and it will be time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.



Cobham Sports and Social Club Ground, Merley, Nr Wimborne, Dorset BH21 3DA. The venue has car parking on site and camping is available (Saturday night only in adjacent field). Talk-in will be provided on S22. Gates open at 10am and admission is £3.50. There will be trade stands, a car boot sale and indoor and field pitches for traders. Lectures will take place during the day. A licensed bar and catering facilities are on site. More details from Tony Baker, G3PFM on 0774 347 5018 or by email to hamfest@frars.org.uk. www.frars.org.uk.

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

My usual warning: contact the organisers to confirm arrangements before going any distance.

6m JT65 Es

On 6m JT65 there is again Es about with spots from Southern Europe already. I shall re-sync everything shortly and re-start up the 10m WSPR beacon, although there were plenty of Es spots this morning on 10m WSPR.

Sunspots and 10m - Sat Aug 13th 2016

Solar flux is 91 today. Sunspot  number is 86 (K=2) and the forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor".

12 Aug 2016

Blickling Hall, North Norfolk - NOT amateur radio

Oriental Plane Tree?
This afternoon we drove to North Norfolk to the National Trust property at Blickling Hall. We'd been several times before and only went into the gardens. All the driving really tired me, so I sat on a bench in the shade whilst my wife took photos. I think this was an oriental plane that I sat under. It had seeds a bit like sweet chestnuts but the leaves were all wrong.

6m inter-G

It is interesting that so far this morning I have had 7 reports of my QRP JT65 6m signals from UK stations whereas when I tried the same mode on 10m a few days ago I got none.

There seems to be much more activity on 6m JT65 than 10m JT65. This is true of more distant stations too. I am sending "B G3XBM JO02" when not looking for 2-way QSOs. Spots get picked up and sent to PSKreporter which is where I check for spots of my signal and spots made by me of others. Of course, I check the shack regularly and look on the PC screen to check all is OK.

Sunspots and 10m - Friday August 12th 2016

Solar flux is 93 today and sunspot number 82. K=4. The forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor". Luckily there is Es about.

QST article

A couple of people who see QST magazine have told me that my article on a 472kHz transverter appeared in the September 2016 edition. I have not seen this as I don't get QST. Although I was sent a draft for corrections, I've not seen the final version. There was some doubt about it appearing as the ARRL were waiting and waiting for the band to be allocated in the USA.

The article was written years ago (2013?) before I was ill with my stroke. Anyway, I hope those who get QST will be inspired to have a go on this fascinating band. Although the transverter puts out 10-15W, my ERP on the band was in the low milliwatts. Despite this, I have been copied over 1000km on WSPR with just an earth-electrode antenna. With a "proper" antenna for the band and a decent ground it should be easily possible to exceed 2000km.

Early Es on 6m JT65 and 10m WSPR

I was active on 6m JT65 overnight and on 10m WSPR since just before 0700z. There are already lots of Es spots on 6m. 10m WSPR has spots from Germany and Denmark. A good start.

11 Aug 2016

QRT on 10m, but still on 6m JT65

In the last hour I have gone QRT on 10m WSPR but I am still on 6m JT65. There is still a possibility of some 6m spots.  I also took the opportunity to re-sync the PC to internet time. This should happen automatically every 1000 seconds but I do it on occasions "just in case".

UPDATE 2148z:  Several G spots on 6m JT65 in recent minutes.

Bee (at Anglesey Abbey) - NOT amateur radio

We went to nearby Anglesey Abbey, expecting the dahlias to be well out. Sadly, they are not out in the usual dahlia bed in great numbers. They need a few more weeks.

We saw plenty of bees.

BREXIT - NOT amateur radio

It is still too early to tell how this is going to pan out.

The euro, yen and  dollar exchange rates have moved in favour of UK exporters and making imports from these nations more expensive.

I have the feeling that the euro will collapse in value in the next 18 months as the remaining EU nations wake up to Greek debt (there is no way they can repay this) and the likelihood of the Greeks defaulting and leaving the EU. This would really hit Germany.  In the end I think the UK will be fine. The UK was a net contributor to the EU and we voted to leave. This puts an even greater burden on the richer EU members.

It would not surprise me if we had a snap General Election here in the UK, especially if the Labour party commits self-imposed suicide and splits in two. Our current Prime Minister, Teresa May,  did not vote for Brexit and neither did any in my family. If a General Election was to be called then the Conservative Party is likely to get a huge majority.

I am currently reading a book on the history of Europe 1789-1989. I had little idea how the borders and alliances changed so much in the 1800s. Clearly Europe is still evolving.

Big Masts

Southgate News carries the story from Stroud of an amateur who has applied for planning permission to erect a 13.5m high mast. Some of the neighbours have lodged complaints.  Now, each to his own but I certainly would not like an antenna monster in next door's garden.

Having managed to span the globe with small wire antennas you can barely see and with QRP SSB I question whether such large structures are really needed. Each to their own and at least he has done the application through the formal channels.

All I am saying is this is not how I would want to enjoy our hobby. I appreciate this is a personal choice and each of us is different.

Basically I am not a great believer in "cheque book amateur radio". Some choose to spend £10k plus on rigs, linears, masts, beams and rotators. Not me. If one just wants to talk (and by video) around the world all one needs is a £180 laptop with Skype. I well recall the video conferences with my son on the other side of the planet - it was just like he was next door, and all for free with a PC.

Return to 6m JT65 and 10m WSPR

This morning, early, I reverted to 10m WSPR and 6m JT65. There was early Es on both bands. On 6m JT65 there is more G activity as I am getting spots on 6m whereas I was copied by no Gs on 10m JT65. Best DX spot so far on 6m JT65 is EA7HJ (1833km) in southern Spain who got my QRP very strongly.
Early 10m WSPR spots (500mW)
UPDATE 1538z:  Best DX on 6m JT65 RX is EA8AQV (2988km).

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday Aug 11th 2016

Solar flux is 93 today and the sunspot number 69. K=2. The 10m F2 propagation forecast remains "poor".

10 Aug 2016

Excellent Es on 10m

The Es on 10m was excellent this evening. G3WKW (Bob, an old work colleague) tells me that 6m was open to the USA yesterday. Just my luck to decide to be on 10m!  So, I shall definitely be on 6m JT65 tomorrow and 10m WSPR at the same time.

UPDATE 2006z:  Yet again, I was spotted in South America on 10m this time by ZP4KFX (10277km) by JT65. He is in Paraguay.

PW Datacard, and AM

My Sept 2016 edition of Practical Wireless arrived today in the post. In it, was a data-card showing the HF beacons and on the reverse the latest HF band plans. Although I do not blame PW who just reproduced the band plans for our convenience I am again appalled that AM gets no mention apart from 5MHz.

BTW, am I alone in finding the 5MHz channels totally confusing?

For as long as I can remember just above 29MHz has been the home of 10m AM. Most users use old AM rigs and they sound superb. FM, with wider bandwidths, gets a mention, but not poor old AM. On 10m there is plenty of space for all modes. Why, oh why, does AM get treated like a nasty disease?? As 10m becomes more like a VHF band for much of the year there is a place for AM. Even in the best years, there is space. For much of the next 10 years 10m will be seen by many as a wasteland.

As readers will know, I like narrow-band digital modes like WSPR, JT65 and JT9-1. I also like AM which takes less space than FM, but is treated badly today.

More success on the ULF 101km (2.97kHz) band

Today I heard that Stefan DK7FC's 100nW ERP signal on 2.97kHz VLF was received in a 212uHz bandwidth at 16.8km. He will soon be trying to receive this radiated signal at 30km. I wish him every success.
Hi ULF friends,
This is the summary of my portable RX experiment in 16.8 km distance to my transmit site. It is into the far field of the 101 km RF wave.
A 100 nW ERP signal was sent and recorded for nearly 2 days.
The recording was started on Saturday, 30th of July (14:58 UTC) and was finished on Monday, 01st of August (12:25 UTC). The transmission was a carrier sent on 2970.000 Hz, it was shifted by +2.5 mHz at 8 UTC on Sunday and again shifted by -5 mHz on Monday, 8 UTC.
In the post processing of nearly 30 GB wav files the signal was successfully detected.
Due to the exceptionally high QRN levels (even for the summer time), the SNR was lower than expected, however the traces and frequency shifts are clearly visible.
Spectrogram of the signal in 212 uHz FFT bin width: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/19882028/ULF/17km212.jpg
Spectrogram of the signal in 47 uHz FFT bin width: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/19882028/ULF/17km47.jpg
A wideband spectrogram giving an idea about the natural and man made noise conditions as well as the frequency response of the tuned loop antenna: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/19882028/ULF/17kmwide.jpg
Wideband spectrogram zoomed to the spectrum of interest: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/19882028/ULF/17kmwide3.jpg

The best SNR shown is 12 dB in 212 uHz and 17 dB in 47 uHz.
During the post-processing procedure it happened that SpecLab has plotted a few pixel twice. I don't know the reason.

It looks like i am now seeing the natural background noise on 2970 Hz even in quiet periods (the faint vertical traces). However the man made noise is still playing a role in this QTH.

Further informations can be found in the older emails below.

73, Stefan

PS: A next experiment is planned in a few weeks. The goal is 30 km distance. With lower QRN levels, a better tuned antenna and higher power (already running!) this should give even better results.

Tokyo Ham Fair

I wonder if we will see any new products at the Tokyo Ham Fair on August 20/21st? My ideal rig would be a QRP version of the IC7300 but available in Europe. I know they make versions with lower power for Japan only.


Community Centre, Main Hall, Port Seton, East Lothian EH32 0BQ.  Bring along your own 'junk' and sell it yourself. Tables on a first come first served basis. Entrance fee £2 for everyone. Refreshments will be available. Doors open from 6pm to 9pm. The venue has disabled access.

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

Remember to contact the organisers to check details if travelling far. I'm sorry but there was no phone number given.

Early 10m Es

At the moment I remain on 10m JT65 but may return to 10m WSPR and 6m JT65 tomorrow. This morning there was early Es on 10m with my signal spotted in Germany 4 hours ago.

UPDATE 1248z: No shortage of 10m Es spots today on JT65 with my QRP being widely copied across southern Europe.


As I have said many times before, if I had to give up every other amateur radio magazine I would leave GQRP SPRAT. At £6 for 4 issues a year it remains excellent. It is filled with constructional articles in every issue. If you are a member you can get all the back issues on a DVD at a very good price. It is almost worth joining GQRP just to buy this DVD. To non-members it is £12 plus postage. I can promise you will not be disappointed with GQRP Club membership.

See http://www.gqrp.com/sprat.htm .

Sunspots and 10m - Wed August 10th 2016

Solar flux is 94 today and sunspot number is 72. K=3. Yet again the 10m F2 propagation remains "poor".

9 Aug 2016

70cm UKAC contest

Last Tuesday I was away so I was unable to enter the 2m UKAC activity contest as usual. Tonight was the 70cm leg so I went on for a few minutes using 5W to the 2m halo. I only worked one station G4FEV in IO92RG. A few more stations were heard but not worked.

Swifts going? - NOT amateur radio

In May they arrive and for a few months the swifts are screaming in the skies above us. Then, you realise they are there no longer. I think they start to move this month.

I am sure there are swifts still around but there are fewer than a few weeks ago. Just weeks ago there were more than 20 overhead. Let us hope I see their return in the spring. To me, the screaming swifts are the making of an English spring and summer.

This year there were fewer swallows and house martins, but I saw plenty of swifts.

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

Spotted in Brazil and Paraguay on 10m JT65

My QRP 10m JT65 has been spotted in Paraguay and Brazil this evening. Last night I spotted S.America but tonight it was my turn to be copied. The most distant report was by ZP4KFX (10277km) some 90 minutes ago.

UPDATE 2012z:  Copied LU3VCC (12470km) in western Argentina as the best DX on 10m JT65 this evening.

UPDATE 2026z:  In all 9 South Americans were spotted on 10m JT65 this evening.

Back on 6m JT65 tomorrow?

There seems to be more JT65 on 6m than 10m. As there is still Es about, I may return to 6m tomorrow. I can operate on 10m WSPR and 6m JT65 at the same time but if I want to use 10m JT65 I have to use the FT817 and PC. For 10m WSPR I can use the stand-alone WSPR beacon leaving the FT817 and PC for 6m JT65 use.

Alibris - NOT amateur radio

Yet again, I had an offer from Alibris today. Every week , I usually get an offer of some kind, usually 10-20% off. This lot are a joke.

Early 10m Es

As you may recall, I moved from WSPR to JT65 on 10m yesterday for a change. This morning there was early Es with spots from France and Germany. In theory, JT65 is a little bit worse than WSPR but I think there are more people internationally than on WSPR. With the highish sunspot number it is possible I will be spotted in South America later.

UPDATE 0944z:  Just been spotted by EA3ZE (1189km) in NE Spain on 10m JT65.

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday August 9th 2016

Solar flux is 95 today and sunspot number is a respectable 91. K=3. Yet again the 10m F2 propagation remains "poor".

8 Aug 2016

QRP and QRP Club

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,
QRP Rendez-Vous weekly report (August 1 to 7, 2016)
ON7FR became Honor Frequenters of "rendezvous" round table - Congrats!!!
See  full Visitors and Frequenters lists also "rendezvous" schedule -
Enjoy full weekly report with soapbox and pictures -
72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"