31 Oct 2016

QSYed to 10m JT65

At about 1715z I QSYed to 10m JT65 from 6m JT65. I may have left it too late as I have not had any spots on 10m yet. Maybe, there was no European propagation to link to the TEP area? Anyway, I'll leave things running for a few more hours.

UPDATE 1927z: IZ4RE (1138km) spotted me in the last ten minutes.

UPDATE 2200z:  I finally went QRT at around 2145z. In all, 5 South Americans were spotted on 10m JT65, all after dark here.  Best DX on 10m JT65 RX was Argentina. I was not expecting to spot any South Americans on 10m this late. Surprised again!

6m JT65 (2W) and 10m WSPR (500mW)

This morning, I decided to go on 6m JT65 and 10m WSPR.  Just G0LRD (25km) spotting me on 6m and nothing on 10m.

UPDATE 1538z:  F1LII (995km) spotted me on 6m JT65 a few hours ago and EA6SX (1439km) in the Balearic Is was the best DX on 6m JT65 RX. Both these were a total surprise on 6m. Nothing at all on 10m WSPR.

Working QRP SSB stateside DX from the car

This photo was taken in spring 2013 (before my stroke) and shows me working QRP SSB DX from the car on the edge of Dartmoor, Devon. I guess this will never happen again now as SSB is such hard work! I think the band was 15m. Conditions, and the weather, were good.

Cobweb in the dew - NOT amateur radio

This cobweb was covered in dew this morning. We are now very much in autumn and the grass is very wet in the mornings. I hope you like it as much as I do. In every season there is something good.

G3XBM video channel

Just a reminder that I have a video channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/G3XBM . This channel has many of my projects.  Most videos were created before my stroke. I hope you enjoy these.

Sunspots and 10m - Monday October 31st 2016

Solar flux is 75 today. Sunspot number is12 . K=3.

It is hard to believe we are already at the end of October.

30 Oct 2016

24GHz handheld

Well, I missed this at first, but am mightily impressed!

This was spotted on Amateur Radio Weekly, but it first appeared on a blog in Spain. Can you believe it? A 24GHz handheld! What some manage just astounds me.

See ea4eoz.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/24ghz-old-way.html?utm_source=amateur-radio-weekly&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter

UK clock change and 10m

In the end, I gave CQWW a miss today (because of my voice) and stayed on 10m JT65.

I keep forgetting that the UK clocks went back last night (we are now GMT until the end of March) and that it will be dark an hour earlier tonight. So, I have to remember that any DX on 10m is likely to peak an hour earlier. So far, just a single Brazilian spotted on 10m JT65 today. With the earlier darkness, it is less likely there will be many (or any) more today. I think the chances of USA spots on 10m has passed for today. I guess this needs a lower K index and a higher sunspot number, although I am no expert.

UPDATE 1536z:  I have just spotted a station in Faro, Portugal, CT4RC (1814km) on 10m JT65 at 1528z, although no further South Americans. If the South Americans are coming through by TEP, then the Portuguese station indicates some chance of linking into this TEP from the UK.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TV_and_FM_DX#Transequatorial_propagation_.28TEP.29  . This article is about FM and TV DXing, but it gives some insight into TEP.

UPDATE 1725z:  In the last 15 minutes 2 more Brazilians (Sao Paulo area) have been spotted on 10m JT65. This is consistent with TEP and an extension to northern Europe by some other mode of propagation.

UPDATE 1800z:  Now 5 South American spotted on 10m JT65 with the best RX DX being CX3BA (11131km) in Uruguay.  I am more convinced than ever that this is TEP with extension to northern Europe.

UPDATE 1925z:  No further South Americans in the last 3/4 hour. In the end 9 South Americans spotted with best DX on RX Argentina. I am wondering if we are seeing TEP extended by southern hemisphere Es? I doubt we'll see more South American spots tonight on 10m JT65.

Halloween - NOT amateur radio

Call me a killjoy if you like,  but I think Halloween has been commercilised here in the UK. A few years ago Halloween was nothing special. Now, it is BIG business. Tills are ringing and we are all sucked in. No, the prime reason it is now so big is MONEY and PROFITS, pure and simple. It stinks.

Autumn - NOT amateur radio

It seems only a few weeks since we were in summer, but it is definitely autumn here. We still have sweet peas out in the garden, we have still to have a first frost, but the trees have turned and the colours are great.

QRP and QRP Club

From Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,
Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous report (October 24 to 30, 2016)
See  full  Visitors  and  Frequenters lists on the Club 72 web page -
See   full   report   including   "soapbox"   on  the  blog  page  -
See you all on next QRP "rendezvous" round tables.

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

This is a periodic Newsletter of the Club 72. Don't reply to Newsletter address! Send any requests or news to mr72@club72.su please.


Dear Club 72 members and friends,

UW5EKR  op.  Maxim  visited  "rendezvous"  today.  That  was his 1'st "rendezvous" - congrats! Sorry for my error

10m JT65 today (Sunday)

This morning I went straight on to 10m JT65. E73DN (1630km) has already spotted my 2W 10m JT65 and I have already spotted many Europeans.

UPDATE 1346z: As well as being spotted  in Italy, I see that I have spotted PY1ON (9304km) in the Rio area of Brazil. I was going to try CQWW again, but think I'll stick with 10m JT65 and save my voice!

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday October 30th 2016

Solar flux is 78 today. Sunspot number is 16 and K=3.

29 Oct 2016

CQWW SSB - too hard these days

In years gone by (before my stroke) I enjoyed this contest as a way of working new countries. Sadly, these days my voice is too poor. When I give my callsign it is a real strain and I am not quick enough. Sadly, I think my days with CQWW are now past.

10m was not as busy as the last few years: I heard several EA8s working stings of Europeans, but I was just too slow.

Looking back on the blog, I see I gave up on CQWW last year because of my poor voice.

BITX at bargain basement prices

My friend Steve G1KQH has pointed me to a website in India selling 40m BITX assembled PCBs at ridiculous prices. If you are after SSB on 40m, this may be for you.

The BITX is a well proven design. This assembled PCB uses a mix of SMA and wire-ended parts. You only have to assemble the PCB and pots into a case.  It should be a low risk approach to 40m SSB and you finish the assembly yourself.

See http://www.hfsigs.com/ .

MF "antenna"

The picture shows my son removing a shrub by our garden shed.  My MF "antenna" of the last few years has been an earth-electrode pair spaced about 10-12m. The far end is on the right of the picture. I want to get up a better antenna this season, but I depend on help these days!

6m and 10m JT65 and CQWW

4Z5ML (3571km) has already been spotted on 10m JT65 this morning despite a sunspot number of zero.

As I have a small window to operate on 10m SSB in the CQWW contest, I shall probably go on 6m JT65 soon in beacon mode.

UPDATE 1038z: G0LRD (25km) spotting me on 6m JT65, but no-one else. CQWW on 10m was slow with just a couple of Italians coming through earlier. So different from a few years ago.

UPDATE 1136z: G6NLZ (153km) near the South Coast of the UK has been spotted on 6m JT65. This was either by tropo or aircraft reflection.  I'll try 10m SSB CQWW again after lunch.

UPDATE 1918z:   Having returned to 10m JT65 I have spotted a couple of South Americas (Argentina and Brazil)  and I was spotted by OE3BUB (1228km) in Austria.So, not everybody is on CQWW!

QRP and QRP Club

From Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,
Welcome  all QRP operators in the special QRP Chat room on the Club 72
web  page  -  club72.su  (QRP Chat in the menu) - see attached screen
shot.  Don't worry for Russian words, there are only testing group of
Russian QRPers now.
In chat you must to create account and nik-name. for nik-name use only
your CALL sign, otherwise non-callsign nik-names will be deleted.
English or Russian languages may be used in the QRP Chat. QRP chat is
comfortable  to  inform "I'm on *** frequency now" as well as evening
"pub"  with  your  friends, heheheh. Enjoy it! See you ALL in the QRP

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"
This is a periodic Newsletter of the Club 72. Don't reply to Newsletter address! Send any requests or news to mr72@club72.su please.

Salcombe webcam - NOT amateur radio

See http://webcams.chestnutcorp.co.uk:8185/?rand=1391520236357 

A lot of fun can be had looking at webcams. The one linked is at Whitestrand, Salcombe, Devon, UK.

UPDATE 30.10.16 1605z.  Every time I have tried to connect with this link recently it has failed. I think you have to subscribe to the South Sands Hotel Newsletter to be able to access it. See http://www.southsands.com/ .

BATC videos on YouTube

See https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUWLnUZllytlcCFd93tnBzw/videos .

Southgate News reports that videos of the recent BATC convention talks are now available on YouTube. I watched some of these when they were steamed, but it is good to hear they are available offline.

Kent family - NOT amateur radio

The photo shows our son, his wife and 2 of our grandchildren sitting on a log at Anglesey Abbey yesterday. They live near Canterbury.

Sunspots and 10m - Saturday October 29th 2016

Solar flux is 78 today. Sunspot number is zero.  K=4 .

CQWW SSB contest all weekend so bands you thought were dead will spring into life magically only to appear dead again on Monday. Even with real QRP 5W or less SSB I usually have no problem filling a couple of pages of my log book.

28 Oct 2016

ISWL (International Short Wave League)

Back in the 1960s, when the ISWL was thriving, I joined. Subsequently I left and rejoined some years ago. After a few years, I left again. When I left there were about 200 members only. I have no idea of membership numbers now, but I''d be surprised if it was more than 150 and probably far fewer?

Sadly, ISWL was no longer "for me". When I  left a few years ago not one email was received saying they were sorry I was going. I was surprised. Every month I had contributed a log, as well as several articles.

My feeling is this is now a very small group that is on the way out. Back in the 1950s and 1960s it was a very strong, international group. No longer do I feel this is true, sadly.

If you are considering joining, then my recommendation is join GQRP Club instead. I have never been disappointed.

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

Hamsphere Newsletter

This is not real radio. It is virtual ham radio with the internet acting as the propagation medium. If you have real issues with antennas, rigs, etc, it may offer you a kind of amateur radio experience.

See http://www.hamsphere.com/23_43446_read.html .

Sunspots and 10m - Friday October 28th 2016

Solar flux is 75 today. Sunspot number is 12 and K=3. It will be interesting to see how 10m is later. If we get N-S DX I shall not be too surprised. Apart from Florida (once) I have not seen USA spots on 10m this autumn.

10m JT65 overnight and today

Last night I decided to stay on 10m JT65 overnight. Not unexpectedly, there were no spots overnight. I shall check internet sync soon, although this should happen every 1000 seconds automatically if the internet connection holds up. Yesterday, the internet was not reliable. This is unusual as normally it is good.

UPDATE 0930z: Just did a manual resync to internet time "just in case".  No 10m spots overnight and so far today, but I see I spotted GD0TEP yesterday too on 10m JT65. This is an interesting distance. Could have been tropo, aircraft or backscatter.

UPDATE 1050z:  My 2W QRP 10m JT65 has been spotted in Greece and Spain. Es I assume. RK6MF (2838km) is currently the best DX on 10m JT65 RX here. I assume this is F2.

UPDATE 1106z: A45XO (5708km) in Oman is now the best RX DX on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1122z:  EA5IDQ (1576km) in Spain now spotting my 10m JT65 (2W QRP). Looks like quite a widespread opening on 10m.

UPDATE 1606z: So far, 3 South Americans, in the Sao Paulo area of Brazil, spotted on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1750z:  No further South Americans and USA still noticeably absent.

UPDATE 1802z: LX1JX (469km) spotted me 2 hours ago.

27 Oct 2016

Our back garden in autumn - NOT amateur radio

This is view of our back garden at the end of October. Most trees are now changing into their autumn colours. In autumn you can get some wonderful shades.

Shakespeare - NOT amateur radio

OK, I come from England and I am supposed to love Shakespeare. Alas poor Yorick, he sends me to sleep!

I do not know why, but ever since school days Shakespeare has had this effect on me. Maybe it is the style or the rhythm but I am not a Shakespeare fan. There are a few famous verses which I have remembered since school days, but other than these I am afraid I do not like the bard.

Each to their own I guess, but I  am sure I am not alone.

10m JT65

After a good day yesterday, I returned to 10m JT65 (2W) at 0652z this morning. As yet, no spots.

UPDATE 0922z:  Still no spots as yet.

UPDATE 1056z: Just spotted on 10m JT65 by IZ0AIS (1506km) suggesting there is some Es about on 10m. I spotted another Italian further south too.
UPDATE 1154z:  No further spots since the Italians as yet, but most days 10m opens to somewhere.

UPDATE 1932z:  2 South Americans spotted on 10m JT65 today. Dead band? Low sunspots? Disturbed conditions?  JT65 is the answer!

QRP and QRP Club

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

I glad to inform about new Club 72 member -
# 93 US7IB op. Vyacheslav (Slava) from Kramatorsk city

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday October 27th 2016

Solar flux is 77 today and the sunspot number 15.  K=5.

On the face of it, it does not look promising on 10m. Yesterday was similar and it turned out to be pretty good! You can never tell.

Salcombe Lifeboat Disaster, 100 Years On - NOT amateur radio

See http://salcombelifeboat.co.uk/lifeboat-disaster-centenary/ .

One hundred years ago today the small Devon town where I came from suffered a tragedy when the lifeboat overturned with the loss of life of most of the crew. Only two men survived. It was a tragedy in a small community.

There will be a special service to mark this 100 year anniversary.

One of my aunties witnessed the tragedy when she was a young girl.  Most of the crew were not young men as most of these were fighting in WW1.

To this day the RNLI crews go out in any weather to save lives. They are brave men and women.

See https://www.periscope.tv/w/1gqxvRAQEjgxB?q=salcombe for live coverage of the service.

UPDATE 1115z:  I watched the service live on the internet. It was a dignified affair with a packed church.  Sad to think that all the generation that remember this sad event are now long gone, but good that so many wished to remember them.

Thwaites Glacier, Antarctica - NOT amateur radio

See http://motherboard.vice.com/read/scientists-warn-the-collapse-of-this-glacier-could-be-globally-catastrophic-thwaites

It looks as if this glacier is melting fast and could result in a huge sea level rise.

I know the skeptics will say this is just scientists after funding, but we ignore these risks at our peril.

CQWW DX contest this weekend (SSB)

As many of you know, I am not a great contest person, but CQWW is "special" as bands that seem dead suddenly spring into life. This weekend is the SSB leg. As we have grandchildren, I shall miss a great deal of this. Even if you do not like contests, it is a chance to enjoy the increased activity, especially on the higher HF bands.  It runs all weekend.

See http://www.cqww.com/rules.htm .

26 Oct 2016

Slowly declining solar conditions

We are now on the gradual slide down the solar cycle to the next minimum. The slide down is usually slower than the climb after the minimum. The experts are not expecting great things of the next maximum. As always, these are averages, so some days can be much better.

Next autumn we should not expect conditions on the higher HF bands to be much good, although I firmly believe 10m is better than people think. OK, you need to hunt for the DX - it is not as easy as a few years ago, but it is there quite often.

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

10m JT65

I returned to 10m JT65 (2W QRP) at 0715z today, having turned the rig on and resynced the shack PC to internet time. So far, no spots.

UPDATE 1008z: EU7FBB (1931km) spotted me recently. F2 or Es?

UPDATE 1050z:  Spots of my 2W QRP 10m JT65 also received from Italy and Slovakia. Es? Nothing yet from outside Europe.

UPDATE 1100z:  It looks like there is widespread 10m propagation to Europe with my 2W QRP JT65 being spotted in Austria, Italy, Slovakia and Belarus. I am assuming this is Es. As I have said many times, 10m is open far more than people think. We have weak signal modes like JT65 and WSPR to thank for enlightening us all.

UPDATE 1345z: 8 European spots of my QRP 10m JT65 so far. Who said 10m was "dead"? Remember, my antenna for 10m is very very average and low. If you have more power and a better antenna you are likely to do better.

UPDATE 1800z: 2 South Americans spotted on 10m JT65 here today (Argentina and Brazil). I am sure this is TEP with the extension to the UK because of good openings in Europe.

UPDATE 1813z:  Now 6 South Americans spotted on 10m JT65 here.  Not bad at all.

UPDATE 1835z:  Now a couple of South Americans have spotted my 10m JT65 QRP: PY1TS (9350km) and PU4ENY (9359km). 10 South Americans spotted here with best RX CE7KF (12753km) in Chile.

UPDATE 2020z: Now spotted 22 South Americans on 10m JT65 today, including HC5K (9541km) in Ecuador. Nothing from the USA.

Sunspots and 10m - Wednesday October 26th 2016

Solar flux is 77 today. Sunspot number is 17. K=4.

On the face of it, today does not look promising on 10m.

The Dutch and the Danes - NOT amateur radio

It is now 8 years since I retired. In my working days I visited several countries around the world. Without doubt the people I liked most were the Dutch and the Danes. Somehow we just "clicked" and got on. They seemed to be like us with a similar sense of humour.

It is some years since I was last in Denmark, but we were in Amsterdam earlier this year. I still like Holland and its people. They are my kind and I wish them, and the Danes, well.

25 Oct 2016

Smart phones - NOT amateur radio

Tuesday is one of my days in Cambridge doing Polar Studies at the Scott Polar Research Institute. The course is run by the University of the Third Age. We are very lucky to have a huge range of courses in Cambridge. We are lucky to have many ex-university lecturers.

See http://www.spri.cam.ac.uk/ .

In a not very scientific study into smart phone use, these were my findings, just looking:
  • Younger people are the main users
  • About 1 in 10 (at least) seemed to be using these
  • More women than men seemed to use these (keep away, don't speak to me, acknowledge my private space?)
OK, I hear you say, so what, but this is a social thing:  in days gone by there was eye contact, people chatted to each other. At the very least people acknowledged each other. It seems most young people have lost the skill of face-to-face contact; the phone seems more important! If this is OK, OK. Sadly, as a boring old git, I think this will come back to bite us.

Above 275GHz

OFCOM is issuing NoV for bands above 275GHz (the Terahertz bands). Although I have experimented at lightwave frequencies (where the test gear is easy) I have not tried terahertz frequencies. What is needed is very simple design that is "sure fire".  At the moment, I suspect only professionals with access to terahertz test gear will apply.

See http://rsgb.org/main/blog/news/gb2rs/headlines/2016/10/21/new-terahertz-band-nov/

RadCom and RadCom Plus

This is the magazine of the RSGB, the UK's national amateur radio society. There is also an additional online version available to members (RadCom Plus) with extra content. Usually the paper copy is a mix of technical and operational news.

See http://www.rsgb.org/  .

10m JT65

Before breakfast I turned the PC and rig on and checked internet time sync. As yet, no spots given or received. South America (if at all) usually gets through late afternoon. There are quite a few monitors in Europe, but they have not copied me yet. I am convinced that JT65 is a very effective 10m mode as the solar cycle recedes and conditions get worse. I remain convinced there is life on 10m long after most people abandon it. My advice? Run 10m JT65 or WSPR in the background and be surprised. On most recent days, 10m has opened to somewhere briefly.

UPDATE 1054z:  Still no 10m JT65 spots as yet.

UPDATE 1625z:  Only UK spots today on 10m JT65 with best DX G0JEI (141km) on RX. So, no great DX today!

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday October 25th 2016

Solar flux is 75 today and the sunspot number 13. K=4. On the face of it, we should not expect great 10m conditions today, but we may be surprised on JT65 and WSPR!

24 Oct 2016

QRP and QRP Club

Latest from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Welcome new members:
# 89 - RU3GS op. Vladimir
# 90 - R1CAF op. Victor
# 91 - UW5EKR op. Maxim
# 92 - R2AJA op. Igor
Note: to become Club 72 member recommendation require from true member
with more than 1 year membership experience. See rules on the Club 72

Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous report (October 17 to 23, 2016)
Visitors  of  the  week:  US3EN,  DK1DW, SM7RYR, DK1HW, UR7VT, G3XJS,
See  full  Visitors  and  Frequenters  lists  on  the  Club 72 page -

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

Back on 10m JT65

I returned to 10m JT65 quite late this morning, as we were late getting up. Normally, I put things on before breakfast. So far just UA3GT (2635km) spotted by F2.

UPDATE 1202z:   As well as spots of my signal from across Eastern Europe I have spotted stations widely in Europe and Israel. Best on 10m JT65 RX is 4X1QQ (3551km).

UPDATE 2026z:  Just a single South American spotted on 10m JT65 today, after a more promising start.

UPDATE 2050z: Now QRT. Back in the morning.

Sunspots and 10m - Monday October 24th 2016

Solar flux is 77 today and the sunspot number is 14. K=3.

23 Oct 2016

QRT until the morning

After a pretty good day on 10m JT65, I have now gone QRT and will be back on the band in the morning. I did not expect to be copied in Australia this autumn or ever again on 10m. With declining solar conditions, this was a total surprise.

SAQ (VLF CW) Off Air

Apparently, SAQ (17.2kHz) had a fire caused by arcing and is off the air presently. I have no idea if they will be back in time for their usual transmission around Christmas. I am a proud owner of one of their QSL cards from several years ago.

See http://www.arrl.org/news/antenna-fire-puts-saq-alexanderson-alternator-station-off-the-air .

Maths - NOT amateur radio

Our elder granddaughter (5) doing maths with granny at the kitchen table. She is very keen to learn - our granddaughter that is. I think granny has done enough maths!

10m JT65

This morning I went straight to 10m JT65. I switched on about 20 minutes ago, which is later than usual. As normal. I checked the PC was synced to internet time. Before I set things going I could hear a couple of stations.

UPDATE 1012z: Several stations in Russia, Finland and South Africa spotted and my own QRP 10m JT65 spotted by several Russians. F2 I assume. At the moment, things look quite promising on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1130z:  My 2W 10m JT65 was spotted by VK6KXW (14542km) in Western  Australia and ZS6ZP (9121km) in South Africa as well as widely in Europe. 10m JT65 is good today.

UPDATE 1954z:  Lots of spots of South Americans but no spots of my own QRP 10m JT65 signal from stations in that continent. Still waiting for a decent F2 opening on 10m JT65 to the USA this autumn.

Learning CW

It is some time since I tried CW - I use JT65 and WSPR mainly because of my health - but this can be a very effective mode with simple gear. Learning CW can be hard for some. An on-line resource that may help is http://lcwo.net/en/cwsettings .

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday October 23rd 2016

Solar flux is 76 today. Sunspot number is 27.  K=3 .

22 Oct 2016


At 1930z I decided to close the 10m JT65 station. It looks like no DX today, sadly. Maybe better luck tomorrow? Today has been the worst day on 10m here in ages.

After we die - NOT amateur radio

Perhaps this is something that comes with old(er) age? If I am lucky I might have another 20 years, or I could die tomorrow. The only thing certain in life is that we all die, some far too soon.  The great religions of the world all speak of some kind of life after death.  The truth is we just do not know.  Some with great faith believe they have the answers. I prefer to accept my doubts.

I do not remember anything before I was born, so eternal "nothingness" is possible. I guess all humans hate to think in terms of finality. The best ones are those who can accept life as a gift and to live their lives fully. Some argue that without a life after death we have no real moral compass.

In the end I am agnostic - what will be will be. All the major religions seem to strive to understand the ultimate question. One day we will all know the answer.

Illegal parking - NOT amateur radio

On Thursday this week I went to my usual University of the 3rd Age course in Cambridge on the Anglo-Saxons. The Park and Ride car park had been illegally occupied by travellers for the second time this year. They are being evicted. They we completely blocking the disabled parking spots.

6m JT65 and 10m WSPR QRP

Today, I started up on 10m WSPR (500mW) and 6m JT65 (2W). Later in the day I shall probably swap to just 10m JT65. So far, G0LRD (25km) spotting me on 6m and nothing on 10m.

UPDATE 1110z: G4KPX (14km) has spotted me lots of times on 10m WSPR and G0LRD (25km) on 6m JT65, but no other spots as yet on either band.

UPDATE 1750z:  No spots given or received on 10m JT65 this afternoon or this evening.  I have been on 10m JT65 since early afternoon. I think this was a bad day on 10m rather than my end.

UPDATE 1916z:  Still no spots on 10m JT65 this afternoon and evening. Conditions did not look that bad, so I am a bit surprised.  I resynced to internet time a few hours ago.

Sunspots and 10m - Saturday October 22nd 2016

Solar flux is 77 today and the sunspot number is 29. K=1.

21 Oct 2016

A poor 10m day - but still 4 continents spotted

Despite this not being a good day, 4 continents were spotted today on 10m JT65 (Europe, Africa, Asia and South America). We have grandchildren staying, so operating and blogging may be compromised until Wednesday -  and quite rightly as they are only little once.

432MHz (70cm) UKAC results published

At the moment I have climbed to 119th out of 168 in the AL section of this contest. As I am just using 5W to a  2m halo fed with lossy coax, and I am only active for 30-60 minutes (the contest runs for 150 minutes) because of my poor voice, I am quite pleased.

See http://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin/vhfresults.pl?Contest=432MHz%20UKAC&year=2016 .

Another Rally and a Cancellation

Volunteer Hall, St Johns Street, Galashiels TD1 3JX Doors open 11.15am, £2.50. Bring and Buy, Traders, Refreshments. Details from Jim, GM7LUN, on 01896 850 245, or email gm7lun@qsl.net.


Liz Cabban, GW0ETU, lizcabban@vodafoneemail.co.uk

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

Pound-Dollar exchange rate - NOT amateur radio

In the last few weeks the pound has gone down against most currencies. This makes UK exports more competitive, but imports dearer. Against the US Dollar the rate is $1.2244 to £1 currently. The world fears a "hard BREXIT" from the EU. My own view is the EU did not want the UK to leave as it needed us to prop up the (failing?) institution. I think the Euro will weaken a great deal in the next 18 months or so. I am no expert though!

In the short term we are likely to see higher UK prices (inflation) and a bettering of our trade deficit. Many EU nations will need our trade in the future. If we depend less on finance and make more, that would not be a bad thing.

10m JT65

No spots as yet on 10m, although it is very early and I have not been on very long. Maybe things will liven up later?

UPDATE 0904z:  RA6WF (3610km) in Dagestan, Russia spotted on 10m JT65.  I presume this is F2. At the moment I seem to be uploading my 10m JT65 spots to PSKreporter maps OK.

UPDATE 1250z: RA6AM (2908km) spotted me earlier on 10m JT65 (2W QRP). VU2TS (8062km) and EA8GF (2973km)  spotted here on 10m JT65. F2.

UPDATE 2025z:  Best DX on 10m JT65 RX was LW6EUR (11215km) in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Sunspots and 10m - Friday October 21st 2016

Solar flux is 75 today and the sunspot number 16. K=1

Yesterday - 10m JT65 RX

Yesterday I was puzzled why I was being spotted far and wide (including South America) on 10m JT65 (2W QRP), but I was, apparently, receiving nothing according to PSKreporter maps. When I checked my own WSJT-X screen on the shack PC, I could see lots and lots of South Americas, all over Europe, Israel, Thailand and others on 10m JT65 RX!  For some reason, my spots were not being uploaded to PSKreporter, whereas spots by others were. I think the problem must have been my internet connection.

At 0727z this morning I returned to 10m JT65 and the PC sync to internet time was checked. I wonder how today will go?

20 Oct 2016

Time to go QRT

With no new spots now for some hours, I am about to go QRT on 10m JT65. I shall be back on in the morning.


For readers in Northern Ireland and  Eire I guess.


Downshire Community School, Carrickfergus, BT38 7DA. Doors open at 11.30pm and admission is £3. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy, special interest groups and an RSGB bookstall. The venue has disabled facilities. Refreshments will be available. Details from Tim, MI0TBL by email to carg@hotmail.co.uk. www.radioclubs.net/carg.

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

On 10m JT65 since before breakfast

The 10m JT65 (2W) was fired up just before breakfast. As yet,  no spots given or received on the 10m band, but there are quite a few people looking across Europe and Asia. No signs of UK spots or spots from mainland Europe. Nearer Europe and UK is sometimes possible by aircraft reflection or tropo. Further away depends on Es, F2 or backscatter.

UPDATE 0924z:  Just had my first 10m JT65 spot today: from Austria OE3BOB (1228km). Es?

UPDATE 1128z:  IZ0AIS (1506km) has just spotted my 2W on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1136z: Now EA5/G3XGS (1581km) is spotting me.  Did someone say 10m is "dead"??

UPDATE 1810z:  PU4ENY (9359km) in Brazil copied me earlier on 10m JT65 (2W QRP).

QRP, QRP Club and Sputniks

From Oleg:

Dear Space Friends,
all QSOs installed in the total log page. Thanks!
New memorable certificates sent to:
- Honor Cosmonauts
- Honor Astronauts
Note:  in  next  2017  "Sputnik"  Days  Beacon/TXs  may be claimed as
"Sputnik"  or  "Vanguard".  Identifications  "beep-beep"  or  "V V V"

72! beep-beep-beep...
Deep Space Communications Center
operator on duty -
Oleg ("Mr. 72") RV3GM / KH6OB

Dear Space Friends,
Sputnik Activity Days finished. Thanks to all participants and to all
spectators! I'll add all QSOs in the totals log and make the order on
the  page  this  evening.  My  sorry,  I  too much busy with my house
reconstructions now.
Note: the dead line for all reports before October 25.

72! beep-beep-beep...
Deep Space Communications Center
operator on duty -
Oleg ("Mr. 72") RV3GM / KH6OB

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday October 20th 2016

Solar flux is 76 today.  Sunspot number is 31.  K=0. Yesterday was not bad on 10m JT65, certainly worth running JT65 in the background.

19 Oct 2016

End of 10m DX today?

Just in case, I'll stay on 10m JT65 a little longer, but I think the DX is over here for the day. In the end I copied 10 South Americans although my own 2W QRP JT65 failed to be spotted there on 10m JT65 today. Still, it was a lot better than yesterday. CE5PRD (12194km) was the best DX today.

AM in Portugal - Nov 5/6th

Southgate News reports on an AM weekend in Portugal in November:

"ARLA - The Portuguese 'Associação de Radioamadores do Litoral Alentejano' is organizing a whole weekend of Amplitude Modulation-AM on the 6th and 7th of November, the sixth edition of the event previously known as 'Dia Nacional do AM em Portugal' (National Day of AM in Portugal).
The broadcast, in amplitude modulation, will take place in 80m, 40m, 20m, 10m, 6m and 2m between 08AM UTC Saturday Nov 5 until 11:59PM UTC Sunday Nov 6.
Therefore, ARLA asks all ham operators and SWL, national or worldwide, to participate in this special broadcast, widen this year and for the first time to two consecutive days, in AM and in the amateur band plan.
The broadcasting will take place in several frequencies and the following should be considered for calling or meeting points between the participants:
3 705.0 kHz (+- 5kHz);
7 146.0 kHz (+- 5 kHz);
14 270.0 kHz (+- 5 kHz);
29 075.0 kHz (+- 5 kHz);
51,575.0 MHz (+- 5 kHz);
144,550.0 MHz (+- 5 kHz).

As referred above, this year we've widen the event to 48h due to several requests of previous participants, tho maintaining the same goals as the last events:
a) to give the opportunity of putting old recovered or collecting equipment's on the air
b) promote an different experience as well calling, whenever possible, to this type of broadcast that it's not that used anymore, focusing on new ham operators
c) pay our respects to the old short wave amplitude modulation broadcasting in Portugal, nowadays extinct
The logbook isn't mandatory but it would be great if you send your log to the organization.
Those who can and are willing to give us that joy, please send them to cs5arla+dia.do.am@gmail.com
All participants that make a contact with CS5ARLA station, operated by Carlos Mourato (CT4RK), will receive a participation certificate.
João Costa CT1FBF
Vogal da Direcção da ARL"

A better 10m day

I have been on 10m JT65 all day. So far 6 South Americans spotted together with a couple of spots of my own 2W QRP 10m JT65 signal from Europeans.

UPDATE 1550z:  Now 7 South Americans spotted. Best 10m JT65 RX spot is LW7EMM (11483km).

UPDATE 1702z: Now spotted 10 South Americans on 10m JT65 RX.

10m JT65 since before breakfast

Although on 10m JT65 since before breakfast, I see IZ0AIS (1506km) spotted me a few minutes ago. I assume this is Es. I don't think there were earlier spots.

Sunspots - Wednesday October 19th 2016

Solar flux is 77 today. The sunspot number is 24 .  K=2 . As mentioned yesterday, assume 10m F2 propagation is forecast to be "poor" unless I say otherwise. In future, I shall NOT be mentioning 10m F2 propagation.

18 Oct 2016


Well it is now 1730z and I have been on 10m JT65 most of the afternoon. Not a single spot given or received on 10m JT65. Yesterday was quite different.

I shall stay on the band for a while longer, but think the DX chances have gone for the day.
UPDATE 1818z:  When not looking for QSOs, I usually monitor PSKreporter maps in the lounge on a different PC. I see that PU4ENY (Brazil) was spotted at 1358z calling CQ, although he did not upload to PSK reporter. So, there was just one South American logged on 10m JT65 today after all. G0VUH was also spotted. I am still active, but 10m JT65 is very quiet here.

Exchange rates - NOT amateur radio

See https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/currencies/investing.html for how the UK pound is fairing against other currencies. Although I voted to remain in the EU, I can see the Euro weakening in the next 18 months. The UK (a big contributor to the EU pot) is leaving, the Greeks have little prospect of ever repaying their debts and there is a general sentiment that the EU is dated and holding back its members.There is no doubt that the UK will have a difficult few years, but the EU is in for a rough time too.

New Greenland 6m Beacon

Southgate News mentions a new 6m beacon OX6M in Greenland on 50.047MHz. This is worth listening for, especially in the Es season. I have worked Greenland with 2.5W handheld on 15m SSB in the past from the back garden with just a base loaded whip on the rig.

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2016/october/new-ox6m-beacon.htm

1.3GHz UKAC this evening

This is a band I do not go on. Tonight is the 1.3GHz leg of the UK activity contests organised by the RSGB.

If this is like the 2m and 70cm contests, it is a good opportunity to come on the band and work a few new stations and squares.

In the distant past I borrowed a converter and listened on the band with a homemade, indoor 4 el yagi made of 2.5mm silver plated wire. I recall hearing a local well.

Really it is a band I should try,  like 10GHz. I have always been put off by a lack of test gear. My site is quite good, but I am not good on ladders these days and decent antennas are a must.

45 countries on 10m JT65 in the last week

Despite the declining solar conditions and my poor antenna, 45 countries were copied here on 10m JT65 in the last week alone. Who says 10m is dead?

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

QSYed to 10m JT65

At 1332z I QSYed to 10m JT65 only. No further 6m JT65 or 10m WSPR spots received. It will be interesting to see how 10m JT65 performs today.  I run 2W QRP on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1435z: A very quiet day so far on 10m JT65. No spots given or received here at all so far. Things may change - I hope so!

UPDATE 1442z:  It may be coincidence, but I seem to get better results into South America when there is good European propagation, which I presume is  Es. I wonder if the Es (?) gets signals into the TEP region? I am pretty sure the South Americans are TEP, but TEP tends to be better further south than the UK. I am so grateful we have 10m JT65 and WSPR as these weak signal modes tend to be monitored when SSB users think 10m is a dead loss.

UPDATE 1525z:  Still no 10m JT65 spots here today. Bad hair day? I'll give it a few more hours, but time is running out.

10m WSPR and 6m JT65

I have been active since just after breakfast on 10m WSPR and 6m JT65. I shall be switching to just 10m JT65 later.

On 10m WSPR EA8/LA3JJ (2870km) was spotting me earlier. I assume this is F2 propagation.

On 6m JT65 just spots by G0LRD (25km) so far.

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday October 18th 2016

Solar flux is 76 today (falling) and sunspot number 23. K=3. The forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor". In future, I don't intend to report 10m propagation unless the forecast is other than "poor".In other words asssume the forecast is "poor" unless you hear otherwise.

In many recent days, 10m has been quite good N-S by what I assume is TEP. Here, it has only opened to the USA on a single day this autumn. This was on 10m JT65 and it only reached Florida. Since last year solar conditions have dropped a lot on average.

17 Oct 2016


As the last 10m JT65 activity here was almost an hour ago, I have gone QRT until the morning. I may start tomorrow on 10m WSPR and 6m JT65 and move to 10m JT65 later in the day, probably after lunch.

Another Geosync Amateur Satellite?

Southgate News links to another possible geosynchronous amateur satellite. Like buses, we see none and then lots! As HF conditions deteriorate, geosync satellites could prove very useful. The footprint just reaches the UK. 10GHz download.

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2016/october/a-geosync-ham-radio-satellite.htm .

See also https://amsat-uk.org/satellites/geosynchronous/na-gso-sat/ .

F2 DX on 10m JT65

3B8CW (9751km) and EA8YV (3004km) were spotted on 10m JT65vearlier. As yet, nobody has spotted my QRP 10m JT65 signal.
UPDATE 1318z:  No further DX as yet and nothing, yet, from South America. Also, still no spots of my own signal on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1344z: LU1HVK (11244km) in Argentina spotted my 2W QRP 10m JT65 11 minutes ago. We are now entering the Southern Hemisphere's Es season. I wonder if this helps very far south signals to get into the TEP zone?

UPDATE 1430z: My QRP 1m JT65 signal has been spotted by CS8ABY (2573km) in the Azores and by PY2NQ (9589km) in Brazil.

OFCOM updates

From the OFCOM website:

"Ofcom has today published a decision explaining that it will aim to make the 700 MHz band nationally available for mobile data by the second quarter of 2020 – 18 months earlier than originally planned
In November 2014 Ofcom announced that the 700 MHz band – which is currently used for digital terrestrial TV and wireless microphone applications – would be repurposed for mobile data.
As part of its funding for the 700 MHz clearance programme, Government has agreed to fund a grant scheme to support PMSE users who will have to vacate the 700 MHz band earlier than expected.
Ofcom has also set out its decision to allocate 20 MHz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band – known as the ‘centre gap’ – to mobile data."

Sunspots and 10m - Monday October 17th 2016

Solar flux is 80 today and sunspot number 25. K=3 . Yet again the forecast for 10m F2 is "poor".

16 Oct 2016

King of Thailand Dead

Until today, I had no idea that the late King of Thailand held the call HS1A. His death will sadden many in Thailand and many amateurs in the world. I was aware that the late King Hussain of Jordan was JY1.

I wonder how many other famous amateurs there are? For certain, I have not worked anyone famous!

Salcombe Lifeboat Disaster 1916 - NOT amateur radio

See http://salcombelifeboat.co.uk/lifeboat-disaster-centenary/ .

One hundred years ago this month the small Devon town where I came from suffered a tragedy when the lifeboat overturned with the loss of life of most of the crew. It was a tragedy in a small community. There will be a special service to mark the 100 year anniversary. One of my aunties witnessed the tragedy when she was a young girl.  Most of the crew were not young men as most of these were fighting in WW1. Only 2 people survived.

October 2016 2m UKAC Results

The results of this contest have just been published and I sit a credible 82nd out of 180 in the AL section. This is not at all bad considering I am only on for about 20% of the contest and run 5W QRP SSB on 2m to a small omni antenna. I enjoy these sessions, even though I find it hard going with my poor voice these days.

 See http://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin/vhfresults.pl?Contest=144MHz%20UKAC&year=2016

Autumn - NOT amateur radio

Within a few weeks the weather has moved from late summer into autumn. On Friday we planted pansies at the back of the house and these should be in flower until the spring. It's funny how we adapt to shorter days, dark nights earlier, autumnal colours, the trees losing their leaves etc.. Time to hunker down by the fire.

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

10m JT65

Although I've not been active very long, I have already been spotted in Israel by 4X1RF (3518km) and spotted a station in France F1GTU (754km). I guess the Israeli spot was F2 although it could have been Es. The French station was either Es, aircraft reflection or F2 backscatter.

UPDATE 1140z:  I have already spotted a couple of South Africans and been spotted all over Europe and the Azores.

UPDATE 1300z: First 10m JT65 spot in South America today was about 20 minutes ago. PY2JEA (9596km). Lots of Europeans spotting me and being spotted.

UPDATE 1342z:  Best DX on 10m JT65 RX is LU2XSN (13361km) in Tierra del Fuego, Southern Argentina. 6 South Americans and 3 South Africans spotted so far today on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1552z:  Just one more South American received on 10m JT65, otherwise things seem to have gone quiet here.

UPDATE 1840z: 14 South Americans spotted on 10m JT65 today. As no spots recently I am going QRT.

UPDATE 1848z: GD0TEP (381km) was spotted several times. This is an interesting distance. It is possibly tropo, aircraft reflection or backscatter.  Now QRT here until the morning.

QRP, QRP Club and Sputniks

From Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,
Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous report (October 10 to 16, 2016)

Visitors of the week: UA1CEX, HB9DAX, OE5GYL, RA1M/mm, RU3NJC, UA1CEG,
Congrats S57RT, he became Honor Frequenter
See  full  Visitors  and  Frequenters lists at the Club 72 web page -

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

Dear Space Friends,
RA7RA/V  informed about new QSO with S57T on 14060 kc (150 mW). Also,
"Astronaut"  Vlad  R2DNN/V  send me pictures of his 120 mW one pnp Ge
transistor GT321 TX, enjoy pictures on the "results" page on club72.su
Note:  his  TX  installed  on  the  door's furniture (detail). What a
wonderful  idea,  isn't  it!  Also,  keep  attention for heat-sink of
transistor,  looks  like  micro-Sputnik  :-)  9  Volts battery name
"KOSMOS" (Space)
Sputniks?Vanguards frights to be continue before October 18.

72! beep-beep-beep...
Deep Space Communications Center
operator on duty -
Oleg ("Mr. 72") RV3GM / KH6OB

Dear Space Friends,
Cosmonaut Jiri OK1DXK (Sputnik) informed yesterday he logged QSO with
RX2AM on 40 m. Jiri used sloper wire 9 m long and 1 watt output.
Enjoy QRPp!

72! beep-beep-beep...
Deep Space Communications Center
operator on duty -
Oleg ("Mr. 72") RV3GM / KH6OB

Dear Space Friends,
R2AJA  informed  about  his  a-la  "Vanguard"  beacon mode TX. Modern
components  used  in  the  auto-beacon  TX, 1 watt output to LW 10 m.
RA7RA/SWL  copied  R2AJA/Beacon  in  October 11. Picture of TX-beacon
installed on the totals result page club72.su
Flights  to  be continue before October 18. I looking for results and
QSO reports, please.

72! beep-beep-beep...
Deep Space Communications Center
operator on duty -
Oleg ("Mr. 72") RV3GM / KH6OB

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday October 16th 2016

Solar flux is 83 today and sunspot number 35. K=3 . Yet again the forecast for 10m F2 is "poor".

15 Oct 2016

WSPR or JT65?

As you can tell, my favorite mode seems to be JT65 rather than WSPR, although I still use WSPR from time to time. WSPR is theoretically better by a few dB, but activity seems higher on JT65.  I think the 60 second TX period in JT65 helps too. In recent weeks with 10m JT65 I have had considerable success despite my poor set-up and 2W.

At the moment I think I'll use 10m JT65 rather than 10m WSPR. Although I have now spotted a couple of USA stations in Florida I have still to be copied in the USA this autumn on 10m JT65.


We have my son, his wife and 2 of our grandchildren here this weekend, so I have now gone QRT. All the DX DX on 10m JT65 seemed to stop a few hours ago, although Europe was still coming through in the last hour. I shall be on again tomorrow, although later than usual.

Another great day on 10m JT65

As well as my own 2W QRP signal being widely copied in Europe and South America, I copied stations in Saudi Arabia, Burkina Faso and South Africa. A great 10m day.

Stroke update - NOT amateur radio

Not much progress in the last year.

Although most things work I still feel giddy when walking, tire easily, have poor fine motor skills, have problems with liquids and my speech is poor.

Overall, I feel I have to come to terms with the new me, as this is how I am going to be now, barring miracles.

Active on 10m JT65

This morning, around breakfast time, I went on 10m JT65. I have been active (2W) with this band and mode ever since. Conditions on 10m seem fine with spots all over Europe and Israel. If things don't change, it looks a lot more promising than yesterday on 10m.

Sunspots and 10m - Saturday October 15th 2016

Solar flux is 91 today and the sunspot number 38.  K=2.  The forecast for 10m F2 propagation is, you guessed, "poor".

14 Oct 2016

As the song goes, "what a difference a day makes"

Yesterday by this time, I had been spotted all over Europe and widely in South America on 10m JT65. Although I am spotting a little DX, today is nothing like yesterday. I know there is still time for things to  improve, but I have the feeling this is going to be a "bad hair day".  If we get any real DX, it had better happen soon! At least having 2W 10m JT65 running I am spotting, and being spotted, by some.  Even with 100W SSB I doubt these openings would have been noticed.

Loop on the ground antenna

See The Loop on Ground Antenna - the "LoG".

I was sent this link by a blog reader who has used it very successfully. It is primarily designed as a receive antenna.

Sunspots and 10m - Friday October 14th 2016

Solar flux is 96 today. Sunspot number is 41 and K=4. The forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor".


Holsworthy Community College, Victoria Hill, Holsworthy, Devon EX22 6JD. Doors open at 10am. There will be traders, a Bring & Buy and catering. The venue has disabled access. Details from Howard, M0MYB by email to M0OMC@yahoo.co.uk.

10m JT65 right from the start

Before breakfast I resynced the PC clock and went straight on to 10m JT65. As yet, no spots given or received on that band.

Yesterday was a very good 10m day considering where we are in the cycle with stations in North America, South America, Africa, Asia and Europe spotted despite my poor (and low) 10m antenna. My own QRP signal was spotted by several stations a long way away. Yes, a good 10m day.

I know others with better antennas will have done better. 10m is still in good shape, although you have to look!

UPDATE 1130z: DG0OPK (730km) spotted my 2W 10m JT65 QRP 2 hours ago. Probably Es, although backscatter and aircraft reflection are possible.

UPDATE 1145z: G4CUI (172km) has spotted me on 10m JT65. Tropo?
24 hours on 10m JT65 QRP

13 Oct 2016

USA on 10m JT65 at last

K4RUM (7134km) in Florida was spotted earlier. At last a USA station this autumn on 10m JT65. It seems the opening on 10m are getting further north.

LU9XT (13473km) spotted right at the far end of Argentina on 10m JT65.

Best 10m day this autumn by far

10m JT65 today https://pskreporter.info/pskmap.html
With stations from all over Europe, South America, South Africa, Indonesia, Thailand and spots of my own 10m JT65 signal by 6 stations already in South America, this is by far the best day on 10m JT65 this autumn.

At this rate, the USA should be audible within 2 weeks.

Autumn HF conditions?

Although we are now well in to autumn, apart from South Americans by what I assume is TEP, I have not (yet) seen a great improvement in HF conditions.

We are fighting a downwards solar cycle trend and, as yet, I have still to get any USA spots on 10m JT65. Conditions may still improve. The next few months are likely to be the best we are going to see for a very long time on 10m and conditions this autumn are well down on the last few years.

Last chances? It is now unlikely I'll see great 10m conditions ever again in my lifetime. That is a sobering thought. There are many in my agegroup who remember great HF conditions in past solar peaks.

Autumn - NOT amateur radio

Suddenly we seem to have moved from summer into autumn. The nights are getting rapidly darker earlier, the temperature has dropped and it suddenly feels like autumn. I enjoy all the seasons, but they seem to come around sooner. Where was summer? Yesterday we planted primroses instead of the begonias which die in the first frosts. The picture shows the primroses under the windows at the front of our bungalow.

Active on 10m JT65

For just over an hour, I have been on 10m JT65 only. As yet, no spots given or received.

UPDATE 1012z: My 10m JT65 has been spotted in Austria and Poland. Es?

UPDATE 1050z: Now being spotted by 9A2WB (1430km) and I am spotting 10m JT65 stations from all over Europe.  Today looks good on 10m Es, well I assume this is Es. This is definitely a good case for JT65 running in the background. On SSB a quick CQ is unlikely to be successful on 10m.
10m JT65 at noon today - stations spotted this morning

UPDATE 1106z:  Now being spotted in Germany on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1148z:  PSK reporter map for me looks more like mid-summer!!  If 10m is wide open around Europe, I suspect 6m might be too.

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday October 13th 2016

Solar flux is 99 today and the sunspot number 40. K=5. The forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor".

12 Oct 2016

New webpage on 10m JT65

My main website at www.g3xbm.co.uk has a new page on 10m JT65. It is a sub-page under the HF section. See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/hf/10mjt65 to go directly there. Presently, the sidebar navigation to the sub-pages is broken and I need to fix this.

10m JT65 - another good day

My QRP station has been on 10m JT65 (2W) since breakfast time. With my signal spotted in Europe, Asia and South America, I cannot complain! I have still to spot, or be spotted, in North America this autumn. On the map where I have been spotted is shown in the boxes with hours. The smaller map points show stations I have copied in the last 12 hours (13 South Americans so far, which I think is the best yet this autumn).

UPDATE 2124z: This is without doubt my best day this autumn on 10m JT65 with 26 South Americans spotted and a couple of stations on that continent spotting me, despite my 2W and poor antenna.

My main website - an apology

See www.g3xbm.co.uk .

Whilst trying to update my main website, I seem to have accidentally removed the navigation pane on the left. My apologies. I am trying to fix the issue.

Sunspots and 10m - Wednesday October 12th 2016

Solar flux is 100 today. Sunspot number is 56 band and K=1. The forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor".

Windows 10: am I alone? - NOT amateur radio

For about a week now my main PC has been unreliable. It was upgraded to Windows 10 without any issues months ago, but it has been problematic recently and says it is now missing a file and won't boot. I recently did a defrag. Although this is a well used machine, and this may be coincidence, I seem to have had issues since the BIG Windows 10 update which took 1.5 hours to install.

Am I alone? Is this my PC or a more general issue? Incidentally the PC in question is a Dell Inspiron  i5 with 1TB hard drive.

11 Oct 2016

10m JT65

More in hope than expectation, I am now active on 10m JT65. Although there is quite a bit of activity, I have neither spotted or been spotted by anyone on 10m tonight. Soon I'll go QRT and come back on 10m JT65 after breakfast.

UPDATE 2030z:  Nothing spotted, so time to go QRT on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 2040z:  Now QRT on all bands.

UPDATE 2044z: From my logbook I see that 20 countries were spotted on 10m JT65 in the last week.

OFCOM updates

See http://ofcom.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/i/8CE39B7251DA2FC3/59D1BD3EA2F08127C67FD2F38AC4859C .

More news from OFCOM.

10m QRP to the USA

Still nothing spotted here from the USA on 10m. Tomorrow, I shall probably use 10m JT65 all day. If the band is going to open across the Atlantic this autumn, JT65 is probably my best chance.

There is some (a little!) hope this autumn, but this time next year USA openings on 10m are unlikely. We are now on the downward slope of cycle 24. Cycle 25 is unlikely to start until 2020 and the peak may be poor.

70cm UKAC this evening

Although I have no suitable antennas, just my 2m halo which matches, tonight is the monthly 70cm leg of the UK activity contests organised by the RSGB.

As my voice is still very poor, I shall probably be on for much less than an hour.  It starts at 1900z and ends at 2130z. As usual I shall be QRP with 5W SSB. Even with my poor setup, I am often surprised by what I can work. Give it a go!
Stations worked on 70cm this evening - 5W and 2m halo
UPDATE 1950z: After 30 minutes I had to stop because of my poor voice. G4CLA (105km) was the best worked tonight - not bad with 5W and a 2m halo fed with lossy RG58 coax! One not shown was in our village.

Before radio

See http://www.newmarketlhs.org.uk/shuttertelegraph.htm . A reminder that even in the days before radio, messages could be sent a long way. My thanks to John Mullins for sending me this link. Fascinating.

This system was set up by the UK Admiralty in the early 1800s, presumably to give early warnings of a French attack.

If memory serves me right, Morse came on the scene in the early 1840s. By the late 1800s most of the world was connected by telegraph - the Victorian Internet. We were better connected than I thought before radio.

More Sputniks

From Oleg:

Dear Space Friends,
thanks  Jos  for Mag Loop "Sputnik" QSO report. All QSOs installed in
the  totals log. Also "astronaut" Pavel RA7RA/Vanguard informed about
new  QSO with M0AUW with 150 mW e pnp transistor P416 (old type of ex
USSR).  In  the photo gallery I install some pictures of R2DNN Ge pnp
TX-beacon  (beacon  mode  only)  120...250  mW.  Enjoy  photo  of his
home-made heat sink so called "a-la sputnik" concept-form :-)

BTW.  On  the  1's USSR Sputnik and US Vanguard really TX beacons was
installed (both). So it looks like we need to add "Beacon" category in
the Sputnik Activity Days in the future. Isn't it?

72! beep-beep-beep...
Deep Space Communications Center
operator on duty -
Oleg ("Mr. 72") RV3GM / KH6OB

6m JT65

G0LRD (25km) was the only station spotting me on 6m JT65 today.

I did spot EA4BAS (1340km) in Madrid this afternoon on 6m JT65. There is still life on 6m even in October, although you have to look for it!

UPDATE 1842z: There was an outside chance of catching some TEP on 6m JT65, but this has not materialised.

Good on 10m WSPR today

Quite a variety of Europeans and Israel, 4X1RF (3519km) spotting my 500mW on 10m WSPR today. I assume this was Es but it might have been F layer backscatter. As 10m WSPR was proving so productive, I decided to stick with 10m WSPR and 6m JT65 all day.

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday October 11th 2016

Solar flux is a respectable 102 and the sunspot number is 64 (quite good). This figure will probably exceed the next maximum in cycle 25. K=1. The forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor", although for several weeks there has been good 10m propagation N-S on 10m JT65.

6m JT65 and 10m WSPR

For a change, I have started on 10m WSPR and 6m JT65 this morning. No spots on 10m WSPR as yet and just G0LRD (25km) spotting me on 6m. I have spotted M0AAX (107km) in South London on 6m JT65, either by tropo or aircraft reflection.

10 Oct 2016

TEP (Trans Equatorial Propagation)

For the last few weeks, I have spotted, and been spotted, by lots of stations deep in South America on 10m JT65. To me, this looks like TEP. According to the "experts" this sort of propagation goes across the equator and can occur at up to 70cm. I guess the MUF is lower as the solar activity drops off. Here in the UK I guess we need another propagation mode to reach the TEP region. TEP is more common further south.

See http://www.amateur-radio-wiki.net/index.php?title=Trans-Equatorial_Propagation .

More QRP, QRP Club and Sputniks

More from Oleg today:

Dear Space Friends,
thanks  to Peter PA0PJE for report of October 9. New 4 "Sputnik" QSOs
installed on the results page - club72.su

> ...make some more contacts on 30 meters. I worked 4 stns:

72! beep-beep-beep...
Deep Space Communications Center
operator on duty -
Oleg ("Mr. 72") RV3GM / KH6OB

No storms yet

See http://www.lightningmaps.org/?lang=en . So far the storms are far away, so I can remain on air for hours still. There is an outside chance of storms around early evening.

UPDATE 1220z:  The first lightning strikes have happened - in the North Sea just off East Lincolnshire.  I shall keep a close watch.

UPDATE 1445z: At the moment, the only storms are over the sea off eastern Kent.  Staying on the air for now.

UPDATE 1700z: The nearest storms are in France and Belgium. I think it unlikely I shall have to go QRT early tonight.

10m JT65

Yet again, I gave 6m a miss and fired up on 10m JT65 this morning. As yet, no spots at all given o:r received on 10m JT65, but it is very early. JT65 is ideal as the solar activity slides on 10m.

As there are storms possible later, I may have to go QRT later in the day.

UPDATE 1015z: Not everyone gets uploaded to PSKreporter. I spotted a German at breakfast time and he is not showing on PSKreporter. Maybe there was a short glitch and I lost internet or PSKreporter was not reachable? More recently, I was spotted in Italy on 10m JT65 by IC8BNR (1646km). Es or backscatter?

UPDATE 1138z:  3B8CW (9751km) in Mauritius has again been spotted on 10m JT65. 4X1QQ (3551km) also spotted.

UPDATE 1452z: 4Z5ML (3571km) in Israel is the best DX on 10m JT65 TX.

UPDATE 1702z:  LU3VCC (12470km) is the best DX on 10m JT65 TX so far. I have also been spotted in Paraguay this evening.

UPDATE 1754z: 12 South Americans received on 10m JT65 RX so far this evening.

Sunspots and 10m - Monday October 10th 2016

Solar flux is 104 today and the sunspot number 58. K=3, Yet again the 10m F2 forecast remains "poor".

Conditions on 10m JT65 yesterday seemed far from poor though.

9 Oct 2016

QRP, QRPclub and Sputniks

From Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,
QRP Rendez-Vous weekly report (October 3 to 9, 2016)

ON4MB became Honor Frequenter
See full Frequenters and Visitors lists on the Club 72 page - www.club72.su

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

Dear Space Friends,
a  lot of busy with my house reconstruction now. Sorry for delay. All
QSOs and pictures installed on the results page. I wonder, is the QSO
between  ON6WJ  -  PA0PJE  (PA6FBE) the 1'st 2-way Sputnik QSO in the
World? Great!

72! beep-beep-beep...
Deep Space Communications Center
operator on duty -
Oleg ("Mr. 72") RV3GM / KH6OB

And this from Peter:

Dear Friends,

Today I was at the Fort again as it was the last day to be open to general public. I did a lot of Radio-talk again but also found time to make some more contacts on 30 meters. I worked 4 stns:

UY6IO Vasily at 10:06 S579-R569 He used 100 watts in a loop antenna
DL1DTX Knut at 10:35 S589-R599 he used 70 watts
GM3MXN Tom S579-R579 corrected later to S599+10 QSB he used 5 watts to an end fed so a true QRP/QRP QSO.
OK1HB Ruda S579-R589 he used 100 Watts to a G5RV

Everybody liked my 1 Watt xtal-TX

40 meters was very busy so I stayed on 30 this time however some pilups were created by split-uppers ovrcrowding 10.116 MHz.

I did attempt to transmit on 21 MHz with my Sputnik TX because I heard some activity, even JA and PY so called CQ but only 1 RBN report from UD4FD SNR 10dB. The GP was only partly demolished by the sheep so repair of the radials was quickly done but alas no QSO.

72/73 and keep beeping!

Peter - PA0PJE (Sputnik: PA6FBE) 

300W Class D on 472kHz

G0MRF has produced a design and PCB for a 300W class D PA for the MF band. It needs a low level drive at twice frequency. For WSPR it needs the experimental software from K1JT that produces tones at twice frequency so they are right when driving this PA. Although kits of some parts are available, I do not think a complete kit is available. Using such a PA would increase my 630m ERP by several "S" points, even without antenna and ground changes.

See http://www.g0mrf.com/630m.htm

IC7300 and FT991 prices

The price of the FT991 from Yaesu has dropped below £1000, but the IC7300 is still £1049. At the moment Yaesu is working on an FT991A, having seen the real-time spectrum display in the IC7300. There is plenty of margin in the price of the IC7300 but I guess dealers are presently holding the current price and not reducing it, despite the weaker pound, because people are buying at the high price. At less than £1000 I might be tempted by the IC7300. There is no doubt it is a good radio but please get it below £1000. Note that the FT450D retails at £599. The IC7300 should be comparable - it has a simpler RX architecture. No, despite the weaker pound against the dollar and the yen, I am convinced the dealers can afford to drop the IC7300 price and still make good margins. In the meantime, I shall wait.

UPDATE 1616z:  I see ICOM has announced a firmware update for the IC7300. See http://www.icom.co.jp/world/support/download/firm . Each firmware update improves functionality or fixes bugs.

10m DX

With 6 South Americans and ZS5LEE spotted on 10m JT65 so far, it has been quite promising. My own signal has been spotted in Europe, but not outside Europe yet.

UPDATE 1435z:  More South Americans spotted (Uruguay and Northern Brazil) so 8 South Americans spotted so far. Canary Is, EA8CYL (2988km), is the best DX yet on 10m JT65 TX. I think the European spots may be Es.

UPDATE 1446z:  No signs of the USA on 10m JT65 as yet. It is about this time I'd expect this path to briefly open. Maybe later in the month?

UPDATE 1504z: Another South African spotted on 10m JT65. ZS1ALJ (9697km) around Cape Town spotted. BTW, Cape Town is a beautiful city. South Africa is a beautiful country, although we get more insects in our bedroom in 1 night than we saw in the whole of South Africa in several weeks!  Seeing "the big 5" animals wild in the Kruger National Park was splendid though. South Africa surprised us. It was far greener than we expected and the scenery was so different depending where you were: some places were like Scotland, other parts like the Med, and other parts wild open plains. It is not a place I'd like to live, but it is well worth a visit if you get a chance. We went a few years ago.
UPDATE 1600z:  Now 3B8CW in Mauritius has been spotted on 10m JT65. This is the best day on 10m for a while. Many Europeans either spotting me or being spotted on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1645z:  ZS1CM in Western Cape has also been spotted on 10m JT65. Currently 13 different South American stations spotted on 10m JT65.

10m JT65

So, I have now been on 10m JT65 for a few hours. So far just G0VUH (157km) spotted.

I am still awaiting North America on 10m JT65 this season. I have been unlucky so far, but with declining solar conditions this might be the last chance on F2 for several years on 10m, although summertime Es does bring North America in reach on 10m (even 6m) on a few days.

UPDATE 1112z:  No further reports on 10m JT65. Was G0VUH aircraft reflection?

QRP, Linears and BIG stations

A great thing about our hobby are the various ways in which we can enjoy it. For some it is satellites, some microwaves, some balloons, some ATV, some VHF, some QRP, some just talking. I am not one to criticise  how others enjoy the hobby. How you choose to enjoy it is your decision. Also, how much you choose to spend will depend on your own circumstances.

In my own case, I prefer to run QRP (currently WSPR and JT65) and simple wire antennas. I appreciate this is not everyone's idea of fun. Someone once suggested I tie my hands behind my back too! However, try 5W or less occasionally - you may be surprised.

My first 15m QSO was with a station in Chicago who was on SSB. I was using a simple homebrew transceiver that cost me well below £20 to make (see https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/hf/15m_pipit ), even if I had bought all parts new. I was using 800mW CW and I almost fell off the chair when he replied to my CW call. Many many QRP contacts later and I knew this was not a one-off.  By the way, the antenna was a low wire dipole.

My point is you do not need to spend a lot to enjoy amateur radio. Some choose to spend thousands and thousands on rigs, linears, rotators, towers and beams. If this is for you, then fine. All I am saying is you can spend very little and still have a ball. Second hand CB gear covering 10m can be bought cheaply. In the summer months this and a small wire antenna will work 1000 miles or more most days. Maybe you can build a kit instead? There are several inexpensive kits for 40m or 20m SSB.

Each to their own but you do not have to break the bank.

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday October 9th 2016

Solar flux is 103 (quite good) today and the sunspot number 62 (not bad seeing where we are in the solar cycle). K=1. Yet again, the 10m F2 forecast remains  "poor".

8 Oct 2016

Panoramio - NOT amateur radio

From Google earlier:

As a born cynic, I do not like it when things are "retired". Usually what replaces it is less good.

Back in 2014, we announced our intention to retire Panoramio in order to invest our efforts into improving photo-sharing experiences directly inside Google Maps.  In response to your feedback, we postponed these plans and worked to add features to Maps that better support the level of engagement that you have enjoyed with Panoramio. Today, with photo upload tools in Google Maps and our Local Guides program, we are providing easy options for you to share your photos with an active and growing community. As such, we’ve decided to now close down Panoramio. To make this transition easier, we’ll provide several options to continue sharing photos through other services. If you choose, you can also export all your data and take it somewhere else.
Because you have linked your Panoramio profile with a Google account, all your Panoramio photos will be copied to the Google Album Archive at full resolution after Panoramio goes away. These copied photos will not use any of your Google storage quota.  However, unless you upgrade to a Google+ account, your Panoramio photos will stop appearing in Google Maps.  This is because Panoramio nicknames will no longer be supported, and all other photos in Maps are attributed to Google+ user names.
After November 4, 2016, you’ll continue to have access to your photos in Panoramio for a year, but you will no longer be able to add new photos, likes, or comments.  Below, we’ve included resources to help you manage or export your data.  You can visit your Panoramio profile to see what photos you've added.  If you have already linked your profile with a Google account, your Panoramio data will automatically be saved.

1) Keep your photos in Album Archive

Because you have a Google account linked with your Panoramio account, we will automatically copy your Panoramio photos to the Google Album Archive when Panoramio is retired in November 2017.
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2) Export your photos to a local zip file

Visit takeout.google.com and follow the instructions there.

3) Become a Local Guide to keep contributing 

To keep adding photos to Google Maps and engage with a growing community of photographers, join the Local Guides program. You can earn points and unlock rewards for photos submitted with a Google account when they are linked to a point of interest or business. Many of your Panoramio photos may already be counted.
If you prefer to no longer share your photos with Google Maps, you can delete your Panoramio photos or your entire account at any time.  
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Please see our Help Center article for more information and the various options you have to save, transfer, or delete your content. We’ve appreciated your contributions over the years and hope you will continue to share amazing photos with the world.
Thank you,
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