30 Nov 2016

QSY from 10m JT65 to 630m WSPR

After failing to see 10m JT65 spots, given or received, from South America today (I was surprised) I had to be content with 2E0CIT (94km) in South London!

I QSYed to 630m (472kHz) WSPR some hours ago. Best spot of my 5mW ERP on MF is again DL-SWL several times (701km).

ISWL Callsigns

Southgate News has details of ISWL callsigns in December. Anyone know how many members ISWL has now? I left a few years ago.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2016/november/iswl_callsigns_for_december.htm#.WD8M24XXL4g

Frosty Garden - NOT amateur radio

The last few days have been glorious with bright sunshine and little wind, but it has been (and still is) cold. We have had night-time frosts, which have been slow to clear.

The photo shows the slow to clear frost in the back garden. You can see where the sun has reached! The bird bath has been frozen solid for days.

Does all this suggest a cold winter ahead? Met Office winter runs from Dec 1st (tomorrow). To me, December, January and February are winter months and March 1st seems like spring again. So, I agree with the Met Office.

See http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/ .

Sunspots and 10m

Solar flux is 85 today and the sunspot number 43. K=2. I hope we see some 10m DX later.

UPDATE 1725z: The K index has dropped to zero.

10m JT65

Around breakfast time I returned to 10m JT65. After a quiet spell, there is short skip around with several stations in Europe spotting me. Is this the start of the small Dec/Jan Es peak? OK it is late November!

I am being widely spotted and I have spotted EU7FBB (1931km) in Belarus.

UPDATE 1656z: No further spots since the Europeans earlier. If I am going to catch South America on 10m JT65 then the next hour will be the best chance. After about 1830z, I think any chances will be gone.

More spots on 472kHz WSPR

Last night PA7EY (306km) spotted me bringing the total number of unique stations spotting my 5mW ERP to 11. I have now QSYed to 10m JT65 for the day.

29 Nov 2016

Return to 472kHz WSPR

About 30 minutes ago I went QRT on 10m JT65 (after a fruitless day) and returned to MF WSPR (5mW ERP).

PA0A (417km) and G3KEV (232km) have been copied even though I have an S8 noise floor caused by the SMPSU for my laptop.

So far, M0FMT (51km) and M0XDK (80km) have again spotted me. I am still using the earth-electrode "antenna".

UPDATE 2020z: G8LCO (58km) spotted me at 2008z.

UPDATE 2050z: PA0RDT (243km) has already spotted me. This is my best DX so far this evening on MF.

UPDATE 2100z: G8HUH (250km) and PA3ANG (391km) have spotted me. These are early DX spots.

UPDATE 2108z: PA0A (417km) has just spotted my 5mW ERP.  Best DX so far this evening. Conditions seem to be "up" on MF.
472kHz spots in the first few days this autumn

Sweet peas in the garden still - NOT amateur radio

It is almost December and we have had a few frosts but there are at least 4 sweet pea flowers to cut in the garden! This is very late. We also have clematis in flower.

OFCOM annual plan

See https://www.ofcom.org.uk/consultations-and-statements/category-1/proposed-annual-plan-2017-18?utm_source=updates&utm_campaign=proposed-annual-plan-2017-18&utm_medium=email

OFCOM has published its draft annual plan for consultation.

"Ofcom exists to make communications markets work for everyone. 

To achieve this, we are proposing three main goals: to promote competition and ensure that markets work effectively for consumers; to secure standards and improve quality; and to protect consumers from harm. Our proposed Annual Plan highlights some of the key work areas that we will seek to deliver in order to meet these goals, across the UK and its nations, in 2017/18. We also outline our broader ongoing work to support these goals, and how we will work for consumers across the UK’s nations.
We will publish our final Annual Plan for 2017/18 in March 2017. The final Plan will take into account responses from stakeholders to the proposed Plan. The closing date for consultation responses to our proposed Annual Plan is 7 February 2017."

Blah,blah,blah, blah........ QUANGOese talk? Cynic, me?

When the BBC wanted to interview OFCOM at breakfast time, no-one was available. I doubt they start work before 9am.

Some think I am being too harsh on OFCOM. Indeed they are, arguably, better than authorities in many other countries. I am only reflecting what I have directly experienced. I was not impressed. This was a few years ago and things may have changed. I certainly hope so.

10m JT65

At around 1045z I went QRT on 630m WSPR and activated my 10m JT65 station and checked PC sync to internet time.

UPDATE 1910z: It looks like no 10m JT65 spots today, sadly. Soon be time to QSY back to MF.

472kHz so far this autumn

So far this autumn (I've only been back on in the last few days) my 5mW ERP 630m WSPR has been spotted by 8 different stations with DL-SWL at 701km being the best DX so far. I am using the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground, which is far from optimum.

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday November 29th 2016

Solar flux is 88 today and the sunspot number 44. K=1. Conditions look promising for this part of the solar cycle. I shall QSY to 10m JT65 shortly.

28 Nov 2016

Return to 472kHz WSPR

At some point in the future I intend to JT9-1 beacon on 472kHz. Some years ago, at the old QTH, I worked a couple of countries on 472kHz JT9-1. I have not tried this mode on this band at the current QTH.  For now, I have gone back to 472kHz (630m) WSPR.

UPDATE 2100z:  Since going back on MF I noticed an S8 RX noise floor. Last year it was S1-2. This turns out to be the SMPSU that charges my laptop battery. The laptop was new.  It means I will have to disconnect the charger when wanting to seriously listen on 472kHz.

UPDATE 2200z: M0FMT, M0XDK and G8LCO have spotted me all evening. Best DX so far is M0XDK (80km).

Radio silence

According to the BBC there is a place in West Virginia, USA that has strict laws in place so radio does not disturb sensitive listening posts nearby. One of these is searching for extra-terrestrial life "out there". In some ways I find it amazing we have not found any signs of intelligent life, or indeed any life, despite 50 years of looking.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-38098945 .

Driving - NOT amateur radio

For the last 2 years I have been driving again after my stroke. It is not as easy. I'd say it feels like 5x the effort it once was. Driving at night is too stressful. I am tired/exhausted after driving.

I am aware I drive slower: it is as if everything is 10mph faster than it was. When doing 40mph it feels like 50mph and 60mph feels like 70mph.

Probably this is a combination of my brain and getting older.

4m (70MHz) operations

The 4m band is now widely available in Europe and in a few places worldwide. I have not tried the band from this QTH, well not yet. There is now the IC7300 which includes 4m in the European version. With 50W and a simple antenna, most of the UK should be reachable on CW or digital modes and a lot of the UK on SSB.

There is a new Greenland 4m beacon OX4M on the air from HQ90AL on 70.047MHz (25W) into a dipole radiating North/South sending  PI4 + CW + carrier.

Years ago I remember working Greenland with QRP SSB on a whip antenna from my garden using the FT817 on 15m. This new beacon should be ideal in the Es season.

See www.70mhz.org .

Incidentally, I see that Southgate News has a report on WIA's attempts to get a 4m band in Australia.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2016/november/quest-for-australian-70-mhz-ham-radio-band.htm#.WDwwZ4XXLIU . 

Remember, you heard it here last 😉 .

Now on 10m JT65

With a solar flux over 80, sunspot number not too bad for this part of the cycle and relatively undisturbed conditions, I  am hopeful for 10m JT65 today. I returned to 10m JT65 about 10 minutes ago.

UPDATE 1045z:  No spots, as yet, on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1235z: Still no spots. Disappointing. It looks like there is no skip into Europe again. The 10m band has opened to South America (F2 or TEP?) around 1700-1800z for the last couple of days. I hope this happens today.

UPDATE 1835z:  Another day with no 10m JT65 spots here. Soon be time to move to MF WSPR.

472kHz overnight

Not quite as good as the first night this autumn on the band. I have now QSYed to 10m JT65 but should be back on MF this evening.

Sunspots and 10m - Monday November 28th 2016

Solar flux is 82 today and the sunspot number 31. K=2. Time I QSYed to 10m JT65!

Birthday Roses - NOT amateur radio

One of our sons bought my wife some roses for her birthday, which she put on the breakfast table in the kitchen.

27 Nov 2016

Back on MF this evening and overnight

Just over an hour ago I went QRT on 10m JT65 (2W) and fired up my 630m WSPR station (5mW ERP). So far M0XDK (80km) is the most distant station to spot me on MF.

QRP and QRP Club

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

WQR Report (November 27, 2016)
Visitors  of  the week: US3EN, OH6NPV, SM7RYR, UA1CEG, SM2BYW, UR0ET,
SM2BYW,  G4MLW  became  Honor  Frequenters  (regular visitors) of the
See full Visitors and Frequenters lists on the Club72.su web-page
read full WQR Report on the blog page -
See you all QRP operators on the next "rendezvous" QRP 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.

Grandchildren - NOT amateur radio

We are lucky to have 4 grandchildren aged 4-9. This weekend they all came to help celebrate my wife's birthday. Having them is tiring, but lovely. Here they are enjoying themselves.

They all make themselves at home. The kitchen floor gets well fed too!

Are people deserting 10m?

Although there have been several openings from the UK to South America on 10m JT65 in the last week, I am beginning to think people are leaving the band and choosing lower bands on which to operate. This is a pity as it is rare for 10m not to open somewhere each week. It is not like the peaks of the solar cycle and the DX is certainly harder to find, but it is there on most days if you choose weak signal modes.

It you just want to chat, use lower bands or even Skype on the internet. If you want a challenge stick with 10m and switch to weak signal modes.

Return to 10m JT65

As we had visitors I was not on 10m JT65 early this morning. I hope to turn things on soon.

UPDATE 1130z: Restarted on 10m JT65 about 20 minutes ago, but no spots yet.

UPDATE 1340z: Still no spots on 10m JT65 as yet. I shall stay on until tonight.

UPDATE 1532z: Still no 10m JT65 spots. Unless things soon change, this will go down as a bad 10m day. There are still several hours yet. At least, JT65 beaconing in the background is easy and any openings are likely to be caught. When it is dark, I shall switch to 472kHz (630m), although it was quite late yesterday that I caught the South American stations on 10m JT65, so I had better wait until after 1800z.

UPDATE 1846z: It was worth the wait! PY2RTY (9574km) spotted on 10m JT65 at 1758z. I'm staying on for a little while longer but will then QSY to 630m (MF).

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday November 27th 2016

Solar flux is 83 today and the sunspot number 13. K=3.

26 Nov 2016

Fidel Castro dies - NOT amateur radio

OK, I was no great fan of this Cuban leader and I admit to being terrified in the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.  However, a great deal has come to light since then of the terrible acts committed by the USA in their attempts to overthrow him and other left-wing regimes in Central and South America.

More than ever, I am convinced we get fed what the media wants us to hear. This includes the BBC sadly.

It remains to be seen how Mr Trump views Cuba. Let's hope Cuba becomes a more open society, but that it retains all that is good.

UPDATE 2007z:  Mr Trump called him "a brutal dictator" allegedly. Funny how he managed to stop corruption and the worst American influences in Cuba. He was no saint, but "let he who is without sin cast the first stone". Mr Trump?

G4ILO referrals

Although Julian died some time ago his blog, and inspiration, live on. To this day, I still get people coming here having first been to Julian's blog.

If you don't know G4ILO's story, he battled with an incurable brain tumour for some time, living longer than expected. Sadly, it got him in the end. RIP.

See http://blog.g4ilo.com/ .

10m JT65

At breakfast I returned to 10m JT65 (2W), but no spots so far. Hopefully there will be some today.

UPDATE 1240z: Still no 10m JT65 spots so far today.

UPDATE 2002z:  A couple of South Americans spotted this evening on 10m JT65. I had to go QRT quite early because we have family staying. Had I been able to stay on longer then others might have been copied.

Good first night on 472kHz WSPR

Unique stations spotting me on 472kHz WSPR
Last evening and overnight I returned to 472kHz WSPR for the first time this autumn. DL-SWL (701km) managed to spot my 5mW QRP from the earth-electrode "antenna". 6 unique stations spotted me in 3 countries in 6 QTH squares. I spotted 5 unique stations. Not a bad start.

I am wondering about JT9-1 and JT65 on MF. Does anyone know if these modes are much used on 472kHz?

Sunspots and 10m - Saturday November 26th 2016

Solar flux is 80 today, a little higher than of late. Sunspot number is 12 and K=2. Today could be slightly promising on 10m JT65, slightly. Maybe South America later?

25 Nov 2016

472kHz (630m) WSPR - using WSJT-X V1.6

I have returned to 472kHz WSPR tonight with about 5mW ERP. Several spots already including some new people that I don't recall from previous seasons. I am again using my earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground.

UPDATE 1938z: G3KEV (232km) is the best DX on 630m WSPR RX so far this evening.

UPDATE 2040z: DK7FC (669km) is now the best DX on 630m WSPR RX this evening. Stefan is always a good signal on MF.

RSGB making some changes to VHF contests in 2017

I was recently emailed telling me of some changes to the rules next year. See http://www.rsgbcc.org/hf/information/vhfcc-2016survey-output.pdf for more details.

Major changes (written by the RSGB VHF contest committee) are as follows: 
  • We will introduce a series of awards for the leading stations aged 18 or under to encourage more young operators to try, and hopefully stay with contesting 
  • We are increasing the power limits for the two sections of the Backpackers contests from 3W and 10W to 5W and 25W 
  • We are introducing new short low power FM contests aimed at newcomers on 4m, 2m and 70cm which will run in the hour prior to the UKAC events (1900 – 2000) on those bands 
  • We are re-introducing the 2m diameter limitation for dish and backfire antennas in the Restricted and Low Power section of the 23cm UKAC contests 
  • We are introducing separate Local and National club sections to the UKAC Club Competitions defined in a similar way to the successful 80m CC sections.  
  • The 4m UKAC contests will move to occur every 3rd THURSDAY of the month to allow them to happen every month, and the 4m Cumulatives will be removed from the calendar 
  • The 6m UKAC contests will move to occur every 2nd THURSDAY to separate them from the SHF events 
  • In VHF NFD it will be possible for stations in both the Mix and Match and Restricted sections to operate on up to five bands, but have only their best 4 bands count 
  • With the aim of increasing weekend activity, we are introducing a new Club section to the VHF Championship for weekend contests. In this section, the scores from every individual entry to a contest from a club’s members will count towards an overall score for the club.

More on Black Friday "bargains"

If you really, really must have a certain rig then the Black Friday deals are maybe worth it, but I am struck by the deals on offer for rigs that have been replaced by better, or more recent, models. I'm thinking of the IC7100, IC7000, FT991 and similar. I guess these are not selling so well and it is a good chance to clear the shelves.

If you have always wanted one of these go grab a slight bargain but don't be conned. The dealers want to rid themselves of old stock primarily and want you to visit their stores.

Cynic, me?

Back on 472kHz WSPR tonight?

In the last hour I reconnected my earth-electrode "antenna", so in theory I could be back on 472kHz (630m) WSPR this evening. It remains to be seen as I have to check wiring and match first. We have family staying this weekend, so next week is more realistic.

It takes something like this, which would have been so simple in the past, to make me realise how pathetic I have become. After just a few minutes I was exhausted. In the past this would have been a trivial task. It seems like 20-30 minutes and I am "done in" these days. For 3 years now I have felt sick, giddy and exhausted when doing anything physical or mental on my feet. Don't get old and don't have a stroke!

Windmill in sunshine - NOT amateur radio

A few days ago the windmill next door was wet with very dark clouds. Today, it is cold and bright. I even managed to cut our grass. Our sweet peas are still flowering despite some frosts. The wind looks to be from the east.

Now just 10m JT65

A few minutes ago I turned off the 10m WSPR (no spots) and 6m JT65 and went instead to just 10m JT65. Today does not look too promising, but we'll see.

UPDATE 1525z: So far just G1JGT (35km) spotted calling CQ on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1700z:  PU3AMB (10431km) in Brazil was spotted at 1614z this afternoon on 10m JT65. TEP?

UPDATE 1725z:  It is now over an hour since the DX from Brazil was copied on 10m JT65. I shall probably go QRT on 10m shortly and maybe try 630m WSPR?

6m JT65 and 10m WSPR

For a change this morning I am on 10m WSPR (500mW) and 6m JT65 (2W) at the same time. I started things running at about 0720z.

UPDATE 0940z: G0LRD (25km) spotting me and I am spotting G3PXT (82km) on 6m. Nothing on 10m WSPR.

Sunspots and 10m - Friday November 25th 2016

Solar flux is 79 today. The sunspot count is 12. K=6.

10m is unlikely to be any good today.

24 Nov 2016

Black Friday Crap - NOT amateur radio

One of the bad things we in the UK seem to have imported from the USA is "Black Friday". Until a few years ago this was unknown here in the UK. As far as I can see this is just another excuse to encourage us to buy what we do not need. It is greed and commercialism, pure and simple. OK there may be some bargains, but few.

Let me say I hate Black Friday and refuse to go along with the silly games that shops and retailers play on us. Bah humbug! I know some retailers are having a hard time, but as far as Black Friday is concerned go away! Play somewhere else.

UK Amateur Prices Up

Since BREXIT and the UK pound losing value against the $ and Yen, we are seeing price increases. The FT817ND was around £450 or less but MLS are now listing this at £599.95 "with 5% off". This is rather more than the exchange rate change. Somebody being greedy?

Answer to a maiden's prayer? - NOT amateur radio

Antibiotics are widely used (perhaps over-used) and many infections are become resistant to them meaning many common diseases could be lethal in the future. However, a new way of beating super-bugs may be possible.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-38077263 .

Southgate News

Although they pick up stuff from all over the place, this is worth checking out regularly.

See http://southgatearc.org/ .

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday, November 24th 2016

Solar flux is 77 today and the sunspot number 11. K=3.

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

Back on 10m JT65 ever hopeful

My return to 10m JT65 was at about 0910z this morning. The last few days have been poor, so I am hoping today will be a little better (than nil spots!).

As we are entering quieter solar times, DX will be much harder on 10m, but this is where JT65 and WSPR will prove really useful running in the background: if any DX pops up it will not be missed. 10m is "open" most days, if only briefly, yet few realise.

UPDATE 0955z:  Still no spots as yet.

UPDATE 1145z: G0OYQ (177km) has recently been spotted here on 10m JT65. Aircraft reflection or tropo? In the past I have worked stations at good range on 10m SSB (10W pep QRP) within the UK using just a low dipole antenna. Remember that 10m is not bad for semi-local working at any part of the solar cycle.

UPDATE 2146z: LU3ADP (11207km) was the best DX received on 10m JT65.

23 Nov 2016

Time to go QRT

In a few minutes I shall be going QRT on all bands. 10m has been disappointing again and just G0LRD again on 6m. David is not too far away.

6m JT65

After another fruitless day on 10m JT65, I QSYed to 6m JT65 at 1926z. G0LRD (25km) copied me, but no other 6m spots as yet.

RSP2 SDR receiver

SDRplay has announced a new SDR radio. I have to admit never having played with SDR radios yet. This is quite a gap!

See http://swling.com/blog/2016/11/announcing-the-new-sdrplay-rsp2/ .


See http://www.sdrplay.com/docs/SDRplayRSP2announcement.pdf  .

Sunspots and 10m - Wednesday November 23rd 2016

Solar flux is 77 and the sunspot number zero. K=3. I am not expecting great things on 10m today.

Ely Cathedral - NOT amateur radio

Today we went shopping in Ely and we ate at The Almonry which has been in business since the 1200s! The photo is a view of Ely Cathedral from the nearby meadows.

Return to 10m JT65

At about 0804z this morning I turned the 10m JT65 back on again (2W QRP). As yet, no spots given or received, although it is still quite early.

UPDATE 1656z:  Still no 10m JT65 spots today.

22 Nov 2016

Fame at last - NOT amateur radio

One of my photos made the BBC TV this evening! Look East showed the picture of our local windmill next door in a storm on their weather forecast, using my nickname "windymiller". I was quite surprised to see it!


After a day on 10m JT65 I have now gone QRT. There were a couple of European spots this morning but nothing later and no "real" DX today. I shall try again tomorrow.

10m JT65

The return to 10m JT65 was at 0752z this morning. Although the sunspot number is zero, I have spotted one Polish station so far this morning SP8MTA (1615km). Nothing further as yet.

UPDATE 1220z: PD1HPB (351km) spotted on 10m JT65. Aircraft reflection?

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday November 22nd 2016

Solar flux 75 today and the sun is spotless with a sunspot number of 0. K=1.

21 Nov 2016

QRT on all bands

After joining the East Cambs net on 144.575MHz FM at 2000z tonight, I have now gone QRT on all bands. I may return to 10m JT65 in the morning, hoping for better results than today. Later this week I may try to get my 630m earth-electrode "antenna" working again so I can try MF again.

Weather update - NOT amateur radio

We are very lucky to live next door to a restored windmill. A few moments ago the sun briefly appeared in a very stormy sky, making "our" windmill look very dramatic, as the photo shows. The light was very eerie. The colours in the photo are right.

472kHz (630m) WSPR

It is getting quite late this autumn and I have still not returned to 472kHz WSPR. I may replace my earth-electrode "antenna" as it is unlikely I'll get a better antenna up. My ERP on MF is about 5mW, which is a good challenge for most. Last season I reached over 1000km.

Sepura Half Year Results - NOT amateur radio

The company I used to work for (8 years ago - amazing how time flies) publishes its interim results tomorrow. SEPU shares have tumbled in value since April when they gave a profits warning. There is a rumour they are the subject of a possible takeover. They are about to enter the USA with TETRA products, where they could do well. Their main business is radios where security is very important. They make handsets, mobiles and base units as well as all the software, systems and accessories.

See www.sepura.com .

November - NOT amateur radio

Today is just plain miserable! It is windy and wet and, well, November. It amazes me how fast time seems to fly. It will soon be Christmas again and the evenings starting to get lighter again. But I must not wish things to pass any quicker.

Colonialism - NOT amateur radio

There was a programme on the radio (BBC Radio 4) called "Start the Week" just now. Among the many items it noted how bad colonialism was for the indigenous people. Time and again we are fed a filtered version of events - basically what governments want us to hear. This is especially true in wartime, but it happens all the time, although we do not realise it.  During the Vietnam War we were brainwashed to think communism was always evil.

I make no judgements but urge us all to beware of propaganda. Both sides in the BREXIT debate were guilty. There is a general uneasiness in the general public with the people we put in power. This is true in the UK, USA and in many nations in Europe. The lurch to the right in recent times is, in part, a reaction to this. The people who govern us must be unbiased, fair and honourable people if they are to properly represent us. Sadly, I can think of not one politician that I think meets these high standards anywhere in the world.

OFCOM auction

OFCOM has announced an auction of mobile spectrum.

See https://www.ofcom.org.uk/about-ofcom/latest/media/media-releases/2016/ofcom-outlines-rules-for-mobile-spectrum-auction  .

 I am not a great fan of OFCOM but I respect the views of others that may well differ from my own.

Return to 10m JT65

Just before breakfast I returned to 10m JT65 (2W QRP). As yet, no spots given or received.

UPDATE 1034z: Still no 10m JT65 spots yet.

UPDATE 1440z: Still no 10m spots. Is this going to be a blank day?

UPDATE 1650z: With still no spots at all given or received on 10m JT65, I think this is going to go down as a very bad day, unless things suddenly change. At least with JT65 you have a chance, knowing that there are usually people looking. On SSB a quick "CQ" is unlikely to get a response.

Sunspots and 10m - Monday November 21st 2016

Solar flux is 75 today and the sunspot number 11. K=1. It is anyone's guess how 10m JT65 will be today.

20 Nov 2016

The O2 Arena (London) - NOT amateur radio

My wife and I were trying to remember the name of the man in charge of the Millenium Dome, which later became the O2 Arena. Google came to the rescue! I remember him as an affable Frenchman with a good sense of humour. His name was Pierre Gerbeau. He had a thankless task at the time.
Pierre-Yves Gerbeau in 2014

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre-Yves_Gerbeau

New 40m kit

See http://4sqrp.com/kits/Bayou%20Jumper/bjmanual11-4-16.pdf

There is a new kit coming out that is designed as a modern replacement for the famous WW2 "Paraset" spy transceiver. It uses a crystal controlled 5W TX and a regen RX. This is an American design. I have no idea how it would hold up in Europe. I have used regen receivers, but the biggest issue was knowing the frequency you were listening on precisely. I guess it would be OK for nets but I would not want to call CQ unless I was sure the frequency was really clear. QRP signals can often be weak.

Tree to ID - NOT amateur radio

This is something very common I suspect, but I am very poor on trees! If you know what it is please let me know. It was seen yesterday in a wood at Reach, Cambridgeshire, UK. It was a tree in a wood.

QRP and QRP Club

From Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

WQR Report (November 20, 2016)
Visitors  of  the  week:  US3EN,  UR0ET, OH6NPV, DF9QV, EA6BB, HA7NE,
DF9QV and DK1AY became Honor Frequenters
see more here -
Welcome all QRP operators on the Rendez-Vous round table. See details
on the Club 72 page -

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

JT, WSPR and similar - just how low can these work?

Reading Amateur Radio Weekly there was a nice posting of a blog analysing weak signal modes trying to see just how weak a signal the various modes can decode.

See http://destevez.net/2016/10/simulating-jt-modes-how-low-can-they-get/?utm_source=amateur-radio-weekly&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter

There are some modes here I have yet to try.

6m JT65

After an evening and overnight on 2m JT65B (no spots), I decided to give 6m JT65A a go this morning. Things were set up just before breakfast. My best spot so far is G6GEI (73km). The only spot of my own QRP 6m JT65 is from G0LRD (25km). I shall stay on 6m 50.276MHz JT65A all morning. I am running about 1W ERP vertical. My antenna is a V2000 Omni vertical. All reports appreciated.

UPDATE 1326z: No further 6m JT65 spots.

UPDATE 1900z: M0SGO (14km) and G0LRD (25km) were the only 2 to spot my QRP 6m JT65 all day. I'll stick on 6m until breakfast and then probably QSY to 10m JT65.

2m UKAC results so far

The results, so far, of the RSGB's 2m UKAC contest have just been published. My position has climbed to 78th out of 188 in the AL section. I run 5W SSB to an omni big-wheel antenna. It is rare for me to be on for more than 40% of the time because of my poor voice.

Although not a great contester, I rarely miss this one as it is a good test of my (limited) set-up and a chance to work a few new squares. 200km is my usual maximum. Well equipped stations with yagis and more power work a lot further.

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

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday November 20th 2016

Solar flux is today is 77. Sunspot number is 22. K=1.

19 Nov 2016

Time to QSY to 2m JT65B

It looks like the 10m DX has gone for today, so I am going to QSY to 144.165MHz (USB dial) JT65B. As always, all reports are appreciated. I'll probably remain on 2m all this evening and overnight.

UPDATE 1724z:  QSYed to 2m JT65B 144.165MHz USB dial at 1648z.

UPDATE 2204z: No 2m spots so far.

Images of planets around Alpha-Centauri? - NOT amateur radio

See http://www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=36621

Some alive today may see the first images of Earth like planets around our next nearest star. There are plans afoot to send a telescope into space to do this and even a chance of a probe visiting this distant solar system sometime this century. Sadly I shall probably being feeding worms and daisies!

70cm UKAC results out

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

Despite not having an antenna of 70cm (just a 2m halo), just using 5W QRP and being on for a very limited time because of my poor voice, I see I sit 121st out of 178 in the AL section. Of late, activity seems lower than in earlier months. I guess there are fewer portable stations active in the colder months.

USA on 10m JT65 this autumn?

So far this autumn my 2W 10m JT65 has been spotted in the USA just once. I have only copied others in the USA on 10m JT65 twice. It is proving much harder to reach the USA on 10m this autumn than in the last few years. Next autumn, I expect it will be impossible.

As the months go forward, there will be even less chance of USA 10m openings, although I hope USA and Canadians will come in during the summer by 10m Es on occasions. Es will soon be the only mechanism to work the USA on 10m. It may also be possible to work the USA and Canada by Es on 6m on occasions.

Improving my 10m antenna would help a bit, but if the band is not open E-W then it will still be impossible.

No, E-W DX on 10m will become rarer, especially as the years progress and as the sunspots decline. All the more reason to use JT65 or WSPR "in the background" to catch brief 10m openings. I love 10m, but it takes real dedication in the quiet solar years ahead. The easy option is just to slip down a few bands. But as real radio amateurs we like a challenge!

Slow Slide

Very gradually, we are on the slide to the next solar minimum. As I have said many times, this is NOT the end of the usefulness of our higher HF bands. Even with no sunspots and in the depths of the solar minimum, I have worked real DX on 10m SSB QRP with simple wire antennas. Es (sporadic-E) is good especially in the summer throughout the solar cycle. Of course, as 27MHz CB proves, 10m is always useful for local nets and chats. In my view, 10m is a most (possibly the most) interesting band we have. Sometimes it behaves like a VHF band whereas at other times it is open for worldwide DX.

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

Strange sight - NOT amateur radio

Before lunch we went to nearby Reach for a walk. We were surprised to see a couple of emus walking with chickens in a village garden. It just seemed so very odd.

Swaziland on 10m

3DA0AY (9199km) in Swaziland has been spotted on 10m JT65. Swaziland is completely surrounded by South Africa. I went there a few years ago. 10m is definitely much better than yesterday.

Frosty - NOT amateur radio

Although we have had a few frosts this autumn, the one overnight was the coldest so far. Even now at 1040z, there are still signs of it. I wonder if this will be the end of our sweet peas in the garden? They were still flower and it is already well into the second half of November.

10m JT65

The return to 10m JT65 was just before breakfast. I have been spotted locally by Richard G4KPX (14km) and I have spotted EW4TT (1688km) in Belarus. F2?

UPDATE 1052z:  Now EU7FBB (1931km) has been spotted on 10m JT65.

Sunspots and 10m - Saturday November 19th 2016

Solar flux is 77 today and the sunspot number 28. K=0. Already 10m is looking better than yesterday.

18 Nov 2016


As of a few minutes ago I went QRT. 10m was a great disappointment today. Will it be better tomorrow? 10m is full of surprises.

Autumn (again) - NOT amateur radio

We are fortunate to have several National Trust properties nearby. One of our best is Anglesey Abbey, which is about 4 miles away. In every season, there is something worth seeing in the grounds. At the moment it is the autumn colours. In the next few weeks the first daffodils will be out, then the snowdrops. There are acres and acres of grounds, some formal and some wild. Parts of the house date from the 1100s I believe.
The picture, taken on the "Winter Walk" shows a tree with incredibly tactile bark. Very many people just have to touch it.


More UK rallies:

Oasis Academy Coulsdon, Homefield Road, Old Coulsdon CR5 1ES This is new venue will open the doors from 10am to 2pm. Pitches are just £12.50 when paid in advance (£15 on the day) and access will be available from 8am. Admission is £1.50 and includes a tea of coffee. There will be traders, a Bring & Buy and a flea market. For more information or bookings, email enquiries@catsradio.org


Harewood House, Plympton, Plymouth, Devon PL7 2AS Doors open from 10am to 2pm and admittance is £2. There will be a Bring & Buy, an RSGB bookstall, Special Interest Groups and trade stands. Catering will be available on site. More information from Sheila Hart, 2E0YSH, 01752 668 907, email sheo@fsmail.net.

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

Sunspots and 10m - Friday November 18th 2016

Solar flux is 78 today and the sunspot number 27. K=0. I hope 10m JT65 is good today.

10m JT65

After an evening and overnight on 2m JT65B I have now returned to 10m JT65A. I also checked the PC was synced to internet time. It was.

UPDATE 1245z:  As yet, no spots given or received on 10m JT65. Disappointing.

UPDATE 1658z: Only UK spots of others so far today on 10m JT65. If I am honest, this has been surprising and disappointing as I was expecting greater things on 10m JT65 today. Best spot was G4CJC (73km).

17 Nov 2016

Storm risk gone, so now on 2m JT65B

As the storm risk seems to have moved away, I have gone back on the air on 2m JT65B 144.165MHz. I turned things on at 1943z. This time I remembered JT65B on 2m.

UPDATE 2202z: My thanks to G0LRD (25km) who has spotted me.

Storms later?

The early weather forecasts suggested we might have thunder here later. If so, I shall go QRT and disconnect everything including rig, PC and antenna. The risk may be low, but I am taking no chances. At the moment all is quiet, but things can soon change.

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

UPDATE 1328z:  I have decided to go QRT.

Rally news

So, there are still UK rallies at this time of the year:

St Vincent de Paul's, Caldershaw Road, off Edenfield Rd (A680), Norden, Rochdale OL12 7QR Talk-In will be on S22 (145.550MHz). Doors open from 10.30am with disabled visitors gaining access from 10.15am, the event usually finishes around 3pm. Set up is from 8am. The entry is £2.50 with under 12s free. Further details from Dave, G3RIK on 01706 633 400 or by email to rally@radars.me.uk. [http://radars.me.uk/rally.htm]

A list of rallies can be found at

Sweet peas still growing in the garden - NOT amateur radio

It is now the second half of November and we still have sweet peas growing in the garden!

My wife cut some for the kitchen table only today. Normally, these have long gone. We have already had a couple of frosts, but they seem to have survived them. Quite remarkable. I wonder how long they will last outside?

Declining solar activity - don't give up!

There is now little doubt that we are on the slide downwards towards the next solar minimum. If the experts in solar science are to be believed, the next maximum may well be poor.

This is not the end of amateur radio on the higher bands. I have said before that I have worked some real DX on QRP SSB on 10m in years at previous minima and we now have weak signal modes like WSPR and JT65 to catch even the briefest of openings.

Certainly, bands like 10m are nothing like as easy as a few years ago, but there is often propagation when people assume the band is "dead". Also, don't forget Es is good at any point in the solar cycle. It is rare to find a day without some 10m propagation, even in the quiet years. Es tends to peak in the summer months but can (and does) appear at any point in the year as is proved with regular JT65 use on 10m.

Return to 10m JT65

Although I was on 2m JT65 last evening and overnight, I shall shortly return to 10m JT65 and do a manual resync to internet time "just in case". As we have a risk of storms this afternoon, I shall probably go QRT later this morning.

UPDATE 0932z: I have now returned to 10m JT65 and realised I was on JT65A on 2m - doh!!

UPDATE 0948z: EU7FBB (1931km) already spotted on 10m JT65 - promising.

UPDATE 1026z: My 2W QRP 10m JT65 is being spotted in Germany and Denmark.
UPDATE 1128z:  My 2W QRP 10m JT65 is getting spotted widely in northern and central Europe and I am spotting quite a few countries here too.

UPDATE 1328z: South Africa spotted on 10m JT65, but I have now gone QRT.

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday November 17th 2016

Solar flux is 79 today. Sunspot number is 18 and K=1. 10m propagation today? Anyone's guess!

UPDATE 1135z: Well there certainly has been decent European propagation on 10m JT65 this morning.

16 Nov 2016

Now on 2m JT65

As I think the DX opportunities have now closed for the day on 10m, I am about to switch to 144.165Mz (USB dial) on 2m JT65. I shall stay on 2m this evening and overnight.

UPDATE 1847z: Now active on 2m JT65. Any reports would be much appreciated. Please upload to PSK Reporter Maps if possible.

Long-tail Tits - NOT amateur radio

There are fewer small birds around these days in our garden and generally, but some have become more common in recent years. Great tits seem more plentiful and here in East Anglia the long-tail tit is the most common tit to see and hear. Only just a few moments ago when I was sweeping up leaves there was a flock of long-tail tits on the lilac in the garden next door.

See http://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/bird-and-wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/l/longtailedtit/ .

Among the larger birds there are more magpies locally. Going to work, I saw not one in nearly 40 years, although now they are plentiful. Little egrets can be seen all over the place but they were rare before the late 1980s. Buzzards are now widespread in East Anglia whereas they were once a sign we'd reached Devon. Since their reintroduction, red kites can be widely seen again.

There is no doubt that we see different birds these days.

2m JT65 tonight and overnight

As I think the DX opportunities have now closed for the day on 10m, I am about to switch to 144.165Mz (USB dial) on 2m JT65. I shall stay on 2m this evening and overnight.

UPDATE 1847z: Now active on 2m JT65. Any reports would be much appreciated. Please upload to PSK Reporter Maps if possible.

No South Americans (yet) on 10m JT65

It is now 1440z and, as yet, nothing coming through from South America on 10m JT65. I am confident that there will be South American 10m JT65 spots shortly.

UPDATE  1616z: Still nothing from South America surprisingly. It is getting late in the day and it will soon be dark here.

UPDATE 1818z:  It looks like no South Americans today. Maybe this is TEP and there was no propagation to northern Europe? I shall go into the shack just in case there are stations received  on WSJT-X who did not report to PSK reporter. No, everything seems to be in order - internet time sync, software and rig all correct, just no propagation here.

Shed cleaning - NOT amateur radio

Autumn and lots of leaves! Time to put the garden to bed until the spring and clean out the shed. All the spring/summer garden furniture will go away until the spring.

It is hard to believe I got 4 bags of leaves yesterday and 2 today before this picture was taken. And still the leaves fall.

Dalham - NOT amateur radio

On the whole, where we live has few hills. We are on the highest part of our village next to the windmill and museum. Go just a few miles south and east and you are in the rolling hills of Suffolk, with some delightful villages.

This collage shows nearby Dalham, a few miles from Newmarket, Suffolk, with some beautiful "chocolate box" cottages. The picture was taken a few years ago earlier in the year.

Sunspots and 10m - Wednesday November 16th 2016

Solar flux is 76 today and the sunspot number 29. K=1. Today could be a decent day on 10m JT65, although you never know!

ZS spotted on 10m JT65

In all my time I have rarely found 10m without some sort of propagation during the day. ZS6AI (9123km) has recently been spotted here and I expect there will be South Americans again later. OK, it is not as easy as a few years ago, but there is propagation

UPDATE 1230z: ZS6AI spotted my 2W QRP on 10m JT65 about 20 minutes ago.

10m JT65

A few moments ago I returned to 10m JT65 and checked the PC was synced to internet time OK. Yesterday was disappointing with no spots given or received on 10m, although I suspect my PC or software rather than conditions. Let us hope today is more successful!

UPDATE 1050z: My 10m JT65 spots of stations in Spain and Latvia are reaching PSK Reporter Maps this morning. There is clearly European propagation around on 10m today.

UPDATE 1212z: EA3GJO (1180km) spotted my 10m JT65 (2W QRP) about 14 minutes ago. Es?

15 Nov 2016

Google confirm new London HQ - NOT amateur radio

So Google has confirmed its £1billion investment in a new HQ building in London. This is good news in a post-BREXIT UK.

Big companies still see the UK as a good place to do business. There is much right with the UK.

Personally, I think the EU will face difficult times ahead. OK the UK has to find its way in the new world order, but it will. With a political swing to the right (hopefully a blip) I can see other nations wishing to leave the EU. It would not totally surprise me if the Euro loses a lot of its value in 2017. A total collapse of the EU is possible too.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37988095 .

4m CB in Sweden

Until I read this in the Southgate News today, I had no idea that there is a 69MHz CB band in Sweden. Being just below our 4m band, this is interesting.

Weather today - NOT amateur radio

Today has been miserable. Although mild, it has been dull and "November" all day.  A week ago we visited the Botanic Gardens in Cambridge when it was sunny between the showers. November really can be a dull month.

The photo shows the Cambridge Botanic Garden early last week.

Autumnal garden - NOT amateur radio

In the last few weeks our garden has turned to autumn: leaves have fallen and now it looks autumnal or even wintery. I cannot believe how quickly things have changed. One moment it was summer and it will soon be Christmas again. The evenings start to get lighter in January, and February is short. In the meantime, I enjoy the changing seasons as "each has a beauty all of its own".

"Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own; and from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, it is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy that we can scarcely mark their progress."

Charles Dickens

See: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/charlesdic154061.html

Fuel going down in price - NOT amateur radio

Both Asda and Tesco (big UK supermarkets) have announced they are reducing fuel costs. The barrel price has dropped and this may be the reason. In recent months fuel prices have risen, but not in line with exchange rates worsening since the BREXIT vote. If you depend on your car for work, this is good news. It will help to reduce the inflation figures.

I guess this is a 2-edged sword as it means North Sea oil is worth less in exports. As a nation, we need to buy more UK goods and import less. We have become too reliant on imports.

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday November 15th 2016

Solar flux is 77 today and sunspot number 26. K=1. 10m seems fine with some F2 propagation.

Back on 10m JT65

Since about 0745z I have been back on 10m JT65, but all quiet so far today with no spots yet given or received on the band. I have checked everything is working!

UPDATE 1035z: RN6 and ON spotted here in the last hour but these spots don't seem to have been uploaded to PSK reporter maps. Maybe I lost internet connectivity?

UPDATE 1918z:  Several South Americans were spotted on 10m JT65 but these spots were not uploaded to PSK Reporter Maps. Maybe there was a bug in the software? I cannot believe this was an internet connectivity issue as the other PCs worked fine. I am using WSJT-X V1.6.  I'll be on 10m JT65 again in the morning.

14 Nov 2016


At 2000z I went on 144.575MHz FM in the East Cambridgeshire net. At this time I noticed that I was not on 10m JT65 as the rig had turned off! I should have checked earlier as I may have been off much of the day. It was my fault for not checking sooner. I was looking at PSK Reporter Maps on a different PC.

I have now gone QRT.

Granddaughter's note - NOT amateur radio

Last weekend was our elder grandson's birthday. His sister stared at him and she wrote him this note!

10m JT65

At just before 0730z, I returned to 10m JT65 with 2W QRP. As yet no spots.

UPDATE 1236z: Still no spots given or received on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1900z: No spots (given or received) all day on 10m JT65. This has been one of the worst days on 10m JT65 this autumn. Mind you, it seems to confirm that if the South Americans are coming through by TEP, you need some means of extending this to northern Europe.

Sunspots and 10m - Monday November 14th 2016

Solar flux is 79. Sunspot number is 13. K=3. Yesterday, quite a few South Americans were spotted here on 10m JT65. Conditions today look broadly similar, albeit the sunspot count is lower.

13 Nov 2016

Beginnings - NOT amateur radio

Flete House, where I was born. Always impresses! Actually it was a nursing home after WW2 for many years. Now posh flats. I like to say I was born in a stately home - well I was! If I bought one of the flats I could die where I was born.

Trump's Wall - NOT amateur radio

Partly a fence now. Mr Trump changing his mind or influenced by his peers? It will be interesting to see his policies when he is in charge.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-us-2016-37969112

New Zealand Earthquake - NOT amateur radio

It was interesting that the BBC News this lunchtime on Radio 4 did not even mention the latest earthquake in New Zealand. We are fed what they think we should hear. Some reports say it was stronger than the earthquake that so badly damaged Christchurch a few years ago.

We were in Christchurch exactly 2 years before this happened. New Zealand is a beautiful country with a small population. When an earthquake strikes, it can be a real burden to cope financially. Of all the places I have been fortunate enough to visit, this was the loveliest, followed by Iceland. Iceland we assumed would be barren but it was beautiful with lupins in flower all over the place. Both in New Zealand and Iceland the people were kind and welcoming.

Rallies - no news

If you want me to publicise your local rally just contact me. I am happy to push your rally. The blog has a worldwide readership, so whether Telford or Timbuktu, it matters not: just let me know.

At this time of year, things on the rally front are quiet in the UK as the weather is "dull November".

10m JT65

I returned to 10m JT65 (2W QRP)  just over 1 hour ago. So far, spots given and received from Europe, but nothing further as yet.

UPDATE 1230z:  Best DX on 10m JT65 are spots (given and received) in the Canary Is. and Russia. As conditions seem quite decent, I think South America should be in reach on 10m JT65 this afternoon. USA? This remains to be seen.

UPDATE 1515z: As yet, no evidence here of South Americans on 10m JT65, which is surprising.

UPDATE 1530z: Did someone say 10m was dead? This is my log so far today. I run 2W QRP to a very average, and low, wire antenna. No beams! I am sure others can do much better.

UPDATE 1554z: LU5CQC (11211km) in Buenos Aires, Argentina is the first South American spotted on 10m JT65 this afternoon.

UPDATE 1635z: 4 South Americans spotted on 10m JT65 so far this afternoon: Argentina (2), Brazil and Uruguay.

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday November 13th 2016

Solar flux is 79 today and the sunspot number has gone up to 51 (not bad at this part of the solar cycle). However K=4.

UPDATE 1534z: The K index seems to be improving. K=3 now.

12 Nov 2016

QRP and QRP Club

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

WQR Report (November 12, 2016)
see full report with comments and pictures -

Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous report
Visitors of the week:

US7IB,  IK2RGV,  DL3XZ,  HA7NE,  RN4W entered in the Frequenters list
(regular visitors)
See full Frequenters and Visitors lists on the Club72 web page

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

47GHz Beacon

47GHz beacon reception. I wonder if this person is professionally involved in microwave work? If not, I am very impressed. Lack of access to microwave test gear has always put me off. Optical test gear and optical gear was easy.

Still life on 10m

Every time I've been on 10m recently, I have found JT65 activity and DX. My antenna is just a low wire and definitely nothing special. I have never had a tower or an HF beam!  People assume 10m is "dead" and QSY down the bands. OK, it is not as easy as a few years ago, but change modes and use the band.  Don't assume it is useless, as it is still a DX band.

Autumn - NOT amateur radio

This has nothing to do with amateur radio but shows the season with the berries and leaves in our garden. It seems to have suddenly changed. I heard recently that a local town has already had more frosts this autumn than all last winter. Are we in for a very cold winter? It does feel colder although we have had fewer gales than normal. Usually October and early November can be windy.

Sunspots and 10m - Saturday November 12th 2016

Solar flux is 78 today and the sunspot number 26. K=2. Already I am spotting Israel and European Russia on 10m JT65. I have the feeling this is going to be a reasonably good day on 10m JT65. This is more than can be said for the weather here at the moment: it is cold and wet!

10m JT65 again today

I switched bands and am now back on 10m JT65 again after a day on 2m JT65. Already I have spotted several stations who are not sending spots to PSK Reporter Maps and RA9CNF (3812km) has been spotted. I am sure this is F2 propagation. As yet, my 2W QRP has still to be spotted.

UPDATE 1134z: 4Z5ML (3571km) in Israel and TA1BM (2899km) in Turkey have been spotted on 10m JT65 this morning.

UPDATE 1234z: RU4H (3294km) spotted my 2W QRP 10m JT65 about half an hour ago.

UPDATE 1546z: 5 South Americans spotted on 10m JT65 so far today.

UPDATE 1912z:  14 South Americans spotted on 10m JT65 so far today.

11 Nov 2016

Lunch out (again) - NOT amateur radio

For the second time this week, we ate lunch out with old friends. This time not as far (38 miles round trip). We  have known these friends since the early 1970s.

QRP and QRP Club

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,
keep in your diaries -
Club 72 events Calendar 2017 year

February, 4 and 5 - "Snowman" QRP Field Game (two tours)
April - "Look In the Horizon" QRP Marathon (over a month)
June, 17 - World QRP activity day
October 4 to 17 - "Sputnik" QRPp Activity Days
see details on the
club72.su page
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.

2m JT65 again

It seems that 144.165MHz is being adopted as the 2m JT65B  frequency in Europe. This morning, starting shortly, I shall be beaconing sending on that frequency (USB dial). Any reports would be appreciated. Best to upload your spots to PSK  Reporter Maps. My actual transmission will, of course, be slightly HF of the dial setting.

UPDATE 1040z: Within minutes of starting I copied DL1BEC (487km) on 2m JT65B in Lower Saxony, Germany. This was totally unexpected! No spots of my 2W QRP as yet.

UPDATE 1904z: Several spots from G6AVK (77km) - thank you.

Sunspots and 10m - Friday November 11th 2016

Solar flux is 79 today and the sunspot number 13 (was zero yesterday). K=2. On the face of it, similar to Thursday, albeit a little more disturbed.

10 Nov 2016

Trump - NOT amateur radio

OK, I am no expert on politics but, like many, I take an interest in the USA presidential elections. I am amazed, although not totally surprised, that so many supported Trump and that he won. I am sure to many there he represents "the American Dream". He also tapped into the general discontent felt by many across the world in the "ruling class elite".

There is, at the present time, a swing to the right. In many ways the politicians in many nations have lost the confidence of many in their nations. Things will swing back when the electors feel they are being represented by those they empower to rule and make decisions.

Time will tell whether or not a rich billionaire really can command the respect of the common man and woman of the USA. In my view neither main candidate was a good choice.

Rosetta probe

Yesterday we went to lunch with old university friends who, like us,  are retired. They live in Letchworth, which is about an hour away.  The husband was the Project Manager of the Rosetta Project during his working life. This successfully orbited an asteroid and landed a probe on the surface. He was interviewed on the TV and made national news recently. He is a very modest fellow, but very bright. He got a 1st in Physics, but you would never believe it. We have been friends for nearly 50 years.

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday November 10th 2016

Solar flux is 76 today and the sun is spotless (zero sunspots). K=1. It will be interesting to see how 10m does today with no sunspots.

Yesterday and today on 10m JT65

Only now did I realise I was on JT65B and not JT65A on 10m yesterday. Not being an expert, I assume I would have not been able to decode anyone and no-one would be able to decode me! Doh! Anyway I am now back on 10m JT65A having just turned the rig and PC back on and done manual sync to internet time.

UPDATE 1020z: ZS6WB (9095km) in South Africa has just been spotted on 10m JT65. Who needs sunspots?

UPDATE 1036z SV8RV (2268km) has recently spotted my 2W QRP JT65 on 10m.

UPDATE 1134z: 10m JT65 spots being given and received today from across Europe, deep into Russia and South Africa. Today looks good on 10m even with no sunspots.

UPDATE 1740z:  2 South Americans spotted so far today.

9 Nov 2016

Straight to 10m JT65 today (QRP)

Just after breakfast, I went straight on to 10m JT65 only. As yet, no spots given or received, but I am hopeful. South America seems to depend on TEP extensions into the UK. At the moment this seems to be mainly when there is some E layer propagation, which is not plentiful at this time of the year. I am still hopeful of a few USA openings.

UPDATE 1930z:   No 10m JT65 spots all day. This has been a very quiet day.

Sunspots and 10m - Wednesday November 9th 2016

Solar flux is 76 today and the sunspot number 24. K=1.

8 Nov 2016

Solar cycle 25?

We are on the way down to the end of cycle 24, with the minimum expected around 2020. Already the experts are predicting what cycle 25 will be like, and solar activity is likely to be poor. Some are even predicting a Maunder Minimum with no sunspots at all for several years and a drop in global temperatures. The truth is we cannot be sure.

The world is warming up, fact, although some think this is not the fault of man. Somehow, I think we are involved. We owe it to future generations to look at the facts and not behave like ostriches. A Maunder Minimum might buy us a little extra time to put things right.

See https://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/25/first-estimate-of-solar-cycle-25-amplitudesmallest-in-over-300-years/ .

Whatever your views, equip yourselves with FACTS as much as possible.

70cm UKAC activity contest this evening

As this is the second Tuesday in the month, it should be the 70cm leg of the UKAC activity contest organised by the RSGB. My 2m halo is a good match on 70cm. Although a very poor antenna, I shall be on at 2000z (ish) to work a few stations before my voice shouts "no"! Usually I am on for less than 60  minutes, often much less.

UPDATE 2048z: I stayed on for about 10 minutes only and had 1 contact. Although conditions on 70cm weren't too bad, the level of activity seemed low to me. GB3UHF (432.430MHz) beacon was -9dB here on JT65B on the FT817 with a 2m halo fed with lossy coax, which is quite good. The beacon is in JO01 square.

Back on 10m JT65 tomorrow

Although I got no spots at all on 10m WSPR today, I did copy G6NLZ (153km) on the south coast of the UK on 6m JT65. This could have been tropo or aircraft reflection. No non UK stations today. Tomorrow I intend to go back to 10m JT65 at breakfast time. I'll probably go QRT on 6m and 10m shortly.

Botanic Garden, Cambridge - NOT amateur radio

Yesterday we dodged the showers and went to the Botanical Gardens in Cambridge. As I mentioned yesterday, another week and the trees could be bare.  At the moment it looks very autumnal.

Tuesday's QRP

Today I started out on 10m WSPR (500mW) - no spots, and 6m JT65 (2W) - just spots from G0LRD (25km). Later, I shall probably go to just 10m JT65.

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday November 8th 2016

Solar flux is 76 today and sunspot number 23. K=1.

7 Nov 2016

QRT - all bands

After listening a bit after 2000z on 10m JT65 and taking part in the East Cambs net on 144.575MHz FM, I decided to go QRT on all bands. I shall be back on 10m JT65 tomorrow, hoping for better results than today.

OFCOM - microwave licence free operation

See https://www.ofcom.org.uk/consultations-and-statements/category-3/wt-exemption-2016 .

OFCOM has published notes on licence exempt use of some microwave bands.

Cambridge Botanical Garden - NOT amateur radio

We checked the weather forecast this morning and it said no rain all day. In fact, it said full sun much of the day. So we decided to go to the Botanical Garden in Cambridge. Yes, you guessed right - it rained! Really, you cannot plan anything based on the UK weather forecasts! We dodged the showers and managed some nice autumnal shots.

Another week and the best of autumn colours would be gone.

Return to 10m JT65

After a day on 20m, I returned to 10m JT65 a few moments ago. 10m is more of a challenge than 20m, which proved very easy with lots of spots at 2W. As yet, no spots.

UPDATE 1005z: RV6FT (3095km) near Krasnodar spotted already on 10m JT65. F2?

UPDATE 1832z:  No further spots all day on 10m JT65 here. No Es. No South Americans. Altogether, disappointing.

Sunspots and 10m - Monday November 7th 2016

Solar flux is 77 today and the sunspot number 24. K=1

6 Nov 2016

Currently on 20m JT65

Last night and overnight I have been (still am) on 20m JT65. Things didn't start to liven up before this morning. I guess the band was "dead" last night with little or no propagation. As an experiment, I shall remain on 14.076MHz JT65 for a while longer before I move up to 10m, which is more interesting.

UPDATE 1014z: Busy on 20m JT65!! The image shows the stations spotting me so far. Quite a few despite a low antenna and just 2W. There is far more challenge on 10m JT65. I'll give 20m a few more hours, then QSY to 10m. I am glad I tried 20m JT65, but it is too easy and I like a challenge.

UPDATE 1322z: Lots and lots of 20m JT65 spots including the USA down as far as Georgia. I've decided to stay on 20m JT65 for the rest of the day and go back on 10m JT65 tomorrow.

UPDATE 1422z:  More 20m JT65 spots from the USA.

UPDATE 2024z:  More USA stations spotted and now South Americans logged on 20m JT65 RX.

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday November 6th 2016

Solar flux is 77 today and the sunspot number 24. K=2.

QRP and QRP Club

From Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,
See  full  WQR  Report  (Weekly  QRP  Rendez-Vous)  with comments and
pictures on the blog page - http://qrp-club72.blogspot.ru/

Note, a lot of Visitors and Frequenters visited QRP Rendez-Vous this week! See the list:
See full Visitors and Frequenters lists on the Club 72 web page - club72.su

For  activity  in the "rendezvous" round tables G4SSH, EA6BB, DL8NGC,
SV2BBK became Honor Frequenters operators

Note: now we have on-line QRP Chat on the Club 72 page - enjoy to talk
with colleagues!
Thanks all QRP operators for activity and comments, see you all on the
next week "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.

Re-reading old stroke posts - NOT amateur radio

Having just re-read some of the comments to my few posts in the second half of 2013 when I was in hospital with my stroke, I realise how much support you all gave me at that dark time.

It is now 3 years later and I am able to drive, eat normally and most of me works although I still feel giddy on my feet, have a poor voice and I find drinks hard. Overall, I am grateful as things could have been so much worse.

From the bottom of my heart - thank you. You cannot begin to realise just how valuable this support was.

5 Nov 2016

VHF Spectrum Forum Notes

See http://rsgb.org/main/files/2016/11/5.2_VHF-Managers-report_Oct2016.pdf .

According to Southgate News OFCOM have recognised that the VHF lo-band noise (man-made) is much worse than it used to be.

Choosing a new band for JT65 this evening and overnight

As the 10m JT65 DX seems to have ended for the night, I might try JT65 on a completely different band this evening and overnight. I have yet to choose a band. Although I have tried WSPR on most bands, I have yet to try JT65 on the lower HF bands or MF. This could be fun. I shall need to use the auto ATU. Whatever band is chosen, I shall be beaconing "B G3XBM JO02".

UPDATE 1945z:  In the end I chose 30m using my Par antenna via the ATU. We'll see what happens. The local noise level is very high compared with 10m.

UPDATE 2014z: This is puzzling. No spots given or received as yet. Am I using the right frequency? I was using 10.138MHz but maybe I should try 40m instead? I have now QSYed to 7.039MHz on 40m but still just 1 spot. Compared with 40m and 30m WSPR, results so far have been very disappointing.

UPDATE 2100z: Would someone please let me know the correct JT65 frequencies in Europe Judging by the levels of activity I am sure I cannot be using the correct frequencies.

UPDATE 2122z:  In view of my confusion, I think I am going to move to 14.076MHz. Moved to 20m at 2125z.

UPDATE 2134z:  Here was me expecting loads of 20m JT65 spots! So far, nothing given or received.  Maybe I am assuming these HF bands would be "open".

Disappointment on 10m JT65 today

After a promising start, today has been a disappointment on 10m JT65. It is now 1538z and although I have spotted 8 countries and 3 continents on 10m JT65, not a single person has copied me! I checked all was well about 1 hour ago.

Things could change, but I am beginning to think this is not going to be so good. 10m is like this: some days it defies the forecasts and is good. Other days, like today, it started off well and has gone downhill. Ho hum - better luck tomorrow? I shall remain on 10m JT65 until bedtime in the hope it will improve.

There is a newer version of WSJT-X, although I don't think this is on general release yet. I may try this although V1.6 seems to serve me well.

Prices up?

In recent months we have seen the pound lose value against the yen and the dollar.  It now looks as if these are being passed on to customers in increased prices.

MLS is offering a deal on the IC7300 at Kempton. See http://www.hamradio.co.uk/amateur-radio-main-equipment-base-station-radio-icom-base-station-radio/icom/icom-ic-7300-hf-50-70mhz-transceiver-pd-6016.php?mc_cid=ce97983f94&mc_eid=e7d0ed0d96. At the same time they are offering the FT450D at £499.

I appreciate dealers have to make a profit and their prices have increased, but I was expecting the IC7300 to drop in price. Are we being warmed up to think around £1049 was a good price? The IC7300 should be less expensive than the FT450D as it has a simpler architecture.

For now, I am happy to wait.

The FT991A will be a direct competitor to the IC7300, so expect a Yaesu-ICOM price war in 2017 with both transceivers fighting it out. I think both will be below £1000 in 2017 despite the exchange rates.

What a difference 2 years makes

Exactly 2 years ago to the day, I was using 50mW WSPR on 10m and getting lots of spots from the USA. This autumn I have been on 10m JT65 and been spotted just once in the USA on 10m when using 2W. Solar activity is on the slide.

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

Sunspots and 10m - Saturday November 5th 2016

Solar flux is 76 today and the sunspot number 25. K=1.

Already 10m JT65 is promising today, but time will tell.

After 2m JT65, a return to 10m JT65

Last night, and overnight I was on 144.166MHz JT65B. Several spots were exchanged with G3WKW (133km) and G6AVK (77km) spotted me several times. It was altogether a successful 2m outing and my thanks go to both stations for being on and doing the test. Yet again JT65 looks better than WSPR on 2m. I wonder if there is a need for a WSPR1 with 1 minute TX times? I am sure the shorter TX time helps in some cases, especially if there is Doppler.

This morning I returned to 10m JT65 with spots of stations in the UK, Germany, Ukraine and Russia. Nobody has yet spotted my 2W.

UPDATE 1155z:  With 7 countries and 2 continents so far spotted this morning on 10m JT65, I am surprised that my own signal has not yet been spotted.

UPDATE 1354z: LW2DAF (11211km) in Buenos Aires is the best DX spotted on 10m JT65 RX so far today. He was spotted at 1318z. Still no spots of my 2W, which is surprising. I may close and restart in case something odd is going on at my end and I am not actually TXing.

4 Nov 2016

2m JT65B on 144.166MHz

Since about 1900z I have been on 144.166MHz using JT65B. I am doing a test with G3WKW but if anyone else wants to listen and report to PSK reporter than would be appreciated, of course.

UPDATE 2002z:  G3WKW (133km) spotted me 36 minutes ago on 2m at -24dB S/N! Thanks Bob.

UPDATE 2035z: Now G6AVK (77km) has spotted me on 2m. Thank you.

Rallies coming up

The following rallies are coming up:

The Americahal, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands. The Ham Radio Convention opens at 9.30am, parking is €4, admission €9 for non VERON members. Lectures on NVIS by Ben, PE5B; noise sources how to reduce noise by Jan, PA0JMG, Andre, PA3FIS, Anton, PA0AST and Koos, PA0KDF; Proud 2B PI4YLC, by Mariette, PA1ENG and Claudia, PD5AX; Proud 2B PI4YLC, by Mariette, PA1ENG and Claudia, PD5AX. There will be trophy presentations, trade stands, flea market, homebrew exhibition, young persons area. www.veron.nl


Kempton Park Racecourse, Staines Road East, Sunbury on Thames, TW16 5AQ. The venue has free car parking and disabled facilities. A talk-in station will be in operation. Doors open at 9.50/10am. There will be trade stands, a flea market, a Bring & buy, special interest groups and an RSGB bookstall. A raffle will take place during the day and a lecture stream will be available. There are catering outlets on site. More information from Paul, M0CJX on 08451 650 351 or by email to info@radiofairs.co.uk. www.radiofairs.co.uk.
United Services Club, 8 Roe Mill Road, Limavady, Co Londonderry BT49 9DF Doors open at 11am and the venue has disabled facilities. There will be a Bring & Buy, a talk-in station and trade stands. There will be catering on site and a raffle will be held on the day. More details from Jackie Doyle, MI0JPD on 0788 529 2545 or by email mn0gkl@gmail.com.

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