31 Jan 2017

Weather forecasts in the UK - NOT amateur radio

OK, people keep telling me how complex and difficult it is to predict the UK weather. But we still buy millions of pounds worth of super-computers so we can do a better job.

Today (this very morning) the local forecast for Burwell and Cambridge both said dull, but dry until after dark. At 2pm this afternoon it rained when I had to walk 0.5 miles in Cambridge. You would expect TODAY's local forecast would be correct!

The only reliable forecast seems to be to look out of the window. Super-computers? Met Office, please spend the money on something more useful and stop pretending. Wet seaweed is a lot less expensive!

More 6m MSK144

Only Eire, France, Germany and England spotted on 6m MSK144 RX today with the FT817 and omni vertical and poor coax. 6 countries this last few days. Amazing what this mode produces.

Solar hole

Southgate News reports on a Spaceweather post that a solar hole is spewing the solar wind towards Earth. The worst should hit around Feb 1st, which is tomorrow. Obviously, this could impact HF conditions.

See http://spaceweather.com/ .

Burwell Cottage - NOT amateur radio

Although our village (Burwell, Cambs, UK) has grown a lot in recent years, it still has some lovely cottages like this one.  Some parts of our church are around 1000 years old and the oldest house dates from around 1200AD. I suspect this cottage dates from the 1700s, so is quite new!

6m MSK144

Nothing copied overnight, but EI4DQ (576km) in IO51 near Cork, Eire was again spotted this morning. I am monitoring on 50.280MHz. Aircraft reflection? I  think so.

One more day and night on 6m, then time for a new challenge.

With such a simple system here I am amazed to spot so much.

UPDATE 1216z: France and Germany spotted on 6m MSK144 this morning.

UPDATE 1325z: EI4DQ (576km) was recently spotted on 6m MSK144. At the moment, this is the furthermost.

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday January 31st 2017

Solar flux is 76 today and the sunspot number 35. This cycle is far from over! A=6 and K=3.

30 Jan 2017

East Cambridgeshire 2m FM Net

A reminder that the East Cambridgeshire Net is on 2m (144.575MHz), yes one four four, at 8pm clock time on Mondays on FM vertical. Everyone welcome.

Usually we are on the air for about 30 minutes. If the channel is already busy, we usually QSY down 25kHz. This started life as an AM net on 144.55MHz.

As this uses the same antenna I use on 6m, I'll try loading up my long wire for 6m for the duration of the net.

6m today so far

6m has not disappointed again today with quite a few stations spotted by MSK144 on 50.280MHz RX. Judging by the distances, I think these were tropo or aircraft reflection and not random MS. I shall probably remain on this band and mode overnight. It is fascinating to see who just pops up, especially by MS.

Italy, Switzerland and Eire on a flat band? Can't be bad with just an omni vertical, FT817 and lossy coax! I assume this sort of DX is there at any time in the solar cycle too.

Cambridge - NOT amateur radio

We are very lucky to live within very easy reach of Cambridge which is about 10 miles away "as the crow flies". I used to work in the city. It has a rich academic history with its world famous university, Kings College Chapel, Samuel Pepys Library and probably the highest concentration of Nobel Prize winners on the planet! People come from all over the world to see what we can see for free at any time. As a local, we can get into the colleges for free. And we take it all for granted.

As an "oldie" we can take advantage of the vast number of University of the Third Age (U3AC) courses on offer. Often the lecturers are ex-university staff, who give their time without charging. It is great learning to simply find out knowledge without exams or pressure.

At some point we will realise just how lucky we are.

See http://www.kings.cam.ac.uk/chapel/index.html

6m overnight and early today

EI4DQ (576km) was spotted on 50.280MHz (6m) on MSK144 at 0819z. Overnight nothing copied. I shall remain on 6m MSK144 RX all morning, reporting to PSK Reporter Maps what I pick up.

Sunspots and 10m - Monday January 30th 2017

Solar flux has fallen slightly to 77 today. Sunspot number is 24 (dropped). A=7 and K=1.

29 Jan 2017

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch - NOT amateur radio

In all, 10 unique bird species seen, but some very commonly seen birds were not seen in the hour from 3pm to 4pm. I twice tried to submit my results to the RSPB, but on both occasions it told me there was an error.  On another page it said I had submitted the results! Rubbish!

For the benefit of anyone who wants to know, these are the birds spotted in our back garden 1500-1600z:

Woodpigeon 3
Starling 15
Robin 1
Blackbird 1
Black headed gull 1
Collared dove 3
Dunnock 1
Crow 1
Goldfinch 1
Jackdaw 1

Village walk - NOT amateur radio

This morning, we did a short walk around part of our village. I saw my first little egret in our village (these were rare in the UK before the 1980s) as well as a buzzard overhead. The weather was dull.

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

IW4AOT on 6m - MS?

This morning I spotted IW4AOT calling CQ on 6m MSK144. I assume this was random MS. He did not get uploaded to PSK Reporter Maps. Maybe I lost internet for a while?

UPDATE 1438z: G4CLA copied at 1349z on 6m MSK144. Tropo?

UPDATE 1842z: Now back on 6m MSK144 with 15 secs TX periods.

UPDATE 2212z: Now back on 50.280MHz (6m) MSK144 receive only for the overnight period. My apologies to G0LRD (25km) who was trying to work me earlier, but I was beaconing.

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday January 29th 2017

Solar flux is 80 today. Sunspot number is 28. A=9 and K=2.

QRP and QRP Club

In the last day I have received a couple of emails from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous report (January 29, 2017)
Visitors of the week: RA1M, US3EN, UR7VT, UR0ET, UA1CEG, RV3GM, R1CAF,
F6FAI entered in the Honor Frequenters list
See full WQR Report on the Club 72 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.

Dear Club 72 members and friends,just reminder about the Snowman QRP Winter field game soon.
Keep in your diary - February 4 and 5, 2017
Short rules as follow:

This is not Contest but only QRP activity game just for enjoy
Two tours in the game:
February 4 and 5, both in time of 9.00 to 13.00 UTC
Bands - 20 and 40 m around QRP frequencies
Modes - CW, SSB, Digital
Power - QRP only, 5 watts output or less
Calling - CQ SN (CW) or CQ Snowman (SSB, Digital)
For "Field" positions:
- QSO with all stations
-  the  mandatory  information  in report - RST (RS) / power output /
temperature on working position (Celsius).
For example, 579/5W/minus15C. Any info form and order in report may be used.
For "Home" positions:
- QSO with only "Field" stations claimed
-  in  report  must be sent - RST (RS) / power output / identification
"HOME". For example, 559/3W/HOME
"Home" and "Field" positions may be changed during the game in your opinion.
No contest logs, fill the declaration only  (form on the Club 72 page):
The memorable certificate will be send to all stations. Also special marks for:
- the lowest temperature on the "Field" position
- the unusual original "Field" position
- the original home brew station in the "Field" position
- the greatest number of QSOs in the "Field" position
- the greatest number of QSOs with "Field" stations in the "Home" position
- the lowest power in the "Field" position
- the most absurd comic working position design (for both categories)
Donations or prizes are welcome.
See full rules on the Club 72 page -

Last night on 6m

Well, MSK144 proved productive with EI4DQ (576km) spotted not long ago and HB9Q (794km) spotted earlier. G6GEI (73km) also spotted.

Currently, I am on TX and RX on 50.280MHz MSK144.

First aconites - NOT amateur radio

This winter seems much colder than last. We have yet to see a daffodil out and the snowdrops are later. Yesterday I saw the first aconites out, in a garden not far from us (see above).

We are seeing more birds from Scandinavia like fieldfares, redwings, starlings and waxwings. The latter I have still not seen. Each winter we see some but usually they come as it is very cold in Scandinavia. Seeing lots here often suggests a cold winter.

28 Jan 2017

MSK144 (6m - 50.280MHz)

Since about 1820z I have been on 50.280MHz MSK144 mode (2W). I am hoping to receive stations by tropo, aircraft reflection and maybe MS. Unfortunately I am only vertically polarised on 6m using my V2000 omni antenna.

UPDATE 1840z:  No spots as yet.

UPDATE 1905z: M1BXF/SDR (14km) has just spotted me. I changed the TX to "enabled", F TOL 200, and the TX period to 30secs so the relay changes less often. No spots on RX yet.

UPDATE 1940z: G0LRD (25km) has now spotted me on 50.280MHz MSK144.

UPDATE 2010z: F8ZW (652km) in Alsace, France is the best RX DX so far. Aircraft reflection?

UPDATE 2336z:  For the last hour or so I have been on RX only and intend to stay on RX until after breakfast tomorrow. Maybe I'll catch some random MS in the early hours?

I am surprised how effective this mode is proving. Getting better RX DX by random MS pings would not surprise me now.

RSPB Bird Count this weekend - NOT amateur radio

A reminder to those in the UK that the annual RSPB bird count is this weekend (Jan 28-30th). The idea is very simple: you simply choose any hour Jan 28, 29 or 30th and count the highest number of unique species seen in your chosen spot in that hour. For example: 6 wood pigeons, 2 robins, 4 blackbirds. You can do it in your garden, school, a local park or wherever. I have done this for many years. You just go to the RSPB website and upload your results. RSPB membership is not required. You may be surprised.


I am still thinking about my overnight challenge for tonight. Maybe I'll try a WSJT-X and PSK Reporter Maps supported mode on 6m? Still not sure.

UPDATE 1606z:  Based on G0LRD's comments (see below) I think I'll try MSK144 on 50.280MHz this evening and overnight. Depending on how often the relay would switch I may be RX only.

Growing amaryllis - NOT amateur radio

Our amaryllis is really growing. It might be in flower next week?

Our lounge (where it is) is pretty warm - usually 22-26 deg C most evenings.

The longest stem is 44cms, so it has grown 5cm since yesterday! You can almost watch it growing! Great fun.

10m JT65

A few minutes ago I switched from 2m ISCAT-A RX to 10m JT65. I am currently beaconing sending "B G3XBM JO02". With low 10m activity any reports are welcomed.

Please may sure you have "upload to PSK Reporter Maps" or similar ticked in your JT65 software package, so I can see who is receiving me. I have this ticked so if I get you, check PSK reporter maps.

UPDATE 1212z: Yet again, only G4CJC (73km) in North London has been spotted on 10m JT65 so far today. No-one has spotted me yet on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1332z: Spotted by David G0LRD (25km) on 10m JT65. No DX as yet on 10m JT65

Sunspots and 10m - Saturday January 28th 2017

Solar flux is 80 today. Sunspot number is 33. A=21 and K=2.



Horncastle Youth Centre, Willow Close, Cagthorpe, Horncastle LN9 6B

Doors open at 10am and there is free car parking on site. Entry is £2. The venue is all on one level and so is suitable for less able visitors. There will be hot drinks and snacks available including bacon butties. The RSGB bookstall will in attendance.

Details from Tony, G3ZPU on 01507 527 835.
If travelling far, ring first.

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

27 Jan 2017


At present, I am beaconing in ISCAT-A on 144.370MHz as this is supported in WSJT-X v1.7 and PSK Reporter Maps. The rig relay switches every 5 seconds, which was a surprise to me! Hopefully if I spot anyone this will show on PSK Reporter Maps.

As my ERP is low, I am only really hopeful of tropo and aircraft reflections. MS pings would be a bonus!

UPDATE 2038z: As I did not like the FT817 relay clicking every few seconds, I am now on 2m ISCAT-A RX only.

UPDATE 2315z:  Nothing received so far.

UPDATE 28.1.17 1030z: ISCAT seems not to be listed in PSK Reporter Maps any more.

EU frequencies for ISCAT and FSK441?

This evening and overnight I was (am?) planning to try ISCAT or FSK441 on 2m. Despite Googling for 5 minutes I failed to find an answer. So, can someone please tell me?

I plan to beacon sending "B G3XBM JO02" if this is allowed, so results show on PSK Reporter Maps. My ERP is low at around 8W so I am only really looking for tropo and aircraft reflections. Any MS results would be surprising!

WSPR on PSK Reporter Maps

This is something I have not used. Apparently PSK Reporter Maps can be used to plot WSPR spots. PSK Reporter can, in fact, be used with very many modes. I use it for JT65 but I may try ISCSAT on 2m tonight sending a beacon message like "B G3XBM JO02" if this is supported.

Famous Five books (for adults) - NOT amateur radio

In several places recently I have come across "Famous Five" books designed for adults. Depending where you buy these, the prices are from about £2.99 to £8.99. They are cheapest on Amazon. As a child, I enjoyed the Enid Blyton "Famous Five" books. The adult books have really made me laugh. I might buy some.

See https://www.amazon.co.uk/Five-Brexit-Island-Blyton-Grown/dp/178648384X/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid

So called "facts" - NOT amateur radio

Recently I have seen adverts on Facebook about famous people who are reported to have died. All these turn out to be untrue. Apparently it is called "clickbait" designed to make you click the link, no doubt to then try to download something nasty to your computer. I have "shared" news items in all good faith only to find out later that they are not factually correct. In this age of "post-truth" news, one has to be very careful. Do not take things at face value!

See http://www.snopes.com/category/facts/

Back on 10m JT65

After quite a decent outing on 2m WSPR last night and overnight, I returned to 10m JT65 at 0817z. No spots as yet on 10m JT65, but things have been very quiet of late.

My old work colleague Ted G4NUA erected a 20m dipole a few weeks back (to replace a half sized G5RV) and seems to be going "great guns" on 20m JT65. I just looked at his log for the last day and he is being spotted all over the place. Since erecting his 20m dipole, the difference is remarkable. I have told him that he will be able to work the world now with QRP.

UPDATE 1345z: G0OYQ (177km) has been spotted on 10m JT65.

Sunspots and 10m - Friday January 27th 2017

Solar flux is 82 today and the sunspot number has fallen to 31. A=13 and K=4.

26 Jan 2017

Return to 2m WSPR

I have returned to 2m WSPR from 10m JT65. 10m JT65 was disappointing again today. I have tuned the FT817 to 144.488980 which should put the rig on 144.489MHz USB when stabilised. This could take some while though!

UPDATE 2038z:  2E0DWP (203km) just spotted. G8LDJ (112km) spotted 7 times so far. Nobody has yet spotted me on 2m WSPR.

UPDATE 2100z: G6AVK (78km) and G8TTI (186km) have now spotted me on 2m WSPR.

UPDATE 2246z: G8OFA (189km) has now spotted me on 2m WSPR. I'll stay on 2m WSPR overnight. Despite 2m WSPR not being recommended, I seem to be managing pretty well with 2W and my big-wheel.

Amaryllis growing - NOT amateur radio

Our amaryllis plant is growing at a rate of about 1cm a day. Although not in flower yet, it soon will be. We planted this a few weeks ago.

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday January 26th 2017

Solar flux is 85 today (not bad) and sunspot number 46.  A=6 and K=2.

10m JT65

Slightly earlier than usual I have QSYed to 10m JT65. My XYL had to go out at 0900z, so I did the QSY at around 0740z. As yet, no 10m spots, although it is very early on 10m. I have not yet checked solar conditions, although a lot depends people being active on 10m. Of late, solar conditions have been quite reasonable, but activity levels dire.

UPDATE 1108z: Yet again, G4CJC (73km) has been spotted on 10m JT65. So far, this is the only spot on 10m JT65.

2m WSPR frequency stability

Most users (including me!) have real issues with accurately getting to, and staying on, frequency with 2m WSPR. The WSPR slot is just 200Hz wide and the short-term and long-term rig drift can be a real problem. With WSJT-X v1.7 one can see most stations drifting wildly.

Last night I was greatly helped by David G0LRD who uses a GPS stabilised frequency reference, so he knows his frequency very accurately. He is also very strong with me, so I could see his signal clearly. All I had to do was net my rig so I was reporting to WSPRnet his correct frequency on RX. I did this late last night. My rig had to be set 20Hz low (144.488980MHz) to get G0LRD as close as possible. Of course, during the night I drifted off again, but in the short-term I knew I was on the correct window in the 2m band.

Longer term, the answer is a more accurate, and stable, frequency reference. Ideally this would be a GPS locked source. An accurate TCXO would be an affordable second best.

I was very grateful to G0LRD last night.  Incidentally, David put up my 2m antenna some time ago. Kindness itself - thank you David!

I've now QSYed to 10m JT65 for the day.

25 Jan 2017

Return to 2m WSPR

As 10m JT65 proved dire today,  have returned to 2m WSPR for a second evening (144.489MHz USB dial, 2W) using the big-wheel horizontal omni antenna.
Early evening 2m WSPR spots tonight

What next?

Although 10m conditions were quite good lately, activity on the band has been poor, which is disappointing. After quite a successful 2m WSPR outing last night, and continued interesting results on 630m, I am after a new challenge. Any suggestions would be welcomed.

To operate on VHF, I think I need a better TCXO in the FT817. If I (eventually) get an IC7300, maybe I should try 4m WSPR or other modes? Although some years ago I made a 4m transverter, I don't think the stability and frequency setting would be good enough for digital modes.

At present, I do not have any antennas up for 4m. I think a 4m halo would be a good choice: fine for European Es in the summer and probably fine for inter-G work when the band is dead.

Winter Sun - NOT amateur radio

Yesterday was cold, bright and frosty. Today it is just cold, dull and "January". We see this windmill (just over the garden wall, literally) from our kitchen and lounge.  We are lucky to have such a nice view. The mill is almost 200 years old and was fully restored a few years ago.


Yesterday evening was quite successful with spots exchanged with several stations on 2m WSPR. G8OFA (189km) was the best DX.

I am thinking of buying a Chinese TCXO for the FT817. Reports of these are good and it should give frequency accuracy and stability to 432MHz. At less than £10 shipped, one can hardly go wrong. It should be good for digital modes with the FT817.

10m JT65

About 30 minutes ago I turned on the rig and PC and am now on 10m JT65. I was not on 630m overnight. The PC was manually resynced to internet time although this should happen automatically every 1000 seconds.

UPDATE 1100z: No 10m JT65 spots as yet.

UPDATE 1452z: Just spotting G4CJC (73km) only and no DX.

Sunspots and 10m - Wednesday January 25th 2017

Solar flux is 82 today and sunspot number 55. A=3 and K=1.

24 Jan 2017

Newer car - NOT amateur radio

Cars do not excite me - they are pieces of metal to help you get around. We bought our last car, a Kia, in 2010, so we bought the same make and model, but a 2016 version with low mileage. This is made in Europe and comes with a 7 year warranty. Our last car did around 60mpg and road tax was £20 a year. On this one, it is nothing a year road tax and we should get similar fuel consumption.

10m JT65 earlier

Apart from G4CJC (73km) being spotted, nothing at all on 10m JT65. I am sure this is due to a lack of activity rather than conditions as the sunspot number, K index and solar flux were all pretty good for where we are in cycle 24


G8OFA in Salisbury is trying 2m WSPR on 144.489MHz beaming towards Cambridge, so I have QSYed from 10m JT65 to 2m WSPR.

As I am dependent on the FT817's internal TCXO, drift may well be an issue. As you can see, drift is a real problem. In the end I set the FT817 100Hz low which seemed where I was centred on the WSPR segment.

On WSJT-X V1.7 you can see about 2.5kHz of the band in real time, so I just made the frequency adjustment to where most activity seemed to be. This could be wrong and I could drift off!

Just exchanged WSPR spots with G8OFA (189km).

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday January 24th 2017

Solar flux is 82 today and the sunspot number 53. A=4 and K=1.

472kHz WSPR last night

A mixed bag. LA8AV(1035km) was spotted 39 times last night.  LA3EQ (769km) spotted my 472kHz 5mW ERP WSPR 7 times. In all, 9 unique spots in 3 countries last night. Still using the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground.

23 Jan 2017

472kHz WSPR

LA8AV (1035km) has already been spotted 17 times so far this evening and DH5RAE (995km) several times. Promising.

UPDATE 2245z: LA3EQ (769km) spotted me at -25dB S/N at 2118z. I'd like to break the 1000km barrier this season, but I think LA8AV has gone QRT!

Sunspots and 10m - Monday January 23rd 2017

Solar flux is 86 today. Sunspot number is 61. A=9 and K=0.

This looks quite promising, but I left 10m JT65 this morning (late) for 630m WSPR as I detected no activity!

Trident - NOT amateur radio

Sorry, but irrespective of whether or not this nuclear missile went off course and PM Mrs May not answering Andrew Marr's questions on TV on Sunday, I think renewing Trident is a HUGE waste of money. At the time of the Commons debate this was put at £40 billion. Yes, forty billion pounds!

Years ago, for work, I visited Faslane, where these nuclear submarines are based - a very creepy place.

Just why does the UK need an "independent" nuclear weapons system? Most countries don't have one and use their money for other things. We buy the warheads from the USA anyway!

Early return to 472kHz WSPR

As 10m JT65 was going nowhere, I returned instead to 472kHz WSPR (5mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna"). I am on battery power so my noise floor is low on RX. So far just a spot by G0LRD (25km).

UPDATE 1400z: Another 2 spots by G0LRD shows that he is just copying me! With JT9-1 this would probably not have been possible.

On 10m JT65 again

Following on from my poor JT9-1 outing last night on 630m, I have now returned to 10m JT65 (2W) but no spots as yet here.

Apparently I was last spotted 15 hours ago, presumably on 630m JT9-1, although I haven't been able to trace this spot.

As my as source of solar data is still showing old data, I have no idea of the current solar conditions.

Wicken Fen - NOT amateur radio

As I said yesterday, we went for a walk at Wicken Fen in beautiful January weather. It is dull and cloudy here today! The photo shows the windmill used to pump water and the frozen lode. Yes, it was cold.

QRP amd QRP Club

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,
Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous report (January 22, 2017)
Visitors  of  the  week:  OK2BMA, UR7VT, UA0SBQ, R1CAF, RW3AA, UR0ET,
OK2BMA became Honor Frequenter (regular visitor)
See full Visitors and Frequenters lists on the Club 72 web page -
See full version of the WQR Report on the club's page (blog in menu)

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.

472kHz (630m) JT9-1 overnight

Well, I stayed on this band and mode overnight but not a single spot! On the waterfall I saw several WSPR signals. I will check settings again, but it looks like WSPR is the better mode for me on this band. Maybe my low ERP and just being buried in the noise on JT9-1 is working against me, whereas with WSPR I am just detected. WSPR on 472kHz tonight!

UPDATE 1040z: All the settings were OK. I think there are fewer stations on this mode on this band, and I need to get my ERP up so my signal is not buried in the crud.

22 Jan 2017

JT9-1 on 472kHz

For a change, I am trying JT9-1 on 472kHz. I have been active for about 10 minutes so far.

At the moment I am beaconing, although I tried a few CQ calls earlier. Someone was just ending a QSO with someone called Gerd but he did not send his call, so I have no idea who this was.

If you should spot me please send to PSK Reporter Maps.

UPDATE 2038z: No JT spots on 472kHz so far. There seem to be fewer stations on the band using JT modes than WSPR.

UPDATE 2240z: Still no JT spots on 472kHz. I shall remain JT9-1 beaconing overnight in the hope that someone will spot me and upload to PSK Reporter Maps.

Copyright - NOT amateur radio

If you believe I have infringed your copyright, please let me know right away so the offending material can be removed.

Whenever possible, I try to avoid posting material that infringes copyright. If I slip up, please accept my sincere apologies and let me know what I did wrong. I never intentionally infringe copyright, but I am human and can make mistakes.

Just tell me so I can remove whatever it is that is an issue - no arguments, it will go. Occasionally, I link to pictures on other sites, so the image is linked but not on this blog. I think this is OK, but if not tell me so I can quickly put things right.

Have a laugh - NOT amateur radio

Although I am theoretically on Twitter, I do not really use it, but get sent an email daily. This caption made me laugh and laugh. I understand the BBC corrected the error as soon as they noticed it.

Balloon Tracking

High altitude balloon tracking is an aspect of our hobby I have never tried, although I know some are really into this. As they say, you cannot do everything. ATV is another aspect I have never tried and satellite comms I have only "dabbled" with. Today, Southgate News has a link to an introduction to high altitude ballooning, which is well worth a read if ballooning "floats your boat".

See http://www.daveakerman.com/?p=1732 .

Judging by the comments, this is quite an old post, but worth a read.

Fen sky - NOT amateur radio

This morning we went for a walk at Wicken Fen (National Trust). It was cold and very frosty with a bright blue sky. In fact it was a perfect January morning. The picture shows the excellent skies we get in East Anglia. Wicken Fen is famous for the bittern and its dragonflies. The boardwalk was quite icy, so we avoided this where possible

10m JT65

In the last few minutes I QSYed from 630m to 10m JT65. No spots as yet.

UPDATE 1518z: I am having problems reaching PSKreporter maps, so have been unable to see if there are any 10m JT65 spots today so far today.

UPDATE 1712z: Zero 10m spots today. It is a full week now since I have been spotted on 10m JT65 and this is not conditions, rather lack of activity!

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday January 22nd 2017

Solar flux is 86 today and the sunspot number a respectable 67. A=11 and K=3.

We might get some decent 10m propagation, but will there be activity?

Not a bad session on 472kHz WSPR

Overnight, I was spotted in 5 countries by 11 unique stations on 472kHz WSPR. As usual, I get a measured 5mW ERP on TX from my earth-electrode "antenna". The power from the transverter is about 12W into 50 ohms.

Just about anyone could get on this band with WSPR with a similar set-up. Big antennas and great earth systems are nice, but are not a prerequisite to get started on the band.
472kHz homebrew transverter

Uniques on 472kHz WSPR overnight on TX (5mW ERP)

21 Jan 2017

QSY to 630m WSPR

Around 2100z I QSYed to 630m (472kHz) WSPR from 10m JT65. At the moment I am on battery power, so the RX noise floor is low. Later, I shall be on the SMPSU so although the 5mW ERP may be spotted, only the strongest stations will be spotted here.

UPDATE 2118z:  Just locals (out to 80km) spotting me, but I have spotted DH5RAE (995km). The WSPRnet database shows 111 stations active on 630m WSPR, but just 19 of these on TX.
Early evening spots on 472kHz WSPR
UPDATE 2330z: For about 30 minutes now I have been using the shack PSU with the mains PSU charging the batteries. Although 80% RX I am "deaf" because of my S8 noise floor.

First sunspot of cycle 25 spotted

Now, please don't get excited as the peak (such as it will be) is years and years away but there are reports of the first sunspot of the new cycle spotted. This has a different polarity to those of cycle 24.

See http://qrznow.com/fast-solar-solar-wind-first-sunspot-of-a-new-cycle/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter


Moonbounce (EME) impresses me as I know some work really hard to optimise their stations to achieve this most difficult aspect of our hobby. In recent years it has become a little easier (although still hard) with the advent of digital modes optimised for EME paths.

Jan, LA3EQ posted a video on YouTube showing his SSB reception of HB9Q via the moon. Amazing!

UK Politics - NOT amateur radio

In recent times, there seems to have been a swing to the right in the UK and the rest of the world and a sense that our politicians are "out of touch".  The victory of Mr Trump and his "make America great again" speeches are indicative of this. There is a danger that several European nations could move to the right this year.

Here in the UK, we have no effective opposition. The Labour opposition is in disarray and faces two difficult by-elections.

This swing to the right may be temporary, but all parties in all nations need to wake up and be aware.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38704082 .

Moving to 10m JT65 from 6m

With no spots at all on 6m JT65 (not even locals) I am going to QSY to 10m JT65. With solar flux over 80, a decent sunspot count, and not bad K index, there is a chance of some F layer DX on 10m.

UPDATE 1200z: Now QSYed to 10m JT65 (2W).

UPDATE 1542z: Disappointingly, no spots (yet) on 10m JT65. Is this due to lack of activity? Conditions look quite promising.

Useless Weather Forecasts - NOT amateur radio

At 0830z the Met Office weather forecast for our village said full sun all morning from 0900z. Very very briefly we saw the sun at 1140z. Really, the Met Office weather forecasts are useless. Yes I know weather forecasts in the UK are hard and complex, but surely 30 minutes ahead they can get it better?

Sunspots and 10m - Saturday January 21st 2017

Solar flux is 83 today and the sunspot number 61. A=11 and K=2.

Amaryllis progress - NOT amateur radio

Every winter we grow an amaryllis in the lounge. It has really shot up in the last week, with what looks like 2 flowers coming, barring any disasters.

Last year we supported it with a cane and elastic band.

At the moment, it is 19cms tall.

6m JT65

I have returned to 6m JT65, although I have an S7 noise floor on the band this morning. Even with the PC on battery power it is still there, so I think it is coming from outside the house. Maybe on JT65 TX (2W) someone might spot me? In the past I have not had a noise problem on this band. I suspect 10m JT65 might be even worse?

472kHz (630m) and 28MHz (10m) WSPR yesterday and overnight

10m was dead on WSPR with not a single spot received.

630m was better even with my 5mW ERP but no spots received further than Holland on MF. I copied DL, LA, ON and F stations on 630m RX.

UPDATE 1042z: I have yet to decide on today, but probably 6m JT65 during the day for a change.

20 Jan 2017

Cold, bright days - NOT amateur radio

For the last few days it has been cold, frosty and bright - perfect winter days. This is a picture of where we live (RHS), taken in the frost this morning.

472kHz (630m) WSPR to Norway

LA8AV (1035km) has been spotted here many times this afternoon on 472kHz WSPR.

Last night Jan, LA3EQ (769km) spotted me - thank you Jan - and he kindly sent a link to a screen shot of my signal with him which I have attached here. To spot me, I reckon Jan must have good gear and a quiet noise floor.

On 10m WSPR TX, no spots at all.

On 630m WSPR I have now got the PC on the SMPSU, so my RX noise floor will be too high now to spot any but very strong signals.

Church Blog Updated - NOT amateur radio

After a long break I have updated our church blog to include Grantchester.

Sunspots and 10m - Friday January 20th 2017

Solar flux is 79 today and the sunspot number 26. A=11 and K=2.

630m and 10m WSPR

For a change today, I am staying on 630m (472kHz) WSPR all day (5mW ERP) on battery PC power so the noise floor on RX is low and I am on 10m WSPR (500mW, 100% TX) rather than JT65. PA0RDT (243km) was copying me on 630 WSPR in daylight. Overnight (actually yesterday evening) the best DX on 630m WSPR was LA3EQ/MW (769km) in Norway.

19 Jan 2017

Memory - getting ever less expensive

It is fascinating to see the price of PC and camera memory getting lower and lower and the capacity increasing. Only a few years ago we thought a 1GB SD card was amazing. Now you can get 128GB (at least) on a mini SD card at quite respectable prices.

Ten years from now I expect we will be used to 1-2TB mini SD cards and think how did we manage in 2017? I recall the hard drive on my first PC was 0.5GB and we thought that was massive.

UPDATE 2035z: You can already buy a 512GB SD card!!

630m (472kHz)

Around 1830z I returned to 630m (472kHz ) WSPR. Initially I used the PC on batteries but it is now on mains power. On battery power the noise floor is low and best RX DX was LA8AV (1035km) in JO59 square. I am hopeful of reaching Norway again on TX tonight (5mW ERP, earth-electrodes).  It would be great to break the 1000km barrier on 630m TX this season, as I have yet to do so this year.

In past years, I reached Finland, which is much further. Another absentee this year is EA5DOM who was regularly copied last season on 630m WSPR. Maybe he is using a different mode or is on 137kHz?

See http://wsprnet.org/drupal/wsprnet/spots putting in "g3xbm" to see what is being spotted.

UPDATE 2000z: So far, only G4FTC (123km) is able to be spotted in my S8 noise  "fog" when I use the SMPSU on the shack PC.

UPDATE 2028z: Yet again, my best spot on 472kHz TX so far this evening is by PA0RDT (243km).

UPDATE 2104z: Still not been spotted further than Holland so far this evening on 630m WSPR TX.

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday January 19th 2017

Solar flux is 78 today.  Sunspot number is 25.  A=17 and K=3.

UPDATE 1240z: So far today, nothing remotely "DXy" seen on 10m JT65.


They have just published a statement about space spectrum.

See https://www.ofcom.org.uk/consultations-and-statements/category-1/space-spectrum-strategy?utm_source=updates&utm_campaign=Space-spectrum-statement&utm_medium=email

10m JT65

Following my usual pattern, I went QRT on 630m WSPR around 0800z and am now on 10m JT65 (2W), but no spots yet. 10m JT65 will probably be my "thing" until tonight.

UPDATE 1235z: Just G4CJC (73km) in North London spotted on 10m JT65 so far today. Nothing outside the UK spotting me, or being spotted, so far today.

472kHz WSPR overnight

No great excitement overnight with the best TX DX being spots from Holland on 472kHz WSPR (5mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground). Only 6 unique spots last night, which was rather disappointing.  At some point I must count how many unique spots I have had on the band this season, but I am sure it is fewer than a few years ago.

18 Jan 2017

Ice Clouds? - NOT amateur radio

It was cold and bright here today. The photo was taken by my XYL on our way to Cambridge this afternoon.

472kHz last evening and overnight

Best DX on 472kHz WSPR TX was LA3EQ/E (769km). As usual I was using 5mW ERP from the earth-electrodes in the ground. Best RX DX was DH5RAE (995km).

Don't judge a book by its cover - NOT amateur radio

We often hear bad things about young people, but let me tell you what happened yesterday...

As usual, I was on the bus coming back from my Polar Studies course in Cambridge. It was a crowded single decker bus with several people standing. On got an old couple and immediately a young girl with "punk" styling got up and offered the old lady her seat. It was kindness itself. She just did it. Well done.

Sunspots and 10m - Wednesday January 18th 2017

Solar flux is 78 today and sunspot number 26. A=4 and K=3. If there was more activity on 10m I am sure we'd see the band was open N-S by F layer. No winter Es evident here on 10m so far.

Return to 10m JT65

About an hour ago I went QRT on 630m WSPR and returned to 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1124z: No spots as yet.

UPDATE 1332z: Still no 10m JT65 spots.

17 Jan 2017

Back to 472kHz WSPR

In the last few minutes, I have returned to 472kHz WSPR (5mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground). As the SMPSU is on I am not expecting to spot stations unless they can beat my local S8 noise floor. However, I am only on TX for 20% of the time with 80% of the time on RX.

I may turn off the SMPSU so I can listen through the night on batteries with a nice low noise floor.

UPDATE 2124z: So far this evening best TX DX is just G4FTC (123km) in IO91 square.

UPDATE 2244z: PA0RDT (243km) is now the best TX DX so far.

UPDATE 2304z: PI4THT (448km) is now the best TX DX. So far, only G3KEV (232km) has managed to be copied over my local noise!


Southgate News has an interesting piece linking to the CEPT pages about amateur radio.

See http://www.cept.org/ecc/topics/radio-amateurs/ .

UK Pound UP - NOT amateur radio

Since the Prime Minister clarified our position on leaving the EU following the BREXIT vote, I see that the UK pound is up against every currency. I guess people had already factored in that we are leaving the EU and are happy to have some certainty.

Although I have said this before, it would not surprise me at all if the Euro lost a lot of value this year. The EU is in grave danger of falling apart. We may be the first to vote to leave, but we will not be the last.

OK, I voted to "remain" in the EU, but think many nations want free trade but not a United States of Europe. Originally the EU was about maintaining peace in Europe but it has grown a lot in recent years and has rather lost its way.

Free trade? Yes.
Uncontrolled immigration? No.
U.S.E.? No.

Unless the EU changes, it is in grave danger.

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

Sapphire Jubilee Coin - NOT amateur radio

I see there is new £5 coin being minted to celebrate the sapphire jubilee of the queen. She has done well to reign for so long. The £5 coin is legal tender in Guernsey. I think I shall give this a miss.

50MHz UKAC - missed

This was last Tuesday, so I missed it. The next one is Feb 9th 2017 2000-2130z.

Although I only have a vertical V2000 on 6m and 5W, I occasionally come on to see what I can work. Usually I can work the locals. A few watts and a vertical are easily enough to work all over Europe in the Es season.  However, such an antenna is not so good for working Gs.

See http://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin/contest_rules.pl?contest=6mukac&year=2017 .

Blackbirds - NOT amateur radio

Every other Tuesday I have been going in to Cambridge on the service bus to my U3A course on Polar Studies at the Scott Polar Institute. As the speaker today was commanded to go to the Economic Forum in Davos, we had a different speaker at short notice: he was very good.

On the way in, I just relax and count the bird species I see. Usually it is between 8 and 12 different species, although in total I have seen many more.

What struck me today was the vast number of blackbirds. They were everywhere. I am not sure why there seem to be so many: are the marking territory or seeking mates?

See https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/bird-and-wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/b/blackbird/. The image on the LHS is on the RSPB site.

There are some waxwings in Cambridge. These birds come from Scandinavia and are quite rare most winters. I have yet to see one. They are often seen eating berries in supermarket car parks.

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday January 17th 2017

Solar flux is 77 today and sunspot number 24. A=2 and K=0 .

Back on 10m JT65

As is my usual pattern, I was on 630m WSPR last night but returned to 10m JT65 at breakfast time.

Overnight the best DX on 630m (472kHz) WSPR RX was LA8AV (1035km) and on 630m WSPR TX (5mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna") was PI4THT (448km) in JO32 square.

UPDATE 1042z: No spots as yet on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1902z: Another very quiet 10m day with just G4CJC (73km) spotted and no DX.

16 Jan 2017

SAQ (17.2kHz) VLF

Southgate News reports that there was a successful transmission this last Christmas. There was some doubt due to a fire earlier in the year. I did not try to copy them this year. My VLF converter may be used to copy them. I have a QSL card from them from years ago.

See http://alexander.n.se/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/SUMMARY-REPORT-ON-SAQ-TRANSMISSION-CHRISTMAS-2016-12-24-1.pdf for a summary report.

See also https://sites.google.com/site/sm6lkm/saqrx/ for a very good software RX. On my You Tube channel (G3XBM) there is a video of this in use.

AAA Screening - NOT amateur radio

AAA (abdominal aortic aneurysm) screening - this available free in the UK to all males in their 65th year or older. I did not know and was not screened until today. All clear.

If you are male and in this category then get checked. Ring your nearest AAA clinic (in Cambridge this is 01223 256909). If you do have an issue it can be fixed with a stent.

Sunspots and 10m - Monday January 16th 2017

Solar flux is 78 today.  Sunspot number is 23. A=5 and K=1 .

QRP and QRP Club

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,
Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous report (January 15, 2017)
Visitors of the week: UR7VT, DK1HW, RV3GM, RA1M, UY1IF, SM7RYR, US3EN,
see full WQR report on the blog 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.

Surprise on 472kHz

Late yesterday, I turned on the shack PC's SMPSU and went on 472kHz WSPR TX as well as receive. I was NOT expecting to copy much as my PC's SMPSU is noisy. However my best DX on 472kHz RX was after turning on the SMPSU.

On 472kHz WSPR TX the best DX (5mW ERP) from the earth-electrode "antenna" was LA3EQ (769km). On 472kHz RX the best DX (best so far this season too) was LA1TN (1269km).

Overall last night I was spotted by 9 unique stations in 3 countries on 472kHz WSPR. In the tables below are the unique station spots. Many were copied many times over.
472kHz WSPR TX last night
472kHz WSPR RX last night

15 Jan 2017

Return to 472kHz WSPR RX

After another dismal day on 10m JT65, I  am about to go QRT and return to 472kHz (630m) WSPR RX with the shack PC on battery power and hence a low noise floor. I shall switch to 472kHz WSPR  TX (5mW ERP) later tonight and overnight.

As usual, I am still using my earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground for MF. It seems to work pretty well even though the FT817 is a bit deaf on MF. Last year adding the preamp may have helped a little, but made surprisingly little difference, to my surprise.
472kHz WSPR RX this evening so far

The UK, Saudi Arabia and Yemen - NOT amateur radio

We happily trade with corrupt regimes like Saudi Arabia selling them arms so they can fight our wars by proxy. It seems we are just interested in their money. Does the UK government think this is right? Yes, I know Yemen is supposed to be a failed state and a home to dangerous terrorists.

British bombs are falling on Yemen as 1.5 million children face starvation. This must stop. There's a line that must never be crossed - and it’s called the Arms Trade Treaty. By refusing to stop British bombs falling on Yemen, the UK government has crossed that line. Please write to your local MP: po.st/RedLineYemen and urge them to draw a #RedLineForYemen.

Back on 10m JT65

Since breakfast time, I have been back on 10m JT65 after spells on 630m WSPR last night and overnight. I was on 630m RX most of the evening and on 630m TX (5mW ERP) overnight.

UPDATE 1118z: So far just G4NUA (12km) spotting me on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1240z: G8ZZL (78km) and G4CJC (73km) both in N. London spotted on 10m JT65 but no DX yet.

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday January 15th 2017

Solar flux is 76 today and sunspot number 25. A=4 and K=2.

14 Jan 2017

Takeaway food - NOT amateur radio

Although I can only speak for myself, I am appalled by the amount of litter on the roadsides as a result of takeaways. If you look at the litter most (certainly in our area) is a result of takeaway meals and drinks.

So, I have started a petition to force takeaway shops to use recycled, biodegradable packaging or face a hefty tax bill. In this day and age they should be using biodegradable packs.

See  https://www.change.org/p/roger-lapthorn-use-of-recycled-packaging-for-takeaway-food-and-drink

10m JT65 now

I have switched from 630m (472kHz) WSPR to 10m JT65 (2W) for the rest of the daylight. There is an outside chance I might catch some F-layer or winter Es on 10m.

Probably go back to 472kHz WSPR RX this evening. This is without the SMPSU charging the shack laptop. I'll probably go on 472kHz WSPR TX (5mW ERP) later and overnight.

Sunspots and 10m - Saturday January 14th 2017

Solar flux is 74 today and the sunspot number is 24. A=4 and K=0.

472kHz WSPR TX (5mW ERP)

Today, I have decided to stick on 472kHz TX all day, again using the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. G3KAV (243km) and G8HUH (250km) are both spotting me as is M0TAZ (59km).

Amaryllis - NOT amateur radio

Each winter we grow an amaryllis indoors during the winter. We take a photo each week. Since planting about a week ago it has really started to grow. It takes about 6 weeks to flower.

QRP and QRP Club

From Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Today January 14 is 7'th Birthday of the Club 72.
I thank all members and friends for support club's events and wish you
all  the  best. Welcome all QRPers to the QRP Rendez-Vous round table
today at 9.00 UTC on 14060 kc (alternative 10116 kc if contest QRM).

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.

13 Jan 2017

472kHz WSPR RX on PC battery power

For the last few minutes I have been on 472kHz WSPR RX using the shack PC on battery power. Without the SMPSU charging the noise floor is 7-S points lower and already I have spotted LA8AV (1035km) and lots of others. The lower noise floor is amazingly lower.

BREXIT and the UK pound - NOT amateur radio

The UK pound has fallen since BREXIT although perhaps not as far as some expected. It could fall further, especially if a "hard BREXIT" becomes more probable.

I am no financial expert but I could imagine the euro losing a lot of its value in 2017. The Eurozone has some hard times ahead: Greece is very unlikely ever to be able to pay off its debts. There are strong right wing (anti EU) forces in many European nations. It would not surprise me to see the euro tumble. I may be very wrong, but the signs are there.

As for the UK, I think in the end we will be OK. I voted "remain", but there is a lot wrong with the EU. There is a lot wrong with the euro too: the idea is right but all nations need to be in step and abiding by the same rules as if they are in one nation. Greece should never have adopted the euro in my view.

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

Rally reminder


Organised by West Manchester Radio Club, Lowton Civic Centre, Hesketh Meadow Lane, WA3 2AH, just off the A580 East Lancs Road. Doors open at 11am, car parking is free. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy, special interest groups and an RSGB bookstall. Catering is available on site. Further details from John, on 07870 161953. http://wmrc.org.uk/lowton_winter.htm.

A list of rallies can be found at

Sunspots and 10m - Friday January 13th 2017

Solar flux is 75 today and the sunspot number has risen to 11. A=5 and K=1.

Although conditions look "not bad" for N-S F layer DX on 10m, it remains to be seen. Of course, there is always a chance of winter Es on the band.

10m JT65

For the day I have returned to 10m JT65 (2W), but no spots as yet. I have been active for about 30 minutes.

UPDATE 1052z: A spot from DG0OPK (730km) of my signal. Winter Es I think.

Is that it? - NOT amateur radio

We had some snow this morning here, but it has stopped now. Barely a covering on the ground! In some ways I am pleased, but it was nice to see a snow covering for a week or so. Not these days.

If people tell you the climate is not warming on average they must be blind or stupid. The evidence is that this is largely due to us. A Maunder Minimum may help in the short-term, but only a bit. The trend is a warming world. That this is just due to natural fluctuations is a myth and the sooner we wake up the better.

UPDATE 1246z: It has all gone and the sun is shining in a cold, blue sky.

472kHz overnight

My theory is surely correct: the MF noise floor is rising and my 5mW ERP signal is becoming much harder to see unless the RX station has a low noise level, either as a result of  optimising antenna and antenna position or good luck. G8LCO (58km) who always gives me a good report uses a well positioned E-field probe antenna. Overnight best DX on TX was LA3EQ (769km) but his report was -30dB, so "only just".

I am seriously thinking of abandoning 472kHz TX until I can get the ERP well up by getting a better antenna up in the air. I shall try 472kHz RX without the SMPSU. Turning this off gives me a 7 S-point improvement on RX!! Without the SMPSU charging it, my PC battery should manage a night. Certainly several hours.

12 Jan 2017

472kHz WSPR

I decided to return to 472kHz (630m) WSPR at 1756z. The transverter is still settling, so it may be a few minutes before I start getting spots.

UPDATE 1804z: G0VQH (15km) spotted me, even though I am still drifting.

Snapes Point (Near Salcombe) - NOT amateur radio

Our latest National Trust (2017) Handbook has just arrived. We were amazed to see Snapes Point near Salcombe is not shown on the map of Devon and not listed. It is about a 2km walk with some of the best views in Devon! Every time we go back to Devon we do this walk.

See https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/east-soar/features/snapes-point .

Chinese satellite

There is probably an English version of this page. Perhaps someone will point me to it?  There is a fairly new Chinese amateur satellite BY70-1. It has been in orbit for a few weeks.

See http://lilacsat.hit.edu.cn/ .

Snow? - NOT amateur radio

Usually when the Met Office predicts snow here we get rain. We may get snow here tonight or tomorrow, but I'll believe it when I see it!

Last winter we had just one day of snow and our "London" grandchildren made a tiny snowman. I think this was the first time they had seen snow on the ground. Years ago we had several days of snow each winter, but things have changed. The climate is, on average, getting milder and wetter here. Mind you, we have had more frosts this winter than last season, so who knows?

New Zealand blog - NOT amateur radio

My wife was cleaning a shelf and came across a photo album of our 2009 trip to New Zealand. In those days I was fit! Now, I seem to be tired a lot of the time.

It is amazing what you forget. Luckily, I did a blog and we can look back and recall the visit.  It is a magical place, although I doubt we'll ever get back there.

If you get a chance, do go. At every turn it is beautiful and the people are warm and welcoming. It is NOT like the UK. Yes, the people speak English and lots of the birds in towns are English ones, but the wild places are different with wild tree ferns and many trees quite different. 4 million people instead of more than 60 million helps!

See http://roglap.blogspot.co.uk/

10m JT65

For about 25 minutes now I have been on 10m JT65 rather than 40m WSPR. So far, no spots.

UPDATE 1802z: Although I have now gone QRT on 10m, I see I spotted EU7FBB (1931km) in Belerus this afternoon several times.

40m WSPR overnight

As mentioned in an earlier blog post, I was on 40m WSPR all last evening and overnight. Nothing outside Europe spotted or spotting me.

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday January 12th 2017

Solar flux is 73 today. Sunspot number is again zero. A=8 and K=0. Will 10m be any good? Who can tell?

11 Jan 2017

Other bands WSPR or JT65?

As I am unlikely to be able to erect a better MF antenna before next autumn, I wonder what band I should use overnight on WSPR or JT65? 5MHz (60m) I can manage as I've resonated the antenna before. My noise floor is bad on 5MHz, but I should be able to TX (beacon) with either WSPR or JT65. I know 40m or 30m are possible (but little challenge), but in "quiet sun" years 5MHz (60m) is likely to be "open" more.

I may give 5MHz a go tonight. I have still to decide WSPR or JT65. As usual, I'd use 2W.

UPDATE 2008z:  I could not load my antenna up on 60m, so  have gone on 40m WSPR this evening and overnight.
40m WSPR spots this evening

UPDATE 2230z: Most spots of my 40m WSPR (2W) are from Germany. Best DX on TX was SA6BSS/RX (1059km). My antenna is far from ideal on 40m. It is very low.

10m JT65

Since just before breakfast I have been on 10m JT65 (2W), but no spots given or received as yet. Although the chances of catching N-S F layer DX is not great (but possible) there is still a chance of winter Es around Europe.

UPDATE 1415z:  Another quiet day with just G4CJC (73km) spotted on 10m JT65.

472kHz WSPR

Last evening and overnight until breakfast I was on 472kHz WSPR (5mW ERP). Yet again, very few spots received (4 uniques) making 472kHz hard work.

The noise floor is going up at most RX stations. As an example my own RX noise floor was S1 on 472kHz. It is now S8 with the PC I bought a year ago on its SMPSU. Sadly, this is fairly typical and RX stations are struggling more now. QRP is harder than it was even a few years ago, especially on LF, MF and lower HF. Luckily my noise floor is OK on 10m upwards into VHF and UHF, although I know others struggle.

Sunspots and 10m - Wednesday January 11th 2017

Solar flux is 72 today and sunspot number remains 0. A=10 and K=2.


More to justify why they are there? They must add some value?

See http://ofcom.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/i/103888809ED4609A/59D1BD3EA2F08127C67FD2F38AC4859C

Tests at even lower frequencies

DK7FC has been testing at even lower frequencies:


Since a few hours i'm running 15 mA antenna current on 970 Hz, the 309 km band. This requires to apply 5 kV to the antenna. You can see a very faint trace on the lower image at

Just about 10 dB SNR in 424 uHz in 3.5 km distance, or in 0.011 lambda distance. The receive antenna is a H field antenna that is not even pointing to the transmitter. Also the preamp noise is dominating the background noise on that frequency. So the RX is deaf on that band. Anyway, there is something.

The ALC into SpecLab does a very good job, it holds the antenna current stable during all the changes and working point drifts. The plot can be seen at
15 mA results in an ERP of  3 nW.

My new preamp circuit is waiting for a first test together with the large loop. I hope to pick up the signal in at least 5 km distance with that preamp which is really low noise down to the lower Hz range.
An E field reeiver would be a better choise for the reception from that E field Tx antenna, at least in the lower near field. Maybe that will give another test then.

With 30 kV i could reach 0.3 uW. Not sure where this could be detected? And who knows the advantages of this part of the spectrum for our purposes!?!

Since 21:20 UTC, a 2 character EbNaut message is running. It will take 2h, 2min, 40s. Hopefully the tree grabber is available until the message ends. It will shut down in a few hours due to lack of solar energy in these days (an improvement of this system has already been prepared and waits for the installation).

73, Stefan

Work - NOT amateur radio

When I started work (1970), most worked 37.5 hours a week and no more. We went home and enjoyed life.

Today the work ethic is to work longer and longer hours, but I doubt people are any more productive. Longer working hours, like the paperless office, are a myth.

If you are in a job, I know you have to do things to "look busy" and "please the boss", but stand back for a minute - look at yourself and ask yourself, "am I really adding any value?". If not, change the way you work or get a different job.

10 Jan 2017

Back on 472kHz

This evening, I am back on 472kHz WSPR with the earth-electrode "antenna" and 5mW ERP.  Best DX on TX is PA0RDT (243km). So far, just 4 unique spots received.

70cm UKAC and FMAC

As this is the second Tuesday, it is the 70cm leg of the RSGB's UKAC this evening starting at 2000z. As I have no 70cm horizontal antennas I shall use my 2m halo omni and the FT817ND. Because my voice is poor, I usually do not go on for very long, with 30 minutes being usual on 70cm. UKAC runs from 2000-2230z.

In the hour before the UKAC is the first 70cm FM contest of the year - the 70cm FMAC. I shall try my V2000 vertical for this. Again, this will be a brief outing for me. FMAC runs 1900-2000z.

See http://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin/contest_rules.pl?year=2017&contest=70cmsfmac&seq=
and http://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin/contest_rules.pl?year=2017&contest=70cmsukac&seq=

UPDATE 2100z:  70cm UHF UKAC contest this evening. 7 contacts in 20 minutes (before I had to stop) with 5W and a 2m VHF halo fed with lossy coax. Fun. Best DX was G4CLA (105km). Nothing at all heard or worked in the FM contest.

10m JT65 - quiet so far today

Since about 1000z I have been on 10m JT65 (2W).

UPDATE 1200z: So far today, just G4CJC (73km) spotted on 10m JT65 with no sign here of F layer or winter Es, well not yet. My antenna is not brilliant and others may have done better.

UPDATE 1505z: Still no DX on 10m today here.

The Road Not Taken - NOT amateur radio

As I get older, I must think about things more. Often I wonder what life would have been like had I taken a different fork in the road: gone to a different university, done that PhD, taken a different job, not had children, married someone else, taken the job offer in California and so on. I expect everyone wonders this sort of thing. In a multiverse, maybe we do follow all possibilities but we are not aware of them. I often wonder.

See http://www.bartleby.com/119/1.html .

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday January 10th 2016

Solar flux remains at 72 and yet again the sun is spotless. A=12 and K=2. We are now definitely entering "quiet sun" times and these could last for many years. Es may liven 10m a bit.

Even in very quiet years there can be some N-S F layer DX on 10m. JT65 or WSPR should be ideal modes as long as people stick with the band. All too often, people go on SSB, see no activity, then go down to a band where there is more activity. Meanwhile, 10m is open and the DX gets missed.

Overnight on 472kHz WSPR

Last evening and overnight I was again active on 472kHz WSPR. I only went QRT at about 1000z this morning.  Fewer spots than ever!

I am really beginning to think that my QRPP 5mW ERP is buried in man-made noise now, whereas a few years ago it was not. So, either I need to raise the ERP so my signal rises above the crud, or abandon the band. A few years ago a lot more were able to copy me.

9 Jan 2017

Winter - NOT amateur radio

There is an outside chance we may see some snow by the weekend. Eastern Europe has been exceptionally cold. Everywhere locally looks wintery. In a few weeks' time the daffodils will be pushing out and there will be clear signs of spring on the way.

Earth-electrode antennas at 472kHz

Some 4 years ago I posted this based on my results at 472kHz:

These were my conclusions in Jan 2013:
  1. The earth-electrode antenna at 472kHz (2 earth rods in the soil 15-20m apart fed from the TX output) behaves like an H-field loop transmitting antenna. At the present QTH the spacing is less.
  2. It has directivity, with strongest signals in the line of the loop and weakest signals at right angles to it.
  3. It works as an effective RX antenna too.
  4. In my environment the loop looks like about 50-60 ohms resistive, so a good match to my transverter directly without matching. At this QTH it looks a higher impedance, presumably because the soil and rock are different.
  5. The structure works because much of the return current flows deep within the soil and rock beneath the earth-electrode antenna. In my case Rik OR7T calculated that the loop area in the ground is effectively 290m sq with a radiation resistance of 0.017 ohm and a loss resistance of 66 ohms.This is a BIG loop! I think the loop is smaller at this QTH.
  6. Performance compared with my 9m high top loaded Marconi antenna averages only around 8dB down, not a bad figure at all, even with the connecting wire on the ground and not elevated at all.
  7. Where no other antenna option is available, the earth-electrode antenna is well worth trying both on 472kHz and on 136kHz both for RX and TX. Although it works well here, your geology may be different and results not the same.

Return to 10m JT65

After an evening and overnight on 630m WSPR (best DX with 5mW ERP was F1AFJ/1 at 607km), I returned to 10m JT65 just before breakfast. No spots yet on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1248z: G4CJC (73km) spotted by tropo or aircraft on 10m JT65. DL0ZB (601km) copied by 10m Es I assume.

Sunspots and 10m Monday January 9th 2016

Solar flux is 72 today and sunspot count is zero yet again. A=16 and K=2.

QRP and QRP Club

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous report (January 8, 2017)
Visitors  of the week: UA1ADF, UA1CEG, R2FAE, UR4MME, UR5EFD, DL8BDF,
See  full  Visitors  and  Frequenters lists on the Club 72 web page
See full report on the blog page -
See you all QRPers on next QRP Rendez-Vous 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.