30 Jun 2017

Wasting my time?

Most of this Es season, I have been on 10m WSPR TX running 500mW from my little W5OLF WSPR beacon. It is on the same antenna that I used a few years ago on 10m WSPR when I was spotted in every continent.

Although I have been widely spotted across Europe and once in South America, I feel I am wasting my time. Although I know HF conditions are far worse than a few years ago on 10m, there seems to be a general lack of activity on 10m WSPR: I get far better results on 6m JT65. So, I shall probably stop 10m WSPR soon.

More Ely Cathedral - NOT amateur radio

A few days ago we went to Ely with one of my wife's college friends. The photo shows Ely Cathedral across the fields in winter. It is stunning at all times of the year.

Es past its best?

Although there has been Es about on 10m and 6m in recent days in Europe, it does not seem quite as good as a few weeks ago: openings seem later and smaller. This may be just a blip. In the past, I have seen 6m Es as late as September. In past years, I seem to get more northern spots later in the season.

It would be interesting to know what others think.

Certainly the earlier weeks were very good, although I remain to be convinced the longer distance openings were "sporadic" E. E layer maybe, but I am unconvinced by the conventional wisdom these are multi-hop Es. Some maybe, but the USA, South America, Japan and the Caribbean I feel sure are a different mechanism.

More from OFCOM

This time, I did get an email from OFCOM.

They are updating their policy on DECT guard bands. Not of direct interest to radio amateurs.

See http://ofcom.createsend1.com/t/ViewEmail/i/4A22066B841A4D852540EF23F30FEDED/59D1BD3EA2F08127C67FD2F38AC4859C

Rally on Sunday July 2nd


Barford Village Hall & Green, Barford, Norwich NR9 4AB Doors open 9am (traders from 8am) with Talk in on S22. There will be trade stands, car boot sales, a Bring & Buy, raffle, repeater groups, catering and free car parking. Entry £2 per person / under 16s free. Pitches £8, indoor tables £10 Contact radio@dcpmicro.com www.norfolkamateurradio.org

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

10m WSPR

As this uses a separate rig and antenna, I am currently on 10m WSPR TX (500mW), but so far just local spots from G4KPX (14km).

6m JT65

At breakfast time, I returned to 6m JT65 transceive (1W ERP). So far just G spots given and received.

UPDATE 0946z:  Still just G spots. No Es seen here yet.

UPDATE 1058z: EA7DUD (1767km) working G0PQO coming through strongly on 6m JT65, presumably Es.

UPDATE 1206z:  Best DX on 6m JT65 RX is UX4UA (2082km).

New Digital Mode from K1JT

Just got this from Bob G3WKW:
Steve (K9AN) and I have developed a potential new mode for WSJT-X. We're calling the mode "FT8" (Franke-Taylor design, 8-FSK modulation). FT8 is designed for situations like multi-hop Es where signals may be weak and fading, openings may be short, and you want fast completion of reliable, confirmable QSOs.
Important characteristics of FT8:
  - T/R sequence length: 15 s
  - Message length: 75 bits + 12-bit CRC
  - FEC code: LDPC(174,87)
  - Modulation: 8-FSK, keying rate = tone spacing = 5.86 Hz
  - Waveform: Continuous phase, constant envelope
  - Occupied bandwidth: 47 Hz
  - Synchronization: three 7x7 Costas arrays (start, middle, end of Tx)
  - Transmission duration: 79*2048/12000 = 13.48 s
  - Decoding threshold: -20 dB (perhaps -24 dB with AP decoding, TBD)
  - Operational behavior: similar to HF usage of JT9, JT65
  - Multi-decoder: finds and decodes all FT8 signals in passband
  - Auto-sequencing after manual start of QSO
*Comparison with slow modes JT9, JT65, QRA64:*  FT8 is a few dB less sensitive but allows completion of QSOs four times faster.  Bandwidth is greater than JT9, but about 1/4 of JT65A and less than 1/2 QRA64.
*Comparison with fast modes JT9E-H:*  FT8 is significantly more sensitive, has much smaller bandwidth, uses the vertical waterfall, and offers multi-decoding over the full displayed passband.
*Still to come, not yet implemented:*  We plan to implement signal subtraction, two-pass decoding, and use of "a priori" (already known) information as it accumulates during a QSO.
Three extra bits are available in the message payload, with uses yet tobe defined.  We  have in mind special message formats that might be used in contests, and the like.  Your considered suggestions for use of these bits are very welcome!
K1JT, K9AN, and G4WJS have conducted on-the-air tests of FT8 with excellent results.  We're now at a stage where tests under a wider range of conditions are desirable.  If you can build WSJT-X from source code revision r7750 or later, and would like to help, please do so and report your results to us!  Pre-built installation packages will be made available after further testing is completed.
Suggestions for FT8 setup and examples of use can be found in a screen shot posted here: http://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/k1jt/ft8.png
We look forward to receiving your feedback.
   -- 73, Joe, K1JT

It will help to have some initial frequency coordination among those
testing the new FT8 mode in WSJT-X v1.7.1.

To help get things started, we suggest using the following frequencies:

Band    MHz
 160   1.841
  80   3.579
  40   7.079
  30  10.141
  20  14.079
  17  18.105
  15  21.079
  12  24.920
  10  28.079
   6  50.313
   4  70.094

Most of these suggestions follow a simple guideline: add 3 kHz to the
commonly used JT65 dial frequency.

For 6 meters we suggest using 50.313, which should be consistent with
band plans in all IARU Regions.  (Six meter activity that's now on
50.276, world-wide, might be moved to 50.310.)

We are very much open to suggestions for changes in the above table.

   -- 73, Joe, K1JT


This large German rally is really an international affair attracting visitors from all over Europe and beyond. As little new was announced at Dayton, USA by the big Japanese companies, it is unlikely we'll see anything new announced in Europe, but I have been wrong. It would be nice to be surprised.

As far as I know, it is the biggest rally in Europe. It is too far for me.

The rally is just a few weeks away.

See http://www.hamradio-friedrichshafen.de/ham-en/

Sunspots and 10m - Friday June 30th 2017

Solar flux is 71 today and the sunspot number is 12. A=5 and K=1.

29 Jun 2017

Back to 6m JT65

After a few hours on 10m JT65 (no spots), I have returned to 6m JT65 - no spots yet.

UPDATE 2050z: GI4SNA (488km) is the best DX on RX so far on 6m JT65. G0HOF (45km) is the best on TX (1W ERP).

UPDATE 2200z: M1BXF (14km) is also spotting me. No Es here now on 6m JT65. I shall probably go QRT soon until breakfast.

Now on 10m JT65

For a change, I am now on 10m JT65 (2.5W). So far, nothing on RX or TX.

G0PQO contacted me to say I'd been calling him for 5 hours on 6m JT65, and I said I had not been. Then I found out that, in error, I had been, so I had to eat humble pie! Sometimes I am really stupid.

More 6m JT65 "DX"

Yet again this morning, I am supposed to have copied another Indonesian on 6m JT65 at not far short of 12000km. Yet again, this is surely a pirate and I have discounted this as a real spot. If true, it would be noteworthy. As a pirate - just sad.

Rallies this Saturday

Donaghadee Community Centre, Parade, Donaghadee BT21 0HB Doors open at 11.30am. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy and an RSGB bookstall. Catering is available on site. A raffle will be held on the day. Contact: Harry Squance, GI4JTF on 0777 594 2174 or by email to gi4jtf@gmail.com.

The Dubmire Royal British Legion Club, Britannia Terrace, Fencehouses DH4 6LJ Doors open 10.30am until 3pm. Entry is free. There will be traders, club and private stands. Table space is limited (and free) and will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Tea & coffee will be available and a licensed bar from 11am. Details from Ken, M6ELL by email m6ellken@aol.com or on 0795 146 0290.

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


Usually, I get an email from OFCOM, but I seem to have missed the latest. I expect this is human error or, more probably, a computer error. I get pretty annoyed with computer generated emails. Lately I have received these from Direct Line, Barclays, British Gas and OFCOM to name just a few. You just know no human was involved.

Anyway, enough moaning, and back to OFCOM. This is the latest statement about enforcement.

See https://www.ofcom.org.uk/consultations-and-statements/category-2/ofcoms-approach-to-enforcement

Waffle, more waffle, and basically unless money is involved go away as we are unlikely to help you. Sorry, but bring back the GPO man who understood radio and really tried to help. Basically OFCOM is, for the radio amateur, a waste of time. Run by headless chickens, it would seem, who have no real knowledge of radio. That is my personal experience and I accept others may have had a better experience.  Sadly OFCOM comes across as a QUANGO trying hard to justify why it is there. My personal view is scrap it. Unless it employs people who really understand radio, they have no hope of doing a useful job.

Bitter and twisted? Me?

Active on 10m WSPR TX and 6m JT65 transceive

At the moment I am on 10m WSPR TX (500mW) and 6m JT65 transceive (1W ERP). I may change bands and modes later.

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday June 29th 2017

Solar flux is 71 today and the sunspot number 13. A=4 and K=2.

There was a little 10m Es earlier when my 500mW WSPR was spotted in Italy.

28 Jun 2017

UK bee-eaters? - NOT amateur radio

Climate change is real (someone please tell Donald, but use simple terms) and some European birds are spreading further north. In the 1980s it was little egrets and now there are increasing sightings of cattle egrets. It is possible that the lovely bee-eater will soon be quite common in the UK. The number of sightings is rising and they have bread in the UK in recent years. I've seen them in southern Europe, but never (yet) in the UK. They are stunningly beautiful birds.

There are several different sorts around the world.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-40428787 .

6m and 10m TX again

After a break because of the risk of storm damage, I am currently on 10m WSPR TX (500mW) and 6m JT65 transceive (1W ERP). I am still keeping a watchful eye on the lightning maps and will disconnect everything if I deem the risks are too great.

UPDATE 1544z: Plenty of EU spots on both bands. Maybe I should try 6m WSPR (rather than 6m JT65) tomorrow?

UPDATE 1823z: Interesting that only 7 unique spots on 10m WSPR since I turned on earlier this afternoon and 6 were German! On 6m JT65 I have spotted, and been spotted by, stations all over Europe. I don't think this is just down to the antenna. I think there is more activity on 10m JT65 than 10m WSPR. Maybe I should give 10m JT65 or even JT9 a go tomorrow?

Ely Cathedral - NOT amateur radio

Today we took one of my wife's friends to Ely, about 12 miles from here. We ate at the nearby Almonry, which is also very old. The photo shows the nave leading down to the famous wooden octagon lantern made of wood. The octagon dates back over 600 years.

QRT (for now)

Although the storm risk seems mostly to be well out of the way for now, I have decided to remain QRT on both 10m and 6m. I may review this later. Even when you don't get a direct strike, which is rare, the electric charge build-up can damage things if a storm is nearby.

See https://www.lightningmaps.org/blitzortung/europe/index.php?lang=en .

Sunspots and 10m - Wednesday June 28th 2017

Solar flux is 73 today and the sunspot number 17. A=5 and K=2. Very gradually the average sunspot number is declining, although occasionally the solar activity is much higher. As there is a small storm risk, I an not on 10m or 6m.

27 Jun 2017


In the years following WW2, there were plenty of surplus transceivers and receivers around, often in "as new" condition. Also, many built their first TV set using surplus radar gear.

My first real receiver was a DST100 bought from a local garage for £7. It was deaf, but attention by Roger G3CHN soon had it working well. It heard some impressive DX, but weighed a ton.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/hf/dst100

Flete House - NOT amateur radio

In the years after WW2, Flete House, Devon was a nursing home. It is where I was born. These days it has been converted into expensive flats. In theory, I could buy one and die where I was born.

The film "Sense and Sensibility" was filmed, in part, on the Flete estate. In the days when it was a real stately home, it was owned by the Mildmays. The River Erme is one of the most beautiful in Devon. The Flete estate borders the Erme.

See https://www.audleyretirement.co.uk/our-villages/flete-house-retirement-village-modbury-devon

Rain at last - NOT amateur radio

After several weeks of hot, dry weather, today it finally rained.  We have now had sustained rain for several hours. There is a chance my lawn will turn green again. Well, we can hope!

UPDATE 1804z: Rain! The long, dry, spell has ended - it has been dull with heavy rain for most of the afternoon and early evening.

Linnet - NOT amateur radio

For the last few days I have seen this bird about 100m away on a telegraph wire. It has never been close enough to see clearly, but I managed to identify it using the zoom on my wife's camera. It turned out to be a linnet. I think it must have a nest nearby.

Storm risks

At the moment, there are storms in Switzerland, although we have a chance of storms in the UK later. As a precaution I have gone QRT and disconnected everything.

See https://www.lightningmaps.org/blitzortung/europe/index.php?lang=en

UPDATE 1800z: This afternoon we had thunder and lightning as well as rain.

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday June 27th 2017

Solar flux is 73 today and the sunspot number 19. A=7 and K=2. Although I am not on the air currently, there was widespread Es on 6m, so I expect on 10m too.

6m JT65 - now QRT

As there is a risk of storms later, I have gone QRT on all bands and disconnected all power and antennas. There were lots of European 6m Es spots, plus of course my "friend" (supposedly) in Indonesia, but more probably in the UK!

26 Jun 2017

Optical comms at 481THz

It is some years since I last tried optical communications. This has been because of my poor health. 481THz is easy: all gear was home made and test gear is simple. In most ways nanowaves are easier than microwaves. My "speciality" was non line of sight (NLOS) using digital techniques. I also had one 2-way optical QSO over about 11km. Then I had a stroke and everything stopped!

My experiments used low cost red LEDs. At some point I'd like to try infrared. My tripod was low cost. A better one is really needed as aiming is important.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/optical .

10GHz contest and 1296MHz operation

Sadly, I have no gear for 10GHz. I think there was a 10GHz contest on Sunday afternoon. I have thought about getting something, also for 1296MHz /P. If I was fitter I might have got "my arse into gear" sooner. As it is, I guess one can only do so much in our great hobby, especially if fitness is a thing of the past!

There is a quite low cost 1296MHz 2W transverter available from Bulgaria (SG lab) which has had good reviews. I know G8LRD (David) uses one with his FT817 when out portable and works some decent ranges. I cannot remember what antenna he uses.

The image is from the SG Labs website. I hope they don't mind me linking to it.

As you can see, this is small and light enough to be mounted on a portable mast close to a 23cm antenna to minimise cable losses.

As I could not find a price for this transverter on their website, I dropped them an email. I got a reply very quickly: 156 euros plus 8 euros economy shipping to the UK. They accept PayPal. Not bad for a 2W, sensitive, transverter. This is for V2.3 which also accepts an external 10MHz reference.

See http://www.sg-lab.com/TR1300/tr1300.html

137kHz E-field probe mag-mount RX antenna

Some years ago I did some tests (in the car) looking to see where I could copy my low uW ERP 137kHz signal from home. Results surprised me, even with my deaf FT817.  I gave up on the far side of Cambridge (approximately 24km) with S/N still respectable.

This is all that you need to receive on the LF bands.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/antennas/137efp.

10m WSPR

After a break of several days, I have returned to 10m WSPR this morning (500mW, TX only) hoping for some Es spots. It is some time since my little beacon has been spotted outside Europe, apart from one South American spot.

UPDATE 0810z: Widespread 10m Es, especially from eastern and central Europe. Best DX so far is EA1FAQ (1249km) in northern Spain.

6m JT65 (again)

Yet again, I am active on 6m JT65 with 1W ERP. Certainly JT65 seems to get much more activity than WSPR. During the Es season I have no problem being spotted out to more than 3000km and I have spotted most continents this season on 6m JT65.

UPDATE 0814z: Widespread 6m Es.

UPDATE 1635z:  Yet again, I am supposed to have spotted a station in Indonesia. Yet again, I do not believe this! It is probably a pirate in the UK.

Sunspots and 10m - Monday June 26th 2017

Solar flux is 73 today and the sunspot number is 20. A=11 and K=2.

As on previous days, lots of Es on 10m (and 6m), but no evidence of F layer DX. Not saying it is not there, but nothing seen here.

25 Jun 2017

QRP and QRP Club

From Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous Report (June, 25, 2017)
A  lot of QRPers visited "rendezvous" this week. Many new Frequenters
and new Visitors in the list.
Many thanks all QRPers for reports and pictures! Personally thanks new
Reporter  Yves  ON4KCY.  On the Saturday "rendezvous" was super QSO -
UA1CEG/p - RW3DF, both used home made DC TRXs.

Visitors of the week: UR5EFD, UR0ET, SM2FIJ, RU3NJC, OK2SAM/p, G3XJS,
New Frequenters (regular Visitors) - OK2SAM, G3JFS, RZ4NWA, RW3DF, MM0CIN
New Visitors - G0ILN, DA0YL, ON4KCY, RA3IM, DL4CF, PA3DLG - you are welcome!

Comments and pictures...
there  are lot of comments with pictures, see full version of the WQR
Report on the page - http://qrp-club72.blogspot.ru/
See all QRPers on the next "rendezvous"!

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.

6m JT65

At the moment I am not on 10m WSPR, but I am on 6m JT65. So far, just G stations and no Es on 6m seen here. Of course, it is still early and things could well change.

UPDATE 0934z: 6m JT65 spots of me from Serbia and Romania, which look like Es.

UPDATE 1235z: EA9IB in Ceuta and Melilla, N. Africa (1907km) spotted on 6m JT65.

UPDATE 1514z: Mostly EU Es spots on 6m today, apart from EA9 (N.Africa) earlier. Iceland counts as Europe.

Burwell Museum and Windmill - NOT amateur radio

Our local windmill and museum (right next door!) is one of the very best local museums in the whole of the UK. It is open 11am-5pm every Thursday, Sunday and Bank Holiday from Easter until late October. It is huge and is spread over many buildings. It goes on and on! When my grandchildren can't go they cry. For a few hours out, it is well worth a visit if you are in the area.

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

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday June 25th 2017

Solar flux is little changed at 74 today. Sunspot number is 28. A=9 and K=2.

24 Jun 2017

Windmill in summer - NOT amateur radio

This is the view up the lane to "our" 200 year old windmill. On the left is an ornamental cherry tree.

6m JT65

So far today on 6m JT65 transceive, there has been a lot of Es across Europe, but nothing further apart from EA8DRM (3015km) in the Canary Is.

UPDATE 1948z: AA4V (6544km) in South Carolina was spotted. Judging by other spots, I am pretty sure this is genuine.

Convolvulus - NOT amateur radio

This is often known as bind weed. In the garden it is a nuisance, but it has nice flowers and looks good in the wild as here.

Need for 472kHz antenna improvements

Although these days I am very dependent on help with antenna work because of my stroke, I very much hope I can try a better antenna on 472kHz WSPR this autumn and winter. I have been surprised how well the earth-electrode "antenna" works, but another 10dB ERP would be really worth trying. I have in mind a long-wire, which needs a support at the end of the bungalow. I also need a better earth system.

My homebrew transverter for 472kHz puts out about 12W. With a better antenna an ERP around 50-100mW should be possible. At the moment, my 472kHz ERP is around 5mW.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/mflf/472wspr

Low storm risk

It is very unlikely my amateur radio activities will be interrupted by storms today. The nearest storms are way to the south. This morning we have had a few dark skies, but no rain.

See https://www.lightningmaps.org/?lang=en#y=53.2284;x=-7.0347;z=4;t=3;m=sat;r=0;s=0;o=0;b=0.00;n=0;d=2;dl=2;dc=0;

Virtual Amateur Radio

I have to confess, I have not tried "virtual" ham radio for many years. It is a poor substitute for the real thing. Even with my poor voice these days, the real thing offers so much more. Nonetheless, it will appeal to some, especially when HF conditions are poor.  I expect this will become more popular in the next few years. As it name implies, virtual ham radio uses the internet rather than the ionosphere as the medium of "propagation". If all you want is to chat, this may be for you.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/virtual

Sunspots and 10m - Saturday June 24th 2017

Solar flux is 73 again today. Sunspot number is 22. A=5 and K=1. I am not currently on 10m, but there is Es already on 6m.

Rally this Sunday


Cheese & Grain venue, Market Yard, Bridge Street, Frome, Somerset BA11 1BE. Doors open from 10am to 2pm with admission priced at £3 for adults and children under 14 free. There will be inside & outside traders, free car parking, cafe, RSGB bookstall, accessible & facilities for disabled. Details from Shaun, G8VPG on 01225 873 098 www.westrally.org.uk

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

23 Jun 2017

Low storm risk in the UK

With the nearest storms being in Austria, I think I can safely "play radios" today.
 Just I case, I'll keep and eye on the maps.

See https://www.lightningmaps.org/?lang=en#y=53.2284;x=-3.9585;z=5;t=3;m=sat;r=0;s=0;o=0;b=0.00;n=0;d=2;dl=2;dc=0;

Where I was born - NOT amateur radio

The picture shows where I was born in Devon, UK when a nursing home after WW2. The film "Sense and Sensibility" was, in part, filmed on the Flete estate. This is Flete House. These days they are posh retirement flats.

Not much Es on 6m JT65 yet

I have been on 6m JT65 for some time. No Es seen yet today on 6m, although I am supposed to have spotted a station in Indonesia on 6m, which I do not believe. This suggests the pirate is in the UK. Sad.

UPDATE 1045z: Some Es with my 1W ERP 6m JT65 being spotted in Finland.

Sunspots and 10m - Friday June 23rd 2017

Solar flux is 74 today and the sunspot number 23. A=6 and K=1. 10m? Expect Es but F layer N-S is more doubtful on 10m.


Until I sold mine to a local fellow ham several years ago, I used this rig most days. They are hard to find now, and I am not surprised. In many ways I regret selling mine, but it went to good home and is well used.

Sadly, there is no real equivalent QRP rig outside of Japan. The IC7300 is probably the nearest, modern rig, but the 10W version is only available in Japan. If the 10W version was available in the UK, I would buy one, as I suspect would many.

The IC703 is a 10W 160m-6m multi-mode transceiver with an auto-ATU. It has a good DSP filter. Altogether a good, solid radio.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/hf/ic703

22 Jun 2017

VLF transmitters

Recently I had an email asking me if stereo amps (100W) would make a suitable VLF TX. The short answer is "yes", although these are designed for a low impedance load, so would require a suitable matching transformer. I have not tried one.

Storm gone, so back on 6m JT65

The storm has passed through, so I have returned to 6m JT65 transceive (1W ERP). I tried replying to a few CQ calls, without success, so I am currently in beacon mode sending "B G3XBM JO02". Best report is from CT2IWW (1382km). There seems less Es about at the moment.

UPDATE 2038z: As well as spots of OX3LX (2570km) which I do believe, I also (supposedly) spotted another Indonesian station, which I do not believe: I am convinced this is a pirate somewhere in Europe. Unless proved otherwise, I am dismissing these latter spots.

Storms, so QRT

Although the weather forecast showed no risk, there is thunder close by, so I have disconnected antennas and power and gone QRT. I have found the weather forecasts very poor.

See https://www.lightningmaps.org/?lang=en#y=52.5523;x=-0.4813;z=7;t=3;m=sat;r=0;s=0;o=0;b=0.00;n=0;d=2;dl=2;dc=0;

UPDATE 0852z: The forecast says less than 5% of rain. Guess what? It has just rained!

Youngsters and amateur radio

This is a point I have made many times: unless we attract young people into our hobby and keep their interest, it will die with us. I see on Southgate News that the ARRL has been doing something about the growing crisis.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2017/june/amateur-radio-needs-young-people.htm#.WUuA4LpFzmQ

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday June 22nd 2017

Solar flux is 73 and sunspot number 35. A=4 and K=2. 10m? No idea, but Es should be decent especially later.

21 Jun 2017

Pound against the Euro - NOT amateur radio

It is a year this week since the UK voted to leave the EU. I voted to remain.

It is my view that the Euro will lose value soon, probably this year. The UK was a major contributor to the EU finances and we will be missed. The Euro problems have not gone away, particularly Greece. Yes, the UK may be hurt in the short-term, but I cannot see this lasting.

Despite BREXIT, I am expecting the UK pound to gain value against the Euro, possibly as soon as this year. As I have said before, I could be completely wrong!


For about a week now it has been very hot indeed for us. Today could be the hottest June day ever. Please someone tell the president of the USA. No, global warming is not a Chinese hoax. Just look at the real data.

Tomorrow, the weather could break with a return to more usual June weather here in the UK. With heavy thunder and lightning, maybe tomorrow will not be a good day to play radios? I shall be watching the maps.

See https://www.lightningmaps.org/?lang=en#y=52.9182;x=-3.2938;z=5;t=3;m=sat;r=0;s=0;o=0;b=0.00;n=0;d=2;dl=2;dc=0;

Market fruit and veg - NOT amateur radio

Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Market Day and lots of fresh fruit and veg on sale. Excellent. Bury is an "old fashioned" sort of place, but excellent for shopping. Great market still with some great bargains e.g. 3 magazines for £2.50 on one stall and they are only a few weeks old too.

Yesterday on 6m JT65

Yesterday was a good day on 6m JT65.

Stations were spotted in North America, South America and the Caribbean. I have dismissed the Indonesian spot as a pirate unless I am proved wrong.

At the moment, I am on 6m JT65 in beacon mode with 1W ERP. There is plentiful Es on 6m with spots (RX and TX) all across Europe.

UPDATE 1315z: Now RX only on 6m JT65.

UPDATE 1750z: Enabled 6m JT65 TX a few minutes ago.

Sunspots and 10m - Wednesday June 21st 2017

Solar flux is 73 today and the sunspot number 34. A=3 and K=1. Although there is 10m and 6m Es, it is some while since I noted 10m F2 here, although my 10m antenna is not great.

ICOM and Yaesu UK Prices

The IC7300 from ICOM retails at just under £1200 in the UK. The Yaesu FT891 retails for about half this at just under £600. OK, I know they are different radios, but both are 100W HF and 6m radios and the RX of the IC7300 has a much simpler SDR architecture.

Although I accept I may be wrong, these are my conclusions:
  • The IC7300 sells at a price people are prepared to pay and dealers are keeping the price as high they dare for as long as they can. It almost looks like the price is fixed between dealers. I am not saying it is, but it looks like this. Normally by now one has started to drop price, but this has not happened. The true price should be far less.
  • Yaesu sells the FT891 at just under £600 to tempt buyers. They may be trying to buy market share. I note a new model Yaesu 2m/70cm handi sells for £129.
Looking at this, I'd guess that ICOM will be around for a while. Yaesu may decide this is not a market to remain in for too much longer? As I said, I could be totally wrong. Personally I hope both stay in the amateur market for a long time.

20 Jun 2017

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday June 20th 2017

Solar flux is 73 today. Sunspot number is 26. A=5 and K=1.

This year has flown by! It is hard to believe we are so close to the longest day and soon nights will start to lengthen.

Lots of Es about on 10m and 6m.


As usual, I am active on 10m WSPR TX (500mW). Lots of Es spots. 30 unique spots in the last 12 hours.

6m JT65 real DX - real and fictional?

Just spotted K1TOL (5082km) in Maine, USA on 6m JT65.  I am sure this is true having worked this well equipped station some years ago on 6m CW.

Also, I spotted (supposedly) yet another Indonesian on 6m JT65. I have lost count of the number of Indonesians on 6m JT65. Unless proved otherwise, I think these are false decodes or pirates.

UPDATE 1600z: WP2B (6804km) in the US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean was spotted earlier. Judging by others who also spotted him, I think he is genuine.

UPDATE 2055z: PV8DX (7830km) in northern Brazil is the latest 6m JT65 DX earlier this evening.

19 Jun 2017


As the 500mW 10m WSPR beacon was looking lonely, I decided to turn it on earlier this afternoon. So far, Es spots in northern Spain and Austria on 10m WSPR.

Another hot day ahead - NOT amateur radio

This is a surprise! For a second day in a row, we had breakfast in the garden. It is already hot. For us in the UK this is exceptional. Even in the shade it was warm even at 8.30am. My wife as just been for a walk and says it is very hot.

Just 6m JT65 today

At the moment, 10m WSPR is proving too easy! Most days, my 500mW is spotted across Europe, so today I am just on 6m JT65 transceive.

Sunspots and 10m - Monday June 19th 2017

Solar flux is 74 and sunspot number 27. A=10 and K=2. There is already Es about.

QRP and QRP Club

From Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous Report (June, 18, 2017)
First  of  all  I  thank  all  Reporters  (Journalists) for comments,
pictures  and reports. Personally thanks my new reporters Peter G3JFS
and  Wim  PA0WDW, also Victor RU3NJC reported from hospital (wish you
fast recovery, Victor)!
Visitors of the week: UR7VT, US5ERQ, DK1HW, RV3GM, ON6WJ, UF6V/UA1CEX,
RX3PR and LA8BCA became Frequenters (regular visitors)
New visitors - 4X1KS, SP9NLI, OH6NW - you are welcome!
See full Frequenters and Visitors lists on the Club 72 web page.
Some comments and picture...
see full version of the WQR Report with comments and pictures -

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.

Geostationary amateur satellites

We are used to geostationary satellites which carry TV signals from a fixed point: aim the dish in the right place in the sky and that is it. By contrast, amateur satellites are in a low and moving orbit, so they only stay in range for a short time and they have to be tracked in the sky.

All this could change next year when 2 satellites (containing amateur radio transponders) are placed in geosynchronous orbits. Aim your antennas once and fix them in place. A lot can go wrong - date slippage, failure on launch, failure to reach the right place in space, equipment failure etc. If these all go to plan, amateur radio could be quite different in a few years' time.

As we are approaching a period of very poor HF conditions, these satellites could be a godsend. One is aimed to give good coverage over the Americas. The other covers Europe, Middle East and Africa mainly.

18 Jun 2017

Old FT817

Looking through some old photo albums, I spotted me with an FT817 in the garden dated 2001. This means I first bought the FT817 at least 16 years ago. I was probably working OX (Greenland) at the time, with 2.5W and a telescopic whip on SSB. It seems amazing that it has been around all that time with effectively no competition.

Another thing that struck me was how young and thin we looked back then!

10m WSPR

As usual, I am on 10m WSPR TX (500mW) with my WSPR beacon. Plenty of Es spots from across Europe today.

UPDATE 1314z: 20 unique spots of my 10m 500mW WSPR so far today.

UPDATE 1640z: 59 unique spots of my 10m 500mW WSPR in the last day (34 in last 12 hours).

UPDATE 2008z: 52 unique 10m WSPR spots of my 500mW beacon in last 12 hours - a good day. Going QRT shortly on 10m.

House martins (birds) - NOT amateur radio

A few days ago I saw my first house martins this year in the UK. This is much later than usual, so I wonder if numbers are down? These were in a nearby village. I've seen none in our village this year.

There seem to be plenty of swifts  - there were about 20 feeding overhead last evening - but house martins and swallows seem to be fewer this year. This may be a localised thing, but I notice numbers seem down.

Anyone know the facts?

Hot and sunny - NOT amateur radio

Something unusual has appeared in the UK skies. I think it is called "the sun". 😊

Actually it has been hot now for several days. Today we even had breakfast in the garden. For us in the UK this is a rare treat. Summer time, the temperature is often pleasantly warm at 18-22 deg C, but it has been HOT in recent days. Even sitting in the shade at breakfast felt warm and comfortable.

This robin (see photo) preferred the fat balls to the mealworms (eventually).

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday June 18th 2017

Solar flux is 74 today and the sunspot number 28. A=15 and K=2. There is Es about on both 10m and 6m, but I have see no evidence here of F layer propagation on 10m for several days.

6m JT65

My 1W ERP 6m JT65 has been widely spotted today throughout Europe. At the moment, I am RX only on 6m.  Some stations are working the Far East. I am unsure of the propagation, but this looks different from the breakfast paths to Japan.

UPDATE 1315z: Best DX today on 6mJT65 RX is VR2XMT (9537km) in Hong Kong. He is being widely spotted around the globe, so I think this is genuine.

UPDATE 2015z: Absolutely loads of 6m JT65 spots given and received today. Best DX on TX was Iceland and the Canaries. Think I'll stay on longer, hoping for some real DX reports!

17 Jun 2017

10m WSPR

Today 10m WSPR is nothing like yesterday. Although I have been spotted in Germany and by a local, 10m is nowhere near as good as Friday here. There is Es, but not like yesterday.

Another Indonesian on 6m JT65?

Today, out of the blue, I (supposedly) spotted 7A4TOI (13582km) in Indonesia at 1145z on 6m JT65. Although this could be genuine, I am pretty sure this station is a pirate somewhere in Europe. It would be great if this was a true 6m spot.

UPDATE 1933z: The Caribbean and South America now being spotted on 6m JT65. I think these are genuine!

Sunspots and 10m - Saturday June 17th 2017

Solar flux is 74 today and the sunspot number 28. A=24 and K=4. 10m? Maybe Es but F layer doubtful, especially with K=4.

UPDATE 0915z: No sign of Es on 10m or 6m here yet.

What a difference a day makes

Yesterday I had spotted lots of Japanese stations by now on 6m JT65. Today my only spots so far on 6m JT65 have been G stations. No Es yet on the band here.

UPDATE 1330z: Some Es now on 6m JT65.

16 Jun 2017

Long long 6m JT65 paths - what mode?

The very long paths on 6m JT65 are intriguing me. The common wisdom is these are "multi-hop sporadic E". Sorry, but I just don't believe it.

Some paths may be multi-hop Es sometimes (e.g. to Israel) but I think we are seeing some other sort of E layer propagation, maybe some sort of chordal hop? The Far East spots may be due to mesospheric cloud ionisation?

Some of the very long 6m paths may be pirates, but the Japanese spots are genuine and have occurred several times already in the last few weeks.

I am no propagation expert, but would love to hear from experts who might really know what is going on.

We are in 2017 and there are still unsolved mysteries.

What amazes me is there appears to be no-one trying to span Europe to Japan on higher VHF bands or even microwaves. This path opens every year at this time on 6m and should be possible at higher frequencies especially with big antennas and high power such as stations equipped for 23cm EME. Suitably equipped stations know where to beam, know when, know the best times. So? If you are suitably equipped set up some skeds!

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/vuhf/noctilucent  .

International QRP Day - June 17th

From Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

just remind in June 17 is International QRP Day. Keep activity on QRP
freq's  and  don't  forget about QRP Rendez-Vous on 9.00 UTC at 14060

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.

10m WSPR

Yet again, I am on 10m WSPR TX (500mW) as well as 6m JT65 transceive (1W ERP).

Sunspots and 10m - Friday June 16th 2017

Solar flux is 77 today. Sunspot number is 28 today. A=4 and K=2. 10m? Well there is plenty of Es on 10m and 6m, but no F layer propagation noted here.

Rallies this weekend

Bickershaw Village Community Club, Bickershaw Lane, Bickershaw, Wigan WN2 5TE There is car parking on site at this venue. Doors open 9am for the public and 7.30am for traders. Entry is £2.50. There are a limited number of pitches available. There will be a Bring & Buy, special interest groups and trade stands. Catering is available on site. To book call Jason, G0IZR on 01942 735 828.

Newbury Showground, next to Jcn 13 of M4, Berkshire. There is free parking on site and entry is £2.50 or £12.30 for those in the car boot area. There will be a display area of an amateur radio station, exhibits, special interest groups, clubs and societies. There is on site catering and disabled facilities. Open to sellers at 8am for set up and to the public from 9am. Advance bookings (with discount) can be made via www.nadars.org.uk/rally.asp

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

13 Japanese stations spotted today on 6m JT65

This is the best day so far this season on 6m JT65 with 13 (thirteen) different Japanese stations spotted around breakfast time today. Interesting that none at all was from Tokyo or its suburbs. Sadly, no spots of me from Japan.

I am amazed how easily I am spotting these with my poor setup here.

At the moment, I am still on 6m JT65 in beacon mode sending "B G3XBM JO02" near the top of the JT65 sub-section.

UPDATE 0932z: as well as all the Japanese spots on 6m JT65 I notice 7A7YYZ (13582km) was spotted early on 6m JT65. If genuine, this is long way on a VHF band. I have spotted different Indonesians several times, and find it hard to think they are all pirates. There were so many Japanese that I am sure Far East 6m propagation is genuine.

15 Jun 2017

Gilbert and Sullivan - NOT amateur radio

Every year, about this time, we attend a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan (Victorian comic opera) in a barn in a local village. This is an amateur cast but the performance is always first class. This year they did "Princess Ida", a work with which I was not familiar.

Sibling reunion - NOT amateur radio

For the last few days we have hosted our annual "sibling reunion" in which my wife's brothers and their wives join us. Each year, we take it in turns to act as hosts. The photo shows us in our garden earlier.

Top Band Loft Antenna

Some years ago, at the old QTH, I was looking for an easy 160m antenna, mainly for local use and WSPR. This antenna was the result. It exceeded all expectations.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/antennas/160m_loft_ant

4el 70cm yagi

Some years ago I hastily made this small yagi to use portable on 70cms. The pole is just cheap PVC pipe and the yagi made from old coat hangers. It worked well and I still have it, although it has not been used for some time.yagi,70cm

10m WSPR TX and 6m JT65 transceive

As usual, I am on 10m WSPR TX only (500mW) and 6m JT65 (1W ERP) transceive. Already there is good European Es on both bands.

UPDATE 1305z: Yet again 4X1RF (3518km) has spotted me on 6m JT65. He has done so for many seasons now.

UPDATE 1518z: I spotted a station in Kuwait earlier on 6m JT65 - 9K2GS (4641km) and supposedly S65GBD (10734km) in Singapore. I have grave doubts about this last one.

UPDATE 1630z: First Caribbean station spotted on 6m JT65 this season. WP4JCF (6830km) in Puerto Rico copied.

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday June 15th 2017

Solar flux is 75 and the sunspot number 11. A=5 and K=1. 10m? Lots of Es around already.

14 Jun 2017

Greenland on 6m JT65

OX3LX (2570km) copied me on 6m JT65 earlier this evening. As far as I remember this is the first tine I have reached Greenland on 6m.

I remember working Greenland from the garden with 2.5W SSB and a whip antenna on 10m some years ago. I am pretty sure both these were Es.

UPDATE 0754 June 15th 2017: He spotted me again late yesterday.

Sunspots and 10m - Wednesday June 14th 2017

Solar flux is 73 and the sunspot number 11. A=8 and K=1.

70cm UKAC missed

This RSGB 70cm activity contest was last night, but I had to give it a miss as we had visitors. Usually my far from ideal antenna and 5W SSB reaches the Midlands (over 100km). I use a 2m halo fed with lossy coax on 70cm. I am amazed how well this works on 70cm. Match is good, but I have no idea of the radiation pattern.

6m JT65 super DX?

Once again, I spotted a station in Indonesia on 6m JT65. 7A5FHZ (11934km) was spotted very early. I am suspicious as this is a very long way on 6m and the signal was very strong. There were quite a few Es spots around Europe.

UPDATE 1700z: The same Indonesian station was spotted at lunchtime - suspicious? I am highly doubtful.

13 Jun 2017

Old charabang - NOT amateur radio

We had some visitors who arrived at our local museum in this old coach. This is it parked outside the windmill.

The word charabanc is from French 'char-bancs', meaning a carriage with benches, so I read.

Our home is on the left in the picture.

Sunset - NOT amateur radio

In the UK we are blessed with seasons. In mid-winter it is dark at 4pm, but in mid-summer it is light until 10pm. Every season has something good about it. This shot was taken from our garden at 12 minutes to 10pm on Sunday, June 11th, 2017.

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday June 13th 2017

Solar flux is 75 today and the sunspot number remains zero. A=8 and K=2. There is Es on 10m, but no F2 propagation seen here.

Back on 6m JT65 transceive and 10m WSPR TX

Since breakfast, I have been active as usual on 10n WSPR TX (500mW) and 6m JT65 transceive (1W ERP). On 6m G spots only so far but some early Es on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 0934z: Now some Es on 6m JT65. EA5/G3XGS (1581km) has spotted me. Most 10m WSPR spots have been from Northern Europe so far.

UPDATE 1334z: although I am being widely spotted across Europe on 6m JT65, my own spots of others are not appearing on PSK Reporter Maps. Maybe it has forgotten the tick box for some reason or my internet upload is not working?

12 Jun 2017


As the DX appears to have stopped, I am about to go QRT and turn off the PC.

Bird table visitor - NOT amateur radio

Every day we get jackdaws on our bird table. They are quite big birds, but quite fun. This one is busy tucking in to kitchen scraps. We now get quite a variety of birds. I think they know there is free food on offer! The starlings love the fat balls. A refill on Saturday was totally empty on Sunday.

Wireless charging from roads - NOT amateur radio

To me, this has to be the answer to a carbonless future with regard to road vehicles. Southgate News reports on trials in France and Israel where the road has embedded wireless charging for road vehicles. This means smaller, lighter, batteries in the vehicles, a longer battery life, and greater range.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2017/june/roads-with-built-in-wireless-charging.htm#.WT5ai7pFzmQ

Sunspots and 10m - Monday June 12th 2017

Solar flux is 75 today and the sunspot number remains zero. A=17 and K=2. There is Es on 10m and 6m.

10m WSPR (TX) and 6m JT65 (RX)

At the moment I am on the above modes and bands. If WSJT-X V1.7 and PSK Reporter Maps support JT9E, I may give this mode a try on 6m later on 50.290MHz.

UPDATE 1028z: Best DX on 6m JT65 RX is S65KXA (10734km) in Singapore. No Far East  (Japan, Korea etc.) spotted today.

UPDATE 1145z: 12 unique 10m WSPR spots of my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon today so far.

UPDATE 1720z: After a brief period on JT9E on 6m (nothing) I have returned to 6m JT65 transceive where I have been received across Europe by Es.

11 Jun 2017

Same old stations on 10m WSPR

Unlike 6m JT65 where I frequently spot new stations and get spotted by new stations, in general my 10m 500mW TX beacon signal is received by the same European stations. The level of WSPR activity on 10m is definitely lower than 6m JT65. I only use 10m WSPR TX as this uses a different rig and antenna.

Out of choice, if I had to make one, I'd choose 6m JT65 in the Es season.

Hedge cutting - NOT amateur radio

Our laurel hedge in our front garden needs cutting several times a year to keep it in check. It makes a nice barrier, but we don't want it too high.

I swept up several wheel barrows of clippings. The photos shows me flicking the cuttings from the top of the hedge onto the grass.

As you can see, that 200 year old windmill really is "next door".

Poor Mrs May - NOT amateur radio

For a start, I was one of the many millions in the UK who did not vote for Mrs May (UK Prime minister) and the Conservatives. It looks like the rich are richer and the poor poorer under her party. This is wrong. If we are to have austerity let us all share the pain. As for a working alliance with the Democratic Unionists (DUP) in Northern Ireland, I am sure this will go down in history as a mistake.

To be fair, many expected a landslide with the Conservatives winning a big, clear, majority.  Instead, we ended up with a hung parliament and Mrs May hanging on by a whisker.  Most people rejected her autocratic style.

In some way I feel sorry for her. A week ago she could do no wrong, whereas now she is vilified.

Who knows what the future holds? It will be several years before the dust settles,  but beware any party that ignores the people it serves.

Oh, we still await a true charismatic leader in any UK party.

New near real time propagation tools

My thanks to Southgate News for bringing this to my attention.

Jim Bacon, G3YLA has a new propagation tool, which is worth linking. Jim does the TV weather in East Anglia, and is a well regarded Es expert.

See http://www.convectiveweather.co.uk/ionosphere/index.php

That letter Y - NOT amateur radio

Many many years ago I attended Salcombe Boy's Club. This was back in the 1950s when I was still very young. We played indoor sports followed by a brief religious service taken by 2 very kind men.

It is funny how some things stick even 60 years later. One of these was Mr Putt telling us how life was like the letter Y. The Y has two ends at the top, like life: you frequently have to choose a direction to go in. Often there is an easier path and a more difficult one. Often I reflect and wonder what would have happened had I followed a different path in life. This is a theme I have mentioned before.

What if I had gone to a different university or no university at all? What if I had got poor grades at A level? What if I had changed jobs and moved? What if I did that PhD that I turned down? I guess we can never know. Life is filled with such Y moments, but we do not realise it at the time. Perhaps in a multiverse we do take every path, but are only aware of one?

QRP and QRP Club

More news from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous Report (June, 11, 2017)
Visitors  of  the  week:  UR0ET,  US5ERQ, US3EN, UA0SBQ, UF6V/UA1CEX,
New Visitors: DJ9DX, YO6ZH - you are welcome!
See full Visitors and Frequenters list on the Club 72 web page
Enjoy some pictures...
see  full version of the WQR Report with comments and pictures on the
blog page - http://qrp-club72.blogspot.ru/
See you on te next weekly QRP Rendez-Vous!

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.

10m and 6m

As usual, I am on 6m JT65 and 10m WSPR TX. There is Es on both bands.

UPDATE 1700z:  A45XR (5796km) in Oman is the best DX on 6m JT65 RX today so far. I am convinced there are far more people now using this mode on 6m. Conditions for Es may be better this year, but I am sure the (great) levels of JT65 6m activity are helping.

UPDATE 2105z: 10m WSPR TX now QRT and RX only on 6m JT65.

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday June 11th 2017

Solar flux is 74 today. Sunspot number is zero again. A=4 and K=2. There is Es on 10m and 6m, but no signs of F2 propagation DX.

10 Jun 2017


As on previous mornings, I am on 10m WSPR TX (500mW) with my stand-alone WSPR beacon. Plenty of EU spots, but no spots from further afield.

Es better this year?

The impression I am getting is that this Es season is better than the last one. Certainly, I seem to be copying more on 6m JT65 than last year.

What do you think?

Yet more stroke artefacts - NOT amateur radio

Yet another after-effect of my 2013 stroke is that I am less able to see spelling errors. In the past I'd just look at a word and know the spelling was wrong. These days I find it much harder to see these. It is as if my brain is functioning differently.

Also, I drive slower than in the past and worry more in general. Stroke (?), although I am getting older anyway.

Inference is different too, often seeing potential dangers that others miss. What is hard to tell is, "is this real?".

Even nearly 4 years after the stroke, I still have effects - I still feel giddy on my feet, thin liquids are a problem and my voice is poor. I get tired easily too.

Rallies this Sunday

Bowls Hall Alfreton Leisure Centre, Church Street, Alfreton DE55 7BD Contact rally secretary for further details on 01159 307 322

11 JUNE 2017 : EAST SUFFOLK WIRELESS REVIVAL (Ipswich Radio Rally)
NEW VENUE: Kirton Recreation Ground, Back Road, Kirton. IP10 0PW just off the A14. Doors open at 9:30, free car parking, entry fee £2. There will be trade stands, car boot sale, Bring & Buy, Special interests groups, GB4SWR HF station and an RSGB bookstall. Catering is available on site. Contact Kevin, G8MXV,0771 0046 846 www.eswr.org.uk

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

Sunspots and 10m - Saturday June 10th 2017

Solar flux is 73 today and the sunspot number zero. A=5 and K=1. There is widespread 10m and 6m Es, but no signs here of F2 DX on 10m.

6m JT65

This morning, I am again on 6m JT65 receive after a very brief transceive period (1W ERP). Best DX so far are Israel, Jordan JY9FC (3650km) and Bahrain A92GE (5068km).

UPDATE 1022z: Although I see some EU stations are working JAs on 6m this morning, I spotted none today. I guess they have better gear or the propagation was right for them.

Amateur radio prices

Just now, I received an email from MLS giving details of their "something for the weekend" special offers. Now I appreciate that dealers have to make a profit - after all, this is their business - but I remain amazed by some of the prices. All dealers are similar, so I am not singling out MLS.

For example, one HF antenna sells for £409 when the manufacturing cost is unlikely to be more than £10, especially if made in China. Someone is making a huge profit. Of course, dealers sell for the prices we are prepared to pay. Reasonable is fine, but rip-offs are not. More fool us for playing the game.

In 20 years many dealers will be gone. Those that remain should be those that provide a good service, make reasonable profits and do not rip off their customers. Any dealer that rips off customers deserves to fail.

Low cost amateur radio

As many of you know I am a miser who does not like spending money on amateur radio. My ethos has always been to get the most for the least money. If I do spend real money, it is an investment that has to last years. My FT817 is almost 17 years old!

Perhaps this is one reason why I have always liked QRP: gear is low cost to make and every contact gives you a sense of pride, especially if home made. I hope you can take some inspiration from the various projects on my main website.

See http://www.g3xbm.co.uk . Drill down on each page to find all the various projects.

ARRL book about JT65 and JT9

There is an ARRL book on the digital modes JT65 and JT9. These are among my favourite modes and ideally suited to QRP. I have used JT9 on bands up to 10m. I have used JT65 on bands up to 6m.

See http://www.arrl.org/shop/Work-the-World-with-JT65-and-JT9/ .

At the moment there is a special ARRL deal so you get this book free when you buy a new ARRL Handbook.

9 Jun 2017

6m to the USA (again)

JT65 is proving useful for finding brief Es openings on 6m. In the last hour WN5LUF (6886km) in Missouri just appeared and disappeared. Maybe others will appear and maybe not. Earlier in the day a station in New England just came and went on 6m JT65.

Although you might expect 10m WSPR to be better, I seem to get better results on 6m JT65. This could be down to antennas, although there seems to be more activity on 6m JT65 than 10m WSPR.

New 6m yagi


Although I have copied JA for 3 days on the trot on 6m JT65 I see InnoVAntennas want you to part with lots of money. Here I just have a triband omni vertical fed with lossy CB coax and an FT817.

Don't believe hype. You can enjoy the hobby spending very little.

OK, I agree that a big yagi may help, but I seem to do fine with a very modest station.

See http://www.innovantennas.com/antennas-a-accesories/on-line-shop/view/productdetails/virtuemart_product_id/507/virtuemart_category_id/3.html

If I erected the MONSTER shown on the Southgate News page my neighbours would have a fit! No, you can enjoy the hobby much more modestly. Each to their own, but to me this is not amateur radio.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2017/june/lfa-3-third-generation-lfa-yagi-make-ja-possible-on-6m.htm#.WTp

If I wanted to talk to the USA and Japan why not use Skype?

Sunspots and 10m - Friday June 9th 2017

Solar flux is 72 today and the sunspot number 12. A=4 and K=1.

Plenty of 10m Es about, although I have not received any F layer reports of my 500mW 10m WSPR.

QRP and QRP Club

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

op. Wolf DK1HW became Club 72 member.
His membership certificate # 98. You are welcome Wolf!
Who's next?

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.

Back on 6m JT65 (but higher up the segment)

Earlier this morning, I returned to 6m JT65 (transceive - 1W ERP) but I have moved slightly higher to avoid causing local issues. There is a lot of Es and my signal has been widely copied in Europe. Last night Canada was copied on 6m JT65 in the form of VE3DS (5711km). As yet, no Far East stations received on 6m JT65: yesterday it was a bit later that they came through.

UPDATE 1052z: Both Israel and Bahrain spotted on 6m JT65 RX, but nothing from the Far East today. A92GE (5068km) is currently to best RX DX on 6m this morning.

QRP and QRP Club

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

welcome all QRP operators to play the game "Fir'n'Sticks" in Saturday and  Sunday.  Two  periods of 4 hours each. You can play in the Field or/and  Home  categories. 20 and 40 m around QRP freq's any modes you like.  It's  not  a  contest,  no  points-winners.  There are lot of nominations for Field and Home gamers. No contest logs but complete the declaration form only. See exactly rules on the Club 72 web page, please - club72.su
Keep humor sense and enjoy QRP!

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

8 Jun 2017

6m JT65 QSY

Some locals have complained that my beacon mode "B G3XBM JO02" transmissions are causing some local issues, so I have QSYed a little further up the band when not looking for 2-way contacts.

I use beacon mode so that I can look on PSK reporter maps to see where I am reaching. I do not use this beacon unattended. At the same time, I do not want to cause anyone problems. At the moment, I am RX only on 6m JT65.

Rally this Saturday in N.Ireland

Muckamore Community Centre, Ballycraigy Road, Antrim, Co.Antrim , BT41 2DH.  Doors open 12.30 to 5pm with sellers gaining access from 12 noon. Entry is £2 for buyers and a table charge for sellers is £5. Refreshments available to purchase and a raffle will be drawn.

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

Japan (again) and South Korea on 6m JT65 this morning

For the third morning in a row Japan was again coming in on 6m JT65. Today there were 10 Japanese stations copied! Also a couple of South Koreans. Amazing conditions for a VHF band! All this was around 0830-1000z.

There was also a spot of C3NY/UM0NGN, but I was not sure if this was Andorra or Turkmenistan!

The best DX on 6m JT65 RX was 9495km - quite an incredible distance for a VHF band.

Broadband interference?

If you were thinking of complaining to OFCOM about broadband noise you may want to think again.

See http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2017/06/ofcom-finds-no-evidence-claims-interference-vdsl-broadband.html

The fact that our HF noise floor is gradually getting worse is of little concern to OFCOM. Only money matters sadly. In the UK the amateur radio service is unimportant.

6m JT65

This morning I am again on 6m JT65 transceive (currently in beacon mode) running 1W ERP. There is already Es on the band, with spots on RX and TX from all over Europe.

No Japanese stations copied here on 6m JT65 today. Last night, 6m opened to the USA with 8 unique USA stations spotted on 6m JT65. Japanese stations were spotted on 6m JT65 both yesterday and the day before.

10m WSPR

As usual, I am on 10m WSPR TX with my 500mW WSPR beacon.

Yesterday was quite productive on 10m WSPR TX  with 42 unique spots in the last day (see photo).

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday June 8th 2017

Already there is Es on 10m and 6m. No 10m F2 seen here on 10m yesterday.

Today, the solar flux is 74 and the sunspot number 13. A=4 and K=0.

UK General Election today: VOTE - NOT amateur radio

This is your chance to back the candidate of your choice. Whatever your political persuasion, I urge you to use your vote. Voting is private, so only you know the person for whom you voted.

7 Jun 2017

General Election in the UK tomorrow - NOT amateur radio

Whatever your political views you have a democratic right to vote for the candidate of your choice. A vote not used is just wasted. Use it, please.

Even if your choice does not get elected, it tells the others of your support.

10m WSPR

My 500mW 10m WSPR beacon is on TX again. So far just one spot received from IU1DZZ (973km).

UPDATE 1424z: Although there is Es right across Europe, I get the feeling there is less than yesterday? 13 unique spots of my 500mW so far. All Europeans.

UPDATE 1644z: 23 unique spots so far with best DX SQ2DMX (1268km).

Japan again copied on 6m JT65

Although not reported to PSK reporter maps I again spotted Japan on 6m JT65 this morning when JH6VXP (-23dB S/N) was copied calling a European at 0749z. There is plenty of European Es on 6m this morning as well as 4X4.

UPDATE 1420z:  Although there is reasonable amount of Es on 6m JT65, I think there is a bit less than yesterday.

UPDATE 2126z: 6m JT65 has opened to the USA this evening after an excellent Es day. My 1W ERP JT65 was widely copied across Europe.

Sunspots and 10m - Wednesday June 7th 2017

Solar flux is 76 today and the sunspot number 18. A=5 and K=2.

OFCOM updates

OFCOM has provided an update on the things it does.

See http://ofcom.cmail20.com/t/ViewEmail/i/7BF7162766734776/59D1BD3EA2F08127C67FD2F38AC4859C

6 Jun 2017

Finding gold? - NOT amateur radio

A lovely photo taken by our son earlier.

2m UKAC activity contest this evening

From the RSGB:

This is an automated message, please do not reply to this email address.
You registered for an RSGB Contest Alert 2 hours before the 144MHz UKAC.

This contest takes place on Tue 6-Jun-2017 19:00 UTC

The rules for the contest can be found here

You can list/edit your contest alerts here



UPDATE 2000z: 5 QSOs before I had to go QRT because of my poor voice.

Amateur satellites

I'm all my time, I have only ever had one QSO via an amateur satellite. Back in the 1970s I recall the thrill of hearing SSB from the USA on 2m via Oscar 6 and 7, fleetingly.  Some people love working stations through satellite transponders. I see from Southgate News that one station is close to DXCC via satellites.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2017/june/dxcc-needs-on-the-birds.htm#.WTaS97pFzIU .

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday June 6th 2017

Solar flux is 78 today and the sunspot number 22. A=5 and K=1. There has been good Es propagation on 10m and 6m today. As for F2 over the equator, we'll see later.

Another pirate on 6m JT65?

A station in Georgia (nr Russia) was recently spotted on 6m JT65. This had a very odd call, so this was, I think, either a false decode or a pirate.


13 unique WSPR spots of my 500mW beacon on 10m so far, all European and presumably Es.

UPDATE 1838z: Best DX report today on 10m WSPR TX (500mW) is by FY5KE (7110km) in French Guiana, South America. Es?

First JAs this season on 6m JT65

Copied a couple of Japanese stations early this morning on 6m JT65, first this season - JA5FFJ (9453km) and JG3QZN (9388km). Openings on 6m to Japan from Europe happen at this time of year. One possibility is E layer ionisation by mesospheric clouds which form high up at this time of year in the north. See my web page on this at https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/vuhf/noctilucent .  W was widely spotted throughout Europe by Es on 6m JT65 this morning (1W ERP).

I am sure there is more JT65 activity these days. It is better than CW. With PSK reporter maps (you need to check you WSJT-X v1.7 settings) you can see where you are reaching and the stations you are receiving.

A spot of a South American earlier on 6m JT65 was probably a pirate (unusual time), although it is just possible by Es.

5 Jun 2017

IC7300 and a slow death?

Recently, Rob Sherwood gave an interesting video presentation on disruptive technology in our hobby. In it he quoted the number of ICOM IC7300 transceivers sold in the first year. If I recall correctly, 11000 (ish) were sold in year one. Apparently, this is good. If the IC7300 SDR based radio sold this number, I'd guess Yaesu and Kenwood sold far fewer of their units.

Incidentally, when I was involved in radio pager design in the late 1990s, we made this number in one day!

As we get older, we can expect the numbers to fall away. People die and fewer new rigs get sold. In the end the Japanese manufacturers will decide it is just not worth their while as the profit margins are too small. Expect progressively fewer new models as the years go forward.

OK, in some countries there are younger people entering the hobby, but certainly here in the UK amateur radio is an old mans hobby and in 20-30 years we'll be gone.

One thing we'll see is cost cutting. There will be a move to SDR technology, as this will allow good performance for less money.

Expect dealers to dwindle and there to be fewer radio magazines. The hobby will be quite different in 2040.

Once again, I am grateful to Southgate News for this link.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2017/june/disruptive-technologies.htm#.WTVAW7pFzIU .

New microwave records

Southgate News reports on new microwave distance records in the UK on high microwave bands.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2017/june/new-122ghz-and-24ghz-uk-distance-records.htm#.WTUZ5LpFzIU .

Sunspots and 10m - Monday June 5th 2017

Solar flux is 77 today and the sunspot number 23. A=3 and K=2. Plenty of Es about on 10m and 6m.

10m WSPR TX and 6m JT65 transceive

As usual, I am on 10m WSPR TX (500mW, 100%) and 6m JT65 transceiver (1W ERP). There is Es on both bands.

UPDATE 1015z:  Best DX so far on 6m JT65 RX is EA8DBM (3015km).

UPDATE 1625z: Best DX on 10m WSPR TX is SM2BYC (2015km). On 6m JT65 I have supposedly received my 3rd Indonesian, 7A7YYZ (13582km), although I am a bit suspicious of these spots. They seem a very long way.

UPDATE 1956z: Although not showing up on my PSK reporter map, maybe I lost internet connectivity (?) but WP2B was copied around 30 minutes ago. I think this is the Virgin Is in the Caribbean.