31 Aug 2017

Rainbow's End - NOT amateur radio

After a great day with the grandchildren including a picnic, this evening we had thunder and lightning. Once the storm had passed we were treated to a double rainbow. One end was on our museum and the other on a bungalow called "Rainbow's End". Pure coincidence.

Hackers? - NOT amateur radio

Blog numbers were way above normal yesterday, indicating possible "probing" for vulnerabilities. It will be interesting to see if numbers remain high today. Certainly visits from the usual suspect country are up.

Normally, if I think there is any danger, I change my password. So far, I have not been hacked.

QRT - storm risk

Today there was a risk of thunderstorms, so I decided not to turn the rigs on and leave everything disconnected.

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

UPDATE 1640z: The storms are currently 5 miles NW of here and it has started to rain.

Hamfest and GQRP Convention this weekend

Enginuity Technology Centre, Coalbrookdale, Telford, Shrops. Combined social, Buildathon, guest speakers and Radio Rally. www.telfordhamfest.co.uk
A list of rallies can be found at http://rsgb.org/main/news/rallies/

Sunspots - Thursday August 31st 217

Solar flux is 87 today. Sunspot number is 42. A=5 and K=2.

30 Aug 2017

Es propagation late in the season

It is very easy to generalise, but my experience is that 10m openings to more northerly stations become more common later in the season. If this is statistically significant (and I could be wrong) I have absolutely no idea why this should be so. As an example, there have been lots of 10m WSPR spots from the Faeroe Islands, Denmark and Germany today, but few from southern Europe.

Am I wrong? Have others seen this?

October QRP days for your diaries

From Oleg:

"Dear QRPers,
keep in your diaries the period of October 4 to 17.
This is a Sputnik QRPp Activity Days.
- Sputnik
recommend  to  use  old  type  valves (preferably 1950-60-th), output
recommend  1  watt  or  less.  Series of "beep-beep-beep..." required
before or after transmission session;
- Vanguard
recommend  to  use  simplest  TX  with  Ge old type p-n-p transistors
(1950-60-th),  output  recommend 100 mW or less. Series of "V V V..."
required for identification;
they must to log any TX sessions of Sputnik/Vanguard. High profile to
use  old type receivers (50-60-th produced) or home made RXs with old
type components;
Beacon  TXs accepted as Sputnik/Vanguard, identifications "beep-beep"
or "V V V" required.
Every  day  log  send to the "Center of Deep Space Communications" to
duty operator "mr72" :-) The each days totals will be published on the
Club 72 page daily.
Memorable  certificates of "Cosmonaut" or "Astronaut" will be sent to
each participants.
See  full  rules  on  the  Club  72  page, please. Last years results
with comments/pictures available on the page.
We have enough time before Sputnik Days. Turn-on your solder irons and
melt the solder. Enjoy and good luck!

Wish you all the best, 72!
Oleg "Mr. 72" RV3GM / KH6OB"

Iceland - NOT amateur radio

Some years ago now we visited Iceland and were surprised just how beautiful it was. The photo shows where the first Icelandic parliament was held. I think this was 960AD.  This is on a fault line. There were lupins everywhere.

10m WSPR TX (Wednesday)

After several days now of decent Es on 10m, we are due for a quiet few days this late in the season. As usual, I am on 10m WSPR TX (500mW) ever hopeful.

UPDATE 0848z: Lots of Es spots by OY1OF (1164km) and some of his reports were very strong.

UPDATE 0950z: 3 unique spots so far this morning of my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon. Best DX is currently EA1KV (1304km).

UPDATE 1218z: Lots of Es again, with 7 unique 10m WSPR spots so far.

UPDATE  1345z: Now 13 unique spots of my little 500mW 10m WSPR beacon today.

Reach - NOT amateur radio

Our nearest village is Reach. This has no shops, one pub owned at one time by the villagers and is at the end of an earthwork built about 1400 years ago called the Devil's Dyke. At one time it was an important Fenland port. It still has one of the oldest fairs in the land opened by the mayor of Cambridge. The village green (shown in the photo) is in the centre of the village.

Just how do they do it?

The Banggood portable BF-UV8D retails on eBay for just  £14.25 with free shipping to the UK from China. In all honesty, just how can anyone compete?

This is a 5W RF 400-480MHz transceiver and comes complete with charger, back clip, antenna and battery. If I was Yaesu, Icom and Kenwood I'd throw in the towel now. Once the Chinese really wake up, the Japanese manufacturers have no chance of surviving. The Japanese will be driven more and more to niche markets, then die. I cannot see them staying around in the amateur market for too long.

At the moment the Japanese have quality on their side, but the Chinese will soon be as good. At the moment it seems everything, just about, is made in China. Recently I bought some Olympus binoculars - these said "Made in China". The Chinese seem to be able to make most things at prices that simply cannot be matched.

20 years from now we'll be living in a very different world.

You can buy a 433MHz module for just over £1 with free shipping from China!!

They make profits too, so how do they do it?

Drone - NOT amateur radio

Last night we had a drone above our house. I think it was taking photos of "our" windmill next door. I have mixed feelings about drones. They allow some very good photos and videos to be taken, but their uncontrolled use could be dangerous. Personally, I am in favour of some sort of licence.

UPDATE 0840z: Apparently the drone was inspecting the windmill sails (next door) to make sure they are safe.

6m FT8

It seems obvious to me that FT8 has become the de facto mode for digital QSOs on 6m. Bandwidth is narrow, it is better than CW and QSOs can be fast. Once again, I am monitoring 6m FT8 RX in the hope of catching some Es.

UPDATE 0838z: Best DX already is IZ7FLP (1840km) by Es.

UPDATE 0906z: Already 6m FT8 is going great with 6 countries spotted with the best DX being SV9RGI (2776km) on Crete. Yet again, good early Es.

Sunspots - Wednesday August 30th 2017

Solar flux is 85 today. The sunspot number is 35. A=10 and K=1.

29 Aug 2017

QRT on all bands

The big plug was pulled at 1925z and I went QRT on all bands until the morning. In the end, Es was good yet again on both 10m WSPR and 6m FT8, even though it is late in the season.

September swifts? - NOT amateur radio

Last night (when in the garden) I saw several house martins and one solitary swift. I must admit, I have not really looked today, as yet.

September swifts? Unlikely, but you never know. I guess an odd straggler is just possible. Further south and west is more possible than here in East Anglia.

Sloes - NOT amateur radio

Yesterday we did a walk through nearby Reach Woods. These sloes were seen against a clear blue sky with temperatures around 28 degrees C.

Some people use these to make sloe gin.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/sloegin_7722 .

Es - on and on?

It seems that this Es season does not want to end. We are nearly at the end of August and there is still good Es on 10m and 6m. Maybe WSPR and FT8 are showing up shorter and weaker openings? For a long time I have said these weak signal modes are helpful. Maybe they are helping to effectively lengthen the Es season?

Sunspots - Tuesday August 29th 2017

Solar flux is 82 today and the sunspot number 17. A=4 and K=2.

6m FT8

Since before breakfast I have been on 6m FT8 RX, apart from a very brief spell calling CQ before breakfast. The only spots on RX so far have been G and northern France and all could have been by aircraft reflection.

UPDATE 1118z: Es from Bavaria, southern Germany, spotted on 6m FT8 DL7AV (923km).

UPDATE 1802z: 6 countries spotted on 6m FT8 in the last 12 hours, most Es.


Since just before breakfast I have been on 10m WSPR TX with my little W5OLF 500mW beacon. So far the only spot was from I3WXX (1090km).

UPDATE 1122z: 6 unique spots on 10m WSPR so far. All look like Es.

UPDATE 1804z: 10 unique spots on 10m WSPR so far. Another decent Es day on 10m WSPR. Spots as far apart as Italy and Denmark.

UPDATE 1922z: With 97 spots in total today on 10m WSPR, it is now time to go QRT.

28 Aug 2017

10m Simple Sideband

Yes, you read correctly - simple sideband, not single sideband.

For some time, I have had in my mind a very simple 10m rig. Sadly, my stroke got in the way, so this has not progressed. Such a rig would be ideal for Es and, certainly here in the UK, most of Europe should be workable with a simple antenna. At some point, I'd like to complete this. Maybe someone else already has.

A few years ago, the whole world would have been workable. Sadly with declining conditions, this is far less likely now on 10m. May, June and July are the best months for Es (sporadic-E) in the northern hemisphere. Of course, there is nothing stopping you work local SSB stations at any time.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/hf/10msimple_sb .

Ultra-low cost 70cm handheld

When I looked yesterday they were just £10 each with free shipping to the UK from Hong Kong. It has just gone up a few pounds. It is by Banggood and called the BF-T1.

The Moon - NOT amateur radio

This was the view of the Moon when we had tea in the garden yesterday. It seems incredible that man walked on the Moon in 1969, a year before I started work! Now, I have been retired for 9 years!

6m FT8 RX

Yet again, I am on 6m FT8 RX. Yesterday was fantastic on 6m with lots of Es propagation around Europe. I thought the Es season was winding down. If so, it is going out with a bang.

UPDATE 0952z: A promising start with several spots of stations in southern and eastern Europe. Could today be as good as yesterday?

UPDATE 1945z: Lots of Es in the last 12 hours on 6m FT8. Now gone QRT.

Sunspots - Monday August 28th 2017

Solar flux is 77 today and the sunspot number 22. A=10 and K=1.


As usual, I am on 10m with my 500mW WSPR beacon. There is no way I can match yesterday with 37 unique spots, mostly Es from right across Europe. Even though it is now very late in the Es season, yesterday was probably one of the best days for Es this year.

UPDATE 0952z:  Well, there were Es spots of me way into the night (0022z) and today has already seen lots of spots of my 500mW WSPR beacon. Promising.

UPDATE 1450z: So far today, 14 unique spots of my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon.

27 Aug 2017

Region 1 IARU Conference near Munich

Southgate News reports on the IARU Region 1 Conference in Germany next month. I hope they discuss a 4m allocation in Region 1 . At one time there was talk of CEPT countries recommending a 4m allocation, although I cannot remember what became of this.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2017/august/24th-iaru-region-1-general-conference.htm#.WaMOk7pFzmI

Fontenay Abbey, France - NOT amateur radio

Some years ago, we visited this abbey. It is in a wooded valley and is very beautiful. It is located in Burgundy, France. If you are going this way, it is well worth a visit. Of course, Burgundy has other attractions too, like wines!

See http://www.abbayedefontenay.com/en/

6m FT8 RX

There is no doubt that this mode is now very popular. Having been on 6m FT8 RX for a couple of hours, I have spotted stations all over Europe by Es.

UPDATE 0925z: 15 countries already spotted on 6m FT8 today, mostly via Es.

UPDATE 1638z: Quite incredible Es on 6m FT8 today so far. This looks more like 20m!


My little 500mW 10m WSPR beacon has been on since before breakfast. It has already been spotted all over Europe. A good Es day this late in the season.

UPDATE 0920z: 15 unique spots so far, which is very good. Some reports are massive too e.g. I3WXX (1090km) at +5dB S/N. Es today is very good.

UPDATE 1634z: With 38 unique spots today so far on 10m WSPR, today has been one of the best Es days all season. The Es season is not dead yet!

UPDATE 1735z: Now 39 unique spots today on 10m WSPR making this a very good Es day on the band.

Sunspots - Sunday August 27th 2017

Solar flux is 78 today and the sunspot number 35. A=5 and K=1.

QRP and QRP Club

Oleg's usual report:

Weekly QRP Report (August, 27, 2017)
QRP Rendez-Vous visitors of the week:
MRP visitors:
UY1IF (W1), RV3GM (W3), F5SSI (W3), RU3NJC (W3), UR5FA (1W), ON6KZ (W3)
Welcome new RV visitors - UR3UM, DL7JO, EA2BH, 4O4A, RZ4AH, S59GI
IV3RJH, OH3GZ, DJ0MEW became Honor Frequenters (regular visitors)
See full Frequenters and Visitors lists on the Club 72 page, please.
Some comments and pictures...
see  full WQR version including a lot of comments and pictures on the
blog page - https://qrp-club72.blogspot.ru/

Pay attention, please!
For  all  active  QRP  operators, for all Rendez-Vous and Micro Radio
Parade  Frequenters and Visitors, for all simplest radio constructors
and milliwatt operators - new "72" e-mail reflector and on-line group
created. To enter the "72" group send empty e-mail to address -
See the group on-line -
Also visit page "QRP 14.060" in the Facebook

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.

26 Aug 2017

Late, late swifts - NOT amateur radio

Quite unexpectedly, a couple of swifts were seen in the sky above us as we ate tea in the garden this evening. Also, some young swallows were seen, but usually these are around for few more weeks, whereas most swifts have already gone south.

It would not (now) entirely surprise me to see swifts in early September. A few weeks ago I'd have said impossible.

Late summer day - NOT amateur radio

Today was a lovely, warm, late summer day. We had lunch in the garden and did a few gardening jobs later.

I like the seasons: they all have something good about them. The summer flowers are past their best, but soon we'll have the glorious colours of autumn.
This year our crab apple tree is filled with crab apples. Usually a friend of my wife turns them in to delicious crab apple jelly.

House Martins - NOT amateur radio

This year, we seem to have had plenty of swifts (now gone south) but fewer swallows and house martins. Mind you, we saw lots of house martins (100+ ?) at Castle Acre yesterday. A few more weeks and these will be off too.

The house martins were in the air and resting on the roof on the left. I hope you can make them out in the photo. You may have to click the photo.

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

Sunspots - Saturday August 26th 2017

Solar flux is 81 today and the sunspot number 39. A=5 and K=1.

Rally on Bank Holiday Monday

Ernulf Academy, Barford Road, St Neots PE19 2SH. Doors open at 7am for traders and 9am for the public. Admission is £3 with free parking. Catering including hot meals and drinks are available on site. There will be an RSGB bookstall. More from Malcolm, M0OLG on 01480 214 282 or by email to events@hunts-hams.co.uk

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

6m FT8 RX

After a rather disappointing evening on 472kHz WSPR with just PA3ABK/2 (306km) spotted, I have returned to 6m FT8 RX. So far, 3 stations spotted - a couple of Gs and one station in northern France. The latter could well have been aircraft reflection.

UPDATE 2125z: Quite a good Es day as the photo shows. Surprisingly good really.

25 Aug 2017

Back on 472kHz WSPR RX

I have moved to 472kHz WSPR RX having been on 50.280MHz MSK144 RX most of the day. Last evening results were far better than I expected on MF with my compromise antenna.

UPDATE 2015z: Just PA3ABK/2 (306km) spotted so far.

Rally this Sunday

The Irish Centre, Fenny Stratford, Bletchley MK2 2HX (opposite Dobbies) Doors open at 10am. Contact is Tim Cowell, G6GEI on 07976 262 497 or email renegade62@hotmail.co.uk

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

Castle Acre Priory, Norfolk - NOT amateur radio

Castle Acre is a jewel. It is an oasis of calm. The priory there dates back to Norman times, but was sacked in the reign of King Henry VIII.

Sadly, many of the world's treasures have been lost forever by the people of today thinking they know best. However much we may hate some things, we have no right to destroy them. They should remain so that future generations can make up their minds, not have them decided for them.

Last evening on 630m WSPR RX

Well, I was amazed. My antenna was just the feeder to my 2m big-wheel with a mains earth. In all 7  unique stations were spotted with the best DX EA5DOM (1525km). And this was despite my S8 noise floor!

Sunspots - Friday August 25th 2017

Solar flux is 80 today and the sunspot number 43. A=11 and K=1.

6m MSK144 (50.280MHz)

As the Es season is drawing to a close, I am monitoring 6m MSK144. So far this morning, just EA1YV (1320km) spotted.

24 Aug 2017

First steps again on 630m WSPR RX

As the autumn and winter are approaching, I've made my first tentative steps back on to 630m (472kHz) WSPR RX.

What I had forgotten was the high noise level on RX from my PC's charger. In addition to this, I seem to have a very high external noise level too now.

For now, the PC is on battery power and I have loaded up my coax to my 2m big-wheel. This is far from ideal. We'll see if this gets any spots this evening.

UPDATE 1930z: M0FMT (51km) is my first 630m WSPR spot this autumn. Despite all the noise, it works! Currently, my 630m noise is reading S8.

UPDATE 2034z: GM3YXM (425km) just copied on 630m WSPR.

UPDATE 2112z: So far, with a very indifferent set-up, 4 unique spots this evening so far on 630m WSPR.

No Es today?

As far as I am aware, today is the first day in many months in which no Es has been spotted here on 10m and 6m. OK there is still time for an opening, but at the moment it seems unlikely. This points to the end of what has been a good Es season.

As I have said many times, we will still get Es openings, but far less often. Also, people hungry for easy QSOs, will go lower down the spectrum. Even I expect to start on 630m shortly.

Sadly, I think we have seen the best of Es until next spring. There is a smaller peak around New Year and there will be the occasional openings at other times too.

With F layer DX getting much rarer than a few years ago on 10m, we will have to seek other ways of DXing on the higher bands. FT8 seems a good mode and I have been impressed how much DX can be copied on 6m MSK144 via meteors at any part of the solar cycle. My 6m antenna is just a V2000 omni vertical fed via cheap CB coax. I think I have copied European DX on 6m every time I have tried 6m MSK144.

Migration - NOT amateur radio

Personally, I have no problem with the UK (or for that matter any country) deciding who can live, learn or work here. We are a tiny, overcrowded island. We will still want people to come here to study and work, but we should have the last word, not the EU.

By the way, I voted to "remain" in the EU in the referendum last year. Personally I think most "leave" voters were worried about this issue rather than anything else. Dare I say many who voted "leave" were rather simple minded and just wanted the UK of the 1950s back again? Sorry, this is NOT going to happen, ever.

According to official figures out today, net migration is lower but still way above government targets.

Blip? - NOT amateur radio

Against most currencies, the UK Pound has appreciated today so far. OK the UK Pound had fallen in recent days. It remains to be seen whether this is a blip.


Yet again, I am on 10m WSPR TX (500mW) although I have received no spots so far. I have been active since before breakfast. I shall keep plugging away.

UPDATE 1133z: Still no 10m WSPR spots so far.

UPDATE 1328z: Still no 10m WSPR spots here all day. Es mainly over?

6m FT8 today

So far, just M0AAX (94km) spotted on 6m FT8, with no signs of early Es. This could have been aircraft reflection.

UPDATE 1135z: 3 G spots so far and no Es.

Sunspots - Thursday August 24th 2017

Solar flux is 85 today and the sunspot number 40. A=25 and K=3.

Definitely the end of the Es season

It comes and goes, but there is little doubt in my mind that the main Es season in the Northern Hemisphere has ended. Openings are still occurring, but Es is less common now than a few months ago.

23 Aug 2017

QRT on all bands and thoughts of MF

At about 1930z I decided to go QRT on all bands.

It will soon be time to return to 472kHz WSPR. This autumn and winter I may concentrate on 472kHz RX and for this I need a better antenna. G3WCB, who moved to South Devon when he retired, has had good results with a small loop. Ideas!

Wrong? - NOT amateur radio

Many times I have said that I am most definitely not a financial expert.

My gut told me that the UK Pound would appreciate against the Euro. At the moment the exchange rate is worse than at any time in the last year. So, if you followed my advice you would be completely wrong! I am only going on gut feelings.

My gut still tells me that I will be right, but only time will tell.

Quiet Coffee - NOT amateur radio

Whilst my wife was busy spending, I opted for a coffee and sandwich in a Bury-St-Edmunds bookshop café reading one of the mags I'd just bought on a market stall.

Grumpy old man syndrome - NOT amateur radio

As I get older I seem to be less tolerant of stupid "jobs worth" people. I have several examples.
  • The driver of a Cambridge Park and Ride bus who refused to take a £5 note which was legal tender, saying the note was no longer valid - he was wrong.
  • A friend was refused service in a supermarket because his £20 note had a very small tear.
  • British Gas, who rang me to set up an appointment for smart meters, yet no-one turned up.
  • The bank cashier who could not read what was clearly stated on the cheque about which account the money should be paid in to.
  • Having to wait ages to have an order taken in a restaurant, then waiting ages to get served. You had the feeling you were an inconvenience. In the USA I have always felt valued.

In my work days, such incompetence would have led to instant dismissal. Maybe I am getting grumpier, but surely it is not too much to expect decent service. All I am asking for is for people to treat their customers properly, not with total incompetence. These days, we seem to hit a wall of stupid people who are totally incompetent and unable to think. Surely, if people cannot do a job they should go and make way for people who can?


Although I shall probably have to disconnect everything because of approaching storms, I am on 10m WSPR TX (500mW). No spots as yet and no Es seen here.

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

UPDATE 1528z: It could be because I had just turned on and w
as drifting, but I noticed a  lot of drift on my Es spots on 10m this afternoon.
UPDATE 1900z: It looks like there will be just 4 unique spots on 10m WSPR today. Definitely near the end of the Es season.

Sunspots - Wednesday August 23rd 2017

Solar flux is 85 today and sunspot number is 48. A=22 and K=4.

6m FT8 RX

We seem to be coming to the end of the Es season. It is getting harder now, although there is still Es about.  I am again on 6m FT8 RX, ever hopeful! At the moment just G spots and one station in northern France that may have come in via aircraft reflection rather than Es.

UPDATE 1315z: Having returned from shopping, I have switched everything back on. Es spots from southern and eastern Europe on 6m FT8. There was a threat of storms, but that seems to have passed.

UPDATE 1902z: 10 stations in 6 countries today on 6m FT8. Most were by Es I think.

Optical NLOS work

One of my interests before my 2013 stroke was optical communications over the horizon - non line of sight (NLOS).

Although I briefly tried a few years ago, I was still too wobbly, so had to give up. Sadly, I still feel giddy when on my feet, so further optical experiments are on hold for the time being. Others have continued the work and one thing worth trying is using infra-red, which many say is better for NLOS than red LEDs.

At some point I do hope my health improves so that I can resume these tests. Test gear is simple (easier than microwaves) and this really pushes the boundaries - true experimentation.

22 Aug 2017

East Cambs 2m FM net

A reminder that at 8pm (clock time) on Mondays we hold an East Cambs net on 144.575MHz FM (One four four point five seven five megahertz).  If there is QRM we moved down around 25 or 50kHz.

Usually there are 2 or 3 on but everyone is welcome. We usually finish around 8.30pm. This is not a highly technical net and conversations vary from what we did the week before (ATV, WSPR, JT65, FT8, etc.) to gardens, model boats, trains - well anything!

Stations are in the Cambridge and East Cambridgeshire areas with vertical polarisation.

Put it in your diary.

6m FT8

Yesterday was disappointing with very little Es. Since breakfast time I have been on 6m FT8 hoping today will be better. As we are now at the end of the Es season, openings are likely to be less frequent. As yet (0842z) no spots.

UPDATE 1102z: Just Gs spotted so far with no Es as yet.

UPDATE 1226z: EA1YV (1320km) in Galicia, N.Spain was the first Es spot on 6m FT8 today.

UPDATE 1546z: So far, 5 countries spotted on 6m FT8 today: England, France, Germany, Finland and Spain. Mostly Es.

UPDATE 2110z: In the end 7 countries spotted on 6m FT8 RX today.

10m WSPR TX (500mW)

Yesterday was very disappointing with very little Es on the band here. I am back on 10m WSPR TX again, hoping for better results today. So far, no spots.

On Monday I was even hopeful of some F2 DX, but no-one spotted me outside of Europe on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1102z:  With 9 unique 10m WSPR spots so far, today is proving quite a good Es day. Spots are from all over including, Italy, Germany, Poland and Belarus. This late in the season, Es seems to be better on the lower frequencies; as yet it has not reached 6m here.

UPDATE 1602z: Now 13 unique 10m WSPR spots today. OY1OF (1164km) has spotted me many times at up to +6dB S/N i.e. very strong.

"Our" windmill - NOT amateur radio

We live right next door to a restored windmill. Here it was earlier this month with a stormy sky. Our grandchildren think the front of the windmill grounds are part of our garden.

Sunspots - Tuesday August 22nd 2017

Solar flux is 91 today (good) and the sunspot number 43 (pretty good). A=10 and K=5.

21 Aug 2017

Eastern European Storms - NOT amateur radio

The last time I checked most of the severe storms were over eastern Europe and Scandinavia. There was nothing over the UK.

Ever since a work colleague suffered a direct strike many years ago I have always been wary of electrical storms. His was a very ordinary house in a very ordinary estate. He certainly was not isolated and on a hill. OK, the chances are low, but I try to minimise my risks.

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

2017: where did it go? - NOT amateur radio

They say as you get older, time appears to go faster. Indeed! It is already well into August and this year seems to have sped by. It is already over 2 months since the longest day and already the nights are drawing in. We'll blink and it will be the shortest day.

I try to enjoy every season, as there is something good about each, although my favourite time is the spring with the promise of longer and warmer days ahead. Still, enjoy the now.


When others are "into" many things, I sit up. One good example is Steve, VE7SL in western Canada. He seems to be keen on many things and reading about what he gets up to is always interesting. He has a keen interest in 630m and lightwaves, both close to my heart. He is "into" lots besides, which is why his blogs are so interesting.

See http://ve7sl.blogspot.co.uk/

End of the Es season?

Today has been much quieter on 10m and 6m, so I think the Es season in the northern hemisphere is coming to its end. There will still be Es openings, but these will be a lot less often. For example, yesterday on 6m FT8 I spotted loads of countries, but today has been quite quiet. On 10m WSPR just a couple of Es spots from Spain.

A photo a day - NOT amateur radio

For several years now I have taken a photo every day as a kind of visual diary. It is quite interesting to look back several years to the day and see what we were doing.
Usually I try to put things we were doing, unless I have gaps. It costs $19.99 a year if you want privacy and extra albums, but otherwise is totally free if you don't mind others looking. Most of my photos are not great artistic works and of little interest to others. Some use this platform as a way of creating great photographic art. I don't 😉 .

See http://365project.org/g3xbm/365

6m FT8 RX

This mode never stops amazing me. Again, after a brief transceive go before breakfast, I have been RX only ever since. Several southern EU stations spotted, presumably by Es plus several Gs.

UPDATE 1920z: Apart from a couple of stations in Sardinia nothing by way of Es on 6m FT8.

10m WSPR TX (500mW)

Although I have been active since about 0730z, no spots as yet.

UPDATE 1048z: a  couple of spots from northern Spain, EA1KV (1304km) received.

Sunspots - Monday August 21st 2017

Solar flux is 85 today (decent) and the sunspot number 44. A=22 and K=2. There is even a chance of some long distance F2 10m openings today, maybe South America on 10m?

20 Aug 2017

Strength of Es signals

One thing that surprises many is just how strong some Es signals can be. For example, my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon was being spotted at +2dB S/N implying that even at microwatt level I could have been spotted. Also, my 10m antenna is a compromise and could be far better.

This is not always the case. Sometimes Es signals can be marginal. With WSPR everyone has a chance. It also works with much weaker signals than SSB or CW.

UK VLF earth-mode test

Jim G7NKS is testing on 8.9kHz with 300W earth-mode:

Hi All
I’m running a VLF test beacon on 8.9kc .  Ground loop electrode system.   35m long
Any spots welcome (if unlikely!) 
with best regards
Dr. Jim Cowburn G7NKS     IO92ub
Biggleswade  UK
Details on QRZ.com

Stone-curlews - NOT amateur radio

Thanks to a very kind man who pointed them out (otherwise I'd never have seen them!) I saw my first ever stone-curlews at Cavenham Heath on our walk this afternoon. The heather there was just amazing.

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

5MHz in Canada

According to Southgate News, Canada may end up with the 5MHz WRC15 allocation and the existing 5 domestic channels. At the moment they are consulting.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2017/august/canada-to-add-5-mhz-and-keep-five-existing-domestic-channels.htm#.WZmFEbpFzIU

Trump - NOT amateur radio

BBC TV had a professor of American Studies on this morning. He thought Trump was running the Presidency like a business and was using "The Apprentice" TV show as a model. "You're fired", seems to be the catch phrase for those around him with whom he falls out. This professor thought Trump would be out by June next year.

A lot in the USA did vote him in. Personally, this is more worrying. Did so many really think he would "make America great again"? As a clear outsider, I fail to see how the good ordinary citizen of the USA could be well represented by this man. Clinton was also far from perfect in many eyes.

As I said yesterday, we reap what we sow. Elections and referenda have serious consequences and it pays to think of the future, whether with US presidencies or EU "leave"/"remain" votes.

Sadly it appears many in the UK and USA believe the clocks can just be turned back to "the good old days". They cannot: we live in a very connected, multi-cultural world and we have to adjust, not be ostriches pretending otherwise. The USA is a trading nation and depends on the rest of the world. Isolationism is history - wake up!


For several days now my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon is being spotted by Es. This morning it has been spotted in Germany already. Not as good as yesterday, but I am getting out and it is still very early for Es.

UPDATE 1247z: Up to now, 12 unique spots received of my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon with spots from as far apart as Italy and the Faroes. Another good Es day on 10m WSPR.

6m FT8

In the end, I remained on 6m FT8 RX overnight. This morning there is some Es about (Greece and Montenegro), but it is not as good as yesterday. Every time I look at 50.313MHz FT8, I seem to spot stations. Some are Gs by tropo or aircraft, but it rarely fails.

UPDATE 1718z: A truly amazing day on 6m FT8 RX again. In the end, there have already been more Es spots than yesterday! It is hard to believe this is a VHF band.

UPDATE 2140z: After yet another amazing day on 6m FT8 RX, I am now going QRT. V2000 vertical omni seems to work very well.
Stations spotted on 6m FT8 today

Oleg's report (QRP and QRP Club)

As usual, a report from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Weekly Rendezvous and Parade (WRP) Report (August, 20, 2017)
Pay attention, please!
For  all  active  QRP  operators, for all Rendez-Vous and Micro Radio
Parade  Frequenters and Visitors, for all simplest radio constructors
and milliwatt operators - new "72" e-mail reflector and on-line group
created. To enter the "72" group send empty e-mail to address -
See the group on-line -
Also visit page "QRP 14.060" in the Facebook

RV  Visitors of the week: UR7VT ON6KZ, RA1M, IZ4VSZ, IK2UZQ, F6ACV/p,
MRP  Visitors:  ON6KZ (0W3), IZ4VSZ (0W2), RV3GM (0W3), PA0PJE (0W1),
UY1IF (1W), US5QW (QRPp)
Welcome new Visitors -
LY3G, F6EAZ became Honor Frequenters (regular visitors)
See full Visitors and Frequenters lists on the Club 72 web page, please.
see full version of the WRP Report including comments and pictures on
the blog - https://qrp-club72.blogspot.ru/
Thanks all for activity and comments!
See you on the next week RV and MRP

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.

Sunspots - Sunday August 20th 2017

Solar flux is 88 today (not bad) and the sunspot number a respectable (for this part of the cycle) 33. A=-31 ad K=5 (high).

19 Aug 2017

Burwell Fen - NOT amateur radio

We went for a brief walk this afternoon up near the "cock-up" bridge on Burwell Lode. We saw several birds including some swallows, a tern and 2 mute swans as well as these fine highland cattle with big horns. Although the fens are bleak, they have a certain beauty, especially the wild fen skies. Burwell Fen is now owned by the National Trust.

Diversity in our hobby

Southgate News brings to our attention a piece by the RSGB president. There is little doubt we have to work on this if our hobby is to survive and thrive.

Before my stroke I used to give talks at several clubs in East Anglia. Certainly at that time we, in the UK, had, in the main, a hobby for older white males. I do not know if things have improved since then, but they needed to.

Just think, in your club what happens when the older members are too disabled to get to meetings? Will your club still exist? No, we have to encourage more younger people into the hobby. They need to be fostered and encouraged so they stay. Is radio really no longer the magic it was to the majority of us?

See http://rsgb.org/main/blog/news/2017/08/17/diversity-in-amateur-radio/  .

Sentence intonation - NOT amateur radio

Have you noticed that younger people tend to go up at the end of a sentence? It rarely fails: if a sentence goes up at the end then the person saying it is probably under 30 years old, like. 😉

FT817 and FT817ND

These little rigs from Yaesu have basically remained unchanged since 2000. They cover all bands from 160m-70cm (not 4m or 1.25m), all modes, 5W. With transverters, mine have been used from VLF upwards on all available bands. They work well, but I was surprised Yaesu did not do an upgrade in time for the last sunspot peak. Also, I was surprised they had no real competitors. These days there are a few SDR radios around, but the FT817 reigns supreme.

With mine I have worked the world including some great handheld DX. For base station use I recommend the Z817 auto-ATU. I tried the Elecraft auto ATU but prefer the Z817. I am very happy with the FT817, although the early ones had PA failures with low voltage. This was fixed (I think) in the FT817ND.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/hf/ft817 .

Still good Es on 6m

After a brief transceive period before breakfast, I am again on 6m FT8 RX. So far, plenty of early Es about. Best DX on 6m FT8 RX is SV1QEZ (2402km).So far, 5 countries spotted on 6m FT8: England, Spain, Slovenia , Italy and Greece, but it is only 0835z.

UPDATE 0900z: Now 7 countries spotted with the best DX on 6m FT8 RX SV9RGI (2776km) on Crete.

UPDATE 1332z: Another excellent Es day on 6m FT8 RX. The photo shows the stations copied so far today on 6m. This mode has really "taken off".
UPDATE 1935z: Even more 6m FT8 spots!

10m WSPR TX (500mW)

So I returned to 10m WSPR TX just before breakfast. Already DK8FT (898km) has spotted me. Not sure of the reason, but I wonder if weak signal digital modes, or different monitoring patterns, are finding Es paths open we would have missed in the past?

UPDATE 1322z: 12 unique 10m WSPR spots, so far, with best DX spot being by CT7AEZ (1618km).

UPDATE 1614z: 16 unique spots today so far of my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon. A good Es day.

UPDATE 1752z: 17 unique spots today, so far, on 10m WSPR with reports as widespread as Spain, Faroes and Belarus. A great day.
UPDATE 1940z: Now 18 unique spots of my 500mW WSPR today.

UPDATE 2210z: 19 unique spots. Time to go QRT on all bands.

Sunspots - Saturday August 19th 2017

Solar flux is 81 today. Sunspot number is 41. A=21 and K=4.

18 Aug 2017

Now QRT on all bands

Even though propagation was still good, I decided to go QRT for the night. All being well, I'll be back on again at breakfast time - storms permitting.

Still good 6m Es

Well I went into the shack with the intention of going QRT. Instead 6m was wide open, so I had a QRP QSO (1W ERP) with EA7AH on FT8.  I see I was also copied in southern Portugal on 6m FT8. The gear is still on.

And another one.....NOT amateur radio

Donald has fired another one! Still there are over 200 million people left in the USA.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-40980994 .

LF - 137kHz

In all the time I have been at this QTH (now over 4 years) I have never once used 137kHz. At the old QTH I did use the band occasionally. At various times I used a 137kHz QRSS beacon and WSPR using the TX transverter shown here. Best TX range was 250km. On RX I copied Sweden.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/mflf/137khz_tvrtr .

Thunder - QRT

We have just had thunder, so I decided to go QRT and disconnect everything. I may go on again later after the storm passes through. At the moment the storms look quite widespread and we have heavy rain.

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

UPDATE 1405z: The storms seem to have passed, although I'm not sure about what is happening just west of here. Maybe I'll give it another hour and maybe go on the air again? At the moment, the sun is shining. 😕

Rally this Sunday

Princethorpe College, Princethorpe, Rugby, CV23 9PY Doors open from 10am to 4pm and admission is £3. Sellers can gain access from 8am. There will be a car boot area. Catering is available on site. Details from Tony, G0OLS on 0775 968 4411 or by email to rally@rugbyats.co.uk. www.rugbyats.co.uk
A list of rallies can be found at http://rsgb.org/main/news/rallies/

6m FT8 RX

Apart from a very brief transceive period before breakfast (no spots) I have been RX only on 6m FT8. SK0TM (1156km) is currently the best so far on RX. Es I presume.

UPDATE 0940z: Nothing since 0718z.

UPDATE 1002z: Now Spain being spotted on 6m FT8 RX. Es, I assume, is back. I am sure that FT8 is catching brief openings that otherwise might be missed.

UPDATE 1124z: Balearic Is and Italy spotted now. Es, but perhaps 6m FT8 is allowing brief openings to be used now? Or is this just a good Es season?

UPDATE 1700z: After the storms I turned on the kit again. At the moment 9 countries spotted on 6m.

10m WSPR TX (500mW)

Since just before breakfast I have had my 10m WSPR beacon running 500mW. CT7AEZ (1618km) has spotted me, much to my surprise, very early. Obviously, we are still seeing Es.

UPDATE 0940z: Nothing since 0924z.

UPDATE 1006z: Now being spotted by EA1KV (1304km) as well.

UPDATE 1806z: With only 2 unique spots today, the 10m Es seems to have been confined to Iberia (Spain and Portugal).

Sunspots - Friday August 18thy 2017

Solar flux is 76 today and the sunspot number 30. A=29 and K=3.

17 Aug 2017

Old statues - NOT amateur radio

It is rare for me to agree with Donald.  On most things I personally detest the man.

I personally think statues of the past should be left, even if we dislike them and what they stood for.  These are of the past, and times, and views, change. Destroying these (whether in Syria, Afghanistan, USA or UK) serves no long-term good. If we destroy everything we do not agree with today, we are making a judgment. Personally, I think every age should have a chance to make up its own mind.

Racism, bigotry and a lack of tolerance is always wrong.

My views, and I respect the right of others to disagree with me.

Earth Electrode Antennas

For some years, I have used earth-electrode antennas of the lower bands such as VLF/LF/MF. I have also tried these on 160m and 80m with less success. I have never claimed they work wonders, but if you are stuck for an antenna on the lower bands it will enable you to get out. On the lower bands you may be surprised how well this "antenna" works.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/antennas/earth-electrode-antennas

PW and RadioUser sold

According to Southgate News PW and RadioUser magazines have been sold to a new owner.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2017/august/new-owner-for-pw.htm#.WZVkQLpFzIU

6m FT8 RX

With 7 countries and 2 continents spotted already, this is another good Es day on 6m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 2032z: 21 countries spotted on 6m FT8 RX in the last day. Good Es.

10m WSPR TX (500mW)

Much to my surprise, I see I have had 4 unique 10m WSPR spots already this morning with my best DX report being from IK1NET (981km). So, yet again, there is good, early Es on 10m.

UPDATE 2110z: 6 unique spots of my 10m 500mW WSPR beacon in the last day. Soon be time to go QRT.

Sunspots - Thursday August 17th 2017

Solar flux is 76 today and the sunspot number 30. A=6 and K=5.

Red-Legged Partridge - NOT amateur radio

Today, we had no less than 4 (a record) red-legged partridge in our garden. These are introduced birds from Spain and France, now well established here. We see some most days.

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

16 Aug 2017

Trump - NOT amateur radio

Well, yet again he seems to have put his foot in it. This time the issue is neo-Nazis and white supremacists in the USA. If he simply condemned violent and provocative acts, surely he would have better chances. Even some fellow Republicans are against him.

I don't live in the USA, but I do struggle to see how a rich billionaire can really represent "the common man". OK, he was voted in. The trouble is "you reap what you sow".

UPDATE 2148z: Now both Bush ex-presidents have said, according to the BBC, that Trump should  "reject racial bigotry, anti-Semitism and hatred in all forms".  I agree.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-40946386


Yet again I am on 10m WSPR TX (500mW). The only spot so far is by DK6UG (633km) before breakfast.

UPDATE 1622z: Six unique 10m WSPR spots received today. Best DX spot is from DK8FT (898km).

UPDATE 2200z: With no new spots since early afternoon, time to go QRT I think. Interesting how few 10m WSPR spots I got compared with the loads of spots I gave on 6m FT8. Either my 10m antenna is rubbish compared with the 6m one or, more probably, there are a lot more FT8 users than WSPR these days. 6m rather proved the Es was good today.

Sunspots - Wednesday August 16th 2017

Solar flux is 74 and the sunspot number 21. A=4 and K=2.

6m FT8 QSO with Spain

Earlier this morning, I worked EA5WU (1381km) on 6m FT8. I have worked a few stations before using this mode, but mostly I am RX only. On 6m my ERP is about 1W.

UPDATE 0910z: 8 countries spotted so far on 6m FT8 RX. Es good today.
6m FT8 RX spots today

UPDATE 1620z: 14 countries spotted on 6m FT8 RX so far today.

UPDATE 1856z: With 24 countries spotted here on 6m FT8 RX today, this is a personal record. This mode certainly has "taken off". Good 6m Es again today.

15 Aug 2017

PSK Reporter Maps - working again?

When I tried PSK Reporter Maps, it was working again. All my 6m MSK144 and FT8 RX spots for the last day appeared. I hope they have fixed it.

UPDATE 2004z:  These are the FT8 RX spots on 6m today as reported by PSK Reporter Maps. It seems it is fixed.

Sign of the times? - NOT amateur radio

Apart from getting cash from a machine, we rarely use our local bank these days. Not surprisingly, it is closing on November 10th.

There is a Post Office just across the road where you can pay bills to any bank, get foreign exchange and cash.

To be honest, I am surprised the only bank in the village has lasted as long as it has. We've been in the village since 1975 and the bank has been here all that time. I expect they will build yet more posh houses on the plot!

72 Group (QRP)

In the last hour I received an invitation to join the 72 group.

See https://groups.io/g/72/topics

UK Pound versus Euro exchange rate - NOT amateur radio

As I write this, the UK pound is close to its worst exchange rate in the last 12 months against the Euro at 1.096 Euros to the UK Pound. Instinctively, this "feels" wrong. Maybe the Euro is stronger than it was, but this feels untrue. Surely the Euro still has all its inherent issues that have not suddenly gone away?  No, I think this is a blip. Time will tell.

UPDATE 1525z: My personal view is the UK pound will rise in value against the euro. As I have said very many times, I am no expert and time may prove me totally wrong! My prediction was this would happen before the end of the year.

Blog visits up again

Even without the "probes" from a certain eastern European nation, visits to this blog have been up in recent weeks. Content is much the same, so I have no idea why this should be.

10m WSPR TX (500mW)

About 2 minutes ago I started my 10m WSPR beacon producing 500mW. If I get any spots at all, it usually takes about 15-20 minutes for things to settle. As the Es season is waning now, I may get no spots all day.

UPDATE 0925z: Surprise! Already been spotted in Poland and Spain on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1042z: 4 unique 10m WSPR spots of me so far.

UPDATE 1052z: With spots from Italy just in, this brings the score to 6 unique spots of my 500mW 10m WSPR today. All Es I assume.

Return to 6m FT8 RX

This morning, I switched to 6m FT8 RX from 6m MSK144 RX. I think PSK Reporter Maps are still not working, so I  have to monitor WSJT-X on the shack PC to see what is being spotted.

I may try 10m WSPR RX later as this uses no PC, a separate rig and a separate antenna.

UPDATE 0906z: Best DX on 6m FT8 RX is Germany.

UPDATE 1340z: Best DX on 6m FT8 RX today is EA8 in the Canary Is. PSK Reporter Maps still looks in trouble.

Sunspots - Tuesday August 15th 2017

Solar flux is 73 today and the sunspot number 12. A=5 and K=1.

14 Aug 2017

Southgate News and BBC Local AM radio

Southgate News reports that a number of BBC Local Radio stations are to go QRT on medium wave early next year. Personally I find this sad.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2017/august/bbc-to-switch-off-am-local-radio-transmitters.htm#.WZIFPbpFzIV

PSK Reporter Issues - still

Yet again, PSK Reporter Maps is not working. As far as I know this is the longest period of trouble I have known. Usually it is very reliable and I use it a lot. I hope they soon fix it.

2m UKAC results

The latest results are out and I see my position in the AL section is unchanged. As I was only on for a very short time (poor voice) with 5W and an omni antenna, I am quite happy with this.

Archetypal Cambridge - NOT amateur radio

In winter, Cambridge is usually quiet, but at this time of year there are plenty of visitors. This year, we seem to have more Far East visitors, probably because of the good exchange rates. The photo shows punts at Scudamore's boatyard off Silver Street.

6m MSK144 RX continued

Yet again, I continue to monitor 50.280MHz MSK144 RX during the Perseid meteor shower. PSK Reporter Maps is still not working properly, but I can see from my WSJT-X screen on the PC that I am copying stations from all over the place.

Sunspots - Monday August 14th 2017

Solar flux is 69 today and the sunspot number 11. A=7 and K=1.

13 Aug 2017

PSK Reporter Issues

At first I wondered if I had a problem uploading spots to PSK Reporter Maps, then I saw they were 32 hours behind and were trying to fix the issue.

Up to now, it has been very reliable. The weekend of the Perseid meteor shower it falls over, which is a pity.

QRP and QRP Club

As usual, Oleg's weekly report:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Weekly Rendezvous and Parade (WRP) Report (August, 13, 2017)

Keep attention, please!
For  all  active  QRP  operators, for all Rendez-Vous and Micro Radio
Parade  Frequenters and Visitors, for all simplest radio constructors
and milliwatt operators - new "72" e-mail reflector and on-line group
created. To enter the "72" group send empty e-mail to address -
see the group on-line -

Visitors  of  the  week:  IT9IFI,  UR7VT, EW1CY, G4SSH, RV3GM, RV3UF,

Micro Radio Parade visitors -
EW1CY (200 mW), RV3GM (300 mW), UA1CEX (300 mW)

New RV visitors -
I2QIL, YO3BL, IK2UZQ - you are welcome!
See full Frequenters and Visitors lists on the Club 72 page, please.

see full WRP Report including comments and pictures on the page -
That's all Folks for now!
See you all QRPers on the next RV and MRP!

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.

Swifts (birds) - NOT amateur radio

Well, I thought they'd all gone now until next year. As this evening was so nice, we had tea in the garden. 6 swifts were on the wing high above us. These may be northern birds passing through, but it made my day.

Swallows and house martins usually stay until well in to September, but there are few locally.

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

Next UK Prime Minister? - NOT amateur radio

Since the last General Election the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, is hanging on by a thread. It is rumoured that Jacob Rees-Mogg would like to be considered for the post. I have few doubts that he is an honourable man, but I doubt he would really understand "the common man". This is a personal view, and I may be wrong.  If elected in a vote, I think this would bring an end to Conservative rule in short order.

Sadly, we lack charismatic leaders in any political party in the UK. Looking around, we have career politicians, but few real leaders. Hopefully this will change.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-40916687

Parsonage Farm - NOT amateur radio

This started as a workers co-operative where everyone was paid the same. It is still going strong today (Delta-T) making scientific kit mainly related to plants. This is in our village (Burwell, Cambs, UK).

6m MSK144 RX again

As mentioned yesterday, the Perseid meteor shower is peaking, so I am monitoring 6m MSK144 (50.280MHz) all weekend, hoping to catch some meteor scatter activity.

UPDATE 0916z:  MS spots from all over the place including Norway, Germany and Italy.

UPDATE 1906z: Now spotting Switzerland on 6m MSK144.

Sunspots - Sunday August 13th 2017

Solar flux is 70 today. Sunspot number is 11. A=11 and K=2.

Reviews - NOT amateur radio

It seems that almost everything you do on the phone or internet now is followed up by a request for feedback asking how good they were. Being a cynic these days I refuse to complete these. Some may well be genuine, hoping to get feedback so they can do better, but I suspect many sell your details on so you can be targeted with junk mail and junk phone calls.  So, I just delete these. Call me a boring old fart, but I am not increasing my chances of being a target.

If I get very good or bad service I am quite happy to write an email. Many years ago I wrote to the MD of Dell. Within days I had a phone call back from their head office and my PC was fixed. Sometimes this works. The last thing big companies want is adverse publicity. When you get very good or very bad service you tell people. They prefer you to tell others when things are good.

4m QRP transverter

It is some years since I was active on 4m.  Several years ago now, I designed and built this transverter as I had no gear for this band. I worked a few stations in a 4m contest with it and just a wire dipole.

Of course, these days the IC7300 from ICOM covers 4m.  These days there are lots of EU countries on the band, so it can be good in the Es season.

Years before I recall working ZB2VHF with 4W of AM in my university days by Es.

At some point I intend to get on 4m again.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/vuhf/4m_tvtr .

12 Aug 2017


One of our grandsons in Australia. He loves all animals and looks in his element with these birds.

Perseid Fireballs?

This weekend the Perseid meteor shower peaks. According to Southgate News relaying a post on spaceweather.com the Perseid shower produces more fireballs than any other shower.

See http://spaceweather.com/  .

Nostalgia - SW interval Signals

Well I am pretty sure I've posted this link before, not that it matters.

When I started in the 1960s my first experiences were with short wave broadcast stations.  There was no such thing as TV live from the USA or Australia. Skype and FaceTime were in the far future.

Radio Australia would fade in and out. Radio New Zealand was a good catch. Many broadcasters had English language services. On the hours and half hours we'd listen for the interval signals. Many communist nations tried to blast us with propaganda. All I wanted was a QSL card!

Anyway, grab a drink and listen to the past. Enjoy.

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

In Australia - NOT amateur radio

At the moment a couple of our grandchildren are in Australia visiting their Australian grandparents with their mum and dad. The photo was taken on Hamilton Island in the Whitsunday Islands. The grandparents live in Brisbane.


In my professional life I worked first for Pye Telecom. My first ever job (I think it was really a test of my capabilities) was converting the PF1 (a small UHF portable with separate RX and TX) to 12.5kHz channel spacing. In those far off days we had 995 signal generators and these took hours (really) to stop drifting! The task was completed OK as I recall.

The task was set by Mike Gotch , G0IMG, who is now a SK. At the time I had no idea Mike was interested in amateur radio. Apparently years before he had been a pirate and got caught! In the early days of UK CB he was a keen DXer and I last worked him on 6m I think.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/vuhf/pf1.

6m MSK144 RX

As the Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend, I intend to stay on 50.280MHz MSK144 RX all weekend. Certainly here in Europe this frequency is much more used than 50.360MHz recommended by WSJT-x v1.8. So far, 9 countries spotted in the last 12 hours on 6m MSK144. Best DX so far is LA7DFA (1312km).

Sunspots - Saturday August 12th 2017

Solar flux is 70 today and the sunspot number 11.  A=7 and K=2.

11 Aug 2017

Insurances (car and home) - NOT amateur radio

House and car insurances - call me a grumpy old man, but a couple of phone calls to the SAME insurance company and I get £172 off.

If they wanted to keep me why not offer the best prices to start with? Don't answer, as I know the answer already. They assume most won't bother and will just pay up at the inflated prices.

Personally I find this STUPID. This is an immoral racket preying on the old and vulnerable.

Insurance companies - you should be ashamed!

70cm QRM

A friend of mine in Cambridge Richard G3TFX is getting QRM on the GB3OV repeater. OFCOM cannot help.

He writes:

Can anyone pin down the direction of a pulsing telemetry signal causing QRM on the OUTPUT channel of the St Neots repeater GB3OV, 433.125 Mhz? It's a pretty strong signal in the center of Cambridge and my guess is it might be a device on a crane.

Rally this Sunday

Cobham Sports and Social Club Ground, Merley, near Wimborne, Dorset. BH21 3DA There will be a talk in station on S22 and the venue has free car parking. Doors open at 10am and admission is £3.50. There will be trade stands, a car boot areas and indoor and field pitches for traders. Lectures will take place during the day. there is catering and a licensed bar on site. Camping is available on Saturday night only in an adjacent field. More information from hamfest@frars.org.uk
A list of rallies can be found at http://rsgb.org/main/news/rallies/

Eddystone receivers

When I first entered the hobby in the early 1960s, many here in the UK aspired to Eddystone receivers, made in Birmingham, UK. They were beautifully made with velvet touch drives.

I wanted an 840C, but never had one. When I started work a friend had a dad who worked for Eddystone. I was lucky enough to get an EC10 in the early 1970s. These were the first transistorised  receivers that they made. They sold for £48 when they first came out. 10m bandspread was appalling and in all honesty, by modern standards, they were not very good. I think the IF was very low. They still had lovely mechanical construction and velvet smooth drives, but the receivers were really average.

For quite a while I used mine on the lower HF bands and as a tuneable IF for VHF and UHF RX converters. As an IF they were fine.

They used germanium transistors and they occasionally turn up on eBay and similar. These days, I would not bother apart from nostalgia.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/hf/ec10 .