30 Sept 2017

Chinese UHF handhelds

So, how do they do it? You can now buy a pair of UHF handhelds with free airmail shipping for £13.86 a pair. Somehow, a profit is made too.

How long have ICOM, Yaesu and the other Japanese manufacturers got? Just a few years and the Chinese will wipe them out. The best I can see is they design in Japan, but make in China. The more likely scenario is they decide there is no longer money in amateur radio products and they just stop being in this market altogether. I can see this happening within a few years.

At the moment ICOM seem to be most likely to survive. The future does not look good.

Catalonia vote - NOT amateur radio

Although I am unclear about all the facts, the fact Catalonians in Spain are voting about independence says a lot. What is more disturbing is the heavy-handedness of the police. The outlook does not look great for Spain if this is how they want to be seen in the world.

Now on 630m WSPR RX

As of 2010z I went QRT on 10m WSPR TX and 6m FT8 RX and am now on 630m RX, G6AVK (78km) and DC0DX (467km) and PA0A (417km) have been spotted already within minutes of going on the band. As yet, no new stations spotted.

UPDATED 2045z: F1AFJ (607km) now the best DX this evening on MF.

Ploughing lonely furrows?

Although 10m WSPR has been quiet here so far today, I have copied 7 different stations on 6m FT8 including OZ6HQ (716km). There is life on these higher bands, although few seem to want to try.

UPDATE 1445z: Now spotting 4O6AH (1788km) in Montenegro on 6m FT8. Es? When he popped up he was very strong.

UPDATE 1715z: EA8BFK (2880km) is spotting my 10m WSPR strongly. I have spotted 9 stations in 4 countries on 6m FT8 today, so far.

UPDATE 1735z: now 10 stations in 5 countries today on 6m FT8.

UPDATE 1840z:  Now plenty of 10m WSPR spots today.

A Liverpool Street - NOT amateur radio

Apparently, this street, off Hope Street, is widely used when after old street scenes for TV and films.

10m WSPR and 6m FT8

No spots of my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon and just a couple of Gs spotted on 6m FT8 so far.

UPDATE 1035z: Still no 10m WSPR spots of my beacon. 4 G spots so far on 6m FT8.

UPDATE 1137z: Still nothing on 10m WSPR. 6 Gs spotted on 6m FT8, but no DX. Best G is G3OIL (196km).

UPDATE 1450z:  OZ6HQ (716km) spotted on 6m FT8, so there is some DX on 6m. No spots of my 10m WSPR beacon.

Sunspots - Saturday September 30th 2017

Where do the days go? It is already the end of the month! Someone once told me time appears to pass more quickly as you age - well I agree.

Solar flux is 88 and the sunspot number 39. A=12 and K=3.

630m WSPR RX overnight

8 unique MF spots last night with best DX IW4DXW (1190km). I've now returned to 10m WSPR TX (500mW) and 6m FT8 RX.

What attracts young people?

On my return from Liverpool, I see Southgate News has picked up on an address by the IARU president.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2017/september/traditional-ham-radio-no-longer-so-attractive.htm#.Wc6odrpFzIU

Liverpool - NOT amateur radio

We spent a few days in Liverpool for a reunion with old friends as it was 50 years since we were there as students! One of our friends does guiding for cruise ships now he is retired and he took us on a walking tour of some of the city's highlights.

One of the places visited was the docks area, which has been renovated in recent years. At one time the docks were abandoned and avoided. Now they are the centre of the city and very attractive with lots of museums and cafes.


Rallies this weekend:

Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker, French Lane, Nantwich, Cheshire CW5 8AL Doors open 10am. Sale of amateur gear, electronic equipment, comps, military radio sets and vehicle spares. Refreshments are available on site. More details from Lucy Siebert on 01270 623 353 or by email to lucy@hackgreen.co.uk


Sparkford Village Hall, Sparkford, Nr Yeovil, Somerset BA22 7ED Free admission and light refreshments. Displays, computer controlled radio, SDR, Morse, Spy sets. Ex Members welcome. Bob on 01963 440 167 A list of rallies can be found at http://rsgb.org/main/news/rallies/

29 Sept 2017

630m WSPR RX

We returned home from 2 nights away at a university reunion in Liverpool earlier. Some I'd not seen since 1970!

For the last hour or so I have been on 630m WSPR RX, but no spots yet.

UPDATE 2053z: Mind you, it helps if you connect the antenna! Doh! Guess who forgot? As of now, the rig has an antenna, so I might now get some spots.

Sputnik Days

News from Oleg:

Dear Space Friends,
Sputnik  Days 2017 will be soon (October 4 to 17). See details on the
Club 72 page, please. The categories:
- Sputnik's (valves)
- Vanguard's (transistors)
- Beacons
- SWLs
As  no  reason to have special e-mail reflector for Sputnik Days, I'm
strongly  recommend  to  subscribe  to  new  "72"  mail  group on the
You can do it on the Club 72 start page (fill the form) or by the link
https://groups.io/g/72 or ask me to add your e-mail in the list.
This "sputnik" reflector will be closed soon.

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

Sunspots - Friday September 29th 2017

Solar flux is 90 today and the sunspot number 40. A=55 and K=2.

28 Sept 2017

Sunspots - Thursday September 28th 2017

Solar flux is 89 today and the sunspot number 35. A=37 and K=6.

National Hamfest reminder

Newark & Nottinghamshire Showground, Lincoln Road, Winthorpe, Newark, Nottinghamshire NG24 2NY. Brought to you by the RSGB in association with the Lincoln Short Wave Club. The venue has free car parking and has disabled facilities. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy, car boot area, flea market, special interest groups and RSGB bookstall. There will also be representatives from the RSGB Services and committees. Morse proficiency test will be available. The venue has catering outlets and a seating area. www.nationalhamfest.org.uk.

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

27 Sept 2017

Second largest diamond sold - NOT amateur radio

One of the biggest diamonds in the world has been sold privately. I would not want to be person who shapes this. Just imagine slipping!  To think, someone has this sort of money.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-41398871 .


One of the things drawn to my attention by the return of Southgate News are YouTube videos of the new ICOM receiver, the IC-R8600.

At a sensible price, this might have been on my wish list. Early indications are that this will be very expensive, so I am unlikely to fork out.

This is a pity, but yet again prices are set at what people are prepared to pay. Inside, I expect the cost of the bits is much lower, just like the IC7300.

Sunspots - Wednesday September 27th 2017

Solar flux is 90 today and sunspot number 40.  A=4 and K=3.

Women drivers in Saudi - NOT amateur radio

At last Saudi women will be allowed driving licences.

This is a nation we trade with. One could be forgiven for believing this is a backward, primitive nation. At last a step towards the 21st century. Saudi Arabia is, allegedly, the only place on the planet where women are not allowed to drive.

How can the UK see the Saudi nation as a beacon in the Middle East? Some of their laws and customs are barbaric. OK, we should not judge other nations when we are far from perfect ourselves, but surely we expect certain minimum standards. All that matters, it seems, is money. Sad.

I have my worries about places like China, where there is a suspicion of very low wages and poor working conditions for some. Some prices for amateur radio gear from China beggar belief.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-41408195 .

Overnight on 630m WSPR RX

Not a bad night. Best DX was IW4DXW (1190km) in Italy.

26 Sept 2017

630m WSPR RX

Much earlier than previous evenings, I have switched from 6m FT8 RX to 630m WSPR RX. I am still on 10m WSPR TX (500mW).

UPDATE 1904z: So far this evening, 4 unique spots on MF with the earliest being DC0DX (467km) at 1800z.

A blip? - NOT amateur radio

In the last few weeks to UK pound has appreciated by around 6 Eurocents against the Euro. This may, of course, just be a blip. In the long-term, especially once the uncertainty over Brexit is over, I think the UK Pound will strengthen against the Euro considerably. This is my view, and I am no expert.

Fundamentally, I believe the Euro is flawed and there is really no resolution in sight for it main structural issues. Once the UK leaves the EU they will have fewer rich nations to fund the EU coffers. No, the EU is a bit like the curate's egg i.e. "good in parts". If only the members of the EU had given the UK more ground on controlling free movement we'd probably still be inside. Hoisted by their own petard?

I think a lot of the EU's stance is "sour grapes". The UK will be fine outside of the EU and they know it.

Call centres

Over a month ago I ordered something that did not arrive, probably due to a mix-up with the courier as it was due to be delivered Sept 1st. I had to use chat and spoke (in writing) with a person who was probably in India. He dealt with me politely and helpfully.  I must say I have great respect for these people. Dealing with irate customers must be a hard job!

Southgate News is back

After a break of a week, I see that Southgate News is back today. This is a good news service, updated most days. I look regularly.

Coronation St star dies - NOT amateur radio

Many years ago, I used to watch a TV soap, called "Coronation St" on ITV.  This would have been the early 1960s, just after we got ITV in Devon. It was Westward TV back then.

I read today that one of its stars who played Vera Duckworth has died.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-41397413

Salcombe and the white slave trade - NOT amateur radio

When a child, I lived in Salcombe, Devon. Until reading a Giles Milton book a few months ago, I had no knowledge of the white slave trade that saw many coastal communities in grave peril not that long ago. Barbary pirates captured people and took them as slaves to North Africa.

As fishermen in the 1600s, my ancestors were in grave peril.

North Korea - NOT amateur radio

Sadly we have people in charge in the USA and North Korea who seem a bit irrational, allegedly. I certainly hope they can resolve their differences peacefully. War in Korea would result in countless deaths (millions?), even assuming it could be contained.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-41395970 .

10m WSPR TX (500mW)

Since before breakfast, I have had my 10m WSPR beacon running. As yet, no spots received. It will be on all day.

UPDATE 1135z: Still no spots today.

UPDATE 1516z: Yet again, I was surprised. DK6UG (633km) spotted me on 10m WSPR earlier.

UPDATE 1758z: Quite surprised to be spotted many times this teatime by EA8BFK (2880km). I assume this is F2, although Es is possible. Reports were up to +2dB which is strong.

UPDATE 1910z: I'm still being spotted in the Canary Is by EA8BFK. How long will this go on for? The last spot was at 1916z.

6m FT8 RX

Although I have been monitoring 6m FT8 since before breakfast, nothing spotted at all so far.

UPDATE 1137z: No spots at all on 6m FT8 RX, as yet, today.

UPDATE 1520z: Just a couple of stations in the Norwich area today (G3PXT and G3LDI) so far on 6m FT8. No continentals.

630m WSPR RX overnight

One new one this autumn LA8AV (1035km) with 5 unique stations spotted.

Sunspots - Tuesday September 26th 2017

Solar flux is 90 today and the sunspot number 36.  A=5 and K=1.

Italy holiday - NOT amateur radio

It seems amazing that it is a week since we got back from our Italian adventure. The map shows where we went. We saw some amazing places and the holiday was very enjoyable. This was our third holiday with Saga. I can really recommend them.

25 Sept 2017

Now monitoring 630m WSPR

As of 1815z, I switched from 6m FT8 RX to 630m WSPR RX. So far, no MF spots.

UPDATE 1944z:  LA8AV (1035km) has been spotted a couple of times.

National Hamfest this weekend

A reminder that the National Hamfest is this weekend.

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

6m FT8

Just a couple of Gs spotted on 6m FT8 RX so far. No DX.

UPDATE 1735z: No new spots all day, so I shall be switching to 630m WSPR RX quite soo.


Although my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon has been on all morning, no spots so far.

UPDATE 1220z: Es (?) spots from Germany lunchtime. In the end the opening lasted almost an hour.

UPDATE 1335z: WSPR is great for "sniffing out" those brief openings that otherwise might well be missed. I suppose Es openings "out of season" are more common on 10m than on 6m.

UPDATE 1443z: Now EA1KV (1304km) is spotting me on 10m WSPR. It pays to keep an eye out! The opening to Spain is already nearly an hour and it is still going on.

Sunspots - Monday September 25th 2017

Solar flux is 87 today and the sunspot number 22. A=6 and K=1.

Overnight on 630m WSPR RX

Not a bad night, with 9 unique stations spotted plus 1 decode in error.

Now back on 10m WSPR TX and 6m FT8 RX for the day.

24 Sept 2017

Now on 630m WSPR RX

As well as 10m WSPR TX (500mW) I am now monitoring 630m WSPR RX. So far nothing on MF, although it is early.

Mrs Merkel back? - NOT amateur radio

Exit polls suggest Mrs Merkel will continue as German chancellor. What is worrying is the support for the AfD, extreme right, anti-immigration party.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41376577 .

Autumn - NOT amateur radio

This morning, in the bright autumn sunlight, we went for a walk at nearby Anglesey Abbey. Many of the trees have started to take on an autumnal shade. There were also a few toadstools.

6m FT8 RX

Just 3 G spots so far today on 6m FT8 RX. Maybe things will improve?

UPDATE 1116z: 4 countries spotted so far including Spain and Norway on 6m FT8. Es? Best DX is EA5/G3XGS (1581km).

UPDATE 1619z: No further spots all day.

Return to 10m WSPR TX (500mW)

My little beacon has been running since before breakfast. One early spot from DK6UG (633km).

UPDATE 1118z: No further 10m WSPR spots received today.

UPDATE 1620z: No further spots all day.

UPDATE 1802z: Lots of spots by EA8BFK (2880km) which could be F2.

Overnight on 630m WSPR RX

Last night was the best yet this autumn on 630m with 2 stations in Spain copied and 10 unique spots in total. I still have my compromise system and S8 noise level.

Sunspots - Sunday September 24th 2017

Solar flux is 82 today and the sunspot number 12. A=5 and K=2.

23 Sept 2017

Southgate News - holiday?

Every day I check Southgate News as this is a good source of information. Whoever compiles this must be busy or on holiday as it hasn't been updated since Sept 18th.


"We're taking a short break
Southgate News will be taking a one-week break from today, 18th September.

We'll be back again on Tuesday, 26th of September. I hope to see you all again then.
Thanks - Richard g4tut"

In future I must scroll down the page!

630m WSPR RX this evening and overnight

Yet again, I intend to go QRT in the early evening on 10m WSPR TX and 6m FT8 RX and move to 630m WSPR RX. Despite my high local noise level and compromised set-up (deaf RX, poor ground, poor antenna), I still seem to be able to copy stations on WSPR.

UPDATE 1816z: As 10m and 6m were dire today, I switched to 630m WSPR earlier this evening. So far G3KEV (232km). He has a good antenna and a good signal with me.

UPDATE 1922z: Now LA3EQ (769km) being copied.

UPDATE 2116z: There is a lot of confusion on WSPRnet on 630m. The convention seems to be to give power as ERP whereas some give TX power, which is pretty meaningless when the antenna efficiency is usually very poor.

Uber taxis - NOT amateur radio

Uber has lost its licence to operate in London. It is to appeal. A petition has 500000 signatures already calling on the London authorities to have a change of heart. My son and his wife use Uber.

I am unclear of the facts, but it rather smacks of Luddites with black cab drivers being annoyed their livelihoods are being threatened by 21st century methods and tools. A bit like online shops hitting the high streets?

My view is we cannot stop this: change happens and we have to adapt. Bank branches are closing as many do banking online. Bookshops close as many buy books online. What the high street will look like in 10 years is anyone's guess. All we can say is, "it will be different".

Daddy Long Legs - NOT amateur radio

Some detest these, but I think they are fun. In the autumn, they just crash into things. One year we had 15 in our bedroom at the same time. They are crane flies and their lava live in grass as leather jackets. To me, they are just plain stupid, but I like them. 😀 Body length is about 30cm. Their long legs make them bigger. Harmless.

This one was on the outside of the kitchen window.

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

6m FT8 RX

Just one G spotted so far on 6m FT8 in the form of G3LDI (70km) in the Norwich area. No DX as yet on 6m.

UPDATE 1046z: 3 stations in 2 countries so far with best DX TM9MC (267km) near Lille. This is F8KKH using a special callsign to commemorate Marie Curie. I suspect this was aircraft reflection.

UPDATE 1516z: No further spots.

10m WSPR TX (500mW)

Although I have been on 10m WSPR since before breakfast, no spots yet.

UPDATE 1518z: Still no spots received all day.

Sunspots - Saturday September 23rd 2017

Solar flux is 78 today and the sunspot number 22. A=5 and K=2.

630m WSPR RX overnight

Only 6 unique stations spotted last night, although these included my first German this season DC0DX. I shall try again this evening and overnight.

22 Sept 2017

Garden in late September - NOT amateur radio

Our garden is looking more like autumn every day.  All the trees still have leaves, but they are starting to look tired.

Sometime in the next few months we'll get some strong winds and the leaves will be gone until the spring. Our impatients (busy lizzies) are past their best now. Every season has its good points.

QSY to 630m WSPR RX

Today has been the worst day here on 6m and 10m for many months. So, I have again QSYed to 630m WSPR RX.

UPDATE 1851z: First spots this evening were of G3WCE (91km). According to my maps this station is in the Norfolk Broads.

UPDATE 1922z: The next spot was of LA3EQ (769km).

UPDATE 2048z: Also copied were G6AVK (78km), F1AFJ (607km) and DC0DX (467km).

Most, if not all, stations spotted on 630m WSPR this season were also spotted last season.

Rallies this weekend

Pencoed Rugby Football Club, The Verlands, Felindre Road. Pencoed CF35 5PB Doors open at 8.30am for sellers, buyers at 10am and entry is £2. Tables are £10 each (first come, first served). Refreshments will be available along with hot food in the morning and at lunch time. Bookings with Madeline Roberts on 01639 767056 or 773 837 5775.

HALL 'LOUVEXPO', rue Michel Debauque/Arthur Delaby, La Louvire, direct access from the motorway (50km south of Brussels). GPS N50 29' 01'' / E04 10' 51'' Open from 9am to 4pm. Talk-in on local FM repeaters 145.600MHz (and Echolink), DMR 438.875MHz and D-Star 439.4375MHz. Features 4000m, trade stands from UK, Holland, Germany, France and flea market. Michel, ON7FI, +32 (0)475 / 45 45 78 or email michel.dewyngaert@skynet.be www.on6ll.be.

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

WSPRnet changes

It may have been there for weeks (!) but I have just noticed a change to WSPRnet. You can now tick a box that says, "Excludes calls starting with Q and 0, typically used for balloon telemetry". I have not noticed this before.

6m FT8 RX

Although looking since before breakfast, nothing yet spotted, even from G stations on 6m FT8.

UPDATE 1817z: No spots all day.


Although my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon has been on for several hours, no reports as yet.

UPDATE 1818z: No spots all day.

"Our" windmill - NOT amateur radio

We are very lucky to live next door to a 200 year old fully restored windmill. Not many can look on a 4 sailed windmill over breakfast!

The photo shows the mill this morning a few hours after sunrise. My apologies for the compost bins in the foreground.

Sunspots - Friday September 22nd 2017

It is really starting to feel like autumn now. There is a chill in the air and heavy dew on the grass.

Solar flux is 74 today and the sunspot number 22. A=7 and K=1.

630m WSPR receive overnight

7 stations spotted overnight including stations in Norway, Spain and Italy. Not bad with a high noise level from the PC charger and my compromise antenna and ground.

21 Sept 2017

QSY to 630m WSPR RX

As it is now 1830z, I have moved to 630m WSPR (RX only) using the same set-up as last night when I spotted 8 unique stations with best DX Spain at 1525km.

UPDATE 1846z: First station copied, and strongly, was G3KEV (232km).

Es season ended

For a couple of days now I have not seen any Es DX on 10m and 6m.  I was away for 10 days, so I have no idea what happened in that period. If things follow normal patterns, there will still be some Es DX, but these openings will be far less common than in the summer peak months. I shall still battle onwards on 10m WSPR TX and 6m FT8 RX, but catching openings will be harder.

Pompeii again - NOT amateur radio

This is another view of Pompeii, Italy taken on our Italian adventure. One of the main gates to the city is in the background. Pompeii was covered when Vesuvius erupted in AD79 to be rediscovered centuries later.

Sunspots - Thursday September 21st 2017

Solar flux is 73 today and the sunspot number 22.  A=10 and K=2.

10m WSPR TX (500mW)

No spots so far, even though my 10m WSPR beacon has been on since about 0615z.

UPDATE 1548z: Still no reports all day.

UPDATE 1807z: There was a brief 10m Es opening to Germany around teatime with my 10m WSPR beacon copied by a couple of stations.

6m FT8 RX

Since before breakfast I have been on 6m FT8 RX. So far, just G3PXT (82km) spotted.

UPDATE 1550z: So far, 4 spots, all Gs.

UPDATE 1810z: 5 stations spotted on 6m FT8 today, all Gs.

Overnight on 630m WSPR RX

630m WSPR RX Uniques Overnight
Yesterday evening and overnight I monitored 630m WSPR RX using the coax feed to my 2m "big wheel" as the antenna on 630m via a ferrite rod ATU and mains ground - nothing at all special, all feeding the FT817. In all, 8 unique stations spotted including Spain and Norway.

20 Sept 2017

QSY to 630m WSPR RX

After a poor day, I have moved to 630m WSPR RX using the coax to my 2m "big-wheel" antenna as the MF antenna matched with a ferrite rod ATU. As yet, no MF spots.

UPDATE 1945z: 2 stations spotted so far on MF with best DX DC0DX (467km).

UPDATE 2111z: Best DX is now LA3EQ (769km).

DST100 receiver

My first "proper" HF receiver was some beast! It was a DST100 which covered from 50kHz to just over 30MHz. It took 2 people to lift it. I think it was originally designed for tanks in WW2. It heard some impressive DX much of it on AM.

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

See also https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/showthread.php?t=78909&page=2

FT8 rather than WSPR?

Although WSPR can detect signals some 10dB weaker than FT8, I am getting better results on 6m FT8 than 10m WSPR.

Maybe the 15 second periods in FT8 are better suited to aircraft reflections. Maybe my 6m antenna is much better than my 10m one. Maybe my 500mW on 10m is not enough?

Certainly FT8 is becoming very popular nowadays. Although I don't know, will this become the new MS mode?

10m WSPR TX (500mW)

Since before breakfast, I have been on 10m WSPR TX with my little beacon. No spots today so far.

UPDATE 1622z: Still no spots today.

6m FT8 RX

Although I have been on since before breakfast only Gs and GI spotted. Best DX so far is GI4SNA (488km).

UPDATE 1426z: Still no further stations spotted here today.

UPDATE 1621z: Just one additional spot today: G3YDY (65km). No Europeans spotted today.

UPDATE 1630z: Another G spotted. So far today, 6 stations (all in the British Isles) spotted on 6m FT8 today.

UPDATE 1838z: Not uploaded to PSK Reporter Maps (not sure why) were GU and F spots. So far, just British Isles stations spotted today, although with the GU and F spots today's total is 4 countries spotted on 6m.

Olives - NOT amateur radio

This was a market stall in Anagni, Italy, a delightful hilltop village last week, Mostly olives.

Sunspots - Wednesday September 20th 2017

Solar flux is 71 today and the sunspot number 11.  A=8 and K=2.

19 Sept 2017

The 2m Liner-2

In the 1970s 2m operation was revolutionised. The 10W Liner-2 brought 2m SSB to the masses. Until then I had only used AM and FM and I was amazed how far I could work on SSB with just a small beam. People these days joke about the TX sidebands if the rig was overdriven, but 2m SSB was possible for the masses for the first time.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/vuhf/liner2 .

Accidental nuclear war - NOT amateur radio

Although totally unaware at the time, the world was on the brink of nuclear war in 1983. The USSR detected incoming missiles (actually a false alarm) and only the actions of one man prevented a retaliation.

You wonder how the world would manage today with people like Trump and Putin at the helm. A nuclear war by accident is more likely than by plan.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41314948

Trump - NOT amateur radio

What the USA president says would have more persuasive power if the USA did not have a history of supporting corrupt states in the past. "He who casts the first stone" and all that. Fine if the USA had a history of really defending truth, liberty etc., but history says it is only interested in defending its vested self interests.

Italian Supermarket - NOT amateur radio

Whilst in Italy we went to a local supermarket. These are the same in most countries but what they sell sometimes depends on local conditions.

Sunspots - Tuesday September 19th 2017

Solar flux is 71 today and the sunspot number 12. A=22 and K=1.

6m FT8 TX

So far this morning, a couple of Gs spotted plus F6BAX (308km). These could well be aircraft reflections or tropo.

UPDATE 1225z: No further spots.

UPDATE 1522z: A further G spotted, but nothing else today.

10m WSPR TX (500mW)

Well, there is some life on 10m with an early spot of my little beacon by DK6UG (633km).

UPDATE 1226z: No further spots today so far.

UPDATE 1520z: Still just the early spot by DK6UG. Nothing else today.

Back on the air

Having been in Italy for 10 days, I have not been on the air. Now back home, I am on 6m FT8 RX and 10m WSPR TX (500mW).

18 Sept 2017

Visiting Pompeii if walking is hard - NOT amateur radio

Before going to Pompeii, I read some reviews and was nearly put off going by what I read. The impression I got was that it would be very hard and very tiring.

4 years ago I had a stroke which left me permanently giddy when walking. Armed with a rambling stick I managed to "do" Pompeii. It was a unique and humbling visit.

The streets have uneven stones and there are a few steps, but if you can walk, you can do Pompeii. I was amazed by what I saw and was not tired at the end.

2m UKAC results published

Today I got an email saying the results were out for the latest RSGB 2m activity contest.

In the last one I was only using 5W pep for about 20 minutes into my omni antenna (no beam). Nonetheless, I still sit 56th out of 174 in my section. Had my voice allowed me to be on for the whole 2.5 hours, I am sure I could have worked many more stations and squares. Still, it was fun and it exercises my poor voice.  The contest is on every month on the first Tuesday starting at 8pm UK clock time.

Although I am not a great contest person, this one is very friendly and activity levels are good. As I make few contacts, transcribing my log only takes a few minutes, so I submit a score.

Low cost amateur radio

Many times I have said that you don't have to spend a lot to get fun with our hobby. WISPY is just one example, but there are many.

Some choose to spend huge amounts on rigs, linears, towers, rotators and beams. Each to their own, but this is not for me. I am sure many newcomers are put off thinking it is an expensive hobby.

With QRP and simple, low, wire antennas I have worked the whole world with less than 10W SSB. DXCC? Well I have lost count, but it is way over 100!

Sunspots - Monday September 18th 2017

Solar flux is 72 today. Sunspot number is 13. A=17 and K=4.


Some years ago I designed and used this very low cost rig as a beacon on 10m WSPR. Even the crystal is low cost. With 10m in decline, this is an ideal time to try 10m WSPR. More power can be had by adding more low cost transistors in the PA. 2N3904s are very inexpensive.

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

17 Sept 2017

Old mans hobby?

Many times I have cautioned that our hobby could die unless we attract and keep younger people. According to Southgate News, this will be discussed at a forthcoming IARU session.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2017/september/the-future-of-the-amateur-radio-service.htm#.Wb7fr7pFzIU

QRP and QRP Club

More news from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous Report (September, 10, 2017)
New!!!  Keep  in mind Evening Rendez-Vous each Wednesday at 19 UTC on
14060 kHz +/-
Major  Coordinator  ON6KZ  op. Peter invite all QRPers to "QRP 14.060
MHz" group in the Facebook.
The  old  QRP  Rendez-Vous  have  a  place  each Tuesdays, Thursdays,
Saturdays at 9.00 UTC on 14060 +/-

Visitors  of  the  week:  UA1CEG,  IK2RGV,  RV3GM, UR5EFD, 9A/HB9DAQ,
IZ6FCK became Frequenter (regular visitor)
See full Frequenters and Visitors lists on the Club 72 web page
Enjoy  full  version of WQR Report including comments and pictures on
the blog page - https://qrp-club72.blogspot.ru/
Thanks all for activity and reports!
See you on the next week 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.

Pompeii, Italy - NOT amateur radio

Until Vesuvius erupted in AD79, Pompeii was a busy port town with 20000 inhabitants. Streets were busy with shops, houses (and brothels). Really, life was not so different from now. Then the eruption came and all was buried for centuries.

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

USA and LF/MF bands

According to Southgate News USA amateurs will at last get access to the LF and MF bands, with some reservations, from Oct 16th.

Not before time.  I honestly cannot believe how slow the FCC has been. It seems most of us have had access to these bands for ages! FCC please get a grip.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2017/september/630-220-meters-to-open-october-16-pre-registration-required.htm#.Wb4OwLpFzmQ

Sunspots - Sunday September 17th 2017

Solar flux is 72 today and the sunspot number 13. A=30 and K=3.

16 Sept 2017

Vesuvius - NOT amateur radio

Periodically, this Italian volcano erupts. When it does, as in AD79, the results can be devastating.  Today it broods menacingly. Millions live nearby playing Russian roulette.

Italian Beams

When I first got interested in amateur radio in the 1960s, we heard lots of Italians, many with big signals that were often poor. In recent years there are still Italians on, but with much better signals. On our holiday (as I usually do - call me sad) I notice how many HF beams I see. So far, I have only seen a couple and these could be CB antennas. I was expecting far more.

Virtual Ham Radio

Although this does not "float my boat" some may be attracted to virtual ham radio, where the internet is used to simulate the ionosphere. If you just want to talk to like-minded others, this may satisfy some as conditions on the higher bands get worse for DX.

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

Sunspots - Saturday September 16th 2017

Solar flux is 72 and the sunspot number 13. A=36 and K=5.

15 Sept 2017

Rally this weekend

The Campus, Highlands Lane, Weston-super-Mare BS24 7DX The venue has a large car park with space for 120 cars. Doors open from 10am and admission is £3 for adults. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy, auction at the end of the day and lectures. There will also be amusements and activities for all the family including competitions and contests, interactive displays and fun activities. Catering will be available on site. Enquiries to mjones129@btinternet.com or 01278 786 684. www.G4WSM.club

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

Monte Cassino, Italy - NOT amateur radio

On our way to Caserta today we visited the abbey at Monte Cassino. This was totally destroyed in WW2 as it was believed to be occupied by Nazi forces blocking the allied assault on Rome and Northern Italy. It is perched high up above the town of Cassino. It was very old and totally rebuilt after the war ended. It took 20 years of rebuilding. 50000 people died before the allied forces took it in 1944. It occupies a very strategic point.

Geosynchronous amateur satellite?

As you know, we are entering a period which could last very many years when the higher HF bands will not be good for F layer DX. OK, we will have Es to liven things up, but much of the time bands like 10m will seem "dead".

To the rescue (if successful and this is a big "if") could come amateur geosynchronous satellites using linear transponders at microwaves. One such is a Qatar satellite that may be launched next year. I say "maybe" as the launch has already been delayed. Geosynchronous satellites stay in the same place, so antennas can be fixed.

A 2.4GHz uplink and 10GHz downlink is quite an investment, but could be worth it if the satellite is a success.

See https://amsat-uk.org/satellites/geosynchronous/eshail-2/

Sunspots - Friday September 15th 2017

Solar flux is 73 today and the sunspot number 11. A=25 and K=6.

Colosseum, Rome - NOT amateur radio

Another shot from Rome yesterday - this time the famous Colosseum. This is an amazing place. As I said yesterday, Rome was very busy.

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

14 Sept 2017

Rome, Italy - NOT amateur radio

Today, we visited Rome, Italy. We were last there in 1974. We saw most of the main sites, but all were very crowded and heavily guarded by armed police and troops. It is still a fine city though.

OFCOM latest

OFCOM has recently published its penalties.

See http://ofcom.cmail20.com/t/ViewEmail/i/9352918349A715362540EF23F30FEDED/59D1BD3EA2F08127C67FD2F38AC4859C

Sunspots - Thursday September 14th 2017

Solar flux is 73 and the sunspot number is 11. A=15 and K=2.

13 Sept 2017

Anagni, Italy - NOT amateur radio

Local cheese and coldmeats
We visited this hilltop town this morning. At one time it was the place where popes came to in high summer to avoid the oppressive heat in Rome.

It was market day so there were stalls a various places along the main medieval street. It had a nice atmosphere: local out enjoying the market.

We also had a decent coffee for just 1 euro each.

15m Pipit QRP Rig

Some years ago my only rig in use was my homebrew QRP transceiver on 15m. With just a low wire dipole and 800mW I worked lots and lots. Sadly, it got dismantled so I could use the case for another project.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/hf/15m_pipit.

Sunspots - Wednesday September 13th 2017

Solar flux is 78 today. The sunspot number is 23. A=11 and K=3.

12 Sept 2017

Fiuggi Citta' - NOT amateur radio

Today we visited the medieval hilltop town of Fiuggi Citta' in Italy with lots of steps.

Solar Flare

Southgate News has a piece on the solar flare this weekend.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2017/september/solar-flare-causes-ground-level-event.htm#.WbfOibpFzIU

Italian Blog - NOT amateur radio

It is surprising how soon one forgets a holiday, so I am keeping a blog so I can recall things more easily in years to come. It is mainly for family but you are welcome to look as it is public for those with the link.

See https://italy2017rl.blogspot.it/

Siena, Italy - NOT amateur radio

This is the famous Il Campo square in Siena, Italy. We visited here yesterday.

Sunspots - Tuesday September 12th 2017

Solar flux is 78 today and the sunspot number 23. A=11 and K=3.

11 Sept 2017

QRP and QRP Club

Oleg's weekly report:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous Report (September, 10, 2017)
The  Facebook  group  'QRP  14.060  MHZ'  is a success. More than 180
members already. Not a member yet? You are welcome. 72 Peter ON6KZ

Visitors  of  the  week:  DF6YF,  RA1M/p, DH0DK, YO3BL, 4Z5NX, RV3GM,
YO3BL became new Frequenter (regular visitor)

See full version of the WQR Report on the blog page -
Thanks all for activity and comments!
See you on next weekly 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.

Sunspots - Monday September 11th 2017

Solar flux is 92 and the sunspot number is 38. A=7 and  K=3.

9 Sept 2017

Sunspots - Saturday September 9th 2017

Solar flux is 117 and the sunspot number 89. A=96 and K=2

Sunday Rally

Newton Abbot Racecourse, Devon TQ12 3AF Plenty of free parking on site. Doors open 10am with disabled visitors gaining access at 9.30am. Entry is £2. There will be a Bring & Buy and an RSGB bookstand. Catering is available on site. There will be a raffle held on the day. To book tables call Pete, G4VTO on 01803 864 528 or Mike, G1TUU on 01803 557 941, email rally@tars.org.uk
A list of rallies can be found at http://rsgb.org/main/news/rallies/

7 Sept 2017

Es (late)

It is now autumn and Es peaks May, June, July. Maybe there are now more people on WSPR, FT8 and the like, but we seem to be getting 10m and 6m Es still. I know Es can occur at any time, but this year the season does appear to be longer.

Maybe these digital modes are allowing us to catch openings that we would have missed previously? The fact that so many are now looking in the same narrow slots of spectrums must increase chances of catching very brief openings.  Of course, some paths on 10m could be F layer. Some 10m/6m brief openings could be MS.

Leaving the EU - NOT amateur radio

It was never going to be easy, but I detect a note of "sour grapes" on the part of the EU. Fewer big countries remain to finance the experiment and they are peeved we are leaving. I detect a note of bitterness.

Many (including me) voted to remain, but a majority wanted to leave. In the situation, we have to forge a new way forward in the world that is fair for all.

Tough negotiations are ahead, but I hope both sides come to an adult and just deal. Both sides are not served by a poor outcome.

Time - NOT amateur radio

Years ago, someone once told me that time appears to go faster as you get older. Well, they were right! I am not sure where this year has gone, but it seems to have whizzed by. It is already September 7th and it seems no time at all since last Christmas. Summer? When was that? I missed it! If anything it says milk each moment. Enjoy the now.

Rally and BATC convention at the weekend

Doors open 9.30am to 3pm, traders get access at 8am. Indoor tables £10 per table, outside pitches £5 per table. There will be a raffle. A cafe and gift shop is onsite. Contact Zane, 0771 1214 790 or email m1bfidx@ntlworld.com www.m1bfidx.wixsite.com/cl-radio-rally

Finningley Amateur Radio Society, The Hurst Communications Centre, Belton Road, Sandtoft, Doncaster DN8 5SX

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

Canterbury - NOT amateur radio

Earlier this week, we took our "Kent" grandchildren into Canterbury on the bus. Whilst there, we bought them a drink and a bun in a café near Canterbury cathedral.

6m FT8 RX

Since before breakfast I have been on 6m FT8 RX. So far, just G and ON spotted. These are probably tropo or aircraft reflections.

UPDATE 1158z: LA7DFA (1312km) just spotted on 6m FT8. Es?

UPDATE 1350z: Already 5 countries spotted today on 6m FT8 RX as far apart as southern France and Norway.

UPDATE 1650z:  So far, on 6m FT8 RX 8 countries today.

10m WSPR TX (500mW)

Since before breakfast, I have been on 10m WSPR TX. No spots as yet, although there were late spots last night from Germany and Italy.

UPDATE 0936z: Just one spot so far on 10m WSPR by OF3NE (1737km) in Finland.

UPDATE 0956z: EA8BFK (2880km) is now my best report DXwise on 10m WSPR today. South America later?

UPDATE 1652z: So far today my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon has been received by 7 unique stations. Considering the Es season has (supposedly) ended this is not at all bad.

Sunspots - Thursday September 7th 2017

Solar flux is 127 (high) today and the sunspot number 79. A=11 and K=4.

6 Sept 2017

Pye PF8

Many years ago I was part of the design team working on the PF8 transceiver. In its day (before mobile phones) it was a radical design and probably "ahead of the game" as they say. It used a radical internal antenna (a skeleton slot) which I designed along with the TX audio. In those days we had no real competition and it took a long time to overcome the noise issues with the DC-DC converter. It was the first Pye Telecom unit to use a multi-layer PCB. It became famous as the transceivers used in the TV series "The Professionals". PF8 units are very hard to find these days, but some have been converted to 70cm amateur use.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/vuhf/pf8 .


It still surprises me that the price of the IC7300 has not dropped. I guess the dealers are playing "chicken" to see who blinks first. If people are happy to buy at the current figure they have no incentive to drop the price. Meanwhile, they all make lots of profit.


As usual, I am on 10m WSPR TX (500mW), although no-one has yet spotted me.

UPDATE 1400z: Two 10m WSPR spots so far today with DG7RJ (916km) the best DX report so far. I assume this is Es.

UPDATE 2202z: With late DX (Es?) spots from EA, I and DL I decided to leave the 10m WSPR beacon running overnight. I have gone QRT on 6m FT8 RX.

6m FT8

As well as G3PXT, I am spotting Germany and Slovenia on 6m FT8. These could be Es or random MS. For random MS, the 15 second periods must help. There was slow QSB on G3PXT (79km), so I think this was tropo.

UPDATE 0942z: G4VXE (136km) now being spotted, although no further non-G DX spotted.

UPDATE 1358z: S51AT (1250km) is the best DX spotted so far on 6m today, with 5 countries spotted on 6m FT8 so far today.

UPDATE 1545z: 9A4ZM (1292km) in Croatia brings the total to 6 countries spotted so far today on 6m FT8.

Sunspots - Wednesday September 6th 2017

Solar flux is 122 as is the sunspot number. These are massive figures this late in the cycle. A=12 and K=2.


The latest OFCOM report has been published.

See http://ofcom.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/i/FC9A6652345C41492540EF23F30FEDED/59D1BD3EA2F08127C67FD2F38AC4859C

5 Sept 2017

Es on 10m and 6m

Although I was away at my son's for a few days, I went on 10m WSPR TX and 6m FT8 RX on my return. There was Es on both bands.

2m UKAC activity contest (September)

A reminder that tonight is the RSGB's 2m activity contest. It runs from 8pm to 10.30pm UK clock time.

UPDATE 2050z: Although I was only of for about 15-20 minutes, best DX was M1MLM/P (181km) in the Peak District. As usual, I was using 5W QRP to my big-wheel 2m Omni.

Sunspots - Tuesday September 5th 2017

The solar activity is incredible for this part of the cycle. Solar flux is 144 and sunspot number is 122 (incredible). A=18 and K=2.

4 Sept 2017

QRP and QRP Club

Oleg's usual report:

Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous Report (September, 3, 2017)
Visitors  of  the  week:  G3XJS, IK0IXI/p, DK1HW, RW3DF, S57TX, RA1M,
UA1AV became Frequenter (regular visitor)
See full Visitors and Frequenters lists on the Club 72 page
Comments (as is, not edited)...
See full WQR Report including a lot of comments and pictures here -
Thanks all for activity and reports, see you on next Rendez-Vous!

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

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.

Low noise VLF pre-amp

In recent days there has been quite a lot of work on different VLF frequencies (as low as 970Hz) by amateurs trying to receive carriers and short messages at great range, including from Germany to the UK. In a recent posting DG4RBF gave details of his latest pre-amp. I have no idea if it does the job. The text is in German, so you have to translate if you want it in English. Use Google translate?


3 Sept 2017

BBC Local Radio - NOT amateur radio

Southgate News reports a recent outage that affected a lot of the BBC local radio stations.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2017/september/eighteen-bbc-local-radio-stations-fall-silent.htm#.Wau-cLpFzIU .

10m JT65

From Facebook, I see that I was copying LUs on 10m JT65 last year at this time. I was speculating the propagation was Es linking with F layer nearer the equator. I guess the mode to try now is FT8? With good propagation, I guess this is still possible.

Sunspots - Sunday September 3rd 2017

Solar flux is 103 (high) and the sunspot number 71 (high for this part of the cycle). A=26 and K=3.

2 Sept 2017

Cambridge Leper Chapel - NOT amateur radio

After an age, I have updated the churches blog at https://eachurches.blogspot.co.uk/ with the Cambridge Leper Chapel that dates from the 1100s. We visited this for the first time today, although we have been past it many times.


My thanks to Steve Wigg for alerting me to this new ICOM radio being previewed at the Tokyo Ham Fair this weekend. This will be a VHF/UHF/23cm rig.

See http://www.icomuk.co.uk/News_Article/3508/19388/ .

They still try! - NOT amateur radio

Already, there is hacker activity on this blog again. Should the blog suddenly behave oddly, you will know why. Already this blog has had more visits than it often gets in a whole day. Bots I suspect.

I see another of my blogs also has high visitor numbers.

Usually they look every month, then play their nasty games elsewhere. It always comes from the same sources. I see high numbers, check the map, and I know it is hackers rather than genuine visits.

Sunspots - Saturday September 2nd 2017

 Solar flux is 93 today. Sunspot number is 62 (quite high). A=19 and K=5.

10m WSPR today

As usual, I am on 10m WSPR TX with my 500mW beacon. Apart from local G4KPX (14km) the only DX so far today is EI3RCW (505km). This could be Es or aircraft reflection.

UPDATE 2022z:  10 unique spots today with the best DX 1812km. If this is still Es, then this is very late in the season. Now QRT.

6m FT8 again

I have been RX only on this band/mode since before breakfast. Although most spots are of G stations, there has been one Es spot so far of HG9SM (1508km).

UPDATE 1950z: 6 countries spotted in the last 12 hours. Now QRT.

1 Sept 2017

10m WSPR (TX)

Although only active for about 1 hour, OH2VMP (1734km) has spotted my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon several times. Is this Es or even single hop F2?

UPDATE 1725z:  With OZ9QV (864km) just spotted, I suspect this is Es.

UPDATE 1938z: With 16 unique spots since teatime, another great Es day on 10m WSPR. This season seems never ending!

6m FT8

All yesterday and most of today I have been QRT. I turned the rigs and PC on at about 1625z today. Even though it is September, there have already been lots of Es spots.

UPDATE 1942z: Yet another great day on 6m with stations spotted from all over Europe again. It is now September and we still have great Es on 6m FT8.

Sunspots - Friday September 1st 2017

Solar flux is 92 today and the sunspot number 59. A=31 and K=4.