30 Apr 2019

160m FT8

Overnight I am on 160m FT8. After a brief period calling CQ (2.5W, 2 UK spots plus LB7ZG (1058km as best DX)) I have been on 160m FT8 RX. As usual, I am using the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. This is a good match on 160m.

As normal, loads of EU stations spotted on 160m FT8 RX.
Stations spotted on 160m FT8 
RX in the first few minutes!

6m FT8

At about 1430z 6m FT8 beckoned. Initially a CQ (2.5W) and was spotted by M0TXS (56km.) A few Gs have been spotted on 6m FT8 RX.

10m WSPR

At about 1430z I QSYed to 10m WSPR TX with my 500mW stand-alone beacon. This llows me to go on 6m FT8 at the same time using a different antenna.

UPDATE 2050z: Now QRT. No 10m WSPR spots today.

10m FT8

Although I have been on 10m FT8 since before breakfast, very little doing yet. The only station spotted so far is G4HZW (212km) in NW England. Judging by the strength, this is probably normal "flat band" tropo. An earlier CQ (2.5W) was spotted by no-one.

UPDATE 0947z:  No further 10m FT8 RX spots here today.

UPDATE 1202z:  Just 2 G spots today so far on 10m FT8 RX. Abysmal!

Overnight on 472kHz WSPR

Yet again, I was on 472kHz WSPR overnight. Not a bad night with my 10mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground spotted in 4 countries with the best being a spot by DL/PA0EHG (493km).
472kHz WSPR overnight here

New politics? - NOT amateur radio

Something on the BBC website this morning hit me and got me thinking. Are we on the verge of a sea change in politics?

Here in the UK and probably much of the west, young people are finding meaningful work hard to get. In the UK houses are generally far too expensive for young people to buy. In several countries right wing parties are picking up the disaffected votes.

Maybe we are seeing the ending of traditional politics and a new wave of politics is about to be ushered in? The old ways on the left and right probably have had their days, so maybe now is ripe for something different?

I have no idea what this will be, but just maybe we will see the beginnings of a fairer, more sustainable economy in the UK, the rest of the EU and the USA? We live in challenging times.

See https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-48069016 .

Sunspots - Tuesday April 30th 2019

Solar flux is 67 (poor) and the SSN still zero. A=5 and K=2.

29 Apr 2019

QSY to 472kHz WSPR (10mW ERP)

At about 1900z I QSYed from 28MHz FT8 to 472kHz WSPR using 10mW ERP (20% TX) from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. So far, the usual stations spotted and spotting me.

Build project?

Although my health is less than brilliant, my XYL insists that building something would be good for me. Now you know how it is! These commands have to be obeyed!

Somewhere in a drawer, I have an unbuilt 20m Rockmite kit, although I do not have a very good 20m antenna. A few years ago (after my 2013 stroke) I managed to build a 40m Pixie transceiver kit and it worked.

The Rockmite really does not enthuse me. If you have any ideas for simple projects I could build, let me know. At one time almost anything was possible. These days even simple things are hard.

Plymouth Argyle - NOT amateur radio

OK, I am a fireside football fan and it is very many years since I attended a real soccer match. However, I do keep and eye on some teams of interest and one of these is Plymouth Argyle, which was my local team many years ago.

At the moment they are likely to be relegated to League 2 in the UK. This is the lowest tier. They have just sacked their manager. If they survive it will be by the skin of their teeth. At the moment this seems unlikely.

Ferns - NOT amateur radio

Ferns are fascinating. Those in the photo were seen at Anglesey Abbey earlier today. They are about to unwind.

10m FT8 again

Yet again, I am on 10m FT8, mainly RX. Yesterday there was plenty of Es propagation on the band and it remains to be seen how things work out today. If there is any "real DX" i.e. South Africa or South America, I don't expect to spot these until after lunch.

An initial CQ call today just after 0800z was spotted by no-one! Let's hope things here improve.

UPDATE 0915z: No spots yet on 10m FT8 RX today.

UPDATE 1415z: So far today, 54 EU stations spotted, presumably Es. As yet, no "real DX" spotted here on 10m FT8 RX.
Stations spotted here today so far on 10m FT8 RX
UPDATE 1850z: 59 stations spotted today on 10m FT8 RX. Most are via Es. It seems unlikely there will be any "real DX" via F2. I shall shortly QSY to 472kHz WSPR.

472kHz WSPR overnight

Not a bad night (for the time of year) with 5 stations spotting my 10mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground with the best being DL/PA0EHG (493km). I spotted 4 stations here. I think the Norwegian stations were not active.
472kHz WSPR here overnight

433MHz superhet modules - dirt cheap

Although my health precludes doing much RF design and construction these days, I see you can buy TX and RX module pairs for 433MHz for about £3 with free postage on eBay.  I guess a half capable designer could build a useful pair of transceivers for local 70cms AM comms for under £10. There may already be designs published, although I've not seen these. If you have, please share a link.

Try looking on eBay for "433MHz RF modules". To a capable designer, these could be quite useful. No doubt with a bit of digging you can get these for even less!

UPDATE 1345z: Check out the YouTube videos by VK3YE who has done some interesting tests with similar modules. It appears you can get FM or AM with these and some useful ranges.

Sunspots - Monday April 29th 2019

Solar flux is 67 and the sunspot number is again zero. A=6 and K=1. Pretty poor!

28 Apr 2019

472kHz WSPR

A few moments ago I QSYed to 472kHz WSPR (10mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground). As usual, I am 20% TX with the remainder of the time on RX.

So far, 1 station has spotted me and 1 station spotted here.

Maggie - NOT amateur radio

Maggie is now a very old horse. She has been a favourite with grandchildren who like to find her grass to eat.

She is in a new paddock. I'm sure she loves attention from children. She is part of our lives.

What polarisation for VHF and UHF DX?

Ever since I started in the hobby I was told, "vertical FM for locals and horizontal for SSB/CW". Now, like many things, I have found that so called "experts" are not! My own, albeit limited, experience on 2m and 70cm is, at best, inconclusive. On 70cm FM I have made some great DX QSOs and also on 2m FM with vertical polarisation.  At the same time I have worked some great DX on 2m SSB with horizontal polarisation.

According to Southgate News, someone has done some recent research. It would not surprise me if there was actually little difference! Funny how old wives tales become facts. Don't always believe what so called "experts" have to say.

Many said my own earth-electrode "antennas" in the ground would not work, but these have now been used from ELF-MF successfully and I am pretty sure at least one VLF grabber is now using such a structure. No, experts are often wrong. Always challenge! That is part of the fun of our hobby.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2019/april/horizontal-versus-vertical-antenna-polarisation-the-debate.htm#.XMVi2PZFy00

This was a talk on the polarisation of 6m signals given to the Reading club. The link worked for me, even though I am not a club member.


472kHz WSPR

Well, I have come to the conclusion that the band is still quite decent, but stations are abandoning it at the moment. Overnight 6 stations spotted my 10mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground and I spotted 7 others with my best DX a spot of EA4GHB (1300km).
472kHz WSPR here overnight

10m FT8

For a change today I am on 10m FT8. A before breakfast time CQ (2.5W) was spotted by no-one, but since then I have been RX only and there is Es evident with several eastern and southern Europeans spotted. So far, 9 stations spotted (0812z).

UPDATE 1526z:  Currently 137 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX today. Almost all are EU. One supposedly in Morocco has a Spanish EA1 call and may have his QTH locator details wrong. Another is in Ceuta, which is a small Spanish enclave in North Africa. Most of these are Es propagation I think.

UPDATE 1915z:  It looks like just Europe and North Africa on 10m FT8 RX here today. There is no sign of any "real DX" on the band here today. No doubt better equipped stations will do better.

Sunspots - Sunday April 28th 2019

It seems hard to believe Easter was a week ago, even though very late and we are nearly in May already!

Solar flux is 67 and the SSN 0. A=6 and K=1.

27 Apr 2019

Mystery object - NOT amateur radio

We spotted this on a walk around the village yesterday. It was about 4 inches (11cm) across and very light, so not stone. It could be wood.

I think the colours are a mix of old paint and lichen. Whatever it is, it was odd.

When I picked it up the green bits lit up and it said, "take me to your leader". OK, I am kidding!  👻

6m FT8

Although I briefly called CQ (2.5W) earlier and got one spot from a G station 65km away, I have been mostly RX only. So far today, 7 spots with best DX DK8NE (702km). This could be Es or aircraft reflection.

UPDATE 1347z: Now 35 stations spotted on 6m FT8 RX today with best DX OH6DX (1918km) who was an amazing +10dB S/N.


Quite early (before breakfast) WSPR spots of my 500mW beacon today.

UPDATE 1400z: Already 56 spots by TF1A (1798km) in Iceland today. A good job this station is there, as no other spots received! This station has been spotting me now for hours.

UPDATE 1937z: In the end just one station spotted me, but he managed spot me 71 times over a 4 hour period.

Overnight on 472kHz WSPR

Yet again, I ventured on to 472kHz WSPR overnight. Again an average night with my 10mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground being spotted by 6 stations with my best spot being by PA0O (440km). I spotted 4 stations here.
Last night here on 472kHz WSPR

Sunspots - Saturday April 27th 2019

Solar flux is just 66 (poor) and the SSN 0. A=4 and K=1. Pretty bad really.

26 Apr 2019

Was this an April fools joke that ran and ran?

For some weeks now I have seen articles reporting a novel VLF antenna that is extremely tiny. This is meant to be a TX antenna! Now, this may be genuine, but it has the ring of an April fools joke with legs! If you know this is genuine, please let me know.

See https://www6.slac.stanford.edu/news/2019-04-12-slac-develops-novel-compact-antenna-communicating-where-radios-fail.aspx

Brain fog - NOT amateur radio

Earlier I was reading something about the hidden symptoms of MS and was struck by how similar these were to my own symptoms following my 2013 stroke.

On my feet I'm always giddy and I often say it is like living in a sort of continual fog and getting exhausted very quickly.

Outwardly I look well and indeed most people think that, 5 years on, I am fully recovered. Like MS sufferers, they have little idea!

Alan Turing - NOT amateur radio

I don't think this has been on before, but please accept my apologies if it has.

Alan Turing is perhaps the best known of the Bletchley Park code breakers in WW2. This plaque is on a wall in Cambridge.

There were others who came to light much later who were probably even more important, but the UK government kept their names secret including Bill Tutte (Google him!). There is a memorial to Bill in Newmarket.


Well, the level of 10m WSPR activity has totally surprised me. Yet again, I was active with my little 10m, 500mW, WSPR beacon. This is 100% TX, 500mW, with randomised frequencies which change every 2 minute slot. Although this morning was quiet, 9 different stations have spotted me this afternoon! This totally self contained WSPR beacon needs no PC and is about as small as a pack of playing cards. In the last few years it has reached every continent including Antarctica. Amazing and real fun.  All this with very modest wire antennas.
10m WSPR TX spots today so far.

6m FT8

At about 1420z, I went on 6m FT8. There was Es about with several stations from central Europe. For a short while I called CQ (2.5W). Although no QSOs resulted I got spots from 5 stations with my best being a spot by 4O6ZD (1790km) in Montenegro. Clearly Es. On 6m FT8 RX several central European spots already plus Greece. The photo shows the stations spotted here on just a V2000 vertical omni in the last hour!

472kHz WSPR overnight

An average period with 6 stations spotting me and 4 stations spotted here. My best spot was by PA0O (440km).
472kHz WSPR activity here overnight.

10m WSPR today

Although I have been on 10m WSPR all day with my 500mW WSPR beacon, not a single spot so far today. Yesterday was very different.

See later post - it changed!

Cambridge today - NOT amateur radio

A view towards the university church , Great St Mary's, over Cambridge market earlier today.

Sunspots - Friday April 26th 2019

Solar flux is 68 and the sunspot number zero. A=7 and K=2.

25 Apr 2019

472kHz WSPR (10mW ERP)

For the overnight period, I am on 472kHz WSPR using 10mW ERP (20% TX) from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. Best DX on 472kHz RX is EI0CF (602km).

UPDATE 2126z:   Best DX on 472kHz WSPR RX is now IW4DXW (1190km). On TX best DX is just M0XDK (80km).

Typical April day - NOT amateur radio

We have not had decent rain this spring, although it is cooler than a few days ago. I think you'd describe this as "typical April weather" with sunshine, some clouds and just a few showers.

We need far more rain.



Norbreck Castle Exhibition Centre, Blackpool FY2 9AA. There will be a talk-in station and plenty of car parking. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy, special interest groups and an RSGB bookstall. Doors open at 10.30, or 10.15 for disabled visitors. Catering is available on site. Dave, M0OBW 01270 761 608 dwilson@btinternet.com www.narsa.org.uk.


Wildhern Village Hall, Nr Andover, SP11 0JE. Open at 10am. Admission £2.00. Indoor tables £10.00, outdoor £8.00. Our classic bacon rolls, cakes, sandwiches and hot and cold drinks are available all day. Ample on site parking and indoor shelter should it rain. Contact Paul G4KZY 07775 738 200, arac@arac.org.uk. http://www.arac.org.uk event.

King's College Chapel - NOT amateur radio

This is a view of the inside of one of the most famous buildings in the world. It is a view along the nave from the choir stalls towards the organ. Behind us is the famous Rubens painting.

6m FT8 RX

After a brief TX period (just one G spot received) I am on 6m FT8 RX. 5 G spots so far on 6m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 0922z: Already 22 spots om 6m FT8 RX from right across Europe. This looks like Es.

UPDATE 1030z: Definitely widespread Es with 54 stations spotted all over Europe.
Stations spotted so far this morning on 6m FT8 RX
UPDATE 1223z:   81 stations spotted today on 6m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 1602z: No less than 123 stations spotted from right across Europe on 6m FT8 RX today.

UPDATE 1856z: 129 stations spotted so far on 6m FT8 RX.

10m WSPR

After a brief go on 10m FT8 (TX and RX), I have switched to 10m WSPR. On 10m FT8 I was spotted by one EA3 when I was running 2.5W.

At the moment I am on WSPR 100% TX, 500mW, randomised frequencies on 10m and on 6m FT8 RX on a different antenna. I am told 10m WSPR activity is lower now that FT8 is very popular. We'll see. No 10m WSPR spots as yet.

UPDATE 0910z: Well, well, well! Already a spot from DK6UG (633km). This is quite early in the day and shows (probably) there is Es propagation.

UPDATE  1221z: Already spots by 3 different stations on 10m WSPR. Much better than I thought it would be on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1556z: 10m WSPR has been much better than I expected. As of a few minutes ago, no less than 7 different stations have spotted my little 500mW WSPR beacon with best DX being a spot by IZ3LCH (1149km).

UPDATE 1712z: Amazing! I have been "blown away" by the results on 10m WSPR TX today. Best DX is FY5KE (7110km).
Stations that spotted my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon today.
UPDATE 1900z: So far, 10 different stations have spotted my little 10m 500mW WSPR beacon today.

Sunspots - Thursday April 25th 2019

Solar flux is 68 again today and the SSN still zero. A=7 and K=1.

24 Apr 2019

Grandchildren at Wymondham - NOT amateur radio

Many generations back our grandchildren had relatives living in Wymondham, Norfolk. Life was very hard and they moved to the industrial north.

This is the grandchildren in Wymondham last week. They love going here.

FT4 digital contest mode

My friend Steve G1KQH alerted me to this. It is a new variation (faster) of FT8 for digital contests.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2019/april/new-digital-mode-ft4.htm

472kHz WSPR overnight

It is definitely getting less busy! Overnight, I copied 6 stations , but only 3 stations spotted my 10mW ERP WSPR. The activity here overnight is shown in the table.

10m FT8

Although I have been on 10m FT8 RX since about 0800z, nothing yet spotted.

UPDATE 1125z: 6 stations spotted s far with best DX RX6AOB (2990km).
UPDATE 1300z: So far today 36 stations spotted. Looks like Es and some F2 earlier.
Stations received on 10m FT8 RX to 1300z.
UPDATE 1902z: 299 stations spotted today with best DX on 10m FT8 RX being CX5ABM(11133km). Definitely Es and probably linking to F2 further south?

UPDATE 2101z: And still South Americans are coming through! At the moment 403 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX today. Quite my best haul for a long while on 10m.
UPDATE 2115z: Now 405 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX today with best DX CE2SQE (11473km). I was going to go on 472kHz, but I think I'll stop on 10m.

Sunspots - Wednesday April 24th 2019

Solar flux is 68 today and the SSN 0. A=8 and K=1.

Steam Locos - NOT amateur radio

This photo was taken 7 years ago at Minehead in Somerset. They have perhaps one of the very best collections of steam locos in the UK here.

23 Apr 2019

472kHz WSPR (10mW ERP)

Boyed by the successes of previous nights, I expect to QSY to 472kHz WSPR shortly from 10m FT8 RX. I shall probably give 10m FT8 a bit longer, just in case these is a late opening to South America.  By 2005z I should be active on 472kHz WSPR. As on previous evenings I shall be using 10mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground.

End-fed longwire antennas

These end-fed antennas are quite popular, but a 9:1 transformer is usually needed to bring the impedance down to levels that a typical rig's ATU can match. Often less than 3:1 VSWR can be obtained on all HF bands with such a transformer, so a rig's internal ATU can usually bring this down to 1:1.

See https://pa3i.jouwweb.nl/antenne

Mildenhall Museum - NOT amateur radio

This is a small, local museum with free entry that is manned by volunteers.

For some reason our "London" grandchildren love going there. The photo shows one of our granddaughters there over the Easter weekend.

Return to 10m FT8

At about 0845z today I returned to 10m FT8. Initially, I am calling CQ (2.5W) although shortly I shall be RX only.

UPDATE 0923z: No spots of my CQ, but I have spotted 3 stations in eastern Europe, presumably by Es.

UPDATE 1206z: Now 7 stations in 5 countries spotted so far today on 10m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 1635z: Now 13 stations in 7 EU countries spotted on 10m FT8 RX today.

UPDATE 1822z: 15 stations in 8 EU countries spotted today on 10m FT8 RX. I shall probably stay on 10m FT8 for another hour, then QSY to 472kHz (630m) WSPR overnight.

The map shows the stations spotted today on 10m FT8 RX to 1825z..

472kHz WSPR overnight

Although the real DX "season" on 472kHz is over, I remained on the band overnight using 10mW ERP from my earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground.  The activity on the band as seen here (on WSPR) is shown in the table.

Parkinson's hope? - NOT amateur radio

Parkinson's disease can be debilitating. New research has given some hope to sufferers.

See https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-47803496

Tender moment - NOT amateur radio

This is a real Easter picture!

It shows one of my grandsons holding a lamb. I think you will agree that it is a very tender moment. You can almost sense the love and gentleness in his eyes.

Sunspots - Tuesday April 23rd 2019

Solar flux is 68 and the sunspot number 0.  A=4 and K=1.

22 Apr 2019

472kHz WSPR (10mW ERP)

Although it is late in the season, I decided to try 472kHz WSPR with 10mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. As usual, I am on TX 20% and RX 80% of the time. So far, a couple of G spots received of my 10mW ERP. No spots of others yet.

UPDATE 2022z:  6 spots of my QRPP so far this evening with my best spot being by PA0O (440km). Only a couple of stations spotted here so far.

TV webSDR for Oscar 100?

Although I regularly check the narrowband SDR at Goonhilly in Cornwall, I am not aware of the equivalent for amateur TV signals. I know there are various standards and this may make such a RX difficult. I am aware of the SDR showing activity levels in the wideband transponder, but not actual TV signals. If you are aware of one, please let me know.

By the way, activity on the narrowband transponder still seems low.

See https://eshail.batc.org.uk/nb/

That move to the right - NOT amateur radio

So the Ukraine has, allegedly, voted a clown as president. All over the western world it seems people are getting disillusioned with their elected representatives. There seems to be a march to the right in many countries. I am not quite sure why this is, but it points to disappointment and a sense of disconnectedness.

Like many things, this is probably cyclical, but it points to a deeper anxiety: we lack credible leaders.

Certainly here in the UK the gap between the richest and poorest in society seems to be growing and the poorer are being left behind. This cannot go on. At some point things will change, either peacefully or violently. Likewise we cannot continue to live on the principle of endless growth, when resources are finite.

Climate change - NOT amateur radio

Whatever your views on recent protests by Extinction Rebellion around the world, there is little doubt, unless you are Canute or Trump, that the world is getting warmer. Most experts agree and you only have to look with your own eyes.

People may argue whether this is mankind's influence or a natural variation. The evidence points to the former. In time, we will all move away from fossil fuels (like we did with flat screen TVs and digital cameras), but it is arguably not soon enough. In the meantime, we may be doing irreparable damage.

See https://www.bbc.com/bitesize/articles/zm63xyc

Israel Amateur Radio Club

Ok, I could use Google Translate to convert these pages into English, but I did not bother. Apparently there will be a special station to celebrate the Eurovision Song Contest from Israel. It would not surprise me if the UK was bottom this year! I am not quite sure why we still take part. Like Trump, the UK is a laughing stock and the butt of jokes at this event. Mind you, can you blame people?

See https://www.iarc.org/iarc/

Sponsorship? - NOT amateur radio

Our local museum and windmill have reopened after the winter. It looks like they are being sponsored by our local co-op shops.

See http://www.burwellmuseum.org.uk/

BREXIT: all quiet - NOT amateur radio

After hearing about BREXIT non-stop, it is out of the headlines now and hardly gets a mention. There were talks between the UK government and the opposition aimed at finding a compromise, although, as far as I know, nothing has been reported.

The truth is the nation and MPs are deeply divided. Some are very keen we should leave, even with no deal, whilst others think we should stay. Some want a vote on whatever deal is agreed. The UK Prime Minister is still trying to get her deal approved by the UK Parliament.

A mess? I couldn't possibly comment.

6m FT8

After a night off (PC and rigs off) this morning I have returned to 6m FT8, mostly RX. So far 4 Gs spotted.

UPDATE 0926z: 9 Gs spotted so far today.

UPDATE 1140z: 30 stations spotted so far with best DX SP7EXY (1454km). Looks like we are seeing some Es.

UPDATE 1414z: Now 37 stations spotted on 6m FT8 today.

UPDATE  1559z: Now 39 stations spotted today in 7 countries on 6m FT8 RX.
Stations spotted so far today on 6m FT8 RX
UPDATE 1815z: Time to QSY to 472kHz WSPR, but 41 stations spotted on 6m FT8 RX today.

International Marconi Day - Saturday April 27th 2019

Next weekend is International Marconi Day. There will be plenty of special event stations active.

Sunspots - Monday April 22nd 2019

Solar flux is 68 and the SSN 11. A=4 and K=1.

21 Apr 2019

Grandchildren - NOT amateur radio

As usual over Easter, we have been busy with grandchildren.

Our local museum has just (today) reopened, so we went across there earlier.

The photo shows one of the grandchildren in the museum next to an Austin 7.

See http://www.burwellmuseum.org.uk/

Good news on the BBC - NOT amateur radio

We seem to be fed lots of bad news (I guess this makes papers sell) but tend to not hear about good news often. So, we end up thinking the world is all gloom and doom. In actual fact the good news far outweighs the bad. So let me bring you some good news for a change!

See https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-47974844

6m FT8 RX

You can tell there is a contest on! In the last day a total (so far) of 66 stations spotted (mostly Gs) in 7 countries with best DX spotted F4IAA (802km).

UPDATE 1252z:  Now 85 stations spotted in 10 countries spotted on 6m FT8 RX in the last day. Best DX is IZ5YFU (1222km).

UPDATE 1610z: 76 stations spotted in the last day on 6m FT8 RX in 10 countries. Mostly tropo I think. The photo shows those received, although missing is the station in N.Ireland. One station spotted my CQ recently (2.5W). This was M0TXS (56km).
6m MGM contest: stations 
received on vertical co-linear antenna.

Simple AM radio

Southgate News carries a report of someone's first steps into RF by building a simple TRF circuit. It uses a TA7642 TRF IC, which is like a ZN414 that some may remember. These form the basis of very simple TRF receivers. I recall making a similar circuit years ago for Medium Wave. As I recall, mine was fix tuned to Radio Cambridgeshire. I guess these ICs could be used for a simple RX in a 160m AM rig.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2019/april/making-a-simple-am-radio.htm#.XLuJ7fZFy00

Sunspots - Sunday April 21st 2019

Solar flux is 71 and the SSN 11. A=4 and K=1.

20 Apr 2019

Like busses? - NOT amateur radio

The same thing happened last year. One day I saw my first swallow (bird) then the next day I saw more!  Today, I saw 2 more swallows. Next week, they should be common.

Easter Egg Hunt - NOT amateur radio

Our grandchildren are still young enough to enjoy hunting for chocolate Easter eggs hidden in the garden as the photo shows.

472kHz WSPR overnight

Considering it is quite late in the season, not a bad night. 6 people spotted my 10mW ERP  with my best spot being by PA0O (440km). On RX my best spot was of IW4DXW (1190km).
472kHz WSPR here overnight

6m FT8

Earlier, I called CQ on 6m FT8 and was spotted by 3 G stations. Later (it is now 1040z) 11 stations were spotted with best DX ON4CGB (242km).

UPDATE 2040z: Now 52 stations in 5 countries spotted on 6m FT8 today. There is a contest, so activity is greater than normal. Best DX is MM0CEZ (487km). Most stations are in England.

Sunspots - Saturday April 20th 2019

Solar flux is 72 and the sunspot number 23. A=4 and K=1.

19 Apr 2019

10m FT8

Although I have only been on 10m FT8 for about 15 minutes so far just 2E0XXO (121km) spotted, but no spots of my CQ (2.5W) on 10m FT8.

UPDATE 1600z: So far today 8 stations in 4 countries with best DX EA3ENR (1153km).

UPDATE 1935z: When I QSYed to MF WSPR 11 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX.

Respectable night on 472kHz WSPR

Overnight my 10mW ERP was spotted by 7 stations with best DX PA3FNY (330km). On RX my best DX was IW4DXW (1190km).
472kHz WSPR (10mW ERP) overnight

Sunspots - Friday April 19th 2019

Solar flux is 74 and the SSN a respectable (for where we are in the cycle) 24. A=3 and K=1.

18 Apr 2019

Probing? - NOT amateur radio

A few moments ago I had a shock: visits to this blog are way above normal. I can only assume this a mistake or hackers are doing their usual probing.

One last time?

This evening and overnight I am again on 472kHz WSPR (10mW ERP) using the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. So far, just a couple of stations spotting me with best DX a spot by M0XDK (80km). Only M0FMT (51km) here so far this evening on 472kHz WSPR RX. I am 20% TX and 80% RX.

Depending on results, this may be my last "outing" on 472kHz until the autumn.

UPDATE 2130z: Well, so far 4 stations spotted here with best DX (who else?) but LA8AV (1035km). The best spot of my QRPP signal is by G0LUJ (278km) in IO83 square.

OFCOM and 5G licences

OFCOM is consulting on possible changes to operator licences at 3.4GHz to bring them into line with the EU.

At last! - NOT amateur radio

Just seen the first swallow (migrant bird) flying over at lunchtime. There may have been some a few days ago, but this was my first positive sighting here. The others were flying away and there was some doubt. The earliest I have seen them here is April 7th.

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

Coffee in the garden - NOT amateur radio

As it was warm and sunny this morning we had coffee in the garden for the first time this year. My wife also hung out some washing for the first time this year.

10m FT8

A few moments ago I QSYed from 2m to 10m FT8, calling CQ initially (2.5W) and then RX only. So far, no spots. Mind you, it is only 0850z.

UPDATE 0950z: A couple of spots so far with best DX on 10m FT8 RX being F5OHM (631km) in central France.

UPDATE 1148z: Now 5 stations in 3 countries spotted on 10m FT8 RX this morning with best DX CS7AKZ (1651km).

UPDATE 1322z: 9A7JCY was an amazing +17dB S/N signal - this must be Es!

UPDATE 1516z:  10 stations spotted in 6 countries so far on 10m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 1806z:  Now 11 stations in 6 countries today on 10m FT8 RX.

2m FT8 RX

Although it is only 0835z I have already spotted 16 stations in 7 countries in the last 6 hours. It really is amazing.

Shortly, I shall probably QSY to 10m FT8.

Sunspots - Thursday April 18th 2019

Solar flux is 74 and the SSN 11.  A=3 and K=1.

17 Apr 2019

2m FT8

At about 0745z I started on 2m. After an unsuccessful call to a Dutch station and a brief period calling CQ (2.5W to the horizontal omni antenna) with 9 reports so far with my best being a spot by G4RRA (333km) in Devon, I have been RX only.

So far this evening, 20 stations spotted in 4 countries with best DX on 2m FT8 RX DL6YBF (471km).

Interesting that in just 45 minutes on 2m FT8 RX I have spotted more stations than all day on 10m FT8.

UPDATE 1955z: 21 stations spotted so far on 2m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 2125z: 28 stations spotted so far on 2m FT8 RX this evening in just over 2 hours (see photo).

Anglesey Abbey - NOT amateur radio

We went for a walk here today, mainly to take some photos. Being the school holidays, it was very busy. If there were swallows about I thought I would see some at Anglesey Abbey, but we saw none.

Well trained? - NOT amateur radio

Yesterday I think I showed my son, who was staying with us for a few days, eating the breakfast he had cooked.  The photo shows him washing up afterwards.

It's usually my job, but he insisted I sat down. Usually at breakfast and just after I feel very giddy.

10m FT8 again

Yet again, I am on 10m FT8. At the moment, I am on RX only. So far this morning a couple of spots with best DX being DO9REF (526km). It is still very early.

UPDATE 1202z: Still no further 10m FT8 RX spots today.

UPDATE 1418z: Now 6 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX today with best DX DJ1AA (660km).

UPDATE 1731z: Now 7 stations in 4 countries spotted on 10m FT8 RX  today. The distances make me think these may be aircraft reflections, although some might be Es.

Still waiting - NOT amateur radio

It is now April 17th and I have still not seen a swallow (migrant bird). There may have been a couple in the last few days flying over, but these were not definite identifications. Often, a few days after seeing the first I see plenty.

Sunspots - Wednesday April 17th 2019

Solar flux is 74 and the sunspot number 11. A=6and K=1.

16 Apr 2019

Young me - NOT amateur radio

Today, I got sent a picture of me taken at school about 1965. In those days I had hair!

Oh to be that age again. I seem to have changed a lot since then. I think it was originally part of a school photo.

I seem to recall having the lapel badge as I was a librarian in the 5th year.

Notre Dame Paris - NOT amateur radio

The images of this world famous cathedral last night looked horrific and I was dreading seeing the photos this morning. Precious medieval ceilings and the spire have gone, but I was surprised just how much managed to survive. It will be rebuilt, although I may not be around to see it finished. Thick 850 year old walls stand some treatment!

See https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-47945465

Breakfast - NOT amateur radio

For the last few days we have had one of our sons and his family staying here. For that period he got breakfast. Normally, I do breakfasts. It was a real treat.

The photo shows him eating his breakfast today. They have now gone home.

10m FT8 again

Yet again I am on 10m FT8. An earlier CQ call (2.5W) got no spots, but I have spotted 6 stations so far with best DX IU0MBJ (1471km). I suspect this latter one is Es.

UPDATE 1226z: So far today 8 stations in 4 countries spotted on 10m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 1820z: Now 10 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX.

Sunspots - Tuesday April 16th 2019

Solar flux is 74 and the sunspot number 11. A=8 and K=3.

15 Apr 2019

Main Website

A reminder that my main website is at www.g3xbm.co.uk . Although not as frequently updated as this blog, it contains lots of data on my projects. At the bottom of most pages are links to further pages on the subject. If you are interested, you should find something to inspire you. Often my projects are simple ones.

Notre Dame fire (Paris) - NOT amateur radio

Notre Dame is a major cathedral in central Paris. As I write it is on fire and firefighters are battling to contain the fire.  For the French it is a major disaster, visited by millions every year.

See https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-47941794 .

76GHz Cubesat?

Anything above 432MHz seems beyond me. 76GHz seems positively stratospheric! Apparently, according to Southgate News there is a new Cubesat from Australia that uses 76GHz.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2019/april/australian-cubesat-to-use-76-ghz.htm#.XLTFQPZFy00

Still waiting - NOT amateur radio

The earliest I have seen a swallow (bird) here is April 7th. It is now April 15th and I have still to see one here. These birds migrate, spending the winter in southern Africa. They fly around 6000 miles back here crossing seas and deserts. Often they come back to the very same nest!  The return of the swallow is an important date in my year. It is a sign that what has happened long before I was around is still going on. I patiently wait.

10m FT8

Since about 0900z I have been on 10m FT8 calling CQ initially. No spots as yet (1122z).

UPDATE 1744z:  Only 2 stations spotted today on 10m FT8 with best DX being DL1DH (715km) in Bavaria.

UPDATE 2011z: The pits!  Only 3 stations spotted all day on 10m FT8 RX

Sunspots - Monday April 15th 2019

Solar flux is 75 today and the SSN 11.  A=4 and K=3.

14 Apr 2019

Duxford - NOT amateur radio

Last Thursday my wife went to the air museum at Duxford. The photo shows my wife with one of our grandsons.

Still on 6m FT8 RX

6m FT8 is amazing with 9 stations in 2 countries already spotted (0852z). I suspect these are normal "flat band" tropo and aircraft reflections. Best DX so far is PA3EWP (291km).

UPDATE 2120z: 38 stations in 5 countries spotted in the last day on 6m FT8 RX.
Stations spotted here on 6m FT8 RX here in 
the last day using the V2000 vertical omni antenna

Sunspots - Sunday April 14th 2019

Solar flux is 76 and the SSN 14. A=8 and K=2.

13 Apr 2019

Very tiny VLF TX antenna?

Just possibly this research could lead to compact (inches only length) VLF transmitting antennae. This link was sent to me by Jay W5OLF, who designed my 10m WSPR beacon, which is still working fine.

See https://phys.org/news/2019-04-slac-compact-antenna-radios.html

Breakfast - NOT amateur radio

Our son cooked breakfast on his recent visit. Very enjoyable.

Captain Lapthorn - NOT amateur radio

On Thursday my wife took one of our sons and grandsons to the air museum at Duxford. The photo shows our grandson on (I think) Concorde.