30 Nov 2019

Sunshine - NOT amateur radio

As the sun was shining brightly we went for a walk at Anglesey Abbey. It was cold at 6 degrees C but we were surprised to see a choir singing. I have to admit, I thought this was a recording at first!

Architypal Cambridge - NOT amateur radio

This picture was taken in central Cambridge yesterday. The red phoneboxes are archetypal UK and the bikes archetypal Cambridge.

Falkland Is amateur bands

Some recent changes to the amateur frequencies in the Falkland Islands have been announced including 60m.

Also included is 4m. This may have been there before, although I was not aware. I guess VP8 to ZS might be possible but EU to the Falklands on 4m is very unlikely although just possible with TEP. Someone will give it a go. A 4m beacon in the Falklands beaming north would be interesting. I guess the path VP8 to EU on 4m might just be possible at times with a combination of TEP and Es.

See https://www.regulatorfi.org.fk/spectrum/amateur-radio/70-terms-and-conditions-amateur-radio-licence-v2-0-121119-pdf/file

JS8Call V2

Earlier, I was sent an email by G3WKW (an old work friend) about the latest version of JS8Call which supports faster speeds. JS8Call is like FT8, but allows free-form text, so allows chatting and is more like RTTY and PSK31. I have to confess that I have never tried this mode.

See http://files.js8call.com/latest.html

Better day on 10m FT8

Promising. Although no-one copied my 2.5W FT8 CQ earlier, 8 stations have already been copied already by 0930z on 10m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 1019z: Already 38 stations spotted this morning on 10m FT8 RX. All Europeans.

UPDATE 1056z: 87 Europeans spotted so far this morning on 10m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 1504z: Now 262 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX with best DX spotted being 4Z5AV (3633km).

UPDATE 1756z: 280 European stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX today. Nothing in the last hour, so soon be time to go QRT.

UPDATE 2246z: Now QRT.  287 different stations spotted in the last day on 10m FT8 RX. Not bad considering this is sunspot minimum and well outside the Es season.

Sunspots - Saturday November 30th 2019

Solar flux is 70 and the SSN 0. A =5 and K=1.

29 Nov 2019

VDSL interference

Some people suffer horrendous interference that make operating HF and 6m virtually impossible. At the moment I am not one of these, but will I soon be affected too?

Southgate News has links to a recent RSGB survey published by OFCOM.

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2019/november/spectrum-assurance-analysis-of-bt-openreach-vdsl.htm#.XeGKQOiTLnE

Black Friday - NOT amateur radio

In the UK this American import arrived a few years ago. As far as I can see, it serves no real purpose other than trying to get us to part with our cash for even longer over the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year period. It is about profits and greed. As far as I am concerned the good people of the USA can take it back. I for one have no interest at all. If I see an email with the words "Black Friday" it gets deleted right away.

Yes, our shops are struggling in the age of online sales, but from what I read Black Friday bargains are often not the bargains they appear.

Pure commercialism.

2m FT8

Today, I have remained on 2m FT8. An earlier CQ (2.5W to the big-wheel omni antenna) was spotted by no-one. So far this morning, 9 stations have been spotted in 5 countries with best DX spotted on 2m FT8 RX being DF6PW (562km).

UPDATE 2230z:  I am about to go QRT as the overnight period is rarely productive.  Today, 52 stations in 8 countries spotted on 2m FT8 RX.

UK General Election 2019 - NOT amateur radio

In the UK, there is a General Election on December 12th. I quite like some Labour Party policies but they have swung too far left for me. I want BREXIT done, but I prefer a softer BREXIT than the Conservatives want. I think the Conservatives have moved to the right, which I do not like.

In the 2016 EU referendum I voted (narrowly) to remain in the EU. The Lib Dems are openly "remain", but I don't want yet more delay and indecision caused by a hung parliament. My brother-in-law who voted leave may spoil his ballot paper. I should vote Labour, but in this constituency they have little chance.

I really do not know how to vote.

Sunspots - Friday November 29th 2019

Solar flux is 70 and the SSN 0. A=4 and K=1.

28 Nov 2019

2m FT8 this evening

About 20 minutes ago, I QSYed to 2m FT8. A couple of stations have spotted my 2.5W to the bigwheel with best DX spot being by G1BHM (365km) in IO70. On 2m FT8 RX just 2 spots so far (F and PA).

Clover-leaf 2m antenna

This has been on before, but I am very pleased with my big-wheel 2m antenna.

Some people call them "clover leaf" antennas as that is what they look like. These are horizontally polarised omni-directional antennas for 2m (in my case). Although I am not sure of the radiation pattern, it is quite a good match on 70cm too.

Mine has been up for several years now and I am very pleased with it. Only today my 2.5W FT8 TX signal was copied (again) in Eire and Germany. It has a few dB of gain in all directions. For my sort of operating it is ideal and it gets used for UKAC sessions on 2m and 70cm SSB as well as for FT8. Some may want the extra gain and directionality afforded by a beam, but beams need rotators.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/antennas/bigwheel

Burwell node improvement

This has just come in from Mark G7LEU. This is about MB7IBW an all-star node in Burwell, Cambs..

"I’ve just changed it over to a JPole, with the base about 2.5m AGL. That should be a little better than when it was using a (bungalow altitude) loft aerial.

Currently running with a UV-5R on low power, as high power was too much for it when linked to busy nodes. I have a real radio to put on there now, and how to build an interface for that over the weekend."

10m FT8

I must be a sucker for punishment!

About 40 minutes ago I switched to 10m FT8, calling CQ initially (2.5W). So far, no 10m spots.

UPDATES 1525z:  Still no spots. At the moment, 10m FT8 again looks bad.

UPDATE 1628z: Well, 10m FT8 seems a bit like the weather here: dull and wet. There were no 10m FT8 spots here all day! I shall soon go QRT.

Endings and change - NOT amateur radio

OK, I admit it: I am not good with endings.

Endings and change are a facts of life: things go along with a pattern that seems never ending and then something happens and it ends. Suddenly all that was familiar is no longer the same. Things change and the life that we seemed to have forever is forever changed. The pattern is changed.

Over time, we adapt and move on. For some change is accepted. For others, change comes as a shock. One thing life teaches us all is that there are always changes and endings. Much as we may not like these, they happen. I guess we all have to accept that nothing is forever and we must make the most of the here and now.

2m FT8

Overnight I remained on 2m FT8 RX although it was breakfast time before stations appeared. There is really no benefit in monitoring through the night. Maybe if there was a significant MS shower I might catch a few early risers).

As of 0938z, 46 stations spotted overnight and last evening. In the last 3 hours, 8 stations spotted on 2m. It appears that DX ranges are possible irrespective of conditions on 2m FT8. Best DX this morning on 2m FT8 RX is  DF6PW (562km).
Stations spotted on 2m FT8 RX in the last day
UPDATE  1238z: About 45 minutes ago I called 2m CQ (2.5W FT8 to the big-wheel omni) and was spotted by EI3KD (583km) and DF6PW (562km).

Sunspots - Thursday November 28th 2019

Solar flux is 71 and the SSN 0.  A=11 and K=1.

27 Nov 2019

2m FT8

For some hours now, I have been on 2m FT8, which is much more productive than 10m FT8!

UPDATE 1947z: At the moment 38 stations in 8 countries spotted. My own 2m FT8 CQ a few hours ago (2.5W to the big-wheel omni) was spotted by 8 stations in 2 countries.

UPDATE 2228z:  Now 39 stations spotted on 2m FT8 this evening. I shall leave the RX running overnight although it is normally quiet until breakfast time. One QSO with local M0BXF.

New 2m node in Burwell, Cambs

MB7IBW is now live, though currently with a compromise antenna. It’s an AllStar node on 145.2375MHz 94.8Hz.

10m FT8 again

For the daylight hours I am, again, on 10m FT8. An initial 2.5W FT8 CQ was spotted by no-one and no-one yet copied on RX.

UPDATE 1519z: What a pits of a day on 10m!  Nothing at all spotted on 10m FT8 all day. A couple of CQ calls have been spotted by no-one. I'll give it a little longer then return to 2m FT8 I think.

Old friends - NOT amateur radio

About 10 years ago some old friends in our village moved to the Cotswolds. We see them a few times each year.

When we meet it is as if we have never been apart.

The photo show the husband helping me with some VLF tests many years ago.

Overnight on 2m FT8

My own 2.5W to the big-wheel omni was spotted by 7 stations with the best being Germany. On 2m FT8 RX 22 stations were spotted (see map).

Sunspots - Wednesday November 27th 2019

Solar flux is 70 and the SSN 0. A=3 and K=1.

Yaesu FT7 HF transceiver

This product was around in the late 1970s  and was a 10W rig intended for mobile use. By modern standards it was big. From memory it was about 6 times bigger than the FT817. It covered all the non WARC bands from 80-10m. On the latter band it only covered 500kHz. The later FT7B was 50W and had 4 switched bands to cover 10m. In those days there was no 6m in Europe and the WARC bands had not been allocated.

It was one of the quietest receivers I have ever owned. It was before the days of synthesisers. I liked mine and worked the world with it from home with simple 10m antennas and 10W SSB.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/hf/ft7

26 Nov 2019

2m FT8

For a change, I am on 2m FT8 calling CQ (2.5W to the big-wheel omni) initially.

On RX just a single spot of a station in the Netherlands.

My own QRP has been spotted by 3 stations in 3 countries with my best spot (again) being by GI6ATZ (479km). This rarely fails. The others were in France and Belgium.

UPDATE 2043z: So far this evening my 2.5W 2m FT8 has been spotted by 7 stations in 4 countries with best DX being DF6PW (562km). On 2m FT8 RX 16 stations in 5 countries spotted so far.

Ageing dangers

For quite a while now, I have been concerned about the ageing amateur radio population. Before my stroke in 2013, I visited quite a few radio clubs giving talks. All had one thing in common: ours was a male, old aged population with few young people and girls. From a recent report from Germany reported on Southgate News, this would appear to be a worrying trend. Within 20 years most active amateurs will be very old. I can see several dangers:

  • The hobby could just die out.
  • Amateur radio magazines will get hard to find (they are hard enough to find now!).
  • There will be fewer ads in magazines for new gear.
  • Manufacturers will stop making amateur gear as the volumes are too low to make a profit.
  • Dealers will close.
Now, I very much hope I am wrong, but unless we attract and keep younger people, who see no magic in radio as most of us did, our hobby is doomed. Sadly, I do not have a magic bullet.

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2019/november/germanys-darc-faces-an-aging-membership.htm#.Xd0n6e2TLnE

QSL cards

These days I do not seek paper QSL cards. Mostly I use eQSL for QSLing, although I often forget! These are a few of my many paper QSL cards. 10m QRP SSB DXCC was achieved many years ago.

They include one for reception of SAQ (17.2kHz CW) and a QSO with K1TOL for a QRP 6m VHF CW 2-way contact many years ago. This one, is probably my best ever QSO.

10m FT8

As usual in the daytime, I am on 10m FT8.  My 2.5W FT8 CQ (2.5W) was copied by no-one and, so far,  no spots on RX.  Mind you, it is early at 0952z.

UPDATE 1640z: Just 1 spot on 10m FT8 RX all day. That was RA2FL (1343km). A recent 2.5W FT8 10m CQ was again spotted by no-one. This again looks a dreadful 10m FT8 day here.  Well equipped stations may do better, although I would not bet on this. A good high beam might be 10dB better, but if the propagation is not there, no amount of power would help. This evening I'll give 2m FT8 a go.

A good session on 472kHz WSPR TX

Last night and overnight I was on 472kHz WSPR TX with my 10mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. This is totally invisible! Even the XYL cannot see it!

In the end 19 stations spotted me with the best DX being LA8AV (1035km) in Norway. It seems that if anyone in Norway is on I have a good chance of being spotted, despite my low ERP and, basically, poor antenna and ground. It goes to prove, with WSPR, most things are possible.

UPDATE 0955z: Yet again, despite the dial of the FT817ND saying 80m, I am still copying 630m WSPR signals. So, it is as if the rig is operating in split mode, even when the display says I am not! Just now G0MRF was copied on 630m (472kHz) WSPR.
Stations spotting my 10mW ERP 
WSPR on 472kHz overnight.

Sunspots - Tuesday November 26th 2019

Solar flux is 70 and the SSN 0. A=5 and K=2.

25 Nov 2019

472kHz WSPR TX again

Yet again I am on 472kHz WSPR TX with my 10mW ERP  from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. So far this evening 8 stations have spotted me with the best DX being PA3ABK (306km). No reports from Norway this evening!

Disability, what disability? - NOT amateur radio

When I first came out of hospital after my 2013 stroke I had a blue disability badge. This went several years ago as I knew it would not be renewed because I could walk. To assessors I would appear perfectly fine.

Six years later, I still find speaking and being understood hard. Driving is still possible, but I do not enjoy it. All the time I feel giddy on my feet. I tire easily. Compared with how I was before my stroke I am disabled.

Now I am not after the sympathy vote! What I want to say is there must be thousands of people who look perfectly healthy on the outside yet are not healthy on the inside. So, do not judge.

6m in Region 1

As reported earlier, the WRC-19 has ended. One of the outcomes, as reported in Southgate News, should be more countries on 6m in Region 1, as this is to become a proper Region 1 amateur allocation.

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2019/november/more-countries-gain-access-to-50-mhz.htm#.Xdu0P-2TLnE

Chromebooks - NOT amateur radio

About 10 days ago, I bought an Asus C213NA Chromebook. It is NOT a Windows PC. Instead it uses Chrome OS.

It is blisteringly fast.  Every time I open the lid it is there in a blink. So far, it has been mainly used for web browsing, but I am not in the least disappointed. At the moment, it has far exceeded my expectations.

It runs Android apps (used) and Linux apps (not used) and the battery seems to last all day. The screen is bright and clear. The laptop has a touch screen and the whole thing can be used as a tablet if need be. It came with a 3 year on-site warranty. It is small and light. Perfect.

Oh, by the way, I am using it to write this.

Pleased? You bet!


Although I have been keeping my "ear to the ground", I have not got any more information on this new radio due to be released in 2020.

As we know, this will be an SDR based 10W HF-70cm radio based heavily on the IC-7300 and IC-9700. Personally, I think they should include a wide range auto-ATU inside, especially as they are marketing this as a field radio. This seems a huge omission. If I was ICOM, I'd make it slightly bigger and, at the very least, offer this as an option. OK it will cost more, but many will be prepared to pay.

If you have heard any more, please share it here.

10m FT8

Yesterday was not a bad day with quite a few Europeans spotted. I have just gone on 10m FT8 calling CQ (2.5W) initially, although I am currently RX only. No spots yet on 10m FT8.

UPDATE 1625z:  Still no 10m FT8 spots today.  Another bad 10m day.  A recent 10m FT8 CQ (2.5W) was again spotted by no-one at all!

Overnight on 472kHz WSPR TX (10mW ERP)

In the end 17 stations spotted my QRPP signal with nothing further from Norway. Quite a good night, although staying on overnight is questionable.
Stations spotting my QRPP 
472kHz WSPR overnight

Sunspots - Monday November 25th 2019

Solar flux is 71 and the SSN 0. A=11 and K=1.

24 Nov 2019

472kHz WSPR TX

At about 1800z, I returned to 472kHz WSPR with my 10mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. The first transmission was spotted by 4 stations including LA2XPA (1310km).

UPDATE 2025z: 10 spots of me so far on 472kHz WSPR this evening on 472kHz. LA2XPA has spotted me 5 times already this evening!

Sub-9kHz transatlantic DX

VO1NA has been successfully decoded on EbNaut in Europe.

See https://groups.io/g/rsgb-lf-group/topic/vlf_vo1na_8270_0075_hz/61873847?p=,,,20,0,0,0::recentpostdate%2Fsticky,,,20,2,0,61873847

137kHz E-field probe

Several years ago I made this mag-mounted 137kHz e-field probe to see how far away I could detect my QRPP 137kHz beacon. At about 24km I just stopped!

Both the EFP and the 137kHz beacon clearly worked.

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

Birthday - NOT amateur radio

Today is my wife's birthday. We met in 1968. The photo shows her opening her cards and receiving a phone call from one of her brothers.

10m FT8

After the total disaster yesterday, I am hoping for better luck on 10m FT8 today. At about 1050z I turned things on and called CQ briefly with 2.5W. Sadly no-one copied my CQ but already 4 Europeans have been spotted on RX with best DX  EA7KHU (1694km).

UPDATE 1400z: 11 stations in 7 European countries spotted so far on 10m FT8 RX.

Sunspots - Sunday November 24th 2019

Solar flux is 70 and the SSN 0. A=10 and K=3.

23 Nov 2019

WRC-19 ends

WRC-19 has finally ended in Egypt with delegates going home.  Overall, the outcome for amateur radio was pretty good.

See https://rsgb.org/main/blog/news/gb2rs/2019/11/22/wrc-19-day-20-and-finally/

Political dirty tricks (fake news) - NOT amateur radio

At the moment I have still to make my mind up when voting in the next UK general election on December 12th.

Recently, in my view, the Conservative party has scored a couple of "own goals" by changing the name of their Twitter account to Factchecker or similar. They also, allegedly, modified a video to show an opposition cabinet minister stumbling over an answer, when he actually clearly answered the question.

In my view these were examples of false news and shame on whoever allowed them to be released. These sort of dirty tricks put UK politics in a very poor light and have no place whatsoever. If I was ever to vote for the Conservatives this alone would prevent me. How could anyone support this sort of childish behaviour?

10m FT8

Since about 0945z, I have been on 10m FT8 calling CQ (2.5W) initially. No spots yet (at 1025z).

UPDATE 1547z: Still no spots on 10m FT8 RX here. At the moment, today seems really dreadful on 10m FT8.  Not even any locals spotted!

UPDATE 2048z: About an hour ago I went QRT on what was my worst session on 10m FT8 this autumn.

Road not taken - NOT amateur radio

This is a famous poem by Robert Frost. Many times we reach forks in our road of life be it girlfriends, marriage, work, college or whatever. We take a certain path and not others. Looking back we wonder what would have happened if we had taken the other paths. Perhaps we can never know.

See https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44272/the-road-not-taken .

Broadcast listener resources

It is some years since I did some BC DXing. A useful list of BC related resources is at DXzone.

For a serious window on radio around the world these days an internet radio seems the answer: my XYL is listening to a classical ABC station in Perth, Australia. It is perfect copy.

See https://www.dxzone.com/catalog/Shortwave_Radio/BCL_Resources/

Brennan BB1 - NOT amateur radio

For my birthday and Christmas my wife bought me a Brennan BB1. This is also known as the "baby Brennan". To say I am impressed is an understatement. It plays ripped CDs, 40000 internet radio stations and plays YouTube videos on its TFT screen.

Also you can use your PC or phone as a remote control. Not only that, but it is tiny. It was meant to be put away until late December, but it is in full use every day. Oh, the sound quality is great.

Sunspots - Saturday November 23rd 2019

Solar flux is 70 and the SSN 0.  A=4 and K=0.

22 Nov 2019

Wembley - NOT amateur radio

Yesterday we went to a theatre in Wembley to see Warhorse on stage. Before the performance we ate lunch. This is a view towards Wembley stadium from outside the place where we ate.


For more years than I care to remember (!) I have been a member of the GQRP Club. Every quarter they produce an excellent magazine called SPRAT. Many times before I have said that if all other magazines had to go, SPRAT would be the last. It is brilliant with lots of ideas each quarter.

QRP has been a passion of mine ever since I started: QRP DXCC was achieved years ago, I think entirely on 10m. These days I use QRP mainly out of laziness and just enjoy it. If I fail to get a QSO, there is always another day. If I work DX great, but I rarely seek it.

As a member you can buy the entire collection of SPRATs on DVD. This alone is worth joining for.

See http://www.gqrp.com/ .

10m FT8

Today I went on 10m FT8 again.

An early (2.5W) 10m FT8 CQ was spotted by 6 stations with a QSO with OE9TZV (891km). My best DX was a spot of me by 9A7JCY (1424km).

On 10m FT8 RX 5 stations spotted so far.

UPDATE 1114z: So far this morning 12 stations in 9 European countries spotted on 10m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 2005z: I have just gone QRT. In all 19 stations spotted across Europe today on 10m FT8 RX.

6m Region 1 allocation

Good news! 6m has been agreed as an official amateur allocation in Region 1 following an agreement at WRC-19 in Egypt.

See https://www.iaru-r1.org/index.php/174-news/latest-news/1917-wrc-19-approves-region-1-50-mhz-amateur-allocation

Sunspots - Friday November 22nd 2019

Solar flux is 70 and the sunspot number still 0. A=4 and K=0.

21 Nov 2019

Day off

As we were out most of the day, I have been off the air all of the day. There was a slight thunder risk, so everything was disconnected.

"Warhorse" - NOT amateur radio

This afternoon we went, with the village theatre group, to see "Warhorse" at the theatre in Wembley.

Some years ago I saw this at the cinema.  All the time at the film I was moaning about the appalling Devon accents and the appalling Devon village. This time I just pretended the village was in Wiltshire.

The stage production was nothing short of spectacular. I enjoyed the stage play far more than the film.

UK rallies this weekend


Oasis Academy Coulsdon, Homefield Road, Old Coulsdon CR5 1ES. Doors open from 10am until 2pm. £1.50 entry that includes a free tea/coffee. There will be second hand equipment, flea market tables, traders and an RSGB bookstall. The CATS Bring & Buy will operate on 10% commission. Refreshments are available on site. Contact Andy G0KZT on 07729 866 600 or www.catsradio.org.


Oasis Academy Coulsdon, Homefield Road, Old Coulsdon CR5 1ES. Doors open from 10am until 2pm. £1.50 entry that includes a free tea/coffee. There will be second hand equipment, flea market tables, traders and an RSGB bookstall. The CATS Bring & Buy will operate on 10% commission. Refreshments are available on site. Contact Andy G0KZT on 07729 866 600 or bazaar@catsradio.org" or www.catsradio.org

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

OFCOM update

OFCOM has announced a change of Chief Technology Officer. See their website.


As Yahoo is effectively closing its groups, like many I have migrated all of my groups to Groups.io. At present I host groups on VHF AM, sub9kHz and miracle antennas.

Sunspots - Thursday November 21st 2019

Solar flux is 70 and the SSN 0. A=2 and K=2.

20 Nov 2019

481THz RX

Whilst looking through some old Google photos, I came across this one of my 481THz (optical) receiver. It was used in my "over the horizon" tests. It was also used in a line-of sight optical speech QSO over 11km with G4HJW.

I still have it and should try using it again.

10m FT8

Although I have been on 10m FT8 since before breakfast calling CQ initially (2.5W), no spots given or received so far.

UPDATE 1033z: Still no spots.

UPDATE 1447z: Just 2 stations spotted all day so far on 10m FT8 RX with best DX spotted being RA2FL (1343km).

UPDATE 1846z:   Now 8 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX. Best DX is  LZ1VDR (2015km).

UPDATE 1850z:  Now QRT.

Autumn - NOT amateur radio

All our trees are now losing their leaves as they do each autumn. We'll blink and it will be spring again with new buds.

Sunspots - Wednesday November 20th 2019

Solar flux is 69 and the SSN 0. A=2 and K=1.

19 Nov 2019

Oscar 100 update

As regular blog readers know, I periodically check activity levels on the narrow-band transponder of this geosynchronous satellite. At the weekend it seemed a little busier with more than 10 QSOs going on with SSB. Overall, activity still seems lower than I was expecting.

See https://eshail.batc.org.uk/nb/

10m FT8

Since about 1015z, I have been on 10m FT8. Initially I called CQ (2.5W) and since then I have been RX only. No-one spotted my CQ and just 1 station DJ5JD (489km) spotted on RX.

UPDATE 1532z: With only 2 stations spotted so far this really is the pits of a day. Roll on better 10m conditions!

Sunspots - Tuesday November 19th 2019

Solar flux is 70 and the SSN 0. A=2 and K=0.

Although there are few sunspots, the solar flux seems to be consistently in the low 70s. Have we passed the solar minimum?

18 Nov 2019

Amateur DX soundbites

Some days ago I put link to broadcast interval signals. Here is a page with links to amateur DX sound bites.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/hf/soundbites13

More on WRC-19

Southgate News has a further piece relaying the RSGB's blog about WRC-19 meeting on spectrum issues. This meeting is in Egypt.

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2019/november/wrc-19-day-15--a-long-weekend.htm#.XdJjFu2TLnE

Still on 10m FT8

As you may know, I have been on 10m FT8 RX overnight. Not unexpectedly, no overnight spots.

UPDATE 0930z:  Just 2 spots so far of MM3NRX (516km) and a G.

UPDATE 1402z:  6 stations in 4 countries spotted this morning.

UPDATE 1840z:  No further spots today. In the end today was disappointing. Soon be time to go QRT.

UPDATE 1850z:  QRT.

Sunspots - Monday November 18th 2019

Solar flux is 70 and the SSN 0. A=4 and K=0.

17 Nov 2019

Sunspots - Sunday November 17th 2019

Solar flux is 70 and the SSN 0. A=4 and K=1.

10m FT8

Things seem better on 10m FT8 today. Even my 2.5W 10m FT8 CQ was copied by GI4OWA (586km) and OZ9QV (861km). Sadly, no QSOs resulted.  On 10m FT8 RX, 9 stations (all in Europe) already copied.

UPDATE 1236z: Now 24 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX today with best DX 5R8VX (8612km).

UPDATE 2240z: As my son is fast asleep in the next bedroom, I cannot turn off my PC and rig set up on 10m FT8 RX. So, I shall be monitoring overnight. It will be a miracle if anyone is spotted.

16 Nov 2019

Salcombe lifeboat - NOT amateur radio

The photo shows the Salcombe lifeboat on station. Years ago the crew had to run on foot to a place called South Sands, about 1.5 miles from the centre of town. Just over a 100 years ago there was a tragedy when the lifeboat overturned and most of the crew were drowned. One of my aunts remembered this as a young child.

Talking about childhood, I recall watching my dad play water polo more or less where the lifeboat is now. As a young child I was brought up in Salcombe, Devon.

Out of season Salcombe is quiet. In the summer it is filled with visitors and boats. The estuary behind the lifeboat is teaming with boats.

10m FT8

Since 0910z, I have been on 10m FT8 calling CQ with 2.5W initially. As yet no spots given or received on 10m.

I stayed on 2m FT8 RX overnight, but nothing copied until breakfast time when a few nearer Europeans were coming through. Actually 2m FT8 is a waste of time (and electricity) overnight.

UPDATE 1800z: Just 3 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX in 3 countries all day with best DX spotted MM3RDX (516km). So far, very disappointing. I guess this is to be expected around sunspot minimum: some days may be quite reasonable, especially N-S, whereas other days can be very poor. Low activity cannot help either.

UPDATE 1826z: QRT.

MLS "something for the weekend" deals

Every week I get an email from MLS (a UK dealer) with some special deals for the weekend. Rarely are these worthwhile in my view (as a cynic) and most times I am not impressed.

See their website for details.

Sunspots - Saturday November 16th 2019

Solar  flux is 70 and the SSN 0. A=4 and K=2.

15 Nov 2019

2m FT8

About 10 minutes ago I called CQ on 2m FT8 with 2.5W to the big-wheel. Although no QSOs resulted I was spotted by just one station G7RAU (461km). On 2m FT8 RX 5 stations in 3 countries spotted so far with DF6PW (562km) as the best so far spotted.

UPDATE 2200z:  So far this evening 18 stations in 6 countries spotted on 2m FT8 RX. With 2.5W FT8 TX I have been spotted by 3 stations in 2 countries with best DX spot being by GI6ATZ (479km). Even 2.5W to the omni antenna seems enough!

Nearly Christmas! - NOT amateur radio

Many shops have had Christmas displays since September and it is not long now to make profits.

Sunspots - Friday November 15th 2019

Solar flux is 70 and the sunspot number 0. A=2 and K=1.

Windmill Sails - NOT amateur radio

We are lucky to live next door to a fully restored 200 year old windmill. Sails turn on special occasions only. The video shows the sails turning.

SW broadcasters

This link has been on before, but if you are like me you will have enjoyed shortwave broadcasters from around the world and collected their QSL cards.

These days the shortwaves are very different with far fewer English language services. Many choose to use the internet instead. It is cheaper and reaches a bigger audience with much better quality.

So, many of these sounds are from a very different era. Enjoy.

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

14 Nov 2019

Back on 10m FT8 tomorrow

As I have now returned from a few days with my brother in Devon, I hope to be on 10m FT8 again in the morning.10m is my favourite HF band. At this part of the solar cycle things can be a bit variable, but even with my modest set-up there can often be DX from outside Europe.

UK Rally


St Vincent de Paul's, Caldershaw Road, off Edenfield Road (A680), Norden, Rochdale, OL12 7QR. Doors open to the public at 10.15am with disabled visitors gaining access 15 minutes earlier. Admission is £2.50 with those under 12 years free. £5 per pitch (for traders with own tables) or £10 for a pitch with table provided. Guest speaker Keiran Wilkinson, IT Director at Hack:Oldham, will give a lecture on Make it, don't buy it, an explanation of how you can use Computer Aided Design, 3D printing and laser cutting to create project enclosures and casings. Due to limited seating, the talk will be given twice at 11am and 12 noon. Refreshments available including bacon and sausage butties. Further details: Robert, M0NVQ, by email to m0nvq@outlook.com .

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

Sunspots - Thursday November 14th 2019

Solar flux is 71 and the SSN 0. A=2 and K=2.

13 Nov 2019

Seaside towns out of season - NOT amateur radio

Today my brother and I went to Dartmouth on the bus. It is a great run. Sadly Dartmouth looks very out of season. There were few shops busy and very few people on the streets.

Reach walk - NOT amateur radio

At the weekend we went for a nice walk at nearby Reach. My wife made this collage.

What are a little strange are the two emus in a garden. They have been here for several years. I do not know why they are there. Perhaps they like emu eggs!

HF antennas

Some years ago I bought an x80 vertical antenna. These are basically Rybakov vertical antennas. I erected mine briefly at the old QTH, but have not done so here. I would need help with erection, whereas my end-fed I managed to string to a nearby tree on my own. The end-fed is a good match on 10m (my favourite HF band) , where it seems to do quite reasonably on FT8.  So, for now, the x80 is unused.

At the time (2011) the x80 had mixed reviews. Some said the aluminium flexed too much and broke. Being a vertical, it is probably noisier than a horizontal antenna. If you have an auto ATU it is quite an easy way to get on several HF bands. These days I think there are stronger versions around.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/antennas/x80

Sunspots - Wednesday November 13th 2019

Solar flux is 71 and the SSN 0. A=4 and K=0.

12 Nov 2019

Salcombe out of season - NOT amateur radio

At the moment I am spending a few days with my brother in Devon. Out of season it is a different place.

Sunspots - Tuesday November 12th 2019

Solar flux is 70 today and the SSN 0.  A=7 and K=2.

70cm activity contest this evening

A reminder that the 70cm leg of the RSGB 's UKAC activity contest is this evening starting at 2000z.

11 Nov 2019

VLF amateur radio experiments

8.97kHz earth-mode TX
The conventional wisdom is that VLF requires huge antennas and enormous powers. This not the case and radio amateurs have spanned thousands of kilometres with back garden antennas and modest powers. With utilities assisted earth mode (what I tried) just a few watts is enough to span very useful distances. For RX only, VLF antennas can be very small indeed.

In the past I have copied radiated signals from amateurs below 10kHz from several Western European countries.

Sadly my poor health has put a stop to my earth-mode experiments in recent years.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/vlf/8-97khz-earth-mode-transmitter

Sunspots - Monday November 11th 2019

Solar flux is 71 and the SSN 0. A=3 and K=1.

10 Nov 2019

2m FT8

For a change, I am on 2m FT8. I may go QRT later.  A recent 2.5W FT8 CQ using the big-wheel omni was spotted by 3 G stations. On RX only 2 stations spotted so far with best DX spotted being DK1VC (503km).

UPDATE 1025z: Just 3 stations spotted this evening on 2m FT8 RX. Time to go QRT.

Hospital visit - G3TFX

This morning we went to visit Richard G3TFX who is in hospital. He seems in good spirits and hopes to get home soon. He is awaiting the fitting of a stent. In the meantime he has to listen on the internet to webSDRs such as Hack Green. For a useful site of web SDRs see http://www.websdr.org/ .

He doesn't want to be there and the overheads of keeping him there are about £1700 a day!! In the meantime he is, against his will, blocking a bed in a teaching hospital. Surely there is a lower cost way of doing a daily blood test and calling him in for his appointment? Yes, our NHS is wonderful but they do waste money. From my own experience they do seem to waste a great deal and the NHS needs reform and accountability.

Six years ago I was in hospital for 3.5 months. My treatment was first class, but I am aware that they need better management. In the private sector, they would run as good or better service at far lower cost.

One thing that seems missing is accountability.  Yes, we all want good service for patients but at lower cost and without waste. In my view they can save money and offer patients a better service. Their inefficiencies lead to poorer services for patents. Apparently a blood pressure monitor costing around £40000 can be bought for about £10 in a local chemists. Does no-one check value for money? In the private sector this would be a sackable offence.

Another person, a D-day veteran and SWL, is terminally ill in a local hospice. I worked with him and he is a real gentle man.

Very successful session on 472kHz WSPR

In the last 2 weeks, 45 stations have copied my 10mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. Last night alone, 22 stations spotted me including 2 stations in Norway. LA2XPA (1310km) copied me 20 times last night! So, getting to Norway is no "one off" thing.

I have an oddity: G3KEV who is a very strong 472kHz WSPR signal has been received several times this morning. This is odd as my FT817ND dial says 3.6742MHz which is the input frequency for my transverter! It would appear I am receiving on 472kHz WSPR in split mode, despite what the dial says. All very odd.
Stations spotting my 472kHz WSPR 
(10mW ERP) in the last 24 hours

10m FT8

As is normal, I have QSYed to 10m FT8. My initial FT8 (2.5W) CQ call was copied by no-one and I have not yet copied anyone else.

UPDATE 1820z: Just 5 10m FT8 RX spots all day with best DX spotted RA2FL (1343km). Nothing outside Europe spotted today.

Sunspots - Sunday November 10th 2019

Solar flux is 70 and the SSN 0. A=4 and K=1.

9 Nov 2019

Back to 472kHz WSPR TX (10mW ERP)

As it is dark I have again QSYed to 472kHz WSPR TX. My first 2 minute transmission was spotted by several stations. LA2XPA (1310km) has already spotted me twice, which is very early.

Windows 10 upgrades

My shack PC runs Windows 10. Up to now this has been fine.  Sadly it only has a small 32GB SSD. Despite plugging in an external hard drive temporarily is still wants 8GB of space on the C drive of the PC to install the latest upgrades. Even with removing junk I only have half of this space. I guess it means I cannot continue to upgrade Windows 10 in future.

This begs a few questions:
  • What am I missing?
  • Does it matter?
  • How do I permanently disable windows updates to avoid these annoying messages?
If probably tells me it will soon be time to upgrade the shack PC!

UPDATE  1633z: I have just found this at  https://www.windowscentral.com/how-stop-updates-installing-automatically-windows-10, which others might find useful too. I think you can then decide whether or not to install an upgrade. I have not tried it. There may be a way to turn all Windows 10 upgrades off for ever which is probably what I need.

"To permanently disable automatic updates on Windows 10, use these steps:
  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for gpedit.msc and select the top result to launch the experience.
  3. Navigate to the following path: ...
  4. Double-click the Configure Automatic Updates policy on the right side.
  5. Check the Disabled option to turn off the policy."

Cabinda - NOT amateur radio

A bit like Kaliningrad in Russia, Cabinda is a bit of Angola cut off from the rest of the country. I guess this is one of those quirks of history. No doubt these are others too in the world I have not yet found.

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

10m FT8

For the day, I am on 10m FT8 again. My recent 2.5W CQ was spotted by no-one and there are no spots so far on RX (0933z).

UPDATE 1630z: So far 17 stations spotted with best DX ZS6S (9109km)

Quite a good session on 472kHz WSPR

Last evening and overnight I was on 472kHz WSPR TX again with the usual set-up of 10mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground.  In all, I was spotted by 13 stations with 5 spots by LA9IY (1374km) in Norway. He seems to spot me often.
Stations spotting me on 472kHz 
WSPR (10mW ERP) overnight

Sunspots - Saturday November 9th 2019

Solar flux is 70 and the sunspot number still 0. A=5 and K=0.

8 Nov 2019

Chrysanthemums - NOT amateur radio

Several weeks ago my wife got some cut chrysanthemums.

They still look great as the picture shows.

472kHz WSPR TX (10mW ERP)

After another successful day on 28MHz (10m) FT8 RX with Mauritania and South Africa logged, I have decided to QSY to 472kHz WSPR TX (10mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground). My first 2 minute transmission was copied by 3 stations with best DX being G8TTI (186km).

IC-705 video

Some months ago ICOM introduced us to the IC-705, which should be available in 2020. This is a QRP (10W or less all mode) radio. It is a radio that appeals to me.

I created an IC-705 website to add links as I find them. This rig hopefully will cover all HF and VHF bands to 70cm and be SDR based like the IC-7300 and IC-9700. This is just one video.

Baby Brennan - NOT amateur radio

For my birthday and Christmas (my birthday is a few days before Christmas) my wife has bought me a baby Brennan BB1 receiver. This stores lots (16GB) of music (e.g. from CDs), has access to 40000 internet radio stations as well as YouTube videos on a small TFT screen. It works with Bluetooth headphones.

Actually, I suggested this and I ordered it!

See https://www.brennan.co.uk/itemcontent.php/content/newbrennan


As you may know, this conference in Egypt to discuss spectrum matters is well under way. Southgate News has a piece on this and links the regular updates by the RSGB.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2019/november/rsgb-wrc-19-update--23cms-and-a-long-day.htm .

Lies - NOT amateur radio

Every time there is an election coming nearly all politicians make promises that are rarely kept.

In the UK we have a General Election due December 12th. Yesterday the Labour Party and the Conservative Party were making promises to spend big on the health service.

Today there was a Conservative politician on TV about a points based immigration system. When repeatedly asked a very direct question about whether this would result in more overseas workers working in the UK she swerved around the answer as most politicians do.

I seem to remember President Obama in the USA promising to close Guantanamo Bay.  Many years later it is still there. Then there is President Trump's wall.

Cynical me?

Whatever politicians promise, ignore.  Is it any wonder we don't trust our politicians?

10m FT8

Just after breakfast I decided to go on 10m FT8. As yet, no spots. Yesterday 10m FT8 was pretty good considering we are right at the bottom of the solar cycle.

UPDATE 0918z:  A brief 2.5W FT8 CQ earlier got no spots - am I surprised? No. No RX spots yet still.

UPDATE 1204z: 35 RX spots so far from southern Europe and North Africa with S01WS (3043km) as the best DX in Western Sahara. Did someone say this is 10m at sunspot minimum and well outside of the Es season?

UPDATE 1918z: 53 stations spotted today on10m FT8 RX.

Sunspots - Friday November 8th 2019

Solar flux is 70 and the SSN 0. A=4 and K=0.

7 Nov 2019

Night off

This evening and overnight I shall not be on 472kHz WSPR TX. I have decided the rig and PC can have a night off!

Cactus - NOT amateur radio

Usually in time for Christmas, this cactus flowers. This year it is early and glorious. My wife has a magic touch!

BATC ATV Convention (south)


Chilton Village Hall near Didcot, Oxfordshire OX11 0SH. ATV Clinic, Show and Tell, Bring and Buy and 2 interesting talks. More information at https://forum.batc.org.uk.

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

Art exhibition - NOT amateur radio

Last weekend we went to an art exhibition in The Maltings at Ely. There were all sorts on display, not just paintings.

The picture shows just one stall.

Sadly, most things were expensive in the exhibition, so we bought nothing.

472kHz WSPR TX (10mW ERP)

Overnight I was spotted by 17 stations with the best DX again being LA9IY (1374km) in Norway. In the last 2 weeks I have been spotted by 44 receiving stations on 472kHz WSPR (see table).

10m FT8

Things are looking better than yesterday with 5 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX in 3 countries by 1036z. A recent 10m FT8 CQ call (2.5W) was spotted by no-one.

UPDATE 1208z: 9 stations in 4 countries spotted so far today on 10m FT8 RX. The Spanish stations spotted had huge signals.

10m FT8 RX spots today
UPDATE 1842z: 48 stations spotted today including South America and St Helena. A good 10m day considering where we are in the solar cycle (rock bottom!).

Sunspots - Thursday November 7th 2019

Solar flux is 69 and the SSN 0. A=5 and K=1.

6 Nov 2019

472kHz WSPR TX (10mW ERP)

After a dismal day on 28MHz FT8 RX, I have again QSYed to 472kHz WSPR TX. On my first 2 minute transmission I was spotted by 2 stations with best DX PAOEHG (296km).

UPDATE 2125z: So far 12 stations have spotted me this evening on 472kHz WSPR. This sounds typical. Will I reach Norway overnight?

UPDATE 2152z: LA9IT (1374km) copied me at 2128z.

Maltings and church - NOT amateur radio

On our walk around our village (Burwell) earlier we went past the church and the maltings. Both are old with parts of the church being almost 1000 years old.

Figs - NOT amateur radio

On a walk around the village earlier we saw these figs growing beside the road.

Miracle Antennas

The other day, I tried to find my Miracle Whip. I have not used this for many years. With a decent earth or counterpoise it is not that bad on the higher HF bands. It certainly is convenient and easy to match on all bands from 40m to the VHF bands. It fits on the back of the rig.

Years ago I even managed an 80m SSB QSO with it using the auto ATU in the ICOM IC-703 to help match the whip.

I searched high and low and failed to find the miracle whip. It is probably in the loft.

Originally these were made in Canada, but the designer has been dead for several years. Several people are offering similar antennas.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/antennas/mwhip

OFCOM interim chief executive

OFCOM has announced the appointment of Jonathan Oxley as interim chief executive. What thrilling, earth shattering, news. See their website, if you can contain your excitement.

10m FT8

I have QSYed to 10m FT8, mostly RX, for the day. When I switched on I called CQ on FT8 (2.5W) but no spots resulted. For the first time, I am seeing interference on 10m. I get vertical lines every few 10s of Hertz. I have no idea  if this is local or not.

UPDATE 1231z: Still no spots. A very recent 2.5W FT8 CQ was spotted by, you guessed, no-one. At the moment, 10m is looking dire.

UPDATE 1530z: Just one spot of F5PBG (548km) on 10m FT8 RX all day, well at least so far.

472kHz WSPR TX overnight (10mW ERP) again

Yet again I was on 472kHz WSPR TX overnight and last evening. As usual I was running 10mW ERP from my earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground as described in a recent RadCom. Best DX spot was by LA9IY (1374km). 16 spots in all including 2 from Norway and 3 from Germany and EI0CF.
Stations that spotted my 472kHz 
WSPR (10mW ERP) overnight
472kHz (630m) is so much more productive than 28MHz FT8. At night 28MHz is a dead loss at this part of the cycle and outside of the Es season. In the summer months 28MHz QRP SSB often brings EU QSOs at good strength.

OFCOM Communications Monthly

As usual, OFCOM has updated its Communications Monthly with its latest data. See the OFCOM website.

Barclays Bank - NOT amateur radio

Apparently in the UK, Barclays Bank has had a change of heart and decided, after all, to continue to allow people to get cash from their local post office. This was due to end at the end of the year.

Unless I am mistaken Barclays usually makes billions each year in profits.  Our local branch of Barclays closed over a year ago and getting cash from the Post Office has been a real help. The Barclays Banks in nearby Newmarket and Cambridge are huge. We know about one disabled lady who would have to walk twice as far for cash if the Post Office stopped its link with Barclays. I suspect Barclays go lots of complaints.

Barclays - you must have been stupid!! My personal opinion and others are free to disagree.

Sunspots - Wednesday November 6th 2019

Solar flux is 70 and the sunspot number 0 . A=5 and K=1.

UPDATE 1400z: After a very brief blip with the SSN peaking 13 at the start of the month SSN has returned to 0 again. If we are to climb out of this minimum any time soon, I would expect to see sunspot numbers starting to rise a bit. At the moment we still seem to be bouncing along the minimum.

5 Nov 2019

472kHz WSPR TX (10mW ERP) again

As I have done on several evenings recently, I have QSYed to 472kHz WSPR TX for the evening and overnight.  Already 8 stations have spotted me.

2m UKAC (activity contest) tonight at 2000z

As usual, there is an SSB (mainly) contest this evening. I usually run QRP and stop on for under a hour, although the contest lasts for 2.5 hours. Although I usually submit a log, I really come on just for the fun. This is a friendly contest and activity levels are normally high.

UPDATE 2125z: 8 QSOs with 10W SSB and the big-wheel with best DX Isle of Man. I only stayed on for 35 minutes because of my poor voice.
Stations worked this evening with 
2m QRP and the big-wheel omni antenna.

OFCOM decision on mobile phone repeaters

OFCOM has made the rules for in-car mobile phone repeaters easier.

Starter homes - NOT amateur radio

From the start of the UK election campaign, I'd like to be as neutral as possible. I am a floating voter and have still to decide.

We all know only too well that politicians of all colours make promises that are unlikely to be kept. It seems to me that most politicians become politicians to "feather their own nests" rather than for the common good. There are a very few exceptions.

I was dismayed to read on the BBC News Page that an independent watchdog (the National Audit Office) has concluded that the present government's promise to build 200000 starter homes has completely failed with not one being built. Caveat emptor.  Pie crusts come to mind as in "promises are like pie crusts" i.e. thin and easily broken.

With over a month to go to the UK election, I forecast a hung parliament with Boris Johnson's Conservative party forming a minority government yet again.  So, the mess continues. Whatever your views on BREXIT are, this is like a stuck record.

See https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-50296672

False dawn?

At the moment the solar numbers just aren't clear. We may be starting the climb out of the solar minimum, or this could just be another blip and we are bouncing along the bottom of the solar cycle still. It will be some time (a year?) before we can be sure. I hope conditions start to improve soon.

See http://www.solen.info/solar/

Oscar 100 from Sweden with 100mW

Apparently, according to Southgate News, Swedish amateurs are restricted to 100mW on 2.4GHz, yet still they can activate the narrowband transponder on this geosynchronous satellite.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2019/november/qo-100-geostationary-satellite-with-just-100-milliwatts.htm

Old cottage - NOT amateur radio

A few years ago this very old cottage in our village was tastefully extended. It is very hard to tell the extension from the original.  We are blessed with quite a few old houses in Burwell, our village.

Here I am trying to take a photo on my phone! I have no idea when this cottage dates from, but I'd guess the early 1800s. Some old houses date from the 1200s - that is old!

10m FT8

At about 0830z, I QSYed to 10m FT8 calling CQ with 2.5W briefly. Since then I have been on 10m FT8 RX. Not entirely unexpectedly, no spots this early.

UPDATE 1003z: Still no spots.

UPDATE 1315z: Just 2 spots on 10m FT8 RX so far - G0OPI (229km) and MM3NRX (516km).

UPDATE 1657z: Just 4 UK stations all day. Very disappointing on 10m FT8 RX. Soon be time to QSY to MF.

3Y0I Bouvet Island

Southgate News reports on a possible second attempt to activate this very rare DXCC country as long as funds cover it.

It appears that mounting such DXpeditions to inaccessible places is very expensive. If you are a DX chaser (I am not) you may want to considering chipping in.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2019/november/3y0i-bouvet-island-dxpedition-news-preparations-resumed.htm

472kHz WSPR TX (10mW ERP)

Overnight and last evening my 10mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground was spotted by 14 stations with best DX being LA9IY (1374km) up in Norway. The table is arranged in distance order.

Sunspots - Tuesday November 5th 2019

Solar flux is 71 and the SSN 0. A=4 and K=1.

4 Nov 2019

472kHz WSPR TX (10mW ERP)

As 10m is probably of little good now, I have decided to QSY to 472kHz (630m) WSPR TX with my 10mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. I have just QSYed at about 1840z. In among the first 4 spots was DL/PA0EHG (493km).

With 7 unique stations spotting me within 20 minutes, this is looking promising.

Every time I TX on 472kHz WSPR about 3-5 stations seem to spot me. In the last hour 8 different stations have spotted me.

UPDATE 2150z: So far this evening, 12 stations have spotted me on 472kHz WSPR. See table arranged in distance order.

BREXIT and UK elections

Basically I have given up on our politicians Just before an election they all make rash promises that rarely get changed into actions. They are all guilty of it! As my mother-in-law said their promises are like pie crusts.

As for BREXIT, most have lost the will to live, whether we voted "remain" or "leave" the EU. It seems few in politics or the UK can agree or even agree to disagree!

Mothercare - NOT amateur radio

When our children and grandchildren were very little, Mothercare was a great High Street shop. Today we hear they have called in administrators and 2500 jobs are at risk.

It seems nowhere in retail is safe on the High Streets in the UK and probably elsewhere. There is no doubt our shopping habits are changing as more and more of us shop online for more convenience and often better prices.

Only today my wife chose to buy a new tablecloth online. Otherwise it would have been a 26 mile round trip only to find out it was probably not in stock anyway.  The whole order online took 3 minutes and the tablecloth will be here this week. We ordered some leather balm online on Saturday and it was here Sunday.

No, our retail habits are changing.

See https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-50287153

Miracle Antennas

For some years now I have hosted Yahoo Groups on Sub-9kHz amateur radio, VHF AM and Miracle Antennas. Yahoo is effectively ending its groups, so new groups have been created at .io . As an example see https://groups.io/g/miracleantennas.

To migrate a group costs $110 in the first year, whereas starting a new group is free. Of course you lose the message archive, photos and files unless these are manually transferred when a new group is created.

Windows or Chromebook?

Our lounge PC is an HP Pavilion running Windows 10. We have had it for several years now (I cannot yet find out when we got it - does anyone know how to interrogate the PC to tell me?) and it is mainly used for web surfing and local picture storage (these are backed up). I am seriously tempted by a Chromebook as I think this would serve this purpose fine. I'd need to add a big memory micro SD card for local picture storage.

I do not run any amateur radio stuff on this PC. I know the Chromebook would not run Windows programs; there may be a way, but I have not looked i.e. a bit like Wine on Linux OS. The advantages of the Chromebooks would be fast boot-up, few viruses (if any), much less bloatware and low cost.

Anyone got any views they'd care to share?

UPDATE 1220z: The BIOS of the Pavilion is late 2016.

LF and MF RX

Over a year ago I bought an E-field probe from PA0RDT. It has still to be erected!

In the meantime I have been busy on 472kHz WSPR using my earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground using 10mW ERP.

My idea was to concentrate on 136 and 472kHz RX with the EFP high up in a tree. As ladder work would be needed, and I am no good on ladders these days, this may have to wait.

The tree I want to put the EFP up at the top of is the silver birch, which has still to shed its leaves. See photo. It is furthermost from all nearby houses.

See  https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/mflf/winter

WRC-19 Egypt

As many know, WRC-19 is taking place currently in Egypt to discuss spectrum issues, some of which have an impact on amateur radio. Discussions have just started and there are several weeks to go.

See https://rsgb.org/main/blog/news/gb2rs/2019/11/03/wrc-19-day-5-dont-count-your-chickens/

FT8 (and other digital modes) frequencies

If you are like me, you forget frequencies of various digital modes and need reminders. As an example when I went on 10m FT8 at first I went on 28.174 whereas the correct FT8 frequency is 28.074MHz. When in doubt I look here. He has a series of frequencies listed by mode.

See https://www.qsl.net/sv1grb/psk31.htm

10m FT8 RX

Although I briefly called CQ with 2.5W, I am now on 10m FT8 RX. As yet, no spots.

UPDATE 1005z: Just one spot so far: G0OYQ (177km).

UPDATE 1105z: Now 2 10m FT8 RX spots with best DX being RA2FL (1343km).

UPDATE 1209z: So far 4 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX today. 3 are Gs.

UPDATE 1430z: 5 stations in 3 countries spotted so far today on 10m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 1848z: Now 7 stations in 3 countries spotted today on 10m FT8 RX. I noticed an EB8 earlier calling a W6 that did no make it to PSKreporter. In the "good old days" W6 would probably be California. These days it can be anywhere in the USA. Stupid FCC I assume.