29 Feb 2020

Antivirus - NOT amateur radio

This came in today on a FaceBook message. Well, it made me laugh!

17m FT8 with the tiny indoor loop

As 15m was not great, I have QSYed down to 17m FT8. So far just a single spot of my 10W from G4FTC (124km). On 17m FT8 RX 3 spots so far.

The photo shows the loop antenna on the windowsill. The ruler is to indicate the scale. It is tiny!

UPDATE 1225z: So far today, 12 stations have spotted my 10W 17m FT8 TX.

UPDATE 1507z: So far today, my little 10W FT8 TX signal from the tiny loop on the windowsill of the shack has been spotted by 17 stations with the best DX being KV4T (4361miles) in Alabama, USA. 2 stateside stations have spotted me so far today on 17m FT8 TX.

UPDATE 1630z:  Now 18 stations have spotted me today on 17m FT8 TX. This includes 3 Stateside stations. 62 stations in 5 continents spotted so far on 17m FT8 RX today.

UPDATE 1818z: With 39 stations spotting my 10W, this is the best day so far on 17m FT8 TX. The map shows the spots so far today.

Stations spotting my 10W
17m FT8 TX today
UPDATE 2205z: Now QRT, but after an incredible day with my best DX being a spot by PY2XAT (9565km). In all, 39 spots of my 10W in 5 continents. All with a tiny indoor loop!!


When I retired in 2008 I was kindly bought a leaving present. Thoughtfully, it was a very old crystal set called the Gecophone. Although it is about 100 years old it still works! I have now added a page on this to my website. As you can see, it is a work of art!

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

15m FT8

At the moment I am trying 15m FT8 RX with the tiny indoor loop antenna. On TX there seems to be some RF feedback into the rig, so I am not on TX. As yet, no spots on RX.

UPDATE 1105z:  Still no spots on 15m FT8 RX. I may QSY shortly.

UPDATE 1115z:  Just one OD5 spotted on 15m FT8 RX, so now QSYed to 17m FT8.

Ely Cathedral - NOT amateur radio

If this has been posted before, please accept my apologies. Some call it "the ship of the fens" and it can be seen from miles around much like Chartres in France. It is our favourite cathedral.

Typical Cambridge - NOT amateur radio

This is a typical Cambridge scene. In the foreground are bikes and the university church, Great St Mary's. In the background is the Senate House, famous for degree ceremonies. The world famous King's College Chapel is about 200m from here.

Because of the corona virus scare, there are far fewer far eastern visitors in the city. I guess this is to be expected.

Solar forecast update

We are rapidly coming to the end of winter. Very early in each month my favourite solar forecast is updated. This is usually done on the first or second day of the month.

Up to now they have put the solar minimum as happening last summer. I hope they are still right. One of the indicators is polarity changes. This can also help us in the forecast of the size of the next peak.

At the moment the "experts" are expecting the next peak to be of a similar size to the last one in cycle 24. Some were predicting a Maunder Minimum with years of no sunspots, but this now seems unlikely.

Chinese poet - NOT amateur radio

In the grounds of King's College, Cambridge is a memorial garden and statue created in 2018 to remember the Chinese poet Xu Zhimo who was a college member about 100 years ago.

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

Sunspots - Saturday February 29th 2020

Solar flux is 71 and the SSN 0. A=6 and K=2. Not much sign of an upturn yet!

28 Feb 2020

King's College lawns - NOT amateur radio

The lawns at King's College, Cambridge are immaculate. They have plenty of money and plenty of groundsmen.  Probably they spend thousands on their lawns every year.

By comparison, mine look dreadful! Mind you, I spend perhaps £25 a year and there is only one part-time groundsman - me! If the weather is decent, I might cut the lawns here next week as I think it unlikely I can expect the King's College groundsmen to venture out here!

Spring - NOT amateur radio

On Sunday, we start meteorological spring. Not before time as we have had a dreadful February with lots of wind and rain.

This part of the UK has escaped lightly, but some parts have had heavy snow and others bad floods. It has been mild with few frosts here, but much wetter than when I first came to this area. Spring flowers are now appearing and not soon enough.

CLM? - NOT amateur radio

Whilst posting to my blog, I noticed an advert saying proudly, "what to expect from your CLM".

Now, having been retired for nearly 12 years, it is entirely possible that I am totally out of touch with these acronyms.

Apparently it stands for Customer Lifestyle Manager. Sounds like another way of wasting money! Who thinks of these?

Upturn in solar conditions - when?

So far, February has been a big disappointment. Sunspots have been virtually absent and if anything things are certainly no better than last month. If we are to confirm that we have passed the solar minimum, I would expect a few more sunspots and a slow climb in solar flux. Based on the last few weeks, I see neither. It is wrong to expect big changes until next year, but I was expecting hopeful signs.

17m FT8

Today I am on 17m FT8 with the tiny indoor loop antenna. 27 spots on RX and plenty of stations spotting my 10W TX.

UPDATE 1110z:  11 spots of my 10W so far today with the tiny indoor loop antenna.

People that have spotted 
my 10W on 17m FT8 TX today 
with the tiny indoor loop antenna
UPDATE 1345z:  13 spots of my signal and 1 QSO so far today.  On 17m FT8 RX 98 stations spotted so far. 5 continents spotted so far on 17m FT8 RX with the tiny indoor loop today.

UPDATE 1806z: With 20 stations spotting me with the best DX being N4PYI (4171 miles) today has been good. I shall be going QRT shortly.

UPDATE 1912z: Now QRT on all bands.

Sword fighting - NOT amateur radio

During half term holiday we visited the Oliver Cromwell house in Ely with some of our grandchildren. Here they were sword fighting.

Oscar 100 update

The narrowband transponder of this geosynchronous satellite has been increased to 500kHz wide. My casual monitoring of the narrowband transponder shows no real change in occupancy: busier than earlier months, but still plenty of room.

See https://eshail.batc.org.uk/nb/


It was Heathkit that got me into radio way back in the early 1960s.

In recent years, they have been trying to make a comeback, although judging by their product range, I suspect they must be struggling. Basically, I can see a very few loyal people buying these, but not many. Anyone know what has happened to them?

See https://shop.heathkit.com/shop/category/products-am-fm-shortwave-tv-explorer-tm-series-receivers-8

Sunspots - Friday February 28th 2020

Solar flux is 71 and the SSN 0. A=4 and K=2.

27 Feb 2020

Snow - NOT amateur radio

When I first came to Cambridge in 1970 the winters were cold and dry. Nowadays winters are wet and mild. Snow is a rarety. Many winters we see no snow.

This morning we had snow, although it had all gone by lunchtime.

The photo shows the snow this morning.

Petty Cury, Cambridge - NOT amateur radio

This is the view at one end of Petty Cury in Cambridge.

When I first came to Cambridge in 1970 it was a lovely street with shops and plenty of bay windows. In their infinite wisdom, the planners pulled all these down and replaced them with modern monstrosities.

I would like to think they would not be so stupid today. Do we never learn?

Elecraft KX2 transceiver

Apart from a few disadvantages this looks a fine choice for HF. It is very small, it has a good RX and can produce 10W and could even be used handheld.

  • The internal batteries have to be removed to charge.
  • It does not cover 160m or 6m.
  • It is expensive in the UK, but has a 2 year warranty and good technical support.
  • The internal auto-ATU is extra.
  • It does not have an SDR display.
  • No 2m or 70cm.
I quite expect Elecraft to come out with a Mk2  which allows charging in situ of the internal batteries. One thing is certain: if I was to buy one then this Mk2 version would be released the very next day!

See https://elecraft.com/



America Hall, De la Rue Way, Pinhoe, Exeter EX4 8PW. Doors open at 10.30am (10.15am for disabled visitors). Admission £2 (under 16s free). There will be trade stands, Bring & Buy (book in from 10.15am), and catering. Details from Pete, G3ZVI on 0771 419 8374 or g3zvi@yahoo.co.uk

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

20m FT8 again with the tiny indoor loop

Again, I am on 20m FT8 with the tiny indoor loop antenna and 10W. 28 stations spotted so far today with best DX spotted on RX being JF8EPR (8779km) in Japan. On TX, spots received from Greece and Sicily.

UPDATE 1737z: My little signal has been spotted by 13 stations so far today. 229 stations spotted on RX.
Stations spotted so far today
on the tiny indoor
loop on 20m FT8 RX 
UPDATE 2037z:  Now QRT. The stations that spotted me today are shown on the second map.   The loop is about 0.5m across and the wire about 1mm diameter! It just sits on my windowstill.
Stations that spotted my 10W
20m FT8 to the tiny indoor loop

Sunspots - Thursday February 27th 2020

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


This QRP radio is still not available. Many think it will be first released in the USA in May at Dayton, although I would expect it to be released in Japan first. As reported on Tuesday, the Chinese Q900 is clearly designed as competition at about a third of the price.   Chinese quality control still bothers me though.

The IC-705 will clearly be market priced so they maximise profits for ICOM and their dealers. This basically means inflate the price as much as the punters will pay. Only drop the price if demand falls.

26 Feb 2020


Elecraft K4 transceiver
Elecraft make some fine products, although they tend to be a bit expensive here in the UK. In the past, I have owned a K1 4-band CW transceiver and a T1 ATU. Their latest newsletter highlights the K4, which is Elecraft's new SDR transceiver. Sadly, this will be too expensive to buy for me, much as I would love one.

See https://elecraft.com/

Beofeng portables

These seem to be "iffy".

They are very low cost, but the quality control seems poor. Some work well, whereas others may be very deaf. It seems to me like the Chinese are still on a learning curve.

At the moment I am not inclined to spend much money on Chinese amateur radio gear. They can do it - see for example of the Apple iPad.

20m FT8 with the tiny indoor loop

A few moments ago I QSYed from 17m FT8 to 20m FT8. Although no-one has spotted my 2.5W yet, it is working on RX with 21 stations spotted so far with AB1EP (4941km) as best DX spotted here so far on 20m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 1514z: With 2.5W and the tiny loop indoors the best DX is ES5RY (1791km). SWR is 1:1.  On 20m FT8 RX 68 stations spotted so far today.

UPDATE 1529z: Changed rigs so now running 6dB more on 20m FT8 TX.

Stations spotted to about
1545z today on 20m FT8 RX
UPDATE 1610z:  Now 97 stations spotted on 20m FT8 RX with best DX spotted K6OK (8413km). It really annoys me that the FCC has really messed up USA calls! At one time K6 would have been somewhere like California. Now K6 can be anywhere. It happens to be California in this case.

UPDATE 1627z:  IU6JJE (1570km) was spotting me strongly. Even with my 10W to the tiny indoor loop he was copying me at -9dB S/N on 20m FT8 TX!  On 20m FT8 RX, 106 stations spotted so far.

20m FT8 TX (10
or less) today
UPDATE 1816z:  8 spots of my 10W 20m FT8 so far today. On 20m FT8 RX 139 spots so far.

UPDATE 1900z: After a QSO on 20m FT8 with an EA5, I have now gone QRT on all bands.

365project - NOT amateur radio

Firstly, to avoid all confusion, this nothing at all to do with Microsoft Word 365! If you want, it can be totally free. For not much you can have total privacy and multiple albums.

For many years my wife and I have sent a picture a day to 365project.org. I think we both started in 2013. Some use this as a way of posting wonderful photographic creations. Others, like my wife and I, just use it as a visual diary. We would win no prizes!

If you have grandchildren, it is good to look back every day and see how they have developed. When we have visitors we can say exactly when they last came! You can look back each month right back to when you started.

You can also, if you want, look at other people's photos. No great photographic masterpieces are needed. Photos can be uploaded by email if you want. Altogether great fun. My user name is g3xbm and my wife foxes37.
The photo shows the snapshots for August 2019. Clicking the individual photos on 365project brings up the full sized images.

See https://365project.org/


This popped up as a Facebook memory from 2012. It shows G4HJW's optical signal received on my kit "over the horizon". There was no signal visible. This encouraged me to carry out my own experiments.

17m FT8

Last night I decided not to go on any band although this morning I am on 17m FT8 RX with the tiny indoor loop antenna.

UPDATE 1032z: 21 stations spotted so far today on 17m FT8 RX. Best DX spotted here so far is 9K2HN (4632km).

17m FT8 RX spots to 1300z today
UPDATE 1300z: Now 40 stations spotted today on 17m FT8 RX with best DX spotted being HS5XWY (9469km).

UPDATE 1327z: I have just decided to try 17m FT8 TX (2.5W) with the tiny indoor loop antenna. Already I have been spotted well in the Canary Islands by EA8BEV (3126km).

Cambridge bookshops - NOT amateur radio

When I first came to Cambridge about 50 years ago, there were far more bookshops than now. The biggest was Heffers with several shops scattered across the town. Heffers is now owned by Blackwells of Oxford I think.

I guess many people buy their books on the internet instead (in the main, I do), although browsing through books is still a pleasure. In 20 years' time what will we do?

There are still a few independent second-hand bookshops around. One of these is David's shown in the photo. This has remained much the same over 50 years.

Sunspots - Wednesday February 26th 2020

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

25 Feb 2020

2m FT8

Since returning from Cambridge I have again been on 2m  FT8 with 10W to the big-wheel omni antenna

So far, 7 spots of me in 3 countries with the best being a spot by GI6ATZ (479km) in N. Ireland. It seems nearly every time I go on 2m FT8  he copies me!

Fewer stations spotted here. Tropo conditions seem dire.

UPDATE 2105z: 12 stations in 4 countries have so far spotted me on 2m FT8 this evening. Best DX is a spot of me by EI3KD (583km).

UPDATE 2318z: QRT.

OFCOM - thank you!

OFCOM is usually an organisation I complain about, but today I want to say thank you. Yesterday I forgot my password. Today I got an email to get a new one and an email to say my amateur licence had been revalidated to 2025. The person who handled the query showed initiative - thank you!

Honesty - NOT amateur radio

After my U3AC course in Cambridge I decided to have a coffee at Pret a Manger in Market Street. About 5 minutes after someone dropped some change on the floor a shop assistant just picked it up and put it in the charity box. Excellent. At 99p filter coffee here is good value and the service is very good.

Q900 QRP rig

The IC-705 already has a Chinese competitor at about one third of the price according to DXzone.com. Pretty sure this is genuine.

It surprises me that we have not seen many more Chinese radios yet. Once they get the quality right, they will undercut the Japanese big time.

See https://www.dxzone.com/q900-sdr-transceiver

UPDATE 2100z: You get the feeling this is a "test the market" prototype. At least one YouTube review is raising questions. For now, I have sufficient doubts not to buy one. In time, the Chinese could become a big threat to the Japanese manufacturers, but not yet.

Almost spring - NOT amateur radio

Flowers on sale on Cambridge Market earlier.

What is reality? - NOT amateur radio

As many know, I had a stroke in 2013. In many ways I recovered, but I am still left with some quite severe impairments. It is hard to know if some of these are just me getting older or are due to the stroke.

Poor balance and giddiness are with me most of the time. My voice is poor and I get very frustrated when some people treat me as being a simpleton. Also frustrating is being unable to speak, as I used to, to put over my point of view.  Just joining in casual chats is hard. Often it would be hard to get my point across, so I say nothing.  When speaking to others I often have to repeat myself.

My comprehension of time and speed are different. When driving at a certain speed it feels, to me, as if I am driving much faster: the dial says 45mph whereas it feels like 60mph! Likewise my perception of time is different: time seems to pass more quickly. The bus ride to Cambridge takes an hour, but to me it seems much faster.

Now, it is hard to know if these are just old age or artifacts of my stroke.

What it has told me is that what we perceive as individuals is different. On the BBC radio today someone said that our perception of colour is in the mind: how one person sees the world differs from others.

All this brings me to one thought. What is reality?

Time and space we take for granted, but these could be illusions. Likewise, we assume past memories are real. One thing is certain: how we see the world is limited by our brains.

South Devon again - NOT amateur radio

Yesterday I mentioned that I come from South Devon. The photo shows another view of where I come from.

10m FT8 RX

At the moment I am on 10m FT8 RX using the tiny indoor loop antenna.

UPDATE 0950z: Nothing yet spotted on 10m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 2035z: No spots all day. Maybe tomorrow I shall try 17m FT8 RX with the tiny indoor loop?

Disappointment on 160m FT8 RX overnight

Last night was the poorest one this season with no transatlantic DX at all overnight. I checked that things were working as I thought something was wrong!

Sunspots - Tuesday February 25th 2020

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

24 Feb 2020

160m FT8

So far today in the last few hours 63 stations spotted. See map.
160m FT8 spots
 so far this evening 

With a granddaughter - NOT amateur radio

The photo shows one of our granddaughters with me at the weekend. She went home with her brother yesterday.

Harvey Weinstein guilty - NOT amateur radio

According to the BBC website, I understand that, allegedly, Harvey Weinstein has been found guilty by a jury in New York of sexual assault and rape. He was once a very powerful man in Hollywood.

At the moment, I do not know what his sentence will be. It proves none of us is above the law and we cannot ever abuse our position or power.  It would not surprise me if he faces many years in prison.

See https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-51621041

OFCOM and licence revalidation

Just now I tried to log on to the OFCOM website to revalidate my amateur licence. Problem 1 was I could not remember the password. Then I saw something pointing me to a page where I could revalidate my licence online. Worth a try except (problem 2) when I got to this page there was no mention of revalidating amateur licences!!  I have requested a new password in the hope that I can then log in, but received a response (from a computer) advising me they were very busy (knitting?) so expect a delay (problem 3).

Overall I remain totally unimpressed. Surely if a computer can send me an email saying expect a delay then it could just as easily send me a reset password link! Doh! Surely I can be excused for not being too impressed.

Ferrite rods as TX antennas

Now, I am no expert and this is based on personal experiences.

As TX antennas ferrite rods should work. Indeed, my own tests at 80m, 40m and 30m rather prove this. Yes, they will be many dB down on more conventional antennas and can only be used with low power to prevent the ferrites saturating. However, with modes like WSPR they do work. I urge you to try sometime!

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

Early days on VHF SSB

My very first experience of 2m SSB was in the late 1960s when our university club station at Liverpool G3OUL had a sked. As I recall we used 20W from a homebrew transverter designed by Ian Vance G3WMS who later was in charge at STL. He was a modest man, but clearly very clever.

Later, the Liner-2 brought 2m SSB to the masses. For several years SSB 2m DXing was very popular. In the UK this was at the time when G8s were allowed on 2m for the first time. Before that they were only allowed on 70cm and microwave bands.

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

Solar weather forecast videos

Southgate News links to the video solar forecasts by Dr Tamitha Skov.

See http://www.southgatearc.org/space-weather/index.htm#.XlOwvI6TK00

Corona virus fears - NOT amateur radio

This morning, many stock markets have tumbled, probably because of the fear that a coronavirus pandemic could badly impact world trade.

We have yet to see the impact of Chinese lock-downs on their exports. Most goods now say, "made in China", so the impact of goods not being shipped from China could be very disruptive.

As I understand it, the virus can be easily passed on, although the death rate seems less severe than in flu for example. I guess the great fear is that it could mutate into something worse. As you can tell, I am no virologist!

These days, the world is far more interconnected than in the deadly flu pandemic after WW1.

UPDATE 1150z:  I see that oil prices are down over 4% suggesting demand has fallen.

160m FT8 overnight

It is getting less good. Overnight 15 North Americans copied and one Caribbean. In total just 192 stations spotted on 160m FT8 in the last 12 hours.
160m FT8 RX overnight 

South Devon - NOT amateur radio

As many know, I was born and brought up in South Devon. The photo shows where I come from. We owned land near here in 1427 and can trace our family history continuously back to the mid 1500s.

Sunspots - Monday February 24th 2020

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

23 Feb 2020

160m FT8 RX

A few moments ago I QSYed to 160m FT8 RX from 2m. Once again I am using the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground.  At the moment 26 stations spotted. So far, the best DX spotted is OX3LX (3317km).

Daft video - NOT amateur radio

It is amazing how tech savvy our 8 year old grandchild is compared with us. This is a video of me that she made yesterday.

Trump and another 4 years - NOT amateur radio

Looking at the USA from a European perspective President Trump seems a disaster. He comes across as inept, stupid, and a poor choice. However, he was elected and the US economy looks quite good. The most likely candidate to stand against him is 78 years old I believe and had a heart attack last year I think.

It seems to me as if President Trump could get another 4 years in office. Personally I cannot understand how he could have been chosen. Maybe the voters who voted for him wanted to be listened to and these people were fed up with their leaders in the past.

Waters and Stanton on YouTube

Waters and Stanton, who seem to have teamed up with Nevada these days, have a YouTube channel with some interesting videos including this one.

Family - NOT amateur radio

The photo shows my wife with one of our sons and two of our grandchildren.

Quiet again - NOT amateur radio

We love seeing all our little grandchildren.  As they have all gone home, our house is quiet again.

The photo shows one of our grandchildren making a film yesterday. She is 8 and far more PC savvy than her grandparents!

2m FT8 yesterday and today

It is sad when 2m FT8 DX goes unreported. A brief 10W FT8 CQ yesterday was widely spotted. Later today I shall probably try 2m FT8 again.

UPDATE 1212z:  A brief 2m FT8 CQ was spotted by 16 stations with 1 2-way  G QSO. As usual running 10W to the big-wheel omni antenna. Best DX was a spot by DF0MU (475km).

UPDATE 1522z: So far today, 28 stations in 4 countries have spotted my 10W FT8 signal on 2m. 4 QSOs have resulted.

UPDATE 1800z: 34 stations in 7 countries have spotted me today so far.
Stations spotting me 
today on 2m FT8 TX 

80m WSPR with the ferrite rod antenna

In all, 46 stations were spotted on 80m WSPR using the ferrite rod antenna. Just one station spotted my 2.5W. There was far more 80m WSPR activity than I expected.  See table below:
80m WSPR spots with
the ferrite rod antenna

Sunspots - Sunday February 23rd 2020

Solar flux is 72 and the SSN 0. A=9 and K=0.

22 Feb 2020

Back on 80m WSPR with the ferrite rod antenna

Yet again I am on 80m WSPR using the ferrite rod antenna. As of now I have still to get a single spot on TX! I suspect the signal is just too weak to be copied above the radio smog at many urban locations in Europe.

UPDATE 1842z:  Lots of WSPR stations spotted but still no spots of my signal on TX.

UPDATE 2025z:  At last! 3 spots of me by DK6UG (633km)!  At - 30dB S/N is marginal but with such a tiny antenna this is not bad.

Granddaughter - NOT amateur radio

This was our granddaughter earlier. She is 8 and keen on reading... oh and the iPad!

Grandson yesterday - NOT amateur radio

Our elder grandson climbing a tree at Hare Park yesterday.

No success on 80m WSPR TX with the ferrite rod antenna

Even though I remained on 80m WSPR overnight, not a single spot of my 2.5W transmit bursts received. It works well on RX but must just be too weak to be copied. I shall try for longer but fear it will be unsuccessful.

The table shows the unique stations spotted. Note that many were spotted multiple times.
Stations spotted on
80m WSPR RX overnight
with the ferrite rod antenna 

Sunspots - Sunday February 22nd 2020

Solar flux is 71 and the SSN 0. A=14 and K=3.

21 Feb 2020

80m ferrite rod TX antenna

After removing the tape, I was able to resonate W5OLF's ferrite on the 80m FT8 frequency. On RX it is copying lots of stations (45 so far) with best a Russian at 3300km.

No spots yet on TX (1W) but I shall keep trying. Both the ferrite and fixed capacitor are cold suggesting the ferrite is well below saturation. The ferrite is just sitting on the shack bench oriented for best NVIS pickup. See photo.

UPDATE 1902z: 211 stations spotted on 80m FT8 RX with the ferrite rod on the shack bench. No TX spots. Power increased to 2.5W. Still NVIS orientation.

UPDATE 1912z:  Changed orientation of antenna to vertical. Still no TX spots. Remember that FT8 is about 10dB less sensitive than WSPR.  Surprised that not a single spot yet received.

UPDATE 2012z:  264 stations spotted on 80m FT8 RX, but no spots on TX (2.5W) so far.

UPDATE 2023z: Switched to 80m WSPR at the same power although I am unsure how much WSPR there is these days on 80m. SWR is excellent.

UPDATE 2100: I am puzzled. I reset the WSJT-X program and copied a DL station on 80m WSPR RX, but this failed to upload to the WSPR database. I am pretty sure that my internet is working. On another site all seemed well. No TX spots on WSPR. HB9AFZ (900km) was a strong -14dB S/N on WSPR just now. Also copied were a couple of German stations. None of these stations appeared, so I am wondering if the fault is at the WSPRnet end?

UPDATE 2124z: Fault found!  I had my callsign with a space behind the last character. When this was removed the RX spots appeared. Still no TX spots, but I am pleasantly surprised by the number of WSPR stations active on 80m.

UPDATE 2230z: Just gone back to horizontal orientation on the shelf above the rig. No TX spots. I shall leave things running overnight. Rechecked the match is best. As I have received not a single TX spot all evening with the antenna vertical and horizontal, I am wondering if my signal is just too weak to be copied in the noise smog that many stations suffer from? If there are any automatic RX stations spotting through the night when noise tends to be lower, I might get the odd spot.

Eating lunch at the local farm shop - NOT amateur radio

After visiting Hare Park, Chippenham near us in Cambridgeshire, we visited our local farm shop for lunch. It was very busy. The photo shows our elder grandson tucking in.

Simple 10GHz wideband FM transceivers

With the availability of very low cost HB100 10GHz Doppler radar modules on eBay, many are trying their hands at very simple WBFM transceivers on 10GHz.

It should be possible to make a complete 10GHz WBFM transceiver with no 10GHz engineering at all.

In Italy, some have put these at the focal point of parabolic dishes and achieved some incredible ranges on ATV.  If I was a bit fitter this would be something I would have a go at (WBFM). A pair of HB100 10GHz modules could be bought for less than £5! The cheapest I have recently seen is just over £5.

See https://www.allaboutcircuits.com/news/teardown-tuesday-hb100-doppler-radar-module/

2m FT8

As of about 1300z, I QSYed to 2m FT8 calling CQ initially, now RX only.

UPDATE 1350z: 10 stations spotted my CQ call with best DX a spot by GI6ATZ (479km). So far, nothing reported to PSKreporter on RX, although the internet has been off.

UPDATE 1520z: A solid 2-way QSO with GI6ATZ just now on 2m FT8. Aircraft reflection or flat band tropo? Whatever, this is amazing range possible at almost any time on 2m. On 2m FT8 RX it shows no spots on 2m today on 2m FT8. This is rubbish as I have copied Germany and several Gs already. Perhaps my upload is not working? Time for a reset!

UPDATE 1550z: Reset done. RX spots being reported now to PSKreporter. 5 spots in the last 15 minutes.

OFCOM and 5G

OFCOM has published details of its spectrum measurements which now include 5G frequencies. See the OFCOM website.

Roundhead and cavaliers - NOT amateur radio

Yesterday we went to Oliver Cromwell's house in Ely. In one of the rooms our grandchildren enjoyed a sword fight.

160m FT8 RX overnight

An average night. JT1CO in Mongolia seems genuine judging by where he was spotted, but fewer from the Americas. Are things getting worse or is this just conditions? Again using the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground.
Stations spotted on 160m
FT8 RX overnight 

Sunspots - Friday February 21st 2020

Solar flux is 71 and the SSN 0. A=8 and K=3.

20 Feb 2020

Rallies this weekend

Again, my apologies for the white background on these. I simply reproduce these as I get them.


The Victory Academy, Magpie Hall Road, Chatham, Kent, ME4 5JB. Doors open 10am to 4pm, admission £3, children free. Local and national traders, BRATS Kitchen, BRATS Interactive Zone for Kids, BRATS Junk, talk in station on 145.550MHz using GB4RRR. Contact 0782 583 8877 or rally-coordinator@brats-qth.org.


St Joseph's Hall, Chapel Street, Leigh WN7 2PQ. Doors open 11am. Trade, individual and Club stands as well as a Bring & Buy. Details on www.wmrc.co.uk.

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

Granddaughter - NOT amateur radio

When they come to stay with us our grandchildren have a great, happy, time. The photo shows our "London" granddaughter enjoying things today.
Granddaughter today