30 Sept 2020

Covid-19 videos

In these strange days it can be hard to see reliable data. I was recommended the videos of John Campbell. These are updated most days.


OFCOM Communications Market Report

OFCOM  has just published this. See the OFCOM website for more.

2m FT8 (1W to the big-wheel omni)

 At about 0835z I decided to go on 2m FT8 with 1W from the FT817ND. Already (0843z) spotted by 5 Gs.

UPDATE 1530z:  36 stations in 6 countries spotted and I have been spotted by 9 stations so far.

UPDATE 2115z : QRT. 

In Norwich - NOT amateur radio

The photo shows my wife and I on a recent trip to Norwich. 

Sunspots - Wednesday September 30th 2020

 Solar flux is 73 and the SSN 0. A=16 and K=4.

29 Sept 2020

MLS trade-in

As many know, I am a dedicated QRPer. Apart from the price, the ICOM IC-705 as a 5/10W radio appeals. It supports GPS, D-star and WiFi. It can be used for FT8 which is one of my main modes since my voice deteriorated after my stroke.  Results today on 2m FT8 with an omni antenna and 1W confirm that QRP is usually fine.

I asked MLS (a major UK dealer from whom I bought the FT991A a little over a year ago) if they were interested in a trade-in for the IC-705. They have offered me a good trade-in price ,which I am considering. In these difficult times it pays to think which dealers will survive and which may not. 

New replacement for WSPR coming?

Joe Taylor has released a release candidate for WSJT-X that has new modes to replace WSPR. One is a QSO mode and one a beaconing mode. I am not sure when these will be formally released.

See https://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/K1JT/wsjtx.html for more details. My thanks to Bob G3WKW who alerted me.

2m FT8

For a change I am on 2m FT8 with 1W from the FT817 to the big-wheel omni antenna. At the moment after about 15 minutes (it is now 1047z) 5 stations have spotted me with the best G4MSA (222km) and on 2m FT8 RX the best DX spotted is DO1KRT (522km). 5 stations in 3 countries spotted so far.

UPDATE 1122z:  Now best DX with 1W TX is GW8ASD (242km). See photo.

UPDATE 1636z:  31 stations in 5 countries spotted on 2m FT8 RX. 12 stations in 2 countries have spotted me so far today on 2m FT8 TX (1W).

OFCOM plans

 OFCOM  has updated its plan of work. See its website for details. I bet you can't wait.

Pye days - NOT amateur radio

In 2008 I retired after about 40 years in the Philips empire. When I started it was still Pye Telecom. The photo shows some of our products. I worked on the design of several. 

Old graffiti - NOT amateur radio

Yesterday we were in Norwich Cathedral. On the walls of this fine Norman cathedral is some graffiti that is very very old as the photo shows. 

Sunspots - Tuesday September 29th 2020

Solar flux is 74 and the SSN 0. A=33 and K=3. Wednesday could see G2 solar storms.

28 Sept 2020

Thurlestone Devon - NOT amateur radio

The photo shows one of the beaches at Thurlestone, Devon. This  is where my ancestors lived at least 500 years ago. In the distance is an iron age hill fort at Bolt Tail. It is entirely possible that one of my ancestors manned this thousands of years ago. Quite humbling. It is still very beautiful.

Valve QRP

Some years ago a friend of mine, Andrew G6ALB, built a QRP TX with Russian miniature valves as shown in the photo. The first CQ call resulted in a Stateside QSO. from memory the power was less than 1W.

Sunspots - Monday September 28th 2020

 Solar flux is 74 and the SSN 0. A=24 and K=5.

27 Sept 2020

More eHam IC-705 reviews

The last time I looked there were 2 eHam reviews of the ICOM IC-705 transceiver. Last week there were none. As more people outside of Japan get them, we can expect quite a few more.

See https://www.eham.net/reviews/view-product?id=14776

There is more news of this transceiver on: https://www.fbnews.jp/

Views - NOT amateur radio

My brother plays golf at Thurlestone, Devon. The photo shows the view from the 12th hole. 

The weather was better there than here!

How simple can you go and communicate?

Some years ago I wanted to see how few parts are needed to make a viable transceiver that really worked. The result was the FETer transceiver for 80m. This appeared in GQRP "SPRAT" magazine and copies were made. G3XIZ worked as far as Switzerland with his!

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/hf/feter-80m-qrpp-cw-transceiver

Modern life - NOT amateur radio


We have an old friend staying with us this week. The photo shows him relaxing with his paper and phone this morning. It has been dull and wet here most of the day.

Sunshine in the west - NOT amateur radio

My brother seems to have had better weather than us this weekend. 

Here it is cold, dull, windy and wet. 

There, it seems far sunnier. This photo shows him on the beach with 3 of his grandchildren.

6m FT8 today

For a short while I have been on 6m FT8 with 10W and the V2000 vertical omni. I have had spots from a couple of G stations and I have spotted 1 G.

UPDATE 1641z:  13 spots of me today. 6 stations spotted on 6m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 1915z:  QRT.

Yesterday on 6m FT8

Yet again we saw the benefits of FT8 on 6m. Whilst getting on with other things I was on 6m FT8. There was some Es around that would have been missed by casual listening. Some argue that FT8 is not "real radio" and  it has resulted in less chatting. I agree that many prefer FT8 these days, but it's been a godsend to me with my poor voice and does enable very modest stations to hear and work DX. 

Sunspots - Sunday September 27th 2020

 Solar flux is 73 and the SSN 0. A=20 and K=4.

26 Sept 2020

Vegetables NOT amateur radio

Yesterday my wife went to a farm growing organic vegetables. It is run by people with learning difficulties. 

6m FT8 (10W to the V2000 vertical omni antenna)

As Friday was quite successful, I am again on 6m FT8.  I was even spotted in North Africa!  No spots yet at 0754z. 

At the moment I am not even getting spots from Gs, although it is early on Saturday.

UPDATE 0930z:  3 spots received on TX and 3 on RX. So far, all Gs.

UPDATE 1435z: 22 stations have spotted me today so far. Some of them seem like Es. 

UPDATE 2152z: QRT. 

Logbook of the World (LOTW)

One of my winter projects should be to find out how to use LOTW.  I see Southgate News has a link to a guide. I must read it! Although I use eQSL, I am way behind, so need to update things. 

LOTW seems the way to go in future. I may transfer some of my old QSOs when I join. I can't do them all as this could take days and days!

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2020/september/lotw-user-guide.htm#.X27tsd7Yq00

Sunspots - Saturday September 26th 2020

Solar flux is 73 and the SSN 11. A=20 and K=4.

25 Sept 2020

2m FT8

At about 1900z I QSYed to 2m FT8. Already a QSO with a station in Brittany and my 10W to the big-wheel omni spotted by 15 stations in 4 countries.

UPDATE 2117z:  26 stations in 5 countries have spotted me so far, as well as several QSOs on 2m FT8.

Solar farm - NOT amateur radio

A UK company wants to build a large solar farm with back-up batteries around villages in the area. I have replied to their questionnaire on line. If eventually approved building will start in 2022 and the farm will be operational in 2025. 

Although I have few concerns overall, I have raised the issue of RF pollution if they design and fit power converters "on the cheap". This unlikely to affect me, but could make life tough for those trying to detect weak signals nearer these sites.

That wind - NOT amateur radio

Today has been very windy in East Anglia. A local friend took this picture from a bus that was delayed 45 minutes because of a fallen tree across the road.  He had to direct the driver on an alternative route.

Our tree - NOT amateur radio

For several years now we have watched a nearby tree though the seasons. It is starting to turn autumnal. In a few weeks most leaves will have gone until the spring.

Another Zoom meeting

The Cambridge radio club (CDARC) is holding another Zoom talk tonight at 8pm. This is a talk about noise cancelling by ex RSGB president Bob Whelan G3PJT. Details are on the CDARC website. Zoom meetings suit me well. Last time we had a very large number of people.

Autumn cyclamen - NOT amateur radio

We saw these yesterday on our walk at Anglesey Abbey.

IC-705 in the UK

From reports I am seeing, it looks as if UK customers are getting IC-705 transceivers from UK dealers at last.  Most seem pleased. The first review has appeared on eHam.

See https://www.eham.net/reviews/view-product?id=14776

6m FT8

 At about 0800z, I turned on my 10W 6m FT8 to the V2000 vertical. So far, just 1 G spot of me - G0PQO (50km) and nothing on RX.

UPDATE 1105z:  9 stations have spotted me so far with the best being EI2FG (565km) in southern Eire. This could be aircraft scatter. 3 stations (all G) spotted on RX.

UPDATE 1550z:  Now 16 spots of me with the best DX spot being by CN8LI in Morocco (2114km). 

UPDATE 1800z: 
20 stations spotted my 10W today. Several were probably Es.

Old workshop

I came across this photo of my old workshop at the back of the garage at the old QTH. Although I have a workbench in my current shack, my health precludes much building. 

Sunspots - Friday September 25th th 2020

Solar flux is 74 and the SSN 0 again. A=19 and K=4.

24 Sept 2020

Wireless charging and noise

 It occurs to me that the HF noise issue is going to get far worse.

At the moment I am lucky having a fairly low noise floor, but more people will, rightly, be getting cars that don't depend on fossil fuels. Wireless charging of these could raise local noise levels still further. There is a danger that HF bands and down could become unusable with weak signals. Narrow-band modes could be better. In the future there could be a big market for noise cancellers to help reduce noise from certain sources. Noise nullers usually work with one noise source and not white noise.

Oscar 100 activity (or lack of it)

As regular blog readers may know, I take a very unscientific peek at the Goonhilly web SDR to judge activity on the narrowband transponder of this geosynchronous satellite. Activity levels remain low with plenty of space for new users. When I looked just now, there were only 2 QSOs going on! OK, some are at work, especially in Europe, but in many places people are not.

See https://eshail.batc.org.uk/nb/

Get together - NOT amateur radio

Yesterday my wife had a few friends around (socially distanced!) to help celebrate a couple of birthdays. Here they are by the windmill next door to us.

6m FT8

or about the last hour (it is now 1012z) I have been on 6m FT8. Nothing has been spotted on RX and on TX just 2 Gs have spotted me so far.

UPDATE 1055z:  2 Gs spotted on RX here and just 2 spots by Gs of my 10W to the V2000 vertical omni.  No Es seen.

UPDATE 1813z:  Just the 2 G spots of me today and just 7 Gs spotted on RX. No signs here of Es.

2012 shack

This photo appeared as a FB memory today and shows the shack at the old QTH in 2012. 

Sunspots (at last) - Thursday September 24th 2020

Solar flux is 73 and the SSN 13!! A=11 and K=4.

23 Sept 2020

IC-705 in the UK?

Just wondering if anyone in the UK has received one yet?  ICOM UK were expecting them "mid September", but I have not heard of any with customers yet. I haven't ordered one as they often fix early life issues with hardware or firmware updates. It is also far too expensive. I can wait. Although I have a few videos on my site, new ones are appearing most days now.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/ic705

Rear garden - NOT amateur radio

The photo shows our rear garden on September 23rd. Most trees are still in leaf. Another month? 

Sometime in October we'll have a lot of dead leaves to collect. We had 2 trees pruned nearly 2 years ago. They need doing again.


Thanks to Martin, G8JNJ, my attention has been brought to a small spectrum analyser that is well within amateur budgets. It also acts as a signal generator. Amazing. In Europe the TinySA may be obtained from  the Danish Amateur Shop.

See https://shop.edr.dk/vare/tinysa-spectrum-analyzer/

See https://www.tinysa.org/wiki/

6m FT8

Today, I decided to go on 6m FT8 (0830z). Already 1 station has spotted me - G0DYW (77km). So far, he is the only station spotted on 6m FT8 .

UPDATE 1257z:  6 stations have spotted my 10W to the V2000 vertical omni today so far. 4 stations spotted so far with the furthermost being F6HGB (985km).

UPDATE 1430z:  Now spotted by 7 stations with the best being DJ8RZ (881km) on TX and I have spotted 5 stations on RX.

UPDATE 1925z: 12 stations have spotted me with the furthermost being SM7CAD (1140km). Gone are the days of big Es openings for this year, but even with my small system there is still some occasional DX.

Covid-19 Joke - NOT amateur radio

 This was on Facebook earlier. 

Sunspots - Wednesday September 22nd 2020

Solar flux is 72 and the SSN 0. A=6 and K=2.

NanoVNA spectrum analyser?

For about $50 you can buy a NanoVNA. This is excellent value. I have never used one, but I believe it can be used as a spectrum analyser. If so, this brings spectrum analysers well into amateur budgets. I am half tempted. There are several YouTube videos on the NanoVNA, although I have not yet watched any.

If you have one, please tell us how you found it.

22 Sept 2020


In what is probably the best value around, you can buy every issue of SPRAT on DVD from 1-174 for just £5 plus postage for members of GQRP club. It is more if you are not a member. It is worth joining just for the DVD. 

Many times I have said that SPRAT is brilliant. The latest version, 184, has just come out.

See http://www.gqrp.com/

Walk collage - NOT amateur radio


The photo is a collage of our walk early this morning.

Hepburn tropo forecast

A useful resource (although I rarely use it!) is the Hepburn tropo forecast. I think this is done for all areas on the planet, although the link is for western Europe. This could be useful if you are a keen VHF/UHF DXer. Click the main map to get forecasts for future dates.

See http://www.dxinfocentre.com/tropo_eur.html

2m FT8 (10W to the big-wheel omni antenna)

Since arriving home from our walk and doing some gardening, I have been on 2m FT8. So far (at 1050z)  40 spots of me in 3 countries and 1 QSO.

UPDATE 1947z:  Now 78 spots of me in 9 countries today on 2m. 5 QSOs. I am convinced that these sort of 2m results are possible with 10W and a big-wheel at any time.  It seems far too common to be due to aircraft. A more probable hypothesis is that this is some other scatter mode that FT8 allows simple stations to access. Somewhere I read that FT8 is about 18dB better than SSB. That is like changing a dipole to a huge beam! Nearly every time I go on 2m FT8 I get spotted in N.Ireland. This is far too random for aircraft surely!

Marsh harrier - NOT amateur radio

We went for a walk around the village of Reach earlier. On the way we picked blackberries and saw a marsh harrier and a few house martins. 

Sunspots - Tuesday September 22nd 2020

Solar flux is 71 and the SSN 0. A=3 and K=2.

East Cambs Net

Last night we had a record number of people on our East Cambs net on 2m FM. There were so many I forgot the order! When I left the net I returned to 2m FT8.

21 Sept 2020

Chromebook update - NOT amateur radio

In all, I have owned a Chromebook for about 10 months. I wondered if this decision would be regretted, but the complete opposite is the case. The battery lasts all day (it was used several times yesterday and still has over 8 hours battery life left), it boots up in seconds and I have yet to find anything it cannot do. It is brilliant and far better than my Windows laptop. My wife needed a new laptop, so she too has a Chromebook.

Covid-19 in the UK - NOT amateur radio

There is no doubt that Covid-19 is on the rise, with more cases in western Europe than for several months. We are getting smarter at treating it, but it remains a real threat to the elderly especially. I just hope that the UK government can do enough to stop the exponential rise of this disease. They are trying to balance public health with economic damage. It is not easy.

2m FT8

Since 1219z I have QSYed to 2m FT8 (10W to the big-wheel omni). Within a few minutes I have been spotted by 41 stations in 4 countries.

UPDATE 1314z: Already 2 QSOs and spotted by 64 stations in 8 countries.

UPDATE 1837z: 106 stations in 8 countries have spotted me today on 2m FT8.

Stations spotting me
today on 2m FT8

UPDATE 2042z: 120 stations have spotted my 10W FT8 on 2m today with my 10W to the big-wheel omni. On 2m FT8 RX 109 stations spotted with the best DX a couple of Swedish stations including SF6F (1029km).

6m FT8 Monday

Continuing my "playing" with 6m FT8, I turned on the 6m gear (10W to the V2000 vertical) at about 0833z. Already spotted by 5 G stations plus OV3T (732km) in Denmark (Es?) and I have spotted G3PXT (80km).

UPDATE 0850z: Now my 10W is being spotted by 7 stations, mostly Gs.

UPDATE 1217z: Now 9 stations spotting me and G3PXT is calling "CQ SM" on 6m. Is he after 6m tropo QSOs? I may QSY to 2m FT8  later as apparently there is lots of tropo DX from Scandinavia on 2m FT8.

Pompey in better times - NOT amateur radio

A few years ago we went to Pompey. It rained! What struck me was just how similar life was really even all those years ago 

6m operation

In really good sunspot maximums the F2 MUF exceeds 50MHz at times and world wide DX is possible on 6m. Even with a low wire dipole I recall ZS (South African) stations chatting on SSB and Ws (USA) chatting as if they were locals. These days the F2 layer rarely gets that high. Luckily some impressive DX is possible via E layer, especially in the summer months.

I think it is fair to say I "play" at 6m using 10W and a V2000 omni antenna. Serious operators have big towers, big beams and maximum legal power. This extra "station gain" could be worth some 30-40dB. There is little doubt that this will make a difference.

Most Junes, Japan is worked from western Europe on 6m. With weak signal modes this is possible with more modest stations, although big stations are better equipped to work such long paths. Last year some even worked Australia from western Europe on 6m through a combination of propagation modes. It is not for nothing that some call it "the magic band".

Often people leave the band thinking it is just "white noise" outside of the summer months. Even at unusual times and months the band can open, which is why FT8 can be so useful: it works with weaker signals than SSB or CW, activity is concentrated in a few kilohertz, and there are lots of monitors. WSPR would be even better, but the longer TX slots could mean some fleeting openings are missed even though WSPR can detect even weaker signals.

Encouraging news (I think)

Southgate News has a piece on the report of the Examinations Standards Committee about recent amateur exams. It shows increases in those taking the exams in the UK, although most are men.

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2020/september/uk-amateur-radio-exam-report-released.htm#.X2czhmjYq00

Sunspots - Monday September 21st 2020

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

20 Sept 2020

200 years old - NOT amateur radio

The photo shows the windmill next door which is 200 years old this year. The museum had a special day today in the warm sunshine. 

Thistle - NOT amateur radio


This was seen at Blicking Hall during our recent visit to north Norfolk. Even wild things can be very beautiful.

6m FT8

It is very late for Es, but my Facebook memories today reminded me that some Es can occur very late in the summer, certainly well outside of the traditional "Es season". For this reason I decided to try 6m FT8.  It is now 0921z and I have been active for about 10 minutes. Surprisingly, already a couple of Gs have spotted my 10W to the V2000 vertical omni antenna. No great DX (best 77km), but life. Nothing yet spotted on RX here and no QSOs.

UPDATE 0929z: Now also spotted by G7RAU (461km) in Cornwall. Not Es, but pleasing. His report of me at -15dB S/N is quite strong. Aircraft?

UPDATE 1525z: My 10W has been spotted by 7 stations so far today with best DX being DK8NE (702km). On RX 7 stations spotted. 

UPDATE 2015z:  Now QRT. 9 stations spotted me today.

Sunspots - Sunday September 20th 2020

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

Cromer pier - NOT amateur radio

We visited Cromer last Monday. It is an old fashioned holiday town on the north Norfolk coast. Much to our surprise, it was not "trippy", but had a charm of its own. We were expecting to pay to walk on the pier, but it was free.

19 Sept 2020

2m FT8

Stations spotting my 10W at 1431z today
 A few minutes ago (about 1415z) I returned to 2m FT8 with 10W to the big-wheel omni antenna. Already 35 stations in 4 countries have spotted me! On 2m FT8 RX just 4 stations in 2 countries spotted here so far today (at 1431z). The map shows the stations spotting me at 1431z. 1 QSO so far.

UPDATE 1530z:  47 stations in 6 countries have spotted my 10W 2m FT8 so far this afternoon. Best is a spot by EI2FG (565km) near Cork.
UPDATE 2100z: Now QRT.  84 stations in 10 countries spotted with the furthermost being OZ1CCM (796km).  On TX 53 stations in 4 countries spotted my 10W today on 2m FT8.

E-field probe RX antennas

It is total myth that VLF Rx antennas have to be big. They do not!! Very effective VLF, LF and MF RX antennas can be very small indeed. Some years ago I tried an e-field probe antenna on 136 and 472kHz with excellent results.

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

Wireless charging of electric vehicles

Southgate News has a piece about the impact of wireless electric vehicle charging on the amateur and other services. The noise level close to these is way above ITU standards and is going to get worse over time. Wireless vehicle chargers operate between 79 and 90kHz.

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2020/september/rf-pollution-from-electric-vehicle-wireless-chargers.htm#.X2XjVWjYq00

Dahlias NOT amateur radio

Our neighbours opposite love dahlias. They had a great show last year and have a good show this year too as the photo shows. 

IC-705 in Europe?

MLS were expecting their first batch of these mid September, but I am not sure if they got these. Does anyone know if it has got CE approval? What I am wondering is is the blockage at the ICOM factory or approval? 

20m FT8 Saturday (4W to indoor loop)

As an experiment I left 20m FT8 RX on overnight. Best DX was 5Z4VJ (6858km) in Nairobi. As usual, I am using the indoor loop. 

UPDATE 0825z: On RX 150 stations spotted in the last 3 hours with best DX ZD7MY (7606km) on St Helena.  4W TX switched on at 0747z. No spots of me yet.

UPDATE 1040z: 248 stations in 4 continents spotted here this morning and 11 stations spotting me.

Sunspots - Saturday September 19th 2020

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

18 Sept 2020

Keeping an eye on the neighbours - NOT amateur radio

Our neighbours were asked to keep an eye on their neighbour's house and garden when they were away on holiday. My neighbour decided to rebuild the fence. I think his neighbours have some leaks! 

20m FT8 (4W to indoor loop)

Since just before breakfast I have been on 20m FT8 with the tiny indoor loop antenna. It is now 1140z. So far, my 4W has been spotted by 14 stations in 2 continents and I have spotted 198 stations.

UPDATE 1545z: 13 Europeans plus 1 on the Canary Is have spotted my 4W 20m FT8 today so far. On RX, 424 stations spotted with best DX YB2HAF (11989km).

Stations spotted in
the last 12 hours

UPDATE 2057z:
708 stations spotted in the last 12 hours and 23 stations spotted my 4W to the tiny indoor loop.

Cambridge Radio Club (CDARC)

In the last few months I rejoined the Cambridge club as a country member. Meetings are currently held as Zoom meetings online and these have been very good. I do not like driving far, if at all, at night these days. Zoom meetings suit me well. This week, we had a joint quiz and social by Zoom with a club in Northern Ireland. This worked out really well.

See http://www.cdarc.org.uk/ 

Coastal erosion - NOT amateur radio

The photo shows the coastal erosion that occurs in some parts of north Norfolk. This photo was taken at West Runton. 

Sunspots - Friday September 18th 2020

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

17 Sept 2020

Return to 20m FT8

At about 1345z, I returned to 20m FT8 using 4W and the indoor loop. So far, in about 12 minutes, 47 stations have been spotted, although no-one yet has spotted me and no QSOs.

UPDATE 1425z: Plenty of DX being spotted with the best being LU4EFC (11336km). 4 continents spotted so far in this session. 88 stations so far spotted this afternoon. 179 stations spotted on 20m FT8 today.

Stations spotted
Stations spotting me
UPDATE 2020z:  437 stations spotted here in the last day in 5 continents on 20m FT8 RX.  20 stations including 3 in the USA have spotted my 4W 20m FT8 TX to the tiny indoor loop. I remain amazed that this tiny antenna works so well.

2m big-wheel omni antenna

As mentioned in the last post, I use a Wimo big-wheel omni antenna for 2m SSB and FT8. This is horizontally polarised and has a slight gain (2-3dB?) in all directions. It works very well. It was erected some years ago by David G0LRD

It is also used on 70cms for SSB and FT8. 

It suits my operating perfectly as no rotator or beams are needed.  It is ideal for FT8 and monthly activity contests on 2m and 70cm SSB. For FM I use a vertical V2000.

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

2m FT8 (10W to big-wheel omni antenna)

At about 0940z I QSYed to 2m FT8. Already 41 stations have spotted my 10W in 6 countries (see map). 22 stations in 4 countries spotted on RX (at 1018z). 1 QSO so far on 2m FT8.

UPDATE 1113z: Now spotted by 45 stations and 2 QSOs. It could be aircraft scatter, but this seems too random. I personally think some other scatter mechanism is responsible for the spotting of some of these. Just now, again, I was spotted in 5 countries. A very useful resource is the grabber at G0LRD. David monitors WSJT-X on 144.174MHz. See It was G0LRD who erected my 2m Wimo big-wheel some years ago. I see he has one now!

UPDATE 1235z:  63 stations in 8 countries have spotted my 2m 10W FT8. 3 QSOs today on 2m FT8 TX with 10W. 46 stations in 7 countries spotted today on 2m FT8 RX. As I mentioned earlier in the week, 2m seems far from dead. I guess there is now far more FT8 and far less SSB and FM.

Cromer church - NOT amateur radio

A few days ago we visited Cromer in north Norfolk. It has a fine church (see photo) that was sadly locked. You can see the church from miles away. 

20m FT8 Thursday (4W to the indoor loop)

At about 0700z, I turned on my 4W 20m FT8 to the tiny indoor loop. The loop is about 0.5m across, made of thin wire (1mm diameter?) and sits on the shack windowsill. It is hardly a great 20m antenna!! So far, after 15 minutes, 14 stations have been spotted and 1 station has spotted me.

UPDATE 0925z:  So far, 97 stations spotted with the loop on 20m FT8 RX with the best DX being RV0AR (5577km) in Asiatic Russia.  On TX, 6 stations have spotted my 4W (see map).

Yesterday on 20m FT8

A total of 226 stations were spotted with the tiny indoor loop antenna yesterday and 7 stations spotted my 4W. See maps. 

Sunspots - Thursday September 17th 2020

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

16 Sept 2020

20m FT8 (4W and the indoor loop)

As 15m FT8 here was dreadful here, I QSYed to 20m FT8. 

Although I did a total reboot of the PC and reset the clock to internet time just now, still nothing on PSKreporter.  Locally I am spotting loads of stations. 

I wonder if there is a problem, albeit probably temporary, with PSKreporter? My RX and TX spots were fine on 2m FT8 earlier. I am pretty sure the internet connection is fine as I was able to do a time sync.

UPDATE 1506z:  1 spot on TX and 41 on RX now, so all is now fine.

Salthouse beach, Norfolk - NOT amateur radio

A few days ago, as the photo shows, we were on the beach at Salthouse, north Norfolk. This is a shingle beach. Just a few miles away it is sand.

15m FT8 with 4W and the indoor loop

Since 1300z, I have been on 15m FT8. No spots given or received yet. 

UPDATE 1430z:  No spots still on RX or TX. I may try 20m FT8.

Solar Cycle 25

According to spaceweather.com, solar cycle 25 has started.  At the moment it is hard to believe as we have had no sunspots for several weeks. 

The latest NASA/NOAA predictions show the next cycle just a tiny bit better than the last one. They are forecasting a weak cycle and peak.

See https://www.weather.gov/news/201509-solar-cycle

See also https://blogs.nasa.gov/solarcycle25/

Village magazine - NOT amateur radio

Although I don't think that this has been posted before please accept my apologies if it has! Since 1975 we have had a village magazine free every 2 months. It is a mix of local news and adverts. 

Our political leaders

Certainly in the UK, Russia, Belarus and the USA it would appear our leaders are out of touch with reality. I am not a political animal, but it would help if they were honest. Honesty and the ability to admit mistakes seems in very short supply.

As mentioned before, I find it very hard indeed to find anyone in politics these days who is there for anything other than their vested self interests. We desperately need real leaders with backbone and integrity. 

Oh, there's another pig flying by......

Beach Huts - NOT amateur radio


These colourful beach huts were photographed earlier in the week at Sheringham,  Norfolk. We spent 5 nights at Sheringham.

2m FT8 (10W and big-wheel omni antenna)

For about an hour I have been on 2m FT8 with 10W to the big-wheel omni antenna. 50 stations in 7 countries have already spotted me. It is now 0955z.  

On 2m FT8 RX 36 stations in 6 countries spotted the furthermost being DL3TW (655km) not far from Denmark. One G QSO so far.

UPDATE 1211z:  67 stations in 10 countries have spotted me with 2 QSOs. On RX 57 stations in 8 countries spotted. 2m dead?

Joint Zoom meeting

Last evening, the Cambridge and Antrim clubs held an informal meeting and quiz by Zoom. It was a resounding success. 

One of the positives of lockdown is the proof that clubs can come together even though they are miles apart. Someone from the Antrim club mentioned that they had had a speaker from the USA on a recent Zoom meeting. 

Sunspots - Wednesday September 16th 2020

 Solar flux is 69 and the SSN 0. A=7 and K=0.

15 Sept 2020

2m FT8

My 10W to the big-wheel omni on 2m has been spotted by 31 stations already (after about 20 minutes) in 6 countries. So far, just one Welsh station spotted on RX.

Although this could be aircraft scatter, I suspect some other sort of scatter as it seems to work at almost any time. 

UPDATE 2140z:  59 stations in 10 countries have spotted my 10W to the big-wheel 2m omni today.  Now QRT. Although not shown on PSKreporter, the most distant station copied was in Sweden.

Home again

For the last few days we have been in north Norfolk on holiday. I am about to turn on 2m FT8. 

2m activity contest results published

The 2m UKAC activity contest results for September have been published. In the low power section I came 62nd out of 204, despite being on for under an hour with an omni antenna. 

Zoom quiz

This evening the Cambridge and Antrim radio clubs are joining forces by Zoom for a quiz at 1830z. This is one of the positives of the current odd times as people are brought together. Certainly I have seen far more lectures by the Cambridge club by Zoom than I would have if I had had to journey into Cambridge at night. 

Simple pleasures - NOT amateur radio

When in Norfolk we eat at the Old Reading Room in Kelling. This is a second hand bookshop and tea room. The food is nothing special, but it has been run by the same people for many years. These are simple Norfolk folk who are just themselves. One of the pleasures is it never changes.