31 Dec 2020
Cold - NOT amateur radio
6m FT8 QRP (Thursday)
At 0854z my 2.5W FT8 to the V2000 vertical was turned on. So far, just a spot by G0PQO (50km) of my QRP signal. 2 Gs spotted on RX.
UPDATE 1130z: 3 Gs have spotted me on TX and I have spotted 7 stations on RX with the furthermost being DL9MG (650km). The latter could be Es or aircraft. Most spots were Gs.
Sunspots - Thursday December 31st 2020
The end of a momentous year for the whole world. At least the sunspot count has started to rise.
Sunspot count is 83 and the SSN 26. A=9 and K=1.
OS maps - NOT amateur radio
In the UK, the definitive maps for over 200 years are produced by the Ordnance Survey.
We have a local nature reserve near here. I have the latest paper 2.5 inches to the mile OS map and it makes no mention of this: it is as if this is a top secret place! No wonder so many locals have not a clue it is there.
On the OS map app it is only there if you zoom in.
30 Dec 2020
Yesterday on 6m FT8
Yet again, yesterday was a good day on 6m. Although not as many as the day before, there was still evidence of winter Es with spots of my QRP from stations in Europe on QRP TX (2.5W to the V2000 vertical omni), and several Europeans spotted here on RX.
Local church - NOT amateur radio
Already at the end of December the corvids are nest building! I think these are rooks.
6m FT8 QRP (Wednesday)
At 0900z, I turned on the 6m FT8 QRP gear with 2.5W to the V2000 vertical omni antenna. Already, after just a few minutes, spotted by 4 G stations. Nobody yet spotted on RX.
UPDATE 1515z: Certainly up to now, just UK stations spotting me and being spotted with no winter Es.
UPDATE 2202z: My QRP was spotted later in Portugal and Sardinia, so there was winter Es later. Not as good today as yesterday. Now QRT.
Astronomical Numbers - NOT amateur radio
According to Google there are 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets in the visible universe. This is a huge huge number.
Only some of these planets may have intelligent life, but even if this is just a tiny fraction of the number of planets, this is still a huge number.
I find it mind blowing that I am here at all. One of the greatest puzzles is human consciousness. On Earth we have about 8000,000,000 people. In such a vast universe, you would think kindness and love would have no meaning, yet nearly every human knows this is not the case.
Although we have being trying for about 50 years via project SETI, we have still not found any signs of interstellar intelligent life as far as I am aware.
Covid-19 vaccine approvals - NOT amateur radio
In the last hour the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved. This can be stored at normal fridge temperatures and is low cost.
Sunspots - Wednesday December 30th 2020
Solar flux is 86 and the SSN 26. A=7 and K=3.
29 Dec 2020
7 years ago - NOT amateur radio
Another Covid-19 joke - NOT amateur radio
Zoom - NOT amateur radio
2020 will go down as the year of Zoom. Until earlier this year many of us had not heard of this. Now most of us are familiar with it. Many of us have used it for virtual family meetings. Some have used it for work and some for school lessons.
Whatever, 2020 will go down as the year of virtual meetings, not all of which went to plan as this BBC video shows!
Overall, I have been impressed by Zoom meetings. When the pandemic is over I quite expect Zoom meetings to still be popular.
Backpacker's beach party in Australia - NOT amateur radio
The BBC news is carrying photos of a backpacker beach party in Australia. People are understandably appalled by such stupid people flouting the rules. Many were from the UK.
Some may get deported. Quite right. So they should for such crass stupidity.
At the moment there have been new outbreaks in Sydney which the authorities are trying to contain.
15m QRP CW
6m FT8 (QRP) Tuesday
After a really good day yesterday, I am again on 6m FT8 with 2.5W (FT817ND) and the V2000 vertical omni antenna. It is now 0940z and I have been on for about 3 minutes. Already spotted by G0PQO (50km), with just G0DYW (77km) spotted on RX.
UPDATE 1149z: 4 spots of my QRP TX in 2 countries and 17 spots in 4 countries on 6m FT8 RX today. Definitely winter Es about on 6m FT8.
UPDATE 1435z: 27 stations in 6 countries spotted so far on RX, and I have been spotted by 8 stations in 3 countries on 6m FT8 QRP TX.
Sunspots - Tuesday December 29th 2020
Solar flux is 87 and the SSN 26. A=7 and K=2.
28 Dec 2020
USA spoilt child? - NOT amateur radio
Without mentioning any names (I am sure you can guess) there appears to be a really spoilt child throwing his toys out of the pram in the USA. Does this person not realise the harm to his future reputation? Please, stop being so childish!! Just grow up.
Yet more homes - NOT amateur radio
Label making video
Jason M0NYW has sent me this video on how to make professional looking labels. Well worth looking at. Look at Jason's example, which looks good to me.
G3XBM video channel
Some of the videos on my YouTube channel may be of interest, as are some of the pages on my main website. Many of these are quite old and probably are in need of an update!
See also http://www.g3xbm.co.uk
Memories - NOT amateur radio
At breakfast my wife and I were counting up how many walks we had been on this odd year. We keep a record each month. At one point she said a figure and I said she had miscalculated. Without a recording, we can never be sure who was wrong.
This makes me wonder what other memories may be wrong. Memory is an odd thing: as I said some weeks ago, we think we remember things in the past, but it is entirely possible time is a human construct and each day is new with memories we think we have. This is getting too heavy!
My apologies - 136kHz transverter
Some time ago, I was asked by email if the technique to make this into a full TX-RX transverter as used on 472kHz could be adapted on 136kHz. What happens sometimes with emails is that they get filed and forgotten about. I do not remember replying to this question. So, if I did not answer this please accept my sincere apologies. I just cannot remember.
Yes, the same techniques would work on 136kHz, suitably scaled. This could be a simple way to get on this band. I have to confess I have never been on 136kHz TX from this QTH!
See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/mflf/137khz_tvrtr .
6m FT8 QRP (Monday)
After breakfast I hope to go on 6m FT8 with 2.5W and the V2000 vertical omni antenna. This is now the winter Es season, so it is possible some European stations will be spotted. Yesterday was very promising on 10m.
UPDATE 0907z: Already spotted in Sweden by SM4CHK (1138km) on QRP FT8 TX and 16 stations spotted on RX from Scandinavia. This definitely looks like winter Es.
UPDATE 1100z: Already spotted by 6 stations on QRP 6m FT8 TX right across Europe! No QSOs. 27 stations spotted so far on 6m FT8 RX again right across the continent with the furthermost being LB7FA (2008km).
UPDATE 1316z: I have been spotted by 10 stations across Europe with my 2.5W QRP 6m FT8 TX and I have spotted 45 stations on 6m FT8 RX.
|Stations spotted |
to 1515z on 6m
10m (28MHz) - my best band
Although, at the moment, 10m is not a great DX band, this will soon change. Within a few years it will again be one of our greatest DX bands. Even with simple antennas and low power, worldwide DX should be possible. Being 1.7MHz wide there is space for all modes. Even a wire dipole is very small.
With my poor voice I find FT8 better than SSB or AM or FM. It will be interesting to see the impact of FT8, which is already very popular on many bands. I like it as most DX is concentrated in a few kHz and there are lots of people monitoring. It works with signals weaker than SSB or CW. Being a very narrow-band mode (each TX takes about 50Hz only) it seems better with man-made noise than wider band modes.
I suspect there may be less AM activity this cycle, which would be a pity: often operators use old "boat anchor" rigs with beautiful modulation. In the last (poor) sunspot cycle several USA AM stations were copied well in the car with just a super-regen RX and a base loaded whip.
In the past I have well exceeded DXCC with 10W SSB on 10m with low dipoles.
Sunspots - Monday December 28th 2020
Solar flux is 88 and the SSN 26. A=6 and K=2.
27 Dec 2020
Homemade trifle - NOT amateur radio
Village houses - NOT amateur radio
Muddy walk - NOT amateur radio
10m FT8 RX
It is now 1013z. A short while ago I turned on my 10m FT8 gear using the FT817ND at the tiny indoor loop antenna. So far 24 stations spotted here on RX. Winter Es?
UPDATE 1623z: 79 Europeans spotted. Good.
UPDATE 1724z: 88 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX. Unless there are surprises I expect this is it for the day. Still, this is good for 10m in winter at this part of the solar cycle.
UPDATE 2047z: QRT. 95 stations spotted today on 10m FT8 RX.
Sunspots - Sunday December 27th 2020
Solar flux is 88 and the SSN 31. A=4 and K=2.
26 Dec 2020
Morons? - NOT amateur radio
IC-705 warranty again
Snowdrops - NOT amateur radio
20m FT8 RX
This morning, I am on 20m FT8 RX with the FT817ND and the indoor loop. The gear was turned on at about 0815z. It is now 0926z. So far today, 257 stations have been spotted already.
UPDATE 1046z: 432 stations spotted so far.
|Stations spotted today at 1749z|
Sunspots - Saturday December 26th 2020
Solar flux is 88 and the SSN 30. A=5 and K=2.
25 Dec 2020
472kHz (630m) WSPR
At the moment I have not tried 472kHz (630m) WSPR TX for a while as I need to replace the wire in my earth-electrode "antenna". In past winters I have had lots of fun overnight with low ERP WSPR. I really should try again during January, February and March.
I still have a quiet noise floor on 472kHz WSPR RX. With AM on 160m, 80, and 40m, the noise floor is S8. WSPR being a narrow-band mode seems to do much better.
The magic of Christmas - NOT amateur radio
2m FT8 QRP with 2.5W and the big-wheel omni (Christmas)
Whilst Christmas is going on I am on 2m FT8 using 2.5W and the big-wheel omni antenna. So far today I have been spotted by 9 stations with the furthermost being G7RAU (461km) on 2m FT8 TX. On 2m FT8 RX just a couple of Gs spotted. It is now 1045z.
UPDATE 1853z: 15 stations have spotted my QRP on TX and I have spotted 12 stations on RX with the furthermost DL6YBF (471km). As most spots of me are G and near France, these could be flat band tropo.
UPDATE 2220z: QRT.
Christmas Day - NOT amateur radio
Christmas can be a magical time for children.
As an old man, I find Christmas hard. It is a time when we are expected to be happy, whereas I find everything amplified and pain harder to take. To me, I am glad when it is all over.
This year is particularly hard with Covid-19 and many unable to meet loved ones and give them a hug. Next year things should be more normal. I hope so. In the next few months we have some hard times ahead. Then we should start to see the light.
Whatever your situation I wish you a happy Christmas.
2m and 70cm activity contest results
Both the 2m and 70cm activity contest results, run every month on Tuesday evenings and organised by the RSGB, have been published.
These show very credible scores in the low power (AL) sections, considering I usually stay on for under an hour and just use a 2m big-wheel omni antenna. No beams or rotators here!
See the RSGB contest website for details.
Sunspots - Friday December 25th 2020 (Christmas Day)
Solar flux is 88 and the SSN 25. A=8 and K=0. These figures were correct at 2245z Christmas Day.
24 Dec 2020
Gecophone crystal set
BREXIT deal done - NOT amateur radio
So, a deal has (eventually) been done between the EU and the UK. No doubt in the days ahead we will hear the details. I expect, and hope, that both sides compromised and came away feeling the deal was good for all.
In the 2016 referendum I voted "remain", although I do appreciate that the EU can be protectionist and slow. Whilst we in the UK have vaccinated 500,000 people against Covid-19 the EU has not even started! I can understand the UK does not want to be burdened. On the other hand, the EU has been a power for good.
In my heart I expected a last minute deal: a deal is in the interests of all and there was a degree of brinkmanship to see who would blink first.
Online carols - NOT amateur radio
Sunny walk - NOT amateur radio
We did a walk around the village. The boat in the photo was seen at one point. You can just see the 2 ducks.
Often on this walk we see Muntjac deer, but none today.
Croatian 60m 100mW beacon
This may be worth listening for. 9A5ADI/B is a beacon on 5288.8MHz sending 100mW CW from Croatia (JN95).
2m FT8 QRP overnight and daytime December 24th
By accident, I left my 2m FT8 QRP station running overnight. I meant to turn it off. No more spots since last night of my QRP signal. Staying on overnight is not worth it. When we go for a walk shortly, I shall be RX only on 2m FT8. As usual, still using 2.5W and the big-wheel omni antenna.
UPDATE 1520z: Since before lunch I have been on TX as well as RX. So far today I have been spotted by 14 stations with the furthermost being a spot by DF0MU (475km). If you want DX at any time, try 2m FT8. Interestingly, 13 stations in just 2 countries spotted on 2m FT8 RX. I get the impression more people are monitoring and not transmitting.
Birthday breakfast yesterday - NOT amateur radio
Austria gets 60m and 630m
Southgate News reports that Austrian amateurs will have access to these bands.
Sunspots - Thursday December 24th 2020
Solar flux is 86 and the SSN 27. A=12 and K=3.
23 Dec 2020
2m FT8 QRP (Wednesday)
As 15m has been quiet for a while I QSYed to 2m FT8 QRP at 1800z using the usual 2.5W and the big-wheel omni antenna. At the moment (1805z) 4 stations have spotted me on TX and I have spotted nobody yet on RX.
UPDATE 1945z: 7 stations in 2 countries have spotted my QRP on TX and I have spotted 3 stations in 2 countries on RX.
It is now 1005z and I have just turned on 15m FT8 RX. So far, 5 stations spotted on RX with the indoor loop and FT817ND.
UPDATE 1207z: 37 stations spotted so far with the furthermost 9K2OW (4639km) in Kuwait.
UPDATE 1352z: 76 stations in 5 continents spotted so far on 15m FT8 RX today. Furthermost is HC1DAZ (9256km) in South America.
UPDATE 1651z: Now 136 stations spotted.
Birthday - NOT amateur radio
Sunspots - Wednesday December 23rd 2020
Solar flux is 86 and the SSN 11. A=12 and K=3.
22 Dec 2020
ICOM (UK) warranty?
One UK dealer is selling the ICOM IC-705 with a 5 year warranty at extra cost. At one time (still?) these were "grey" imports that would not be serviced (I understand) by ICOM (UK) but by ICOM (Europe) if the dealer could not fix the issue.
Another UK dealer is making a "thing" about the IC-705s it is selling being "genuine" UK versions with 5MHz enabled.
My question is what is the standard ICOM (UK) warranty?
Should I buy one, I want to be assured the product could be repaired by ICOM (UK) should the dealer leave the market or go bust. In these troubled times these things could happen.
UPDATE 1847z: A quick check on the ICOM (UK) webpage suggests it is 2 years for amateur gear. See https://icomuk.co.uk/Icom-UK-Warranty.
Reach - NOT amateur radio
On the OFCOM website are notices of changes to the licencing of short range radars and DAB multiplexes.
Where I was born - NOT amateur radio
2m FT8 QRP (Tuesday)
At 0810z my 2m FT8 gear was turned on again with 2.5W to the big-wheel omni antenna. So far, at 0837z, I have been spotted by 3 stations and I have spotted nobody yet. No QSOs.
UPDATE 1016z: Spotted by 5 Gs so far this morning on TX. 7 stations in 3 countries spotted so far on RX with no QSOs. Furthermost spotted on 2m FT8 RX is DL6YBF (471km). He is spotted every day.
UPDATE 1141z: 1 G QSO just over an hour ago. Back on QRP TX again now. 11 stations spotted so far here today on 2m FT8 RX.
UPDATE 1950z: Several QSOs today, all with UK stations so far. On 2m FT8 RX, 33 stations in 6 countries spotted with the furthermost EI8KN (512km). On TX I have been spotted by 15 stations with the furthermost G7RAU (471km).
Sunspots - Tuesday December 22nd 2020
Solar flux is 80 and the SSN 11. A=12 and K=3.
21 Dec 2020
Another Covid-19 cartoon - NOT amateur radio.
OFCOM and 700MHz reallocation
OFCOM has announced a review of its plans to clear this part of the spectrum. See the OFCOM website for more details.
Cambridge Radio Club (CDARC) and Zoom
Like many, CDARC has been using Zoom video calls to continue lectures and, last week, for a quiz. I have been very impressed.
At first, I wondered how this would be, but with 15-30 people typically and screen sharing it has been every bit as good as attending in person. In my case it saves a 26 mile car journey in the dark. Instead I can take part from home.
The club has even shared meetings with a club in Northern Ireland and last week we had someone in Canada.
Several Zoom meetings with old work mates have also happened with Zoom. Although some are complaining of Zoom Fatigue, I can't agree. To me, Zoom has been an eye opener. I hope CDARC continues to stream lectures by Zoom, when the pandemic is a memory.
Covid chaos - NOT amateur radio
It is now 1041z. As I write, several countries around the world have banned travel from the UK as they are spooked by the latest Covid-19 mutation which seems to spread more easily. The countries are trying to prevent it entering their countries. It may already be too late.
2m FT8 QRP (Monday)
It is now 0930z. In a few moments my 2m FT8 gear will be turned on: 2.5W to the big-wheel omni antenna.
UPDATE 1024z: In the end the gear was turned on at 0935z. So far nobody spotted on RX but I have been spotted by 2 stations on 2m FT8 QRP TX. The grabber at G0LRD (26km) is still useful. See http://188.8.131.52:8080/cap/ .
UPDATE 1351z: Still on 2m FT8 TX with 2.5W and the big-wheel with the furthermost a report by GI6ATZ (479km). 9 stations have spotted me today so far.
Sunspots - Monday December 21st 2020
Solar flux is 84 and the SSN 11. A=4 and K=2.
20 Dec 2020
2m FT8 QRP (Sunday)
Since 1758z, I have been on 2m FT8 QRP with 2.5W and the big-wheel omni antenna. So far, 6 stations have spotted me on TX with the furthermost GI6ATZ (479km) and I have spotted 4 stations on RX. It is now 1843z.
More for geeks - NOT amateur radio
Christmas - NOT amateur radio
Since 0920z, I have been on 10m FT8 RX with the indoor loop. On TX I was getting some RF feedback, so I am RX only at the moment. Much to my surprise, a couple of Italians already spotted. Winter Es?
UPDATE 1317z: Nobody has spotted me, but 7 stations spotted here on RX.
Last evening on 2m FT8 RX
Even though I had plenty of TX reports, I was puzzled why none of my RX spots were appearing on PSKreporter, so I checked.
For some reason, the PC thought I was still on 6m, so my RX spots were being reported on the wrong band. This could be human error on my part. Of course, TX spots of me would not be affected as others would be reporting me
When I started work a test was to convert the PF1 units to 12.5kHz channel spacing. The PF1's were widely used by the UK police.These were relatively QRP and the RX and TX were separate units. I think the police had to have base stations quite often. Still, it revolutionised policing in towns and cities.
Sunspots - Sunday December 20th 2020
Solar flux is 82 and the SSN 0. A=5 and K=1.
19 Dec 2020
2m FT8 QRP (Saturday)
At 1815z I QSYed from 6m to 2m FT8 QRP. As usual, I am running 2.5W to the big-wheel omni antenna. At 1820z, 3 stations have spotted my QRP and on RX I have spotted nobody.
UPDATE 2055z: 10 spots of me so far on 2m FT8 using 2.5W and the big-wheel. Nobody spotted on RX which is odd.
6m FT8 QRP (Saturday)
At 1000z, I turned on my 6m FT8 QRP (2.5W to the V2000 vertical omni antenna). So far today, at 1034z, no spots given or received. Even G0PQO (50km) is not copying me or is off.
UPDATE 1114z: G0PQO (50km) has spotted me on 6m QRP FT8 TX and I have spotted 2 stations including OZ1MFP (814km) on RX.
UPDATE 1256z: 5 stations in 3 countries spotted. Best DX spotted is LA3DV (1022km)
UPDATE 1530z: 8 stations spotted on RX today so far.
Sunspots - Saturday December 19th 2020
Solar flux is 82 and the SSN 0 for the first time in some while. A=3 and K=1.
18 Dec 2020
Oscar 100 activity this evening
2m FT8 QRP (Friday)
At 1700z, I QSYed to 2m with 2.5W and the big-wheel omni antenna. So far, after about 5 minutes, nothing copied on RX, but 2 stations in 2 countries have spotted me.
UPDATE 1920z: 9 stations in 3 countries have spotted my QRP on 2m FT8 TX with the best DX a spot by GI6ATZ (479km). On RX, 7 stations in 4 countries spotted.
Stations that spotted my
QRP FT8 this evening
UPDATE 2215z: QRT soon.
With QRP powers, ordinary capacitors may be used. Most times I use an old Wonder Wand Loop for 20m, 17m, 15m, 12m and 10m. My 10m loop, homemade with copper pipe, is sharper and more efficient, but harder to tune.
More muddy walk - NOT amateur radio
Posted on CDARC website
OFCOM has an announcement on its website about an upcoming spectrum auction for 700MHz and 3.6GHz spectrum.
See the OFCOM website for more information.
Israel via Oscar 100
This morning there were 2 Israeli stations heard via the Oscar 100 geosynchronous satellite. One called CQ for ages with no responses (4X4N special event station). Only 4 stations active in the narrowband section.
6m FT8 QRP (Friday)
At about 0920z, I switched on my 6m FT8 QRP (2.5W to the V2000 vertical). It is now 0930z. Already 1 station has spotted me - G0PQO (50km) on TX and 1 station spotted on RX - G4FKA (207km).
UPDATE 1330z: No others yet.
UPDATE 1457z: Now 2 Gs spotted on RX. Turned up the audio drive from the SignaLink USB, but ALC still not active.
What is this? - NOT amateur radio
How do they do it?
this UHF (446MHz?) transceiver for £11.95. Included are a charger and earpiece /mic. Another supplier has a pair for just £16.99 a pair.
When I worked at Pye Telecom we would struggle to make the charger for this price! Things have changed a lot in the last 20 years. It must be sheer hell being a UK PMR manufacturer these days. I am sure there are even cheaper ones if you look.
Assuming they ship across the world and make a profit, just how do they do it?
Sunspots - Friday December 18th 2020
Solar flux is 82 and the SSN 12. A=2 and K=0.
17 Dec 2020
Horse feeding - NOT amateur radio
Muddy walk - NOT amateur radio
6m FT8 QRP (Thursday)
At 0930z, my 2.5W to the V2000 vertical was turned on. Just 1 spot of me by G0PQO (50km) so far today.
UPDATE 2125z: Just 1 G spotted me and I have spotted 1 G on RX. Poor. Now QRT.
First real radio
In the early 1960s my dad bought a DST100 (ex tank radio from) a local garage. It was deaf and weighed a ton. We took it to a local amateur G3CHN who worked his magic on it and it was my main SWL receiver for several years.
Looking back, it copied some impressive DX. It was so heavy that my dad made a special shelf for it. I could not lift it on my own. These days a tiny SDR dongle is probably better!
Windmill view - NOT amateur radio
We can see the windmill from the breakfast table and, as in this view, from the lounge window.
Every day, just about, someone wants a picture of the windmill! This photo was taken yesterday morning.
52 years ago - NOT amateur radio
For some time in the UK a couple of ideas have been considered.
One is an exam (a bit like the old RAE) that would allow people to get a full licence with just one exam. the second is a beginners' licence to allow newcomers into the hobby easily. Some can use licence free gear, e.g. 446MHz gear in the UK without any licence, so the argument is why not a simple transition into amateur radio, perhaps only allowing use of ready built commercial gear on VHF or UHF only?
I have mixed feelings over the latter. Yes,we badly need new blood, but are we happy to dumb down our hobby? This is a hard one.
All these were discussed at a recent RSGB board meeting. You have to be an RSGB member to read these I believe.
Sunspots - Thursday December 17th 2020
Solar flux is 82 and the SSN 12. A=2 and K=0.
16 Dec 2020
60m (5MHz) operation
Although many countries have allocated the full WRC band to amateurs, the UK has not. Instead, the UK has more allocations, some of which include parts of the WRC allocation.
Personally, I would settle for the full WRC shared band and lower power with fewer other slots in the UK.
Hopefully, the next few weeks will allow me to do some local tests from home.
At Anglesey Abbey - NOT amateur radio
The gardens are open, but not the house at present.
Bottle Boys Christmas - NOT amateur radio
A friend recently sent me a Bottle Boys video. I later found them on YouTube. Never heard of them before.
6m FT8 QRP
It is now 0940z. For about an hour I have been on 6m FT8 QRP with 2.5W and the V2000 vertical omni. No stations yet spotted on RX. My own QRP has been spotted again by G0PQO (50km) on 6m FT8 TX.
UPDATE 1020z: G4FKA (207km) spotted on RX.
UPDATE 1125z: F6HGB (985km) spotted. This could be Es.
UPDATE 1211z: 3 stations spotted so far on 6m FT8 RX.
UPDATE 1852z: In the end 2 G stations spotted me. QRT soon.
South Hams - NOT amateur radio
Sunspots - Wednesday December 16th 2020
Solar flux is 83 and the SSN 25. A=3 and K=1.
15 Dec 2020
No 23cm in Finland?
According to a piece in Southgate News, amateurs in Finland lost the 23cm band (apart from temporary access by special permit) back in April. They are seeking alternative spectrum, possibly the 220-225MHz band that is allocated in the USA. The prime driver is amateur television.
The authorities are concerned about future interference with Galileo navigation satellites. It is a pity they could not have retained access to 23cms, perhaps with a much reduced ERP on a "non interference" basis.
As far as I am aware there are no similar plans across Europe for 23cms. If the Finns get access to the 220MHz band, I think this would be the first in Region 1.
Personally I would have tried for low band 1, possibly including the 8m band, say 40-45MHz. The bottom could be narrowband and the rest for DATV on a secondary basis. Even if they only allocated 2MHz, this would be useful in under-used spectrum.
At about 0930z, I went on 6m FT8. Although I briefly went on TX (2.5W and the V2000 vertical), I am mostly RX only. It would be great to spot anyone!
UPDATE 0950z: Remarkably, G0PQO (50km) spotted my brief 6m FT8 CQ earlier. Nothing spotted on RX.
UPDATE 1332z: 1 G station spotted.
UPDATE 1845z: 3 G stations spotted.
UPDATE 2052z: At 1915z I returned to QRP TX. Nobody has spotted me this evening.
6m E layer super DX
The blog of John EI7GL reports on some astounding DX on 50MHz (6m). Although reported as multi-hop Es, I have my doubts. This is like the super DX seen every June between Europe and the Far East.
My theory is this is E layer propagation but, importantly, not sporadic E. In my view, at least some of these very long paths are the result of some sort of chordal hop E layer propagation. The EU to Far East June 6m openings are at the time when mesospheric clouds are often seen. I wonder if this was the same in the southern hemisphere? Any thoughts?
Winter, late afternoon - NOT amateur radio
This delightful photo was taken by our sons a few days ago. It shows the setting sun and one of our granddaughters.
Sunspots - December 15th 2020
Solar flux is 83 and the SSN 25. A=3 and K=0.
14 Dec 2020
2m FT8 QRP (Monday)
At about 1910z, I QSYed to 2m FT8 using 2.5W and the big-wheel omni antenna. So far this evening just 1 spot of me and nobody yet on RX and no QSOs.
You can almost imagine him thinking, "if only someone invented a microprocessor or an SDR receiver".
Calendars - NOT amateur radio
15m FT8 RX
At about 0810z, I turned on the 15m FT8 RX system with the FT817ND and the tiny indoor loop antenna. It is now 0836z and 11 stations spotted so far.
UPDATE 1104z: 181 stations spotted with the furthermost UN7GBX (5566km) in Kazakhstan.
80m FT8 overnight
With 967 stations spotted overnight on 80m FT8 RX, it was quite rewarding on the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. Best DX spotted was NR5R (8276km) near the Mexican border in Texas, usa.
Homemade mince pies and Christmas cake - NOT amateur radio
Although I am biased, the mince pies are far better than shop ones. The secret is making the pastry as thin as possible.