Since 0800z, I have been on 10m FT8. As usual, I was on 2.5W TX for a few minutes, then RX only. It is now 0811z and no spots given or received yet. It is still very early.
24 Sept 2021
23 Sept 2021
These were tiny dual-band FM handhelds produced by Yaesu.
In the past I have used these (I have a VX1 and VX2) on both 2m and 70cm simplex and repeaters. Many found the supplied antenna not as good as they could be and they replaced these with better ones.
These days, many have bought much less expensive Beofeng units, although the quality control on these seems a bit hit and miss.
At the moment the Chinese manufacturers seem to have work to do to get amateur radio products to the same consistent quality we are used to from Japan. They will get there, but it may take a few years. When Chinese products get to the same quality and consistency we are used to from Japan the Japanese will face serious competition.
At 0811z, I went on 10m FT8. Initially I was on TX with 2.5W, but now am RX only. No spots yet at 0858z.
UPDATE 1632z: So far today, 91 stations spotted on RX in 4 continents with the furthermost VP8LP (12773km).
UPDATE 2030z: 106 stations spotted on RX today.
As many know I had a stroke 8 years ago and can no longer do some of the things I used to enjoy.
Several times in the last few years I have been struck by how kind some people are. I won't name them, but 2 have offered to build my Phaser kit, one to fix my transverter for 472kHz and someone else did a schematic for me and has sent a ferrite antenna and crystals. Someone sent me some sensitive earpieces and I have been sent crystals and a clock. I am sure I have forgotten something, but you get the drift.
This was pure kindness and generosity. I have been so impressed with the sheer kindness of others. They wanted nothing in return. Thank you so very much.
The ham spirit is alive and well. If you can, do something kind for others and keep the amateur spirit alive.
As I have often said, there are far more kind people than bad people, but kindness is not newsworthy.
Thank you again.
22 Sept 2021
Every Wednesday evening the Cambridge Radio Club (CDARC) has a net on 145.55MHz FM at 1900z. It usually lasts just over 30 minutes. We recently combined this with the East Cambs Net that used to meet on Mondays. The same people were largely on.
With my poor voice, this is quite a challenge, but I try to come on if I can. It helps when there are several people on so I don't have to speak that often, HI.
Usually I run 10W to my V2000 vertical omni. Last time I forgot to connect the PSU, so was running 5W from the battery on the IC-705.
Anyone is warmly welcomed. You do not have to be a CDARC member.
By mistake, I left my 10m FT8 RX running overnight. Late last night, 1 G was spotted calling CQ, but nothing was spotted overnight.
My antenna is a low Par end-fed dipole at about 3m above ground.
So far today just a spot of PA0KGB (278km) on RX.
UPDATE 1715z: 34 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX today with the furthermost PT2VHF (8874km) in Brazil. Seems to be quite quiet at the moment.
UPDATE 2016z: A brief period on TX was spotted by M0NKR (27km). No further spots on RX.
As a youth, I was quite a good Christian. As I got older, I have become less sure what I believe. I think agnostic best describes me: I am unsure.
It seems to me that all world religions hint at something beyond ourselves. It puzzles me that, depending on where we are in the world, we are Christians, Jews, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Taos, Dos etc. All cannot be totally wrong. It seems amazing to me that in different cultures different religions take hold.
There has always been an element of trying to "sell" a particular religion to a different culture with the chosen religion always being "right".
Most wars and conflicts have religions at their heart, sadly.
No, I think all religions are hints and try to explain our finite lives. Not one religion succeeds in my view.
Just seen this message from Steve G1KQH:
"Graham G3MFJ is currently in hospital so club sales is closed until further notice. Please send no orders and make no enquiries about components until you hear from us.
If you have already placed an order then we will appreciate your patience as it can't obviously be dealt with.
I have no information further to this. I bought a SPRAT on a stick only quite recently. Quite a few people use GQRP club sales. Let us hope this is nothing too serious.
21 Sept 2021
I really should try to find the fault in my 472kHz transverter.
At first, I thought it was my earth-electrode antenna, so I completely replaced the wire. The output FET was replaced.
If my brain was less foggy I am sure I could get to the bottom of it and find what is wrong. With 10mW ERP (measured) it was regularly making it to Norway.
There are a lot of people monitoring, but few on TX.
A reminder that a lot of my past projects are on my website.
On my video channel you can find videos about my projects.
I hope you can be inspired by these sources. Nothing would please me more than if these were a springboard for your own projects. Probably all my projects can be improved, so don't be afraid to experiment.
We have fought wars in Afghanistan of about 200 years. We left ignominiously recently having spent billions along with the USA. The latest cock-up is revealing the identities and photos of interpreters whose lives are now in mortal danger.
I am conflicted, but feel after the last 20 years we have spent a lot of money and achieved very little. Maybe we should learn the lessons of history. There is little doubt over the original aims after 9/11. Nation building was never, publicly, an aim.
Following my usual pattern, I went on 10m FT8 TX with 2.5W for a few minutes and then RX only. No spots given or received and no QSOs.
UPDATE 0902z: 2 spots on RX with furthermost F5RD (681km).
This photo probably dates from the 1940s or 1950s and shows the main street in Kingsbridge where I lived for much of my teenage years.
Before my stroke, I did some mobile tests on 137kHz QRSS QRP using an EFP with an FT817 RX. The EFP was mounted on a mag mount. Results totally exceeded my expectations. After I reached 24km, I gave up. This was with a very low ERP (uWs).
20 Sept 2021
Because of my poor building skills, a very kind amateur in Scotland has built and tested my 10m Phaser kit. All being well, it should be back this week.
The Phaser is a QRP SSB transceiver, for FT8 mainly, producing about 3W pep. It is a phasing rig designed by Dave Benson K1SWL. It should allow the "big rig" to be used for other things.
As many of you will know, I had a stroke in 2013, out of the blue. It put me in hospital for 3.5 months. I had never before stayed in hospital! All strokes are different, and overall I was lucky with all my main functions remaining intact. My fine motor skills are poor. Although you may disagree (!), my intellectual functions seem unchanged.
I am currently reading a book by Oliver Sacks that has got me thinking. Now, this may just be me getting older, but I am aware of some changes. Since my stroke, I always felt giddy and have had a very poor voice, although most of me works. My wife and I have enjoyed some good holidays both here and abroad. Apart from the giddiness, walking is OK.
In the last year, I have been aware of brain overload. When driving I seem to think of everything that can be a hazard. Driving is no longer a pleasure. Generally, things seem to be exaggerated. It strikes me that this is similar to how some autistic people must experience the world - basically my brain feels overloaded.
It leaves me wondering - are some strokes and some forms of autism similar? I'd be interested to hear of any research in this area.
After a brief session on 2.5W TX I have been on RX the rest of the time. It is now 0840z, and just 1 G spotted and nobody spotted me.
UPDATE 1037z: Just 3 stations spotted so far. The 2 from mainland Europe were probably Es, but could have been aircraft reflection. At this point yesterday, things were better.
UPDATE 1917z: Only 7 stations spotted. All in Europe. A bad day.
UPDATE 2058z: 10 stations spotted with the furthermost LU8EX (11209km) in Argentina.
19 Sept 2021
This is a resource I find really useful. Although I use it mostly with FT8, it supports many modes.
My WSJT-X automatically uploads what I receive here. It means I can see (on another PC in the lounge or bed!) in graphical form the stations I am spotting.
When on FT8 TX I can see which stations are spotting me.
It is now 0820z and I have been on 10m FT8 RX for about 10 minutes. So far, 3 stations spotted with the furthermost IK8UKA (1649km).
UPDATE 0920z: 11 stations so far spotted on 10m FT8 RX today.
UPDATE 1038z: 28 stations spotted.
UPDATE 1744z: 77 stations spotted. All in Europe so far. Furthermost is SV1EBV (2263km).
UPDATE 1826z: 92 stations spotted with the furthermost PY2XYZ (9585km) in Brazil.
If I had money to burn, this is a VHF/UHF rig that I might consider. It covers 2m, 70cm and 23cm, all modes. It is an SDR transceiver. It is similar to the IC-7300 in ergonomics. I have an IC-705 that seems to do all I want.
18 Sept 2021
The BBC has an interesting piece about the use of free space optical communications to bridge the River Congo in Africa where optical fibre is impractical. This gives very high (not perfect) reliability and, in this case, is destined to carry internet traffic. Of course, this would not be suitable for places where fog is common, such as the bay area of San Francisco.
The Es season is over. Although there will still be openings via the E layer, these will be more sporadic and short-lived, unlike a few months ago.
This morning, I am again on 10m FT8 (with 2.5W TX initially) although mostly on RX. Just one spot of me so far by local M0NKR (27km). On RX, no stations spotted so far, although it is only 0852z.
UPDATE 0920z: 4 stations spotted with the furthermost EA1FIR (1263km). The very strong signal report (+4dB S/N) suggests aircraft reflection rather than Es. Other spots have been more local.
UPDATE 1153z: 17 stations spotted with the furthermost ZS6BJU (9116km). 10m is again moving to a DX band. As time goes by it will get even better!
As an experiment I tried my earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground on 160m FT8. The match is very good and with QRP I have been spotted all over Europe and I've spotted plenty of stations in South America and North America. If anyone tells you that they have no 160m antenna don't believe them! My 160m antenna is invisible to the neighbours and XYL.
For almost 600 years we have lived in South Devon. We were probably here thousands of years earlier. The photo shows where my ancestors lived 600 years ago. The photo was taken about 100 years ago. One interesting fact is that going back a millennium we had more ancestors than the population of the entire country! So, we probably were related to kings and queens.
17 Sept 2021
We are back from our short break in Brighton. It was good with even the weather being generally hot and sunny.
At breakfast time on the last day we had some drama: the fire alarm went and we all had to evacuate the building. After about 15 minutes, the fire brigade came and gave the all clear, so we all went back inside. Some were still in bed or in the shower when the alarm sounded. I am glad it was not in the middle of the night.
We arrived home after a few days in Brighton at about 1400z. I have been on s 10m FT8 since. After a brief period on 2.5W TX (1 G spotted me), I have been RX only.
No Es spotted at all with furthermost spotted PY3KN (10428km) in Brazil. The other spots were of G stations.
16 Sept 2021
15 Sept 2021
14 Sept 2021
13 Sept 2021
12 Sept 2021
It would appear I am a creature of habit!
I seem to go on 10m FT8 RX most of the day with a few minutes of QRP TX early on. Occasionally my QRP is spotted. More often than not, it isn't!
Just when it gets dark, I QSY to 630m WSPR RX for the evening. If I can fix my transverter I hope to TX again this winter as there seems to be fewer people TXing, but plenty RXing.
Crystal sets can be great fun. They are simple to make and need no power. On HF, some remarkable distances can be heard with patience.
These days there are far fewer English language broadcast stations on HF. Many are now internet only. Despite this, the challenge remains. My crystal set DXing website may give you some ideas.
11 Sept 2021
Since about 1805z I have been on 472kHz WSPR RX using the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. 4 spots so far this evening.
UPDATE 1946z: Swapped to the Wellgood active loop RX antenna to compare against the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. The active loop is only 1m across and just stuck to the shack window.
UPDATE 2103z: After an hour on the active loop without spots, I have gone back to the earth-electrode "antenna" and immediately spotted G8HUH (250km) and 2 French stations. My conclusion is the ground-electrode "antenna" is somewhat better. By how much is not clear. With the active loop optimised in position and direction I think the difference might be smaller.
UPDATE 2118z: More spots, suggesting the earth-electrode is several dB better than the active loop in its present configuration.
UPDATE 2218: 7 unique stations spotted this evening. The latest is EI0CF (602km).
UPDATE 2240z: QRT.
After a brief period on TX (2.5W) I have been on 10m FT8 RX since. Just 1 spot on QRP TX and 1 station spotted on RX.
UPDATE 0941z: 14 stations spotted on RX today so far with the furthermost in Ghana 9G5FI (5189km).
UPDATE 1732z: 36 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX with the furthermost CX6VM (10767km) in South America.
10 Sept 2021
Since about 1930z, I have been on 472kHz RX using the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. So far, 3 unique stations spotted with the furthermost EI0CF (602km). I am just using the earth-electrode straight into the FT817ND with no attempt at matching.
UPDATE 2020z: 6 unique stations spotted with the furthermost SM6NOC (1056km).
9 Sept 2021
Maybe people are using different modes or it is still too early in the season, but the impression I have is there are plenty of monitors on WSPR RX, but fewer people on TX. Usually I am on QRP WSPR TX, but am not yet.
It is now 0740z. I have been on 10m FT8 (QRP) for about 10m. I briefly was on TX with 2.5W. So far, no spots received or given.
UPDATE 0836z: 3 spots received from other stations. 2 look like Es. This re-enforces, to me, that there is still Es about, but there is far less and it is more sporadic. In these situations FT8 (and probably FT4) can be useful. Signals have certainly been strong so the shorter duration of FT4 might catch more, even shorter, openings? I have never tried FT4.
UPDATE 1722z: 20 stations spotted. IS0AWZ was spotted at an incredible +18dB S/N.
UPDATE 1816z: 21 stations spotted with the furthermost PY2XB (9599km) in Brazil.
UPDATE 2015z: Loads of South American stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX this evening. In all, 57 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX today. You get the feeling 10m is becoming a serious DX band again after a few relatively quiet years.
Just 2 unique stations spotted on RX last evening, both in Germany. Disappointing.
UPDATE 0730z: Doh!! It helps if you connect the correct antenna! The above were with the 10m antenna connected by mistake! I shall try again this evening to see how I get on - this time with the correct antenna!
8 Sept 2021
This evening I am on the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. It is now 0755z and I have been on for about 15 minutes, but nothing yet spotted.
UPDATE 21020z: So far, just DC0DX (467km) spotted several times At the moment he was the same strength (roughly) as on the active loop. Does this mean they are similar in gain?
After 60 years, my wife's choir has closed. Last night they had a fairwell evening that had been postponed. It brought together choirs from various village colleges to sing a major choral work in a famous venue with world class soloists. It will leave a gap.
They use the Internet as a backbone and are basically Android phones. These are available from several dealers. I suspect dealers see the future with fewer radios sold, many of us getting older and frailer, more of us in care homes and unable to access conventional radio.
They are ideal for Echolink and similar. I have one, but find it oddly unsatisfying. In 20 years?
See MLS for typical examples.
7 Sept 2021
Many years ago I designed and made this TX beacon for 10m WSPR. You might like to try it as a winter project.
The photo shows the first breadboard.
It is a DSB design using low cost 14.060MHz crystals. I was surprised by the vast amount of 10m WSPR this summer.
As I recall, I used matched germanium diodes in the balanced mixer, but I am sure Schottky diodes would be fine. Do not be afraid to experiment! As with all my circuits, use these designs as a starting point. If you can make them better, great.
See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/hf-mf-and-lf/homebrew/10m-wispy for more details and a clearer schematic.
Sadly, starlings stop on the sails before flying off to their roost. They do make a mess! 😒