24 Sept 2021

10m FT8 QRP (Friday)

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.

Yesterday on 10m FT8 RX

Yesterday was quite a good day on 10m FT8 RX. There were stations spotted on RX from Indonesia, Africa, South America and Europe. On the whole, there is less Es and more F2 DX. 

Shack in 2012


One of my Facebook memories today was this photo of my shack in 2012. This was at the old QTH. 

Sunspots - Friday September 24th 2021

 Solar flux is 90 and the SSN 75. A=11 and K=3.

23 Sept 2021

Yaesu VX series

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.

See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/vhfuhfmicrowaves/vhfuhf-commercial-rigs/yaesu-vx2 .

Daddy long legs - NOT amateur radio

This is the time of year when we see lots of daddy long legs. The proper name is crane fly. 

They look fearsome, but are harmless, always bumbling into things. 

Cambridge - NOT amateur radio


People come from all over the world to see some of the sights we take for granted and for free. All these are within a few hundred metres on the same street. As a local we get free entry into the colleges. 

Rally on (I think!)

As far as I know the Weston Super Mare rally is ON this Sunday September 26th, but as always check with the organisers before setting out on a long journey. 

Corpus College, Cambridge - NOT amateur radio


It is hard to believe but I have lived in Cambridge for over half a century and never once been in Corpus College. We went in today. This is a photo of one of the quads. 

10m FT8 QRP (Thursday)

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.

Kindness of radio amateurs

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.

Ely - NOT amateur radio



A few days ago we visited Ely. We ate at the Almonry overlooking Ely Cathedral. 

Sunspots - Thursday September 23rd 2021

 Solar flux is 89 and the SSN 76. A=12 and K=3.

22 Sept 2021

Cambs Net Wednesday 2m FM 1900z

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.

Ely - NOT amateur radio

The Covid-19 pandemic is far from over, but it is good to see and feel life returning. The photo shows Ely yesterday.

Blackberry picking - NOT amateur radio

One of the joys of this time of year is picking blackberries. This year they are smaller than last, but we still have enough for a blackberry and apple crumble. 

10m FT8 RX (Wednesday)

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.

Religions - NOT amateur radio

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.


Shetland - NOT amateur radio

 

 

The photo shows Compass Head in the Shetland Islands. It was on 365project yesterday.  Shetland is the most northerly part of Scotland and at one time belonged to Norway, a country with which these islands have close links even today.

GQRP club sales

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.

Kind Regards 

Tony G4WIF" 

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.

Sunspots - Wednesday September 22nd 2021

 Solar flux is 85 and the SSN 50. A=8 and K=2.

21 Sept 2021

472kHz WSPR QRP TX

 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.

See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/hf-mf-and-lf/homebrew/630m-472khz-transverter .

G3XBM website

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.

Lunch with a view in Ely - NOT amateur radio

The Almonry, where we ate lunch, was first serving meals in the 1100s. This is Ely Cathedral in the background.

I think our sandwiches were not medieval! They were freshly made today and were very good.


What a mess - NOT amateur radio

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.

See https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-58629592 .

10m FT8 QRP (Tuesday)

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).

UPDATE 1400z: 8 stations spotted on RX with the furthermost LZ1AG (2145km). Probably a brief bit of Es?

UPDATE 1603z: 36 stations spotted on RX with the furthermost A65BR (5455km) in the UAE.

UPDATE 1803z: 78 stations spotted with the furthermost ZS1F (9745km).

UPDATE 2112z:
112 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX today.  QRT soon.

Kingsbridge Devon many years ago - NOT amateur radio


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. 

137kHz tests with an E-field probe mobile


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).

See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/antennas/137khz-efp-rx-antenna .

A world away - NOT amateur radio

The photo shows my office at work in 2003. I retired in 2008 and 2003 feels like a lifetime ago. Strange how things that seemed so important then were not. 

Sunspots - Tuesday September 21st 2021

Solar flux is 80 and the SSN 51.  A=3 and K=3.

20 Sept 2021

10m Phaser

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.

See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/hf-mf-and-lf/homebrew/10m-phaser .

Brain overload, stroke and autism - NOT amateur radio

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.

10m FT8 QRP (Monday)

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.

Sunspots - Monday September 20th 2021

Solar flux is 75 and the SSN 13.  A=3 and K =1. 

Playtime - NOT amateur radio

 

My son's kitten playing yesterday. 

10m FT8 RX yesterday

In all, 121 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX yesterday. 

It is getting back in its stride again. 

South America seems pretty regular in the evening. 

19 Sept 2021

PSKreporter maps

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.

See https://pskreporter.info/pskmap.html .

Unusual sunflower - NOT amateur radio

Earlier, Muntjac deer nibbled our sunflowers. They have grown again, but only just flowered. 

Among these is the unusual one shown in the photo, which was given by a friend.

All quiet - NOT amateur radio

Every month my brother does part of the bird count on the Kingsbridge Estuary in Devon. 

Today it was very quiet. 

10m FT8 RX (Sunday)

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.

Kitten sitting - NOT amateur radio

As my son is away this weekend, I am popping down to feed his playful kitten. The photo shows the kitten in the empty bath, which he jumped out of shortly afterwards. 

He is very lively!

ICOM IC-9700

 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.

See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/vhfuhfmicrowaves/vhfuhf-commercial-rigs/ic-9700 .

Sunspots - Sunday Sept 19th 2021

Solar flux is 74 and the SSN 11.  A=11 and K=0.

18 Sept 2021

Brighton collage - NOT amateur radio


For about a day now, we have been back home after a short break in Brighton travelling by train. The photo shows some of the scenes. We had a good break. 

Coronal mass ejection (CME)

 At the moment, we have a CME hitting the Earth. This looks minor.

Internet over free-space optical - NOT amateur radio

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. 

See https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-58583600 .

10m FT8 QRP (Saturday)

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!

UPDATE 2030z:  59 stations spotted including a clutch of South Americans. QRT soon.

160m FT8

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. 

See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/other-amateur-radio/160m-ft8 .

Our history - NOT amateur radio


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. 

Sunspots - Saturday September 18th 2021

 Solar flux is 73 and the SSN 0. A=24 and K=4.

17 Sept 2021

Hotel breakfast - NOT amateur radio

Most hotels have a similar buffet breakfast. This was my breakfast this morning. I last stayed in this hotel about 33 years ago on a course for work. I cannot remember much about the hotel, although it has probably changed a great deal since then. 

Holiday drama - NOT amateur radio


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.

10m FT8 QRP (Friday)

 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.

Simple pleasures - NOT amateur radio

It was good to see people happy and normal by the seaside in Brighton yesterday. Weather was good and sunny. 

Sunspots - Friday September 17th 2021

 Solar flux is 73 and the SSN 0.  A=3 and K=2. 

16 Sept 2021

Foxton (near Cambridge) rally on Sunday ON

The Cambridgeshire Repeater Group Rally on Sunday September 19th is on as far as I know. Please contact organisers before any long trips. 

Tapas - NOT amateur radio

As we were not too hungry this evening, we shared some tapas in Brighton. It was very good. 

Echolink

 Being away from home, a do not have access to "conventional" amateur radio. This phone does have Echolink, but I feel disenclined to use it. It works as I have used it before. To me this is not the same. 

Seen on a park bench - NOT amateur radio

This plaque was on the back of a park bench in Brighton earlier. So true. 

Sunspots - Thursday September 16th 2021

 Solar flux is 75 and the SSN 0.  A=6 and K=1. 

15 Sept 2021

Mid September??? - NOT amateur radio

Pinch me. Well I suppose mid September is almost Christmas if you are out to make money. Seen in a Brighton hotel today. 

Personally I think all Christmas things should only come out in December. 

Oscar 100 update

Every few weeks I try to give an update on activity levels on Oscar 100 using the on-line SDR at Goonhilly Down in Cornwall. The last time I checked was at 2045z in Western Europe evening mid week. Activity levels on the, narrowband transponder remain low. 

If you are in the UK you will understand - NOT amateur radio

 


This was on Facebook earlier. 

Sunspots - Wednesday September 15th 2021

 Solar flux is 78 and the SSN 13. A=6 and K=2. 

14 Sept 2021

Brighton Pier - NOT amateur radio


The photo shows the view east from Brighton Pier. 

Crab lunch

 


A year ago we were in Cromer in North Norfolk. We had an excellent crab meal for less than £10 each. The cafe was very clean. We were very impressed. 

2m BITX

Steve G1KQH informs me there is a 2m version of the famous BITX transceiver from India coming. I have no idea about kits or prices. 


Hobby Store

 Recently I searched for Schottky diodes and ever since I have had targeted adverts for these!! One is hobby-store.co.uk that seems to sell some useful stuff. 

Vegan friendly shoes - NOT


Brighton is the UK seaside place that never sleeps. It is also the place where anything goes. The photo shows a shop selling vegan and vegetarian footwear. 

Sunspots - Tuesday September 14th 2021

 Solar flux is 83 and the SSN 32.  A=9 and K=2. 

13 Sept 2021

Brighton Pavilion - NOT amateur radio


 This is a photo of Brighton Pavilion earlier today. 

VLF Earth-mode blog

 Some years ago I enjoyed experimenting with utilities assisted earth-mode at VLF and was amazed by the range I could achieve with 5W. These results were put into a blog that is accessible via my main G3XBM website. 

Sunspots - Monday September 13th 2021

 Solar flux is 88 and the SSN 47.  A=6 and K=1. 

12 Sept 2021

Operating patterns

 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.

472kHz WSPR RX

At 1814z, I QSYed from 10m FT8 RX to 630m (472kHz) WSPR RX. So far, nobody spotted. I am using the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground.

UPDATE 1943z:  Still no spots.

Facebook memories from 6 years ago - NOT amateur radio


How time flies! This was 6 years ago and feels like yesterday. 

Crystal set DXing

One of my aims was to make a crystal set that covered VLF  to VHF. This would probably have had to been several RXs in one box or at least the RF parts separate.

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.

See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/hf-mf-and-lf/crystal-set-dxing .

Web SDR RXs

A reminder that there are lots of web SDR RXs on the air, so you can see what shape the bands are in in other places. If you have a high local noise level, these are also useful.

See http://www.websdr.org/ .

10m FT8 QRP (Sunday)

As usual, after a few minutes on 2.5W TX, I am RX only on 10m FT8. No QSOs. Nobody spotted me on TX and just MU0WLV (374km) on 10m FT8 RX. This latter could be aircraft reflection. 

UPDATE 1345z:  6 stations spotted today so far. Very little Es evident.

Last evening on 472kHz WSPR RX


The map shows the stations spotted last evening on 472kHz WSPR RX. 

Little Morton Hall - NOT amateur radio


This is a centuries old country house in Cheshire that we visited some years ago. 

Sunspots - Sunday September 12th 2021

Solar flux is 92 and the SSN 93.  A=7 and K=2.

11 Sept 2021

472kHz WSPR RX

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. 



Facebook memory today


This photo shows a FB memory from 9 years ago. It later occurred to me that you the same idea would work on FT8 RX so the FT8R was born. See my main website at www.g3xbm.co.uk

10m FT8 QRP (Saturday)

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.

472kHz RX last evening

 Last evening I was on 472kHz WSPR RX using the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. In all, 7 unique stations were spotted. I shall repeat this this evening with the active antenna. 

Sunspots - Saturday September 11th 2021

 Solar flux is 96 and the SSN 99. A=8 and K=1.

10 Sept 2021

472kHz (630m) WSPR RX

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).

OFCOM Communications Monthly updated

Every month, OFCOM updates its "Communications Monthly" with the latest numbers it holds. 

See the OFCOM website for the latest details.

10m FT8 QRP (Friday)

As usual, I am on 10m FT8. After a few minutes with 2.5W TX (no spots), I am RX only. It is now 0856z and so far, just 2 spots.

UPDATE 0942z:  3 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 2003z:  28 stations spotted with 4 in South America.

Rally news

As far as I know these rallies are ON this Sunday. As usual, please check with the organisers before setting out.

  • Caister Lifeboat Rally
  • Exeter Radio and Electronics Rally

Salcombe sunrise - NOT amateur radio


This photo shows where I was brought up as a child, at sunrise yesterday. 

Sunspots - Friday September 10th 2021

 Solar flux is 100 and the SSN an incredible 124.  A=6 and K=1.

9 Sept 2021

472kHz (630m) WSPR TX activity levels lower?

 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.

Amazon algorithms - NOT amateur radio

It is obvious that when Amazon recommends purchases, it looks at your past buying history. Having just bought something, why would you buy it again?  When I get an email with recommendations it is usually binned with other rubbish.

10m FT8 QRP

 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.

Preserved railways - NOT amateur radio


In the UK we have a number of preserved railways run by volunteers. The photo shows the North Norfolk Railway between Holt and Sheringham 10 years ago. 

Schottky diodes

Spooky! 

The other day I mentioned Schottky diodes in a post. Today I notice the adverts on Amazon are for Schottky diodes from one of the suppliers I visited! Obviously targeted ads. 

472kHz (630m) WSPR RX last evening

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!

Granddaughter - NOT amateur radio

This was my older granddaughter playing the ukulele. 

She was playing ABBA songs. 

Sunspots - Thursday September 9th 2021

 Solar flux is 100 and the SSN 87.  A=14 and K=1.

8 Sept 2021

472kHz WSPR RX

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?

Choir closing - NOT amateur radio


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. 

137kHz transverter


One of my Facebook memories today was this photo of my transverter for 137kHz. It was 10 years ago and was copied in Holland. 

10m FT8 (Wednesday)

As usual, I am on 10m FT8. After a brief period on TX with spots only from G0FWX (160km) I am RX only. At 1045z 19 stations spotted. 

UPDATE 1703z:  33 stations spotted with the furthermost FR4NT (9726km) on Reunion Is..

Network radios

One of my Facebook memories today was about network radios. These look like VHF handhelds or mobiles with PTT and antennas. 

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.

Sunspots - Wednesday September 8th 2021

Solar flux is 101 and the SSN 85. A=8 and K=4.

7 Sept 2021

Visit - NOT amateur radio

We had a visit for lunch from my wife's cousin and his wife. We had to take a photo with the windmill in the background! She had not seen them for several years. 

They are doing a tour around the country visiting friends and and family.

10m WISPY TX WSPR beacon TX


Many years ago I designed and made this TX beacon for 10m WSPR. You might like to try it as a winter project. 

If you want more power, just add more 2N3904s in the PA. This is far cheaper than a dedicated PA device. Even with QRPP you can expect plenty of spots when 10m is good. It is getting better again now the sunspots and solar flux are climbing.

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.



Windmill - NOT amateur radio

Many time before, I have mentioned that we live next door to a windmill (see photo). Since this photo was taken all the sails and slats have been repainted and replaced and the whole mill re-tarred. 

Sadly, starlings stop on the sails before flying off to their roost. They do make a mess! 😒