31 Dec 2021
10m QRP WSPR TX (Friday)
As the 10m antenna is available, I am on TX with the 500mW W5OLF beacon. So far, at 1020z, 2 unique stations are spotting me. EA8BFK (2880km) gave an amazing +15dB S/N report just now!!
UPDATE 1417z: 3 unique stations have spotted me with the furthermost FY5KE (7110km).
UPDATE 2020z: Still just 3 unique stations spotting me today. QRT soon.
6m FT8 QRP (Friday)
Once again, I was briefly on 6m FT8 using 2.5W TX to the V2000 vertical omni antenna. After the brief TX period (no spots!), I am RX only (no spots!). OK, it is early. Maybe things will get better.
160m FT8 RX overnight
Newmarket - NOT amateur radio
Sunspots - Friday December 31st 2021
Solar flux is 102 and the SSN 77. A=8 and K=1
30 Dec 2021
160m FT8 RX with the active antenna
As 6m and 10m seem to be dead now, I have QSYed to 160m FT8 RX. I shall probably leave it running overnight. At 2011z, 70 stations spotted.
UPDATE 2108z: 86 stations spotted on RX today.
As far as I know the Sparkford Wireless Group rally near Yeovil is still on this Sunday January 2nd. Contact the organiser to confirm.
Baking time - NOT amateur radio
Super DX by E layer
My own theory is this is some sort of chordal hop E layer propagation. It always seems to be in late spring/early summer and is linked to noctilucent clouds which form in the mesosphere around this time (late June, early July in the northern hemisphere).
I get the impression that these modes may well work at far higher frequencies, possibly even microwaves.
See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/vhfuhfmicrowaves/super-dx .
See also John's blog at https://ei7gl.blogspot.com/ .
10m WSPR QRP TX (Thursday)
For most of the day since breakfast I have been on 10m WSPR TX with my 500mW W5OLF WSPR beacon. At the moment the vast majority of spots are by EA8BFK (2880km) with a couple by local G4KPX (14km). I think the spots in the Canaries are single hop F2 as some are very strong.
ICOM IC-7300 transceiver
6m FT8 QRP (Thursday)
After a very brief period on TX (2.5W to the V2000 vertical omni antenna- no spots of me), I am now RX only. So far after about 15 minutes (it is now 1050z) just 1 G spotted on RX in the form of G3RIK (224km). No winter Es evident yet here.
UPDATE 1446z: Just 3 G spots on RX.
Family history - NOT amateur radio
My family history can be traced back to the mid 1400s. Many of my relatives are buried in this Devon village. There are some gravestones well over 200 years old. I remember having harvest festivals and my parents funerals in this church. The big building in the foreground is the old vicarage and I remember this as a child long ago.
Sunspots - Thursday December 30th 2021
Solar flux is 111 and the SSN 79. A=7 and K=2.
29 Dec 2021
6m FT8 QRP (Wednesday)
At the moment I am on 6m FT8 RX. At first I was on QRP TX (2.5W to the V200 vertical with 1 spot by G0PQO (50km) and 1 G spot on RX.
UPDATE 2126z: Mostly G stations spotted as well as OY and OZ stations that might have been Es.
10m WSPR QRP TX (Wednesday)
As my 10m antenna was free, I am again on 10m WSPR with 500mW from the W5OLF beacon. I have been on since 0943z. So far, spotted by local G4KPX (14km) and EA8BFK (2880km).
Yesterday I was spotted on 10m in the USA for the first time this solar cycle on WSPR.
Santa special - NOT amateur radio
In 2012 we went on a special train in Kent. This was steam hauled and all the little ones got presents.
Sunspots - Wednesday December 29th 2021
Solar flux is 121 and the SSN 107. A=8 and K=2.
28 Dec 2021
Christmas Decorations NOT amateur radio
10m WSPR TX beacon (Tuesday)
As my 10m antenna was available, I decided to go on 10m WSPR with 500mW from the W5OLF beacon. So far today the only spots of me are by local G4KPX (14km), but at least this proves I am getting out!
UPDATE 0935z: No further spots today.
6m FT8 QRP (Tuesday)
After a brief TX period starting at 0840z, I am now on RX only. So far at 0901z, no spots.
UPDATE 0955z: 1 QSO with 2E0VDS (30km) and spotted by G0PQO (50km) on TX. On RX, just 2 G spots.
UPDATE 2035z: 9 stations spotted. All G.
Sunspots - Tuesday December 28th 2021
Solar flux is 124 and the SSN 85.A=10 and K=3.
27 Dec 2021
FT8 RX in the last week
Apparently, I have spotted 83 countries on FT8 in the last week. Although most of these will be on 10m, I have been on 160m, 80m, 40m, 30m ,17m, 15m, 6m and 2m as well. This mode certainly digs signals out of the noise.
I am on RX far more than TX these days.
10m QRP WSPR TX (Monday)
I am on 10m WSPR TX (500mW to the W5OLF beacon) as the 10m antenna is available. So far, no spots of me.
UPDATE 1554z: Just one spot of me, so far, by EA8BFK (2880km).
UPDATE 1645z: 2 unique stations spotting me. In addition to EA8BFK, I am again being spotted by G4KPX (14km). Richard is giving me a poorer S/N report. Nothing should have changed here, so I wonder if he has a higher noise floor perhaps due to Christmas lights?
6m FT8 QRP (Monday)
After a brief TX period, I am now RX only on 6m FT8 hoping to catch some winter Es. No spots given or received!
UPDATE 1558z: Just one spot of me from G0PQO (50km) , but nothing yet on 6m FT8 RX here.
Time - NOT amateur radio
Some time ago one of my wife's friends went into a care home. If you asked me, I would have said last summer. Apparently it was over a year ago! I was amazed.
It is as if my perception of time is different. Is this just me or is it common in old age?
Wildlife in 2021 - NOT amateur radio
In recent years we have noticed that the weather in this part of the UK (east) is much wetter. This may be cyclic, but it is more probably the impact of climate change. Some birds are now common in the UK since their ranges have gone further northwards. Swallows were noticeable by how few there were last summer. We get far less snow than we once did. Frosts were very common. Now they are quite rare.
Overall, wildlife is suffering with some species being pushed out and going extinct. There are a few winners.
See https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-59757497 .
10m FT8 RX (Monday)
Since just before breakfast I have been on 10m FT8 RX. 211 stations have been spotted with the furthermost VK5DOC (16208km) at 0940z.
UPDATE 0955z: 237 stations spotted.
UPDATE 1530z: 607 stations spotted so far on 10m FT8 RX.
Quy - NOT amateur radio
80m FT8 RX using the Wellgood active loop antenna
Overnight I was on 80m FT8 RX using the Wellgood active loop RX antenna on the shack window. In all 573 people we spotted including 2 in the USA.
Ely Cathedral - NOT amateur radio
This is sometimes called "the ship of the fens" as it is often seen floating over the fens. There has been a church here for well over 1000 years. It is magnificent site both inside and out, especially the octagon tower.
Sunspots - Monday December 27th 2021
Solar flux is 125 and the SSN 95. A=3 and K=1.
26 Dec 2021
80m FT8 RX (Sunday)
As 10m is closing, I have QSYed down to 80m FT8 RX using the Wellgood active loop on the shack window. It has been on for about 10 minutes and, so far, 28 stations have been spotted. The furthermost is supposed to be in Iran, but I suspect this is a wrong QTH locator.
10m FT8 QRP (Sunday)
As 10m WSPR was good, I have changed modes to 10m FT8 mid afternoon. After initially being on TX with 2.5W (no spots suggesting I was being clobbered by a bigger co-channel signal), I am now RX only with 49 unique stations spotting me at 1455z.
UPDATE 1615z: 134 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX today.
6m FT8 (Sunday)
After a very brief time on TX early this morning (2.5W, no spots of me) I am RX only with the V2000 vertical omni antenna. So far, (at 1044z) 5 stations spotted on RX with the furthermost OZ1HFG (873km). Most spots are Gs so far.
I am hopeful of some mid-winter Es.
If it looks promising, I may try TX again later.
UPDATE 1447z: 5 unique stations spotted including OZ and HB9. These could be winter Es or aircraft reflection. Now QSYed to 10m FT8.
Salcombe - NOT amateur radio
This is Salcombe is where I spent much of my childhood. My brother still lives near there. Because of the pandemic I have not been back since 2019 and I miss it. Let's hope this year I get back!
160m FT8 overnight
Nothing "across the pond".
Lesotho - NOT amateur radio
10m WSPR TX beacon
As the 10m antenna is available, I am on 10m WSPR TX using 500mW to the W5OLF beacon. So far today just local spots, but at least I know it is working!
UPDATE 1425z: 4 unique stations spotting me with the furthermost FR1GZ (9724km). Think I shall QSY to 10m FT8.
UPDATE 1500z: QSYed to 10m FT8.
Sunspots - Sunday December 26th 2021
Solar flux is 131 and the SSN 128. A=7 and K=0.
25 Dec 2021
160m FT8 RX (Saturday)
After 10m closed for DX, I QSYed to 160m FT8 RX with the Wellgood active loop. At 1900z (after about 25 minutes) 54 stations had been spotted with the furthermost YO3APJ (2073km).
10m FT8 RX
Christmas birthday - NOT amateur radio
This is me with some of my presents. I hold an unofficial birthday in June, but keep forgetting!
160m FT8 overnight
Overnight I left my 160m FT8 system running with the Wellgood active loop RX antenna on the shack window. In all, 265 stations were spotted.
A cold - NOT amateur radio
For the last few days I have had a cold. Now I have given it to my wife! Just in case it was Omicron Covid-19 we both have done a couple of lateral flow tests that proved negative. It looks like it is a common cold.
It is several years since I have had a streaming nose and sore throat. I am largely recovered.
Let's hope Omicron turns out to be milder and we can all treat it like a common cold seeking medical help only when needed. Life could then go back to (nearly) as it was.
Christmas - NOT amateur radio
Today is celebrated around the world as Christmas Day.
I am not a strong believer these days, if at all. What I am sure of is all the world's religions are hints at a greater truth. We all need kindness and understanding.
Whatever you believe, I wish you peace and happiness now and next year.
Sunspots (Christmas Day) - Saturday December 25th 2021
Solar flux is 126 and the SSN 145. A=5 and K=1. These are quite remarkably high numbers.
24 Dec 2021
160m FT8 RX (Friday)
At 1840z, I QSYed from 6m FT8 to 160m FT8 RX using the indoor Wellgood active loop.
UPDATE 1915z: So far, 25 stations have been spotted on 160m FT8 RX with the furthermost UA4HTZ (3293km).
The Hall - NOT amateur radio
Our village is a mixture of old and new houses. The one in the photo is known as "The Hall". I have no idea how old it is.
6m FT8 (Friday)
As there is chance of mid-winter Es, I QSYed to 6m FT8. On TX (briefly) I was spotted by 1 G station. On RX (at 1335z) 3 stations spotted with the furthermost F6HGB (983km).
UPDATE 1641z: 5 stations spotted on RX and 2 have spotted my very brief QRP TX sessions. No QSOs.
UPDATE 1835z: Still just 5 stations spotted. I think I shall QSY to an LF band.
BBC weather app NOT amateur radio
This is useless!! At the moment we're meant to have light cloud and no sun. It's sunny!! As a BBC licence payer, I object to them wasting my money. As a joke it is fine, but it is rarely useful as a forecasting aid. OK the UK weather is changeable, but this is terrible even in real time. In the meantime, the best forecast is Windows - just look out of them!! 😁
At 0634z I turned on my 10m FT8 gear. One station spotted (Es?) and my short transmission was spotted by 1 station in England.
UPDATE 0946z: So far, 155 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX with the furthermost VK6AS (14459km) in Western Australia.
UPDATE 1156z: 260 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX so far today.
Excessive? - NOT amateur radio
It must be a hazard for aircraft flying overhead. I am glad I am not paying for the electricity!
At the moment, we all need cheering up.
6m MSK144 overnight
Well that was a failure! Absolutely nothing spotted!
Overnight I was hoping to catch the end of the meteor shower. Either I was too late, I was on the wrong frequency, wrong mode, activity was low, or the antenna was not good enough. I have copied DX on 6m with this antenna via MS in the past.
Ooh ahh - NOT amateur radio
The man in the photo is Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister. He is well known for making promises he does not keep. He has charisma, but is fast losing his party votes. He has become a liability.
My bet is he will be replaced by the spring.
Sunspots - Friday December 24th 2021
Solar flux is 130 and the SSN 143. A=4 and K=1.
23 Dec 2021
6m MSK144 RX
At about 1900z I QSYed to 6m MSK144 RX on 50.280MHz, hoping to catch the tail end of the Ursids meteor shower. For the antenna I only have the V2000 vertical omni. No spots as of 2140z unsurprisingly.
I shall leave it running overnight, just in case, but I am not too hopeful.
I think this is the correct frequency in Europe.
Yet another Covid-19 joke - NOT amateur radio
OK - less of the "simple things please simple minds" in the back row!!
SAQ transmission - tomorrow
The historic 17.2kHz VLF alternator CW TX that is a World Heritage Site and almost 100 years old is on the air tomorrow, December 24th with a special message. They will QSL.this page.
See https://alexander.n.se/en/ .
See also the software VLF receiver by SM6LKM on my video channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDxRhQYg7lQ .
UPDATE 1635z: The VLF up-converter should now be available via my G3XBM website (added today).
73s at 73
Today is my birthday and may I wish all blog readers a very happy Christmas and a good holiday.
This was a mid-winter holiday way before it was adopted as a Christian festival, so enjoy it whatever your faith or none.
The important thing is always to treat others as you would like to be treated - kindly and respectfully no matter who you are, your race, colour or gender. In the last analysis we are all the same.
10m FT8 RX (Thursday)
Since about 0900z, I have been on 10m FT8 RX. It is now 0944z and so far 99 stations already spotted.
UPDATE 1006z: 149 stations spotted with the furthermost BA7IO (9494km).
UPDATE 1853z: 671 stations spotted today with the furthermost VK6XI (14434km). It would appear that is it for the day. I may try 6m MSK144 on 50.280MHz.
Sunspots - Thursday December 23rd 2021
Solar flux is 140 and the SSN 137. A=11 and K=1
22 Dec 2021
630m WSPR RX
After 10m closed I tried 630m WSPR RX using the active loop. Just G0MRF(120km) spotted. QRT soon.
Winter walk - NOT amateur radio
Winter sunshine - NOT amateur radio
Taller - NOT amateur radio
10m FT8 RX
At 0834z my 10m gear was turned on. At 0850z 87 stations had been spotted. It looks like we could have a good day.
UPDATE 1157z: 456 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX this morning. Good.
|10m FT8 RX at 1419z|
How big will the next sunspot peak be?
One thing is certain, experts do not agree!
In the last few days we have seen quite high solar flux and sunspot numbers for this part of the cycle. Most predictors suggest the next peak will be very similar to the last one. It could be smaller, but it could be much bigger. Only time will tell.
Sunspots - Wednesday December 22nd 2021
Solar flux is 137 and the SSN 147. A=10 and K=3.
21 Dec 2021
30m FT8 RX (Tuesday)
For a change, I am on 30m FT8 RX. So far, 12 stations spotted, all in Europe.
UPDATE 1525z: 61 spots on 30m FT8 RX so far.
DX DATV experiments
According to the EI7GL blog, some amateurs are proposing to experiment with DATV on 10m and 6m. Some DX is possible. I presume this is with much reduced bandwidths.
Being within existing amateur bands, no special permits are needed. In the UK special permits are needed to experiment at 4m or 2m with DATV.
Historical science - NOT amateur radio
10m WSPR TX
As my 10m antenna is free, I am again on 10m WSPR TX with 500mW from the W5OLF beacon. Just spots from local G4KPX (14km) so far. At least I know it is getting out!
Postman and postwoman - NOT amateur radio
15m FT8 RX
In a few moments I hope to be on 15m FT8 RX with the indoor Wellgood active loop antenna. Gear turned on at 0924z.
UPDATE 0950z: 73 stations spotted so far.
Sunspots - Tuesday December 21st 2021
Solar flux is 123 and the SSN 115. A=16 and K=2.
20 Dec 2021
2m FT8 RX in the last day
The future - NOT amateur radio
Whatever we expect the future to be, it is different. Life has a nasty habit of throwing the totally unexpected at us. It seems the only certainty is the future will be different from what we expect.
15m FT8 RX (Monday)
In all, I have probably been on 15m FT8 RX with the Wellgood active loop for about 30 minutes. So far, 54 spots with the furthermost RA0WHE (5565km).
UPDATE 0950z: 57 stations spotted with the furthermost BG0CAB (6149km). Certainly 15m is proving to be a good band at the moment. I expect this time next year 10m will be as good.
UPDATE 1050z: 109 stations spotted with the furthermost E24OYI (9466km).
Bell hunting - NOT amateur radio
10m QRP WSPR (Monday)
As the PC and rig are being used for 15m FT8 RX, I am on 10m WSPR TX using 500mW from the W5OLF beacon. So far, just spots by local G4KPX (14km), but at least I know it is working! At 0945z, G4KPX has spotted me 15 times, but no DX yet.
UPDATE 1207z: 3 unique stations spotting me with the best DX EA8BFK (2880km) in the Canary Isles.
UPDATE 1426z: 4 unique stations have spotted me.
Sunspots - Monday December 20th 2021
Solar flux is 115 and the SSN 109 (still pretty good for this time in the solar cycle). A=12 and K=2.
19 Dec 2021
2m FT8 (Sunday)
For the last few hours, I have been on 2m FT8. After a brief period on QRP TX (2.5W and being spotted by 22 stations, I have been RX only. Once again my antenna is the big-wheel omni. So far (at 2211z) 92 stations spotted. Furthermost is DJ2QV (937km).
Yellow jackets - NOT amateur radio
10m FT8 RX (Sunday)
It is now 0931z and I have been on for about 30 minutes. So far, 51 stations have already been spotted with the furthermost VK6AS (14459km). 10m is definitely getting back to life. This is with a very low modest end-fed.
|Stations spotted |
early this morning
2m FT8 QRP overnight
Since early last evening I was on 2m FT8 RX. In all, 111 stations were spotted on RX with the big-wheel omni antenna. The furthermost was DK1FG (815km) in Bavaria, Germany.
Sunspots - Sunday December 19th 2021
Solar flux is 121 and the SSN 117. A=4 and K=0.
18 Dec 2021
2m QRP FT8
At about 1815z, I QSYed to 2m FT8. I was on TX (2.5W) for about 2 minutes and was spotted by 6 stations. On RX 13 stations spotted, but no "real DX" seen yet. At the moment, I am not seeing any stations at exceptional range. Still using the big-wheel omni antenna. No beams!
UPDATE 1945z: 52 stations spotted.
UPDATE 2002z: 58 stations spotted with the furthermost F6APE (553km).
UPDATE 2310z: 81 stations spotted at bedtime. RX on overnight (I hope). Several German stations spotted.
Primrose - NOT amateur radio
Already some are coming out. All being well, they should look good soon.
Simple regen RX
10m WSPR QRP TX
As FT8 does not appear to work with PSKreporter, I have gone instead on 10m WSPR TX with my W5OLF 500mW beacon. It is now 1315z and, so far, just spots by local G4KPX (14km).
Snowy churchyard - NOT amateur radio
10m FT8 RX (Saturday)
It is now 1113z and I have been on for about 65 minutes. So far, no spots have been reported to PSKreporter, which is rubbish as my screen is filled with stations. I shall have to try a total reset.
UPDATE 1150z: It seems to coincide with Windows wanting to do an upgrade. Don't you just love Windows? Complete reset done. Still no spots. I guess this could be a problem at their end? Anyone else had issues?
Sunspots - Saturday December 18th 2021
Solar flux is 121 and the SSN 119. A=3 and K=0.
17 Dec 2021
2m FT8 RX (Friday)
10m FT8 RX (Friday)
At the moment I am on 10m FT8 RX. It is now 0952z and already 66 stations have been spotted with the furthermost 4Z4WD (3595km).
UPDATE 1722z: 231 stations spotted. The furthermost was CX8DSK (11116km).
Both the solar flux and sunspot number are good today. I know that solar conditions can vary widely, but today the numbers are good.
I have not seen the latest predictions, but this cycle is definitely not a "non event".
2m FT8 DX
Sunspots - Friday December 17th 2021
Solar flux is 118 and the SSN 127. A=8 and K=1.
16 Dec 2021
40m FT8 RX
As it is dark, I have QSYed to 40m FT8 RX using the indoor Wellgood active loop antenna. It is now 1730z and I have been on for about 10 minutes and already 69 stations spotted.
UPDATE 2002z: 344 stations spotted. Soon to QSY to 2m FT8.
6m MSK144 RX overnight
Overnight I went on 6m MSK144 RX, hoping to catch the tail end if the Geminids meteor shower. I think I was too late or was monitoring on the wrong frequency for Europe as nothing, at all, was copied. I was on 50.260MHz RX. Disappointing.
15m FT8 RX with the tiny indoor active loop
Most of the day I have been on 15m FT8 RX with the Wellgood active loop indoors on the shack window. So far, 547 stations spotted at 1651z.
Furthermost was VK2QV (16898km).
10m QRP WSPR TX
Since this morning I have been on 10m WSPR TX using 500mW. It is now 1625z and, so far, 4 unique stations have spotted me.
Cambridge college - NOT amateur radio
Sunspots - Thursday December 16th 2021
Solar flux is 103 and the SSN 79. A=9 and K=3.
15 Dec 2021
15m FT8 RX with the tiny indoor Wellgood active loop
10m WSPR TX beacon (Wednesday)
From about 1340z I have been on 10m WSPR TX with 500mW. So far only spots of me by local G4KPX (14km).
Oscar 100 activity
160m FT8 RX overnight
Sunspots - Wednesday December 15th 2021
Solar flux is 89 and the SSN 40. A=5 and K=2.
14 Dec 2021
See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/other-amateur-radio/shack .
Covid passports - NOT amateur radio
Several countries have, or are about to, demand Covid-19 passports to gain entry into large venues. Sadly it would appear that previous vaccines do not stop the Omicron variant from being spread. So, after a large event Omicron could still be passed on.
It would appear the real motivation is to get more jabs in arms, especially boosters that appear to work.
So far, evidence from South Africa suggests this is easily transmitted between people, but far less severe. If this proves to be the case, Covid could spread widely, but herd immunity might kick in sooner, which would be good.
10m FT8 QRP (Tuesday)
This morning, I am on 10m FT8. I was briefly on TX and am now on RX only. So far, 4 stations have spotted me (at 0943z) and I have spotted 3 stations. This looks like mid-winter Es.
UPDATE 1120z: 17 stations spotted this morning on 10m FT8 RX with the furthermost TA6B (2963km).
UPDATE 1152z: About 10 minutes ago I tried a brief TX period with 2.5W FT8. Sadly, nobody copied me.
UPDATE 1317z: So far today 22 stations spotted.
UPDATE 1433z: Just 24 stations spotted and no "real" DX. It has been quite disappointing.