23 Apr 2021

Parsonage Farm - NOT amateur radio

In few weeks this field next to Parsonage Farm in our village will be filled with cow parsley flowers. 

Sunspots - Friday April 23rd 2021

 Solar flux is 84 and the SSN 42. A=5 and K=3.

22 Apr 2021

Climate change - NOT amateur radio

"It is much easier to set targets than take action to meet them. "

Personally, I suspect the world will "wake up" when it realises that green energy can actually be lower in cost than fossil fuels and can create jobs. 

This is especially true if investment is switched to renewable energy rather than fossil fuels. The main breakthrough needed is low cost storage of renewable energies like wind and solar. This would be an absolute game changer. 

I  hope we wake up soon enough.

Look at TVs and cameras. 20 years ago who would have envisaged TFT screens and digital cameras?  In 20 years from now we will probably look back and think, "did people really drive cars powered by petrol and diesel?".

One thing the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us all is just how well we can communicate without travelling. I suspect more of us with use things like Zoom for meetings rather than travelling for hours by plane, train or car.  I also suspect that people will work from home more, maybe Mondays and Fridays and go into offices less often. We will still have offices and shops, but fewer. More of us will shop online.

Changes are coming.

See https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-56837927 .

Potholes in roads - NOT amateur radio

It may be different in other countries, but our roads here in the UK are dreadful for potholes. 

If these are dangerous, many get filled in fairly quickly so the local authority does not get sued for the damages caused. 

We have had a cold and wet winter. I also suspect that the workmanship last year could have been better and many filled-in potholes would have survived. A classic case of save a few pennies in the short term, but spend much more in the longer term.

Rally cancelled

The NARSA Blackpool rally has been cancelled. 

6m FT8 QRP (Thursday)

V2000 Vertical
At the moment I am on 6m FT8 QRP TX with 2.5W to the V2000 omni vertical. So far, 2 stations (both G) have spotted me on TX and I have spotted 25 stations in 5 countries in the last 3 hours on 6m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 1324z: 5 stations have spotted my 2.5W 6m QRP FT8 TX. I have spotted 49 stations in 8 countries on 6m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 2100z:  58 stations spotted on RX and 5 stations have spotted my QRP TX.

Spring afternoon - NOT amateur radio

The photo shows the view towards Burwell Church yesterday afternoon.  It was a decent, if cool, spring afternoon. 

We had just returned from tea in a friend's garden. Nice to visit someone again!

6m FT8

Disappointed with the Lyrids. I stayed on 6m FT8 RX overnight but spotted nothing new. Either FT8 was the wrong mode to use or there were few meteors. 

UPDATE 0847z:  Puzzling. I just resynced to internet time so the internet must be working. Two stations recently spotted did not appear on PSKreporter. Do they have a problem at their end?

UPDATE 0855z:  All now working. Not sure what was happening, but 9 stations just spotted and on PSKreporter. Furthermost OE9KFV (855km).

IC-705 features

Every day, I seem to discover something new. It seems that now there is an SD card inserted it records both RX and TX. Imagine my surprise when I could play the East Cambs Net from last Monday. 

My USB-C lead has come so I hope to try FT8 in the coming days. No doubt there will be some surprises there too!

Sunspots - Thursday April 22nd 2021

Solar flux is 78 and the SSN 47. A=7 and K=2.

21 Apr 2021

Lyrids MS on 6m

The next few days sees the peak of the Lyrids MS shower.  I am not sure which mode is the best for MS on 6m. 

FT8 was chosen and I shall remain on 6m FT8 RX overnight using the FT817ND and V2000 vertical omni. Within a few minutes several stations were spotted with the furthermost EI4DA (578km), although I am not sure of the propagation mechanism.

See https://www.independent.co.uk/space/lyrid-meteor-shower-2021-tonight-b1835168.html

Trains - NOT amateur radio


Way back in Christmas 2012 we went on a "Christmas special" steam train in Kent as the photo shows.

The English love their steam trains! There are quite a few preserved steam railways in the UK.

2m RSGB activity contest results published

Once a month the RSGB organises a 2m activity contest (UKAC) on Tuesday evenings lasting up to 2.5 hours. I usually manage an hour with my QRP, omni antenna and poor voice. Results have just been published for the year including the April session.

See https://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin/vhfresults.pl?Contest=144MHz%20UKAC&year=2021

Salcombe - NOT amateur radio

This is where I grew up until the age of 10. The photo was taken about 60 years ago when there were fewer boats belonging to visitors.

Inter G on 10m

Many years ago, the RSGB ran a competition in the quiet years on 10m in the evenings. Even with 10W SSB and a low dipole, I was regularly able to work stations nearly 200km away. With more power, better antennas and modes like FT8 these sort of distances should be easy. 

With 4W of FM and a CB vertical 30km was possible to other locals.

What I am saying is do not neglect 10m when there is no DX around. We have plenty of space and much of the time it is under-used.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/hf/10m_op

10m FT8 QRP (Wednesday)

At about 0914z, I turned on my 10m QRP FT8 with 2.5W and the tiny indoor loop antenna. G0FWX (160km) copied immediately. 

I have gone back to the thinner loop wire as I was a bit concerned that the higher RF voltages with the copper pipe inductor, although higher Q and more efficient, could have damaged the matching parts on TX.

UPDATE 1308z: 3 stations spotted with the furthermost OH6EJD (1874km). Nobody has spotted me. I think this is Es.

10FT8R 10m FT8 RX

With a bit of luck, I may have this working by the weekend. It is a DSB RX for 10m FT8.  It means the "big rig" can be used for other things and 10m FT8 can be continuously monitored.

South African 8m beacon copied in Greece

Southgate News relays some information on the EI7GL blog that the South African 8m beacon has been copied in Greece. There is even a recording on John's blog. There was a earlier report of it being copied in Portugal. Both these look like TEP.

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2021/april/south-african-40-mhz-beacon-heard-in-greece.htm#.YH_f8ijYrrc

Grass - NOT amateur radio

Like many, I love the fresh growth of spring with the blossom and fresh green leaves. 

The downside is grass grows! The photo shows me cutting the grass yesterday. 

BBC weather app - NOT amateur radio

This afternoon we are meant to be visiting friends for tea in their garden. Even since last night the BBC weather app has changed its forecast! Despite super-computers it would appear nothing beats a look out of the window! 

160m FT8

Last evening and overnight I was on 160m FT8. Last evening I was on both RX and TX and was spotted by 16 European stations with 1 QSO with a station in Germany. 

Overnight I was on 160m FT8 RX only and spotted 144 stations. Unlike previous occasions, nothing was copied from the USA. 

I am running 2.5W to the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. The return wire is hardly off the ground and buried in shrubs most of the way. Even I can hardly see it and have to check it is still intact! 

Sunspots - Wednesday April 21st 2021

Solar flux is 78 and the SSN 54. A=7 and K=1.

We have not seen sunspot numbers this high for some years. 

20 Apr 2021

Shopping - NOT amateur radio

Why is it that when I go shopping the bill is so much less? 

This was my wife earlier.  I don't know what she gets!  She goes in "geriatric hour" very early when it is very quiet.

Pye Telecom - NOT amateur radio

In my working life I worked at Pye Telecom, later Sepura, retiring in 2008. You may be interested in Pye Telecom. Most of the products were PMR radios for the police and similar.

The photo shows my pass when I was at Philips Paging in California back in the late 1990s. I worked for Philips Paging for a few years. Unlike Private Mobile Radio, pagers were consumer products. We made more in one night than we made certain PMR products in a product lifetime. Every penny really really mattered as did the slightest of blemishes. We made pagers in Cambridge, Mexico and Singapore.

See http://www.pyetelecomhistory.org/index.html .

Start them young?

Looking through some old photos I came across this one taken in 2013 at the old QTH showing our grandson, who is now 13, in my workshop at the time in the back of the garage. 

At the time he must have been pretty young.

10m FT8 RX

At 0720z I turned on the FT817ND and indoor loop on to 10m FT8 RX. In the last few days my results have been disappointing. I suspect the loop is quite a bit less efficient than a dipole.

UPDATE 0847z:  G0FWX (160km) spotted. As he was quite strong, I wonder if this was aircraft scatter

UPDATE 1330z: 4 stations spotted with some Es in the form of IK7LJZ (1664km).  After comparing my RX results with G0LRD who is using just a low dipole on 10m, I think my loop must be at least 6dB down.

PC, FT8 and IC-705

Thankfully, I have managed to locate (in the house) a lead that connects the PC to the IC-705, so may be able to try communicating later. This can only be to see if it works as I need the wire for other things. I shall have to buy a suitable cable longer term. 

The function of the new icons has been found after reading the manual again. One is speech recording and the microSD symbol flashes when it is being used. Possibly some of last night's 2m net is recorded?

Blossom - NOT amateur radio


The photo shows fallen blossom on a path a few years ago.  It was one of my FaceBook memories.  Most blossom has now fallen. Spring is one of the best times of the year with fresh green leaves, daffodils and blossom. It is as if the earth wakes up again and bursts forth.

Testing times

The photo shows me testing my 481THz optical gear 8 years ago. I have not tried optical work for some time. My interest was over the horizon beaconing and I was surprised by how far I could detect the signal with absolute absence of anything visible in the sky. 

Sunspots - Tuesday April 20th 2021

Solar flux is 86 and the SSN 36. A=18 and K=3.

19 Apr 2021

IC-705 firmware updated

Following the instructions in "The RadioToday Guide to the IC-705", I have successfully upgraded the firmware from V1.12 to V1.24. All appears to have gone correctly. The next thing is to get a suitable interface cable from the rig to the PC and try FT8 and rig control.  Some have used cables with ferrite toroids on or isolators to minimise ground loops.

As you can tell, I am taking things very slowly. With my "brain fog" (probably as a result of my 2013 stroke) it is all too easy to make mistakes. Jobs that would once have seemed trivial are now quite hard. Even just unpacking the microSD card from the packaging was a challenge!

UPDATE 2029z:  Since doing the firmware update, a couple of new icons have appeared. The SD card is there, but flashing (why?) and there is an adjacent red circle. I am sure I shall find out what these are soon! I was able to have a 2m FM net OK this evening, but avoided touching anything just in case it all went wrong!  Investigation needed, HI.

Church clock - NOT amateur radio

It is comforting to hear the church clock chiming again. Sadly, the chimes are about 13 minutes early! I am not sure how old the clock is. 

The main tower bells have not been rung very often in the last year. When they return we will be back to "near normal".

Shack video


Some years ago, I did a video about the setup here. Sorry my voice is so poor!

NASA's Mars helicopter flies - NOT amateur radio

NASA has successfully test flown its helicopter on Mars.

See https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-56799755 .

Nostalgia time again

Since the 1960s we have come a very long way. Back then, I thought G4PJ's AT5 from Codar was amazing (see photo). This was a valve 160m/80m AM/CW TX putting out about 10-12W.  There was a companion RX, the T28, which was dreadful.

These days, you can buy a whole SDR transceiver covering 160m-70cm with all modes plus Bluetooth, WiFi and GPS in much the same size.  Mind you, the AT5 was a lot less expensive!

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/at5 .

10m FT8 RX

At 1030z, I turned on the FT817ND with the indoor loop on 10m RX. Comparing results with G0LRD, I think this antenna must be several dBs down. I can't wait to erect a 10m antenna outside again.

UPDATE 1236z:   No spots.

UPDATE 1301z: Just G0LRD spotted.

Geosynchronous Oscar 100

Every few weeks I check activity on the narrowband transponder of this satellite by looking at the web SDR at Goonhilly. The last time I looked was just before 0800z on Monday. 

My impression is activity levels are still low. As I have said before, this is just a quick view and far from scientific. If I looked a few minutes before or after, I might have formed a different view.

See https://eshail.batc.org.uk/nb/ .

Grandchildren - NOT amateur radio

Like many, we enjoy seeing our grandchildren. We were fortunate to see them all over the last few weeks. Many grandparents overseas have been less fortunate. 

The collage shows them in the last few weeks.

DXCC entities

Long ago, I stopped chasing DX. If I work some rare country or QTH square then great, but I do not chase it as if my life depended on it. There is always tomorrow, but if it "gets away" does it really matter? This is just a hobby. Personally, I like to see where my QRP signals reach, but each to their own. There are many ways to enjoy our hobby.

To some working every entity matters. They enjoy the thrill of the chase. I see Southgate News has a link about this. Apparently there 209 DXCC entities active.

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2021/april/dxcc-country-entity-report-19-04.htm#.YH0zZSjYrrc .

French proverb - NOT amateur radio

 "To understand all is to forgive all".  

I believe this is an old French proverb, but what a good one.

I am of the view that there is good and bad in all of us. Most things that go wrong whether personally or globally are as a result of not fully understanding the whole picture. It is all too easy to judge when we only see part of the picture. 

Sunspots - Monday April 19th 2021

 Solar flux is 78 and the SSN 15.  A=16 and K=4.

18 Apr 2021

IC-705 firmware upgrade

The micro-SD card for the IC-705 has arrived. Tomorrow, I may try a firmware upgrade. Others tell me this is straightforward. I certainly hope so!  I am not sure of the latest firmware (1.24?), but I am sure I shall find the latest on ICOM Japan website.

2m FT8 QRP (Sunday)

At about 1900z, I QSYed to 2m FT8 with 2.5W and the big-wheel omni antenna. It is now 1915z and I have been spotted by 5 stations on TX and I have spotted 4 stations on RX.

10m FT8 RX

At 1419z, I turned on the FT817ND and the indoor loop tuned to 10m  As yet (it is now 1432z), no spots. 

The sunspot count is slightly lower than yesterday and conditions more disturbed.

UPDATE 1730z:  Just G0LRD spotted here and on PSKreporter by me. A PY seen mid afternoon, but this doesn't appear on PSKreporter. Overall, this has been disappointing. I'll give it a bit longer before QSYing.  Looking at all the results David G0LRD has got (111 10m spots!!) he is certainly being widely spotted on 10m FT8 today. Not sure what David is using for antenna and power.

If you are looking for a 10m grabber, check this one out in Alaska at http://kl7l.com/28Alaska00000.jpg . If you know of others, please let me know. I see there is a 10m QRSS grabber at https://qsl.net/g4iog/ .

The 4m (70MHz) band


At one time very few countries had access to this band and there was no commercial gear.  Now it is widely available, especially in Europe and several transceivers now include 4m.  One place for data is the 4m website that has quite a bit about the band. It is some years since I was active on 4m.

In Es openings, many European countries can be worked with simple antennas and low power. One possibility is my simple transverter.

See https://70mhz.org/ .

Homemade pasties - NOT amateur radio

Don't laugh. 

This morning I felt inspired to have a go at making some pasties using up some of the food that might have been wasted. I am quite pleased. The photo shows the results. Mostly cheese, mushrooms and onions. 

They taste good too.

Sunspots - Sunday April 18th 2021

Solar flux is 75 and the SSN 28. A=29 and K=3.

17 Apr 2021

2m FT8 QRP (Saturday)

At 1820z, I QSYed to 2m FT8 QRP with 2.5W and the big-wheel omni antenna. So far (it is now 1830z) 3 stations have been spotted on RX and 6 stations have spotted my QRP TX.

See . This is the FT8 grabber at G0LRD.

Anglesey Abbey - NOT amateur radio

These flowers were seen at Anglesey Abbey a few days ago. My wife did the collage.

Royal Funeral - NOT amateur radio

Like millions around the world, we watched the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh from Windsor Castle. 

I am not a great royalist and cannot imagine the royal family surviving another 50 years unless it changes. When the queen dies the English royal family will be in mortal peril. No, I think what was really being mourned was the end (or very near end) of an era.

Privilege, as a result of who you are, will end. Minor royals who live wealthy lives off UK taxpayers will end. I think the royal family has to evolve. I cannot think of a suitable president should we become a republic. No, I think we will still have a royal family, but very different.

I feel very sorry for the queen who has lost a lifelong husband and companion. They we married for 73 years, which is a long time!

10m Phaser FT8 kit

Apparently, this 4W SSB kit designed for 10m FT8 is about to ship from the USA. Being designed by Dave Benson, K1SWL, it should be good. All SMA parts are already fitted.

As well as my DSB rig, the 10FT8R, this is a project I must build.

Yet more incentive to get my external 10m antenna up!

See https://midnightdesignsolutions.com/phaser/

Twente SDR

My very first post was about the web SDR at Twente in the Netherlands. That was in 2008! It is still there.

See http://websdr.ewi.utwente.nl:8901/ .

10m FT8 RX

My 10m FT8 gear (2.5W to the indoor loop) was turned on at 0808z. After a very brief TX period, I am on RX only. So far, no spots.

UPDATE 1018z: Just G0FWX (160km) spotted so far. No Es or F2 propagation evident here yet.

UPDATE 1120z: 7 stations spotted. Looks like Es to Iberia.

UPDATE 1700z: 11 stations spotted today. See the log for details including one from Brazil.

Sunspots - Saturday April 17th 2021

 77 19 5 Solar flux is 77 and the SSN 44. A=19 and K=5.

16 Apr 2021


As you may know I have had a good deal of success with tiny indoor loop antennas. The photo shows the loop for 10m. 

At the moment I have no HF antennas outside, so I do not know how well my loop antennas compare with "real" antennas.   

All I can say is the loops work much better than I expected.

Home video conversion - NOT amateur radio

Like many, we had lots of VHS and Video 8 tapes, but no way to play them! A few weeks ago I had these converted to DVD. Later today I hope to copy these to the PC as a backup. Later, I will copy these to flash drives for our sons who feature a lot. Many of these have not been seen for years! 

We should have done this years ago, but I suspect, like many, we were nervous of sending these precious memories away. What if they were lost? 

In the end, we used a company called EachMoment who were excellent. At every stage of the process we were kept informed. The resulting DVDs came back with the original tapes about 2 weeks later. Thankfully, even after all these years, they copied fine.

I would have no hesitation using them again.

See https://eachmoment.co.uk/

Haircut day - NOT amateur radio

On Wednesday I had my hair cut in the garden by my son as the photo shows .  My wife had her hair cut too at a local salon. 

Shack some years ago

The photo shows my shack some years ago. I am a dedicated QRPer and rarely use much power. 

Sunspots - Friday April 16th 2021

Solar flux is 72 and the SSN 22.  A=15 and K=3. 

15 Apr 2021

At the seaside - NOT amateur radio


The photo shows one of our granddaughters eating chips on the beach at Felixstowe today. 

Looks like they have good weather.

Another cancelled rally

The Hack Green rally, due this Sunday, has been cancelled. I presume this is as a result of Covid.

70cm FT8 QRP

Last evening there was a 70cm FT8 contest. For most of the time I was on my V2000 vertical antenna with 2.5W. Quite a few UK stations were spotted and I worked one. I wonder if some were spotted by aircraft scatter? 

Clovelly, N. Devon - NOT amateur radio

In 2012 we went on a holiday to North Devon. Remember holidays 😉? The photo shows the village of Clovelly. 

Sunspots - Thursday April 15th 2021

 Solar flux is 74 and the SSN 17.  A=7 and K=3.

14 Apr 2021

Grandchildren - NOT amateur radio

For the first time in many months our grandchildren met up together, socially distanced. 3 of our 4 are in the photo. One is just off the photo.

I shall be glad when they can all meet properly again inside houses.

IC-705 software bug?

Until this evening my IC-705 has been superb. It has firmware 1.12 and needs upgrading to the latest version. 

This evening it went on DV and seemed to freeze. I have no idea what I did. I recently bought a copy of the "Radio Today Guide to the IC-705" which went through how to do a reset if the rig "froze". In the end I did a full hardware reset which seems to have done the trick. Luckily, nothing of mine was yet stored in memories.

I have ordered a micro SD card and hope to upgrade the firmware as soon as I can. I hope this fixes the software bug. I think the latest firmware also adds some new features too.

As a professional RF engineer, I was used to software bugs especially with early releases. Often later releases fixed these. Often bug cures were hidden alongside new features. Most punters did not realise that these releases were primarily to fix the bugs!

Granddaughter, Cambridge - NOT amateur radio


The photo shows one of our granddaughters yesterday in Cambridge. I think that swan looks puzzled!

10m FT8 RX with the improved indoor loop

At about 0800z, I went on 10m FT8 RX with the indoor loop antenna. Unsurprisingly, no spots at 0810z.

70cm activity contest (April)

Last evening, I went on the 70cm UKAC activity contest organised by the RSGB. I was on for 1 hour with 10W and the 144MHz big-wheel omni. It is great fun, but more than an hour is impossible with my voice.

Sunspots - Wednesday April 14th 2021

 Solar flux is 73 and the SSN 16. A=5 and K=1.

13 Apr 2021

Anglesey Abbey walk - NOT amateur radio

We are lucky to live just a few miles away from Anglesey Abbey, which is a great place for a walk. We went there after lunch with one of our grandchildren. 

Even though it was meant to be cold we actually felt quite warm. It was very sunny with clear blues sky.

Pedestrian portable?

With the better weather and the easing of UK lockdowns, you may want to think about pedestrian portable operations once again. 

Especially in the Es season, lots of Europe may be worked from the UK with just a whip, a counterpoise and low power on the higher HF bands and 6m SSB. 

One advantage of pedestrian portable operation is the angle of the antenna may be easily adjusted to get the strongest signal.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/hf/pedestrian .

Bishop's Palace, Ely - NOT amateur radio

Right next to Ely Cathedral is the Bishop's Palace, used as such until the early 1940s. For a while it was a hospital (my dad who was a Pathfinder in Lancasters had his appendix removed here as a precaution). Later it was a Sue Ryder home. Now it is the 6th form centre for the King's School, Ely. It was built in the 1400s.

40m FT8 RX overnight with the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground

Overnight I was on 40m FT8 RX. So far, 942 stations have been spotted in 5 continents. It is now 0700z. 

UPDATE 1154z: 1060 stations spotted on 40m FT8 RX. At one point last evening I counted 42 stations in 2.7kHz!!

UPDATE 1435z:
1107 stations spotted so far in the last 24 hours on 40m FT8 RX with the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground.

UPDATE 1848z: 1346 stations spotted on 40m FT8 RX in the last day with an antenna that nobody realises is even there!

N. Devon cottage - NOT amateur radio

This delightful cottage is where we stayed in N. Devon some years ago. 

Sunspots - Tuesday April 13th 2021

 Solar flux is 83 and the SSN 16.  A=5 and K=2. Sunspots return. 

12 Apr 2021

40m FT8 RX with the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground

 Even though the SWR was too high to TX, I decided to take a look at 40m FT8 with the earth-electrode "antenna" on RX. It is now 1849z and already 117 stations have been spotted with the furthermost UA9MA (4598km) in Omsk. This was after just a few minutes.

UPDATE 1930z: 276 stations have been spotted so far on 40m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 2107z:   505 stations spotted so far on 40m.

20m FT8 RX

At 1450z, I QSYed to 20m FT8 RX with the indoor loop. So far, after a few minutes, 41 stations spotted. There is little doubt that most daytime FT8 DX is to be found on 20m.

UPDATE 1517z:  94 stations spotted.

UPDATE 1825z:  317 stations spotted in 5 continents on 20m FT8 with the indoor loop.

1.095kHz earth-mode 10 years ago

One of my Facebook memories today was this photo of my VLF experiments with earth-mode communications. I was using a 5W beacon and was a very solid signal at 4.5km as the photo shows. As I recall signals tended to be better as frequency was reduced. 

17m FT8 RX

At 1335z I QSYed to 17m FT8 RX using the FT817ND and the improved indoor loop.

UPDATE 1431z:  23 stations in 4 continents spotted so far.

Muntjac deer - NOT amateur radio

This young one had its nose against our garden room door. 

If open, I am sure it would have come in out of curiosity. It disappeared into the bushes.

Mars helicopter - NOT amateur radio

Southgate News has a report about the helicopter on the latest NASA Mars lander.

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2021/april/mars-helicopter-flight-delayed-to-no-earlier-than-april-14.htm#.YHQk6SjYrrc

See https://mars.nasa.gov/technology/helicopter .

Snow! - NOT amateur radio

Our back lawn earlier
Last week it was mid 20s C and "shirt sleeve" weather.  

What did we get this morning? Snow! April can certainly be changeable! Most had gone within a few hours.

160m FT8 QRP

Stations spotting my
QRP on 160m FT8
In the last half day my 160m FT8 QRP with 2.5W to the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground has been spotted by 36 stations across Europe with the greatest on TX a spot by IK8FJW (1653km). 

On RX both North and South America spotted on 160m FT8 as well as Asiatic Russia.

10m FT8 RX

With the improved loop, I am on 10m FT8 RX at the moment. I must like punishment! It would not surprise me if I get no spots all day. Certainly, the morning was poor with not a single spot.

UPDATE 1333z:  No spots.

Think I shall QSY to 17m FT8 RX.

Sunspots - Monday April 12th 2021

 Solar flux is 73 and the SSN 0. A=6 and K=1.

11 Apr 2021

160m FT8 QRP (Sunday)

At about 1915z, I QSYed to 160m FT8 QRP with 2.5W and the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground.

UPDATE 1923z:  Already my QRP has been spotted by 3 stations on TX and I have spotted 14 stations on RX.

Stations spotting
my 160m FT8
QRP this evening
UPDATE 2132z:  23 stations have spotted my QRP on 160m FT8 TX this evening.  on 160m FT8 QRP with the furthermost DL0PF-RP (1016km).

20m FT8 RX

I have just switched to 20m FT8 QRP with 2.5W QRP and the (improved) indoor loop. I was very briefly on TX, but mostly on 20m FT8 RX. 

Furthermost on 20m FT8 RX was W7RIS (7963km) on the west coast of the USA in Oregon.  In all, 107 stations spotted on RX.

UPDATE 1904z: 251 stations spotted. Furthermost is ZS6LKF (9089km).

Ely Cathedral earlier - NOT amateur radio

As it was sunny this morning, we did a walk around Ely. The cathedral is very very old and stands on a hill and can be seen for miles, a bit like Chartres in France. Centuries back the central tower collapsed and they replaced it with the wooden octagon.

Flags are at half mast as the Duke of Edinburgh died last week.  All the flags we saw were at half mast.

Last weekend the university boat race was held at Ely for the first time since 1944.

It is a nice city.

Dalham stream - NOT amateur radio

The photo shows the view over the stream at Dalham, near Newmarket. 

This is a delightful village with lots of thatched cottages next to the stream.

160m FT8 RX overnight

Stations spotted
overnight on
160m FT8 RX
Overnight I remained on 160m FT8 RX. 246 stations including several in the USA. Furthermost was K4ODL (6722km) in Georgia.  

Stations spotting
my 2.5W QRP FT8
on 160m last evening
Last evening, I was on TX too and my 2.5W was spotted by 22 stations in western Europe.  1 QSO with a French station.  The stations spotting my QRP TX last evening are shown in the map.My TX technique is to call CQ and work anyone that calls me. I am sure more QSOs could be had if I "went looking".

As usual, using the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground which works so well. 

17m QRP FT8 (Sunday)

At the moment I am on 17m FT8 with 2.5W and the tiny indoor loop antenna.  At 0725z, no spots on RX or TX. It is very early.

UPDATE 0805z:  No spots.

UPDATE 1122z: 42 stations spotted on RX.  I may try TX again later.

Stations spotted on
17m FT8 RX
UPDATE 1415z
:  Replaced the wire used on the loop with copper central heating pipe (see photo). Q is higher suggesting better efficiency. Hope the higher RF voltage will be OK.  Since making the change one Italian has spotted my QRP TX. 100 stations spotted on 17m FT8 RX today. Mostly on RX currently. See map of stations spotted on RX.

HF beacons

Thanks to the blog at EI7GL, this is a list of HF amateur beacons which is regularly updated. 

See http://dl8wx.de/BAKE_KW.HTM .

Sunspots - Sunday April 11th 2021

 Solar flux is 70 and the SSN 0.  A=4 and K=2.

10 Apr 2021

160m FT8 QRP (Saturday)

At 1942z, I turned on 160m FT8 using 2.5W and the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. Immediately, 13 stations across Europe were spotted on RX and my own QRP was spotted by 10 stations on TX.  All this within about 5 minutes! By contrast, I was on 10m FT8 all day without spotting anyone. 

UPDATE 1951z:  Amazing! 22 stations spotted on RX and 12 stations have spotted my QRP on TX.

UPDATE 2041z:  66 stations spotted on RX and 18 stations have spotted my 160m FT8 QRP on TX.

Pheasant breakfast - NOT amateur radio

My brother has tame pheasants in his garden in Devon as the photo shows. 

Here they are eating breakfast. They eat from his hand.