31 Aug 2021

Simple regen RX

 There is little to beat the sheer thrill of copying stations on a very simple homebrew RX. 

The one on my website is one example, but there are plenty on the net. I was surprised just how well something so simple works. Yes, SDRs and complex rigs may be better, but you too may be surprised how well such simple circuits can work.

See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/hf-mf-and-lf/homebrew/80m-or-40m-regen-rx .

I even made mine into a simple 80m transceiver!

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/hf/feter-80m-qrpp-cw-transceiver .

With the grandchildren - NOT amateur radio

This photo was taken on a walk about the sleepy village of Reach earlier today. It drizzled! We explored some new paths.

It shows my wife with two of the grandchildren 

10m FT8 QRP (Tuesday)

As usual, I did a brief TX slot with 2.5W (spotted by 2 stations including EA6) , but now RX only. Es evident with 16 stations spotted on RX.

UPDATE 1453z:  35 stations (all in Europe) spotted on 10m FT8 so far today.

UPDATE 1914z:  Just 37 Europeans spotted so far with no sign of stations in South America. 

UPDATE 2052z:  Just one South American spotted on 10m FT8 RX and he was only just spotted.

UPDATE 2114z: Now 6 South Americans spotted. I think they seem to be coming through later now. QRT soon.

Ship Wreck - NOT amateur radio

Way back in 1936 one of the most famous clipper ships was shipwrecked in South Devon. My dad saw them getting people ashore. In the distance is the Queen Mary. 

They used a breaches buoy to get the crew ashore.  Later it was towed to the outskirts of Salcombe. In the end it sank.Very sad.

It was on Pathe News and quite famous at the time.

Sunspots - Tuesday August 31st 2021

Solar flux is 91 and the SSN 41. A=7 and K=3. 

30 Aug 2021

Bells - NOT amateur radio


Our elder grandson is fascinated by bells and churches even though he is not at all religious This afternoon we spent 20 minutes waiting for the hour bell to chime on this church in Newmarket. It did not chime!! 

10m FT8 QRP (Monday)

In a few moments I intend to go on 10m FT8 with 2.5W. My usual pattern is transmit for a few minutes, then go RX only most of the day. If things follow as normal I will spot Europeans during the day with some South Americans in the early evening. Anything else is a bonus.

UPDATE 1237z: The gear was turned on at 0815z. I was on TX of maybe for 3 minutes, then RX only. On RX 153 stations spotted so far with the furthermost R4PCO (3363km).

UPDATE 1801z:   155 stations spotted on RX so far today.

UPDATE 2130z: QRT. Lots of South America stations spotted. 

Yesterday (Sunday) on 10m FT8 RX

We are now "over the top" in the Es season in the Northern Hemisphere.  

As FT8 and dedicated people prove, Es is not over, just even more sporadic! Yesterday was a case in point: there were still stations coming in from right across Europe, but fewer than in the peak season. There were also South Americans coming in. 

As the sunspot number climbs, I would expect more worldwide DX to come through. I think North Americans will consistently come through this autumn. So far, most have been, I think, due to E layer propagation. 

Come October, I would expect USA and Canadian stations to be appearing in droves via F2. In the better years of the last cycle even AM stations around 29MHz could be easily copied. As much (because of my poor voice these days) as I am a fan of FT8, I hope there is still SSB, FM and AM activity. When good, transatlantic stations can be worked indoors on a whip antenna with QRP SSB!!

In my view, 10m is one of our very best HF bands. For the next 4-5 years 10m should be good.

Sunspots - Monday August 30th 2021

 Solar flux is 89 and the SSN 44.   A=8 and K=3. 

29 Aug 2021

Hoverfly - NOT amateur radio

This harmless hoverfly looks a bit like a hornet. You get these in the UK and see them commonly in the summer.

I think it is nature's way of providing camouflage. 

8m permit next year?

As Keith reports, modified FT817NDs may TX on 40MHz (8m). If mine does, it means I may be able to TX WSPR or FT8 on 8m, albeit with external filters.

I may try asking OFCOM for a permit for the next Es season and see what happens. They can only say no. 

Maybe I should ask for a band and 10W?  Personally I would be happy with a spot frequency, limited time and 5W on an NoV. We shall see. It would pay me to apply in good time. Of course, if there was any "harmful interference" issues, I could be closed down.

I am sure just a few watts of FT8 or WSPR would be audible across Europe given decent Es.

Personally, I think several people should apply. The more stations active, in more countries, the better.

FM broadcasts in Switzerland

John EI7GL's blog gives us the news that Switzerland is to go QRT on Band II FM in 2024, so people will have to use DAB. As time progresses, this will become more commonplace. 

I am not sure what DAB coverage is in the UK compared with Band II FM.

Sunday breakfast - NOT amateur radio

This was a few hours ago at Sunday breakfast. It tasted good.

10m FT8 QRP (Sunday)

Shortly, I intend to go on 10m FT8 again with 2.5W for a few minutes, and then RX only. Let us see what the day brings.

UPDATE 1114z:  2 stations, both Gs, spotted my TX and, so far, 29 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX with the furthermost R9LY (4063km). This latter one could be F2.

UPDATE 2046z: 126 stations spotted with the furthermost VP8LP (12773km) in the Falklands. 9 stations in South America.

UPDATE 2140z:  QRT. 

Shetland Is - NOT amateur radio

This is a view of part of the Shetland Is posted yesterday by a friend on 365project

One of the great things with this free platform is peeking at different parts of the world. 

In the UK we have a great variety of scenery. Shetland has few trees because of the high winds. Nonetheless, it has a certain unique beauty.

Saturday on 10m FT8 RX

Yesterday was typical of 10m RX at this time of year and this part of the sunspot cycle. There were some European stations (54 probably by Es) and just one South American. Every day is different, whereas a few months ago you could virtually guarantee Es most days.

Sunspots - Sunday August 29th 2021

Solar flux is 90 and the SSN 77.  A=14 and K=2.

28 Aug 2021

Original FM broadcast band in the USA

Until recently I did not know that at first the FM broadcast band in the USA was around 42.5MHz. Later this changed to Band II. Occasionally, there are special transmissions at 42.5MHz to commemorate this. 

I do hope that the amateur service gets a small allocation around 40MHz (8m) as we could all learn so much. Even 10W or less, digital only, 10kHz wide, would be a start. I suspect this will start with individuals applying for special permits, much as is happening in some countries around 70MHz. Such an allocation would attract serious experimenters only as no commercial amateur radio transceivers cover this band on TX without modification as far as I am aware.

Photos - NOT amateur radio

If people come to our home they will see lots of photos of the grandchildren about. We have several posters up in the kitchen and put a new photo, taken a few weeks ago, on the wall in the lounge (see photo). 

x80 Rybakov vertical

I bought this about 10 years ago, but apart from a few weeks it was not used and is in perfect condition. 

For those unfamiliar with Rybakovs, these are multi-band antennas that are end fed via a balun. In most cases the auto-ATU in modern rigs can easily match the antenna on most bands. In many cases the SWR is low even without an ATU. They make useful multiband antennas. I believe there are more recent versions available. 

On HF I am almost exclusively on 10m, so this was wasted, so I have recently swapped it for an active RX loop.

See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/antennas/x80 .

Anglesey Abbey - NOT amateur radio

Yesterday, I posted a closeup collage of the dahlias at nearby Anglesey Abbey. Today, I have a shot of the whole dahlia border. 

10m FT8 QRP (Saturday)

At 0705z, I went on 10m FT8 QRP with 2.5W. I was on TX for about 30 minutes, but am now RX only.  3 stations spotted me with the furthermost F4IWN (700km). On RX just 1 G station spotted here so far G4RDC (127km).

UPDATE 1120z:  22 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX so far, all in Europe. Es still probably.

UPDATE 1440z:  40 European stations spotted so far on 10m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 1820z:   44 stations spotted including 1 South American.

Daddy Long Legs - NOT amateur radio

This is the season for daddy long legs (crane flies). The photo shows one seen a few years ago. It was a Facebook memory from 2015.

 I like the way they bumble into things. They are harmless and appear stupid! 

At our old house we counted 15 in our bedroom one night. I have not seen any yet this year.

Yesterday on 10m FT8 RX

There was a good opening to South America on 10m FT8 yesterday as the map shows. 10m FT8 Es still occurs, but is less frequent. 

Sunspots - Saturday August 28th 2021

Solar flux is 90 and the SSN is 73.  A=19 and K=3.

27 Aug 2021

Anglesey Abbey dahlias - NOT amateur radio

These dahlias, in the dahlia border at nearby Anglesey Abbey, are usually stunning, but they were very late this year. 

I think they held them back, but there were also late frosts and a lot of wet weather.

10m FT8 QRP (Friday)

In a few moments I hope to go on 10m FT8 with 2.5W QRP. My usual pattern is to CQ for a few minutes then go mostly on RX. Very little happened yesterday until late. 

UPDATE 0812z:  One local spot of me  on TX by G4KPX (13km) and just 1 G spotted on RX - 2E1RDX (139km).

UPDATE 1130z:  34 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX. Lots more Es than yesterday! 

UPDATE 1252z:  35 stations spotted. It looks like the Es has stopped for now. 👎

Yesterday on 10m FT8

After a very slow start, 10m opened up with Es in the evening. In all, 15 stations were spotted across Europe. FT8 is a good mode as there are plenty of monitors and it works with weak signals. 

Kitten sitting - NOT amateur radio

As one of our sons is on holiday, we are calling in to his home to look after his kitten which is very playful. 

Here he is about to chase and pounce on a toy.



Yesterday, I posted the 10m Lesser Chirpy. This was based on the 80m XBM80-2 QRP CW transceiver which is shown here. 

You would be hard pressed to make this transceiver much simpler! Do not be afraid to experiment - I am sure you can do better. 

S1 provides offset between RX and TX by shifting the crystal frequency, how much will depend on C1. You could always make C1 adjustable so the offset is what you want.

See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/hf-mf-and-lf/homebrew/80m-xbm80-2 .

SPAM - NOT amateur radio

Usually the SPAM filter on my Gmail works well. Just occasionally it thinks a genuine email is SPAM, but this rare. I'd guess this is less than 1 in 1000. 

Recently I have been getting SPAM emails in my inbox about my subscription for Norton antivirus. The spelling and grammar are appalling. Usually I just report this as SPAM, I guess they are using many email addresses so this gets through SPAM filters. I do not use Norton!

Sunspots - Friday August 27th 2021

 Solar flux is 89 and the SSN 47.  A=6 and K=3.

26 Aug 2021

Maturity - NOT amateur radio

The berries and fruit in the garden are reaching maturity. 

The photo shows this with the windmill in the background.

Lesser Chirpy

When I was fitter, I enjoyed designing and building. Sadly this is much harder now. Like all of my circuits, I am sure they can be improved. I make no claims for originality and take inspiration from many sources. My wish is that you use my circuits as the starting point for your own ideas. 

Looking back many years, I designed the Lesser Chirpy for 10m CW. Originally I started with the Chirpy, but it chirped too much! The Lesser Chirpy more or less stopped the chirp. This was a "for fun" rig. It does work, but I was concerned about calling CQ over weaker stations as the RX sensitivity was not as good as modern rigs. My recommendation is ensure that calls are not made over other stations. Fine to call others, but be very mindful of other stations.

The original name was the XBM10-2, but Lesser Chirpy was more meaningful!

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

Garden flowers - NOT amateur radio

Most of the flowers in our garden have passed their best. Some still look good whereas others are starting to look a bit tired. We will put winter flowering plants at the front and new bedding plants in late in the spring. Some, as the photo shows, look good still.

It is funny how the nights get so much darker earlier at this time of the year. The rate of change speeds up and the change is noticeable.

Cambridge UK - NOT amateur radio


Like most places, this year has been strange, with few visitors from overseas in Cambridge, so the locals and UK visitors have been able to enjoy it differently. We went into Cambridge yesterday. It was quieter than normal, but not much.

The photo shows the park behind the bus station.

10m FT8 QRP (Thursday)

After a brief TX period with 2.5W with just 1 spot by G4KPX (13km), I am again 10m FT8 RX only. At 1127z, just one station spotted - HB9SNR (784km).

UPDATE 1803z:  Just 2 stations spotted so far today. Es is "sporadic" and today, so far at least, looks poor on 10m FT8 RX. As far as I can remember this is the poorest day on 10m for some months.

UPDATE 1815z:  Did I speak too soon? F1RAD (867km) in SW France spotted on 10m FT8 RX.  Also my 2.5W was spotted by local G4BAO (8km).

Rally news

As far as I know, the Torbay rally on Sunday August 29th and the Huntingdon club (HARS) rally on Monday August 30th are ON, but the Milton Keynes rally on Bank Holiday Monday has been postponed until next year (2022). 

As always check before setting out.

Sunspots - Thursday August 26th 2021

 Solar flux is 84 and the SSN 29.  A=9 and K=2.

25 Aug 2021

Second 8m experimental station in the USA

John, EI7GL reports than a second experimental station has been licenced in the USA. I am convinced that the amateur service will get a small allocation there eventually, but maybe not in my lifetime!! I hope that more stations apply for, and are granted, access to this frequency. Surely they can find a small slot?

See https://ei7gl.blogspot.com/2021/08/fcc-issue-another-experimental-permit.html  .

Cambridge earlier - NOT amateur radio

It seems that E-scooters are everywhere! The photo shows some in Cambridge earlier with a college crest in the background. 

10m WSPR (Wednesday)

 Shortly, I intend to go on 10m WSPR for the day with 500mW. Yesterday was a surpr meise with spots by 3 unique stations. It is impossible to predict what will happen later. It is 0815z.

UPDATE 1201z:  Several spots of me by OH6BG (1718km).

UPDATE 1811z: Just 2 unique stations have spotted me today so far with the furthermost EA8BRK (2880km).

"Our" windmill next door - NOT amateur radio

We are lucky to live just next door to a fully restored windmill that is 200 years old. This photo was taken some years ago. 

Castle Acre - NOT amateur radio

One of my Facebook memories today was this photo of Castle Acre that we visited some years ago.

I am all for a balanced view of history and there are many dark moments that we are not proud of, yet just destroying statues and monuments as we judge them by today's standards denies future generations the chance to judge them.  

Sunspots - Wednesday August 25th 2021

 Solar flux is 81 and the SSN 29.  A=5 and K=3.

24 Aug 2021

Oscar 100 activity update

Every few weeks I take a peek at the activity on the narrowband transponder of this geosynchronous satellite. It has been up some while, although activity still remains low. I last looked in the late evening European time.

See https://eshail.batc.org.uk/nb/ .

Jason M0NYW

This morning Jason M0NYW called in and it was a real pleasure to meet him. We have exchanged many emails over the years! It is good to meet real experimenters, as he clearly is.  Sadly too many just buy the gear they need and do not realise what fun they are missing.

10m WSPR TX - 500mW (Tuesday)

For a change I am on 10m WSPR TX with my 500mW beacon. As this is quite late in the Es season I am not expecting spots. Apart from initially setting the clock it is totally self contained and does not need a PC. It runs 100% of the time, but randomly changes frequency every 2 minutes to avoid being clobbered by a strong station co-channel. It is currently 0748z.

UPDATE 1145z:   6 spots by 2 unique stations so far.

Sunspots - Tuesday August 24th 2021

 Solar flux is 78 and the SSN 14. A=4 and K=1.

23 Aug 2021

Sunflowers - NOT amateur radio

Our own sunflowers were eaten by Muntjac deer which are common now. Our neighbour has some good ones and we see them better than she does! 

The ones in the photo are in her garden.

Loop antennas

From my own results I think loops are (maybe) 6dB down on a dipole. This is far from accurate, but the losses are likely to be greater on lower frequencies and less on higher bands. 

This is 1 S point, so not too great. For some applications that do not require much frequency change they can be ideal. FT8, PSK31 and WSPR come to mind. 

When I had no external 10m antenna earlier in the year, I used an old Whizz Loop on 10m FT8. Although I may have missed some stations, I still spotted plenty. Mine was just on the shack windowsill indoors.

If you have limited space and can cope with them being very sharp tuned, if efficient, they can be a decent compromise antenna. With QRP you will not need special capacitors. With QRO the voltages at the high impedance points can be very high so special capacitors will be needed.

See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/antennas/loops .

Afghanistan - NOT amateur radio

In the end, I hope the political situation there settles down and everyone is treated respectfully. 

For almost 200 years external forces have tried to "sort the country out".  In the short-term this may have appeared to work. In the long term it has not.

Personally, I am very conflicted: I find the apparent treatment of women and gay people as poor by our standards. However, after almost 200 years and billions of pounds I think we should leave them to it.

I think the evacuation of those wanting to leave is shambolic and could have be done so much better.

Swifts on the move - NOT amateur radio

Swifts are a common sight in the UK skies in spring and early summer. They are often heard screaming in feeding parties on the wing before being seen.

It is some days since I last saw any. I think they are migrating south. The odd straggler may be about, but most will be gone from the UK until next spring.

See https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/swift/ .

10m FT8 QRP (Monday)

Shortly, I shall go on 10m FT8.  Usually I TX at 2.5W for a few minutes and then go RX only for much of the day. Even as the Es season is winding down, I am still copying many stations. 

10m FT8 is ideal as it works with weak, fleeting, signals. Even stations coming through for just 12-15 seconds can be spotted. Although I have not tried it, FT4, although less sensitive, needs just half the time. 

There must be several times when the MUF just peaks at far higher than average.

UPDATE 1040z:  After a very brief period on 2.5W TX (spotted by 4 in Europe and one "near miss" QSO) I am now 10m FT8 RX only. 22 stations spotted, all in Europe by what seems to be Es.

UPDATE 1544z:  30 stations spotted today so far. All EU.


This DSB 10m FT8 RX was in a recent RadCom and is on the g3xbm.co.uk website. It's a very simple circuit but works well and frees up the "big rig". 

Sunspots - Monday August 23rd 2021

 Solar flux is 77 and the SSN 16. A=3 and K=0.

22 Aug 2021

2m FT8 QRP (Sunday)

 After a brief QRP TX period (2.5W, 8 spots of me, but no QSOs), I am now RX only.  So far, 3 stations spotted.

UPDATE 2104z:  QRT shortly. So far this evening 22 stations have been spotted on 2m FT8 RX. See map.

Bells back - NOT amateur radio

We have had a strange year and it was so good to hear the bells ringing out again this morning at our local church. We are still some way from the "new normal", but this is a step on the way. My grandson made this video.

6m - "the magic band"

If you wonder why they call this "the magic band" take a look at this. This is the Australian winter yet still signals were spotted in Europe on 6m!! Remember this is still close to sunspot minimum and this is a VHF band! Most springs and summers very modestly equipped stations can work 1500km or so. 

Doctor's comment - NOT amateur radio

Some years ago (after my 2013 stroke) my doctor said to me, "is it all too much?".  I replied, "of course not". I guess he asks this quite often of old people. 

I guess if I had replied, "yes, it is all too much" he would have interpreted my answer as looking to palliative care rather than seeking a cure in the event of serious illness. Many years later, I get tired easily. Life is more of a struggle. 

If he asked me now though, I would still give the same answer. I guess as you get older you have to adapt and accept that some things you once could do you cannot.

Transatlantic super DX on 2m

John EI7GL reports on some amazing DX on 2m across the Atlantic from the Canary Is to the Caribbean.  Yet again, FT8 was mainly used although there was some SSB too.

See https://ei7gl.blogspot.com/2021/08/day-2-of-trans-atlantic-opening-on-144.html .

Dahlias - NOT amateur radio

Our neighbour always grows some spectacular dahlias in his front garden. This year is no exception. 

Covid-19 facts - NOT amateur radio

There is a lot of rubbish and misinformation about this out there. Ignore it!!!

Some time ago I was pointed to the talks (usually updated daily) by Dr John Campbell. His videos are usually between 20-30 minutes long. He works with published facts and always shows the original source. I often look at these. He is frequently interviewed internationally. His YouTube channel has over a million subscribers. The video below came out yesterday.

Another good source of accurate data is the ZOE app and the weekly updates by Professor Tim Spector.

Above all, get vaccinated. 

You are far safer with 2 doses than with no vaccines. The vaccines work, are safe and help protect you and others. It is quick and painless. Do it, please.

Liverpool skyline - NOT amateur radio

We have just got back from a few days with our best man who lives on the Wirral near Liverpool. This is a photo showing the Liverpool skyline from Birkenhead. We had a good time. 

10m FT8 and thunder

We were supposed to have thunderstorms here, so I avoided connecting things. It looks like the storms are further east, so I shall go on 10m FT8 shortly. 

UPDATE 0817z:  Earlier I was briefly on TX with 2.5W for a few minutes. Nobody spotted me and no QSOs. On 10m FT8 RX 2 stations spotted so far, by what seems to be Es.

UPDATE 1445z:  36 stations spotted and 1 UW5 /MM station worked.

UPDATE 1638z:
Now 40 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX including 1 in South America.

Soar Mill Cove - NOT amateur radio

This is where I come from in South Devon. It is on a walk from Hope Cove to Salcombe and is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Mind you I am biased! 

Sunspots - Sunday August 22nd 2021

 Solar flux is 77 and the SSN 25.  A=3 and K=1. 

21 Aug 2021

History of SSB

Southgate News has a piece on the history of SSB.

See Southgatearc.org/news/2021/august/the-history-of-single-sideband.htm#.YSEdbfLYrrc  .

Retreat from Kabul 1842 - NOT amateur radio

Apparently we retreated from Kabul in 1842 as the photo of the picture shows. We never learn from history.

Note the date!!!

10m Tenbox QRP transceiver

Because of my poor health, progress on this project stopped. It would make an ideal winter project. It is designed as a local natter box, ideal for local nets. It is not intended for DX.

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

10m FT8 RX

Now I am back home, I am on 10m FT8 RX again. 64 stations spotted with the furthermost 4Z5LX (3633km) in Israel.

UPDATE 1314z:  181 stations spotted today on 10m FT8 RX including 2 in Newfoundland, probably Es.

UPDATE 1955z:
  QRT soon. In all, 237 stations spotted today on 10m FT8 RX (see map).

UPDATE 2008z:  Now QRT with 240 stations spotted today including LU1HW (11230km) in Corduba, Argentina.  He was very strong, but too late to be shown on the map. This was the best DX today. When I went QRT there were still South Americans coming in.

Rally and BATC ATV Convention

In the last few days I have been reminded of the following:

  • On this Saturday August 21st is the BATV Convention. You may recall the date has changed. One person missing will be Ian G3KKD who died earlier this year.  He was a keen ATV man.
  • On Sunday August 22nd is the Grand Field Day Out at Willesborough  Windmill, near ashford in Kent. 

As usual, I'd made sure these are on before setting out.

Sunspots - Saturday August 21st 2021

 Solar flux is 78 and the SSN 14.  A=5 and K=0.

20 Aug 2021

10m FT8 QRP (Friday)

 As you may have gathered, I was away for a few days. 

As soon I got home I turned on 10m FT8 TX with 2.5W and had a QSO with an OK station. In all, I was spotted by 6 stations on TX and have spotted 25 stations on RX.

UPDATE 2125z:  32 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX.  QRT soon.

UPDATE 2225z :  QRT. Still Es coming in. Ex

6m Sixbox

Some years ago I had a need for a simple local natter box for 6m so the Sixbox was born. This was not designed as a DX rig but just for local chatting. You may get some ideas from it. It is on my www.g3xbm.co.uk website. 

Well, it made me laugh - NOT amateur radio


This cartoon appeared on Facebook yesterday. 

It first appeared some time ago. 

Blackberry picking - NOT amateur radio

The photo shows me blackberry picking last summer. There are blackberries here this year but fewer as we had a frosty spring and wet summer. 

Sunspots - Friday August 20th 2021

 Solar flux is 75 and the SSN 25. A=4 and K=0. 

19 Aug 2021

Chester Clock

This clock in Chester is reported to be the second most photographed clock in England after Big Ben . 


Before foolishly selling this to a friend, I owned this QRP radio some years ago. It had a very good internal auto ATU and ran 10W SSB. 

It is on my www.g3xbm.co.uk website. If you see one on the second hand market I can recommend it as a good QRP radio. 

Where I come from - NOT amateur radio

As regular blog readers will know, I originally came from South Devon. The photo shows where I come from. It shows the Kingsbridge Estuary. 

Sunspots - Thursday August 19th 2021

 Solar flux is 75 and the SSN 16.  A=6 and K=0. 

18 Aug 2021

Repeaters quiet

As I am away from home for a few days, I was taking a peak at repeaters via Echolink. 

What amazes me is just how quiet repeaters are these days. After trying several around the world, I gave up. 

Family history - NOT amateur radio

The photo shows the place where my ancestors lived the year after my father was born. 

However, we can trace our family history without break to the mid 1500s in this Devon village. In all probability my ancestors lived here thousands of years ago too. 

Mizuho MX2

 This is a 2m SSB handheld that I have owned for years. I am pretty sure you can no longer buy them new. There are more details on a my main www.g3xbm.co.uk web page. 

Bird table - NOT amateur radio

These days most birds here are the larger ones, but we occasionally see smaller ones like these long tailed tits. They usually flit from tree to tree in flocks. They are often heard before being seen. 

Sunspots - Wednesday August 18th 2021

Solar flux is 73 and the SSN 13. A=5 and K=2. 

17 Aug 2021


My first commercial RX was a DST100 receiver that I think was an ex WW2 tank receiver by Murphy. It cost my dad £7 from a local garage. It was built like a tank and was VERY heavy!! At first it was deaf but G3CHN gave it a service and it came back sensitive. It served me well for several years when I was a teenager. It was so heavy that it took two people to lift it. There are more details on my www.g3xbm.co.uk website. 

What a view! - NOT amateur radio

My grandson went up to the very top of the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool today. The view from the top is spectacular. The photo shows the Catholic Cathedral at the far end of Hope Street. 

Grandson - NOT amateur radio


A photo of our elder grandson yesterday. 

VLF Earth-mode

 Amateur VLF is different. As antennas for TX are usually large and powers high to get a signal radiated, very stable and long signals are needed that are often integrated over hours or days in very narrow bandwidths. For RX only tiny E-field probe antennas can be very effective. 

On my website www.g3xbm.co.uk you will find links to my earth-mode blog which gives details of my experiments below 10kHz with 5W and simple gear up to 6km. Big antennas are NOT needed for this. Signals are visible on a PC screen in seconds.  This is a very accessible way of getting on amateur VLF. 

Who me? - NOT amateur radio

Red-legged partridges on our lawn. These handsome birds were introduced in the UK in the 1800s and can be quite tame. 

Sunspots - Tuesday August 17th 2021

 Solar flux is 74 and the SSN 14.  A=7 and K=1.

16 Aug 2021

Pye Telecom PF1 on 70cm

Back in the late 1960s these were revolutionary radios bringing communications to beat policemen. 

A few found their way on to 70cm although they were only about 50mW. Years ago I built a 2m super-regen RX in a PF1 RX case.

See the Pye Telecom History website for details. 

2016 - NOT amateur radio


This photo shows our back garden 5 years ago. It is similar this year. We have no pears as frost killed the blossom, yet we have a laden crabapple tree and sunflowers yet to come out. The first ones were eaten by the Muntjac Deer! 

Sunspots - Monday August 16th 2021

 Solar flux is 75 and the SSN 23 .  A=10 and K=3.

15 Aug 2021

Almost normal - NOT amateur radio

Yesterday we went to Bury St Edmunds as an earlier post shows. It felt almost normal, which was good to see. 

Bury St Edmunds is a delightful place. If you live in the UK and have never been, I thoroughly recommend it.

10m WSPR TX 500mW (Sunday)

 Transmissions started at about 0840z. No spots yet.

UPDATE 0918z: 3 unique spots already. Promising!

UPDATE 1055z:  4 unique spots of me so far today. 

UPDATE 1355z: 7 unique spots of me today on 10m WSPR TX with 500mW.

6m FT8 (Sunday)

 After a very brief TX period with 2.5W to the vertical omni antenna (3 G spots), I am RX only. At 0855z, 8 stations spotted. Some evidence of Es.

UPDATE 1100z:  42 stations spotted on 6m FT8 RX today so far. Plenty of Es. 

Stations spotted on
6m FT8 RX to 1350z
UPDATE 1350z: 93 stations spotted.

Bury St Edmunds - NOT amateur radio

It was good to see things almost normal yesterday with my wife and 2 of our grandchildren in Bury St Edmunds yesterday. The gardens were stunning