31 Dec 2021

Salcombe in December - NOT amateur radio

As a child I grew up in Salcombe in Devon. The photo shows the town in winter.  Most visitors have gone.

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.

UPDATE 1414z:  9 stations spotted on RX today. See map.

UPDATE 2040z:  Still just those 9 stations spotted. Now QRT.

160m FT8 RX overnight

Overnight I was on 160m FT8 RX with the active loop antenna on the shack window. In all 206 stations were spotted. 

Newmarket - NOT amateur radio

We do most of our food shopping in nearby Newmarket, which is the worldwide home of horseracing. 

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


Our younger granddaughter making minced pies in the kitchen.

Super DX by E layer

Recently, there have been reports of DX contacts on 6m between New Zealand and South America. For as many late spring/early summers as I can remember there have been 6m VHF QSOs between western Europe and Japan.  All these QSOs appear to be via E layer, but I think these are too far for multi-hop Es.

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

Although you get the impression (I may be wrong) that all UK dealers have been instructed to hold the price, it looks like there are special "gifts" being given away with the intention of attracting buyers. This is a 100W HF, 6m and 4m SDR transceiver with auto ATU.  It has (at last) some competition from Yaesu. It has proved very popular in the last few years.

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

Many years ago an old neighbour made us some Christmas figures. Every Christmas these come out. She was very talented, but sadly dead. 

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


This fine house is about 10km from where we live. There are often some good birds here.

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

Overnight, I was on FT8 RX again. 201 stations were spotted in total as the map shows. 

Nothing "across the pond".

Lesotho - NOT amateur radio

About 10 years ago we went to South Africa. On one day we went up the Sani Pass into Lesotho and it suddenly felt like we had stepped back in time. Many of the people were subsistence farming much as they had done for thousands of years. 

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).

136kHz beacon

Whilst looking through some old photos I came across this photo from 2012 of my 136kHz beacon. With just microwatts ERP the signal was copied in the Netherlands. I think my antenna was just a thin wire loop in the garden of about 80m sq. As I recall I was going to use thicker wire to improve the ERP, but never did this.

10m FT8 RX

Early spots
Even though it is Christmas, 10m FT8 RX is running in the background. 148 stations spotted on RX today at 0953z. The furthermost is Western Australia.

UPDATE 1652z:  448 stations spotted today on 10m FT8 RX .

Christmas birthday - NOT amateur radio

After 73 years, I am used to my birthday being a few days before Christmas.  

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!! 😁

10m FT8

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


A householder in a nearby town likes to decorate his house with lights at Christmas. 

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

UK readers will get this. 

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

This was sent to me yesterday and you may have already seen it. I have no idea where it came from originally.  It amused me! 

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. 

I am a proud possessor of a rare QSL card from them many years ago. I think this was with my VLF converter and loop antenna. I thought this converter was on my website, but it seems to be missing. I shall add it later. For now, see this page.

There is a very good software RX on my video channel. This with a simple antenna and small preamp connected to the PC sound card is all you need. 

The whole thing is being live streamed on YouTube I believe.

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. 

Operating outside

This photo shows me operating from the car some years ago (2012?). From this location on the coast in Devon I have worked the USA with 10m QRP SSB and AM QRP on several occasions. 

Winter walk - NOT amateur radio

This collage is of our walk around the village earlier. It was bright, cold and frosty. 

Winter sunshine - NOT amateur radio

This morning was bright and cold so we went for a walk around the village. This is a photo of the winter sun. 

Taller - NOT amateur radio

Our elder grandson is 14 years old now. This photo was taken many years ago when he was very young. 

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
UPDATE 1419z:  730 stations spotted. Conditions on 10m FT8 are amazing.

UPDATE 1750z:  1100 stations spotted on RX today. Brilliant. 

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.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_cycle_25 .

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.

UPDATE 1830z: 104 spots so far.

UPDATE 1947z:  The number of stations spotted remains at 104 suggesting the MUF is lower now. Time to go QRT.

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.

See https://ei7gl.blogspot.com/  .

Historical science - NOT amateur radio

It is hard to believe that some of the most important discoveries in science were made at the old Cavendish labs in this small Cambridge lane. 


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

This photo appeared as a FB memory today. It shows the grandchildren some years ago delivering Christmas cards. They grow up so fast! 

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.

UPDATE 1333z:   321 stations spotted.

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

In the last day, 139 stations were spotted on 2m FT8 with the big-wheel omni antenna. Furthermost was DL2QV (937km). Although most of these would probably be in range by scatter, I think many were tropo.

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).

UPDATE 1526z:  391 stations spotted. Furthermost is 4F3BZ (10632km).

UPDATE 1616z: 424 stations spotted today on 15m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 2315z:  444 stations spotted on 15m FT8 RX. Now QRT. 

Pirates: it is all too easy for TX stations (and RX stations) to use false callsigns and locations. When you are copying several stations from the same area, it is much less likely they are all pirates. For example there are lots of South Americans and USA stations on. It is very unlikely that many (if any) are pirates.

Bell hunting - NOT amateur radio

Last Thursday my grandson and I went around Cambridge on a bell hunt. This is him outside one of the churches. 

He has a YouTube channel called "Ringer Luke". He is mad on bellringing!

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.

UPDATE 1806z: 5 unique stations spotted.

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

As teenagers we had yellow jackets and were called "the sunshine twins".  

About a year ago we bought some again. 

It is very useful when we are out and apart - just look for the flash of yellow!

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
With a beam up high you have probably got another 10dB, so many more stations can probably be copied, not that I am complaining!   

When 10m is good, you can copy and work the world with very little. FT8 must make this even more possible.

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

In autumn we replace our summer bedding plants with winter flowering primroses to brighten up the garden when it can be dull.  The one in the photo  has drops of rain on it.

Already some are coming out. All being well, they should look good soon. 

Simple regen RX

Many people like simple, but effective, receivers. This design is probably one of the simplest you could make. It works very well.  There are several examples of this, and others, on YouTube.


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


This photo was taken on this day in 2009. Obviously we had December snow then.

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)

As last night, I am on 2m FT8 RX using the omni-directional big-wheel antenna. After about 2 hours, 74 stations were spotted with the furthermost EA1SA (1034km) in northern Spain.  In the last day 188 stations in 10 countries were spotted. As they say, "a bit of a lift on".

See map.

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).

Solar conditions

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

2m FT8 was good last night with 138 stations spotted including several in northern Spain. 

Only using a big-wheel omni antenna!! 

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).


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

This was the entrance to one of the Cambridge colleges. I think it was Christ's. 

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

I have been on 15m FT8 RX most of the day and 136 stations spotted. It seems to have closed now. 

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

Every few weeks I look at the narrowband transponder of this geosynchronous satellite using the webSDR at Goonhilly.  Activity level remained very very low when I looked, which was 0925z on a weekday morning. Most activity seems to be from Europe, so this was not a great time.

See https://eshail.batc.org.uk/nb/ .

160m FT8 RX overnight

Using the active Wellgood loop indoors, I was on 160m FT8 RX overnight. In all, 147 stations spotted, but none "across the pond".

Sunspots - Wednesday December 15th 2021

 Solar flux is 89 and the SSN 40. A=5 and K=2.

14 Dec 2021

My Shack

Since moving to the present QTH in summer 2013, I have had a dedicated amateur radio room. Mostly I use digital modes that don't require me to use my poor voice that I have had since my stroke

The shack is only about 8m walk from the lounge, so I often monitor on a different PC in the lounge. If I need to go into the shack, it only takes a few seconds. For SSB and FM, I clearly use the shack.

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.

Trinity Street, Cambridge - NOT amateur radio

The photo shows Trinity Street in Cambridge which has seen fewer Far East visitors this year.