30 Apr 2022

Fuel prices - a con? - NOT amateur radio

Since early March fuel prices have dropped considerably. Have retail prices followed suit? NO!!! 

Whilst I can understand retailers trying to claw back losses suffered during the Covid-19 pandemic, I hope retailers follow suit and drop their prices too.

It seems to me that consumers are being taken for a ride - well actually not as the fuel is too expensive!! 

The last ones - NOT amateur radio

These daffodils were at Anglesey Abbey yesterday. I suspect these will be the last ones until next winter. Anglesey Abbey is owned by the National Trust and has extensive grounds.

10m WSPR QRP TX (Saturday)

For about 45 minutes (it is now 0901z) I have been on 10m WSPR TX with the 500mW W5OLF beacon. Just local G4KPX (14km) currently spotting me.

UPDATE 1304z:  Still just G4KPX (14km) spotting me. So far, Richard has spotted me 123 times today.

8m experiments (Saturday)

It is now 0857z. I have been on 40.680 MHz USB dial FT8 TX.  No spots on RX or TX.

UPDATE 0941z:  Currently RX only. As far as I know the following countries have granted limited access to TX on 8m:

  USA (a limited number of special permits issued by the FCC)
  Canada (1 special permit)
  South Africa (special permission?)
  UK (a limited number of special T&I licences)
  Slovenia (allocated 40.66-40.70 to amateurs on a secondary basis)
  Croatia (special permission?)
  Eire (full allocation to the amateur service)
  Denmark (beacon only).

Others may be active, but I am unsure of their legality. I am unsure of the legal position of operating with very low ERP in the ISM band in almost any country.

UPDATE 1220z:  Still no spots today.  Will be on FT8 TX at about 1240z.

UPDATE 1243z: Now on 8m FT8 TX (40.680 MHz USB dial). Reports welcomed.

Shetland sunshine - NOT amateur radio

There cannot be many perfect days on the Shetland Islands. Often it is cold and windy. This photo was on 365project yesterday. 

Yesterday on 10m WSPR TX

Yesterday, I was spotted by 15 stations on 10m WSPR TX when running 500mW. The Es season really has started. 

Sunspots - Saturday April 30th 2022

Solar flux is 124 and the SSN 90. A=15 and K=5.

29 Apr 2022

G3XBM video channel

This is my usual reminder that I have a G3XBM video channel which has more data on many of my projects. Many of these videos are years old, certainly before my 2013 stroke.

See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/other-amateur-radio/video-channel .

Ely cathedral - NOT amateur radio

They call this "the ship of the fens" and you can see why. It can be seen from miles away standing high on the Isle of Ely. There has been a church here for well over 1000 years. 

It is the only medieval wonder in England. It truly is a splendid piece of architecture, built way before our times with lots of tools and machines.

Mill leat - NOT amateur radio

The photo shows the view looking down the mill leat at Anglesey Abbey earlier. 

Local museum - NOT amateur radio

We are very lucky to live right next door to a windmill and local museum. These are open Thursdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays from Easter until the end of October.

Recently, the vehicle shed has been redone. There are plenty of old vehicles in here!

The photo shows me volunteering at the museum cafe yesterday.

See https://burwellmuseum.org.uk/ .

10m Es

For about an hour, I have been on 10m WSPR QRP TX with 500mW from my W5OLF beacon. Already, there have been 9 unique people spotting me. The Es season is underway!

UPDATE 1130z:   12 unique stations have spotted me so far. Definitely mostly, if not all,  Es.

Low cost modules for experimenters

My Facebook memories for today showed the low cost 70cm AM modules that you can buy on eBay. Others have used the HB100 10 GHz Doppler radar modules. Others have used 5.6GHz modules for TV. I am sure there are others. 

Since my 2013 stroke, I have been unable to do much building work. For serious experimenters there is a lot of choice.

These modules could form the heart of many projects and are well worth a look.

8m experiments (Friday)

My QRP signal has now been copied in 4 countries (UK, Eire, Portugal and Croatia).  With the Es season upon us now, I should reach Slovenia OK. If I am copied further, that would be an unexpected bonus.

Earlier today (around 0650z) my 40.680MHz FT8 gear was turned on. This was spotted by EI9KP (649km). It is now on RX only (no spots).

My rig is a widebanded FT817ND and the antenna a low wire dipole.

UPDATE 1232z:  S59F (1205km) spotted on 8m FT8 RX. Definitely Es.

UPDATE 1527z: EI9KP has copied me more than once today and at times very strongly Currently QRT (TX cooling!), but will be back on FT8 TX shortly on 40.680 MHz USB dial.

Sunspots - Friday April 29th 2022

 Solar flux is 132 and the SSN 118. A=14 and K=4.

28 Apr 2022

Rally news

The following rallies have been notified to me.  As always, it is worth checking with organisers to ensure that the information is correct and the rallies are taking place.

       Sunday May 1st - Thorpe Camp Visitor Centre (not sure of the name). Contact 07956 654481

       Monday May 2nd - Dartmoor Radio Rally, Yelverton, Devon. Contact 2E0RPH@gmail.com. 

Still no swallows (barn) - NOT amateur radio

Last year I saw just 2 all year.  It is already April 28th and I have seen none at all. In the past I had definitely seen some by the middle of the month. Perhaps it is climate change or fewer nest sites? 

The next milestone will be the swifts arriving. They are usually a common sight and sound by mid-May. Will they be here next month? 

There are some swallows around, but I suspect there must be far fewer this year.

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

Shack 2015


When clearing some old photos yesterday, I cam across this photo of the shack in 2015. 

How time flies!

10m QRP TX (Thursday)

 Yet again, I am on 10m WSPR TX with the W5OLF beacon. So far just local G4KPX (14km) spotting me.

UPDATE 1033z: Just local spots still. I think even Richard has given up!

8m experiment continued (Thursday)

My 8m TX experiments are continuing today with FT8 transmissions on 40.680 MHz USB dial regularly. 

UPDATE 0903z:   Sadly no spots given or received so far. Currently on RX, but expect to be on 8m FT8 TX again at 0930z.

UPDATE 1030z:  Still no spots.

UPDATE 1702z: FT8 exchange with 9A2Y (1567km).

Sunspots - Thursday April 28th 2022

Solar flux is 142 and the SSN 95.  A=21 and K=3.

27 Apr 2022

Grand Arcade, Cambridge - NOT amateur radio


The Grand Arcade in central Cambridge is a covered, pedestrian only, shopping area. 

It is one of the few places with a Raspberry Pi shop. Well, it is Cambridge!

80m FETer transceiver

It seems like yesterday, but this was designed in 2008. Starting from the 40m design by W2UW (SK) I wanted to see how simple a transceiver could be made for 80m. The result was the 1 FET FETer transceiver. My main issue was netting on RX. 

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

10m QRP WSPR TX (Wednesday)

 As my 10m antenna is again available, I am on 10m WSPR TX with 500mW from the W5OLF beacon. So far just 1 spot by TA4/G8SCU (3010km).

UPDATE 1617z: Just 3 unique stations spotting me all day. Nothing further than the TA4 above.

8m experiment (Wednesday)

At about 0742z, I turned on 8m FT8 TX QRP at 40.680 MHz USB dial. 

UPDATE 1035z: No spots so far today. RX only now.

UPDATE 1620z: Despite further TX periods, no spots TX or RX all day.

Sunspots - Wednesday April 27th 2022

 Solar flux is 150 and the SSN 126.   A=3 and K=2.

26 Apr 2022


 At 0852z, I am on 10m WSPR TX with 500mW from the W5OLF beacon. Nobody has yet spotted me.

UPDATE 1902z: 5 unique stations spotted me today with the furthermost FR1GZ (9724km).

8m experiment (Tuesday)

 At 0845z, i went on 40.680 MHz USB dial FT8 TX.

UPDATE 1857z: Disappointing. No spots today on RX or TX.

Family history - NOT amateur radio

My family history can be traced back continuously to the mid 1500s in South Devon. One of my earliest ancestors was William of Hope. The photo shows the village of Hope Cove probably in the late 1800s or early 1900s. There is an Iron Age fort on the promontory nearby known as Bolt Tail. It is quite possible that one of my ancestors helped man it.  Quite humbling.

Sunspots - Tuesday April 26th 2022

Solar flux is 157 and the SSN 94.  A=5 and K=0.

25 Apr 2022

Saffron Walden - NOT amateur radio


Yesterday, we went to Saffron Walden and Audley End in Essex as the collage shows.  At one time it was famous for its saffron - hence the name. 

The door in the top middle led to Oliver Cromwell's HQ at one time.

10m QRP WSPR TX (Monday)

At the moment (0946z), I am on 10m WSPR TX at 500mW from the W5OLF beacon. 2 unique stations spotting me so far with the furthermost TA4/G8SCU (3010km).

8m experiment (Monday)

 After a period on 8m FT8 TX on 40.680MHz USB dial, I am now on RX. No spots. It is now 0950z. 

At the moment I have been spotted in 3 countries despite my QRP and low wire dipole. During the Es season, I hope to increase this. Es openings can be very strong.

UPDATE 2030z:   QRT.

Sunspots - Monday April 25th 2022

Solar flux is 159 and the SSN 112.  A=5 and K=1.

24 Apr 2022

Lightning risks

The chances (in the UK) of being hit by a direct lightning strike are (thankfully) low, but not nil. Many years ago a work colleague in a very ordinary house was struck and he had a lot of damage.

More common issues are power surges of the mains supply when lightning and thunder are nearby.

Perhaps I am paranoid, but if there is a threat of lightning nearby I unplug PSUs from their sockets and disconnect all antennas. If a power surge is around my gear is not going to experience it!

Unless you have a very good grounding systems, it is very unlikely your gear will survive a direct hit.

Now, I am no expert on lightning protection, so please make your own judgements on this by reading expert opinion. DO NOT rely on me!!

See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/other-amateur-radio/lightning-maps .

Audley End House - NOT amateur radio

The photo shows Audley End House not far from Cambridge. It is owned by English Heritage. 

The second photo shows the lake to the front of the house. 

Lavenham church - NOT amateur radio


Rich on the wool trade in the late Middle Ages, Lavenham has a fine church as shown in the photo.

8m FT8 experiments (Sunday)

Starting at 0841z, I was on TX for a period on 40.680 MHz USB dial FT8. Now I am RX only. No spots given or received.

UPDATE 2022z:   After I got home I went on 8m FT8 TX. My signal was copied in Southern Portugal for my best DX so far at 1808km. This is probably Es. Now QRT.

10m WSPR QRP TX (Sunday)

My gear, the 500mW  W5OLF TX beacon, was turned on about 0840z. So far, 3 spots from OE3XOE (1233km).

UPDATE 1737z:  8 unique stations have spotted me today.

More Lavenham - NOT amateur radio

The photo shows more of Lavenham yesterday. 

Sunspots - Sunday April 24th 2022

 Solar flux is 160 and the SSN 118.  A=12 and K=2. 

23 Apr 2022

4 element Yagi for 70cms

Some years ago I was looking for an antenna for a 70cm contest to take out portable. It performed well with QRP SSB. Like similar antennas of mine, it was fabricated from an old metal coat hanger. It was a good match and used with my FT817. I still have this antenna in the back of the garage.

See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/antennas/70cm-4el-yagi .

Old England - NOT amateur radio

This is Dalham, not far from Newmarket. It is a real "chocolate box" village with loads of thatched cottages.

Lavenham, UK - NOT amateur radio

Lavenham is a village in Suffolk, UK. It was the 14th richest place in England in the late Middle Ages as a result of the wool trade. It has lots of timber framed properties. 

Our younger son had his wedding reception at the Swan Hotel, shown in the photo taken earlier today. Many years earlier I went on a course here for 1 week   ....and came home 7lbs heavier!! Mind you, I was not paying and the food was good!

10m QRP WSPR TX (Saturday)

 As my 10m antenna is available, I am on 10m WSPR TX with 500mW from my W5OLF beacon. So far, just spots from local G4KPX (14km).

UPDATE 1630z:  6 unique stations in 3 continents have spotted me today on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 2100z:  QRT.

8m experiments today (Saturday)

My experiments on 8m carry on today. Yesterday EI9KP (649km) spotted me again. Whilst at home I shall go on FT8 TX but when out I shall be monitoring 40.680 MHz USB dial FT8 RX. 

 UPDATE 0925z:  My TX was turned on at 0850z. Now RX only. No spots given or received.

UPDATE 1625z:  As I was out most of the day I was mostly on 8m FT8 RX. 3 stations spotted. 

UPDATE 2103z:  QRT. No further spots today.

Shopping locally - NOT amateur radio

Yesterday we went to our local Co-op shop for some odds and ends. The coconut biscuits were far less expensive than Waitrose which is a 4 mile car ride. The Co-op is a 5 minute walk. 

Sunspots - Saturday April 24th 2022

Solar flux is 163 and the SSN 101.  A=6 and K=2. 

22 Apr 2022

10m WSPR TX QRP beacon

The 10m antenna is available,  as I'm using a different antenna for my 8m experiments.  So, I shall be on 10m WSPR TX again using 500mW from the W5OLF beacon. 

UPDATE 0755z: TX beacon now turned on. Just the usual locals spots from G4KPX (14km).

UPDATE  1901z:  So far today - I may remain on for a short while - 6 stations have spotted my 500mW WSPR with the furthermost PY1EME (9453km).

UPDATE 2028z:  QRT.

Ultra-simple 10m CW transceiver

The Lesser Chirpy was one of my designs from 10 years ago. It is one of the simplest transceivers you can make. As with all my designs, I  would be very surprised if you could not make it better! It works by FSK so the frequency shifts when the key is pressed. The first version had too much chirp!

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

Dreams versus reality - NOT amateur radio

Sometimes I wonder if I dreamt something. 

Recently I tried to re-find a website I had seen. I Googled it many times using words that I thought would find it. I was unsuccessful, and was beginning to think I had just dreamed it. Then I found it - I had not been dreaming after all. 

All this has me wondering: what is reality? Certainly the boundaries between dreams and reality seem less clear.

8m experiments continued (Friday)

Later today I expect to continue my 8m experiments. As the TX loses power when warm, I have been on FT8 TX for a period, then RX, then QRT as the rig cools and then back to TX. 

Although I miss some of the DX others are seeing, it is interesting to see what a simple QRP station can achieve on 8m. My estimate is that I'm some 10dB at least down on the better stations, which can make a lot of difference on weaker signals. 

UPDATE 0753z:  After a brief TX period (no spots), I am currently on FT8 RX on 40.680 MHz USB dial (no spots). We are about to go shopping.

Swallows (Barn) - NOT amateur radio

At one time, these were a common summer migrant bird wintering in South Africa. They usually arrive here early in April.  In 2021, I only saw 2 all year. 

Swifts are also meant to be getting rarer, but we seemed to have similar numbers here to previous years. I have yet to see a single swallow here, which is very late. In the past, they were common by now.

My son, who has been wild camping, has seen and heard several cuckoos, but no swallows. Times, they are a changing...

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

Sunspots - Friday April 22nd 2022

Solar flux is 164 and the SSN 119. A=10 and K=1. 

21 Apr 2022

Upcoming rallies

As far as I am aware the following rallies are happening, but it is always worth confirming with the organisers before travelling any distance. All are on Sunday April 24th.

Cambridge repeater Group Rally, Foxton near Cambridge. rally2022@cambridgerepeaters.net 

Northern Amateur Radio  Societies Association, Norbeck Castle Exhibition Centre, Blackpool.  dwilson@btinternet.com

Andover Radio Club Spring Boot Sale  Wildhem Villlage Hall (just north of Andover) arac@arac.org.uk .

Lyrid Meteor shower

Now and for the next few days were are experiencing the Lyrid meteor shower. Such showers often give rise to decent pings off the ionised trails, leading to short-lived, but strong, VHF signals. Things are often best in the early morning, but I am no expert.

See https://ei7gl.blogspot.com/ .

10m Tenner transceiver

With the Es season just starting in the Northern Hemisphere, perhaps now is the time to think about rigs. Some years ago I designed and built the Tenner which is a 500mW CW transceiver for 10m.

During the Es season, you should have no trouble at all working stations 1500km away with it. In the past, it has got far further!

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

The Wren Library, Cambridge - NOT amateur radio

There are some world famous buildings in Cambridge, UK including this library, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, which houses some of the most valuable books in the whole world.

Our church at night - NOT amateur radio


Our church is illuminated at night, as the photo shows. It can be seen for miles around. It is a very fine old building.

10m QRP WSPR TX (Thursday)

Yet again, I am on 10m WSPR TX with 500mW from the W5OLF beacon. It is now 0815z and, so far, just 37 spots from local G4KPX (14km).

UPDATE 2122z:  QRT.  5 stations spotted me today.

Swans - NOT amateur radio

These swans are very determined. 

Until quite recently, builders were making a facility for National Grid (electricity) storage batteries within a few metres!  It is good to see them trying again rebuilding their nest.

8m experiments (Thursday)

For about 1 hour I have been on 40.680 MHz USB dial FT8. Sadly nobody spotted  me. It is 0800z and I am FT8 RX only on 8m. No RX spots. 

UPDATE 1205z:  EI9KP (649km) has again spotted me.

UPDATE 2120z:  QRT. No other spots, but I feel certain that I will reach Slovenia this Es season.

Sunspots - Thursday April 21st 2022

 Solar flux is 160 and the SSN 80. A=9 and K=3.

20 Apr 2022

Punting on the Cam - NOT amateur radio

The photo shows punts on the River Cam in Cambridge outside King's College. Very relaxing too. 

10m WSPR QRP TX (Wednesday)

As my 10m antenna is available, I am on 10m QRP WSPR TX with 500mW from my W5OLF beacon. Just local spots so far by G4KPX (14km).

UPDATE 1611z:  Just 2 unique stations spotting me today with the furthemost TA4/G8SCU (3010km). I shall stop on for several hours in case things improve.

UPDATE 1800z:  QRT.

8m experiments (Wednesday)

After a brief FT8 TX period on 40.680 MHz, I am now on RX only as we are going for a walk. I expect to be on FT8 TX later. So far today, no spots.

UPDATE 1606z:  Today has been disappointing. I have been on 40.680 MHz USB dial FT8 TX several time and RX the rest of the time. I am currently on TX. No spots at all on 8m today.

UPDATE 1805z:   QRT.  Disappointing with no spots given or received all day.


OK, I admit it. I am a geek! 

This was me in 2013 testing my 481 THz optical kit in the garden. I don't think the neighbours were looking.  😁

See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/optical-nanowaves/over-the-horizon .

Sunspots - Wednesday April 20th 2022

 Solar flux is 135 and the SSN 68.  A=7 and K=1.

19 Apr 2022

Friedrischafen, Germany 2022

This is the biggest amateur gathering in Europe, so I hope it takes place in person this year. No idea of the dates, although I am sure it will be on the internet somewhere. 

UPDATE 1600z: Found it! See https://www.hamradio-friedrichshafen.de/


Since we moved in 2013, I have had a dedicated shack. Funny how it still gets used as a dumping ground when we have visitors and want to look tidy!  

The shack has one of the best views in the house, not that I am complaining. The photo is deceptive: the shack is much smaller than it looks.

See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/other-amateur-radio/shack .

G3XBM book progress

The G3XBM Projects Scrapbook creation is underway. 

All being well, I hope to have this available as a free PDF by the end of May. There is quite a bit of work, so if it is a bit late do not be too surprised!  At least as a free PDF I can add to it or make corrections easily. 

I hope to publicise the link widely and hope it gives you some ideas, as that is its aim. It has been lots of fun on my journey. 

Many would prefer a printed book, but this would take much longer and there might be some copyright issues. As a free PDF these issues should be avoided. 

As I have said many times, my aim was never to make any money from a book, rather to put my ideas and projects in one place for those that want them. 

Our garden in spring - NOT amateur radio

At the moment our garden is at its best with lots of blossom. The blossom is ephemeral and will soon be gone. 

Where I come from in South Devon - NOT amateur radio

The photo shows where I come from in South Devon. 

10m WSPR TX beacon using 500mW

At the moment I am on 10m WSPR TX using 500mW to the W5OLF beacon. Just spots locally from G4KPX (14 km). It is early!! 

UPDATE 0745z:  Still just G4KPX (14km) spotting me.

Spring in the UK - NOT amateur radio

This photo was posted on 365project yesterday. Rapeseed is  now widely grown in the UK. I like the colour. 

8m tests (Tuesday)

My gear was turned on at 0530z. At the moment I am on 8m FT8 TX at 1W. Being on lower power which seems fine for Es, I hope to be on TX longer. My frequency is still 40.680 MHz USB dial. 

UPDATE 0805z:  For the first hour I was on 1W FT8 TX on 40.680 MHz USB dial. Sadly nobody spotted me. The power still dropped over time. At the moment I am RX only, but intend to be on full power FT8 TX later.

UPDATE 1337z:  Now on full power (for me - whatever the FT817ND manages on 8m!!)  FT8 TX on 40.680 MHz USB dial. 

UPDATE 1505z:  Only one local spot of me today by G0LRD (26km). Disappointing so far.

UPDATE 2000z: RX only now.  After my success being copied by EI9KP (649km) on 8m FT8 with just QRP and a low wire dipole yesterday, today was disappointing with just one local spot.  As EI9KP copied me strongly, I am pretty sure reports will be exchanged with Borat soon. It is unlikely I shall get outside Europe with my low power and antenna (just a low wire dipole), but I am getting excited about getting 8m FT8 reports via Es soon. I may use WSPR on occasions. Unless told otherwise, I propose to use 40.680 MHz USB dial for FT8 and WSPR and will use the FIRST period to TX on FT8. I know exchanging reports with G3XBM on 8m is not like working ZS stations, but each one will give me great pleasure.  FT8 exchanges are totally within my licence terms as long as you can TX legally on 8m.  There is nothing at all stopping SWLs without 8m TX permits spotting me.  After all, we are exchanging reports and locations, which is all I need to know.  My "experiment" is seeing how well QRP and simple low wire dipoles work at 8m. 

In case of ANY doubts I give my express permission for ANYONE to give me reports by any means e.g. PSKreporter, WSPRnet or email.

Sunspots - Tuesday April 19th 2022

 Solar flux is 135 and the SSN 79. A=8 and K=3. 

18 Apr 2022


It is a while since I have tried Echolink. With Echolink on your phone or PC, you can access repeaters on the other side of the planet, often used by locals to talk to others on VHF or UHF handhelds. You can even buy network radios that use the internet as the main bearer. 

I have an Android handheld with PTT that looks and feels just like a VHF handheld. I have to admit it is not used often as I prefer experimenting with "real" radio! 

If you cannot have big antennas or amateur radio in the conventional way, this may be a way to keep in touch.

Web SDRs

It is often interesting to see how others receive you in their part of the world. Also, on the other side of the world, the bands can sound quite different. These days, we can take a peek by listening to various web SDRs. 

Also, when local noise levels are very high, it allows us to hear the distant station without the QRN.

Recently, there is a new one in Iceland.

See http://bjarg.utvarp.com/ .

See also http://websdr.org/ for a list.

The Shard, London - NOT amateur radio

London has some tall skyscrapers on its skyline. One of the most famous is the Shard shown here. 

I was amused some years ago by a photo that our son took when he was performing jazz in the Shard. He sent us a view from sitting on the toilet in the Shard!! Luckily, we only saw the view at night out if the window!

Maggie - NOT amateur radio

Maggie the horse has been a firm favourite with children in the village and our grandchildren for many years. 

She loves to be fed grass.

10m WSPR QRP TX (Monday)

Yet again, I am on 10m WSPR TX with my W5OLF beacon. Several spots by local G4KPX (14km) who I think must have been away over Easter. As yet, no DX. I think Richard goes on 10m WSPR briefly then chooses another band or goes QRT.

8m experiments (Monday)

After a brief FT8 TX period on 40.680 MHz USB dial (no spots of me) I am again RX only, but will go on TX if there is any sign of Es. On RX, nobody has been spotted so far. I need a decent Es opening!

UPDATE 1415z:  My 8m power goes down with time, so I TX for a period, RX FT8 for a period, turn everything off, TX for a period, then RX again. So far today, no spots on RX or TX on 8m. Currently on 40.680 MHz FT8 TX.

UPDATE 1658z: DX at last!! EI9KP (649km) has spotted me strongly on FT8. This is the first time I have been received beyond the local area. I think this was Es. At -5dB on FT8, this is encouraging.

UPDATE 1827z: QRT. 

Sunspots - Monday April 18th 2022

 Solar flux is 135 and the SSN 74.  A=11 and K=2.

17 Apr 2022

All quiet on the Oscar 100 front

Every few weeks I take a peek at the narrowband transponder of this geosynchronous satellite. This is Easter weekend so a few people may be away with parents etc. This could reduce activity, although with more people on leave I would have expected this to have little overall effect. 

It was very quiet when I looked on Easter Sunday in the early evening in Europe. Overall, I would say, "don't bother". With HF conditions improving, I cannot see many getting pleasure from this satellite. It is a lot of effort that I, personally, think is wasted.

See https://eshail.batc.org.uk/nb/ .

70cm activity contest last Tuesday

At the moment I have no 70cm horizontal antennas so I use my 2m big-wheel omni antenna. Because of my poor voice I usually stay on for about 45 minutes. I run 10W SSB  QRP. Last week I had 3 QSOs with the furthermost 105km.

Hawkweed? - NOT amateur radio

A few weeks ago this patch of grass near the post office in the village was a mass of daffodils. Now it is the turn of these yellow flowers that I think are mainly hawkweed. 

10m WSPR TX beacon (Sunday)

 With the W5OLF 500mW beacon, I am on 10m WSPR TX. So far today, no spots of me. 

UPDATE 1433z:  It look like the Es season has definitely arrived with 11 unique stations spotting me, mostly in central Europe.

8m experiments (Sunday)

After a brief period on FT8 TX (1 local spot), I am on FT8 RX now. 

UPDATE 1427z:  It looks like the Es season has started with strong reception earlier of Borat S50B on 8m FT8.  G9PUV was also copied earlier.

UPDATE 1713z:   It seems only a matter of time now in the Es season that I exchange reports with S50B.

Sunspots - Sunday April 17th 2022

Solar flux is 122 and the SSN 78. A=8 and K=3.

16 Apr 2022

10m QRP WSPR TX (Saturday)

Once again, I am on 10m WSPR TX with 500mW from my W5OLF beacon. It has been on from about 0900z.  So far, just local spots by G4KPX (14km).

8m experiment (Saturday)

Yesterday, I carried out some 8m WSPR TX tests. All were unsuccessful with no sign whatsoever of anyone copying me. I was hoping that somebody would detect something. Alas....

At about 0900z, I went again on 40.680 MHz FT8 TX. Just local spots again. On RX in the last few weeks I have spotted 4 stations. 

With my results, with QRP and a low dipole, I think I shall concentrate on 8m FT8 RX until the Es season really gets going. I think with Es I should have some success on TX.

UPDATE 1533z: I tried some WSPR TX tests this afternoon on 8m. Again, no success.

UPDATE 1625z:  Another test on 40.680 MHz WSPR at 1600z was also unsuccessful.

Precious moments - NOT amateur radio

Last evening we had a BBQ with our sons and all the grandchildren. A famous philosopher once said (and here I paraphrase as I cannot remember the words) something like enjoy the simple things as you don't know they will be precious moments until later.  Last evening felt like that: our sons, all the grandchildren, blossom and a lovely sunset. 

Sunspots - Saturday April 16th 2022

Solar flux is 110 and the SSN 35.  A=21 and K=2.

15 Apr 2022

8m WSPR test - 1500z Friday

 At 1500z I shall be doing a WSPR test transmission on 40.680 MHz USB dial. This is NOT the usual 8m WSPR frequency.

UPDATE 1535z :  Sadly nobody spotted the WSPR TX test. 

10m QRP WSPR TX (Friday)

 I am on 10m WSPR with 500mW from the W5OLF beacon. 

UPDATE 1042z:  So far today, 2 unique stations have spotted me with the furthermost TA4/G8SCU (3010km). 

8m testing (Friday)

After a brief TX period on FT8 (one local FT8 spot) and then Q65, I am now on FT8 RX only.

UPDATE 1044z:  Nobody spotted on 8m FT8 RX. 

View from the shack window

Spring is a great time of year with lots of fresh growth and blossom. The photo shows the view looking down the garden from the shack. 

Sunspots - Friday April 15th 2022

Solar flux is 103 and the SSN 37.  A=38 and K=4.

14 Apr 2022

Simple 10m FT8 RX

In the Northern Hemisphere we are entering the Es season with DX up to about 1500km on most days. The season usually lasts most of the summer.  Also the sunspot count is climbing, so next autumn should be good on 10m too.

If you want an FT8 10m RX, you may want to take a look at my 10FT8R receiver.  This is very effective and does not miss much.

See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/hf-mf-and-lf/homebrew/10ft8r-rx .

Boris - NOT amateur radio

Boris Johnson is the UK Prime Minister. He has recently been fined for parties during the Covid-19 pandemic. He is under a lot of pressure to resign as he set the rules.  The Ukraine war has helped delay the inevitable. 

Minehead - NOT amateur radio

Ten years ago were on holiday in North Devon and went to Minehead in Somerset where we saw lots of steam trains. 

10m QRP WSPR TX (Thursday)

 At the moment I am on 10m WSPR TX with 500mW from the W5OLF beacon. So far just G4KPX (14km) spotting me (44 spots by 0940z).

Stations spotting me today
UPDATE 2020z: QRT.