8 Jun 2023

8m QRP FT8 (Thursday)

 My 8m gear (2.5W to a low dipole) has been on since just before breakfast, but no spots.

10m 500mW WSPR TX (Thursday)

My beacon has been on 10m QRP WSPR TX since just breakfast. So far, F2 in evidence but not Es. 5 unique stations spotting me so far.

Sunspots - Thursday June 8th 2023

Solar flux is 167 and the SSN 177. A=5 and K=1. 

7 Jun 2023

2m FT8 activity contest

Stations spotted on
2m FT8 to 2000z
There is a lift on 2m!  

There is an FT8 activity contest at the moment and 126 stations spotted on RX and my 2.5W to the omni has been widely copied.

UPDATE 2136z:  181 stations spotted. QRT.

Haircut time - NOT amateur radio

We have a long laurel hedge about 25m long. Every year it gets cut.  I have done the top and my son will do the sides in a few weeks. 

8m QRP FT8 (Wednesday)

Gear turned on at 0853z. No spots.

UPDATE 1326z: Just spots by HC02 (1808km) in Portugal.

UPDATE 1800z:  3 stations have spotted me on 8m QRP FT8. Most Es openings this year seem to be towards Iberia.

UPDATE 2020z:  QRT.

10m QRP WSPR TX (Wednesday)

 My W5OLF beacon was turned on at 0853z. No spots yet.

UPDATE 1148z: 30 stations have spotted me so far today. Although I know some Es signals can be strong, some reports are amazingly strong. Later this week I might try the FT817ND with an attenuator right on the output to see who still copies me at low miliwatts. I could also do this on 8m WSPR.

UPDATE 1329z:   33 stations have spotted my 500mW 10m WSPR today.

UPDATE  1810z:
36 stations have spotted me today with the furthermost PT2FHC (8860km) in Brazil.

UPDATE 2020z:  QRT about an hour ago.

European Es (Wednesday)

Early indications are that European Es is not as good as yesterday, but this can rapidly change. My current plans are 10m 500mW WSPR TX and 8m QRP FT8.

See https://www.tvcomm.co.uk/g7izu/radio-propagation-maps/europe-sporadic-e/ .

2m activity contest last evening

Last evening was the June 2023 2m activity contest (UKAC). 

Conditions were well up, but I found it very hard work with my 2.5W to the big-wheel omni. I guess this is a combination of several factors.  Firstly, my low ERP is obviously a handicap with stronger signals being copied over me. Secondly, I have a very poor voice, not cut out to "outshout" others. Thirdly, I have no compressor, so my signal lacks punch. 

In the end 6 stations were worked before I gave up. These days, I find FT8 easier as I do not need to "outshout" other stations. To be honest, I am no longer attracted to VHF/UHF voice contests.

Sunspots - Wednesday June 7th 2023

 Solar flux is 172 and the SSN 133.  A=7 and K=1.

6 Jun 2023

Friedrichshafen - mid June

This is the biggest gathering in Europe for radio amateurs. It attracts amateurs from a wide range of countries. I still keep hoping Yaesu will announce a new QRP SDR radio to replace the FT817. I suspect they will not, alas. In my view they have "missed the boat"....yet again. Personally, I fear Yaesu will leave the amateur radio market shortly. They could well be joined by others.

 "Times, they are a changing".

See https://www.hamradio-friedrichshafen.com/ .

The Knowledge newsletter - NOT amateur radio

This has been on before, but I make no apology as I find it so good. 

This comes free by email every day and is a digest of news from across the world's press. It usually takes about 5 minutes to read and seems pretty unbiased.  If you do not want to buy a newspaper or do not have time to read one, I strongly recommend it.

See https://www.theknowledge.com/ .

Shopping - NOT amateur radio

Most weeks we go about 12 miles on the bus into Cambridge. As we are old (!) we have free bus pass, so the journey is totally free. It is also as fast as taking our car. It is a pleasurable ride too.

Like most men, I hate clothes shopping. Instead I had a coffee whilst my wife did the spending!


This circuit was originated by GM3OXX, hence the name. It has become a classic circuit. It produces about 1W CW. It has been built by many people in many forms and is very easy to replicate. You just need to add a low pass filter for your chosen band. I have used it to 10m.   This schematic was on the G3PTO website many years ago.

10m QRP WSPR TX (Tuesday)

Once again I am on 10m WSPR with my 500mW beacon. It is now 0820z and, so far,  20 stations spotted. Some are F2 and some Es. A very promising start.

UPDATE 1449z:  52 unique stations have spotted my 500mW today so far. Pretty encouraging.

UPDATE 2052z:  54 stations spotted today. Some would have copied me with just microwatts given a quiet noise floor.

8m QRP FT8 (Tuesday)

As the Es looks promising, I am again on 40.680 MHz FT8 (TX 1st, DF about 1950 Hz).  No spots yet.

UPDATE 1452z: 
  My 2.5W 8m FT8 spotted by 5 unique stations so far.

OFCOM and my requested 8m T&I licence changes

I sent an email to Dave Parsons at OFCOM, who has always been quick and helpful. Within 24 hours he came back to me for some clarification. Hopefully, he will unblock things. He is one of the better people there.

UPDATE 1333z:  Just a day after contacting Dave, my licence has been amended so I can run 20W if I need/want to on 8m.

Sunspots - Tuesday June 6th 2023

Solar flux is 169 and the SSN 151. A=5 and K=2.

5 Jun 2023

Yaesu FT-710 versus ICOM IC-705

My IC-705 was traded in some months ago for the Yaesu FT-710. Both are excellent radios and I have enjoyed them both. The FT-710 has 4m but no 2m or 70cm. The FT-710 also has an auto ATU which I find quite useful. The FT-710 is a 100W  radio whereas the IC-705 is a 10W radio (5W with the attached battery). As a QRPer, 10W was more than enough for me.

I was hoping that Yaesu would announce a new QRP SDR transceiver at Dayton as a proper replacement to the FT817. Sadly, no such product was announced. Had one been announced, I might have traded it for the FT-710.

In my view amateur radio is at a crossroads. In many countries, amateur radio appeals mainly to older males. As these age, fewer new rigs will be sold and magazines will lose advertising revenue from dealers. Some will get smaller, less frequent, or close. In my view, several larger manufacturers will leave the amateur radio market as they will be unable to make profits. My prediction in the UK is that amateur radio will cease to be a service supported by OFCOM. I can see (not many years ahead) when CB, ISM and amateur radio will all become a "free for all" as these generate no income and are unnecessary hassle. The watchwords will be "no interference".

European Es today (Monday)

 At the start of today, I had great hopes for Es in Europe. Sadly, certainly at the moment, things are not looking too great.  Hopefully things will get better.

See https://www.tvcomm.co.uk/g7izu/radio-propagation-maps/8m-40mhz-spot-band/ .

Multiple lives - NOT amateur radio

We are used to thinking of time flowing from the past into the future and experiencing just one life from cradle to grave. 

However, we are only aware of one life, which is the one experienced now. It is equally possible that we could have been born on a different planet at a different time. We could have multiple lives, not one.

All we know is things are far beyond our imaginations. We are just humans with limited brain power.

Poplar fluff? - NOT amateur radio

My wife took this photo on a recent walk. It looks like poplar fluff, although I am no expert! On the ground it looks a bit like snow.

10m 500mW WSPR TX (Monday)

Been on 10m WSPR TX since before breakfast. It is now 0958z and, so far, 12 unique stations have spotted me.  These are the usual suspects.

UPDATE 2057z: 50 unique stations have spotted my 500mW 10m WSPR today.

8m QRP FT8 ( Monday)

As the Es looks encouraging today, I have stuck with 8m QRP FT8. Already spotted by HC02 (1808km) in Portugal. 

UPDATE 1749z:   4 stations have spotted me. Better than I was expecting, especially as 2 of these were new reporters.

Sunspots - Monday June 5th 2023

 Solar flux is 169 and the SSN 110. A=6 and K=1.

4 Jun 2023

Trondheim, Norway - NOT amateur radio

For about 10 years now I have done the 365project. Every day we post a photo. 

This photo was posted by someone who lives (I think) in Norway. It is interesting to see how people use 365project.  My wife and I use it as a visual diary, whereas some use it to show their photographic prowess. We would never win on that count!

Tomorrow 10m FT8 QRP

In view of the (low) activity levels on 8m this Es season, I propose to concentrate instead on 10m QRP FT8 using my little QDX transceiver.

8m QRP FT8 (Sunday)

My gear was turned on before breakfast. It is now 0848z.  Just a single spot (quite strong too)  from HC02 (1808km) in Portugal.

There appear to be fewer active stations on 8m this Es season. I was hoping for more, not fewer. With this year probably seeing the peak of the current solar cycle this is very disappointing!  Where are all the experimenters? Perhaps people prefer discussing vegetables on 80m with commercial gear!

UPDATE 1414z:  Just HC02 (Portugal) and SR4BBX (1217km) have spotted my 8m QRP FT8 today. Just G3WCS spotted on 8m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 1539z:  It is extremely unusual to see 8m FT8 reports from new stations, bringing into question why I should continue with my experiment. My experiment was to see how useful QRP and simple antennas could be on 8m. I think I have already proved that and only with reports from newcomers will I learn more. So, unless I see significant interest from others it is unlikely that I shall spend as much time on 8m in the future. Results were more interesting in the last Es season.

Stations spotted on 8m RX today

Stations spotting my 8m FT8 QRP today

UPDATE 1814z: 
Just 2 spots all day on 8m QRP FT8. On RX 3 stations spotted, although I suspect the EA is illegal.

10m QRP WSPR (Sunday)

My 500mW W5OLF WSPR beacon on 10m has been on since before breakfast. It is now 0836z and, so far, 8 spots of me. There doesn't seem to be a great deal of Es around yet.

UPDATE 1438z:  31 spots of me so far today with the furthermost FR1GZ (9724km).

UPDATE 1846z: 50 spots of me today. More Es later.

Village garden - NOT amateur radio

This is a garden in our village. It is good seeing all the wild plants.  Years ago, it was a pub.

European Es

It is now 0554z, so it is too early to tell how Es will be in Europe today. Assuming it is good, my plan is QRP 8m FT8 and 10m QRP WSPR TX. 

See https://www.tvcomm.co.uk/g7izu/radio-propagation-maps/europe-sporadic-e/ .

Sunspots - Sunday June 4th 2023

Solar flux is 165 and the SSN 112. A=5 and K=2.

3 Jun 2023

The dangers of AI

There is little doubt that the power of artificial Intelligence (AI) can be a powerful force for good allowing huge quantities of data to be analyzed quickly and accurately. An example is analyzing x-rays for tumours.

At the same time AI could also be our downfall. As the knowledge warned today it could also be our downfall.

"The truth is that it’s “already too late” for any meaningful pause in AI development, says Iain Martin  The Times.  As with the creation of the nuclear bomb in the 1940s, the pressing question is whether democracies or dictatorships get there first. If the West and its allies fail, we will be at the mercy of autocrats who can swarm us with thousands of lethal drones, or deploy sophisticated programmes which “relentlessly search for weaknesses through which to launch cyber attacks and shut down our financial systems”. This is a race “we have to win”. " 

This is quote from The Knowledge today.

Wicken Fen walk - NOT amateur radio


My wife made this collage of our walk this morning to Wicken Fen. The round trip is about 1.5 hours with a break for a coffee and snack at the cafe at Wicken Fen.

Geese with young - NOT amateur radio

This morning, we went for a nice walk to nearby Wicken Fen. Until we got home and put the photos on the PC I had not noticed the young. The photo was taken through a zoom lens.

8m QRP FT8 (Saturday)

 Since early this morning, I have been on 8m FT8.  At 1247z, no spots.

Media fascism

In the UK media for several days a headline has been about an ITV presenter, who happens to be gay. The lives of him and his family have been a total hell. On the BBC news it has been the very first item.  Had it been a heterosexual affair nobody would care.

In my view this is despicable.  He and his family should be left alone.

As far as we know, he had done nothing wrong or newsworthy. Just leave him alone and get off his back.

In my view, this is journalism of the very worst kind: superficial and gratuitous gossip. BBC, get back to real news please!!! 

10m 500mW WSPR TX (Saturday)

Certainly this morning, Es has not been very good. 

UPDATE 1645z: 
10 stations have spotted me today. Not a lot of Es.

Sunspots - Saturday June 3rd 2023

Solar flux is 162 and the SSN 147. A=5 and K=1.

2 Jun 2023

OFCOM publications

A reminder that OFCOM updates the publications it holds on the statistics on licences and similar. 

Our local shop - NOT amateur radio

This is our local co-op shop where we do most of our convenience shopping. It is about 400m away. Most of our food shopping is done in Newmarket about 6km away.

10m 500mW WSPR TX (Friday)

32 stations have spotted me today (at 1705z). 

8m FT8 QRP (Friday)

On 8m QRP FT8 all day.  So far, 2 stations have spotted me and I have spotted one station HC02 (1808km)  and SR4BBX (1217km).

European Es (Friday)

Things look much quieter for European Es this morning. My plan is to go on 8m FT8 and 10m QRP WSPR TX. 

Rally this weekend

The following rally has been notified to me. It is always advisable to check first.

Sunday June 4th - Spalding Radio Rally,  Holbeach, Lincs, PE12 7PR.  Contact Graham on rally2023@sdars.org.uk

Sunspots - Friday June 2nd 2023

Solar flux is 164 and the SSN 143.  A=13 and K=2.

1 Jun 2023

Invasions - NOT amateur radio

In the last year, we have all seen the invasion of a sovereign nation by its bigger neighbour. 

In the past this has occurred on many occasions.  In my view, invading another country is wholly wrong.  In the past, Great Britain has been guilty too. 

We have to try to understand the context of a dispute. Often we are fed a line which is only partially correct or not the whole story.

In no way is this an excuse for any country to walk into, or terrorise, another. 

In my view the Russian "special operation" in Ukraine is despicable in the 21st century.

8m 2W WSPR (Thursday)

 Currently, I am on 40.680 MHz WSPR (TX 20%, DF 1560 Hz, 2W). It is now 0958z. No spots.

UPDATE 1133z:  Just 2 spots by HC02 (1808km) in southern Portugal.

UPDATE 1100z: Another (weaker) spot by HC02

Spots of my 8m QRP WSPR today by HC02

UPDATE 1904z:
Plenty of spots of me by HC02 (1808km) today. Some suggest even ISM power levels (10mW ERP in the UK) would have been copied.

The next solar peak

According to the latest update to my favourite site for solar data, the next sunspot maximum is still shown as December 2023 with a smoothed number of 142.5. This makes it a very short time since the minimum. The information was updated today.

See  https://www.solen.info/solar/ .

10m 500mW WSPR TX (Thursday)

It is only now 0930z and already I have been spotted by 41 unique stations!  Incredible Es conditions today.

UPDATE 1003z: Already an incredible 57 spots of my QRP 10m WSPR. At the moment, this looks like the best day this Es season.

UPDATE 1936z: An incredible 65 unique station spots of me. I think today I have received more spots on 10m than I can ever recall. QRT now.

8m QRP FT8 (Thursday)

This morning, I turned on my 2.5W 8m FT8 earlier than usual at about 0650z. It is now 0819z and already there are spots from 4 countries. A very good start to the day. 

Sunspots - Thursday June 1st 2023

Solar flux is 161 and the SSN 147.  A=10 and K=2.

31 May 2023

10mW ERP on 8m WSPR without a licence?

Today alone, I have had several reports on 10m WSPR that suggest 10mW ERP at ranges around 3000km would be copied.  

I am convinced following emails from OFCOM that, as long as ISM rules are carefully followed, a licence is NOT needed to run a beacon in the 40.66-40.70 MHz ISM band in the UK. This could well be true in other countries too. In the UK this means 10mW ERP.   It is my firm belief that such beacons, would be received at great range. It is a great pity more people are not trying this.

This is NOT the Amateur Radio Service. It is ISM.

10m FT8 RX on the cheap

This has definitely been on before, but as we approach sunspot maximum (and beyond) a timely reminder is in order. 

This works remarkably well and can be made very inexpensively, yet will bring in stations across the world most days. It may be built "dead bug" or, if you are really keen, as a simple PCB. As I have said before, it would make a great club project on a PCB.  The circuit is simple, so a single sided PCB should be straightforward. It means the "big rig" is free yet 10m FT8 may be monitored.

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

Bots? - NOT amateur radio

Already I have had more than 3 times the number of visits to this site than yesterday.  My posts are as boring as ever, so I think this must be bots probing.

Where I come from in South Devon - NOT amateur radio

This is where I lived as a young child. 

Funny how we just took it all for granted. 

It is now the most expensive resort in the UK.  Salcombe.

Cambridge Store - NOT amateur radio

Many overseas visitors are fascinated to see what is on sale in UK shops. This was the fruit section of a Cambridge shop last week.

10m 500mW WSPR TX (Wednesday)

Gear turned on about 0845z.  At 0905z, no spots.

UPDATE 2112z:  Today, 23 unique stations have spotted me. QRT shortly.

8m QRP FT8 (Wednesday)

My gear on 40.680 MHz FT8 (TX 1st, DF about 1950Hz) was turned on about 0845z. Unsurprisingly, no spots at 0856z.

UPDATE  1426z:  I am told by HC02 (1808km) that I appeared briefly in Southern Portugal but this did not appear on PSKreporter.  On RX the only spot is of 9A3TN (1481km).

UPDATE 1750z:  HC02 has spotted me again this evening. His report is now on PSKreporter. Also spotted (just!!) by SR4BBX (1217km) in Poland.

Plans for Wednesday

The impression I am getting is that Es is not as good as yesterday. My plans are 10m WSPR TX with the 500mW beacon and 8m FT8.

See https://www.tvcomm.co.uk/g7izu/radio-propagation-maps/europe-sporadic-e/

Sunspots - Wednesday May 31st 2023

Solar flux is 162 and the SSN 144. A=5 and K=1.

30 May 2023

Clematis - NOT amateur radio


This picture shows clematis in flower in the garden at the moment. It is past its best now.

10m QRP WSPR (Tuesday)

On 10m with 500mW WSPR TX. So far (at 0848z) already 36 unique spots!

UPDATE 1340z:   56 unique station spots of me today!! Incredible.

UPDATE 2017z:  63 unique station spots. QRT soon.

8m QRP FT8 and WSPR (Tuesday)

After a brief outing on FT8, I have decided to try 8m QRP WSPR all day. HC02 (1808km) has spotted me on FT8 and WSPR.

On WSPR I am using 2W on 40.680 MHz (DF about 1550 Hz).

UPDATE 1444z:  Several WSPR spots for HC02 (1808km) as well as a couple from DC1RDB (884km). No spots on 8m WSPR RX.

UPDATE 2035z:   More WSPR spots by HC02 this evening. QRT soon.

Sunspots - Tuesday May 30th 2023

Solar flux is 154 and the SSN 153. A=4 and K=1. 

29 May 2023

What is it? - NOT amateur radio

This plant was in the herbaceous garden at Anglesey Abbey. 

I should know the name but I don't. 

UPDATE 2130z: See below it looks like it is called the King's Spear.

10m QRP WSPR (Monday)

As my 10m antenna is free, I am on 10m WSPR TX with my 500mW beacon. At 1051z, spotted by 4 stations with plenty of Es.

UPDATE 1807z:
  19 stations have spotted me today. Lot of Es.

UPDATE 1947z:  22 stations have spotted me today.

QDX-M 630m - not yet!

Following a recent email from Hans it is clear they are concentrating on the 160m version first. The 630m version could be some time, as the toroids on the LPF will need lots of turns! Judging by the results of the higher band versions of the QDX, I have no doubt the 160m and 630m single band versions will be very good.

8m QRP FT8 (Monday)

A few moments ago, I QSYed to 8m FT8 QRP.  My thanks to Hugh HC02 (1808km) who has already spotted me in southern Portugal.

Stations spotting me
today on 8m QRP FT8
UPDATE 1900z: 6 stations have spotted me today so far on 8m FT8.  3 stations in Eire. Quite a good day really. Thank you to all reporters.  2 stations spotted on RX. One was an EA. I hope he was legal.

10m QRP FT8 (Monday)

At the moment (0824z) I am on 10m FT8 with the little QDX transceiver. I have yet to check conditions this morning! So far, just a couple of Europeans spotted, but nobody has spotted me yet.

UPDATE 09427z:  25 EU stations have already spotted my QRP 10m FT8 today, so I may QSY to 8m QRP FT8 and 10m WSPR with my 500mW WSPR beacon. On RX, stations as far as Western Australia have been copied on 10m FT8.

Sunspots - Monday May 29th 2023

Solar flux is 151 and the SSN 119. A=11 and K=1.

28 May 2023

QDX-M 630m

When this is available, I quite fancy one. My transverter produces about 10-12W of WSPR on this band.  It would be good to try the QDX-M next winter, on 630m, if available. I think the output would be about 5W on the QDX-M.

See https://qrp-labs.com/qdxm .

15m QRP FT8 with the tiny QDX (Sunday)

At the moment I am trying 15m FT8 with the tiny QDX transceiver. Conditions are better than 10m, but still pathetic compared with yesterday.

UPDATE 1513z:  I have gone RX only after a brief period on TX. 

Stations spotted on 15m
FT8 RX today to 1518z

UPDATE 1618z: 
326 stations spotted on 15m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 1923z:  720 stations spotted.

UPDATE 2132z:  877 stations spotted. Now QRT. The QDX RX works really well.

10m QRP FT8 with the QDX (Sunday)

As 8m seems quiet compared with yesterday, I am on 10m FT8 with the tiny QDX transceiver. At most, it puts out 5W and it is probably nearer 4W. Conditions do not seem very great.

At the moment my furthermost report is from IM0LZK (1589km) on Sardinia.  To be honest, conditions seem really poor on 10m. On 15m, I was spotted in the central USA, but I did not stop on very long.

Good quote - NOT amateur radio

This quote was in the Knowledge today. The Knowledge is a free email newsletter that condenses the news from various world sources. As far as I can tell, it is pretty neutral. I find it very good.

"Remember yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present."

ICOM IC-705 transceiver

One of these was owned by me until last year when I traded it in for a Yaesu FT710. At the last minute ICOM dropped the internal auto-ATU and 4m in the European version. Personally, I find the auto-ATU feature in the FT710 useful as well as 4m. Sadly, the FT710 does not cover 2m and 70cm.

The IC-705 is a great rig, although it did have noise issues when a USB cable was connected between the rig and a PC. This issue was overcome with a decent, filtered, cable, but this was a design fault that should have been fixed.

I am still surprised Yaesu seems to have dropped out of the HF QRP market when they were clear market leaders at one time.

See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/hf-mf-and-lf/commercial-rigs/icom-ic-705 .

10m QRP WSPR TX (Sunday)

At about 0840z, I turned on my 500mW W5OLF 10m TX WSPR beacon. So far, just FR1GZ (9724km) spotting me.

Internet time sync - NOT amateur radio

For 10m WSPR, I usually sync time using my atomic clock in the shack. For 8m FT8 and WSPR, I usually sync to internet time using the built-in sync with Windows 10. For some reason (too busy?) this sync was not happening earlier. I shall try again later. As far as I can tell my PC clock error is just a few seconds at most, so I hope this is OK for now.

Sunspots - Sunday May 28th 2023

 Solar flux is 157 and the SSN 125. A=4 and K=3.

27 May 2023

QDX transceiver

This is a tiny, digital only, HF transceiver that may be used with free software like WSJT-X or JTDX.  It is available in a version for the lower HF bands or 20-10m. Most people buy it as a kit, but I bought mine ready-made as my soldering skills are poor these days. Years ago my fine motor skills were very good. My wife once said that I could write the Lord's Prayer on a postage stamp. She was probably right!

It produces 5W and is very small.

With the popularity of digital modes, this is all most people really need. It works extremely well. Hans makes some excellent pieces of kit.

Mine is regularly copied all across the world on a very basic antenna.

See https://qrp-labs.com/qdx.html .

Murder - NOT amateur radio

We saw this dead pigeon (or rather what remains of it!) at Anglesey Abbey, near Cambridge, this morning. It looks like it was killed by a sparrow hawk or buzzard.

Football - NOT amateur radio

Although I rarely go to a football (soccer) match, I take an interest. 

Coventry and Luton were at Wembley battling for a place in the Premier League. It was a hard fought match that Luton eventually won after extra time and a penalty shoot out. 

This was very tense and your heart bleeds for Coventry man who missed his penalty. It was a very close fought match that both teams deserved to win.

Network radios

A network radio has been owned for several years - 5 to be precise! Mine looks just like a 2m or 70cm handheld complete with PTT and antenna. It has been used on Echolink, and on DMR with an app called Droidstar.

The phone is essentially an Android smartphone, so it can run all sorts of apps too.

I'll be honest, I prefer "real" radio where the link is open to the variations of the ionosphere or troposphere. I can see they have their place where conventional RF radio is not possible such as in hotels or care homes, or where external antennas cannot be erected. At the depths of solar mimima, I can see them having a place too.

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

10m 500mW WSPR TX (Saturday)

For about 2 hours I have been on 10m WSPR with my 500mW beacon. Lots of Es and F2 reports already as the table shows.

UPDATE 1400z: So far today, 45 unique station spots of my QRP with the furthermost FR1GZ (9724km).

UPDATE 1853z:
48 unique stations have spotted my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon today (see table).

8m QRP FT8 (Saturday)

Since about 0950z, I have been on 40.680 MHz FT8 (DF about 1950 Hz, TX first). It is now 1038z and no spots.

UPDATE 1153z:  Spotted by S50F (1205km).

UPDATE 1402z:  Now EI1CAH (690km) also spotting me.

Stations spotting my 2.5W to
a low dipole on 8m FT8 today
UPDATE  1822z:  6 stations have spotted my 2.5W 8m FT8 to a low dipole today. There are some notable stations missing this year. G9PUV and EI9KP have not been seen on 8m TX this year.  G3WCS appeared briefly earlier in the spring, although I have not spotted him recently. So far, today has been a good day with plenty of Es on 8m. 

Es promising (Saturday)

As the indications are that we could have a decent day in Europe with Es, my proposal is still to try 8m FT8 on 40.680 MHz and 10m QRP WSPR with my 500mW beacon. I shall probably turn these on in the next 10 minutes. Later, I might try 8m WSPR on 40.680 (DF about 1550 Hz)

See https://www.tvcomm.co.uk/g7izu/radio-propagation-maps/europe-sporadic-e/.

Sunspots - Saturday May 27th 2023

 Solar flux is 149 and the SSN 127. A=6 and K=1.

26 May 2023

8m Saturday

Today seems to have been the best Es day in Europe this season. 

Even on 4m with an 8m dipole (tuned via an internal auto-ATU) I have been spotted widely in Europe and I have spotted 4m FT8 stations all over Europe.

So, assuming Es will be as good tomorrow, I hope to try 8m QRP FT8 on 40.680 MHz. I may also try some 8m WSPR.

I am convinced that very low powered 8m stations operating on WSPR using ISM rules will be widely copied across Europe. 

In many countries a licence is not needed for beacons on the 40.66-40.70 MHz ISM band as long as national rules are followed. In many countries this means 10mW ERP. On 10m WSPR just uWs have spanned Europe. We know from Australia that 5mW of 8m WSPR has spanned 5000km.

10m QRP WSPR TX (Friday)

As my 10m antenna is free, I am on 10m WSPR TX with my 500mW WSPR TX beacon.  Already, a couple of Es spots.

UPDATE 1024z:  Already 10 unique stations spotted.  Es seems good today.

UPDATE 1517z:
31 stations have spotted my 10m 500mW WSPR beacon today. Most are Es. See the table.

UPDATE 2120z:   62 unique stations have spotted me today. I think this is a record number.
Spots of my 500mW 10m WSPR today

4m FT8 (Friday)

 As I have no 4m antenna, I am using my 8m dipole, tuned via the auto ATU in the FT-710 So far just spotted today by G3SHK (200km) and no Es.

UPDATE 0935z: One G QSO with a station in the UK near Coventry - G4AEH (124km) and again a spot of me by EA6SA (1423km).

UPDATE 1030z: 3 spots of me with 2 QSOs, the furthermost being EA6SA (1423km). Several spots of Spanish stations plus ZB2GI (1848m).

UPDATE  1301z:    Spotted by 10 stations on 4m FT8 (see map). As HC02 (Portugal) was concerned by my timing (even though it should be sync'd to internet time), I have just done a re-sync.

UPDATE 2012z:
65 stations spotted my 4m FT8 today, even with my 8m wire dipole (see map)!

Gobbledegook - NOT amateur radio

I have just received an email from Google AdSense and I am none the wiser!  In my view it is total rubbish. To my mind, it was total gobbledegook.  

Please may I have this in plain English?  

Rallies this weekend

For once, a good weather forecast for a Bank Holiday weekend!

The following rallies have been notified to me, although I always recommend checking the details with organisers before travelling.

Saturday May 27th  - Barry Amateur Radio Society Rally , Sully, CF64 5SP. Contact Steve 07368 140795.

Sunday May 28th    - Durham and District ARS Radio Rally, Bowburn Co. Durham, DH6 5AT. Contact dadars@gmx.com 

8m disappointment this Es season

Both FT8 and WSPR have been given a try on 40.680 MHz.  Apart from Hugh HC02 in Portugal, I have had few spots this season.  My impression is there are fewer people on than last year. 

I know Es has been less good until recently and things could change. For those experimenting on 8m, the more stations on the better, with widespread monitors, even if unable to TX. 

Some quite odd antennas may well be good enough with Es, so if you have a RX capable of monitoring 40.680 MHz, that is probably all you need. 

If 28 MHz looks promising, it may be worth monitoring 40.680 MHz.

This is the real boundary between HF and VHF and a lot may possible.

Sunspots - Friday May 26th 2023

Solar flux is 152 and the SSN 150.  A=11 and K=2. 

25 May 2023

10m QRP WSPR (Thursday)

 When on 4m FT8, I am on 10m WSPR QRP TX with 500mW. 

UPDATE 1620z: I was wondering why I had got no 10m WSPR spots in the last hour. It helps if you turn the beacon on!! Guess who had forgotten? Doh!

UPDATE 1704z:  4 unique stations have spotted my QRP so far today.

UPDATE 1928z
: 10 stations have spotted my 10m 500mW WSPR today (see table).

4m FT8

 Using my 8m dipole tuned via the auto-ATU in the FT-710, I am on 70.154 MHz FT8. So far, 4 Gs have spotted me with the furthermost G4HGI (244km). No Es yet and nobody spotted on RX.

UPDATE 1905z:  At last some 4m Es, with the furthermost a spot of me by EA6SA (1423km) in the Balearics who gave me a good report. Also a station in Northern Ireland has received me. 6 stations have spotted me on 4m today (see map).

Goodestone Water Gardens - NOT amateur radio

About 2 miles from the National Trust property at Oxborough Hall in Norfolk are the Gooderstone Water Gardens. 

We practically had these to ourselves.  

If going to Oxborough, these are well worth visiting.

See https://www.gooderstonewatergardens.co.uk/ .

10m QRP FT8 (Thursday)

 At the moment I am on 10m FT8 with 2.5W.  So far, 10 stations have spotted me. On RX at 1442z, 40 stations have been spotted.

Sunspots - Thursday May 25th 2023

Solar flux is 164 and the SSN 153.  A=12 and K=2 . 

24 May 2023

A vision of the future - NOT amateur radio

This appeared earlier today. It was view of the future in 1930.  

I wonder what they would make of smart phones today! And also Bluetooth earpieces!

Lichen - NOT amateur radio

We saw this on our walk earlier around the village of Reach. We heard another cuckoo (definitely not a pigeon!!)

4m Es

As we are now in the Es season, I shall probably try 4m FT8 from tomorrow. There are now quite a few countries on 4m, which is very different from the 1960s when really just the UK and Eire were on. I was surprised how quiet 4m was outside of the Es season.

A good website showing which countries have 4m allocations is http://www.g0che.co.uk/4m_alloc.php .

10m QRP WSPR TX (Wednesday)

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

UPDATE 0852z:   No spots. I am getting a bit suspicious something is amiss.

UPDATE 1112z:  The coax is faulty. High SWR. Must investigate.

8m QRP FT8 (Wednesday)

 At the moment, I am on 40.680 MHz FT8 (TX first period, DF about 1950 Hz). 

UPDATE 1111z:  No spots.

European Es

As Es propagation in Eastern Europe is looking good today, I am changing my plans. I was going to go on 10m FT8, but instead will try 8m FT8 and 10m WSPR.

See https://www.tvcomm.co.uk/g7izu/radio-propagation-maps/europe-sporadic-e/ .

Sunspots - Wednesday May 24th 2023

Solar flux is 164 and the SSN 154.  A=15 and K=3.

23 May 2023

SW interval signals

If you were like me, you will recall the old shortwave interval signals of old. I remember the sound of Radio Moscow and VOA on the shortwave bands. These days, the shortwaves are a lot different with far fewer English language broadcasts.

See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/hf-mf-and-lf/sw-interval-signals .

Flowers - NOT amateur radio


These were on sale in Cambridge earlier. 

Cambridge store - NOT amateur radio

This was the fruit on sale in Cambridge earlier. M&S is a nice shop, if a bit expensive for some things.