When I get back from my U3A course in Cambridge after lunch, I shall try 500uW (0.5mW) 10m WSPR and try to better match my earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground using the NanoVNA as a guide. Let's hope WSPRnet is working!
7 Dec 2023
6 Dec 2023
This afternoon, I have failed to access WSPRnet. It looks like there is a fault.
Without this, I cannot continue my 10m 500uW experiments. Tomorrow, I may try 10m FT8. I can try this with 50mW if need be.
Is there an alternative to WSPRnet?
It looks like WSPRrocks is working.
Apart from an abortive try last year with my CW beacon, I have not tried this band for many years.
With my NanoVNA I can (in theory!) match my earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground perfectly on that band, so I may repeat my beacon test at 2200m to see if I get more success. Last time I was trying reception with a mag-mounted EFP antenna. I guess this also needs checking.
At about 1430z my 2.5W 8m FT8 and a dipole was turned on. For some reason, my dipole has gone high SWR and it is actually lower on my triband V2000, so I am using this at present. Not quite sure what has changed.
UPDATE 1445z: Just local G4WSZ (12km) has spotted me.
Using the Met Office definition, we are already in winter. During the winter, many trees lose their leaves, grass stops growing or grows very slowly, and everywhere looks dead. Under the ground things are sleeping, waiting to come to life on warm, spring days.
Judging by the results yesterday, it is possible some stations may have spotted my 500uW (0.5mW) WSPR TX yesterday, so these tests, at 500uW, will continue today.
UPDATE 1440z: No spots at 500uW.
WSPRrocks, I can see that EA8/DF4UE (2786km) spotted my 10m 0.5mW test today. Even though the beacon is hard wired to report 0.5W, the output with the PA of is 500uW.
5 Dec 2023
There are a few YouTube videos that help too. You seem to get a lot for your money. I am also charging the battery. At the moment, I am still learning.
On my "to do" list is measuring the VSWR of all the antennas I use.
This morning I received this from Google.
"Google Cloud BigQuery works with Google Analytics 4 to help you become more data-driven and unlock AI. Bringing Google Analytics data into BigQuery can help you reveal business insights across more data and build ML-based audiences to increase marketing ROI."
I have no idea what ML means and many will not know what ROI means!
My 10m WSPR TX beacon is back on at 500mW. 500mW seems like QRO compared with 500uW!! At 1045z, no spots.
UPDATE 1132z: 12 spots of my 500mW. Reports suggest 500uW would not be copied. 50mW would have got some spots, even 5mW.
Let me say from the outset that I have no firm conclusions on how this works, but work it definitely does.
My theory is that it forms a loop in the ground, so the effective loop area increases as the frequency is lowered. If the spacing between the electrodes is increased the effective loop increases in diameter. This structure has been used (by others) for amateur radiated tests at extremely low frequencies. In my case it has proved effective with QRP up to 60m. On 630m WSPR it has proved very effective with reports from Finland with low mW ERP. It is almost invisible, with the XYL and neighbours not even aware it is there!
If the loop theory is correct a low impedance is needed as the electrodes enter the ground, but a high impedance between the electrodes so the effective loop diameter is large.
At present, I am using a mains earth (please check your mains earth is suitable) at one end, but tests at the old QTH showed that using 2 electrodes in the ground worked just as effectively.
Before anyone says that it is the wire back from the far electrode that is doing all the radiating, I tried putting the return wire on the ground with very little difference in performance.
At the height of the AIDS epidemic, the UK government effectively gave infected blood to people suffering from hemophilia and other conditions. Many caught AIDS. Many died.
Years later those affected are still awaiting full compensation. Last night the government suffered a defeat in Parliament as many MPs sided with the opposition parties on this scandal, demanding that compensation be paid within 3 months of the bill passing.
Every few weeks I take a look at activity levels on Oscar 100, which is a geosynchronous amateur satellite.
There are no rigs from Japan probably as the satellite does not cover the USA and Japan. I suspect this is one reason why they have not bothered.
As far as I know, anyone may use the licence free ISM bands (certainly in the UK) as long as the interface conditions are met. This often means low power and the acceptance of interference. At 868 MHz there are some odd duty cycle limits I think.
If you do not have an amateur radio licence, this may be a route to experiment.
4 Dec 2023
My 10mW ERP 630m WSPR from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground was turned on at about 1750z.
UPDATE 2130z: Spotted by 6 stations. Spots by Dave G4FEV (57km) make a change from 70cm SSB!! I am wondering if there are fewer WSPR 630m users as more people are using some of the newer modes in WSJT-X?
Every Thursday, I attend a talk about the Low Countries. Last week it was about Bruges. The speaker is excellent. We are lucky in Cambridge to have a very wide choice. Often the lectures are by ex University of Cambridge lecturers!
Although I shall run my beacon at 500uW for another day, I shall probably go back to full power (500mW!!) tomorrow. Even with 500uW (0.5mW), it is enough to get some spots if conditions are good, even with my low antenna.
UPDATE 1242z: No spots of me at 500uW (0.5mW).
3 Dec 2023
As much as I think the massacre in Israel on October 7th was totally wrong, I cannot see long-term good coming out of the response. All that is achieved in the end is yet more hatred.
Although unsure of the answer, it surely has to be based on mutual respect and talking, not bombs. Many of my best friends are Jewish and I am sure they hate the present situation as much as I do.
2 Dec 2023
Had these been available 60 years ago I wonder if I would have got a ham licence?
My 8m FT8 gear (2.5W and dipole) was turned on at about 1030z. So far just spotted by local G4WSZ (12km).
UPDATE 1245z: Spotted by HI0SDR/3 (7008km).
Yet again, I am TXing with my 10m WSPR beacon with the PA off. Even though the beacon is programmed to report 0.5W, the actual power is 0.5mW some 30dB less!!
I0UVN (1542km) reported me this morning, for the second time this week. Will there be others?
UPDATE 1320z: No further spots.
1 Dec 2023
It is understandable that the people of Israel were deeply traumatised by the Hamas attacks on October 7th.
However, by attacking the Gaza Strip as they have been must surely be self-defeating. Many in the world will resent the Israeli actions for generations. Even if Hamas was completely eliminated, a new group would appear still hating Israel.
The only solution cannot be won with war. The solution has to be one based on negotiations and fairness in which everyone is respected mutually and is free to worship as they want.
In my view, what is happening now is genocide and ethnic cleansing.
Jaw, jaw, not war, war.........please!
Way back, one of my (many!!) projects was this simple AM transceiver for local natters on 10m, such as at sunspot minimum or at night. The RX is very sensitive, but quite broadband, so not really suitable for DX.
Because of my 2013 stroke, it never got finished. It was based on the 2m Fredbox. I just wish someone would do a PCB and finish it. It could make a nice club project.
The latest COP meeting (mostly of world leaders) has opened in Dubai. We are on target for a far warmer world. Hopefully renewables, like wind and solar which are now far less expensive, will help. We need a low cost way of storing this energy. We also need a much better way of powering cars with far more range.
All these could be transformational if they come soon. There was a point when everyone swapped to digital cameras and flat screen TVs. If this happened with energy, it could make a huge difference. Investment is needed and fast.
Nuclear fusion may help in the future, although people having been trying to make this commercially viable since I was in infant school!
My 8m 2.5W FT8 was turned on about 1240z. Just local G4WSZ (12km) spotting me so far today.
UPDATE 1505z: 4 stations have spotted me (3 in the Caribbean) on 8m FT8, with one QSO with a station in the Cayman Is.. At the moment, my 2.5W and dipole seem to cross the Atlantic most days.
|Stations received on 8m FT8 today|
It looks like the peak of solar cycle 25 may have been reached. November 2023 was the month shown as the predicted peak of this cycle. This has not changed for months on my favourite site for solar data.
We can expect conditions to be for several more years.
The following have been notified to me. As I always say, check before travelling any distance.
Sunday December 3rd - Bishop Auckland Radio Amateur Club Rally Spennymoor Co. Durham, DL16 6DB. Contact email@example.com .
Sunday December 3rd - Royal Wootton Bassett Swapmeet and Auction, , Swindon, Wootton Bassett, SN4 8EN. Contact not given, but check website http://www.bvws.org.uk .
30 Nov 2023
My 2.5W 8m FT8 was turned on after lunch. So far (at 1442z) local spots by G4WSZ (12km), but no DX.
UPDATE 1500z: First transatlantic 8m spot today by WW1L (4976km).
UPDATE 1534z: 4 spots of my 2.5W 8m FT8 with 3 "across the pond".
For several days, my beacon, with the PA off, was operating without an antenna because of a coax fault. Today, I repeated the 500uW WSPR test (with the beacon PA off), but with the antenna! I was copied, quite well, in Italy. According to my TinySA spectrum analyser the power is 500uW. According to the report I could have been copied at 100uW or less with a low RX noise floor. My beacon is hard programmed to report 0.5W, even though it was producing 0.5mW for this test.
|Even though the beacon is hard coded |
to report 0.5W, it was actually 0.5mW
29 Nov 2023
My 10mW ERP WSPR was turned on at about 1715z. So far, at 1746z, 4 stations have spotted me. On recent nights, I have not had spots from really distant Europeans. I wonder if this conditions?
UPDATE 2045z: So far this evening, 11 stations have spotted me. See table.
Today, we had our first real frost. We had one the day before, but not as cold. We are more used to mild weather these days, but today is bitter for us. It is about +2 degrees Celsius maximum, which is cold for here in the daytime. I can hear readers in Canada and Scandinavia saying," you think that is cold?". It is sunny and bright, so I don't mind the cold.
My 2.5W was turned on at 0916z. So far spots from local G4WSZ (12km).
UPDATE 1201z: Spotted by G7PUV (158km) too.
UPDATE 1425z: 6 stations have spotted me including 2 in Florida, USA and 2 in the Caribbean.
My beacon is back to full power (500mW). It was turned on at 0914z. So far (at 0919z) no spots.
UPDATE 1230z: No spots at all, despite a reset on timing. I am suspicious.
UPDATE 1345z: My coax was open circuit - now fixed. It means my 500uW tests these last few days were invalid, so I may repeat these.
UPDATE 1348z: 5 immediate spots. The PA has been working into an open circuit all morning!
UPDATE 1356z: At 1354z I turned the beacon PA off so the output is about 500uW. This time, I have an antenna connected!!
UPDATE 1530z: No spots with 500uW. I shall run at this power if I am around. Interesting test.
28 Nov 2023
My 2.5W 8m FT8 to the low dipole has been on since mid-morning. Yet again, my signal has been spotted in the Caribbean. In the last 2 days I have had 8m FT8 exchanges with both ZF1EJ and PJ4MM. In all today, my 8m FT8 signal has been spotted by 7 stations with 5 "across the pond".
Whilst I am sure a small beam, higher up, and more power would help, this proves to me that even 2.5W can make it when F2 conditions are good.
In the UK there is a row growing about the return to Greece of the Elgin Marbles . These were originally in the world famous Parthenon.
In my view these should be returned.
Although I stand to be corrected, these were essentially stolen! My suggestion is a copy of these should be made and displayed (this has been done before e.g. the Alfred Jewel in the Ashmolian Museum in Oxford). Their proper home is in the Parthenon in Athens, which is visited by millions.
Around the sunspot maximum we can see the MUF going much higher than we are used to. Take for example the 8m band, which is allocated to the Amateur Radio service in some countries and available to some on an experimental basis. Quite regularly, my 2.5W 8m FT8 is copied in the Caribbean, USA and Canada. This is on 40.680 MHz USB dial. This suggests the MUF is probably at 41 MHz quite often even on E-W paths. The MUF is usually higher on N-S paths.
For a long time, I have been advocating that 5 kHz at 8m be made available to the Amateur Radio service, narrow digital modes only, strictly non-interference, secondary, in the ISM band, low power, by application only. I can see this only really appealing to true experimenters. It would appear the FCC and OFCOM (and the RSGB) are dead against, but I struggle to understand why when so much propagation research could be done. Even it permits were limited to around the solar maximum it would be useful. Instead, in the UK we have to pay to do research - total madness and stupidity.
27 Nov 2023
The BBC reports that New Zealand is to reverse moves which (hopefully) would have phased out smoking. They have supposedly done this to fund tax cuts. This would appear to be a step backwards. I do not know all the facts.
My 2.5W 8m FT8 was turned on at about 1025z. So far, spotted by nobody.
UPDATE 1208z: Spotted by EI9KP (649km) and G4WSZ (12km).
UPDATE 1338z: ZS3/V51PJ (9081km) has just been spotted.
UPDATE 1415z: My QRP 8m FT8 now also spotted by WW1L (see map).
My 10m WSPR TX beacon remains on with the PA turned off. According to my TinySA spectrum analyser the power is about 500uW. After several days I have still to be spotted.
UPDATE 1100z: It worked at 50mW and has worked in the past at 500uW, but I think conditions have to be exceptionally good for it to work at this power level, especially with higher RX noise floors these days. I shall probably return to QRO for me tomorrow (500mW!!).
This morning I received another (near incomprehensible) email from Google. It was about video policy on AdSense. As with all things Google why use 3 words when 23 will do!! I think those in charge of communications at Google need to go on a plain English course.