My QRP 10m WSPR 500mW WSPR beacon was turned on at 1154z.
UPDATE 1211z: Copied by FR1GZ (9724km) on Reunion, so it works.
UPDATE 2130z: A really poor day with spots by just 3 stations
Simple QRP projects, 10m, 8m, 6m, 4m, FT8, 160m, WSPR, LF/MF, sub-9kHz, nanowaves and other random stuff, some not related to amateur radio.
My QRP 10m WSPR 500mW WSPR beacon was turned on at 1154z.
UPDATE 1211z: Copied by FR1GZ (9724km) on Reunion, so it works.
UPDATE 2130z: A really poor day with spots by just 3 stations
After several days absence, I am again on 8m QRP FT8. Conditions on 10m looked promising, so it was worth a go. My 8m FT8 gear on 40.680 MHz was turned on at 1141z. As the USA has not been spotted on 10m FT8, I am not too hopeful of getting "across the pond" on 8m today.
Just remembered! I can go on 10m QRP WSPR TX at the same time with my 500mW beacon.
UPDATE 1407z: No spots yet on 8m FT8. Interestingly, I had to change my PC. The power on 8m seems to be holding up better over time. This suggests the audio level into the FT817ND was dropping, not the FT817ND losing power as it got warmer.
UPDATE 1454z: No 8m spots. Nothing seen from the USA on 10m WSPR TX, so I suspect my 8m FT8 QRP stands very little chance now until the Es season starts again.
UPDATE 2120z: Windows PC has packed up under warranty. So, needs to be fixed or replaced.
It featured on TV in "The Professionals".
Some were converted to 70cms. They are rare these days and I do not have one! Your best bet is eBay. There is a PDF manual on my website.
See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/vhfuhfmicrowaves/vhfuhf-commercial-rigs/pye-pf8 .
The sunspot count remains respectably high with counts of over 100 most days. My favourite site for solar data is still showing the next solar peak as Nov 2023, which seems quite early. Figures are usually revised in the early days of the new month.
The most credible explanation is this is caused by ionisation in the mesosphere linked to the formation of noctilucent clouds that form at this time. From research, this path could work at even higher frequencies, possibly microwaves! What is needed is for keen people at each end to try.
This is definitely a case when research by radio amateurs could advance radio science. There is much to be gained from this research. I think noctilucent clouds are becoming more common as a result of climate change, but don't quote me on this. Certainly Far East stations have been spotted here on just a vertical omni on 6m FT8 for several years in July.
Now is the time to arrange some skeds on 2m, 70cm or 23cm. Records could tumble.
See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/vhfuhfmicrowaves/super-dx .
After just a few minutes (it is now 0938z) 5 stations have spotted me and I have spotted quite a few stations in Eastern Europe using the QDX. This looks like single hop F2 propagation. To be honest, conditions are better than I was expecting.
UPDATE 1106z: 40 stations have spotted me and I have spotted 118 stations here. Conditions are definitely better than I expected, so 8m FT8 (or WSPR) is worth a try later.
At first, I shall try 10m FT8 using the QDX transceiver. If successful, I may try 8m FT8 later. I am toying with trying 8m WSPR at 1W around 40.680 MHz.
Solar flux is 161 and the SSN 192. A=94 and K=4.
At the moment, 10m FT8 seems to be able to deliver worldwide DX daily. In about 5 years' time we will be at the depths of the solar cycle and 10m may appear dead again. This is when WSPR and FT8 could prove extremely useful.
Both the WSPR and FT8 "watering holes" are quite small, but well monitored. I hope many will stick with these modes on 10m as there is a great deal for us to learn. Especially on N-S paths it would not surprise me at all to find paths open, even with very low solar activity.
Often low 10m activity is not because of conditions, but people going ever lower in frequency for an easier life. Just listen to CB nearby.
Even though I wish the RSGB and OFCOM would see sense and grant real experimenters an NoV for 8m, I have shelled out (yet again) to continue research at 8m until April 2nd 2024. In my view their position on this seems totally stupid in the extreme!!! As before, I asked for digital only at QRP.
I really hope as many as possible come on the ISM band without a licence whilst ensuring they are fully compliant with any national requirements. As I said yesterday, it is my view that anyone in the UK can run 10mW ERP WSPR beacons in the 40.66-40.70 ISM band without a licence and with whatever callsign you like!!
Strictly speaking, you do not need to give your location, even with the T&I licence either! Personally I think this is bizarre.
Callsigns are not a requirement of ISM use, although I think there is nothing whatsoever to stop you using your amateur radio callsign as an identifier. This is not the Amateur Radio Service. You could, of course, make up your own callsign like "your initials"123! If using WSPR, it is advisable to make sure the format of the callsign will be reported to WSPRnet.
This morning started with a slight panic. I went on 10m FT8 with the QDX and thought the SWR looked high. It was as if the QDX was still on 20m. Then it clicked - I was on PWR not SWR. All was well and the SWR very low!!
My gear was switched on at about 0850z. It is now 0900z and, so far, 25 stations spotted on RX and 4 stations have spotted my QRP FT8 TX.
UPDATE 0921z: 11 spots of my QRP from Eastern Europe. I assume this is F2 propagation.
UPDATE 1036z: 20 stations have spotted me with the furthermost 7Z1IS (4948km). On RX, 99 stations have been spotted here.
UPDATE 1400z: 31 stations have spotted me on 10m FT8 and I have spotted 301 stations.
UPDATE 1424z: 45 stations have spotted me with the furthermost ZS3SH (9149km). On RX, 372 stations spotted on 10m FT8. Still using the tiny QDX.
UPDATE 1542z: Today I have been spotted by 87 stations and I have spotted 487 stations. In just a day, I have been spotted on 5 continents with the QRP QDX on 10m FT8 as well as had many QSOs on 10m FT8.
UPDATE 1918z: 119 stations have spotted my QRP 10m FT8 today and I have spotted 565 stations. Not a single station has been spotted from North America.
Solar flux is 159 and the 120. A=26 and K=6.
Some months ago, I had an email from OFCOM. The contents are shown here. It convinced me (although I am no legal expert) that beaconing in the 8m ISM band is perfectly legal without a licence as long as certain conditions are met. In the UK, this means 10mW ERP. Half this power at 8m has already spanned 5000km from Australia to the Cook Is on WSPR. With summer Es I am certain that such WSPR beacons in the UK would be copied in Europe. Microwatt 10m WSPR beacons have been copied in Europe from the UK.
This is what OFCOM said in an email:
"The use of licence-exempt apparatus is authorised under exemption regulations, with set emission powers and other criteria. This is in order for it to be available to all users with minimal risk of disruption or interference.
The limits, including maximum power levels and whether airborne use is permitted, are set out in the UK Interface requirement IR2030. If apparatus being used for testing meets the relevant technical criteria and complies with IR 2030, then a licence will not be necessary. Please note that some frequency bands which may be licence-exempt in other countries, such as the USA, may not be so in the UK and only the frequency bands listed are eligible for the exemption of qualifying apparatus.
In some circumstances we may be able to authorise the test or development of non-compliant radio apparatus under an Innovation and Trial (I&T) licence. However, this generally will be under conditions that are sufficiently remote, shielded or otherwise unlikely to affect other users. I&T is not intended for the operational use of radio apparatus, such as for the monitoring / control / telemetry of other apparatus, where a licensed or exempt authorisation is already generally available. Even if it were the radio apparatus itself that is under test or development (in excess of normally permitted limits) we should emphasise that, as describhe OFCOMed above, it will not be possible to grant an operational permission for its future deployment and use."
My interpretation is 10mW ERP is legal for beacons in the 8m UK ISM band without a licence as long as these conditions are met. This is not the Amateur Radio Service.
Probably we are OK to experiment in other ISM bands as long as the OFCOM criteria are met. I did not ask this.
This loophole may be available at different power levels in other countries. If so, many more people could legally get on 8m in future.
The important bit is:
"If apparatus being used for testing meets the relevant technical criteria and complies with IR 2030, then a licence will not be necessary."
Now my QDX transceiver has arrived, I am concentrating on 10m FT8 today. The antenna looks quite a good match to 17m and even on 20m it is not bad. I think the QDX puts out about 4W on 10m.UPDATE 0943z: 55 spots on 10m FT8 RX and a couple of spots on TX (Ukraine and Canary Is).
|10m QRP FT8 spots of me to 1600z using the QDX|
When I first came on VHF, most activity was on AM. These days what phone activity exists is SSB or FM with AM quite rare.In some ways, this is a pity. AM gear used to be able to be picked up very cheaply and homemade AM gear can be very simple. I have to confess that I am rarely on AM these days, preferring FT8 as my voice is poor. I come on 2m and 70cm SSB for activity contests and once a week on a 2m FM net.
See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/vhfuhfmicrowaves/vhf-am .
Solar flux is 152 and the SSN 129. A=10 and K=2.
|Stations that spotted my QDX |
this afternoon on FT8
Often there is a need to monitor 10m FT8 without using the "big rig". You might like to consider my 10FT8R 10m FT8 RX. This is simple, works very well and is low cost. Mine never got beyond the breadboard stage (as you can see)!
See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/hf-mf-and-lf/homebrew/10ft8r-rx .
Later, I hope to go on 10m FT8.
Solar flux is 164 and the SSN 130. A=6 and K=2.
It is now 0920z and I have been on for about an hour. So far, no spots.
UPDATE 0955z: No spots. I shall turn things on 8m off TX shortly, but on later in case there is any transatlantic F2.
UPDATE 1251z: Spotted by MCP44 (47km).
My 500mW WSPR TX beacon was turned on at 0805z. So far today, no spots.
UPDATE 0921z: 17 spots of my QRP so far from the Canary Is.
UPDATE 1300z: 8 unique stations have spotted me today, mostly from the USA.
At the moment my plan is to go on 10m WSPR TX and 8m QRP FT8. Depending on my QDX coming, I may try this.
UPDATE 1211z: My built QDX is supposed to have arrived at Castle Donnington in the night. It is meant to be delivered here by 1800z.
Solar flux is 148 and the SSN 108. A=22 and K=1.
This video of a hiking "path" in Switzerland is sure to raise your blood pressure.
See https://twitter.com/OTerrifying/status/1627562598463082496 .
Almost forgot! When on 8m FT8, I can go on 10m QRP WSPR TX with the 500mW beacon as the antenna is available. So for about 10 minutes (it is now 1327z) 6 stations have already spotted me.
At about 1318z, I QSYed to 8m QRP FT8. So far, just one spot by FG8OG (6670km). It seems transatlantic reception even of my QRP is almost daily.
UPDATE 1534z: 2 spots of my QRP (again) from the Caribbean. It feels like this is most days. I may try WSPR another day. At 1W on the FT817ND I wonder how this will be?
This rally has been notified to me. Always worth checking the details are correct before travelling a long way!
Sunday Feb 26th - West Manchester Radio Club Red, Leigh, WN7 2PJ.
I have also received news that the Callington (CARS) Rally in Cornwall in March has been cancelled.
|Stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX today|
Solar flux is 152 and the SSN 100. A=6 and K=3.
SSB and FM operation require me to be in the shack, whereas FT8 and WSPR may be monitored on a different PC in the lounge.
I usually sync to internet time early morning (just using Windows 10) and I can pop in the shack (which I do often) in seconds. Although I sometimes re-sync later in the day, I am not convinced this is really needed.
Although I have a separate bench for building, my poor fine motor skills mean it is rarely used these days, sadly.
The photo shows me looking at birds in the garden as the shack probably has the best view.
See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/other-amateur-radio/shack .
My most recent peek at this geosynchronous satellite last night was worse than last time! Activity was pathetic. My most recent look was at 2220z on a Wednesday evening. There were just 2 stations only active.
My own view is this is just too hard for the "appliance operators" of today. If one of the big manufacturers offered a rig (they won't as Japan and the USA are outside the footprint of the satellite), things would be different as "black box" operators could chat with much of the world without big beams and linears and with a small, fixed antenna. Don't tell them they can do this for free on the Internet!😀
What will happen? Things will carry on as now and activity might pick up as solar activity wanes. What is needed is a low cost add-on to enable appliance operators to get on the satellite using their main rig.
People happily shell out huge amounts for linears, beams and towers. None of these would be needed.
Of course the simplest of all is a crystal set that does not even need a battery.
The simplest circuit that really works well is probably the one shown. I even adapted this into a 1 FET 80m transceiver. The RX works well on AM, SSB and CW. By changing the tuned circuit, it will work on different bands. As a transceiver my main issue was netting the RX onto the TX frequency.
There are plenty of similar circuits on the Internet.
See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/hf-mf-and-lf/homebrew/80m-or-40m-regen-rx .
Testing with the 500mW beacon started at about 0940z. It is now 1000z and, so far, 2 unique stations spotting me. No surprises.
UPDATE 1019z: 4 unique stations spotting me.UPDATE 1420z: 13 unique stations have spotted my QRP today.
Testing began at about 0940z. No spots yet today.
UPDATE 1414z: It seems "crossing the pond" is almost daily at the moment on 8m FT8, even though the ERP is about 1W when the rig get hot!! Just spotted by FG8OJ (6670km).
UPDATE 2142z: On 8m FT8 RX today my system spotted G9PUV and EI2IP. I am surprised that I do not copy many more. At some point, I need to check the 8m sensitivity. This would involve a trip to a nearby amateur with a calibrated signal generator. It would not surprise me if it was several dB deaf on 8m. Even so, I have still copied S.Africans and Caribbean stations several times.
Many times I have said that if all magazines had to go, SPRAT would be my last. This is incredible value.
See https://www.gqrp.com .
Solar flux is 161 and the SSN 106. A=16 and K=2.
Been on 8m FT8 early (since just before breakfast). So far, no spots today.
UPDATE 0955z: Still no spots. OFCOM has confirmed that my new T&I 8m licence has all I asked for.
My 500mW 10m WSPR beacon was turned on before breakfast. It is now 0912z and all the usual reports including many from the Canary Isles, which I assume is F2 propagation.
UPDATE 1658z: So far today, my 500mW WSPR has been spotted by 19 unique stations with the furthermost WA2N (6488km).
UPDATE 1837z: 22 unique stations have spotted my 500mW 10m WSPR today.
Solar flux is 160 and the SSN 135. A=8 and K=3.
Just heard from OFCOM that they have approved my T&I 8m permit for when mine runs out in April. I have asked for a provisional copy to check over. Assuming this is OK, it means I have broadly the same as currently until April 2024.
It is now 0950z and I have been on since 0900z. Spots of me by a local and from the Canary Isles.
UPDATE 0959z: 4 unique stations spotting me now. Most are probably via F2.
It is now 0945z and I have been on for about 45 minutes. So far, the only spot of me is by 4X1BG (3532km). Nobody has been spotted on 8m FT8 RX.
UPDATE 1754z: My own QRP 8m FT8 was spotted in Israel and Kazakhstan I have spotted 5 stations including 1 in the USA and 1 in Canada.
Solar flux is 169 and the SSN 112. A=7 and K=0.
A recent posting on an IO group reminded me of this most useful archive on radio history.
Today, I guess these well kept thatched cottages are owned by the wealthy who can afford them. In the 1800s, they were probably worker's hovels.
Been on for about 30 minutes (it is now 0945z) and, so far with the 500mW 10m WSPR beacon, 3 unique stations have spotted me. No surprises!
UPDATE 1156z: 7 spots of me so far today. USA also spotting me again.
UPDATE 1615z: 29 unique stations have spotted my 10m 500mW WSPR today with the furthermost being FR1GZ (9724km).
Only been on for a short while, but been spotted by 4X1BG (3552km) and I have spotted G4APG (88km).
UPDATE 1008z: A reminder that I believe anyone in the UK may legally put 10mW ERP beacons on without a licence on the 8m ISM bands as long as the technical requirements and IR 2030 are met. As encouragement, an Australian 8m WSPR beacon at 5mW was copied over 5000km away! See https://ei7gl.blogspot.com/2023/01/successful-low-power-tests-on-40-mhz.html . It would be good to see many WSPR beacons on 8m this Es season.
UPDATE 1150z: ZS6OB (9099km) spotted on 8m FT8 RX.
Solar flux is 167 and the SSN 109. A=6 and K=0.
Although you made not build this, I hope it gives you some ideas.
See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/hf-mf-and-lf/homebrew/10m-tenner-qrp-cw .
Been on 8m FT8 (TX first) for about 90 minutes. So far, 2 spots from Eastern Europe with the furthermost RA4FER (2992km). This is almost certainly F2 propagation.
UPDATE 1016z: Not sure if there are now more people monitoring 8m FT8 or it is just that conditions are better so more people can copy my QRP. Until yesterday, there were very few reports of me from the east.
It is now 1005z. 9 stations have so far spotted me. The majority look like F2 propagation.
UPDATE 1220z: 13 stations have spotted my 10m QRP WSPR beacon today. USA starting to spot me.
UPDATE 1342z: 26 spots of my 500mW QRP 10m WSPR. so far today.
After breakfast I hope to be on 8m QRP FT8 TX on 40.680 MHz as well as 10m QRP WSPR TX with 500mW from the W5OLF beacon. There might be some F2 backscatter on 8m.
My 8m gear (2.5W to a low dipole) has been on since just before breakfast, but no spots.