30 Apr 2023

10m FT8 simple receiver

This has been on before, so this is just a timely reminder. 

10m FT8 is becoming very popular and this receiver allows 10m FT8 reception without tying up the main rig. It is simple, very low cost and works really well.

I could probably convert it into a full FT8 transceiver!

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

"London" grandchildren - NOT amateur radio

Two of our grandchildren are half French. On May 2nd their French grandfather has his birthday, so we took a photo in our back garden to send.

10m (28 MHz)

At various times of the solar cycle our largest HF allocation enjoys most propagation modes. At all parts of the solar cycle it experiences Es openings in spring and summer. It is often open when people desert it. This is where FT8 could prove useful in the quieter years.

It is also good for local chats. At one time modified CB rigs were very popular. With these and a CB vertical ranges of about 30km locally were common.

At the moment, it is a great DX band. It is usually better in the daytime, although when it is really good, it is often open for DX in the evenings.

It is wide enough for all modes. Even digital TV has been tried above 29 MHz.

It remains my favourite HF band.

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

Spring - NOT amateur radio


These flowers were in a garden in a nearby village. For the last couple of days it has felt like spring at last.

Getting ready - NOT amateur radio

Our grandson has rung in 109 towers now including this one at Isleham where they seem prepared for the coronation next weekend. 

In general, the whole preparation for the coronation feels very low key. I am old enough to remember the 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II!! I guess we were still getting over WW2 and this was a bit of light relief. 

I remember going to watch the coronation on a neighbour's tiny TV screen in black and white. We did not have a TV until 1957 and that was just one channel and back and white. At the time we thought it was amazing. Before then, we used to watch a snowy TV picture whilst sitting on the floor a a local radio/TV shop. At that time we were about 150km from the nearest TV transmitter.

10m QRP FT8 with the QDX


Since about 1120z, I have been on 10m QRP with the QDX. So far, mostly Europeans, I presume by Es.

UPDATE 1340z
:   80 stations have spotted my QRP.

Crabapple - NOT amateur radio

We only have one crabapple tree. It seems to be good every other year, so we are hoping for a good crop this year and some good crabapple jelly, as last year was poor. 

Sunspots - Sunday April 30th 2023

 Solar flux is 156 and the SSN 82.  A=20 and K=1.

29 Apr 2023

Multiband antennas

Quite a good multi-band antenna is the end-fed via a 9:1 balun. At the end of the wire it presents a high impedance and the 9:1 balun drops the impedance to a low SWR, certainly less than 3:1 that can be tuned via the auto-ATU in many modern rigs. On many radios an ATU will not be needed at all. With QRP, RF on the coax is not usually an issue. With high power, more care or a counterpoise may be needed.

At the moment I am using an end-fed antenna. I have not found a counterpoise necessary.

Commercial versions are available (e.g. from Moonraker), although many make their own.

Amateur Radio Weekly

Thus comes to me as an email on Saturdays. It is a precis of amateur radio news and very good it is. There are links to the originating articles.

See https://hamweekly.com/ .

8m tests to restart

This next week, I hope to restart my QRP tests on 40.680 MHz FT8. I have been off for a few weeks. 

The Es season is just getting under way. This season, I may try WSPR sometime probably in the WSPR window at 40.680 MHz (DF 1400-1600 Hz).

It would be good if lots of countries came on 8m FT8 or WSPR this season, ideally TX, but RX if nothing else.

I am convinced that just 10mW ERP WSPR will be copied across Europe on 8m at times. In the UK anybody would be able to TX 10mW ERP WSPR in the 8m ISM band without a licence as long as the technical requirements and IR2030 are met. This is not the Amateur Radio Service. It is an experiment under ISM rules.

Breakfast time? - NOT amateur radio

This thrush was hunting for worms and insects when we were on our walk earlier. Must be breakfast time!

10m QRP FT8 with the QDX

Since breakfast, I have been on 10m FT8 with the QDX QRP rig. 16 spots of me so far with the furthermost H44MS (14814km) in the Soloman Is in the Pacific. I think this genuine too.

UPDATE 1824z:  65 stations have spotted me so far today (see map).

Sunspots - Saturday April 29th 2923

 Solar flux is 150 and the SSN 111. A=19 and K=3. 

28 Apr 2023


Just would like to put on record how amazing the tiny 20-10m QDX digital transceiver is from QRP Labs. 

It works extremely well on TX and, as I have found out in the last day, works extremely well on RX down to at least 40m. It will probably go even lower! 

If you have no other rig, this tiny transceiver is a real winner. It can be used with WSJT-X on all modes I think. So far, I have used FT8 and WSPR. It is nominally a 5W rig, but my QRP signal is daily copied all over the world.

It is incredible how something this tiny works so very well.

See https://qrp-labs.com/qdx.html .

40m FT8 RX (Friday)

It is intriguing to see how low I can RX on my tiny 20-10m QDX transceiver. At the moment I am on 40m FT8 RX with the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground, which seems to work better at 40m than my end-fed 10m antenna. It would probably work on TX too but the low pass filter is probably ineffective.

Nothing has appeared on PSKreporter, although I can see many stations locally on my screen. Perhaps there is a delay or a reset is needed?

UPDATE 1310z:  WSJT-X reset. Still no PSKreporter spots on 40m FT8 RX.  Just looked on the "all bands" view and I can see my 40m RX spots - odd.

UPDATE 1401z:
51 stations spotted on 40m FT8 RX on the 20-10m QDX RX with the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground.

OFCOM updates

Just a reminder that OFCOM updates the information it holds every week. There is also a list of its publications. See the OFCOM website.

Dayton Hamvention - reminder

This is mid-May in Ohio USA. It is one of the biggest amateur radio gatherings in the world. It is often the place where major manufacturers announce new products, even if they are still some way off. I have never been. Let's hope Yaesu do not miss the boat again, or I fear curtains.

See https://hamvention.org/ .

Progress report

 Some weeks ago, these were my aims. Some have been achieved.


  • Put Spectran software on the shack PC.
  • Been on 80m and 160m with the earth-electrode "antenna".
  • Local 481 THz tests.
Not done
  • QRSS tests on 136 kHz.
  • 481 THz QRSS tests with Spectran.
  • Yet to restart 8m tests.

Trinity flowers - NOT amateur radio

These were the flowers on the path to Trinity College, Cambridge earlier this week.  Last year we were too late.

10m QRP FT8 (Friday)

Since 0915z, I have been on 10m QRP FT8 with the QDX transceiver. Poor conditions?  At 0928z, just 2 stations spotted and just one local has spotted me so far.

UPDATE 1208z:  15 stations have spotted my 10m QRP FT8 today.

30m FT8 RX in the last day using the 20-10m QDX

As stated yesterday, my QDX covering 20-10m is used with a 10m end-fed antenna. As an experiment I wanted to try it on 30m FT8 RX. I am amazed. Having been on since last evening only, with a totally non-resonant antenna, 654 stations have been spotted!!

Sunspots - Friday April 28th 2023

Solar flux is 150 and the SSN 136.  A=21 and K=3.  Conditions seem poor.

27 Apr 2023

30m FT8 RX with the 20-10m QDX (Thursday)

My 10m band end-fed antenna is way off tune on 30m. As an experiment, I tried my QDX for 20-10m on 30m FT8 RX this evening.  I have no idea how sensitive it is on 10.136 MHz. So far, 384 stations have been spotted at 2131z. The map shows the stations spotted here by 1935z.

15m QRP FT8 with the QDX (Thursday)

Stations spotting my QRP FT8 on 15m today

As 10m FT8 is so poor, I have QSYed to 15m. So far, I have been spotted by 14 stations with the furthermost WA4MIT (7015km) and I have spotted 21 stations.

UPDATE 1643z: 45 stations spotted and I have been spotted by 41 stations.

Adder snakes - NOT amateur radio

At 74 years old, I just realised I have never once seen an adder snake in the wild! 

I believe they bask in the sun, but they cannot be that common. They are most often seen on heathlands and woodlands. They are the only venomous snake in the UK. They are also known as vipers.  Their venom is rarely harmful to humans although medical treatment is advised. The photo is attributed to Benny Trapp on Wikipedia.

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

See https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/wildlife-explorer/reptiles/adder .

Ely yesterday - NOT amateur radio

This was Ely yesterday by the River Great Ouse.  Ely is a nice place with a cathedral on the hill and an attractive waterfront. The railway station seems always to be busy.

Rally at the weekend

The following has been notified to me. As this is an automatic email, it is advisable to check it is on and the information is correct.

Sunday April 30th - Ripon Radio Rally, Ripon, HG4 2PT. Contact  https://www.g4sjm.co.uk/contact-us .

Low key? - NOT amateur radio

On Saturday week, our new King Charles III is crowned. At the moment things feel very muted. For example, John Lewis in Cambridge, a major department store nationally, has nothing for the coronation, that I could see, on display. I guess they are worried about excess stock on their hands in hard times. This small display was at the back of a pub in Ely yesterday.

It is a very long time since Queen Elizabeth II was crowned and this was shortly after WW2 when there was a national support for the monarchy. These days, many younger people are not in favour of a monarchy and do not like wealth and privilege just because people inherited it. The problem is who would be president? 

Personally, I think (just) I am in favour of a symbolic monarchy as long as it is considerably slimmed down.

Worked all Cambridge(shire)

The Cambridge club (CDARC) is launching a scheme like a mini WAB scheme called "Worked all Cambridge (or is it Cambridgeshire?)". The object is to work stations in all the Ordnance Survey 10km squares in the county. For example, I am in TL56 square. I think it runs for a year, but as I do not have details yet, I have no idea how many squares there are. I can imagine some in the Fens are quite hard. What a fun scheme for a club.

10m FT8 QRP with the QDX (Thursday)

Shortly, I intend to try 10m QRP FT8 with the tiny QDX transceiver.

UPDATE 1110z:  80 reports of my QRP 10m FT8 TX. Now RX only.  Panic at first when my SWR bridge showed no power and a high SWR. It turned out it was the lead to the SWR bridge, not the QDX!  Stations across the planet spotted on 10m FT8 RX.

UPDATE  1248z:  220 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 1319z: Briefly on 10m QRP FT8 TX with 13 stations spotting me in the last.15 minutes.  Now back on 10m FT8 RX only with 261 stations spotted so far today.

UPDATE 1544z:  376 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX. 106 stations have spotted my QRP 10m FT8  today. I am operating as a beacon and not really after QSOs.

Sunspots - Thursday April 27th 2023

 Solar flux is 137 and the SSN 81. A=15 and K=3.

26 Apr 2023

8m WSPR for anyone, without a licence

Correspondence with OFCOM in the UK has convinced me that anyone may TX with a WSPR, FT8 or QRSS beacon in the ISM segment of 40.66 - 40.70 MHz without the need for any licence as long as the technical requirements and IR2030 are met. In the UK this means 10mW ERP. 

This is NOT the Amateur Radio Service.

Today, on 10m WSPR many stations (with a quiet noise floor) would have copied me with 5mW ERP, so I am convinced that at 8m, such signals could be widely copied. In Australia we know that 5mW of 8m WSPR has spanned 5000km.

What I am advocating is stations check the ISM rules in their country and set up a network of 8m WSPR beacons. If possible, randomise frequencies to avoid interference and stick within the WSPR window 40.680 MHz + DF 1400-1600 Hz. This will give us all maximum chances of being copied on 8m.

In the UK, callsigns for ISM beacons are optional, but I suggest something that WSPRnet can report and QTH locators are essential. This is an experiment and the more people taking part the better.

The Es season has arrived

Judging by the results on 10m WSPR, the Es season has arrived. I must give 8m another go and 4m. As the season gets underway we can expect widespread openings from the UK to Europe and similar distances in North America. On 8m, the main issue will be too few people monitoring.

My free PDF G3XBM Project Scrapbook

In my life in the amateur radio hobby, I have been very fortunate. If others can have as much fun as I have, it will please me greatly. My website has a link to the latest version of this book. It is totally free and money is not expected. Just have fun!

You can just browse it, download the lot or just the bits that take your fancy. As I always say, I am sure my projects may be improved, so treat these as starting points.

At some point, I must update it as there have been a few changes of late.

See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/book .

Peacocks in Ely - NOT amateur radio


This was where we had lunch today: Peacocks in Ely, Cambs.. It is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. We tried to take a friend there on a Tuesday, but found it closed!

Behind King's College Cambridge - NOT amateur radio

Behind King's Cambridge

The field behind King's College has been cut in half so one part is cut and the other left as a wild flower meadow. At the moment it is ablaze with cowslips. Not visible in the photo (just in front of the cows) is the River Cam beloved by punters.

10m QRP WSPR TX (Wednesday)

 Just before breakfast, I turned on my 500mW W5OLF 10m WSPR beacon. At 0836z, no spots received.

Does anyone know if Jay, W5OLF is still around? If you know, please let me know. I have used his beacon (excellent) since before the last sunspot peak. No PC needed. Just sync time initially. It is about the size of a pack of cards.

UPDATE 1408z: 11 spots of me today so far. Es?

UPDATE 1841z:  15 spots of me today. I am convinced many were by Es.

Sunspots - Wednesday April 26th 2023

Solar flux is 137 and the SSN 87. A=16 and K=3.

25 Apr 2023

Getting more information

Just to remind you that I have a main website and video channel that have more information about my projects. As I always advise, treat my projects as starting points. You can probably improve most of the things I have done!

For most "one off" projects, my own view is a PCB is a waste of time. Me Pads and Me Squares or similar can make very neat solutions.

You can also find a link to the free PDF G3XBM Project Scrapbook there as well.

Overall, have fun. 

As someone once said, "the journey is better than the destination". This reminds me of our younger son as a child. He always wanted to get to wherever we were going, but as soon as he got there he wanted to come home!

See www.g3xbm.co.uk .

Screaming swifts - NOT amateur radio

To my mind, the screaming of swifts feeding on the wing is a sign of English late spring and summer. In this part of the UK they usually arrive in mid-May, although in some parts they are seen earlier. Often they are heard before they are seen. Usually they are heard screaming, one looks up and there are the swifts! The sight of these in the sky warms my heart. By mid-August most have flown south.

Cambridge church cafe - NOT amateur radio

A number of churches now have cafes. I guess they raise funds for the church as well as providing a useful function for visitors and locals. In Cambridge, one such is Michelhouse in Trinity Street. When we popped in this morning it was busy.

10m QRP WSPR TX (Tuesday)

My 10m 500mW beacon was turned at about 1330z. Time was set using an atomic sync'ed clock.

UPDATE 1403z: No spots.

UPDATE 1438z: Just local G4KPX (14km) has spotted me.

Spots on my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon today

UPDATE 1827z: 
 A better day than I was expecting with 5 unique stations spotting my 500mW 10m WSPR TX today.

UPDATE 1922z: 
6 unique stations have spotted my 500mW 10m WSPR today (see map).

Local 481THz QRSS tests

This was going to be last night, but I was too exhausted. Maybe this evening? 

Ephemeral - NOT amateur radio

The photo shows the ornamental cherry tree in our garden. The blossom lasts a few weeks then is gone. 

Sunspots - Tuesday April 25th 2023

Solar flux is 134 and the SSN 88. A=76 and K=1. 

24 Apr 2023

Six metres

6m is sometimes called "the magic band" as it can open when least expected to incredible distances. In early July I have often copied Japan on 6m. This is a very long way for a VHF band. There have been some even further distances covered. With the Es season a few watts (or less) can work DX  to at least 1500km.

It is also a useful band for local chats and that inspired my Sixbox. This is not suitable for DX working, but is ideal for local natters.

See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/vhfuhfmicrowaves/homebrew/sixbox .

No photos please - NOT amateur radio


One of our granddaughters does not like her photo being taken, as you can see!

Plans for Monday

My 481 THz test software and lead are my priority. When I did the optical tests way back more than 10 years ago PCs had separate mic and headphone jacks. All my PCs now have combined jacks! 

So, I have to interface my optical RX and the PC in a new way. With soldering skills very hard these days, this requires some thought. Years ago I would just have bought a new jack socket (with mic input) and just changed the plug! I think years ago I just used a lead with standard 3.5mm plugs at each end.

I may put the 10m WSPR beacon on too.

UPDATE 1038z: 10m WSPR beacon is ON and my audio setup (interface from 481 THz RX to the PC) is working with Spectran. At G1KQH's suggestion I used a USB sound card I already had and it worked first time. Thanks for the suggestion Steve. 

UPDATE 1144z:  No 10m WSPR spots of my 500mW beacon. I suspect things are very disturbed. I checked all was well on another RX.

UPDATE 1515z: 
4 stations have spotted me today so far on 10m WSPR. My 481 THz TX beacon and RX work with QRSS and Spectran. 

Sunspots - Monday April 24th 2023

 Solar flux is 135 and the SSN 86. A=66 and K=3. Things seem pretty disturbed.

23 Apr 2023

Spectroid app

My lounge PC and smart phone have Android apps including a free one called Spectroid. This might be suitable for my 481 THz tests. It is available on the Play Store. It is a powerful audio spectrum analyser (see screenshot).

Robins - NOT amateur radio

Of all our garden birds, the humble robin is probably the most endearing. They can be very tame. Actually, as shown in David Lack's famous 1947 book "The Life of the Robin", it is a far more complex bird than it at first appears.  By the way, the book has been reprinted many times and the latest version is available online.

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

Salisbury - NOT amateur radio


I do not think I posted this photo of Salisbury last week. If I did, put it down to old age!

10m QRP FT8 (Sunday)

Since about 0945z, I have been in 10m FT8. Plenty of spots.

UPDATE 1426z:
149 stations have spotted my 10m FT8 QRP today.

QRP 10m FT8 spots of me today

UPDATE 2030z: 
245 stations have spotted my 10m FT8 QRP today. QRT soon. No spots from N.America.

Endings - NOT amateur radio

Endings do not work for me. When things end, I can find things hard. As I get older, and friends around me die, it is sometimes harder to make sense of things. Many years ago some things were very important to me whereas now they are less so.  Impulses that were strong long ago are less so now. 

As I have said many times, most religions seem to be too Earth-centred for me. I still think it must be great to have a strong faith, but I cannot be true to myself. As a youth I tried to be "saved", but never was. 

My philosophy has been to be as honest and open as I can be and kind to others. I am not perfect, but I know this.

80m QRP FT8 using the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground

80m FT8 spots of my QRP using the
earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground

As I managed to match the FT-710 to the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground, I was on 80m QRP FT8 early last evening and again now. So far, 60 stations have spotted me. It certainly works! 

Later, I may try calling into the CDARC (Cambridge) 80m net.

UPDATE 1000z: I tried to go on the CDARC 80m net, but heard nobody. Noise level was S9, so I QSYed to 10m FT8 instead on the FT-710 at QRP level. Plenty of spots on TX and RX.

160m QRP FT8 with the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground

Last evening and overnight I was on 160m QRP FT8 using the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. Even my XYL cannot see it!  

6 hours 160m FT8 TX at 3W using the
earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground

Results were remarkable with 53 spots of me right across Europe. As an experiment, I left it on overnight at just 3W.  23 stations spotted me as the map shows in the last 6 hours alone!  It certainly works. Furthermost was a spot by YO3APJ (2082km).

Sunspots - Sunday April 23rd 2023

 Solar flux is 141 and the SSN 87. A=7 and K=1.

22 Apr 2023

Chromebooks - NOT amateur radio

For about 2.5 years I have owned and used a Chromebook rather than a Windows PC. When I first got it, I wondered whether I had made the right decision.  It uses Chrome OS rather than Windows 10 or 11.

It was the right decision, definitely.

It starts very fast, does updates painlessly in the background, and does everything I need for my lounge PC. I have not found anything I want to do with it that I cannot do.  Also, it was far less expensive than a Windows PC and came with a 3 year "at home" warranty. It is pretty rugged too. It runs Linux apps too, although I have never needed to. It can also be used as a touch screen tablet.

I have been extremely pleased with it. Next year I shall probably buy another one!

80m FT8 tonight?

Just might try 80m FT8 TX this evening after dark when 10m is no good. It means matching the FT-710 to the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground and setting WSJT-X for use with the FT-710. For the last few days I have been using the QDX.

UPDATE 1606z:  As 10m does not exactly look great, I might swap to 80m FT8 quite soon.

Football - NOT amateur radio

In the UK, we call soccer "football". I am definitely an armchair fan! The last time I went to a match in person was 3 years ago with my son and grandson at Cambridge United. Watching on the TV is not the same, but some matches are very expensive.

Today, I have split loyalties: Plymouth Argyle used to be my local team. If they win today they have a better chance of promotion to the next league up. Cambridge United are struggling at the bottom of the table and face relegation. Last time I looked, Plymouth were 3:1 up.

Wrexham Town, who are a non-league team, could be promoted into the Football League if they win tonight.

UPDATE 1600z:  Plymouth Argyle won 3:1.

Plans for next week

My plans for next week are currently as follows:

  • Restart experiments on 40.680 MHz QRP FT8 TX now the Es season is almost here. 
  • Put Spectran software on the shack PC and carry out local 481 THz optical tests with it.
  • Go on 10m QRP WSPR TX whilst on 8m. 
  • Perhaps try 80m TX with the FT-710 using the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. Maybe I should try 80m FT8?? 
  • With Spectran on the PC, I could also perhaps try some 136 kHz QRSS tests.

Memory costs - NOT amateur radio

It is amazing how inexpensive memory now is. Just now, I ordered a 32GB flash drive for just £5.49. We can expect in 10 years this memory will seem small: it would not surprise me if 1TB costs under £10 in 10 years.

Anemones - NOT amateur radio


These were seen in Salisbury earlier in the week.

Spring in the garden - NOT amateur radio

Spring is a lovely time of the year. Everything springs into life after what seems like a long winter. Summer migrant birds are returning from Africa and the blossom is at its best. The birds are singing and building nests.

On the trees, the leaves are a fresh green, whereas later they look tired. Blossom is ephemeral. In a few days it will be gone until next spring and so the cycle goes on.

The photo shows spring in our garden.

10m QRP FT8 (Saturday)

My tiny QRP QDX transceiver was turned on at 0830z. So far,  just a local spotting me. On RX, I suspect a pirate as the only station spotted so far is in South America where it is still dark and the time is all wrong.

In the last day, 222 stations have spotted my 10m FT8 QRP from all over the world.

UPDATE  0841z:  A few more stations coming through on RX.

UPDATE 1000z:  Sorry, the South American was last night, not this morning as I was looking at the last 12 hours, so was probably genuine. So far this morning, 10 stations have spotted my QRP 10m FT8.

Stations spotting my 10m FT8 QRP today

UPDATE 1325z:
43 stations have spotted me today and I have spotted 55. The photo shows the stations that have spotted my 10m QRP FT8 today.

UPDATE 1516z:  50 stations have spotted my 10m FT8 QRP and I have spotted 73 on RX. I get the impression things are not so "hot" as yesterday. So far, not a single North American has been spotted. Also, I wonder if working the same stations yet again causes people to lose interest in FT8 unless there is some choice new country to chase? On SSB, FM and AM people can chat, whereas they cannot on FT8, although JS8call allows keyboard chats.

UPDATE 1816z:  Switched to the FT-710 from the QDX. This works on TX on 10m but not on 80m. I must be doing something wrong. 6 stations have spotted me so far at 10W on 10m FT8 TX. Maybe the settings are per band?

The current station

The photo shows my current station. On the left is the FT817ND with the SWR meter above. On the right is the FT-710 and tiny QDX transceiver plus the Tigertronics USB interface used with the FT817ND. In the background is the little used MX2 2m SSB handheld. 

Out of shot is the 500mW W5OLF 10m WSPR beacon TX. 

Sunspots - Saturday April 22nd 2023

 Solar flux is 151 and the SSN 114. A=9 and K=3.

21 Apr 2023

VLF earth-mode TX

Looking back over some of my old photos, I came across this photo of my 5W earth-mode VLF transmitter, that was last used over 10 years ago. 

The 3C90 toroid on the left is to match the low impedance output from the TDA2003 to the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. In the centre is the TDA2003 audio amplifier. On the right is the keyer IC that can produce QRSS or CW.

It would be good to do some more experiments in the future, if my health allows.

Doom painting detail - NOT amateur radio

Earlier this week I posted a photo of a "doom"  painting in a local church in Salisbury. It was painted centuries ago before many could read or write. I expect many in the congregation looked at the painting and thought about hell and purgatory.  

The whole painting reminds me of Bosch. It was whitewashed out by the "thought police" and rediscovered in the 1800s. Attached is a small part of the painting in detail.

Salisbury walk - NOT amateur radio

We went to Salisbury mainly to see the cathedral, but it was a very nice place to visit. On 2 occasions we did a lovely walk though the water meadows, where John Constable painted on many occasions.

Rallies this weekend

The following have been notified to me. It is advisable to check first for accuracy before  going far.

Saturday April 22nd - Moray Firth ARS (no location or postcode given). Contact mfars.secretary@gmail.com .

Sunday April 23rd - North ARS  Blackpool, FY2 9AA. Contact dwilson@btinternet.com .

OFCOM updates

 Just a reminder that OFCOM updates its data every week. See the OFCOM website for details.

8m WSPR for all?

Certainly here in the UK and probably many (or all?) countries people seem to have licence free access to the 40.66-40.70 MHz ISM band as long as any national conditions are met. In the UK this means 10mW ERP maximum and full compliance with IR2030. Interference must be accepted and not caused. We know from Australia that 5mW 8m WSPR has been received at 5000km, so much of Europe could be spanned on 8m WSPR by anyone. 

This is NOT the Amateur Radio Service!

This probably means any ISM band may be used licence free as long as national law is followed, although I have not asked OFCOM specifically about other ISM bands.   Remember OFCOM only covers the UK. You have to either be sure of the legality in your country or seek legal advice if you are unsure.

10m QRP FT8 (Friday)

My tiny QDX was turned on just before 0700z and already at 0721z 12 stations have spotted me. 

UPDATE 0905z:  35 stations have spotted me with the furthermost 5Z4VJ (6858km) in Kenya and 53 stations spotted here. 

Stations spotting my 10m FT8 QRP today

UPDATE 1734z: 153 stations have spotted my 10m QRP FT8 today.

Friday plans

Later, I hope to be on 10m QRP FT8 with the tiny QDX transceiver.

Last night I wanted to try my FT-710 in the UKAC on 4m, but totally forgot!! 

Sunspots - Friday April 21st 2023

 Solar flux is 147 and the SSN 97. A=5 and K=1.

20 Apr 2023

Head for heights? - NOT amateur radio

This man was way up the tower of Salisbury Cathedral. I have no idea what he was doing.

More AI crappery - NOT amateur radio

As an experiment just now I asked Chat GPT4 about my son, who is a professional jazz pianist. I tried about 7 times. The answers were all correct in parts, but every one was totally wrong on when and where he was born and many other details. 

My worry is people will believe that AI always is factually correct, when it isn't. 

Yes, I am sure a great deal of good can come from AI, but also it could result in a lot of incorrect data being assumed as correct.

At the moment, Chat GPT4 gets about 3/10 from me and "must try harder".

Artificial intelligence (AI) is coming, but it still has some way to go. I wonder what AI will be capable of in 10 or 20 years' time.

10m QRP FT8 (Thursday)

Stations spotting my 10m QRP FT8 late today

We have been away for a few days in Salisbury, so no amateur radio operation for a few days. We returned about 1515z today. I have been on 10m QRP FT8 and, so far, 60 stations on 4 continents have spotted me and I have spotted 119 stations on 5  continents. I am using the QDX transceiver. It runs less than 5W.

481 THz testing

The photo shows me testing my optical kit. It was recently tested locally. I want to do some over the horizon tests with G4HJW. 

Sunspots - Thursday April 20th 2023

Solar flux is 147 and the SSN 113. A=12 and K=1. 

19 Apr 2023

The Knowledge - NOT amateur radio

Every day I get "The Knowledge " by email. It is a few minutes read summary of the news from various sources. It is free and produced by the makers of "The Week". As far as I can tell it is neutral, neither left or right politically. I find it excellent, especially if you have not too much time.

Today there was a piece about AI. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Doom painting - NOT amateur radio

This painting is in a local church in Salisbury. It was painted when most people could not read or write. It was white washed over in the Reformation (vandalism in my view) and rediscovered in the 1800s. Why do people believe they always know best? It is part of history.