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.

10m QRP WSPR (Tuesday)

On QRP WSPR with my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon. 

UPDATE 2039z:   Surprisingly, no spots. I checked the timing!! 

8m QRP WSPR (Tuesday)

As Es in Europe looks promising, I am on 40.680 MHz WSPR at 2W (DF 1560 Hz, TX 20%).

UPDATE 1436z:  No spots.

UPDATE 2037z:  5 spots by HC02 (1808km). 

Sunspots - Tuesday May 23rd 2023

Solar flux is 155 and the SSN 97. A=15 and K=3.

22 May 2023

Not on 8m today

For the first time in several weeks, I have not been active on 8m FT8 or WSPR today.

There are two reasons:

1. There seem fewer people active this Es season. I was expecting more to be on with Es being good and nearing sunspot maximum. I was hoping some would apply for, and be granted, special permission to use 8m for a limited time only to carry out useful research. I was also expecting many to come on with the ISM rules that might apply in their country.

2.  Many stations have "worked" or exchanged reports with the active stations on 8m. Unless new people or countries come on the band, there is little more that can be explored. 

My intentions is to go on 8m FT8 or WSPR when it is good, but not otherwise.

F2 disturbed?

It is interesting that not a single signal has been spotted today from outside Europe on 10m FT8.  At the same time, I have spotted plenty from Europe on 10m FT8, presumably by Es propagation.

I am no expert on HF propagation, but it would seem F2 propagation is upset by poor by solar conditions, but not Es. If Es does suffer, the effect is much smaller.

D2UY in Angola has been a good indicator of propagation. Not seen this station today on 10m FT8.

Robin - NOT amateur radio

The English Robin is one of the most common birds in an English garden. The American Robin is a different bird in the thrush family. 

The English Robin can be very tame.  If you are digging in the garden, expect to be joined by a visitor!

Housework - NOT amateur radio

In our house we do the housework jointly on a Monday. After this (mid morning) we enjoy a cup of coffee together.

European Es

In the last few days, I have found this site extremely useful. In a few seconds, I can get a "snapshot" picture of Es conditions in Europe. It gives me a good idea of what bands may prove useful. Of course, Es can change very quickly so this is not perfect, but it is a useful guide.

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

10m QRP FT8 with the QDX (Monday)

My tiny QDX was turned on at 0622z i.e. quite early. No spots yet. 

UPDATE 0816z:  7 spots of me from Eastern Europe and I have spotted 4 stations. No DX yet.

Stations spotting me today

UPDATE 1028z:  
33 stations have spotted my QRP and 26 have been spotted here. All Europeans. I assume most are Es.

UPDATE 1200z: 52 stations have spotted me and 51 stations have been spotted here. Iberia now coming through.

UPDATE 1431z:  I have been spotted by 65 stations and I have spotted 67. All were in Europe. Still no real DX today.

Sunspots - Monday May 22nd 2023

 Solar flux is 163 and the SSN 140. A=28 and K=3.

21 May 2023

Growing up - NOT amateur radio


One of our sons and grandsons earlier in our back garden.

6m super DX

Several stations in Europe have worked VK8AW on 6m. This is amazing. 

I am not sure of the propagation mechanism. TEP might be involved for some of the path. This sort of DX has been worked on several days. 

8m QRP FT8 (Sunday)

As the previous post explained, I had no intention of going on 8m today! Then I saw 10m was open to Iberia, so QSYed to 8m FT8.  At 1040z, no spots.

UPDATE 1055z:  Spotted on 8m by HC02 (1808km) in southern Portugal. Hugh has been pretty dedicated - thank you Hugh.

10m QRP WSPR (Sunday)

Originally, I was going to be on 10m QRP FT8 all day. Then I noticed Es on 10m to Iberia, so I QSYed to 8m QRP FT8 and 10m QRP WSPR with my 500mW beacon. Several spots from Portugal of me on 10m WSPR  plus a local.

UPDATE 1103z:  Still just the 2 stations spotting me. It will be interesting to see if the Es moves and I get spots from others. Certainly to Portugal the Es seems a bit poorer now although this could just be QSB.

UPDATE 1108z: Now being spotted in Luxembourg by LX1DQ (504km).

More on that Belgian 8m amateur band

Details are still very sketchy, but I see John has put a bit about this on his excellent blog. We can only hope this allocation is the first of many.  There is a real case of a small amateur allocation here to encourage real research.

Personally, I would happily give up 5 kHz of any band for 5 kHz at 8m. Really, I cannot see the harm in any country allocating a small bit in the ISM band 40.66-40.70 MHz to amateurs on a secondary basis. Oh sorry, this requires brains and thinking!!  😁

See https://ei7gl.blogspot.com/ .

Runner beans - NOT amateur radio

These are a good choice for gardens as they are (generally) easy to grow, have attractive flowers, and you eat them! I have grown them for the last few years in an otherwise wasted corner of the garden. It gets sun in the mornings.

See https://www.rhs.org.uk/vegetables/runner-beans/grow-your-own .

Sunflowers - NOT amateur radio

These are fun to grow.  A few days ago I put 12 seeds in a propagator. They germinated very fast and want potting on, before going outside. They can grow very tall. The birds love the seeds at the end.

See  https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/helianthus/growing-guide

10m QRP FT8 (Sunday)

 At the moment I am on 10m FT8 with the tiny QDX transceiver running under 5W. It has been on since about 0830z. It is now 0837z and, so far, 3 stations spotted and 1 has spotted me, all in Spain, presumably via Es.

UPDATE 1551z: After a period on 8m FT8, I have returned to 10m FT8. Conditions seem poor with just one spot of me from Israel. I think the Es has, for now here, subsided.

UPDATE 1624z: How to spot a pirate!! P86JL in North Korea at an incredible strength and at totally the wrong time! If he is genuine, I am a Chinaman. 19 spots of my 5W 10m FT8 today, with 10 recently.

UPDATE 1730z:  Plenty (100) stations spotted on RX and 28 (mostly Es) spots of me on TX today. I have ignored the station supposed to be in North Korea assuming this to be a pirate from somewhere in Europe. I still feel conditions are disturbed on 10m.

UPDATE 1755z:  It looks like Es is good again towards Iberia. 52 stations have spotted my 5W QRP FT8 on 10m in the last day.

UPDATE 2110z: VO1HP (3744km) has spotted me. 58 spots of my 10m FT8 QRP in the last day.

Stations spotting my
10m QRP FT8 recently
UPDATE 2128z:

Sunspots - Sunday May 21st 2023

 Solar flux is 170 and the SSN 138. A=35 and K=2.

20 May 2023

10m QRP FT8 (Saturday)

Stations spotted on
10m FT8 this evening
Apart from Hugh HC02 (1808km) who has spotted me on 8m FT8 and WSPR, no other stations have spotted me on 8m. 

Instead, I  QSYed to 10m QRP FT8 using the tiny QDX rig. 3 QSOs made in about 10 minutes. Most distant station spotted was CX5ABM (11133km).

UPDATE 2000z: QRT.

8m activity this Es season

A feeling shared with another on 8m is there are fewer people on 8m this Es season than last. This is a great pity, especially with Belgium about to release an amateur band at 8m.

However, it looks like many of the "old gang" have already been worked (or FT8 reports exchanged) with them. This being the case, I think this Es season I shall concentrate on 4m and 10m FT8 instead, unless conditions suggest I should get on 8m.

With some exceptional distances being worked on 6m, there is little else I shall learn this Es season on 8m, and I think radio science will not be advanced much on 8m unless there are many more stations active. I was hoping we would see lots of stations operating on 8m TX under ISM rules. This does not appear to be the case sadly.

Great Powers in the 21st Century - NOT amateur radio

There is little doubt that China is already growing into a great world power. The USA sees this growing dominance as a threat.

In my view, there is room for both. Already, Europe and the USA buys lots of goods from China. If the supply of semiconductors from Taiwan was disrupted, the whole world would suffer.

Behind all conflicts is insecurity.  

Russia feels (illogically) threatened by the west. China feels threatened by the USA. The USA feels threatened by China.

Why can't we get along in peace? We all need to invest heavily in alternatives to fossil fuels and not waste our money on blowing each other up!

Lunch - NOT amateur radio


As my wife was out with old school friends, I had a pizza for lunch. I added some ham and mushrooms.

8m QRP WSPR (Saturday)

 For a change, I am on 8m QRP WSPR. I am on 40.680 MHz (DF about 1550 Hz, Tx 20% of the time) running 2W. 

UPDATE 1305z:  Just one spot by HC02 in Portugal.  Back on 8m QRP FT8 again now.

8m QRP FT8 (Saturday)

 My gear was turned on at about 0800z. I am on 40.680 MHz FT8 (DF about 1950 Hz, TX first). With strong Es already in Europe, I am hopeful.

UPDATE 0930z: No spots of me.

UPDATE 1304z:  After a period on WSPR, I am back on FT8.

8m amateur band in Belgium

Although I have no data yet, I gather, after much lobbying, the Belgian authorities are releasing some spectrum at 8m for radio amateurs. At this time, I repeat, that I have no details. If correct, this is great news.

10m QRP WSPR (Saturday)

My 10m 500mW W5OLF TX WSPR beacon was turned in just before 0800z. So far,  no spots.

UPDATE 0925z:  Plenty of 10m Es this morning. The map shows my unique spots so far today. Map is from http://wspr.aprsinfo.com/ .

UPDATE 1333z: 16 unique stations have spotted my 10m QRP WSPR today.

OFCOM crappery

Way back in early April I wrote to OFCOM to request a simple change to my 8m T&I licence. They wrote back to say they were very busy, but I have still not received an answer. The answer would have taken about 90 seconds in an email.  I am sure that if I was talking about 6G I would have got an answer back in just minutes!!

No, basically we do not matter much and it shows.  My own view of OFCOM is they could not care less about anybody unless they can generate money. 

Is this the future? Deregulation and go ahead, but you must not cause interference to services that generate money.  As mentioned before, I can see a day coming when all non-licenced operation is combined and we can use any CB, amateur radio frequencies and ISM frequencies without a licence. Amateur radio generates no money, so why care?

The Es season is already well through.  Perhaps I should go ahead anyway and seek forgiveness later!

BTW, OFCOM updates the data it holds every week. See the OFCOM website for the latest.

New Yaesu HF QRP Transceiver?

Does anyone have any idea if Yaesu is planning to launch a new HF QRP radio as a proper replacement for the FT817?  The FT818 is a joke.

One has been overdue for many, many years and I fear they have lost their chance. They now have an SDR platform and surely could do this. 

With the right features and form, it could still be a winner. I would certainly consider one. As time progresses, they are facing yet more competition from ICOM, Elecraft and various Chinese offerings.

This is their very last chance!! If one is not forthcoming very soon, I fear it is curtains for Yaesu in the Amateur Radio Service.

UPDATE 1314z:   I think Yaesu has blown it (yet again). Initial reports from Hamvention suggest nothing. If they had anything at all (even a non working mock-up) they would have shown it. I give them 3 years in the Amateur Radio Service market before they are out, possibly less at this rate. I am a great Yaesu fan, but in recent years their marketing has been unbelievably poor. If I was in charge, the entire marketing department for amateur radio would have been sacked as totally incompetent.

Sunspots - Saturday May 20th 2023

Solar flux is 165 and the SSN 155.  A=9 and K=4.

19 May 2023

Dayton Hamvention - Ohio, USA

This is probably the biggest ham gathering in the world. Many (who can afford it!) like to go there to see the gear and meet old friends. It is on this weekend. 

It is often the place where new rigs are launched. You can imagine the panic in many labs in the run-up!  As yet, I have not (yet) seen any major announcements, but this is the place to do it.

See https://hamvention.org/ .

In my honest view, this is a last chance for some manufacturers including Yaesu. If they "miss the boat" they may never, ever, get another chance.  As the average age of radio amateurs increases and many become SK, the outcome could be bleak for many manufacturers and dealers.

UPDATE 2010z: Well Dayton has been running for several hours and I have not yet heard any announcements about new rigs.

OFCOM and eLoran

OFCOM is consulting on eLoran which may operate 90-110 kHz. I do not thinks this will cause issues with the Amateur Radio Service. The consultation is open until July sometime and your input would be welcomed.

8m QRP FT8 (Friday)

My 8m QRP FT8 has just been turned on (40.680, TX first period, DF about 1950 Hz). No spots yet.

UPDATE 1052z:  Still no spots. I get the distinct impression there are fewer people on 8m FT8 than in the last Es season. Unless things change soon, I may concentrate on 10m FT8 instead this season.

UPDATE 1434z:  one spot of me by EA3ERE (1153km). Es definitely. Spotted in 4 countries so far this Es season.

UPDATE 1550z: Now spotted by S50B (1220km).

UPDATE 1718z:   3 stations have spotted my 8m QRP FT8 today. Es at last.

10m 500mW WSPR TX

Although the QRP beacon has just been turned on, already spots from 4 unique stations. These look like Es and F2.  A very promising start today.

UPDATE 1047z:  6 unique spots of my QRP 10m WSPR so far today.

UPDATE 1200z:  8 unique stations have spotted me this morning on 10m QRP WSPR as the map shows.

UPDATE  1440z:
19 spots of my 10m QRP WSPR so far today. Once again, the furthermost is F61695 (9729km) on Reunion Is in the south Indian Ocean.

UPDATE 1805z: 
27 stations have spotted my 500mW 10m WSPR today. Es back with a bang!

SMD parts

Few radio amateurs  have the tools to solder SMD parts. As time progresses, SMD parts will get progressively smaller and discrete parts rarer. Some sort of SMD capability will become essential for experimenters.

In many ways SMD parts are better. Without leads they become more predictable in RF circuits. With leaded parts, lead inductance can be significant, especially at VHF and above.

The smallest SMD parts are now 0.25mm x 0.125mm!! Good job I am retired.  😁

Imagine a sneeze!! Oh b****r.  😆😊

Es - promising?

A quick look at https://www.tvcomm.co.uk/g7izu/radio-propagation-maps/europe-sporadic-e/ suggests that European Es could be promising later. My current plan is 8m QRP FT8 and 10m 500mW WSPR TX, with 8m WSPR later. Things will be turned on later this morning.

If 8m is disappointing and few stations are active this Es season, I shall probably QSY to 10m FT8 next week. If the Es looks really good, I shall go on 8m again and on 4m FT8.

My 8m "experiment" was to find out how effective a very simple QRP station could be. For this lots of monitors are needed. Sadly, I think there are fewer people on than in the last Es season, at least so far. I was hoping 8m would be busy with WSPR and FT8 beacons from stations without a licence operating under ISM rules.

UPDATE 1446z:  Good Es today in central Europe!

4m - underused

Yesterday I went on 4m for the activity contest and on FT8.

My conclusion is 4m is underused, at least outside the Es season. If you are thinking about getting on 4m you might be disappointed. 

Sunspots - Friday May 19th 2023

Solar flux is 151 and the SSN 121. A=3 and K=0.

18 May 2023

6m FT8 (Thursday)

Quite late (1945z) I QSYed to 6m FT8.  Just 5 Gs spotting me. 

Stations spotting me on
6m FT8 this evening
UPDATE 2045z: 
 15 Gs have spotted me so far this evening. I am using the V2000 vertical omni antenna. It is interesting that these stations across England can spot my 20W to the vertical V2000 omni antenna. I guess this is  the normal range that can be expected.

4m FT8 (Thursday)

Whilst waiting for the 4m activity contest to start I went on 4m FT8. G3WCS (223km) spotted me pretty well. even though I was using the low 8m dipole via the auto-ATU in the rig.

After proving the rig/antenna worked OK on 4m SSB, I have returned to 4m FT8. At the moment just G3WCS is copying me.

UPDATE 1951z:  When I checked back on SSB activity later, I could copy few stations, so I went back to 4m FT8. Just G3WCS spotting me, so I QSYed to 6m FT8.

8m QRP WSPR (Thursday)

At about 1550z, I changed to 8m WSPR. I am running 2W on 40.680 MHz (20% RX, DF about 1550 Hz in the WSPR window). Already spotted by HC02 (1808km) in S.Portugal quite well. Nobody spotted on RX. I shall probably be on until about 1845z.

UPDATE 1724z:  8 spots so far from HC02. Getting weaker now.


The following rallies are due this weekend. I always advise checking before going far.

Sunday May 21st - RetrotechUK. Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Coventry, CV8 3FL. Contact jezzer3@hotmail.com

Sunday May 21st - Dunstable Downs Radio Club Annual Rally, Luton (No postcode or contact details given).

4m UKAC tonight

 As you can tell, I seem to back losers!! A reminder that the 4m activity contest is on tonight starting at 1900z (8pm UK clock time). I hope to come on and maybe work someone. 

Oh look, there goes another flying pig! 😁

10m QRP WSPR TX (Thursday)

 On 10m QRP (500mW) WSPR TX. Spots look like local and F2 so far.

UPDATE 1058z:   Still 5 unique station spots of my QRP. Let's hope for some Es soon.

UPDATE 1537z:    It looks like we are seeing (at last) a widespread Es opening in Europe.

8m FT8 (Thursday)

At about 0805z, my QRP FT8 was turned on (40.680 TX first, DF about 1950 Hz). Some Es around, so a bit hopeful. See https://www.tvcomm.co.uk/g7izu/radio-propagation-maps/europe-sporadic-e/ .

UPDATE 1101z:   No spots.

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

UPDATE 1543z: At last, HC02 (1808km) is spotting my QRP 8m FT8. This is my first report for several days. We have decent Es propagation at last. Nobody else is spotting me sadly.

Kite (bird) seen again

20 years ago seeing a red kite from the kitchen window in East Anglia would have been unheard of. Then they were reintroduced around the country and they are a common sight near busy roads. Yesterday at breakfast we were treated looking out the window - a kite flying over nearby allotment gardens.

European Es

Early indications suggest Es might be better today. 

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

My plan is to go on 8m FT8 (40.680 TX first, DF about 1950 Hz) again, as well as 10m WSPR QRP TX.

I hope to get some 8m spots again after a quiet spell!

Sunspots - Thursday May 18th 2023

 Solar flux is 138 and the SSN 106. A=4 and K=1.

17 May 2023

10m 500mW WSPR TX (Wednesday)

My W5OLF 10m WSPR beacon was turned on about 0905z. So far (at 0915z) no spots.

UPDATE 1541z:  Most of my spots today look like locals or via F2, with an absence of Es.

UPDATE 1600z: Some signs (at last!) of some Es.

UPDATE 1645z:  I am tempted to try with a much smaller ERP. I might try 10mW ERP and see what reports result. I need to make an external attenuator for the FT817ND. Maybe tomorrow. I cannot use my 10m WSPR beacon as it is pre-loaded with 0.5W and cannot be changed.

UPDATE 2120z:  QRT on a day when we did not see Es here. Well, maybe one Italian was briefly Es. In all, 8 unique station spots today.

8m QRP FT8 (Wednesday)

Not quite sure why, but I have a better feeling about today. 

My QRP 8m FT8 was turned on 40.680 MHz at about 0905z. DF is about 1950 Hz as usual and I am on TX in the first period.

UPDATE 1310z:  Still no 8m FT8 spots. Es has been poor and I was expecting better.

UPDATE 1804z:  Still no spots for days on 8m FT8. This is dire. It looks if my "better feeling" was a bit premature!

UPDATE 2121z:  QRT after another disappointing day.

Goldfinches - NOT amateur radio

These small birds seem to be the most common small bird around here. They can often be seen or heard nearby. They happen to be very colourful too. At a guess, they are the most colourful garden bird in the UK.

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

4m activity contest (UKAC)

Unless I have my dates mixed up, the RSGB organised 4m activity contest is this Thursday evening. Last month I forgot! It starts at 1900z (8pm UK clock time).

So far, I have been disappointed by activity levels on 4m, so I hope it is better  for the UKAC. Maybe more people pop up in the Es season. I live in hope.

Assuming I remember (must put alarm on, HI) I shall give it a go.

Norwich Market - NOT amateur radio

This was Norwich Market on Monday. They had interesting mushrooms and tomatoes on sale. 

Wednesday plans

My current plan is to go on 10m WSPR QRP TX and 8m QRP FT8. I am hoping the Es improves!! 

Devon lunch 2016 - NOT amateur radio

This was our lunch in 2016. Ivor Dewdney made the best pasties. I think they survived the pandemic. I can taste them now! 

What is reality? - NOT amateur radio

Several times in the last few months I have had very vivid dreams. These dreams were so vivid that I managed to confuse dreams and reality. The latest was of a hedge trimmer. In the dream, I could not remember getting it. Yesterday afternoon I looked in the garage to try to find it! Of course, it was not there.

Sporadic-E (Es)

So far, this has been a disappointing Es season. Things hopefully will change, but 8m has been very disappointing so far. By now, I was hoping for openings most days. 

UPDATE 1732z:  At the moment there seems to be a good Es opening in Eastern Europe. See https://www.tvcomm.co.uk/g7izu/radio-propagation-maps/europe-sporadic-e/ for G7IZU's excellent website.

Sunspots - Wednesday May 17th 2023

Solar flux is 134 and the SSN 106. A=8 and K=1.

16 May 2023

Distant Konik ponies - NOT amateur radio

We saw these in the distance on our a walk to Wicken Fen at the weekend. They are used to keep the grass short, naturally.