30 Jun 2023

Rally this weekend

The following rally has been notified to me. I always advice contacting organisers to check the details are correct.

Sunday July 2nd - Barford Norfolk Radio Rally, Barford, NR9 4AB. Contact radio@dcpmicro.com

Sunspots - Friday June 30th 2023

Solar flux is 162 and the SSN 112. A=17 and K=3.

29 Jun 2023

8m QRP FT8 (Thursday)

My 8m 2.5W FT8 was turned on this morning.   At 1728z, just spotted by S50B (1220km) and EA3ERE (1153km).

10m QRP WSPR TX (Thursday)

My 500mW 10m WSPR TX beacon was turned on this morning. So far (at 1719z) 23 unique stations have spotted me.

Faulty BNC plugs

 A couple of my antenna leads with BNC plugs have become intermittent or broken. I first noticed one last night in the 2m CDARC 2m FM net when the SWR was very high. Years ago, this would have been a trivial task. These days it is far more taxing sadly.

Riga, Latvia - NOT amateur radio

I don't think this photo has been on this blog recently. It shows a seaside resort close to Riga in Latvia. We went there several years ago and were expecting a dump. Actually Riga was a lovely city that was once a Hanseatic League city with many fine buildings. 

Sunspots - Thursday June 29th 2023

 Solar flux is 155 and the SSN 141. A=8 and K=4.

28 Jun 2023

Fossils - NOT amateur radio

We have walked over tiles in the Grand Arcade in Cambridge for years. Only in the last few months have we have noticed the fossils in them. Now when we look down there are hundreds!  

How can we live here for so many years and not see these?!! I bet if we missed these, many others have too.

I think this is an ammonite millions of years old.

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

Es poor?

Sporadic-E is, well, sporadic! Some days can be very good and others poor. Certainly up to now (1132z) the Es has been poor here. Most Es seems to be in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. Even that seems poor. In the northern hemisphere, the best months are usually May, June and July, although Es can occur at any time.

So far, this season has been disappointing for me. There have been some good openings, but my overall impression that this is not a great Es season so far. To get a quick"snapshot" of European Es I now take a quick peek at  https://www.tvcomm.co.uk/g7izu/radio-propagation-maps/europe-sporadic-e/ .

8m QRP FT8 (Wednesday)

Although, at the moment, Es is poor, I am again on 8m FT8. So far, no spots at 0805z.

As reported yesterday, another country has granted a small 8m allocation. Personally, I would happily lose 5 kHz off any band in exchange for 5 kHz in the ISM band at 8m. Personally, I think this would encourage self training and research.

UPDATE 1438z:  No spots.  So far, today has been disappointing. I shall keep trying .... and hoping!

UPDATE 1533z: Just GM0SXQ8 (575km) spotting me. If there were more stations monitoring, over a wide area, I am sure there would be many more spots.

UPDATE 1538z:  HC02 (1808km) in Portugal has now spotted me.

10m QRP WSPR TX (Wednesday)

At the moment, Es is poor. Nonetheless I am on 10m WSPR with my 500mW TX beacon. So far, just spots from local G4KPX (14km).

UPDATE 1119z: Just local and Scandinavian spots.  Probably Es.

UPDATE 1400z: Just 4 unique stations spotting me today on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 2130z:  9 unique stations spotting me today. I have noticed this before: later in the Es season I seem to get more northerly reports. Not quite sure why this is.

Plans for today

At the moment, these are my plans. I expect to be on 10m WSPR QRP TX and 8m QRP FT8. This depends on the Es being responsible This evening I hope to be on the CDARC 2m FM net. 

Photo books every season - NOT amateur radio

Every season, my wife makes a photo book. She must have done over 50 by now. It is good to look back and see what we did and when. Also, it traces our grandchildren growing up. This is me reading the latest ones.

Sunspots - Wednesday June 28th 2023

 Solar flux is 151 and the SSN 141. A=8 and K=2. 

27 Jun 2023

Navel gazing

It is very hard to predict the future of amateur radio. There are some things we know, and many more we  do not.

These are the things we know:

  • What excited us years ago are not necessarily what gets people excited today.
  • People can chat across the world for free with video using the internet.
These are the things we do not know:

  • What will attract and keep people interested in amateur radio in the years ahead?
  • As most amateurs age and become inactive, what will become of our hobby?
  • How many dealers will be around in 20 years?
  • How many manufacturers will still make dedicated amateur radio products?
  • How many magazines will survive?
  • What impact will AI have on our hobby?
In all honesty I have no idea. What I do know is in 20 years' time things will be very different.

Es skip

Usually, Es skip is about 1000km. Recently, there has been some very short skip and some incredible reports. Today, for example, I have had some very strong 10m WSPR spots in the Netherlands and Germany. Yesterday I was spotted in Eire on FT8. I do not think this was aircraft. 

365project - NOT amateur radio

As mentioned before, for about 10 years I have taken part in 365project. The idea is to post a picture every day. Unless you are an ace member it is totally free. 

This photo was posted today by a friend in the Shetland Isles, which is the most northerly part of the British Isles. 

See https://365project.org/lifeat60degrees/365/2023-06-26 .

Yet more Google crappery - NOT amateur radio

 I am sure they mean well, but I have just received this:

"We are contacting to inform you of a change to our Google Publisher Policies. To continue to ensure the integrity of the ads ecosystem, we have amended our language to allow IP addresses to be used for the purpose of fraud detection."

As I said, yet more "crappery".  What the heck is an "ads ecosystem"?

Plain English please.

10m 500mW WSPR (Tuesday)

My 500mW beacon has been on for about an hour. Already spotted by 10 unique stations at 0947z.

UPDATE 1302z:  50 unique stations have spotted my QRP. Really good.  Most look like Es.

UPDATE 2136z:  58 unique stations have spotted me today on 10m QRP WSPR. I think this is a record number.

8m QRP FT8 (Tuesday)

After about an hour, 2 spots of my 2.5W 8m FT8 from Poland already. Es seems quite good today.

UPDATE 1637z:  Spotted by 8 stations today so far on QRP 8m FT8. A good day.

10m QRP WSPR TX (Monday)

Since just after lunch my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon has been on. It has been widely copied across Europe and in the Canary Islands. 

8m update

Yesterday my 2.5W 8m FT8 was spotted by 6 stations across Europe.

I gather ZF is getting an 8m band permanently. They also have 4m for a year. 

Come on OFCOM (and RSGB) and the FCC get into the 21st century. Slowly, more and more countries are getting 8m allocations rather than just saying "no".  Their attitude seems stupid. 

Sunspots - Tuesday June 27th 2023

Solar flux is 158 and the SSN 158. A=11 and K=2. 

26 Jun 2023

8m QRP FT8 (Monday)

Much of the afternoon, I have been on 8m FT8. Quite a good session with spots of me from Eire and Poland. 

Plans for today (Monday)

After lunch, I expect to be on 10m QRP WSPR TX and 8m QRP FT8. At the moment, European Es does not look great.

Cockchafer beetle - NOT amateur radio

Last evening I saw what I think was a cockchafer beetle in the garden. I don't recall seeing one since the 1960s. 

Sunspots - Monday June 26th 2023

 Solar flux is 155 and the SSN 180. A=15 and K=2. 

25 Jun 2023

Last night's concert - NOT amateur radio


Last evening, we attended a concert by the Ely Consort in our local church. It was good, but very hot.

What happens next in Russia? - NOT amateur radio

This is being written on Sunday afternoon and a lot can change very fast. My own reading of the situation is this:

  1. Apparently there was a half-hearted attempt at a coup by someone that at one time was close to Putin.
  2. When this started Putin was worried about being overthrown. At the time there was talk of treason and backstabbing.
  3. Very soon the leader of this coup backed down. He was promised no charges for him and his men if he went to Belarus, the leader of which sides with Putin.  This is all very odd.
  4. It is unclear how this will pan out. We could see at least 3 outcomes: 
    1. Putin becomes even more tight in his grip on power and purges those around him he sees as a threat.
    2. Putin is overthrown either by someone who is even worse or more liberal.
    3. There could be a lurch back towards communism by the people.
It is a brave man that predicts how this will end, but most think it has weakened Putin.  One thing is clear: this has not ended. It may appear to have for now, but what happens next?

In the meantime we just carry on.

European Es today (Sunday)

It is my impression (so far) that Es in Europe is average and could be much better.

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

10m QRP WSPR TX (Sunday)

My 500mW 10m WSPR beacon was turned on at about 0830z.

UPDATE 0935z: Already spotted by 21 unique stations. Very promising. 

UPDATE 1238z: 22 unique stations have spotted me. Almost all look like Es (see map).

8m QRP FT8 (Sunday)

 After a poor day yesterday with no spots at all, I am again on 8m QRP FT8. No spots yet. 

UPDATE 0934z: No spots.

UPDATE 2032z : 3 stations have spotted me today on 8m FT8 QRP. 

Barnacle geese - NOT amateur radio

This photo was taken a few years ago in Helsinki. It shows barnacle geese with young. They were just outside the opera house. In the UK we may see barnacle geese as adults in winter. We don't see them as young in summer. 

They look a bit like small Canada geese. 

Ten years ago

Ten years ago I was experimenting with a loop antenna and QRP in the garden of the old QTH. 

Sunspots - Sunday June 25th 2023

Solar flux is 161 and the SSN 200. A=16 and K=5.

24 Jun 2023

DX soundbites

It is fun to listen to DX sound bites from long ago.  Try these from 2004:


ICOM future plans

On Amateur Radio Weekly there was a bit about the future plans of ICOM.

Amateur Radio Weekly comes to me each Saturday as a free email newsletter.

See https://www.icomjapan.com/api/download.php?post_id=3823&fl=JTJGdXBsb2FkcyUyRmNvbXBhbnklMkZJY29tJTIwSW5jJTIwTWVkaXVtJTIwVGVybSUyMEJ1c2luZXNzJTIwUGxhbiUyMDIwMjZfRU5HX01heTIwMjMucGRm. 

Es season

This is a site I find quite useful. It gives an instant view of the Es situation in Europe. Often Es drifts, so paths that are not open open up and vice versa. What I find quite useful is seeing how active 10m, 6m, 4m and 2m are. It is not foolproof, but it is useful. If a band is "open" in a certain direction, then it is worth not missing the fun.

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

UPDATE 1500z:  Es today looks poor.

8m FT8 QRP (Saturday)

My QRP (2.5W) FT8 has been on since about 0900z. So far, no spots.

UPDATE 1736z:  No spots still. So far, today has been really poor on 8m FT8 for me.

UPDATE 1103z:  Spotted by HC02 (1808km) in Portugal.

UPDATE 1313z: Still just HC02 spotting me on 8m FT8 today. Nobody spotted on RX.

OFCOM publications

 Just a reminder that OFCOM updates the data it holds every week. See the OFCOM website.

10m 500mW WSPR TX

My 10m WSPR beacon was turned on about 0900z. So far today, local G4KPX (14km) and OE3XOE (1233km) and IV3DXW (1200km) have spotted me.

UPDATE 1410z:  9 unique stations have spotted me.

Herbaceous Border - NOT amateur radio

This was the herbaceous garden at nearby Anglesey Abbey earlier this week. The border displays look wonderful, if short lived. We will blink and the herbaceous garden will be closed and looking dead. They will be tended and look good again next year.

8m QRP FT8 yesterday

Yesterday was probably my most successful Es day on 8m FT8 with 7 stations spotting my 2.5W FT8 to the low wire dipole. If the propagation is there, it would seem this power is sufficient.

UPDATE 1249z:  Interestingly, I think every time I have ventured on to 8m FT8 this Es season somebody has spotted me. Maybe not at first, but over the day.

Sunspots - Friday June 24th 2023

 Solar flux is 170 and the SSN 194.  A=9 and K=1.

23 Jun 2023

Garden Room - NOT amateur radio

We are lucky to have two reception rooms. When it's hot (like now!) we choose the coolest. In the morning this is the garden room at the back of the house. 

The photo shows the view looking from a chair in the garden room. 

OFCOM consulting on the future of amateur radio - IMPORTANT!!

 OFCOM is consulting on the future of amateur radio and is seeking views. If you have views it is important you read the proposals and give your feedback.

See https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0021/263181/consultation-amateur-radio-review.pdf .

Amateur radio cartoon

This was sent to me by Steve G1KQH. I have no idea where it originated. Made me laugh! 

10m 500mW WSPR TX (Friday)

 My QRP W5OLF WSPR beacon was turned on at about 0820z. Already spotted by stations in Hungary and Sweden.

UPDATE 1020z: 
Already spotted by 15 unique stations.

8m QRP FT8 (Friday)

My gear was turned on about 0820z. Already my 2.5W has been spotted strongly by EA3ERE (1153km).

UPDATE 1437z:   4 stations have spotted me.

Sunspots - Friday June 23rd 2023

Solar flux is 173 and the SSN 176. A=8 and K=2.

22 Jun 2023

Bee on vetch - NOT amateur radio

My wife took this photo earlier today at Anglesey Abbey. 

Rally on Sunday

The following rally has been notified to me. Please check details first.

Sun June 25th - Newbury Radio Rally. RG18 9QZ. Contact details not given.

8m QRP FT8 (Thursday)

Turned on the 8m QRP FT8 gear just after breakfast as Hugh in Portugal tells me England starting to come through.

UPDATE 1010z: No spots. 

UPDATE 1613z:  Spots of my QRP have been received from Spain and Slovenia today.

10m WSPR QRP TX (Thursday)

My 500mW 10m WSPR beacon was turned on at breakfast time.

UPDATE 0738z: Already 4 unique stations have spotted me today. 

Thurlestone Devon yesterday - NOT amateur radio

My brother took the picture yesterday. We lived near here. 

Sunspots - Thursday June 22nd 2023

Solar flux is 176 and the SSN 190. A=8 and K=1. 

21 Jun 2023

PYO strawberries - NOT amateur radio

This was my wife picking strawberries this morning. She has made a crumble with some. 

East Anglian skies - NOT amateur radio

This part of England (East Anglia) is famous for being flat. As a compensation, we get some amazing skies. This was when we had a storm recently.

10m WSPR TX 500mW (Wednesday)

Just after 1100z, my 10m, 500mW, WSPR TX beacon was turned on. At 1115z,  5 unique stations have spotted me. 

8m FT8 (Wednesday)

Just after 1100z, my 2.5W FT8 was turned on. It is now 1107z and, so far, no spots. It looks like there are more monitors active.

UPDATE 1352z:  No spots.

UPDATE 1617z:  My QRP has been spotted by stations in Spain and Poland. It looks like HC02 in Portugal also got me, but this was not reported on PSKreporter.

Plans for today (Wednesday)

 As long as there are no storms nearby, my plan is to go on 8m QRP FT8 and QRP 10m WSPR TX with my 500mW beacon that does not need the PC.

Actually, I have gone off 4m: there is almost no activity that I could find outside the Es season and what is possible when there is Es is now known. I was actually expecting the band to be quite good inter-G at all times, but activity is even lower than 2m. If you are considering 4m, prepare for disappointment.

"Our" windmill this morning - NOT amateur radio

This was the windmill next door this morning in the sunshine. 

No adverts?

After the news of some UK dealers merging, I checked RadCom and PW for dealer adverts.  MLS have many pages whereas Nevada had none in RadCom. Also, Waters and Stanton had none in RadCom.

They all had ads in PW. Moonraker was advertising in RadCom. I presume the costs are lower in PW?

Which dealers will be around in 2030?

Caveat Emptor.  Buyer beware!

Sunspots - Wednesday June 21st 2023

Solar flux is 180 and the SSN 155. A=10 and K=2. 

20 Jun 2023

Fight to the death?

My spy Steve G1KQH tells me 3 dealers are merging. These are Nevada, Moonraker and Waters and Stanton. I expect this is an attempt to compete with MLS. 

One consequence will be fewer dealers advertising in magazines. Expect fierce battles to win trade. Either Nevada runs pages of adverts or it will be curtains for Practical Wireless (PW).

The next few years are critical for the Amateur Radio Service. How many amateur radio magazines will there be in future? I am not sure of the situation in other countries, but here in the UK, there is just one independent amateur radio monthly magazine. I think this is struggling.

8m QRP FT8 (Tuesday)

For about 30 minutes I have been on 8m FT8. So far, no spots.

UPDATE 1829z: No spots. It look like the Es fairies are on strike.

UPDATE 2100z: Two late spots from Poland of my QRP on 8m FT8. I was not expecting this. Not a single day has passed this summer without my 8m QRP FT8 being spotted somewhere in Europe by Es.


Many people prefer to chat with people and FT8 is definitely not a chatting mode!  There is a variation called JS8CALL that allows keyboard chats. 

Neither of these can compete with actual SSB, FM or AM conversations. FT8 seems to be like a certain yeast spread in that people either love it or hate it. In my case (with a poor voice) FT8 has been my saviour. I appreciate this is not the case for many.

What FT8 is really good for is working DXCC stations and sniffing out brief openings. The actual space taken up by an FT8 signal is narrow at about 50 Hz. It also works with signals weaker than CW. It occupies just a few kilohertz of spectrum and it is well monitored. Software is free.  Transmissions last just 15 seconds, so very brief openings are unlikely to be missed. This is especially useful on bands like 10m, 8m, 6m, 4m and 2m  especially at times of low sunspot activity. Especially on N-S paths it is my view that the higher HF bands are open far more frequently than we think. The main issue is a lack of activity.

In summary, FT8 has its uses. It is no substitute for voice modes, but definitely has its place.

Es in Europe

Things are getting better, but the Es is mostly in Eastern Europe.

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

4m FT8 (Tuesday)

Today, I have decided to concentrate on 4m FT8 with about 10W to my 8m wire dipole matched via the auto ATU in my FT-710. It is now 0814z and, so far, just 1 G near Brighton has been spotted on RX and nobody has spotted me.

UPDATE 0823z: Unchanged. Es does not look good so far.

UPDATE 0837z: Spotted by G0TSM (186km).

UPDATE 1050z:   I have been spotted by 3 stations with the furthermost 9A3TN (1481km) and I have spotted 6 stations. There is Es about.

UPDATE 1524z:  After 11 spots (some Es) I am QRT on 4m and back on 8m FT8. 

10m QRP WSPR TX (Tuesday)

Since just before breakfast I have been on 10m WSPR with my 500mW W5OLF beacon. Spots so far from a local and Italy.

UPDATE 0922z: 10 stations have spotted me, mostly Es.

UPDATE 1044z:  19 spots of my 500mW 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1923z: 
 35 spots of my 500mW 10m WSPR today. An HA just spotted me after over 4 quiet hours.

UPDATE 2121z: 
 39 stations have spotted me.

More Google Crappery? - NOT amateur radio

This came today. Whatever is "a property"? They mention this elsewhere.

" You can now link your new Google Analytics 4 properties to AdSense to get a holistic view of your monetisation...."

Haven't clue what they are talking about (again) but so pleased I can now get a holistic view!! 😉

Sunspots - Tuesday June 20th 2023

Solar flux is 169 and the SSN 181.  A=10 and K=2.

19 Jun 2023

4m FT8

Starting tomorrow, I intend to concentrate on 4m FT8. Even with my compromised antenna, matched using the auto ATU in the FT-710, much of Europe should be in range by Es. It could be fun. I shall probably run 10W, maybe less.

Exile? - NOT amateur radio

Since 1970 I have lived happily in Cambridgeshire. I like where I live. We have a nice house and good friends.

Yet a part of me still yearns for where I come from in South Devon.  If I ever moved back I know it would not be the same. People have moved on or died and my memories of the place could not be replaced. 

It is extremely unlikely that I would move back. Instead I go back for a boost most years. Perhaps this is for the best: happy memories.

10m Lesser Chirpy

These days, many people prefer FT8 or WSPR for QRP. However, it is fun to see where an ultra-simple rig can reach. This has been on before, but with Es so good, it will certainly get all over Europe. As with all simple circuits, it is a compromise.

Although I find it hard to believe, this circuit dates back to 2012!  It is an ultra-simple CW transceiver for 10m. It is capable of improvement, I am sure. Mine was made "dead bug" style.  You can always use the reverse beacon network to see where you are reaching.

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

SPAM - NOT amateur radio

My mail provider does a pretty good job of filtering SPAM messages out. Just occasionally (maybe 1 in 1000) it puts things in the SPAM folder that is not SPAM, so I try to check before deleting SPAM for good. If I have not replied to an email, it went in SPAM and I missed it. Do not be afraid to send it again! Usually I respond within 24 hours.

Recently, my most common SPAM is "unable to deliver package" or similar. If you just confirm your details we can send you the package (and no doubt send you a nasty virus as a free bonus!!). Thankfully, SPAM is not an issue.

8m QRP FT8 (Monday)

Es looks promising. 

My 8m FT8 gear (2.5W) was turned at about 0755z. So far, at 0813z, no spots.

UPDATE 1053z: Spots received from HC02 (1808km) and IU8CNE (1626km).

UPDATE 1921z: 3 stations spotted my 2.5W 8m QRP FT8 today.  On the whole, I am still being spotted by the same stations. Where is everyone? I was hoping many more would be on this Es season. Sadly, with a few exceptions, this is not the case.

10m QRP WSPR TX (Monday)

My 500mW WSPR beacon was turned on at about 0755z. So far, just spots from local G4KPX (14km).

UPDATE 1321z: 35 unique stations have spotted my 10m WSPR QRP so far today.

UPDATE 1344z: It is amazing just how strong signals via Es can be. Today, for example, one German station reported my 500mW at +5dB S/N. If his background noise was low, he would probably have received me at 0.5mW. My antenna is nothing special. Raising it a bit higher and with a CB beam I could probably raise my signal by 10dB. So he would probably have spotted me if I was using just 50uW!

UPDATE 1902z:  37 unique stations have spotted me today.

UPDATE 2002z:  38 stations have spotted me today on QRP 10m WSPR.

Sunspots - Monday June 19th 2023

Solar flux is 164 and the SSN 133.  A=10 and K=2.

18 Jun 2023

8m disappointment

Compared with last summer, there would seem to be fewer stations transmitting on 8m. Many who are active know they can be spotted across Europe and far further by F2. It is also true that many may legally operate at 8m without a licence as long as applicable ISM rules are met. In the UK this means 10mW ERP. If this continues (low TX activity) I may go QRT on 8m until the autumn. 

Father's Day - NOT amateur radio

Today was Father's Day in the UK. I was bought a nice bottle of wine by one of my son's as the photo shows. 

8m QRP FT8 (Sunday)

Although I have been active since this morning, nothing has appeared on PSKreporter. HC02 (1808km) in Portugal says he has spotted me for over 10 minutes.

UPDATE 1658z: Just HC02 (1808km) spotting me today.

10m QRP WSPR (Sunday)

Stations spotting me to 1415z Sunday

Yesterday 10m was dreadful with no spots at all. 

Today is much better with 14 unique stations spotting my 500mW QRP WSPR beacon.  Several of these have copied me very strongly.

UPDATE 1656z: 17 spots so far. The Es seems to have diminished, but I am being spotted by F2.

Sunspots - Sunday June 18th 2023

 Solar flux is 158 and the SSN 110. A=8 and K =2.

17 Jun 2023

Old friend - NOT amateur radio

We have just returned home from near Hereford where we stayed with an old school friend of my wife. The photo shows my wife with one of our hosts.

10m WSPR QRP TX (Saturday)

Since returning home mid afternoon, I have been on 10m QRP WSPR TX. So far, no spots which surprises me. 

Return to 8m FT8 QRP (Saturday)

As you may have realised, I have been away for a few days. 

On my return I have been on 8m FT8 TX on 40.680 with my 2.5W and a low wire dipole. A couple of spots from Spain. I shall go QRT at bedtime. 

Sunspots - Saturday June 17th 2023

Solar flux is 157 and the SSN 120. A=38 and K=2.

16 Jun 2023

Hay on Wye - NOT amateur radio

Hay is right on the boundary between Wales and England. It is famous for its bookshops. The last time I was in Hay was at least 12 years ago. Happily despite the pandemic, it seems much the same. 

Rallies this weekend

The following rallies are due to take place this weekend. As always I advice contacting the organisers to check details.

Sunday June 18th - Bangor and District ARS. Contact MI0OBR. 

Sunday June 18th - East Suffolk Wireless Revival, Ipswich, IP10 0PW. Contact Kevin 07710 046846. 

Sunspots - Friday June 16th 2023

 Solar flux is 153 and the SSN 112. A=24 and K=5.

15 Jun 2023

Museum visitors - NOT amateur radio

As I have mentioned before we live right next door to a fully restored windmill. Seven years ago a party arrived by charabang

Sunspots - Thursday June 15th 2023

 Solar flux is 144 and the SSN 107. A=5 and K

14 Jun 2023

Sibling reunion: 20th time - NOT amateur radio

Amazingly, my wife has met up with her brothers and their wives on 20 occasions over 22 years. Until a couple of years ago we took it in turns to host but now we meet up in hotels. This year we met in Hereford. 

8m Q65 tests

 Yesterday I tried some slow Q65 modes with G0KTN. Sadly these too were unsuccessful. 

Oscar 100 - worst yet?

A few days ago I monitored Oscar 100 at European breakfast time and there was ZERO activity!! OK this may be a poor time but nobody at all? I was shocked. 

Sunspots - Wednesday June 14th 2023

 Solar flux is 146 and the SSN 98.  A=6 and K=2. 

13 Jun 2023

Hereford Cathedral - NOT amateur radio


This is a photo of Hereford Cathedral. 

8m Q65 experiment failure

My overnight Q65 8m 30A tests overnight with G0KTN failed. I may try another test at a longer TX mode with higher weak signal ability. This will be of a shorter duration overall. 

Sunspots - Tuesday June 13th 2023

 Solar flux is 146 and the SSN 116. A=6 and K=1. 

12 Jun 2023

8m Q65 30A tests overnight

This is a mode I have never tried. Overnight I am doing some tests with G0KTN.  Q65 takes fragments of messages and uses these to build up the message. For these tests the power will be 2.5W. I have no idea if it will work.

UPDATE 2115z: No spots. 

European Es (Monday)

At the moment, Es in Europe is mainly in the east. Things can change quite quickly, so we will see how the day develops.

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

UPDATE 1836z: Things are looking more promising with widespread Es on 6m. Currently I am doing some 8m WSPR QRPP tests at 10mW with HC02 (1808km) in Portugal.  No spots all day.

Blacksmith - NOT amateur radio

Yesterday, our local museum had a free open day.  One of the things was a blacksmith working in the forge. The photo shows some of the things he has made.

6m super DX

At this time of year 6m opens regularly from Europe to the Far East. For a VHF band, this is a very long way. The propagation seems to be linked with the formation of noctilucent clouds in the mesosphere. The best times are in the early morning. As far as I know, this path opens regularly at the end of June into July.

See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/vhfuhfmicrowaves/super-dx

More Google rubbish - NOT amateur radio

This morning I received a second email about Google Adsense. I am none the wiser!! Why can't they write in plain English instead of  crappery? 

8m ISM WSPR tests

Assuming the Es looks promising, I hope to try 8m WSPR using 10mW ERP to replicate those who may beacon legally in the ISM band in the UK without a licence as long as the rules are met. 

Probably I will use a different callsign for these tests that will get reported to WSPRnet. If you can monitor, please do so.

UPDATE 0742z:  On QRPP 8m WSPR at 10mW ERP. 

UPDATE 0950z:  No spots.

Sunspots - Monday June 12th 2023

Solar flux is 154 and the SSN 116. A=9 and K=2.

11 Jun 2023

8m QRPP WSPR (Sunday)

Having got decent results from Portugal on 8m FT8, I have just switched to 8m WSPR with 5mW. You never know.  Probably I shall also be on 8m 5mW WSPR tomorrow. If anyone at all spots me, I expect to be weak!  If 5mW makes it, 10mW ERP, the ISM limit in the UK without a licence will definitely make it. The main issue on 8m is there are too few RX stations widely spread. Also the 120 seconds for WSPR is quite a long time when conditions are up and down.

Remember, these are ISM research beacons and not the Amateur Radio Service. The experiment is to find out how far away ISM beacons can be spotted, not 2-way communications. This is an interesting experiment.

Even if  you do not have an 8m antenna, have a go with whatever antenna you have.

UPDATE 1940z: 2 WSPR spots by HC02 (1808km) of my 5mW 8m WSPR. Hugh was wrongly reporting this as 6m to WSPRnet. If 5mW WSPR can make it, then 3dB more without a licence can definitely make it!

Too late! - NOT amateur radio

This collared dove was having a welcome drink from our bird bath. Just as I was getting my camera ready, it flew away!

8m QRP FT8 (Sunday)

At the moment I am on 8m  FT8 using 2.5W and a dipole. G9EFE is active with 10mW FT8 from IO91 square. Not spotted yet.

UPDATE 1655z: No spots on TX or RX.

UPDATE 1756z: Just spotted by HC02 (1808km) in Portugal. Now trying 5mW 8m WSPR.

10m QRPP FT8 (Sunday)

After starting out with 5mW and getting 6 spots quickly, I am now using 1mW FT8 on 10m as an experiment. I'll check spots at 1mW later. If this is too easy, I shall try QRPP on 8m WSPR.

UPDATE 0900z: No spots so far on 10m FT8 at 1mW. I suspect this is really too low on FT8. For most stations this is below the noise floor or below the decode threshold.

UPDATE 1417z: Much to my amazement, just 1mW of 10m FT8 has resulted in 2 spots this morning from France and Spain.  QRPP rocks!! 

Plans for today (Sunday)

My current plan is to try 10m FT8 with 5mW. Based on the 10m QRPP WSPR I might get some spots.

Two-way or one-way?

In the past, many got into amateur radio because it allowed social contact with like minded people anywhere in the world. To some, this is still the most important aspect of our hobby. However, to others it is not important to have two-way contacts. What matters is the propagation and FT8 or WSPR are perfectly fine. 

What is clearly the case is fewer enter the hobby these days for the social aspect as there are many free and better ways to talk across the planet with people of like minds using the internet. 

I have no idea of the future, but the magic that got most of us interested is different today.

Our hobby is changing. 

Sunspots - Sunday June 11th 2023

Solar flux is 161 and the SSN 116. A=5 and K=2.

10 Jun 2023

Church Fête - NOT amateur radio

We have not had a church fete since 2019 because of Covid. Today we had one in glorious sunshine. It is was a real village affair and well attended. 

Yaesu curtains?

For several years I have been worried about Yaesu. At the Dayton Hamvention 2023, I was hoping they would announce a new SDR QRP radio to replace the FT817/818. They have the technology.  Sadly, nothing HF was announced just, yet another, VHF/UHF mobile.

Since the early 1970s, I have been a real Yaesu fan. Many Yaesu radios have been bought over the years. At the present time I have 4 Yaesu rigs.  In my view, they have blown their last chance.

In my view Yaesu will quit the amateur radio market in the next few years. I hope I am wrong.

10m 1mW QRPP WSPR (Saturday)

 The lowest power I can run with WSJT-X is 1mW, so that is what I am running now. No spots yet at 1mW.

UPDATE 1230z:  DK6UG (633km) has spotted my 1mW 10m WSPR 4 times already. At best he was getting me at -6dB S/N.

UPDATE 1736z: 5 stations have spotted my 1mW 10m WSPR with the furthermost EA8/DF4UE (2876km). 5mW now seems like high power!

UPDATE 2020z:  8 stations spotted my 1mW 10m WSPR, which was better than I expected. Amazing.

10m QRPP WSPR: 5mW (Saturday)

My 10m WSPR is on 40% TX at just 5mW with the attenuator as close as possible to the TX. This also means the 20dB pad is also in line on RX.

How is it going? On TX, 4 unique stations have spotted me (one report is so strong I could certainly be copied at low microwatts!!).  On RX, even with the 20dB pad, I have spotted 10 stations already after about 30 minutes!

I am tempted to try FT8!

UPDATE 1115z:  I have another 10dB attenuation I could add. Tempted to try 500uW TX WSPR just for fun!

8m QRP FT8 (Saturday)

Today, I had every intention of not going on 8m at all. 

Instead I was going to make an attenuator for 10m WSPR and concentrate on that. However, I am currently on 8m FT8 TX using my usual 2.5W. I have been on since about 0855z, ad already been spotted by HC02 (1808km) in Portugal.

UPDATE 1040z:  On 8m FT8 TX, spotted by 4 stations. On 8m FT8 RX 2 stations spotted.

OFCOM publications

 Just a reminder that OFCOM updates the records it holds on licences and similar matters every week.

Saturday plans

If the Es looks encouraging today, I hope to try mW 10m WSPR TX. This means adding attenuation very close to the transceiver. 

Sunspots - Saturday June 10th 2023

 Solar flux is 164 and the SSN 152. A=4 and K=1. 

9 Jun 2023

Rallies this weekend

The following have been notified to me, but do check first  if the details are correct.

Sat June 10th - Rochdale and Ditrict Amateur Radio Summer ally, Norden, Rochdal, OL12 7QR. No contact details.

Sun June 11th -Mendips Rally. Farrington Gurnesy, BS39 6TY. Contact mendipsrally@hotmail.com

Sun June 11th - Junction 28 Radio Rally, Alfeton, DE55 7BD. Contact secretary@snadarc.com

Orchids - NOT amateur radio


We saw these orchids this morning in a meadow near Cambridge. When we went last year, they were dead.

Sunspot peak in November?

 I had not noticed but the solar peak is again shown as November this year. We will see. 

Es so far

We are about half way through the Es season in the northern hemisphere. Although there have been some good openings at times, the impression I have is that overall things have been below average. 

8m FT8 (Friday)

 Although I have been on 8m FT8 since before breakfast, no spots. 

UPDATE 1124z: Just spotted by EA3ERE (1153km).

UPDATE 1552z:  4 unique station spots including a new one G3WCS (223km) in north west England. Is this some kind of back scatter? It is too close for Es and the report is far better than I would expect for tropo. It also looks too weak for aircraft scatter. Nothing from Hugh HC02 today in Portugal. If open to him, he is a very reliable reporter.

UPDATE 1905z:  
Best day ever on 8m with spots by 9 unique stations as the map shows. Not bad for 2.5W FT8 to a low dipole.

10m 500mW WSPR (Friday)

Spots of me to 1420z

Before breakfast my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon was turned on. So far 6 spots. These look like a mix of F2 and Es spots. Tomorrow I intend to do some QRPP tests on 10m WSPR TX. 

UPDATE 1420z: 18 spots pf me so far with the furthermost F61695 (9729km) (see table).

UPDATE 1641z:  25 spots of me so far on 10m QRP WSPR today. Several of these would have copied me at low mW level with a quiet noise floor.

UPDATE 2036z:  55 unique station spots of me today. QRT soon. Quite a decent day.

Sunspots - Friday June 9th 2023

Solar flux is 169 and the SSN 149. A=5 and K=1.

8 Jun 2023

Fancy car - NOT amateur radio

This morning we went for a walk. On the way we saw this car with metallic paint. It looked different colours from different angles. Very flashy.....and no doubt expensive.

8m QRP FT8 (Thursday)

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

10m 500mW WSPR TX (Thursday)

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

Sunspots - Thursday June 8th 2023

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

7 Jun 2023

2m FT8 activity contest

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

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

UPDATE 2136z:  181 stations spotted. QRT.

Haircut time - NOT amateur radio

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