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 firstname.lastname@example.org
I think this is an ammonite millions of years old.
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/ .
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is being written on Sunday afternoon and a lot can change very fast. My own reading of the situation is this:
In the meantime we just carry on.
See https://www.tvcomm.co.uk/g7izu/radio-propagation-maps/europe-sporadic-e/. This site is excellent.
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.
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.
UPDATE 1500z: Es today looks poor.
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 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Things are getting better, but the Es is mostly in Eastern Europe.
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.
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.
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!! 😉
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.
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.
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.
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).
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!
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.
|Stations spotting me to 1415z Sunday|
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.
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.
At the moment, Es in Europe is mainly in the east. Things can change quite quickly, so we will see how the day develops.
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.
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.
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!
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!!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 email@example.com
Sun June 11th - Junction 28 Radio Rally, Alfeton, DE55 7BD. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Although I have been on 8m FT8 since before breakfast, no spots.
UPDATE 1124z: Just spotted by EA3ERE (1153km).
|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).
Steve G1KQH has pointed me to this link for a 40m Pixie CW transceiver kit for just £1.36 plus shipping. How do they do it and make a profi...