Someone posted on Facebook today that the FT-710 is about 10dB deaf on 8m. It can be persuaded to TX on 8m by putting it is engineering mode by pressing buttons. However use outside of offered amateur bands probably invalidates your warranty. I have no idea what power it puts out on 8m as I never tried it. I sold the FT-710 some time ago.
31 Jul 2023
When fitter, I really enjoyed experimenting with this. Actually, I don't think this needs a licence at all, but it is real experimentation. Anyone can do this without costing much.
All my gear and much of my test gear was homemade and very inexpensive. It is real "back of the garage" stuff. All my gear was homemade in the back of the garage. The only special test gear was a very weakly lit LED. If you have a multi-meter and scope, you really don't need much else. In my view optical communications is easier than microwaves as the test equipment is easy.
I was quite surprised how easy it was to copy an optical signal "over the horizon".
30 Jul 2023
My beacon has been on for about 50 minutes. So far, at 0930z, 2 stations has spotted me, one probably Es.
|Stations spotting me at 1643z|
My 2.5W to the omni V2000 vertical has been on for about 30 minutes. So far, spotted by 8 G stations with no Es.UPDATE 1325z: 56 stations have spotted me today so far.
29 Jul 2023
In the last few days we were up near Liverpool staying with a friend on the Wirral. Swifts were visible most days, but they were absent on the last day. I have not spotted any here in East Anglia since we got back yesterday. It is possible they have started their migration to Africa. Most soon leave. There are a few stragglers until September.
UPDATE 1655z: I did not realise that some swifts do not migrate from Africa.
UPDATE 0950z Sunday: Lots seen last evening so they have not gone yet!
28 Jul 2023
Although today was quite a good Es day, I sense we are at the start of the decline. As we progress through August, we can expect fewer Es openings. Es will still occur, but we can expect fewer openings and less intense than in recent months.
We came back home by train from Liverpool. EMR run a direct train via Ely. After Nottingham they take 2 coaches off so it is just 2 carriages! As we got on in Liverpool we had good seats all the way.
These are my moans:
- On a Friday, keep on extra coaches.
- Ensure everyone has a seat especially at the start of school holidays.
- The full journey takes over 5 hours yet there was a trolley service just once at the start of the journey.
- It was late as there were too many on the train. I shall claim a refund.
- Announcements were made. Yet again, they were inaudible.
The following rallies are due to take place this weekend. Check first before travelling any distance.
Sunday July 30th - New Black Country Radio Rally, Bloxwich, Walsall, WS3 2DA.
Sunday July 30th - Wiltshire Radio and Car Boot Sale, Kington Langley, SN15 5NJ.
For neither do I have contact details.
27 Jul 2023
26 Jul 2023
Every few weeks I try to give an update on activity levels on Oscar 100 using the on-line SDR at Goonhilly Down. Pathetic!! My last peek was at breakfast time in Europe on a weekday. It was unbelievably quiet. If you were about to spend money getting a system for Oscar 100 going, my advice is buy something else instead!
25 Jul 2023
Ideally, you can build something, but experimentation does not have to mean building. As I have found out (the hard way!) there is still lots we can do in our great amateur radio hobby just by observing.
Propagation is a great way to observe, whether it is on any band. Another is to try a new mode, maybe ATV or FT8. Perhaps try QRP or satellites.
What is so great about our hobby is that it can be enjoyed in so many ways. Some enjoy chasing DX whereas others just enjoy a good ragchew. I can only speak for myself by saying that my greatest fun was when I found out something new and challenging.
One thing I have learnt time and time again is there are no experts! Those who claim to be experts are often proved wrong, peddling myths they heard 40 years ago. Observe!! Over the years I have found out several things myself. One of the joys is finding out yourself and not accepting conventional wisdom.
Two things stand out for me. One is I am convinced there is some sort of chordal hop E layer propagation. I have not (yet) seen this accepted. The other is how effective earth-electrode "antennas" in the ground can be. Over the last few years, these are being increasingly used by amateurs at MF, LF, VLF and ULF.
What myth are you going to disprove?
This is a subject we have touched on many times.
However, an increasing proportion of people in our hobby (the vast majority?) are getting very old and frail. Most are old men. We seem to have become (in the main) appliance operators where the main challenge seems to be the knobs on the latest and greatest product from Japan. Real researchers seem to be very much in the minority.
It is my firm view that national authorities will increasingly see the Amateur Radio Service as an unwanted burden. I can see the day coming when the Amateur Radio Service ceases. One possibility is that all non-licenced services are combined in some administrations. I cannot see the Amateur Radio Service existing beyond 2040.
Already in the UK 3 dealers seem to have merged. The writing is on the wall....
Personally, I am not bothered as long as we have free access to interesting spectrum for research.
24 Jul 2023
23 Jul 2023
After all this time, I am completely puzzled why Russia is doing the damage it is on Ukraine. For many years to come the Ukrainian people will hate Russia, as will much of the world. Surely this is not productive. All this wanton destruction seems so pointless. Why don't we concentrate on real threats rather than waste all this money on destroying things?
Many Japanese stations are being worked (again) on 6m FT8. This is a case where ERP really does matter. Although I am being spotted by Es around Europe, I think high power and big, high beams are getting the DX contacts!
At the moment, I am RX only on 6m FT8. I shall let the "grown-ups" have the fun, HI.
UPDATE 1003z: 107 stations spotted on 6m FT8 with the furthermost HL4GAV (8944km) in South Korea. Looking at his/her spots this looks genuine.
My 500mW WSPR TX beacon has been on for a little while. Already 9 stations spotting me. Plenty of Es around.
This has been on before, but I make no excuses for posting it again. One of the challenges in amateur radio is to see how simple a complete transceiver can be made that really works. This is just one possibility. There must be many others. My main issue was adjusting the RX to be precisely on the TX frequency. Maybe you have some ideas?
In the UK a General Election, after which the next ruling government will be formed, is expected late 2024. The ruling Conservative party is expected to lose power.
Sadly, the leading opposition party is led by Sir Keir Starmer. He seems an honest man, but rather lacks charisma.
In my view, the outcome could well be closer than expected.
22 Jul 2023
As mentioned before, my 8m antenna system is faulty and needs replacing. As an experiment I tried my V2000 vertical omni on 8m. The VSWR is over 3:1 so not really suitable. I gave a few transmissions but am currently on 40.680 MHz FT8 RX.
UPDATE 1144z: I must mend my 8m antenna system!
UPDATE 1600z: As an emergency measure I am using my indoor loop on 8m. The SWR is higher than I would want, so I am mostly on RX.
21 Jul 2023
These days, I am finding spelling far harder.
Years ago I would look at a word and know if it was wrong. It is as if my built-in spell check no longer works. Errors no longer stand out as wrong. Now, this may just be old age or yet another after effect of my 2013 stroke.
Please, be patient. If I realise a word is wrong, I shall try to correct it.
Having been on since 0750z, most of my 500mW 10m WSPR spots are from local G4KPX (14km). OH6BG (1718km) could be F2.
UPDATE 1205z: There would appear to be Es on 10m with 10 spots of my 500mW WSPR even though the charts do not look to great. See https://www.tvcomm.co.uk/g7izu/radio-propagation-maps/europe-sporadic-e/.
At this time of year Japan is regularly worked from Europe on 6m. This year was no exception. Even with my V2000 vertical, JA7QVI (9273km) was spotted here. I suspect my V2000 and 2.5W is not enough! So far, all my six 6m spots are of G stations working JAs.
These openings are linked to the formation of noctilucent clouds in the mesosphere.
UPDATE 0951z: 8 spots of me so far, all Gs.
|Stations spotted today |
on 6m FT8 RX
20 Jul 2023
This is a very good transceiver, scoring very highly on the Sherwood tests. However, I missed 2m and 70cm and found 4m a disappointment. In the end, I went back to the ICOM IC-705 that better matched my needs.
It is my view that Yaesu has lost its way in the amateur radio market. They are capable of making some excellent products, but need to get a grip before it is too late. In my professional life, I saw signs. Yaesu has them all. Let's hope I am very very wrong. I like Yaesu.
As I write, it is 1508z. So far today, European Es has been almost non-existent. I caught a very brief 10m Es opening to the south of France just after lunch, but nothing else. Perhaps things will magically improve?
UPDATE 2120z: QRT and no more Es.
Some days ago I posted that my cousin had died of jaw cancer after his only child died in the last year. She died childless, so the widow is all alone.
My faith was weak before, but this has had a profound effect on me. What faith I had has been shattered. I guess I am hoping for some sort of "eureka" moment, but right now it is hard to see anything good in this situation.
One could be forgiven for thinking life can be cruel and random. I would like to see some good in this, but I cannot.
My gear (2.5W to the V2000 vertical omni antenna) was turned on at about 1324z. So far just spotted by 7 G stations with no Es.
One of the benefits of being old is you get a free bus pass. It is now quicker to get into Cambridge by bus than driving and taking the "park and ride" bus.
Also, one of the John Lewis rewards this month is 2 free hot drinks.
So later were are off to Cambridge by bus (free) and 2 cups of coffee (free) . And the weather looks good.
19 Jul 2023
As my 8m system is currently out of action, I am again on 6m FT8. So far today 14 stations have spotted using my 2.5W to the V2000 vertical omni antenna with the furthermost US2YW (1864km) in Ukraine. On 6m FT8 RX 4 stations spotted. There would appear to be far more people monitoring 6m than actually TXing.
UPDATE 2007z: 25 stations spotted my 2.5W QRP FT8 today.
18 Jul 2023
Mine was built ugly style, but worked well. It would make a great club project for a winter evening on a PCB. It would surprise me if it cost you more than a few cups of coffee out.
We had a companion for lunch: a robin that came to our table and, at times, was just a few inches away. I am sure it would have eaten out of my hand given more time. As it was, it had some of my wife's cheese scone when she was not looking!
My gear (2.5W to the V2000 vertical omni) was turned on at 0741z. So far (at 0757z) just spots by 5 Gs and no Es. On 6m FT8 RX 3 Gs near Birmingham spotted.
UPDATE 0816z: Spotted a station in Ukraine on RX. He has also spotted me on QRP TX. Must be some Es about ,even though it did not look too great. See https://www.tvcomm.co.uk/g7izu/radio-propagation-maps/europe-sporadic-e/.
UPDATE 1126z: 24 spots of my 6m QRP FT8 and 21 stations have been spotted here on RX. Plenty of Es.
As in many countries, the high rate of inflation, higher fuel costs and higher interest rates are fuelling a round of strikes by people who are finding the cost of living too high. I am not sure of the answer, but remember the painful days of high inflation in the last century.
17 Jul 2023
In recent months, these have fallen in the UK. There is a suspicion that prices rise like a rocket and fall like a feather here in the UK.
At its peak diesel was £199.9 a litre. It has since fallen about 50p. In some places it is even cheaper. I get the distinct impression all the reductions in wholesale prices are not being passed on. I am not sure who is trying to claw back profits lost during the pandemic, but somebody is!
For the hard pressed motorist or someone depending on gas or oil to heat their home, a full and quick reduction is needed, by law if necessary.
Most swifts (birds) are still here. They usual start migrating south in late July or early August. Suddenly one realises the screaming of feeding parties high above has stopped.
My system (2.5W and a vertical omni V2000) has been on since 0726z. So far spotted by 2 stations in East Anglia on TX and I have spotted 1 station in Devon on RX. No Es.
UPDATE 1008z: 8 stations have spotted my 6m FT8 QRP (including Portugal and Italy) and 2 stations have been spotted on RX (one by Es).UPDATE 1212z: 23 stations have spotted my 6m FT8 QRP today.
|Stations spotting |
me at 1253z
Later, I expect to go on 6m QRP FT8 again. On recent days, there has been some good Es on 6m . I have yet to see how European Es is shaping up.
UPDATE 0712z: It is quite early, but early indications are that European Es is not as great as yesterday. Things may well change.
Every few weeks I take a peek to judge the activity level. My last look was mid afternoon in Europe on a Sunday, when activity is likely to be good. Yet again, there were few stations and plenty of space.
Judging by the activity levels, I cannot see another geosynchronous satellite happening soon. This underlines to me that the Amateur Radio Service is no longer about self training and research. Instead, most would appear to be "black box" operators. Getting on Oscar 100 is just too hard for most. Instead, many spend thousands on a rig, linear, tower and beam.
I can see the hobby dying out as many people age and no longer buy Japanese "black boxes". Maybe before 2040?
16 Jul 2023
The assumption is that the Labour party will win the next General Election and that the ruling Conservative party will be ousted. At the moment Labour enjoys a commanding lead.
In my view (often wrong!!) is it will be much closer in the end. Labour could even lose. It would not surprise me if the outcome is a hung parliament. Some years ago we all assumed the Labour party of Neil Kinnock would win. It did not.
12 months is a very long time in politics. The political landscape could rapidly change.
The leader of the Labour party, Sir Keir Starmer, seems an honest man, but lacking in charisma. Maybe the UK public is looking for a man with integrity? What is really needed is an honest leader, with integrity and charisma. These are qualities that seem in short supply, not only in the UK.
The place to look for reviews of amateur gear is eham.net. I was quite surprised to see that the QRP labs QDX, which is a tiny 5W digital transceiver was only 4.2 out of 5. In my estimation, it is a 5 out of 5. It is truly tiny and if FT8 or WSPR are your "thing", you really need nothing else. I must write a review.
Some people have had trouble with PAs blowing. In my case I have 5 3A diodes to drop the voltage and always use it with an antenna with a low SWR. I can see a problem with auto-ATUs which may present a bad match during tuning.
A 6m, 8m and 10m version would be good.
UPDATE 0615z Monday: Review written.
Not sure where this phrase originated. It must be good to have a strong faith.
Recently my cousin died of jaw cancer having lost his only daughter in the last year. His wife was so upset that she told nobody of the funeral and there were only 3 people there (her sister, niece and herself). She must feel so alone and bereft.
Nothing I can say will be able to make things better. Talk of a loving God and life everlasting seem hollow.
It is now 1105z and I have been on for about an hour. So far, my 2.5W to the V2000 vertical omni has been spotted by 26 stations.
UPDATE 1340z: 29 stations have spotted me and I have spotted 28 stations with the furthermost EA8DBM (3016km). The Es would seem to be in the direction of Iberia (Spain and Portugal).
UPDATE 1600z: My signal has been spotted by 30 stations and I have spotted 33 here on RX.
Much of yesterday I was on 6m FT8. There was plenty of Es from all parts of the continent.
The peak months are May, June and July, although Es can occur at any time of the year.
With FT8, I suspect we will find out that many more openings occur than we were expecting. Only a 15 second TX burst is needed for the station to appear on PSKreporter. Also FT8 works with signals weaker than CW, so much weaker signals can be decoded. This alone is a good reason to stick with 6m outside the Es season.
15 Jul 2023
Indications suggest the path could work on higher frequencies too. I have not been checking 6m FT8 until yesterday.