31 Jul 2023

FT-710 on 8m

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.

Optical communications - over the horizon

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".

See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/optical-nanowaves/over-the-horizon

Water lily - NOT amateur radio


This water lily was at RHS Bridgewater, near Salford last week.

By the windmill - NOT amateur radio


The photo shows me with one of my sons and grandsons near the windmill next door.  It was taken this weekend.

10m WSPR QRP (Monday)

So far today, my 500mW 10m WSPR has been spotted by 3 stations. 

UPDATE 1345z: 
Just 4 unique station spots of me today. Is the Es season on the wane?

6m QRP FT8 (Monday)

So far, 6 Gs have spotted me using 2.5W to the omni V2000 vertical antenna.

UPDATE 1855z:  Late Es opening with 56 stations spotting my QRP (see photo). 

Haircut time - NOT amateur radio

When my younger son pops up from Kent he usually cuts my hair. The weather has been so miserable lately that we had to do it in the utility room rather than the garden.

Sunspots - Monday July 31st 2023

Solar flux is 174 and the SSN 139. A=9 and K=1.

30 Jul 2023

Digital Archive - amateur radio

 There is a vast archive of amateur radio material stored on-line.

See https://archive.org/details/dlarc?tab=collection .

Sunday breakfast - NOT amateur radio

Our younger son is here for a few days. He cooked breakfast this morning. Totally unhealthy, but great 😋😋. 

10m 500mW WSPR TX (Sunday)

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
UPDATE 1643z:  22 stations have spotted my 10m 500mW WSPR today.

UPDATE  1750z:  So far today 27 stations have spotted me. These are mostly Es.

6m QRP FT8 (Sunday)

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. 

Stations on 6m FT8 RX until 1412z

UPDATE 1412z:  
A good day on 6m FT8 with my QRP being spotted by 63 stations around Europe with 73 stations spotted on RX including the USA and Canada.

Sunspots - Sunday July 30th 2023

Solar flux is 174 and the SSN 147. A=12 and K=2.

29 Jul 2023

Swifts gone? - NOT amateur radio

 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.

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

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! 

6m QRP FT8 (Saturday)

Since mid-morning, I have been om 6m QRP FT8 with 2.5W to the V2000 vertical omni. At 1425z 21 stations have spotted me.

Stations spotting
me at 1700z
UPDATE 1702z
:   53 stations have spotted me on 6m QRP FT8.

10m 500mW WSPR TX (Saturday)

Since mid-morning I have been on 10m WSPR TX. At 1417z, I have been spotted by 9 stations across Europe. These were spotted by 8 stations. 

Saturday plans

Later, I shall be on 10m QRP WSPR TX and 6m QRP FT8. I have not yet checked Es conditions in Europe. 

I might have a go at mending my 8m dipole and coax.

Sunspots - Saturday July 29th 2023

 Solar flux is 168 and the SSN 148. A=6 and K=3.

28 Jul 2023

European Es - on the way down?

 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.

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

6m QRP FT8 (Friday)

Since I got home about an hour ago, I have been on 6m QRP FT8 with 2.5W and the V2000 vertical omni antenna. 32 unique spots so far. These look like FT8 in the main.

UPDATE 2044z:  
45 stations have spotted me today on 6m FT8 QRP. See photo. These look like Es.

Crowded train - NOT amateur radio

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.

10m 500mW WSPR TX (Friday)

Since coming home about 30 minutes ago, I have been on 500mW 10m WSPR TX. 5 unique stations spotting me.

UPDATE 2107z: 
14 stations have spotted my 10m QRP WSPR TX.

Rallies this weekend

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. 

Enjoying ice-cream - NOT amateur radio

This was me yesterday at Parkgate near Liverpool. It overlooks the Dee Estuary which is now silted up so the sea is a long way away! Wales is in the distance. It's good for birds. 

Plans for today

As we are home later I hope to be on 10m QRP WSPR TX and 6m QRP FT8 this afternoon. We have enjoyed our few days with our friend near Liverpool. 

RHS Bridgewater - NOT amateur radio

This is near Salford and we went there Wednesday with a friend. Although open only about 2 years, it looks well established. 

Sunspots - Friday July 28th 2023

 Solar flux is 165 and the SSN 154. A=6 and K=0.

27 Jul 2023

European Es season - closing?

The feeling I get is the season is drawing to a close. Openings will still occur, but less often. 

Sunspots - Thursday July 27th 2023

 Solar flux is 167 and the SSN 147. A=21 and K=2.

26 Jul 2023

RHS Bridgewater - NOT amateur radio

Today we went to RHS Bridgewater near Salford. It has been open for about 2 years and already the plants look well established. As you can see from the photo, they have a good shop, café and garden centre. 

MF transverter

This was about 12 years ago at the old QTH and shows my 472kHz transverter before being boxed. I must try the band again. 

Oscar 100 (lack of activity)

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! 

Black cartoon - NOT amateur radio

A few days ago I was sent this by Steve G1KQH. It's a reminder that we had nothing when we entered this world and leave with nothing. Things that seem important to us now probably are not. 

Sunspots - Wednesday July 26th 2023

Solar flux is 169 and the SSN 137. A=11 and K=3.

25 Jul 2023

Peter Pan statue - NOT amateur radio

This statue of Peter Pan is near the Palm House in Sefton Park in Liverpool. 

European Es promising?

 Es in Europe looks promising with decent openings in northern Europe. 


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?

The future of amateur radio

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.

Magnet fishing - NOT amateur radio


Last week, our younger grandson went fishing with a magnet. Among the finds was a very old key. Just imagine the story it could tell. Was it just lost? Did someone throw it i? We shall never know.

Sunspots - Tuesday July 25th 2023

 Solar flux is 165 and the SSN 141. A=7 and K=1. 

24 Jul 2023

Near Hathersage, Derbyshire - NOT amateur radio

This was the view out of the train window earlier. 

Sunspots - Monday July 24th 2023

Solar flux is 173 and the SSN 117. A=6 and K=1.

Loop antenna testing

This was 10 years ago at our old house when I was testing a loop antenna in the garden. The loop works surprisingly well. 

23 Jul 2023

Russia and Ukraine - NOT amateur radio

 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?

JAs again on 6m

 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.

UPDATE 1212z: 150 stations spotted on 6m VHF FT8 today. I wonder who is chasing 6m DXCC 😆? In another month there will be almost nobody on 6m! Sorry, but I reckon the Amateur Radio Service, as we know it, will be gone by 2040.

10m QRP WSPR TX (Sunday)

My 500mW WSPR TX beacon has been on for a little while. Already 9 stations spotting me. Plenty of Es around.

UPDATE 0907z: 10 spots of me. Later in the Es season I detect a pattern. I seem to have more northerly spots. I am wondering if this is the traditional Es or something else? It happens every year on 10m. The co-incidence is odd.

UPDATE 1400z:
20 stations have spotted my 500mW 10m WSPR with the furthermost PU5ALE (10191km) in Brazil.

How simple can you go?

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?

UK politics - NOT amateur radio

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.

Near Ely Cathedral - NOT amateur radio


This house was next to Ely Cathedral. I think it is either a cathedral office or linked to the King's School.

Sunday plans

Later this morning I expect to be on 6m QRP FT8 and 10m QRP WSPR TX. Sadly the SWR on my loop makes 8m TX tests unlikely, although I might try 8m FT8 RX later.

Sunspots - Sunday July 23rd 2023

 Solar flux is 174 and the SSN 103. A=8 and K=0.

22 Jul 2023

Ely thistle - NOT amateur radio

This splendid thistle was in the Almonry Garden at Ely Cathedral last Tuesday.  You can just see Ely Cathedral behind.

OFCOM publications

This is just a reminder that OFCOM updates the data it holds on licences etc. every week. Check the OFCOM website for details. The latest versions of their publications are also there too.

8m QRP FT8 (Saturday)

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.

Amateur Radio Weekly newsletter

This comes as a free email newsletter. It is a good source of amateur radio data.

See https://hamweekly.com/

10m QRP WSPR TX (Saturday)

Since just after breakfast I have been on 10m WSPR TX with my 500mW beacon. At 1058z, 16 stations had spotted me.

6m QRP FT8 (Saturday)

Switched on the 6m QRP FT8 gear just after breakfast. Looks like there is Es, but no JAs spotted here although I see them being worked from Eastern Europe.

UPDATE 1130z:  64 stations have spotted my 2.5W 6m FT8 today.

Poldu, Cornwall

A few weeks ago some friends called at the Poldu radio museum. They mentioned that I used to work for Philips and the person there said he knew me. It was Terry who must have retired to Cornwall. Small world. 

Sunspots - Saturday July 22nd 2023

Solar flux is 173 and the SSN 121. A=13 and K=2. 

21 Jul 2023

Bee patient - NOT amateur radio

This morning, I tried to take a photo of a bee on a thistle. I waited and waited, but the bee refused to make itself visible. In the end I gave up! The bee is the black blob in the right hand thistle. Well, I tried.

Spelling - NOT amateur radio

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.

Carpe diem (sieze the day) - NOT amateur radio

 The dictionary definition is:

"to urge someone to make the most of the present time and give little thought to the future"

I guess as we age, we have to make the most of the time we have.

10m QRP WSPR (Friday)

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/.

Stations spotting me today
on 10m QRP WSPR

UPDATE 2124z
:  9 stations have spotted me today.

JA spotted on 6m FT8 (again)

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.

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

UPDATE 0951z:   8 spots of me so far, all Gs.

Stations spotted today
on 6m FT8 RX
UPDATE 2117z:   QRT soon.  25 stations spotted here.

Sunspots - Friday July 21st 2023

Solar flux is 183 and the SSN 131. A=10 and K=3.

20 Jul 2023

Yaesu FT-710

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.

See https://sites.google.com/view/g3xbm4/home/hf-mf-and-lf/commercial-rigs/yaesu-ft-710 .

European Es (Thursday)

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?

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

UPDATE 2120z:  QRT and no more Es.

Profound moment - NOT amateur radio

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.

Rally on Sunday

Sunday July 23rd - Finningley ARC Car Boot Style rally. Sandtoft, Doncaster DN8 5SX. See http://www.g0ghk.com

6m QRP FT8 (Thursday)

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.

Stations spotting my 6m QRP FT8 today

UPDATE 1923z:
  What a pathetic day!  In the end I was just spotted by 8 G stations with no Es.

10m QRP WSPR TX (Thursday)

My 500mW 10m WSPR beacon was turned on about 1324z. So far, no spots.

UPDATE 1925z:  Just 3 spots by F1JSC (1010km) alone. Today has been very poor for Es in Europe.

Cambridge by bus - NOT amateur radio

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.

Sunspots - Thursday July 20th 2023

 Solar flux is 189 and the SSN 141. A=5 and K=1.

19 Jul 2023

Fordham Abbey - NOT amateur radio

This afternoon we visited the Japanese garden at nearby Fordham Abbey with our village history society. It was very good. They make Saki there which is a Japanese rice wine.

10m QRP WSPR (Wednesday)

I keep forgetting that I can use my 10m W5OLF 500mW TX WSPR beacon if the 10m antenna is not in use. At the moment just G4KPX (14km) spotting me. At least I know I am getting out!

UPDATE 2002z: 
 8 unique stations have spotted me today.

6m QRP FT8 (Wednesday)

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.

Sunspots - Wednesday July 19th 2023

 Solar flux is 219 and the SSN 142. A=16 and K=1. 

18 Jul 2023

Medieval stained glass - NOT amateur radio

Ely Cathedral is very very old yet most of the stained glass is from the 19th century. The window shown here is medieval and was bought from Rouen cathedral in France after the French Revolution. 

Low cost 10m FT8 RX

If you just want to monitor 10m FT8, may I recommend my 10FT8R receiver? This is easy to build, even "dead bug" style, yet works really well. It uses a low cost crystal, that is pulled. With this RX you will not miss much.

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.

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

Lunch companion - NOT amateur radio

This morning we went to Ely Cathedral and had lunch in the Almonry that dates back to the 13th century. Imagine eating here then!

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!

6m QRP FT8 (Tuesday)

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.

UPDATE 1230z: Spotted by 56 stations today on 6m QRP FT8. Plenty of Es.

Stations spotting
me at 1306z
UPDATE 1306z:
   A very good Es day on 6m QRP FT8 with 66 stations spotting me. I proves that with Es, not much ERP is needed.

UK strikes - NOT amateur radio

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. 

Plans for Tuesday

I expect to be on 6m FT8 QRP later hoping for some Es. 

Sunspots - Tuesday July 18th 2023

Solar flux is 180 and the SSN 149. A=24 and K=4.

Shield bug - NOT amateur radio

This photo was taken in 2017. It shows an iridescent shield bug. 

17 Jul 2023

Oil and gas prices - NOT amateur radio

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 still here - NOT amateur radio

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. 

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

6m QRP FT8 (Monday)

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
UPDATE 1304z:
25 stations have spotted my QRP 6m FT8 with the furthermost EA8BFK (2881km) and I have spotted 11 stations on RX. The Es seems pretty widespread today.

UPDATE 1722z:  29 stations have spotted me today on 6m QRP  FT8.

Plans for Monday

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.

VLF earth mode experiments in 2011

Some years before my stroke, I was out doing earth mode experiments at VLF. This was 2011.

Oscar 100 narrowband activity

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?

See https://eshail.batc.org.uk/nb/ 

Sunspots - Monday July 17th 2023

 Solar flux is 184 and the SSN 99. A=10 and K=3.

16 Jul 2023

UK politics - NOT amateur radio

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.

QDX reviews

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.

See https://www.eham.net/reviews/view-product?id=15155 .

UPDATE 0615z Monday:  Review written. 

Suffolk - NOT amateur radio

The Suffolk countryside is gentle and rolling.   It may lack some of the hills and coastlines of some counties, but I like it.

"Life's a bitch and then you die" - NOT amateur radio

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.

6m QRP FT8 (Sunday)

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.

European Es yesterday

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.

Radio archive

Apparently the digital archive of all things radio has now archived 75000 items.

See https://blog.archive.org/2023/05/03/dlarc-75000/

Sunspots - Sunday July 16th 2023

 Solar flux is 179 and the SSN 96. A=8 and K=0.

15 Jul 2023

Super DX on VHF and above

About now, JA and other Far East stations are worked from Western Europe on 6m. This is linked to noctilucent clouds that form at this time of year. It is pretty regular. 

Indications suggest the path could work on higher frequencies too. I have not been checking 6m FT8 until yesterday.

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