As per previous recent evenings, I have QSYed to 630m WSPR RX using the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. So far, just G1GKN (54km) spotted.
30 Sept 2023
Politically, I have always been what they call "a floating voter". This means I have no idea who I shall vote for in a local or a General Election.
I was amused to read in The Knowledge today of some view of the UK Labour Party leader, who expressed a view that the UK is gradually losing its status in the world. I think this is true and in the 21st century it is more likely we will see China and India on the rise.
It was strange to see Keir Starmer suggest last week that the UK is “drifting off the international stage”, says Dominic Lawson in the Daily Mail. Has he forgotten about the AUKUS deal, signed earlier this year, uniting the UK, US and Australia in a pact to use nuclear-powered submarines as a counterweight to China in the Indo-Pacific? Or the new UK-Japan Hiroshima Accord, which includes plans to collaborate on a next-generation fighter jet? Or indeed that Britain has become the first European member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement? The Labour leader has always been “intensely Eurocentric”, so he’s probably thinking about the EU. But even the Europeans acknowledge that, as the German magazine Internationale Politik Quarterly puts it, “Britain is Back”. Why can’t Starmer see it too?
My 2.5W to the dipole was turned on about 0825z. I am hoping to spot some Belgian stations. Once again I am on 40.680 MHz DF about 1950 Hz TXing in the first period.
UPDATE 0852z: 8m spots by local G4WSZ (12km). Running QRP, I am grateful for all spots.
My 500mW 10m WSPR beacon was turned on at 0824z. Already F2 spots from the Canary Is.. Earlier spots were with the PA off, so would only be low microwatts. If genuine, these are remarkable. I might try again with the PA off!
UPDATE 0845z: I have turned OFF my beacon PA, to see if there are any spots! An interesting experiment.
UPDATE 0941z: Already one spot from the Canary Is. with the PA off!! My beacon still says 0.5W (preprogrammed) but my actual power must be just microwatts. At some point I must find out what it really is. EA8BFK's report (-24dB S/N) suggests microwatts. Amazing.
UPDATE 1552z: Quite a few spots from 2 stations in the Canary Is. despite my beacon PA being OFF!! As I said before, although my beacon is preprogrammed to say 0.5W, the actual power transmitted must be microwatts.
Since going on holiday to Montenegro, I am even more conscious that there are two sides to an argument, Clearly the Russian people are fed a line that the invasion of Ukraine is a "special military operation" and the evil West continues to supply weapons and wants the downfall of Russia. We in the West are told the brave Ukrainian people are the heroes, fighting the invaders.
In Kosovo, NATO is trying to stop the Serbs taking it back by force. I did not realise that Kosovo was once populated mainly by Serbs and in more recent times there is an Albanian majority.
What I am saying is we, and all people, need to see the whole context in an unbiased way. Of course ethnic cleansing of any kind is totally wrong, and most wars achieve little. Too often people in many nations are fed a line by the media.
Get your information from multiple sources and take what you read and hear with a degree of questioning.
29 Sept 2023
Today, for free, we went on the guided bus to St Ives in Cambridgeshire in bright sunshine. The guided bus is fast, traffic free, and uses the same route as the old St Ives branch railway from Cambridge.
After an excellent lunch in the URC church cafe, we sat by the river and went to the local museum.
Although I am not expecting much, I am again on 40.680 MHz QRP FT8. Any reports would be welcomed.....from anyone!!
UPDATE 1549z: Today I was spotted for the first time in Luxembourg and I spotted one of the Belgian stations now able to TX legally with an amateur call on 8m. Altogether, 2 spots of my 8m QRP FT8 today.
At one time you knew a W6 was on the west coast, probably California. If you spotted a W1, chances were it was in New England and W4 was probably Florida. Not any more!!
Yesterday I was spotted on 10m QRP WSPR by a W7. He was on the east coast! Whereas at one time the USA prefix gave you a clue to where the person was, you now have no way of knowing.
Yet another step backwards.
As you know I take a regular peek at activity levels on the narrowband transponder of Oscar 100. It has been pointed out to me that this has encouraged microwave activity especially in Europe. This is certainly true.
Personally, I was expecting this to become the de facto way of DXing within its footprint. It promised DX, at any time, without QSB with a small fixed antenna (that could even be at ground level) and modest power. No tower, expensive beams or linear needed!! Very neighbour friendly.
My immediate thoughts were than the TX would be fine, but the RX very deaf. For local QSOs and experiments fine, but it could not be seriously used as the RX would not be able to hear who is on the channel. If the other station TXed first, you would know the channel was clear.
28 Sept 2023
At about 1250z, my 6m QRP FT8 was turned on. So far, at 1255z, spotted by just 1 local G6KWA (22km).
UPDATE 1333z: Spotted by OH7PS (1698km) a burst of Es or even F2? I suppose it could have been random MS.
UPDATE 1417z: 2 locals have spotted me, 1 G further afield and one OH.
My wife took this photo of an old boat at Wicken Fen. We usually walk there, have a break in the cafe there and walk back.
We usually see Konik ponies, but we saw none.
It is only September, but I am inundated with emails urging me to book pubs meals for Christmas.
To me the Christmas season does not start until December. This is pure commercialism. I have deleted these emails.
One of the major retailers in Cambridge often puts up Christmas decorations in October. I boycott them!!
27 Sept 2023
In case you missed Keith's comment on a post yesterday, you can now buy a complete 40m Pixie CW transceiver kit for just 42p with free shipping!! They cannot make any money on this at all.
As I am not using the 10m antenna, I am on 10m WSPR with my QRP TX beacon. So far local G4KPX (14km) and the 2 monitors in the Canaries.
UPDATE 1035z: More spots by the same stations.
UPDATE 1249z: 5 stations have spotted me today. Mostly F2 I think.
This morning, I am on 6m QRP FT8 with my 2.5W and the V2000 vertical omni antenna. At 0831z, I have been spotted by 2 stations and I have spotted 1 station. All these were in England.
UPDATE 0927z: Still just 2 UK stations spotting me. I have spotted 2 stations on PSKreporter and I spotted EI2CN working a French station.
UPDATE 1037z: 3 English stations have spotted my 6m QRP. No further spots on RX.
UPDATE 1250z: No further spots.
26 Sept 2023
OFCOM (and the RSGB) and the FCC seem to be dead against allocating even a tiny, low power, amateur allocation at 8m. There must be a very good reason for their position, but they seem unwilling to share their reasons. As an outsider, the position seems stupid and illogical.
It is my hope that, over time, many administrations will allocate 8m to amateurs. As I understand things, most on 8m now, in any country, are interested in propagation and research, not chatting. By restricting modes to narrow digital only (modes like FT8, WSPR and CW) it is extremely unlikely this band would ever be used in this way i.e. for chatting. I cannot see why every administration cannot make, say, 5 kHz in the ISM section available to radio amateurs that apply, especially if secondary, low power, and assuming interference must be accepted and not caused to other services.
Will many more administrations grant amateurs access to 8m? I hope so.
10m FT8 was too easy, so I have QSYed to 8m QRP FT8 hoping to catch some F2 propagation. I QSYed at 1423z to 40.680 MHz first period TX.
In the end I located my antenna current meter but it was broken and soldering the toroid on again was very hard. Still not on TX.
I have ordered some more 50 ohm patch leads and more PL259 to BNC adaptors.
Fault finding (despite the difficulty) continues. I hope to be on 630m WSPR TX by the weekend.
25 Sept 2023
My very old transverter used a 28.060 MHz local oscillator. I obviously went to 3.2 MHz in my newer design to reduce start-up drift.
My antenna current meter is still missing. It is somewhere in the shack, probably in a drawer somewhere.
My first step is to see if I can detect my 3.2 MHz oscillator on the newer transverter.
By some means, I want to be on 630m WSPR TX this evening!
My QRP beacon has been on since about 0814z. Just local G4KPX(14km) has copied me this morning so far. HF conditions appear a bit disturbed?
UPDATE 1006z: Since 0910z, I have been spotted in the Canary Is.. I remain amazed at how strong these F2 signals can be at times. I have received -4dB S/N at times despite running just 500mW.
Sunday evening 6 stations were spotted as the chart shows.
I must get back on TX soon! Thinking about my transverter, I guess the first thing to try is see if I can receive the 3.2 MHz oscillator on another RX. If this is not going, it would give me a very good clue where to start looking. My problem these days is it is like fault finding in a brain fog! Somewhere I have my very old transverter which I used on 500 kHz years ago.
24 Sept 2023
At about 1845z I QSYed to 630m (472kHz) WSPR RX. So far just G1GKN (54km) spotted.
I have found my old transverter, but not the current meter yet. I hope to mend the transverter this week.
UPDATE 1932z: DC0DX (467km) spotted.
UPDATE 1946z: SM6NOC (1056km) spotted.
Even though my chances are small, I have QSYed to 40.680 MHz FT8. At this time of year Es openings are possible, but rare. Aircraft reflection is possible, as I suppose are random MS and tropo. I live in hope! F2 is unlikely at this time of year with my low power.
UPDATE 1829z: No spots. I see there are 3 stations in Belgium on. I hope I can get spotted by one or spot them.
UPDATE 1833z: QRT soon on 8m after a hopeless day!
Today is the CQWW RTTY contest. The SSB contest (the biggest in the world) is at the end of October and the CW contest at the end of November.
As my voice is poor, I do not get the same pleasure I used to get in the SSB contest. Also, I frequently forget!
Even if you are not a great contest fan (I am not!), it is a great opportunity to work some more countries. Exchange is, I think, report and CQ zone if you are outside of the USA. For example, if in the UK, 5914. Of course, there is no need to submit a contest entry. I have never submitted an entry to CQWW.
Recently, I was made aware of this website. As the MUF is creeping up, it is worth a regular look. It may give a clue to possible 8m and 6m F2 openings.
See https://www.sws.bom.gov.au/HF_Systems/6/5 - this gives the MUF for vertical incidence.
See also https://prop.kc2g.com/ .
My 2.5W to the V2000 vertical was turned on at about 0800z. No spots yet. If things look promising, I may try 8m QRP FT8.
UPDATE 0849z: So far, spots of my QRP from 4 UK stations. I suspect some are by aircraft reflection with the furthermost GW4VXE (367km),
23 Sept 2023
For the last few evenings I have been monitoring 630m (472 kHz) WSPR RX. After about 10 minutes, G1GKN (54km) and DC0DX (467km) were spotted. Still using the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground.
As Colin G6AVK suggests, I must try to find out what is wrong with my 472 kHz transverter and get back on TX.
UPDATE 1947z: SM6NOC (1056km) spotted. This is my furthermost so far and the first over 1000km.
UPDATE 2036z: 4 stations spotted.
My QRP W5OLF beacon was on all night. Clearly there is F2 propagation with several spots from the Canary Is.
UPDATE 1037z: Still just spots from the Canary Is..
UPDATE 1121z: Still just spots from the Canary Is.. At the peak these were -5dB S/N (27dB in hand when running 500mW) suggesting just uW would have been sufficient assuming a low local noise floor.
Although I have been on for about 15 minutes, no spots have appeared on PSKreporter. I rechecked frequency, time sync and restarted WSJT-X. The internet connection works fine.
Either PSKreporter has a long delay, or is not working as there are plenty of monitors that usually spot me that are within range.
UPDATE 0920z: Darn Windows updates! Since doing the updates, I am being spotted. It is almost as if until the update was done, no spots could be seen. On my Chromebook, updates are done seemlessly, which is far better.
UPDATE 0950z: 3 spots of my QRP 6m FT8 with the furthermost DL3BUA (939km) near the Polish border. There is still life on 6m FT8.
UPDATE 1034z: Still just those 3 spots of me on 6m FT8.
UPDATE 1150z: Now 4 spots including G8EEM (208km).
UPDATE 1206z: 4 spots of others on RX with the furthermost OZ8R (819km).
22 Sept 2023
UPDATE 0754z: 15 stations have spotted me with the furthermost FR1GZ (9719km).
Many years ago, I read a book by the German theologian Paul Tillich. The book was entitled "The Shaking of the Foundations". I think it was written about 1950. Paul Tillich was no saint. According to a biography by his wife, he had human weaknesses like us all. In some ways this makes what I read even more powerful.
I am not a deeply religious person, but somehow this rang true to me.
21 Sept 2023
Yesterday, the UK Prime Minister announced that some climate change targets were being pushed back 5 years. With high interest rates and high cost of living costs, many are struggling. However, I think this is a backward step. It is true that some technologies are not yet there. Storage of renewable energy and cheaper (non-lithium) batteries for electric cars come to mind. As far as I know there was nothing on home insulation that would reduce costs with any fuels.
If the UK is to lead in renewable energy, this needs serious investment, not pandering to Tory backbenchers and fossil fuel companies.
Before this is likely to be a serious issue, I shall be dead. However my children and their children will suffer the consequences. Better renewable energy storage, solid state batteries and better ranges on cheaper electric cars are all likely. Carbon capture may help.
Overall, I am disappointed. There is so much more that can be done. Make no mistake, this really is an existential threat to the whole human race. We ignore this at our peril.
Hopefully, technology will help and there will be a mass transition away from fossil fuels, but this is far from certain.
The following rallies are due. I always advise contacting to check details are correct. All are on Sunday September 24th (Sunday coming).
- Hack Green Military Surplus and Military Radio Hangar Sale, Nantwich, Cheshire, CW5 8AL. Contact email@example.com.
- Bury St Edmunds Radio Rally, Roughham Tower, IP32 7QB. Contact rally2023@Bsears.co.uk .
- Weston Super Mare Radio Society 8th Radio and Electronics Rally, Worle, BS24 7DX. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
- Biggleswade Swap-meet and auction (BVWS), Biggleswade, SG18 8JH . Contact Jezzer3@hotmail.com .
This autumn, I intend to try 472 kHz WSPR again. I had a problem last season which prevented me TXing. Once again I shall be using my earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. Probably RX only at first to check activity. I might try RX only tonight.
UPDATE 1925z: When using the shack PC WSPRnet asked me to log in again and enter my password, which I cannot recall, so I am getting a new one. I may try 472 kHz WSPR RX tomorrow night instead.
UPDATE 1956z: It works! I had the wrong username (now corrected), so I am monitoring 472 kHz WSPR. So far, G1GKN (54km) spotted using the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground.
UPDATE 2013z: Furthermost on 472 kHz WSPR RX is DC0DX (467km).
UPDATE 1130z: 4 stations have spotted me. The DX stations look like F2 propagation.
Since about 0830z, my QRP 10m WSPR TX beacon has been on the air.
20 Sept 2023
19 Sept 2023
As I am now back home, I am back on QRP FT8 on 8m.
UPDATE 1136z: Spotted by WESSEXSDR (266km). It looks like this is aircraft reflection.
18 Sept 2023
It is rumoured that E51 (Cook Is) is trying to gain access to the 8m band.
I very much hope that many more countries will try (and be granted) limited access to the band. We are approaching sunspot maximum and if more countries asked for, and were given, access even for a limited time, we could really contribute to radio science.
There will be times in the next few years when the MUF will just exceed 41 MHz. If you are asking your PTT for limited access, these are my suggestions:
- 40.680 - 40.685 MHz (just 5 kHz in the ISM band)
- 10W ERP
- Narrow digital modes (e.g. FT8, WSPR, CW) only
- Secondary only
- By NoV or equivalent (i.e. you have to ask for access)
- Aim is mainly for propagation research.
- Access for 12 months (around sunspot maximum)
- Strictly no interference.
17 Sept 2023
Have you noticed the change? Repeaters are often quiet for hours and there is less SSB and CW activity. FM simplex QSOs apart from nets and skeds are almost never heard. More people use FT8 to work DX. In the past people used amateur radio for chatting, but this can be done worldwide with video more easily with the Internet and smartphone or PC. Most now use amateur radio in a different way. I am not saying it wrong as I am as guilty as anyone! But the logical consequences are clear.