30 Sept 2023

630m (472 kHz) WSPR RX

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.

Seen yesterday - NOT amateur radio


This great crested grebe pair was seen at St Ives yesterday. There were lots of birds.

Politically neutral? - NOT amateur radio

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? 

8m QRP FT8 (Saturday)

 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.

UPDATE 1545z: 3 stations have spotted my QRP 8m FT8 today including Rik ON7YD (336km).

10m QRP WSPR TX (Saturday)

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.

2 sides to every story - NOT amateur radio

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.

630m disappointment

Last night I was again on 630m WSPR RX. However just 3 unique stations were spotted. 

Sunspots - Saturday September 30th 2023

Solar flux is 155 and the SSN 102. A=12 and K=1. 

29 Sept 2023

Being old (some advantages) - NOT amateur radio

There are some advantages of being old! We do not have to work and we have a free bus pass. 

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.

630m WSPR RX last evening

 In the end, 6 stations were spotted. There was nothing new spotted after midnight.

10m QRP WSPR TX (Friday)

My 500mW beacon is on. Just a single spot by DK6UG (633km) early this mornig.

UPDATE 1820z:
  9 stations have spotted me today. I seem to be spotted in Antarctica regularly these days! In 5 years' time this would seem remarkable.

8m QRP FT8 (Friday)

 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.

UPDATE 1830z:   3 stations have spotted me (see map) today.

USA prefixes

 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.

Oscar 100 narrowband transponder activity

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. 

In my view, I was expecting it to be far busier. When I last looked at European teatime midweek, activity levels were still quiet. 

One transistor transceiver

My attention was brought to this design yesterday. 

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.

See https://semara.org/tech-talk-a-one-transistor-marvel-transceiver/ .

Yesterday on 10m QRP WSPR TX

My 500mW 10m WSPR beacon was spotted by 24 stations including the German Research Station DP0GVN (13685km) in Antarctica.  I have lost count how many times I have been spotted down there. I expect their noise floor is pretty quiet!

Sunspots - Friday September 29th 2023

Solar flux is 148 and the SSN 109. A=6 and K=2. 

28 Sept 2023

630m WSPR RX (Thursday)

At about 1900z, I QSYed to 630m WSPR RX with the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. Just G1GKN (54km) spotted so far this evening at 1917z.

UPDATE 2015z:
4 stations have been spotted.

Wicken Fen lunch - NOT amateur radio


As mentioned in an earlier post, we walked to Wicken Fen where we ate lunch.

6m QRP FT8 (Thursday)

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.

Rally Sunday

Sunday October 1st - Welsh Radio Rally, Newport,  NP18 2YE. Contact rackmone@aol.com.  

It is always worth contacting to confirm details.

European Conditions

At the moment, conditions in Europe do not look too promising. At the moment, I am inclined to try 6m FT8, although I suspect most or all of the reports of my 2.5W to the V2000 will be from England.

Wicken Fen - NOT amateur radio

We saw several very late swallows today. These have normally flown on migration by now. 

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.

Christmas bookings - NOT amateur radio

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!!

630m WSPR RX last night

Last night, 6 stations were spotted. I think I have spotted 8 unique stations on the band this autumn. I must get back on TX!

10m QRP WSPR TX (Thursday)

 My 500mW beacon was turned on at 0726z. So far,just spots from local G4KPX (14km).

Sunspots - Thursday September 28th 2023

 Solar flux is 156 and the SSN 138.  A=15 and K=3.

27 Sept 2023

630m WSPR RX (Wednesday)

Once again, I have QSYed to 630m WSPR RX with my earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. So far, no spots.

UPDATE 2020z:
The spots so far this evening are shown in the table.

8m QRP FT8 (Wednesday)

As the Es in Europe looks a bit promising, I have QSYed from 6m to 8m FT8. 

Storm Agnes - NOT amateur radio

This is the first named storm in the UK this autumn. Although it is cloudy and the wind is getting stronger, it is far worse in the west.

OFCOM and mm wave 5G spectrum

OFCOM has announced that it will issue city-wide licence allocations at 26 and 40 GHz for 5G services that will last 15 years. See the OFCOM website for details.

Amazing Ali-Express deal

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.

See https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32659942384.html?spm=a2g0o.detail.0.0.798d3e717zW8OZ&gps-id=pcDetailTopMoreOtherSeller&scm=1007.40050.354490.0&scm_id=1007.40050.354490.0&scm-url=1007.40050.354490.0&pvid=cf2c5bcb-d6d5-46a0-82f8-937ee83d86b6&_t=gps-id:pcDetailTopMoreOtherSeller,scm-url:1007.40050.354490.0,pvid:cf2c5bcb-d6d5-46a0-82f8-937ee83d86b6,tpp_buckets:668%232846%238113%231998&pdp_npi=4%40dis%21GBP%214.20%210.42%21%21%214.96%21%21%402101e9a216958169374761959e95a7%2159889805406%21rec%21UK%21%21AB

10m 500mW WSPR TX (Wednesday)

 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.

UPDATE 1351z: Spotted in Antarctica yet again on the German research station DP0GVN (13685km). I think this is the third or fourth time this has happened. USA (SE) spotting me now.

6m QRP FT8 (Wednesday)

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.

UPDATE 1402z:  5 English stations have spotted me today. I suspect these are by tropo or aircraft scatter? No spots outside the UK.

Our garden - NOT amateur radio


Our rowan berries are at their best at the moment. Against a blue sky, they look great. 

The windmill is right next door, about 15m from our house.

630m WSPR last evening

As I have still to fix my 630m transverter, I went on 630m WSPR RX last evening. 4 different stations spotted. 

Sunspots - Wednesday September 27th 2023

 Solar flux is 165 and the SSN 179. A=32 and K=4.

26 Sept 2023

630m (472 kHz) WSPR RX (Tuesday)

At about 2015z, I QSYed to 630m WSPR RX with my earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. So far (at 2027z) just G1GKN (54km) and DC0DX (467km) spotted. 

DC0DX is stronger than I have ever spotted him so far this autumn.

10m QRP WSPR TX (Tuesday)

When I am on 8m FT8, I can also go on 10m WSPR TX with my 500mW WSPR beacon. I keep forgetting! Some of my reports from the Canary Is are very strong.

UPDATE 2020z: 10 stations have spotted me. Now QSYed to 630m WSPR RX.

8m in a few years?

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.

QSYed to QRP 8m FT8 (Tuesday)

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.

UPDATE 1818z:  No spots.  There seem to be a lot of people monitoring 8m today (see map).

UPDATE 2043z:  No spots. QRT.

10m QRP FT8 (Tuesday)

This afternoon, I am on 10m QRP FT8. It is now 1250z and I have spotted 37 stations across the planet and my 2.5W has been spotted by 1 station.

UPDATE 1414z: 21 stations have spotted me and I have spotted 166.

How do they do it?

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 profit?

See https://a.aliexpress.com/_EITEaHH

630m WSPR 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.

Sunspots - Tuesday September 26th 2023

Solar flux is 170 and the SSN 164. A=23 and K=4. Sunspot count still good. 

25 Sept 2023

Fixing my 630m transverter

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!

10m 500mW WSPR TX (Monday)

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.

Repair Cafe - NOT amateur radio

Every month our village holds a repair cafe where they try to repair things that otherwise would be scrapped. I was expecting it to be quiet, but it was busy. They also serve tea and cakes. What a good idea. Repairs are free, but they appreciate donations.

Plans for Monday

 My current plan is to go on 10m WSPR TX with my 500mW beacon and fix my 630m transverter so I can TX on 630m this evening. 

Well that is the plan!

630m WSPR yesterday

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.

2012 back of the garage

In the old house most of my building was in the back of the garage as this photo from 2012 shows. 

Sunspots - Monday September 25th 2023

Solar flux is 174 and the SSN 172. A=21 and K=5.

24 Sept 2023

630m WSPR RX

 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.

QSYed to QRP 8m FT8

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!

CQWW contests

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 500mW WSPR beacon was turned on about 0800z. So far, spots from the Canary Is.. I presume this is F2.

UPDATE 1048z:   Still just the spots from the Canaries.

UPDATE 1835z: The usual USA stations spotted me, but going QRT very soon.

6m QRP FT8 (Sunday)

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),

630m WSPR RX overnight

Once again I stayed on 630m WSPR RX overnight with the earth-electrode antenna in the ground. No further stations were spotted on RX overnight proving it is not worth staying on after midnight.

The shack some years ago

This was one of my Facebook memories today. It shows my shack 11 years ago. 

Sunspots - Sunday September 24th 2023

Solar flux is 173 and the SSN 198 (I think this is the highest level this cycle. A=10 and K=0.

23 Sept 2023

630m WSPR RX (Saturday)

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.

Autumn cyclamen - NOT amateur radio

These were at nearby Anglesey Abbey earlier this week. In every season, there is something to see.

10m 500mW WSPR TX (Saturday)

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.

UPDATE 1652z:   20 stations have spotted me including 4 reports from Antarctica.

UPDATE 1744z:  22 stations have spotted me. Clearly there is E-W F2 to the USA.

6m QRP FT8 (Saturday)

 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).

630m WSPR overnight

My RX was on overnight, but just the 4 stations spotted in the evening copied. It is not worth staying on overnight.

Sunspots - Saturday September 23rd 2023

 Solar flux is 173 and the SSN 184. A=10 and K=2.

22 Sept 2023

630m WSPR RX (Friday)

Once again I am trying 630m WSPR RX with my earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. The stations so far copied are shown on the map.

UPDATE 2115z:  The impression I am getting is that there are a few keen operators, but perhaps fewer than in previous seasons. I am wondering if I should get on 630m WSPR TX .....or not.

Too quick - NOT amateur radio

This photo was taken about 9 years ago. It shows one of my grandsons collecting conkers. These are on our kitchen table. 

At the time you think they will be little for a long time. A blink and they are teenagers! Moral? Enjoy every moment.

Cambridge without the students - NOT amateur radio

This time of year can be quiet in Cambridge. There are fewer visitors and the university students have not yet returned. 

This photo was taken in Cambridge earlier. 


As I am on 8m FT8, I can use my 500mW 10m WSPR TX beacon at the same time. 

UPDATE 1635z:
25 spots of my QRP this afternoon. See map.

8m QRP FT8

As 10m FT8 was good, I have QSYed to 8m FT8. So far, no spots with my 2.5W and dipole. 

UPDATE 1554z:  S50B (1220km) has spotted me and I have spotted him. There is still life on 8m FT8.

10m QRP FT8 (Friday)

My 10m FT8 QRP gear was turned on at about 0700z. I have already spotted FR1GZ but I have yet to be spotted outside Europe with 2.5W.

UPDATE 0754z:   15 stations have spotted me with the furthermost FR1GZ (9719km).

UPDATE 1412z: My 2.5W was widely spotted today. See map. 

Plans for today

As 8m is not too promising, I shall try 10m FT8 QRP today. If conditions buck up, I may try 8m QRP FT8 and 10m QRP WSPR TX with the beacon. 

Paul Tillich - NOT amateur radio

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.

"Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. It strikes us when we walk through the dark valley of a meaningless and empty life. It strikes us when we feel that our separation is deeper than usual, because we have violated another life, a life which we loved, or from which we were estranged. It strikes us when our disgust for our own being, our indifference, our weakness, our hostility, and our lack of direction and composure have become intolerable to us. It strikes us when, year after year, the longed-for perfection of life does not appear, when the old compulsions reign within us as they have for decades, when despair destroys all joy and courage. Sometimes at that moment a wave of light breaks into our darkness, and it is as though a voice were saying: "You are accepted. You are accepted, accepted by that which is greater than you, and the name of which you do not know. Do not ask for the name now; perhaps you will find it later. Do not try to do anything now; perhaps later you will do much. Do not seek for anything; do not perform anything; do not intend anything. Simply accept the fact that you are accepted!" If that happens to us, we experience grace. After such an experience we may not be better than before, and we may not believe more than before. But everything is transformed. In that moment, grace conquers sin, and reconciliation bridges the gulf of estrangement. And nothing is demanded of this experience, no religious or moral or intellectual presupposition, nothing but acceptance.

In the light of this grace we perceive the power of grace in our relation to others and to ourselves. We experience the grace of being able to look frankly into the eyes of another, the miraculous grace of reunion of life with life. We experience the grace of understanding each other's words. We understand not merely the literal meaning of the words, but also that which lies behind them, even when they are harsh or angry. For even then there is a longing to break through the walls of separation. We experience the grace of being able to accept the life of another, even if it be hostile and harmful to us, for, through grace, we know that it belongs to the same Ground to which we belong, and by which we have been accepted. We experience the grace which is able to overcome the tragic separation of the sexes, of the generations, of the nations, of the races, and even the utter strangeness between man and nature. Sometimes grace appears in all these separations to reunite us with those to whom we belong. For life belongs to life.

And in the light of this grace we perceive the power of grace in our relation to ourselves. We experience moments in which we accept ourselves, because we feel that we have been accepted by that which is greater than we. If only more such moments were given to us! For it is such moments that make us love our life, that make us accept ourselves, not in our goodness and self-complacency, but in our certainty of the eternal meaning of our life. We cannot force ourselves to accept ourselves. We cannot compel anyone to accept himself. But sometimes it happens that we receive the power to say "yes" to ourselves, that peace enters into us and makes us whole, that self-hate and self-contempt disappear, and that our self is reunited with itself. Then we can say that grace has come upon us.

"Sin" and "grace" are strange words; but they are not strange things. We find them whenever we look into ourselves with searching eyes and longing hearts. They determine our life. They abound within us and in all of life. May grace more abound within us!"

630m WSPR last evening

 Overall, 4 stations were spotted last evening. It seems staying on after midnight is pointless. This was the same before. The best time would seem to be mid evening. 

Sunspots - Friday September 22nd 2023

 Solar flux is 168 and the SSN 159. A=10 and K=2. 

21 Sept 2023

UK Prime Minister on climate change targets - NOT amateur radio

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.

Upcoming rallies

The following rallies are due. I always advise contacting to check details are correct. All are on Sunday September 24th (Sunday coming).

What IS it? - NOT amateur radio

This soft and squishy blob about 6cm across appeared on our drive this morning. I have no idea what it is. I said to my wife that if little green men appear tell them we are friendly. 

I am sure there is a much more rational answer.

472 kHz WSPR

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 2037z:  3 unique stations spotted so far this evening. 

UPDATE 2130z: After late evening in previous years 472kHz WSPR has not been productive. As this is my first time on the band for some time, I may let the RX stay on overnight to see what is spotted. 

8m QRP FT8 (Thursday)

All morning I have been on 40.680 MHz FT8 with my 2.5W and dipole. At 1133z no spots on RX or TX.

UPDATE 1434z: Still no spots.

10m 500mW WSPR TX (Thursday)

Since about 0830z, my QRP 10m WSPR TX beacon has been on the air.

UPDATE 1130z: 4 stations have spotted me. The DX stations look like F2 propagation.

UPDATE 1952z:
  10 stations spotted my 500mW WSPR beacon today with the furthermost in Antarctica.

Sunspots - Thursday September 21st 2023

 Solar flux is 156 and the SSN 159. A=16 and K=2. 

20 Sept 2023

1980s "shack"

Whilst trying to find something else, I came across this old photo of my radio gear. It must be about 1985. My shack was just a desk in our bedroom!  The grey handheld is a 2m SSB MX2 and the CB radio was converted to 10m FM. The black vertical radio is a 2m ICOM IC202 used on 2m and 10m QRP via a homebrew 1W transverter.

8m QRP FT8

My 2.5W to the dipole was turned on at 0854z. No spots after 25 minutes. 

UPDATE 1748z: Disappointing, with no spots on TX or RX all day.


My 500mW 10m WSPR beacon was turned on at 0854z. After about 20 minutes just spots from local G4KPX (14km). 

UPDATE 1015z:  4 stations have spotted me.

UPDATE  1613z: 5 stations have spotted me today.

Training ship - NOT amateur radio

We saw this last week in Porto Montenegro (Tivat) on holiday. 

Sunspots - Wednesday September 20th 2023

Solar flux is 166 and the SSN 143. A=49 and K=3 .

Wednesday plans

 Assuming the storms keep away, I intend to go on 10m QRP WSPR TX and 8m QRP FT8. 

19 Sept 2023

Montenegro blog - NOT amateur radio

Last week we enjoyed a holiday in Montenegro. As it is easy to forget, I created a blog to help me remember what we did!  

See https://montenegro2023.blogspot.com .

Back home - NOT amateur radio

Yesterday, we flew home from Montenegro. It more or less on time. It was a good holiday, but too many steps! 


As I am back home I am on 10m WSPR TX with my 500mW beacon. Just G4KPX (14 km) spotting me. 

UPDATE 1144z: 8 stations have spotted me today (see table).

UPDATE 2025z:
14 stations have spotted my 500mW 10m WSPR.

Back on 8m

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.

UPDATE 1558z: Also spotted by EI4GNB (445km). This is an odd distance, so most probably aircraft, although I cannot rule out random MS, or even tropo.

Sunspots - Tuesday September 19th 2023

Solar flux is 155 and the SSN 139. A=30 and K=6.

18 Sept 2023

More countries on 8m?

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.
It is my view that by asking for modest things we are more likely to be successful. In the end I am sure that most users are almost exclusively interested in propagation research.

Sunspots - Monday September 18th 2023

Solar flux is 145 and the SSN 94. A=16 and K=4. 

17 Sept 2023

National Park in Montenegro - NOT amateur radio

This morning we visited this pristine lake surrounded by a wealth of different trees. 

My 100mW 10m WSPR beacon in 2012

A very long time ago, I built a tiny QRP WSPR beacon for 10m. These were the results. I think it is still in a drawer somewhere. As I recall this was at this time of year on the climb to the peak of solar cycle 24.

Truth? - NOT amateur radio

 I am concerned that we are fed a line by the media that may not be the truth. This we know happens in Russia, but it also happens in the west too. Often we don't realise. 

The changing nature of amateur radio

 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. 

Sunspots - Sunday September 17th 2023

Solar flux is 140 and the SSN 88. S=7 and K=3.

16 Sept 2023

4m disappointing

 Earlier this year I went on 4m FT8 both before the Es season and during the Es season using my FT-710 that I owned at the time.

Overall, I was disappointed. Yes, when there was Es DX could be had. However when there was no Es activity was poor.

Vesuvius 2017 - NOT amateur radio

This photo shows a brooding Vesuvius in 2017. We visited Pompeii in 2017. What stuck me most was how similar life was back then. Yes, there were differences, but I did not expect to see takeaway shops for example, nearly 2000 years ago! 

In the mountains - NOT amateur radio

Yesterday we moved from the coast of Montenegro inland to the mountains via long, deep, valleys . 

We also went on Lake Skadar and had lunch on an island. 

OFCOM reminder

Every week OFCOM updates the data it holds on licences. There are several new publications too. See the OFCOM website for more information. 

Where I grew up as a child - NOT amateur radio

Salcombe, where I spent my childhood, is to the left of this photo. 

Sunspots - Saturday September 16th 2023

Solar flux is 139 and the SSN 96. A=7 and K=2.

15 Sept 2023

F2 and 8m

 Last winter my 2.5W 8m FT8 was copied "across the pond" on several occasions. This season should be at least as good. We may even see some E-W F2 openings on 6m FT8. The F2 season should start in earnest in the next few weeks. 

Budva harbour, Montenegro - NOT amateur radio

There is something relaxing about watching boats bobbing up and down in the water. This was yesterday. 

AI (artificial intelligence) - NOT amateur radio

Until this year most would not know what AI meant. In the last 9 months this has changed and most are aware of what it means.

In the next 20 years it could have a profound impact on all of us. 

Sunspots - Friday September 15th 2023

Solar flux is 145 and the SSN 110. A=18 and K=2. 

14 Sept 2023


 The following rally has been notified to me. Please check details are correct before travelling any distance.

Saturday September 16th - Angel of the North ARC Rally. Bensham Gateshead, NE8 4LH. Contact anarc.club@gmail.com. 

Budva, Montenegro, Statue - NOT amateur radio

 This was seen in Budva this morning. 


One of the aspects of our hobby that I have most enjoyed is experimentation. It doesn't cost much, is fun, and all can do it. 

But who would? - NOT amateur radio

This photo appeared as a FB memory from 2010.