31 Oct 2023

Autumn is coming - NOT amateur radio


At last, the leaves are changing and it looks more like autumn. The photo shows the trees on the green this morning.

630m QRP WSPR (Tuesday)

 Most of the day I was on 630m QRP WSPR with the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. At 2130z,   8 spots of my 10mW ERP.

40.680 MHz QRP FT8 (Tuesday)

 For a couple of hours, I was on 8m FT8 QRP with my 2.5W. Just G4WSZ (12km) was spotting me.

Tuesday plans

Later, I shall probably turn on my 500mW 10m WSPR TX beacon. I may stay on 630m QRP WSPR in the daytime as an experiment and give 8m a miss.

630m WSPR overnight

 In all I was spotted by 9 stations overnight. 

Sunspots - Tuesday October 31st 2023

 Solar flux is 140 and the SSN 62. A=12 and K=2.

30 Oct 2023

630m QRP WSPR (Monday)

My 630m QRP WSPR was turned on about 0830z.  At 2200z 6 stations had spotted me. This season it has been worth my while staying on after midnight.

8m QRP FT8 (Monday)

My QRP FT8 gear has been on for a little while, but just local spots so far today.  On RX no spots.

UPDATE 2216z:
My best day ever on 8m FT8 with 11 spots of me..

10m 500mW WSPR TX (Monday)

 My 500mW WSPR TX beacon was turned on about 1104z. So far, just a spot by an Italian.

630m WSPR overnight

 Overnight I was spotted by 9 stations. OH1LSQ (1733km) was again spotting me. 

Sunspots - Monday October 30th 2023

Solar flux is 135 and the SSN 61. A=28 and K=2. 

29 Oct 2023

630m 10mW ERP WSPR (Sunday)

 After tea this evening, I QSYed to 630m WSPR.   So far, 5 stations have spotted me at 2055z.

East Anglian Churches blog - NOT amateur radio

When I was fitter we visited many churches in East Anglia, I kept a blog so we could later recall those visited. It is some while since this was updated, so an aim for 2024 must be to visit some more and update this blog.

See https://eachurches.blogspot.com/ .

10m 500mW WSPR TX (Sunday)

My beacon was turned on at about 1046z. So far spots from Italy and the Canary Is..

UPDATE 1228z:
  10 stations have spotted me so far today. Most look like F2 propagation.

8m QRP FT8 (Sunday)

 My 2.5W 8m FT8 was turned on about 1046z. Just local spots so far.

UPDATE 1208z: ZS3/V51PJ (9081km spotted on 8m FT8 RX).

UPDATE 1234z: 
The logbook shows 4 countries spotted on 8m FT8 RX  this week.

"The Screaming Sky -- in pursuit of swifts" by Charles Foster - NOT amateur radio

This book, loaned to me by my son, is about the lives of swifts.  Reading it makes you realise they are only here for a few months, with their real home in Africa. Funny, I always await the joyous return of the swifts every spring.

 See https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/swift .

Sunday plans

 After a spot of gardening, I shall probably go on 8m QRP FT8 and 10m 500mW WSPR TX with my beacon. Yesterday was quite good on 8m with the E-W MUF obviously high enough to support 8m propagation at times.

630m QRP WSPR TX overnight


In all, my 10mW ERP 630m WSPR was spotted by 19 stations (see table).

Spooky moon - NOT amateur radio


It is almost Halloween. This was the moon rising over a neighbours' house.

Sunspots - Sunday October 29th 2023

 Solar flux is 128 and the SSN 70. A=19 and K=4.

28 Oct 2023


Even though the output power judging by the antenna current seemed normal, I was getting no spots. Moving down in frequency and spots came immediately. Was my transmission just outside the WSPR window?   Last night I was about 16 Hz inside the top edge.

UPDATE  1815z:   4 stations have spotted my 10mW ERP tonight.


This is the biggest contest in the world. At one time, I used to be very keen on this as a way of working some new DXCC countries. I have never submitted a score. These days I just take a peek, and give it a miss. It is on all weekend.

All change - NOT amateur radio

We have one garage in our village selling fuel. When we came in 1975 there were 3.   Attached to the garage was a very useful Co-op shop. Both the garage and shop are now Asda. Luckily, the same staff seem to be there.

10m QRP WSPR TX (Saturday)

My tiny 500mW 10m WSPR TX has been on most of the morning. So far,  25 stations have spotted me.

8m QRP FT8 (Saturday)

Apart from a very brief transmission early this morning - spotted by local G4WSZ (12km), I have been RX.

UPDATE 1530z: This afternoon, I have been on 40.680 MHz QRP FT8 TX. 4 stations have spotted my 2.5W to the  dipole including 1 in the USA and 1 in the Caribbean. On 8m RX,  3 countries have been spotted.

Back garden - NOT amateur radio

Yesterday, I cut the grass. I usually cut it for the last time of the year in late November or even December. I think the grass often grows over the winter and I am always pleased to do a "tidy up" cut in March. The photo shows our back garden yesterday. 

The leaves are still on the trees mostly, but they will soon be gone until spring.

630m QRP WSPR overnight

In all, 13 stations spotted my 10mW ERP from the earth-electrode antenna in the ground on 630m overnight with the furthermost SM6NOC (1054km).

In the last 2 weeks I have been spotted by 33 stations on 630m QRP WSPR TX as the table shows. 

Sunspots - Saturday October 28th 2023

 Solar flux is 128 and the SSN 66. A=11 and K=1.

27 Oct 2023

630m QRP WSPR (Friday)

This evening, I QSYed to 630m WSPR QRP TX (with 10mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground) earlier than usual. So far (at 1820z)  3 stations have spotted me.

Quote in "The Knowledge" today - NOT amateur radio

This quote was in "The Knowledge" today. 

"War is the unfolding of miscalculations." Historian Barbara Tuchman

8m QRP FT8 (Friday)

 My 2.5W 8m FT8 gear has been on much of the morning. So far, just local G4WSZ (12km) spotting me.

UPDATE 1215z:  2 locals have spotted me and I have spotted ZR1ADI (9777km) in South Africa yet again.

UPDATE 1408z: Sadly, I was called by a station in Luxembourg, but we were unable to complete the 8m FT8 exchange. 4 stations have spotted me today.

10m 500mW WSPT TX (Friday)

My stand-alone 10m QRP WSPR TX beacon has been on much of the morning. 3 stations have spotted me. This all looks like F2.

UPDATE 1308z: 19 stations have spotted me today.

UPDATE 1334z: 24 spots of my QRP so far with the furthermost FR1GZ (9724km)

UPDATE 1535z:
37 spots of me today.

That DX 8m QRP contact yesterday

Yesterday, as reported, I managed to have my first 8m two-way FT8 QSO across the Atlantic. I was using 2.5W and Eden, ZF1EJ, 5W. 

630m WSPR overnight

Overnight I was on 630m WSPR using my earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground with 10mW ERP. 15 stations spotted me. OH1LSQ was on, but didn't spot me. The table shows the stations spotting me in the last 12 hours.

Sunspots - Friday October 27th 2023

Solar flux is 126 and the SSN 57. A=23 and K=3. 

26 Oct 2023

630m WSPR (Thursday)

I have QSYed to 630m QRP WSPR for the evening and night.  8 stations have spotted me so far - all in the UK.

UPDATE 2118z:  12 stations have spotted me.

NanoVNA - very tempted

The NanoVNA is a palm sized vector network analyser  I have the TinySA, which is its brother spectrum analyser. Like many things out of China, there are many clones, so you have to be sure you are buying originals and not copies. One of the things it can do is plot SWR against frequency, so you can check if your antenna is spot on.  It can also be used to check trap frequencies.

See nanovna.com .

UPDATE 1555z:  Ordered from Mirfield Electronics.

Rallies this Saturday

The following rallies have been notified to me. Both are meant to take place on Saturday, October 28th. I always advise checking first before travelling any distance.

-  Essex CW Boot Camp, Witham, CM8 2HE.  Contact g0ibn1@yahoo.com.

-  Carrickfergus Amateur Radio Group Rally Carrickfergus, N.Ireland. No contact details given.

8m QRP FT8 (Thursday)

My 2.5W FT8 has been on since breakfast, but no spots yet.

UPDATE 1410z:
5 stations have spotted my QRP (3 in the Caribbean) and 1 QSO with ZF1EJ (7761km). One of my best days on 8m! I suspect ZF1EJ has an antenna somewhat better than mine!

10m 500mW WSPR TX (Thursday)

 My 500mW 10m WSPR TX beacon has been on since breakfast. Getting spotted in the Canary Is..

UPDATE 1322z:  35 stations have spotted my 10m 500mW WSPR beacon today with the furthermost VK6JR (14528km).

UPDATE 1514z
: 50 spots of my 10m WSPR QRP so far. Yet again, the German research station in Antarctica, DP0GVN, has spotted my QRP.

630m WSPR overnight

OH1LSQ (1733km) spotted me 3 times overnight on QRP 630m WSPR TX. 14 stations spotted my 10mW ERP. 

Sunspots - Wednesday October 26th 2023

Solar flux is 126 and the SSN 26. A=4 and K=2.

25 Oct 2023

Back on QRP 630m WSPR (Wednesday)

At about 1920z, I turned my 630m QRP WSPR. So far (at 1940z) UK spots.

UPDATE 2023z:  A good night so far with OH1LSQ (1733km) spotting me already.

Yorkshire parkin - NOT amateur radio

My wife has just made this delicious Yorkshire parkin. It is soft and squidgy made with ginger. It is great with cheese.

Real ham shack?

Many have asked me about how I match to my earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground from my rig or 630m transverter. This is a 3C90 42mm toroid (I think I bought it from Farnell online years ago) and it is used on 630m, 160m and 80m.  So, I thought a photo would tell a thousand words. The meter is my antenna RF current meter used on 630m.

As you can tell, when the XYL is not looking, it is a real shack with plenty of mess!

Yaesu discounting

At least one UK retailer is making a "big thing" of Yaesu discounts. 

This may be the lead-up to end-of-year sales like "black Friday" and the Christmas holidays. Or it could be Yaesu is desperate to gain or hold on to market share.  

My view is that all Japanese manufacturers of amateur gear are going to struggle in the years ahead. Some customers have lots of faith and I hope I am very wrong.

End game? - NOT amateur radio

Like many, I have been appalled by recent events in the Middle East. Things carried out by both sides have been dreadful. One side is (understandably) out to reap revenge, but I fear far more innocent women, men and children will be killed or maimed for life across the whole Middle East.

It is likely that this bad feeling will continue well after I am pushing up daisies. Why, oh why, can't people respect others?!! They may be different, but we are still just human beings sharing one small planet.

It is not at all clear to me what the end game is.

1920s radio

This is a reproduction of a 1920's radio made a few years ago. It appeared on social media recently, but I cannot recall who made it. 

Neat job.

630m QRP WSPR overnight

Last night was one of my best nights ever on 630m with 10mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground with spots by 19 stations as the table shows. I was received yet again in Finland.

8m QRP FT8 (Wednesday)

My 2.5W FT8 was turned on about 0845z, but no spots yet today (at 0900z).

UPDATE 1740z:  Just local G6KWA (22km) has spotted me today. On RX the furthermost spotted was ZS3/V51PJ (9081km).

10m QRP WSPR TX (Wednesday)

My 500mW 10m QRP WSPR TX beacon was turned on at about 0844z. So far, spotted by 2 stations by F2.

UPDATE 1737z:  37 stations have spotted me today.

Sunspots - Wednesday October 25th 2023

Solar flux is 121 and the SSN 34.  A=4 and K=1.

24 Oct 2023

630m QRP WSPR (Tuesday)

Since about 2000z, I have been on TX. So far, UK spots.

UPDATE 2046z: 11 unique stations have spotted me today so far.

80m QRP FT8 (Tuesday)

My 80m QRP (2.5W) has been on for the last few hours. My "antenna" is the (almost invisible) earth-electrodes in the ground on which the match is very good. I do not know the ERP on 80m.  2 QSOs have been made with one being PE4BAS, Bas, (450km). Results on TX and RX are far exceeding what I expected. My furthermost spot on TX is UN7MAU (3446km) - quite amazing.

UPDATE 2015z:   QSYed to 630m QRP WSPR.

CQWW SSB contest this weekend

This is this weekend (October 28/29th). It is the biggest contest on the planet with 35000 people taking part over the SSB and CW contests. 

Exchanges are just report and CQ zone. For example, in the UK, this might be "5914". There is no need to submit an entry, Just come on to work a few more countries. The contest runs all weekend. Exchanges usually take a few seconds only.

At one time (when my voice was OK!) I used to enjoy this contest and have pages filled in the logbook even with 2.5W. I even worked the USA on SSB handheld with the FT817 whip indoors on the bed!

These days, I often forget.

See https://www.cqww.com/

The fog of war - NOT amateur radio

Recently I have been watching different news TV sites trying to get a balanced view of things. It is very noticeable that different outlets emphasise different things. 

In the "fog of war" it is very hard to get to the facts. All sides tend to stress what they want you to believe.

The best we can do is get the news from various sources, make our own minds up, and don't believe all we hear.

Getting over Covid-19 - NOT amateur radio

 As mentioned before, both my wife and I have had Covid-19, we believe for the first and only time. My wife got better after a few days. I seem to be getting better with the worst of the symptoms now gone. We have both (as "old" people) had all our injections and assumed we would never get it! 

As mentioned before we had different symptoms. So far, my sense of small and taste are the same. Since my 2013 stroke these have been "different"  in that I no longer want sugar in tea and coffee. Also, I like sweet things more - quite bizarre!

Anyway, assuming I have no relapses, I think I am getting better. If others get it, I hope you have similar experiences or better i.e. mild, and short.

10m QRP WSPR TX (Tuesday)

My 10m 500mW WSPR beacon has been on since breakfast. So far, plenty of spots from the Canary Is, by what looks like F2. Also, other stations, probably F2.

UPDATE 1325z:  19 spots of me so far today.

UPDATE 2044z:
31 stations have spotted me today as the map shows.

8m QRP FT8 (Tuesday)

My 2.5W has been on since after breakfast, but just spots by a local so far. As usual, 2.5W and the low dipole.

As the solar conditions do not look too promising today, the best I can really hope for is some tropo or aircraft scatter. Even this would be a bonus!

UPDATE 1316z:  ZR1ADI (9777km) has again been copied. With the SSN so low I am pleasantly surprised to see the MUF on N-S paths so high. I was not expecting this.


OFCOM is proposing to offer licences to e-Loran around 100 kHz. I have no idea if this will cause interference to LF and MF amateur bands. I remember the QRM caused by Loran at the top of 160m. I think OFCOM is after comments. See the OFCOM website.

160m QRP FT8 overnight

Stations spotting my 2.5W to the
earth-electrode "antenna" in the
ground on 160m FT8 overnigh
My FT817ND and the earth-electrode "antenna" were left on overnight on FT8. I am amazed how well it works!  Amazing that this antenna is invisible. Even my XYL does not know it is there! My noise level in SSB bandwidths is about S8 here.

In all, I was spotted by 55 stations as the maps shows. 73 stations were spotted on RX. The furthermost on TX was OH6BG (1716km). 

My theory is this works as a loop in the ground, so that the efficiency should decrease as the skin depth goes down, so I would expect it to be poorer on 160m than 630m. Also, I was using FT8 which is some 10dB poorer than WSPR. Overall, very pleasing. 

This begs the question - what is it like on 80m FT8? If the match is OK, I shall probably try this tonight!

This is experimentation I can still do! At some point I must try my 2200m (136 kHz) beacon on QRSS. I think it can do QRSS. It is over 10 years since I last used QRSS.

Sunspots - Tuesday October 24th 2023

 Solar flux is 122 and the SSN just 25.  A=3 and K=0.

23 Oct 2023

160m FT8 this evening?

As a change from 630m WSPR, I might try the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground with QRP 160m FT8 as long as I can get a match that is low enough. 

I cannot recall trying this at this QTH. Mind you, it it is more than a month ago I probably cannot remember it!

UPDATE 1450z:   I turned on my 160m QRP FT8 to the earth-electrode using the same 3C90 matching transformer. With the same taps as used on 630m the SWR is pretty low.

UPDATE 1704z: 2 stations have spotted me on QRP TX (2.5W and the earth electrode "antenna" in the ground) with the furthermost ON7KEC (293km.). On 160m RX stations spotted all over Europe with the furthermost nearly 3000km away. It has just got dark here! The antenna works well even on 160m FT8. The map shows the stations spotted on 160m FT8 RX.

UPDATE 1811z:  7 stations have spotted me with the furthermost LA3MHA (1074km).

UPDATE 1900z:   10 stations have spotted me.

UPDATE 2000z:
19 stations have spotted me, as the map shows. Not bad for the "antenna" which nobody can see!

630m QRP WSPR overnight


My furthermost spot has increased in distance. Last night was probably my best ever on the band.

Count your blessings - NOT amateur radio

As mentioned yesterday, I have tested positive for Covid-19 despite having all the injections and avoided it until now. My wife also has it, with different symptoms. At the moment I feel rough and hope things get better soon. I have not felt this unwell since my 2013 stroke.

Just imagine this if I lived in Gaza. I have no sympathy with killing innocent people whatever their religion.  I am sure revenge just fuels the flames.  I just wish everyone could live in peace and respect our differences.

At the moment my symptoms of Covid are many and varied. It feels like a very heavy cold and it hurts when I cough. Also, I have noticed I make far more mistakes typing.

Enjoy every moment.

8m QRP FT8 (Monday)

My 2.5W to the low dipole has been on since about 0945z. So far, no spots.

UPDATE 1424z:  So far still no spots on TX or RX.

10m QRP WSPR (Monday)

My 10m QRP WSPR TX beacon was turned on about 30 minutes ago.

UPDATE 1258z:  39 stations have spotted me today.

UPDATE 1435z:  40 stations have spotted my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon (by W5OLF) today. This little unit has proved excellent.

New Elecraft CW rig

 Jason Woodman has passed on this data on new Elecraft CW rig.

"Elecraft has announced a new hand portable CW transceiver KH

Self contained rig idea for SOTA/POTA. Covers 40M - 15M up to 5w.

KH1 Hand-Held, 5-Band Transceiver (Rig only $549.95)

    KH1 Hand-Held, 5-Band Transceiver
    KHATU1 Antenna Tuner
    KHPD1 Keyer Paddle
    KHLOG1 Logbook Tray w/mini-ballpoint pen
    KXBT2 rechargeable Li-Ion battery
    KHIBC1 Internal Battery Charger
    ES20 Custom zippered carrying case.

   Total cost $1099

"NOTE:  We currently cannot ship the KH1 to any EU country.  The KH1 is currently not CE certified."

More info on KH1: https://elecraft.com/products/kh1-edgewood-package "

I agree with Jason - expensive. Presumably there is VAT and import duty to consider when they get CE approval eventually.  A nice rig.... if you can afford it. Personally, I am disappointed there is not (I think) an FT8/WSPR option.

Separately, I was sent a You Tube link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rc5P2rhpUpo. There are several videos on YouTube.

Sunspots - Monday October 23rd 2023

 Solar flux is 119 and the SSN 48 . A=8 and K=1.

22 Oct 2023

630m QRP WSPR (Sunday)

For this evening and overnight, I am on QRP 630m with the earth electrode "antenna" in the ground. So far 9 stations have spotted me.

8m QRP FT8 (Sunday)

 My 2.5w FT8 to the low dipole was turned in about 0930z. So far, no spots on TX or RX. 3 stations spotted in continental Europe plus on "QSO" with EA1TX (1240km). Not sure they have legal access to 8m.

10m QRP WSPR TX (Sunday)

 My 500mW WSPR TX beacon was turned on about 0930z. 8 stations have spotted me.

UPDATE 1623z: The impression I am getting is that there are more stations on than last year. Already today my 500mW has been spotted by 28 stations.

Covid-19 - NOT amateur radio

After all this time, both my wife and I tested positive for Covid-19 this morning. The irony is we had Covid and Flu booster jabs about 11 days ago! 

Symptoms are different between us, but we would best describe it as a heavy cold. and a hacking cough. We are also tired. My wife has also lost here sense of taste and smell.

Sunday plans

Probably on QRP 8m FT8 and 10m 500mW WSPR TX during the day, switching to 630m QRP WSPR after dark. 

630m QRP WSPR overnight

Just UK stations spotting me overnight. 9 stations spotted my 10mW ERP with the furthermost GM0UDL (659km).

Sunspots - Sunday, October 22nd, 2023

 Solar flux is 123 and the SSN 65. A=22 and K=1.

21 Oct 2023

630m QRP WSPR (Saturday)

My usual pattern in to QSY from 8m FT8 to 630m WSPR after dark.  On 8m, I have little chance, whereas on 630m I am one of the very few in the UK on 630m WSPR.

UPDATE 1715z: Just spots by 2 stations so far on TX . On RX a couple of stations spotted with the furthermost PA3GSH (396km). 

UPDATE 1838z:  G6AVK (78km) has spotted me 3 times this evening.

UPDATE 2125z: 5 stations have spotted me this evening.

Late flush - NOT amateur radio


Our roses have had one late flush. They were battered by the wind and rain these last few days.

10m 500mW WSPR TX (Saturday)

My 10m QRP WSPR beacon was turned on about 0909z. No spots yet.

UPDATE 0935z:   3 stations have spotted me today.

UPDATE 1417z: 
 5 stations have spotted me.

8m QRP FT8 (Saturday)

My 2.5W to the dipole was turned on at 0909z. So far, just local spots. 

UPDATE 1622z:  S50B (1220km) in Slovenia has also spotted me.

UPDATE 1639z:  Judging by results on 10m, I do not think 8m F2 conditions have been exceptional.  With my QRP, I think conditions have to be very good.

Batson Creek near Salcombe - NOT amateur radio

This is near where I come from in South Devon. 

630m WSPR overnight


Last night I was spotted by fewer stations. OH1LSQ was absent. 

Sunspots - Saturday October 21st 2023

 Solar flux is 126 and the SSN 56. A=8 and K=4.

20 Oct 2023

Cambridge Grand Arcade - NOT amateur radio

This shopping centre is all indoors and has been open for many years. I walk through here frequently. 

OFCOM reminder

 There are quite a few new publications on the OFCOM website. Also, they update the data they hold on licences etc every week. See the OFCOM website for details.

10m 500mW WSPR TX (Friday)


My QRP 10m WSPR beacon was turned on at about 0900z. So far, at 1028z, spotted by 12 stations.