30 Nov 2023

630m QRP WSPR (Thursday)

My 10mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground was turned on about 1830z. So far, at 1848z, 6 stations have spotted me.

UPDATE 2212z: 11 stations have spotted me this evening.

Australian beach - NOT amateur radio

This photo was posted on Facebook recently by a friend in Australia. It shows a beach in the south of Australia.

Baa Humbug! - NOT amateur radio


These were some of the Christmas displays in a big store in Cambridge.

Misty Cambridge - NOT amateur radio

When we went to Cambridge on the bus earlier, it was very misty. 

This soon cleared and it has been a lovely day. 

630m QRP WSPR overnight

16 stations managed to spot my 10mW ERP WSPR (measured) from my earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. See table. The furthermost was DL0AO (865km).

8m QRP FT8 (Thursday)

My 2.5W 8m FT8 was turned on after lunch. So far (at 1442z) local spots by G4WSZ (12km), but no DX.

UPDATE 1500z:  First transatlantic 8m spot today by WW1L (4976km).

UPDATE 1534z: 
4 spots of my 2.5W 8m FT8 with 3 "across the pond".

UPDATE 1613z:  6 spots of me, of which 5 are transatlantic. Crossing the Atlantic on 8m is almost daily at the moment despite my QRP.

10m 500uW WSPR success

For several days, my beacon, with the PA off, was operating without an antenna because of a coax fault. Today, I repeated the 500uW WSPR test (with the beacon PA off), but with the antenna! I was copied, quite well, in Italy. According to my TinySA spectrum analyser the power is 500uW. According to the report I could have been copied at 100uW or less with a low RX noise floor. My beacon is hard programmed to report 0.5W, even though it was producing 0.5mW for this test.

Even  though the beacon is hard coded
to report 0.5W, it was actually 0.5mW

Sunspots - Thursday November 30th 2023

Solar flux is 171 and the SSN 164 .  A=5 and K=1.

29 Nov 2023

630m QRP WSPR (Wednesday)

My 10mW ERP WSPR was turned on at about 1715z.  So far, at 1746z, 4 stations have spotted me. On recent nights, I have not had spots from really distant Europeans. I wonder if this conditions?

UPDATE 2045z:
So far this evening, 11 stations have spotted me. See table.

Much colder - not amateur radio

Today, we had our first real frost. We had one the day before, but not as cold. We are more used to mild weather these days, but today is bitter for us. It is about +2 degrees Celsius maximum, which is cold for here in the daytime. I can hear readers in Canada and Scandinavia saying," you think that is cold?".  It is sunny and bright, so I don't mind the cold.

Yesterday's walk - NOT amateur radio

Yesterday, we did a lovely walk around our village. We call this route our "Muntjac walk" as we often see some of these deer on part of the walk. Incidentally, one just walked past the kitchen window a few days ago! 

See Muntjac.

8m QRP FT8 (Wednesday)

 My 2.5W was turned on at 0916z. So far spots from local G4WSZ (12km).

UPDATE 1201z: Spotted by G7PUV (158km) too.

UPDATE 1425z:  6 stations have spotted me including 2 in Florida, USA and 2 in the Caribbean.

UPDATE 1433z:   ZF1EJ was getting my 2.5W 8m FT8 at an amazing +21dB S/N. I don't think I have ever had a report this strong, from anywhere!!

UPDATE 1547z:   8 spots of my 8m QRP FT8 today. When F2 is good 8m behaves like 10m.

10m QRP WSPR TX (Wednesday)

 My beacon is back to full power (500mW). It was turned on at 0914z. So far (at 0919z) no spots.

UPDATE 1230z:  No spots at all, despite a reset on timing. I am suspicious.

UPDATE 1345z:  My coax was open circuit - now fixed. It means my 500uW tests these last few days were invalid, so I may repeat these.

UPDATE  1348z: 5 immediate spots. The PA has been working into an open circuit all morning!

UPDATE 1356z:  At 1354z I turned the beacon PA off so the output is about 500uW. This time, I have an antenna connected!!

UPDATE 1530z:  No spots with 500uW.  I shall run at this power if I am around. Interesting test.

630m QRP WSPR overnight

9 stations spotted my 10mW ERP overnight. Furthermost was northern Scotland (see map).

Sunspots- Wednesday November 29th 2023

 Solar flux is 182 and the SSN 130. A=7 and K=2.

28 Nov 2023

My 10m 500uW WSPR experiment

After several days without success, I shall end my experiment later today. I have had success in the past, but not this time. 

Tomorrow, if I use my 10m WSPR TX beacon, I shall turn the PA on again and run the full 500mW.

8m QRP FT8 (Tuesday)

My 2.5W 8m FT8 to the low dipole has been on since mid-morning. Yet again, my signal has been spotted in the Caribbean. In the last 2 days I have had 8m FT8 exchanges with both ZF1EJ and PJ4MM. In all today, my 8m FT8 signal has been spotted by 7 stations with 5 "across the pond".

Whilst I am sure a small beam, higher up, and more power would help, this proves to me that even 2.5W can make it when F2 conditions are good.

Christmas Wreaths - NOT amateur radio

To me, these seem too funereal and I don't like them. Our village garden nursery is selling them.  I don't think I shall buy one!

The Elgin Marbles - NOT amateur radio

In the UK there is a row growing about the return to Greece of the Elgin Marbles . These were originally in the world famous Parthenon. 

In my view these should be returned

Although I stand to be corrected, these were essentially stolen! My suggestion is a copy of these should be made and displayed (this has been done before e.g. the Alfred Jewel in the Ashmolian Museum in Oxford). Their proper home is in the Parthenon in Athens, which is visited by millions.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elgin_Marbles .

Maximum Usable Frequency (MUF)

Around the sunspot maximum we can see the MUF going much higher than we are used to. Take for example the 8m band, which is allocated to the Amateur Radio service in some countries and available to some on an experimental basis. Quite regularly, my 2.5W 8m FT8 is copied in the Caribbean, USA and Canada. This is on 40.680 MHz USB dial. This suggests the MUF is probably at 41 MHz quite often even on E-W paths. The MUF is usually higher on N-S paths.

For a long time, I have been advocating that 5 kHz at 8m be made available to the Amateur Radio service, narrow digital modes only, strictly non-interference, secondary, in the ISM band, low power, by application only.  I can see this only really appealing to true experimenters. It would appear the FCC and OFCOM (and the RSGB) are dead against, but I struggle to understand why when so much propagation research could be done. Even it permits were limited to around the solar maximum it would be useful.  Instead, in the UK we have to pay to do research - total madness and stupidity.

Selfie - NOT amateur radio

This was the selfie we took last Saturday with my wife, son and grandson.

Asian Eggs Royale - NOT amateur radio

We went out for brunch on Saturday to celebrate my wife's birthday. 

My son had Asian Eggs Royale, which is like Eggs Benedict, but with gin and salmon (see photo).

630m QRP WSPR overnight

Overnight I was spotted by 12 stations when using my 10mW ERP from the earth-electrode “antenna “ in the ground.

Sunspots - Tuesday November 28th 2023

 Solar flux is 182 and the SSN 159.  A=7 and K=2.

27 Nov 2023

630m QRP WSPR (Monday)

Around teatime, I QSYed to 630m QRP WSPR with my 10mW ERP from my earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. At 2030z, 7 stations had spotted me.

New Zealand reverses smoking ban? - NOT amateur radio

The BBC reports that New Zealand is to reverse moves which (hopefully) would have phased out smoking. They have supposedly done this to fund tax cuts.  This would appear to be a step backwards. I do not know all the facts.

See https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-67540190 .

Brunch - NOT amateur radio

Last Saturday, we treated our younger son and his son to brunch. The photo shows this.  My wife, whose birthday we were celebrating, took the photo.

8m QRP FT8 (Monday)

My 2.5W 8m FT8 was turned on at about 1025z. So far, spotted by nobody.

UPDATE 1208z:  Spotted by EI9KP (649km) and G4WSZ (12km).

UPDATE 1338z:   ZS3/V51PJ (9081km) has just been spotted.

UPDATE 1415z: 
 My QRP 8m FT8 now also spotted by WW1L (see map).

UPDATE 1445z:  On RX, I seem to spot South African stations far more often than stations in the Caribbean. N-S MUFs are often higher than E-W, but it could be my dipole is a few dB better in this direction. A few dBs could be the difference between being spotted and not.

UPDATE 1625z: 6 stations have spotted me including 4 "across the pond".

500uW 10m WSPR TX (Monday)

My 10m WSPR TX beacon remains on with the PA turned off. According to my TinySA spectrum analyser the power is about 500uW.  After several days I have still to be spotted.

UPDATE 1100z:   It worked at 50mW and has worked in the past at 500uW, but I think conditions have to be exceptionally good for it to work at this power level, especially with higher RX noise floors these days. I shall probably return to QRO for me tomorrow (500mW!!).

More Google gobbledegook - NOT amateur radio

This morning I received another (near incomprehensible) email from Google. It was about video policy on AdSense. As with all things Google why use 3 words when 23 will do!! I think those in charge of communications at Google need to go on a plain English course. 

Selfie stick - NOT amateur radio

Over the weekend, we treated our son and grandson to brunch. Here I am trying my selfie stick. 

I look like a Far East tourist, but they have their uses when trying to get everyone on.

630m WSPR overnight


17 stations spotted me overnight with 10mW ERP WSPR from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground.

Sunspots - Monday November 27th 2023

 Solar flux is 180 and the SSN 169.  A=10 and K=2.

26 Nov 2023

23cms in 2024

Where did 2023 go? 

Earlier this year I bought a 2W 23cm transverter and my intention was to go /P in some UKAC activity contests. I have not been out /P once! Maybe in 2024?

On EI7GL's blog, there is some encouraging news about the 23cm band.

630m QRP WSPR (Sunday evening)

My 10mW ERP from thw earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground is being widely spotted.

UPDATE 2208z:  12 stations have spotted me so far this evening (see table).

Grandsons growing and wife shrinking - NOT amateur radio

Both our grandsons have grown, and my wife has shortened. The overall result is they now look very tall, although still not quite as tall as their dads! In the next few years I expect this will change!

10m 500uW WSPR tests continued (Sunday)

 My 10m WSPR beacon is again on with the PA turned off. Unsurprisingly, no spots.

8m QRP FT8 (Sunday)

 My gear was turned on about 1225z. So far ZS3/V51PJ spotted on RX and G4WSZ (12km) on TX.

UPDATE 1727z:  3 stations in Europe spotted my 2.5W  8m FT8 today (see map).

Neighbour's garden - NOT amateur radio


This was a neighbour's garden last week. His grass is still growing. My grass could do with one last cut.

630m QRP WSPR overnight


In all, 13 stations spotted the 10mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground (see table).

Sunspots - Sunday November 26th 2023

 Solar flux is 176 and the SSN 179.  A=14 and K=1.

25 Nov 2023

630m QRP WSPR (Saturday)

My QRP station was turned on at about 1945z. So far, a spot by G6AVK.

UPDATE 2050z:
   5 stations have spotted my 10mW ERP this evening.

10m 500uW WSPR TX (Saturday)

 My 0.5mW tests on 10m WSPR TX continue. So far, no spots.

8m QRP FT8 (Saturday)


At about 1300z my 8m QRP FT8 was turned on. So far spots by 9 stations (see map). Good F2 conditions. Probably my best day ever on the band with both Europe and the Caribbean stations spotting me.

Brunch - NOT amateur radio

We have our son and grandson staying. We treated them to brunch.

630m QRP WSPR overnight


In all, 13 stations spotted my 10mW ERP with the furthermost LA.

Birthday girl - NOT amateur radio

Yesterday, my wife was 21 and quite a bit!! We had our two sons and 3 of our 4 grandchildren around.

Sunspots - Saturday November 25th 2023

 Solar flux is 178 and the SSN 184. A=7 and K=3.

24 Nov 2023

HF propagation

In the last few days (until today) I had given up on 8m. Today, I am back on the band and have been spotted by 4 stations including 2 in the Caribbean. F2 conditions appear to be quite good still. It is worth keeping an eye on propagation including the MUF.

See https://prop.kc2g.com/.

8m QRP FT8

After a few days not on 8m, I am back on with 2.5W and the dipole. Already spotted by G4WSZ (12km).  I see an ON was spotted across the Atlantic yesterday.

UPDATE 1148z: Also spotted by EI9KP (649km) on 8m FT8.

UPDATE 1430z:  Spotted by 3 stations today. Furthermost was HI0SDR/3 (7008km) in the Caribbean.  On RX 2 S.Africans spotted here.

UPDATE 1518z:
Spots by 6 stations (see logbook).

UPDATE 1725z: Spotted by 7 stations according to PSKreporter. For some reasons several CQs by a VA2 did not get reported by PSKreporter. Now QSYed to 630m QRP WSPR.

UPDATE 1800z:
  My signal in the USA.

500uW 10m WSPR TX (Friday)

Once again, my beacon is on 10m QRPPP WSPR with the PA turned off with an output of about 500uW. For several days, no spots.  A good experiment and I live in hope!

UPDATE 1043z:  Still no spots, although I am not surprised.

630m QRP WSPR overnight


Disappointing with just 8 English stations spotting me.  No DX.

OFCOM consultation

OFCOM is consulting on shared access to spectrum for high speed internet access at microwaves. See the OFCOM website for details. Closing date for inputs is early February.

Sunspots - Friday November 24th 2023

Solar flux is 194 and the SSN 176. A=7 and K=1.

Rally this weekend

Saturday Nov 25th - Wiltshire Winter Radio Rally, Kington Langley, SN15 5NJ. Contact Chairman@Chippenhamradio.club

23 Nov 2023

630m QRP WSPR (Thursday)

 My 10mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground has been on since teatime.

UPDATE 2220z:  7 stations have spotted me so far. All are UK.

500uW 10m WSPR (Thursday)

 Yet again, I have had my beacon running with the PA off so the output is about 500uW.  So far, and I suspect all day now, no spots.

Cambridge autumn - NOT amateur radio

This was taken from the bus earlier today. It shows one of the many parks in the city.

6m QRP FT8 (Thursday)

My system (2.5W to the V2000 vertical omni) has been on for hours, with no spots at all on RX or TX. It would appear there is nobody on unless there is Es or F2 about.

UPDATE 1720z:  No spots all day. QSYing shortly to 630m QRP  WSPR.

Sunspots - Thursday November 23rd 2023

 Solar flux is 190 and the SSN 174.  A=30 and K=1.

22 Nov 2023

630m QRP WSPR (Wednesday)

My 10mW ERP 630m WSPR was turned on about 1620z. So far, no spots of me on TX. Just M0FMT (51km) spotted on RX.

UPDATE 1716z: 2E0ILY/KIWI (209km) has spotted me three times.

Grand Arcade, Cambridge - NOT amateur radio

The Grand Arcade in Cambridge is a covered indoor mall, near the centre of town. It has some big named stores as well as a Raspberry Pi shop for geeks! It is gearing up for Christmas. 

This is a view on one of the quieter sides.

630m QRP WSPR overnight

My 10mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground was on overnight. In all, 7 stations spotted me with the furthermost DL4SA (788km),

2m FT8 (Wednesday)

At the moment, I am on 2m FT8 with 2.5W to the big-wheel omni antenna. Already 4 spots. after 10 minutes or so.

UPDATE 1445z: So far today (as the map shows) my 2.5W 2m FT8  using the big-wheel omni has been spotted by 11 stations with the furthermost GI6ATZ (479km).

10m QRPPP WSPR (Wednesday)

In the end, I decided to continue my 500uW 10m WSPR tests with my beacon. Although it is pre-programmed to report 0.5W to WSPRnet, the PA is turned off so the actual beacon output is 500uW. Any spots at all would be a bonus. The beauty of the beacon is it just runs in the background. No spots!

UPDATE 1655z: No spots all day at 500uW.

Sunspots - Wednesday November 22nd 2023

 Solar flux is 172 and the SSN 138. A=18 and K=5.

21 Nov 2023

King's College Chapel, Cambridge - NOT amateur radio


Walking back along this path I noticed the clouds behind the chapel.

630m QRP WSPR (Tuesday)

My 10mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground was turned on about 2133z. So far this evening, 3 stations have spotted me.

DX - apt name

This lorry was seen from the bus this morning. I liked the name of this delivery company. Their tagline? Delivering Excellence. 

I wonder if they deliver long distance!!

Lucky? - NOT amateur radio


Every Tuesday we go to see a free concert at Cambridge University. Today it was the Kingsmen who were male singers from King's College Choir. It was note perfect and sublime. It is very easy to take Cambridge for granted.

365project - NOT amateur radio

One of the pleasures of 365project, where you add a photo every day, is seeing the photos that other people add. This was added by a friend earlier.

630m QRP WSPR overnight

Furthermost was just GM and PA, but 15 stations spotted my 10mW ERP overnight using the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground (see table).

2m 2.5W FT8

 Using my big-wheel omni antenna, I have been on 2m FT8 since about 0830z. So far, 4 spots today.

UPDATE 0947z: Now GI6ATZ (479km) spotting me. Too easy, even with 2.5W and an omni antenna! I am still unsure if this is aircraft reflection or troposcatter. The reports (decent) suggest aircraft.

UPDATE 1754z: 
 12 stations have spotted me today on 2m QRP FT8.

10m 50mW WSPR TX (Tuesday)

0.5mW seemed too low yesterday (no spots), so this morning I am trying 10m WSPR TX at 50mW. I am doing this by running my 0.5W beacon directly into a 10dB attenuator. The beacon was turned on about 0830z. My WSPRnet reporting will still say 0.5W (programmed into the beacon), but the actual power is 50mW. 2 stations already spotting me.

UPDATE 1745z: 
15 stations have spotted me. Even though the beacon reports 0.5W to WSPRnet the actual power after the 10dB pad will result in 50mW output. Perhaps I should try 5mW tomorrow?

Sunspots - Tuesday November 21st 2023

 Solar flux is 157 and the SSN 127.  A=5 and K=3.

20 Nov 2023

QRP portable

This photo was taken many years ago in my mother’s garden. Also, judging by what hair I have, which was still black, I would guess this in the 1980s. As I recall, I was using the 2m 200mW PEP MX2 with a 1W 10m homebrewed transverter all powered with a 12V 1A sealed lead acid battery pack. As I recall, I got all over the world with this set-up. The antenna was a base loaded whip on the grass.

630m QRP WSPR (Monday)

My QRP  630m WSPR was turned on at about 1730z. So far, spotted by 3 English stations.

UPDATE 1940z:  Spotted by 5 stations this evening. All these are in England.

UPDATE 2110z:
  Spotted by 9 stations with the furthermost a station in the Netherlands. In the table 10 are shown as one was this morning.

500uW 10m WSPR TX (Monday)

With no reports today at all, it would seem 500uW is too little to be copied unless conditions are very good. Tomorrow, I might try with 50mW output, i.e. with the PA turned on and an external 10dB attenuator right on the output of the beacon.

Christmas display - NOT amateur radio


This was at the entrance to a big furniture store in nearby Bury-St-Edmunds earlier today.

No doubt the little ones love it. All the bears move too.

630m QRP WSPR overnight

 In all, 14 stations spotted me with the furthermost the north of Scotland. No spots on 10mW ERP from outside the UK this session.

2m QRP FT8 (Monday)

 My 2.5W to the big-wheel omni was turned on about 0930z. So far, spotted by 4 stations.

UPDATED 1646z:   
Spotted by 8 stations in 4 countries with the furthermost GI6ATZ (479km).

Local walks - NOT amateur radio

If the weather is good, we enjoy a local walk. All were taken within a few miles of home.

This collage shows some of the places seen in the last week. 

Sunspots - Monday November 20th 2023

 Solar flux is 140 and the SSN 51. A=4 and K=2.

19 Nov 2023

Middle East conflict - NOT amateur radio

What happened in Israel on October 7th was horrific. Whilst the revenge sought by Israel is understandable, one has to see the wider picture.

Just bombing the Gaza strip and denying many innocents the basic essentials of life just stokes yet more hatred. What is needed is justice on all sides. Arabs have to accept Israel's right to exist and Israel has to respect its Arab neighbours. This includes the Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank.

Hatred, where ever it comes from has no place in the world today. Everyone, of whatever race, colour or creed has the right to live in peace. We all have a duty to respect our differences .... peacefully.

Autumn signs - NOT amateur radio

Today is very dull and windy. This photo was taken a few days ago when the sun was shining. Most of the trees are now bare of leaves.

Broken hearts - NOT amateur radio

Our 16 year old grandson has just had his heart broken over a girl. We have all been there. At the time it feels like the world stops and nothing else matters. 

All we can do, as can his dad and mum, is love and listen without being judgemental. It is hard. Those teenage years are difficult ones.

10m 2.5W FT8 (Sunday)

Having given up on 6m FT8 (and 500uW 10m WSPR) I have QSYed to 10m QRP FT8. Within a few minutes I was spotted by 32 stations across the world. 86 stations have been spotted here.

UPDATE 1445z:
174 stations have spotted my 10m 2.5W FT8 today (see map). It is too easy!!

UPDATE 1615z: 253 stations have spotted my 10m 2.5W FT8 today. In 5 years' time this will seem remarkable when conditions are far worse. For now, enjoy!

630m QRP WSPR overnight


In all, 12 stations spotted my 10mW ERP WSPR overnight. No great DX, with all UK stations.