22 Apr 2024

Spring in our close - NOT amateur radio

 Spring has arrived in our close.

How do they do it?

Looking on Ali-Express, they sell a Quasheng uv-k5 (8) dual band 5W hand portable for £13.51, with free airmail shipping. 

Both Ali-Express and the original manufacturer, I presume, make a profit!  

I just cannot see how they do it. It is made in the Far East, shipped by air across the planet and easily cloned I am told.

Sunspots - Monday April 22nd

 Solar flux is 217 and the SSN 283. A=19 and K=2.

21 Apr 2024

Ickworth NT last week - NOT amateur radio


This is the famous rotunda with wild flowers in the forground.

8m ISM WSPR (Sunday)

Shortly, I shall be turning on my 10mW ERP  8m WSPR under ISM rules on 40.680MHz USB dial. 

This means my QRPP WSPR will be about 1450Hz higher. I am not really expecting any spots as I have yet to sort out my antenna. 

I shall ask locals to check I am getting out.

UPDATE 1436z:  No spots.

10m 500uW (0.5mW) WSPR (Sunday)

My QRPP beacon has been re-synced to Internet time, but no spots yet.

UPDATE 1437z: EA8BFK (2880km) has spotted my 500uW 10m WSPR 10 times so far today.

630m QRP WSPR overnight

12 stations spotted my 10mW ERP on 630m WSPR overnight. No real DX.

70cm UKAC activity contest results

You would not exactly say I am a contest nerd. One thing is certain: guess who will never win! If I come half way up the table I'd be very pleased!

I like to submit an entry into the activity contest even though I stay on very little time, use 10W SSB and a 2m big-wheel omni antenna. In the low power section I am 43rd out of 70, which is not bad.

See https://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin/vhfresults.pl?Contest=432MHz%20UKAC&year=2024 .

Sunspots - Sunday April 21st

 Solar flux is 210 and the SSN 240. A=12 and K=3.

20 Apr 2024

6m QRP FT8 (Saturday)

At about 1620z, I QSYed to 6m FT8.  At 1630z, 4 stations had spotted my 2.5W FT8 to the V2000 vertical omni antenna.

UPDATE 1800z: 9 stations have spotted my QRP.  On RX, the furthermost is EA9ABC (1873km) in North Africa.

UPDATE 1825z:  10 stations have spotted me with the furthermost EA5BY (1559km).  When 6m is "open" it is so much easier than 8m as there are more monitors.

UPDATE 2041z
: Amazing! Spotted by LU5FF (10958km). This must be a very high MUF and TEP. It is my furthermost VHF spot of all time! 27 spots of my QRP 6m FT8 this evening. It is possible that Es linked up to an F2 hop over the equator as Es (I guess) was good in this direction. See https://prop.kc2g.com/. Not bad for 2.5W and an omni!

Knotted tree - NOT amateur radio

There is a section of the Italianate Garden at Ickworth near Bury St Edmunds, UK where they have lots of old tree trunks. 

This one has no bark left, but is pretty impressive.

8m FT8 RX (Saturday)

Currently, I am monitoring 40.680MHz USB dial FT8. 

UPDATE 1348z:  No spots. 

UPDATE 1621z:  Locally I can see ZS1TX, ZS3/V51PJ and ZR1ADI were spotted but these did not appear on PSKreporter. For some reason, these spots were not uploaded.

10m QRPP 500uW WSPR (Saturday)

My 500uW (0.5mW) 10m WSPR has already been spotted multiple times this morning by EA8BFK (2880km). Perhaps this is not too surprising with the solar flux and sunspot numbers so good.

UPDATE 0948z:  12 spots already.

UPDATE 1808z: 
34 spots of my 500uW QRPP WSPR, one with about 20dB in hand!! See table.

UPDATE 1850z:  Now spotted in Italy by IZ2DQB (1033km). First signs of 10m Es?

Ely last Thursday - NOT amateur radio

This was Ely earlier in the week. Ely Cathedral is in the background.

It is called "the Isle of Ely" as it is built on a rare hill in these parts. 

Much of the Fens area is flat for miles. It is one of the most fertile areas in the UK.

Sunspots - Saturday April 20th

 Solar flux is 213 and the SSN 243. A=41 and K=2.

Nice breakfast - NOT amateur radio

Steve G1KQH kindly sent me this photo. Very unhealthy, but very nice!! I could eat it now. 😉

630m QRP WSPR overnight

An average session with no real DX with my 10mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground.  10 stations spotted me (see table) with a new reporter (I think) from Wales.

19 Apr 2024

630m QRP WSPR (Friday)

My 10mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna"  in the ground was turned on at about 1810z.  So far, spotted by one station.

UPDATE 2104z:  3 stations have spotted me.

OFCOM and DAB licences

OFCOM is inviting applications for small scale DAB multiplex licences. See the OFCOM website for further details.

8m FT8 receive (Friday)

This morning, I am on 40.680MHz FT8 receive. No spots at 1017z.

UPDATE 1252z:   No spots today.

Ely waterfront - NOT amateur radio

As mentioned before, we went to Ely with a friend yesterday. 

This is the River Great Ouse, into which the River Cam flows is shown in the photo.

10m QRPP WSPR (Friday)

Already my 500uW (0.5mW) WSPR eacon has been spotted 8 time at 0908z by EA8BFK (2880km). See table.  

With solar conditions promising, I wonder if I shall be spotted in the USA later?

UPDATE 1635z:   15 spots of my extreme 10m WSPR QRP so far.

Peacocks - NOT amateur radio


Yesterday, we went to Ely with a friend who is staying with us. 

We ate at a small cafe at lunchtime.

630m QRP WSPR overnight


8 spots of my 10mW ERP 630m WSPR overnight.

Sunspots - Friday April 19th

Solar flux is 227 and the SSN 247.  A=4 and K=2.  

Are we seeing a second peak?

18 Apr 2024


 The following have been notified to me. As I always advise, check before going a long way.

10m QRPP WSPR (Thursday)

My 500uW (0.5mW) 10m WSPR  beacon has been on again today.

UPDATE 1822z: 15 spots (again) by EA8BFK (2880km).

At last a swallow! - NOT amateur radio

At Ely today, I saw my first definite swallow. One may have flown over 2 days ago, but I could not be sure. 

Today was a definite spotting low over the River Great Ouse.

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

630m QRP WSPR overnight

Not a bad session with 12 stations spotting me with the furthermost Germany 🇩🇪.

Ickworth lambs - NOT amateur radio


These were some of the lambs seen at Ickworth yesterday.

OFCOM microwave auction changes

OFCOM is making changes in its auction for 26GHz and 40GHz spectrum to protect radio telescopes near Cambridge. See the OFCOM website for details.

Sunspots - Thursday April 18th

 Solar flux is 217 and the SSN 199. A=7 and K=1.

17 Apr 2024

Ickworth near Bury St Edmunds, UK - NOT amateur radio

We were quite surprised to see lambs so late at Ickworth today. We went for a nice walk and a snack lunch. 

It is owned by the National Trust, so members can walk around the grounds and house.  

If you are not a member, you pay an entry fee.  There are a variety of walks. Some are long and some short.

8m FT8 RX

At the moment (Wednesday AM) I am on 40.680MHz USB dial FT8 RX. No spots. I have yet to repair my 8m dipole, so I have no idea (other than the highish SWR) how it is performing.

UPDATE 1642z: ZR1ADI (9777km) in South Africa was the only spot today. I guess this is TEP.

10m QRPP WSPR (Wednesday)

No luck yet today with my 500uW (0.5mW) 10m WSPR today.

Yesterday there were quite a few spots of my 500uW WSPR by EA8BFK (2880km). The impression I am getting is this ultra low power works on single hop F2 as long as things are settled, but multiple hop F2 is far harder. Based on these results, I am expecting European spots via Es later.

UPDATE 1545z:  No spots today. 

UPDATE 1618z: I spoke too soon! 3 spots late afternoon from the Canary Islands (again).

UPDATE 2050z:
EA8 (probably F2) ,OE and DL (probably both Es?) spotted my 500uW QRPP WSPR. If these two were Es, this is probably the start of the Es season.

A better session on 630m QRP WSPR overnight

In total 9 stations spotted my 10mW ERP 630m WSPR overnight including spots from Norway,

Sunspots - Wednesday April 17th

 Solar flux is 199 and the SSN 176. A=31 and K=1.

16 Apr 2024

Laburnum - NOT amateur radio


This is coming out now. This photo was taken about 300m from our home.

6m QRP FT8 (Tuesday)

 My 2.5W FT8 to the V2000 vertical antenna is on, but just 5 English spots so far.

10m QRPP WSPR (Tuesday)

My 500uW (0.5mW) 10m WSPR beacon has been on all day. I suspect conditions are not good enough.

UPDATE 1354z:   No spots.

630m QRP WSPR overnight

An average session last night with 8 stations spotting my 10mW ERP (measured) WSPR from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground with no DX.

Foxton CRG rally postponed this weekend

Because of the ground being waterlogged, the Foxton (near Cambridge) CRG rally has been postponed until the summer.

Sunspots - Tuesday April 16th

 Solar flux is 192 and the SSN 193. A=8 and K=4.

15 Apr 2024

What is reality? - NOT amateur radio

Recently I attended a University of the Third Age series of lectures given by an ex-professor at King's College, London. 

One of the things he said was people had modelled how people see. Our brain "sees" an interpretation of reality. When fed with true reality, it led to societies collapsing!!  Perhaps it is better not to see the whole truth!

Optical illusion - NOT amateur radio

This optical illusion (actually 2 circles) was seen recently. 

It certainly messed up my head! 

10m 500uW WSPR (Monday)

 As for the last few weeks, I am on 10m WSPR with my 500uW beacon. Yesterday was quite successful and conditions today look promising. No spots yet though.

UPDATE 1212z: 5 spots so far today.

Sunday breakfast - NOT amateur radio


This was my breakfast yesterday. I have a cooked breakfast 3 days a week usually.

8m FT8 RX

This morning I am monitoring 40.680 MHz RX. I am hoping to spot a station in Bedfordshire. So far, I have had no success on FT8 or WSPR.

630m QRP WSPR overnight

A very average session with no real DX. Just 8 stations spotting my 10mW ERP WSPR from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground with the furthest GM.

Sunspots - Monday April 15th

Solar flux is 178 and the SSN 152. A=6 and K=2.

14 Apr 2024

Still to see one - NOT amateur radio

Swallows are returning from Africa. There are some about in East Anglia, although I have yet to see one. 

Last year there were fewer. Swift numbers seemed to hold up.

Western values? - NOT amateur radio

In the "west" we seem to value democracy, although the rich get richer and the poor poorer.  Unfettered capitalism is overdone. 

Yes, people cannot rely on hand-outs from a welfare society - they have to forge their own paths and work hard - but in my view, poorer people are getting a raw deal. 

It is my view that the days of those of us in the "west" thinking we are always right are drawing to a close. I hope a fair and just world comes sooner rather than later.  

All systems have faults, but let us get the best from each so that all of mankind can benefit.

70cm activity contest last Tuesday

My entry (never a winning score with just 2 QSOs, 10W, short period on air and a 2m omni antenna!) was submitted this morning. 

It is my view that this 70cm UKAC is on the wane with fewer people active. The 70cm FT8 activity contest on the other hand is "humming". It looks like many people prefer FT8 to SSB these days. FT8 works with far weaker signals, but like so much these days, it has less human interaction. 

We seem to becoming a society with far less human contact sadly.

Am I alone in thinking impersonal AI call centres are a pain?  "Say in your own words what you are calling about". "You want to talk about xxx. Is that correct?".  Say "yes" or "no". Actually I would rather speak with a human being!

Spring flowers - NOT amateur radio

It is great to see the spring flowers. If I am honest, this is my favourite season, although every season has good points.

6m QRP FT8 (Sunday)

My 2.5W to the V2000 vertical omni antenna was turned on at about 0755z. So far (at 0806z) 4 English stations spotting me.

UPDATE 1143z:  9 spots of my QRP including one from Germany.

UPDATE 1535z: 13 spots of my QRP 6m FT8 today (see map).

500uW 10m WSPR (Sunday)

My beacon (with the PA off) was turned on at about 0755z.  I wonder if I shall be spotted in the USA today with QRPP?

UPDATE 0900z: Just a single spot by EA8BFK (2880km).

UPDATE 1548z:
9 spots only from the Canaries so far today (see table).

UPDATE 2155z: 22 spots of me today but all from the Canary Islands.


 Without this man things would have been very different. I often wonder, say, if radio had been been discovered centuries earlier.

630m QRP WSPR overnight


13 stations spotted me overnight. Quite a decent session for my 10mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground.

Trade mark - NOT amateur radio

When thatchers put new thatch on a roof they often leave a trade mark such as a pheasant, fox or dog made from straw on the roof apex. We saw this on our walk around the village on Saturday.

Sunspots - Sunday April 14th

 Solar flux is 152 and the SSN 115. A=6 and K=1.

13 Apr 2024

630m QRP WSPR (Saturday)

My 10mW ERP 630m WSPR (measured) was turned on at about 2020z. So far, just 2E0ILY/KIWI (209km) spotting me.

It is very disappointing to see I am the only UK station sending 630m WSPR according to WSPRnet at present. 

17 different stations have spotted my 10mW ERP 630m WSPR in the last 2 weeks.

Spring is coming - NOT amateur radio


Trees are coming into leaf. It felt much warmer today on our walk around the village. It is windier.

8m dipole

As mentioned before, it looks like my 8m dipole antenna system has an intermittent fault. Recently, I decided to concentrate on 8m TX with ISM restrictions, which means 10mW ERP. WSPR gives me the best chance. I doubt 8m FT8 at 10mW ERP would be enough.

A reminder that, certainly in the UK, possibly elsewhere, under ISM rules 8m beaconing is licence free and open to all. A full T&I 8m TX permit costs £50 annually in the UK. With more countries opening the band for real amateur radio research, I keep my fingers crossed that radio amateurs will eventually be granted restricted access with conditions. I have long said that just 5kHz in the ISM band would do.

For 10mW ERP tests the antenna must be reliable.

The actual antenna and coax are not problems, whereas erection is more of an issue as this requires ladder work. I can probably manage OK as the ladder work is quite low, but I get giddy very easily these days so even a short distance off the ground is harder than it once was.

500uW 10m WSPR again

My 10m WSPR beacon, without the PA, is on again. At 0846z, no spots. 

This QRPP is really great fun and definitely worth trying in the upcoming Es season. I suspect FT8 would not work.

UPDATE 1817z:
23 spots of me so far today. Please note that my beacon is pre-programmed to report 0.5W even though the power with the PA off is 30dB lower (500uW).

Return of the migrant birds - NOT amateur radio

When I see the first migrant birds returning from Africa, my heart jumps for joy.  In this troubled world it is good to know that cycles that have gone on for thousands, possibly millions, of years carry on despite us. 

Yesterday I saw my first housemartin, although I have yet to see a swallow. 

In 4-6 weeks we will hear the screaming swifts feeding on the wing. We'll look up and there they will be and my heart will lose another beat.

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

Tulip - NOT amateur radio

 This is in our garden.

630m QRP WSPR overnight

An average session overnight with no real DX. 11 stations spotted my 10mW ERP WSPR on 630m.

Sunspots - Saturday April 13th

 Solar flux is 152 and the SSN 83. A=6 and K=2.

12 Apr 2024

630m QRP WSPR (Friday)

 My 10mW ERP has been on for a few hours. 4 stations have spotted me so far.

Nest - NOT amateur radio

A blackbird has decided to nest in the arch over our back gate. 

I had not noticed this nest before, so it may be new. I hope it succeeds.

Crab Apples - NOT amateur radio

This spring, our crab apple tree has plenty of blossom. Hopefully we’ll have a good harvest of crab apples later.

500uW 10m WSPR (Friday)

My 10m WSPR beacon is again on with 500uW (0.5mW).  So far today, no spots. I am wondering if EA8BFK is no longer monitoring?

I shall definitely try 10m 500uW WSPR in the Es season.

UPDATE 0954z:
Yes, EA8BFK (2880km) is monitoring as he has just spotted me! A reminder that  my beacon is pre-programmed to report 0.5W, even though it is 30dB lower with the PA off.

UPDATE 1302z:
13 spots of my 500uW (0.5mW) 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 2143z: 27 spots of my QRPP today.

6m QRP FT8 (Friday)

This morning, I am on 6m FT8 with my 2.5W to the V2000 vertical omni antenna. So far, 6 English stations spotting me. No DX evident here.

UPDATE 0946z:  Now spotted by 11 stations including stations in Norway and Sweden.

Warmth? - NOT amateur radio

For the first time this year we managed a cup of tea in the garden and it felt warm enough this morning to cut the grass in shirt sleeves. 

The tulip in the photo shows one in our garden.

630m QRP WSPR overnight

Quite a decent session with 12 stations spotting my 10mW ERP (measured) from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground  overnight. 4 spots were from Norway.

Sunspots - Friday April 12th

Solar flux is 144 and the SSN 62. A=8 and 1.

11 Apr 2024

630m QRP WSPR (Thursday)

My 10mW ERP WSPR was turned on at about 1725z on 630m .

Alive in three centuries - NOT amateur radio

This woman, who died at age 110, was reported as living in the 1700s, 1800s and 1900s. If correct, she is the first woman recorded to have lived in 3 centuries.

10m QRP FT8 (Thursday)

A few moments ago, I went to 10m FT8 TX with 2.5W.  The reports I have got so far suggest I would have had almost no chance at 10mW FT8 and probably no chance on WSPR either. At least I know I am getting out.

UPDATE 1412z:  8 spots of my 10m 2.5W FT8 so far.

UPDATE 1622z:  21 stations have spotted my 10m 2.5W FT8 (see map)