31 Jan 2024

630m QRP WSPR (Wednesday)

My 10mW ERP 630m from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground was turned on about 1640z. So far, 3 stations have spotted me.

UPDATE 2145z: So far this evening, I have been spotted by 10 stations on 630m QRP WSPR with the furthermost LA1TN (1305km).

17m WSPR at 10mW ERP (Wednesday)

As my Par end fed antenna is a good match, I tried 10mW ERP on 17m. So far, 4 stations have spotted me after about 20 minutes. 

As frequency is reduced, local noise floors will become more significant with weaker signals buried in the noise. At higher frequencies this will be less of an issue.

UPDATE  1635z: 
10 stations have spotted my 10mW WSPR

International conflicts - NOT amateur radio

On the whole, I prefer a quiet life. 

In many of the conflicts in the world, the West is shown as the good, whereas "the axis of evil" is shown as the bad. The truth is more nuanced. 

Often we support regimes that are corrupt and evil. Time and again, we get involved only when our (often dubious) vested self interests are threatened.  Russia was able walk into Crimea in 2014 with most of us in the West barely noticing.

What I think I am saying is this. We can only act as the world's policemen if we are morally right. Where this is in doubt, we often do more harm than good.

We like to think we get an honest, unbiased view of world affairs. I somehow doubt this.

Yesterday - NOT amateur radio

On Tuesdays, we go to a lunchtime university concert in Cambridge. This is free with a retiring collection. This involves a walk through the grounds of King's College, and we grab a bite to eat for lunch beforehand. We travel in to Cambridge by (free) bus. It is usually a very enjoyable day.

630m 10mW ERP WSPR overnight


In the last 24 hours, 14 stations have spotted my 630m 10mW ERP WSPR.

10m 10mW ERP WSPR (Jan 31st)

 Once again, I am trying 10m WSPR at 10mW ERP.  Already, after a few transmissions, spotted by 3 stations although these would not have spotted me on 500uW.

UPDATE 1524z:  12 stations have spotted me so far when I was running 10mW ERP. Most of these were via F2 including some in the USA.

Sunspots- Tuesday January 31st

 Solar flux is 135 and the SSN 53. A=8 and K=2.

30 Jan 2024

630m QRP WSPR (Tuesday)

 My 10mW ERP 630m WSPR from the earth-electrode "antenna" was turned on at 2220z.

UPDATE 2225z: 2 stations have spotted me so far.

NanoVNA and TinySA

These amazing pieces of test gear bring some otherwise very expensive test equipment within the reach of radio amateurs. Years ago, these would have been out of my price range. I now have both.

By King's - NOT amateur radio

At the end of January there are few punts on the River Cam. These Canada Geese have the river almost to themselves.

630m QRP WSPR overnight

My 10mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground was left on overnight. In the end, 21 stations spotted me.

10mW ERP on 10m WSPR

After breakfast, my priority is to make a 17dB attenuator so I can try WSPR at 10mW ERP on 10m today. This is to simulate this power in the Es season in the 8m ISM band without a licence. I have the coax, but have to find the resistors.

UPDATE 0930z:  Attenuator made and added right next to FT817ND on 500mW setting, so WSPR power now very close to 10mW ERP.  WSPR TX set to 50% TX. Already spotted by 2 stations on first TX burst!

UPDATE 1640z:  My FT817ND  is on the lowest (500mW) setting. Also, I have a 17dB pad within about 10cm of the FT817ND, so the output is about 10mW. With about 1dB coax loss the ERP is about 10mW or less. Despite this, I have been spotted by 14 unique stations. This is to simulate 10mW ERP on 8m, which is the legal 8m ISM legal limit in the UK without a licence. It is my view that anyone in the UK may legally beacon on the 8m ISM band as long as IR2030 is met.

UPDATE 2236z:   Using the FT817ND, I was 50% of the time on RX today. Despite the 17dB pad in the antenna line at the rig end I still spotted 99 stations!! The furthermost was PY2FXE (9593km).

WiFI HaLow - NOT amateur radio

Increasingly, the Internet of Things (IoT) is driving new ways of doing Wi-Fi. One standard (new to me at least) is 802.11ah which has been around since 2015. This operates around 900 MHz with a range of up to 1km. It will be interesting to see if there are spin-offs for amateur radio.

Sunspots - Tuesday Janauary 30th

 Solar flux is 140 and the SSN just 48. A=9 and K=3.

29 Jan 2024

Oscar 100 narrowband transponder

Every few weeks I take a peek at activity levels on the geosynchronous satellite. I do this by looking at the webSDR at Goonhilly Down. My impression is this is well underused.

See https://eshail.batc.org.uk/nb/ .


To get to 10mW I shall probably run my FT817ND at 500mW, and add an attenuator right on the output of the rig. The attenuation needed will be 500/10 i.e. 17dB. There are several calculators on the internet. Using the FT817ND will allow me to declare the correct output power.

See https://www.everythingrf.com/rf-calculators/attenuator-calculator as an example.

10mW ERP 10m WSPR tomorrow?

Starting tomorrow, I hope to start 10m WSPRing at 10mW ERP.  

Clearly, my previous attempts using 500uW work when conditions are very good, but 10mW ERP will be a good indication of how 10mW ERP (licence free under UK 8m ISM rules) 8m might behave.  An extra 13dB could make a real difference. If I get spots on 10m WSPR, I may not bother to renew my 8m TX permit as I will learn more experimenting for free with 8m 10mW ERP WSPR. I shall probably use 8M3ISM on 8m WSPR.

Judging by reports today, several spots might have been managed with 10mW ERP on 10m.

UK General Election year - NOT amateur radio

Every 5 years (at least) the UK population holds an election to choose a governing party. .

We are expecting one this year.  For many years the government has been by the Conservative Party, which likes to tax less and people themselves decide how they spend their money. In recent years, Covid has cost a lot, so taxes are higher than they would like.

According to the polls, the opposition Labour party should win.

Politics has a habit of throwing surprises and it would not surprise me at all, if the outcome, in the end, is far closer than many suggest. All parties have good and bad things.

My politics tends to be near the centre.

See https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-68079726 .

Near Charing Cross station on Saturday - NOT amateur radio

A selfie taken by one of our grandsons in London on Saturday.

OFCOM reminders

When I remember, I  tell people that OFCOM updates the data it holds on licences etc regularly. It also consults on lots of things. See the OFCOM website of details.

10m 500mW (QRO for me!!) WSPR (Monday)

 My 500mW WSPR TX was turned on at 1115z. Already 5 stations have spotted me.

UPDATE 1206z: Spotted by 10 stations so far on 10m QRP WSPR TX.

Looking for very old WSPR spots with WSPR Rocks

 The creator of WSPR Rocks, Phill VK7JJ has been very helpful and has helped show me how to access WSPR spots back to 2008 using the SQL feature.

Perhaps it is best I share from the email he sent me. Clearly, you will have to adapt the query to suite your needs, but you get the idea.

" 1.  click the SQL tab in http://wspr.rocks and copy and paste the redish text below into the upper editing panel on the SQL page

2.  click the [run query here] button to test your query.  If it returns a bunch of spots rather than an error message that's good, so click the [run query in wspr.rocks] button to execute it in wspr.rocks.

The time, callsign and band criteria should just about be self explanatory, adjust the times to suit but retain the exact format.
If you end up exceeding the 5,000 spot display limit then let me know.  If you want to get rid of the false decode of OH3FR then include this line in the query:   and rx_sign != 'OH3FR'

73  Phil

select * from wspr.rx where
time between '2023-12-01 00:00:00' and '2024-01-24 00:00:00'
and tx_sign = 'G3XBM'
and band = 28
order by time desc    "

630m QRP WSPR overnight

In the last day (and overnight) my 10mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground has been spotted by 16 stations with the furthermost LA3EQ (769km).

Sunspots - Monday January 29th

 Solar flux is 141 and the SSN 75.  A=8 and K=1.

28 Jan 2024

630m 10mW ERP WSPR (Sunday)

 My gear was re-synced about and hour ago. So far this evening, I have been spotted by  4 unique stations.

Shetland Waves - NOT amateur radio


These northerly islands in Scotland are characterised by long days in summer and long nights in winter. Wind can be very strong.

10m 500mW WSPR TX (Sunday)

At about 1545z, I turned on the PA on my 10m WSPR TX beacon. Immediately, spots of me were received, so the 30dB power difference is very significant. I guess unless the local noise level is very low, stations struggle unless propagation is very good. 

Until the Es season, I do not propose to try 500uW WSPR on 10m again. I shall stick with 500mW. During the Es season I may well try 500uW again.

23 stations have spotted my 500mW 10m WSPR TX .

Probable last day (for now) on 10m WSPR at 500uW

Unless things dramatically change today, today will probably be my last day testing at QRPP on 10m WSPR. I shall try again in the Es season. It is now over a week since I have been spotted.

630m QRP WSPR overnight

My 10mW ERP WSPR from the earth-electrode "antenna" was on overnight. In all, 22 stations have spotted me in the last 24 hours with the furthermost DL4RAJ (990km).

Sunspots - Sunday January 28th

 Solar flux is 148 and the SSN 52.  A=5 and K=1.

27 Jan 2024

630m QRP WSPR overnight

 17 stations spotted me overnight when I was running 10mW ERP from the earth-electrode “antenna” in the ground.

Day in London - NOT amateur radio

We spent today in London with our son and his children including having lunch. The photo shows our son with his daughter before her ballet.

10m QRPP WSPR (Saturday)

 Another day has passed and not a single spot obtained at 500uW. Unless things dramatically change  tomorrow, I propose to stop these tests now until the next Es season.

Stuff of dreams - NOT amateur radio


Back in 2013 I was in hospital for 3.5 months with a stroke and I was expected to spend the rest of my life being fed via a tube into my stomach. I used to have dreams about tuna fish pie. In the next year I recovered and food could be eaten by mouth. Apart from my voice and giddiness, I largely recovered. Things could have been very different.

Sunspots- Saturday January 27th

 Solar flux is 157 and the SSN 97.  A=6 and K=1.

26 Jan 2024

10m 500uW WSPR this week - no success

All week my 10m WSPR beacon has been on 500uW with the PA off.  Unlike previous weeks, not a single spot!! It looks like conditions have to be really good of this miniscule power to work.

So, unless I get spots before Monday, I propose to go back to 500mW WSPR on Monday (real QRO!!).  It will be worth repeating the experiment in the Es season, when some signals can be very strong.

For now, with F2, I don't think I can learn any more.

11 years ago on 137 kHz

This was in 2013 at the old QTH.  At the time I was seeing how far away I could be spotted on that band. Not much later, I got to the Netherlands.

Sunspots- Friday January 26th

 Solar flux is 161 and the SSN 101. A=6 and K=0.

25 Jan 2024

Rally this Sunday

The following has been notified to me.  As I always advise, contact organisers to avoid disappointment if travelling far.

Sunday January 28th  -  Lincoln Short Wave Club Winter Radio Rally, Market Rasen, LN8 3HT. Contact m5zzz@outlook.com .

500uW 10m WSPR (Thursday)

As I have had no 10m WSPR spots at all this week at 500uW, it would appear conditions have to be very good to get spots at this very low level. 

It will be interesting to repeat this test at 500uW in the Es season, as signals can sometimes be very strong by Es.  It is my expectation that I shall get 10m WSPR spots all over Europe with 500uW 10m WSPR in May and June. Quite a lot more would have been possible at 500mW (30dB stronger), but spots.

It is my view that everyone in the UK may legally use 10mW WSPR between 40.660 and 40.700 MHz in the ISM band without a licence. I am quite surprised more people have not taken advantage of this. This is NOT amateur radio. The ISM bands are internationally allocated and power restrictions are intended to reduce the chances of harmful interference. Callsigns can be made up, and if the format is OK, WSPRnet shows where you are being spotted. Each country has interface specifications (IR2030 in the UK) to agree power levels and other parameters.

WSPR Rocks

This is an excellent site. With it, you can see WSPR spots as maps and look back easily over the last 5 weeks. 

Yesterday, using SQL, the owner (Phil VK7JJ) kindly showed me how to go back to 2008! I had been hoping to use it to do a map of all my 500uW spots, but then I realised the snag! 

My little beacon is pre-programmed to report all spots as 500mW, so spots with the PA off (500uW) cannot be distinguished if over 5 weeks old. In the last 5 weeks I have, as an experiment, just been running 500uW (0.5mW). It has been an eye opener.

See http://wspr.rocks/ .

Not long now - NOT amateur radio

We are in the depths of winter and, in this part of the UK, we have not had any snow yet. Despite this, snowdrops, aconites and hellebores are coming out. I have even seen a few daffodils in flower. 

Spring is just around the corner.

Overnight on 630m QRP WSPR

In the last day 19 stations have spotted my 10mW ERP  from the almost invisible earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground (see table).

Sunspots- Thursday January 25th

 Solar flux is 172 and the SSN 108. A=10 and K=1.

24 Jan 2024

My impression of speed - NOT amateur radio

Back in 2013, I had a stroke and was in hospital for 3.5 months. Apart from feeling giddy and my poor voice, I made a good recovery. In the car I drove hundreds of kilometers with no problem.

In the last few years, it is as if my concept of speed has changed.  Glancing down at the speedometer when I think I am going 60-70mph and see I am only going at about 46mph!! Everything on the roads seem to be going fast.  My wife says it is all in the mind, but I go at what think is the right speed, but actually it is slow. It also my worry that my reaction times are slower.

Now, this could just be old age or it could be a result of my stroke 10.5 years ago.

I am wondering others would are "old" also experience this?

Driving is no longer fun.

Anglesey Abbey - NOT amateur radio

We go for a walk in the grounds of this National Trust property near Cambridge every month probably. Parts of the house are very old. The gardens have something to see in every season. 

Being only a few kilometers away makes it very convenient. Should it ever be closed, there are some great walks in the village of Lode nearby.

See  https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/cambridgeshire/anglesey-abbey-gardens-and-lode-mill

10m 500uW WSPR (Wednesday)

For several weeks I have had spots of my QRPP 10m WSPR most days. Interestingly, there have been no spots of me this week. It looks as if conditions have to be really good to get spots at 500uW (0.5mW).

Round Church, Cambridge - NOT amateur radio

The Round Church in Cambridge is very old.  It is one  of just a few in England.

See https://roundchurchcambridge.org/ .

630m QRP WSPR overnight


22 stations spotted my 10mw ERP WSPR in the last day.

Family history - NOT amateur radio

My father's genealogy can be traced continuously to the mid 1500s in South Devon.  I have an isolated record in an adjoining parish from the mid 1400s.

What I did not realise is if you go back 22 generations our ancestors number more than the entire population of the entire British Isles!

This means we are probably related to everyone alive today if we go back far enough. So, we are probably all related to the English royal family. Some of our ancestors may have moved here from abroad and almost certainly some of our distant ancestors married people who were distantly related.

This is quite humbling.

Sunspots - Wednesday January 24th

 Solar flux is 180 and the SSN 123. A=7 and K=3.

23 Jan 2024

630m QRP WSPR (Tuesday)

 My 10mW ERP 630m WSPR was turned on about 2130z. At 2200z I have been spotted by 6 stations.

Granddaughters - NOT amateur radio


The photo shows our granddaughters at Christmas.

Confused - G4KPZ

For years my old work mate Richard lived in Ely. I thought his call was G4KPZ. Now I see this is issued to someone called Vernon, who lives in Ramsey. Unless the callsign has been re-issued, or I wrongly remember it, I am confused.

UPDATE  1928z:   Richard is G4KPX. Yes, I am going gaga.

Angry sky - NOT amateur radio


The photo shows the view from our kitchen window last night. It is now wet and windy.

10m QRPP WSPR (Tuesday)

My 500uW10m WSPR is on again, but no spots now for the last couple of days. 

Pretty sure conditions have to be very good and the RX noise floor low.

6m QRP FT8 (Tuesday)

My 2.5W FT8 to the vertical V2000 antenna was turned on about 1300z. So far, just UK spots of me.

UPDATE 1948z:  Some spots from Portugal of my 2.5W QRP 6m FT8 today.

630m WSPR overnight

Although no great DX, there were more stations spotting my 10mW ERP 630m WSPR from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground last night. In the UK we are between storms and yesterday was much calmer, certainly here. One thing is I do not have to worry about antennas and towers in storms!

Sunspots - Tuesday January 23rd

Solar flux is 196 and the SSN 139. A=9 and K=2.

22 Jan 2024

630m QRP WSPR (Monday)

 My 630m QRP WSPR (10mW ERP) was turned on at about 1820z. So far,  9 stations have spotted me. The furthermost is EI4HQ (588km).

70cm FT8 (Monday)

As 8m (2.5W FT8) and 10m (500uW WSPR) resulted in no spots today, I am trying my luck with 2.5W 70cm FT8 to the vertical omni V2000 antenna. After about 10 minutes, no spots.

Outside of contests, I have no idea of activity levels. I might be better the 2m horizontal omni antenna.I shall swap antennas at 1700z.

2200m (137 kHz)


This photo was in the back of the garage in 2013. It was a Facebook memory.

Punting on the River Cam last week - NOT amateur radio

As long as you wrap up well, I guess this time of year is a good time to go punting. The photo shows last Tuesday when it was cold and bright. In the summer the river can be busy.

8m QRP FT8 (Monday)

Conditions look a bit more promising than yesterday (in places the MUF is above 40 MHz) so I am trying 8m FT8. No spots. At the moment I am on my dipole, but may try the loop which has a better match.

8m CEPT allocation proposal

As I could not immediately see on the RSGB website to whom it should be sent , I sent my 8m CEPT proposal to the RSGB General Manager with a request that it is forwarded to the right people.  Apparently these are the VHF Manager and the Spectrum Forum Chair.

I hope my request is looked at favourably as there is a great deal of propagation research that could be done by radio amateurs at 8m. There are countries within CEPT that have already granted amateurs access to this spectrum. Just 5 kHz within the 8m ISM band with very limited modes and power, by application, no interference, should encourage experimentation and avoid "chatting".

Maybe others would care to support this?

I am mindful that the real purpose of our hobby is self-training and research.

630m QRP WSPR overnight

There were fewer stations spotting me overnight. There could be several reasons. In the UK we had a severe storm with high winds (Storm Isha) so there may have been fewer stations on.  If my theory of the earth-electrode "antenna" forming a loop in the ground is correct the effective loop size will be smaller in wet weather. It is now bright and sunny with much lighter winds

Sunspots - Monday January 22nd

 Solar flux is 179 and the SSN 150. A=6 and K=0.

21 Jan 2024

630m QRP WSPR (Sunday)

My 630m 10mW ERP was turned on at 1832z. 2 stations have spotted me so far.

UPDATE 2210z:  4 stations have spotted me.

8m QRP FT8 (Sunday) - not today

At one point I had thoughts of going on 8m QRP FT8 today, but I have decided against this. Borat S50B has antenna issues, so that is one keen person not around. Conditions do not seem to be exceptional, which is probably necessary for me to be spotted "across the pond".  So, I shall stick with 6m FT8 at 2.5W and 500uW 10m WSPR. 6m has more FT8 monitors and this helps.

King’s College residents pass - NOT amateur radio

For many years we have had resident’s passes that give us free entry to King’s College Cambridge as well as other colleges. As part of the renewal I had to send a recent photo. I should hear next week.

6m QRP FT8 (Sunday)

 My 6m FT8 QRP (2.5W to a vertical omni V2000 antenna) is on.  So far just a spot by M1ABK (70km).

UPDATE 1140z:  3 stations have spotted me with the furthermost SM7KOJ (935km).

UPDATE 1405z: 
11 stations have spotted my QRP (better than I was expecting), but I  am unsure of the propagation. I am sure it is not F2 backscatter, so it is possibly aircraft scatter or patches of Es. 

UPDATE  1445z: No further stations spotting me, suggesting the propagation is some short-lived mechanism such as aircraft or Es that quickly went.

UPDATE 1701z:  12 stations have spotted my 6m FT8 today.

HF propagation

Conditions on HF do not seen exceptional today. I am not expecting to get any spots on my 0.5mW 10m WSPR beacon, but you never know!

See https://prop.kc2g.com/ .

500uW (0.5mW) 10m QRPP WSPR

At 1017z, no spots. 

UPDATE 1700z:  No spots all day.

Scenes around Cambridge - NOT amateur radio


My wife took the photos in this collage last week. At least one place  should be familiar!

630m QRP WSPR overnight


18 stations have spotted my 10mW ERP 630m WSPR in the last 12 hours.

Sunspots - Sunday January 21st

 Solar flux is 166 and the SSN 144.  A=6 and K=2.

20 Jan 2024

Sunday plans

My intention is to continue my tests with 500uW (0.5mW) 10m WSPR, but I may go on 6m FT8 rather than 8m FT8.  6m has the advantage of more people monitoring, both in the UK and Europe. If things look very promising, I might try 8m FT8 in the afternoon.

Changing world order - NOT amateur radio

Most of us have grown up in a world dominated by western democracies. We have been told countless times that this fair and just: it is the right way for people to follow.

However, things are changing. Increasingly, developing countries are looking towards China and Russia. Many of their ways appear bizarre to those of us in the west.

We have to admit that western democracies are not perfect. Under capitalism the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The gap gets ever bigger.

The world was once in the thrall of the USA. This is no longer the case.

In the end, things will (I hope) sort themselves out.  Capitalism is not perfect and neither is communism or extreme right wing politics.

630m QRP WSPR (Saturday)

 My 10mW ERP was turned on at 1700z. 4 spots on the first transmission.

UPDATE  1807z: 
9 stations have spotted me.

CEPT 8m amateur allocation?

Before I start, there are no plans for this. 

However, the band is now available to radio amateurs in at least 2 CEPT countries and in many CEPT nations some are experimenting on 8m with special permits. 

From figures provided to me by an amateur in Belgium, radio amateurs would produce less interference than ISM users between 40.66-40.70MHz.  It would be great if CEPT allowed radio amateurs access to the band.

These are my proposals for an 8m amateur band:

  • 40.675-40.685 MHz (just 10 kHz wide in total, in the ISM band. A minimum would be 40.680-40.683 MHz)
  • Secondary
  • Only available by application (NoV or equivalent)
  • 5W maximum
  • Narrow digital only (modes like FT8, WSPR and CW), no phone
  • Strictly no interference
  • Only available to full licencees
My assumption is CEPT is more likely to be receptive if we ask for the minimum.

Almost all the activity on 8m is propagation research. Such a small CEPT amateur allocation could really advance radio propagation science.

Please approach your national society and licencing authority for an 8m amateur band.

See https://www.itu.int/dms_pubrec/itu-r/rec/sm/R-REC-SM.1056-1-200704-I!!PDF-E.pdf .

8m QRP FT8 (Saturday)

As my 8m dipole is showing a high VSWR, my 2.5W 8m FT8 is connected instead to my loop on the shack windowsill on which the match is good. 

UPDATE 1847z: No spots all day. 

Connect the antenna! (Saturday)

For the first few hours today, my 500uW 10m WSPR beacon had no antenna connected. When running QRPP it helps to have an antenna!! Doh!

My 0.5mW beacon has been on (with an antenna! 😄) since about 1230z.

UPDATE 1900z: No spots all day.

Windmill next door - NOT amateur radio

As many may remember, we live next door to a fully restored and working 200 year old windmill which is part of Burwell Museum. 

Just occasionally, they turn the sails on but they never disturb us. It is just over the garden wall. The attached photo was taken from the lounge window. The sky was blue, but it was very cold!

See https://burwellmuseum.org.uk/ .

630m QRP WSPR overnight


25 stations have spotted my 10mW ERP in the last 12 hours as the table shows.

Sunspots - Saturday January 20th

 Solar flux is 157 and the SSN 137. A=8 and K=2.

19 Jan 2024

630m QRP WSPR (Friday)

Rather earlier than usual, my 630m 10mW ERP WSPR was turned on at about 1515z. So far, spotted by 3 stations. As usual, I am using the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground.

UPDATE 1915z: In the last hour 14 stations have spotted me with the furthermost LA3EQ (769km) in Norway. 19 stations have spotted me in the last 12 hours.

UPDATE 2120z: 22 stations have spotted me in the last 12 hours including OH1LSQ (1733km).


Today I heard that Roger Taylor had passed away. He was very much into VHF/UHF and microwaves and had an excellent location at Haddenham near Cambridge, UK. Many will miss him.

Shopping Habits - NOT amateur radio

More of us are shopping online. 

Gradually, over the last 20 years, the way many of us shop has changed. On the whole we are more confident that goods delivered to our door will be fine and, if they are not, they can be easily returned. No longer do we need to find car parking spaces (and pay for these) and we no longer struggle with heavy packages.

This means more retail businesses will go out of business and those that remain are working harder to retain customers.  In my view (as it has been for many years) is that those who will survive will have a strong online business and shops that remain will be mainly for browsing. Many of our well loved brands in shops may disappear. This is a trend that will continue. In a few years' time we may not recognise our high streets.

One retailer in Cambridge was selling Easter Eggs on New Years Eve!! This Valentines display reeks of survival.

In my view, High Street shops will only survive if they offer something unique. I expect the future will be more places where people can meet (cafes) and more flats for single people to live.

My future on 8m

This morning, I am getting no 8m FT8 spots whereas G9PUV and SV1DH have plenty. Their ERPs are probably at least 10dB up on mine as I run just 2.5W to a low dipole.

At the moment, my inclination is not to go for a new 8m permit in April.  

Possibly I may try 8m WSPR in the ISM band with the call 8M3ISM with 10mW ERP without a licence, as is the right of all in the UK.

The results obtained so far are impressive, but without more stations, I am unsure of the usefulness of continuing. 

As the 8m band is located between 10m and 6m, we could expect 8m to open more often than 6m. It is highly disappointing that OFCOM (and the RSGB) and the FCC has shown such a negative attitude to even a small 8m secondary allocation. It is not as if they are neutral. It would appear they are dead set against!

If beggars believe that both the FCC and OFCOM (and the RSGB) can have such a negative attitude to the real purpose of our hobby. I am left with a bitter taste.

8m QRP FT8 (Friday)

My 2.5W 8m FT8 was turned on at 1016z.

Conditions in Europe look encouraging with high MUFs.

UPDATE 1341z:  No spots.

10m 500uW WSPR TX (Friday)

Although my QRPP beacon is on, no spots today (well yet). It amazes me this is so widely spotted. 

I suppose it shouldn't surprise me as 500mW is so strong sometimes and 500uW is just 30dB weaker and we are now around solar maximum.

UPDATE 1338z:
  Spotted in the Canary Is. yet again today!

Norwich by train - NOT amateur radio

We travel to Norwich from Ely several times a year by train. It takes under an hour and Norwich is a fine city. A day return with a Senior Railcard is not expensive. 

The journey is relaxed and the scenery pleasant. Being East Anglia (which is a fairly flat part of the UK) hills are rare!  Travelling there and back, you see fens, brecks, forest and arable land as well as a glimpse of Wymondham Abbey with its 2 towers.

The photo shows a pig farm!  I know you couldn't wait!  😀

630m QRP WSPR overnight

No great DX (best Germany), but 22 stations have spotted my 10mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground.

Sunspots- Friday January 19th

 Solar flux is 162 and the SSN 113 . A=6 and K=3.

18 Jan 2024

70cm - times they are a changing

When I was first licenced here in the UK there was a class A licence and a class B licence.  Class B licencees were only allowed on 432MHz and above and did not need a morse test. My first call was without CW and 432MHz and above. Class B operators could operate a Class A station under supervision. I remember doing this at the QTH of the late G4PJ.

My first activity on 70cm was with the transverter shown. In those days nearly everyone was crystal controlled and we tuned the whole band listening for replies. Out /P with 100mW one could just about guarantee a QSO. Most people were on AM back then.

These days there is far less activity on 70cm sadly. Those that are active come on mainly in contests usually on FM or SSB. This is pity as often 70cm tropo can be better than 2m. I remember years later having loads of fun working FM DX on 70cm simplex with 4W from an FM321. Often lifts on 70cm were more localised.

Times they are a changing...

St Pancras station, London - NOT amateur radio

The photo shows the Victorian facade at St. Pancras station in London. 

At one time, this was earmarked for demolition, but saved after a campaign by poet laureate John Betjeman.

8m QRP FT8 (Thursday)

My 2.5W FT8 to a dipole was turned on at 1046z on 40.680 MHz (DF about 1950 Hz). No spots at 1227z.

A lot of grass! - NOT amateur radio

The colleges in Cambridge have a lot of grass to cut. King's College (shown in the photo) is no exception. 

The college lawns are always immaculate. Mind you, I doubt they are short of money!

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

Although my QRPP 10m WSPR beacon is on, no spots today. 

It looks like conditions have to be really good for this tiny power to be spotted. A low local noise level is also needed and this is getting harder.

UPDATE 1334z: Still no spots today.

UPDATE 1426z:
  3 spots by EA8BFK (2880km) in the Canary Is.. This station spots my 500uW (0.5mW) 10m WSPR most days.

630m QRP WSPR overnight

A good session on 630m WSPR overnight. In all, 25 stations spotted my 10mW ERP (measrued) from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground.

Sunspots- Thursday January 18th

 Solar flux is 174 and the SSN 158. A=4 and K =2.

17 Jan 2024

630m QRP WSPR (Wednesday)

My 10mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground was turned on at about 1645z. So far,  7 stations have spotted me this evening..

Time to stop - NOT amateur radio

What happened in Israel on October 7th was appalling. It was understandable that the people of Israel and its government were angry. It is clear they want to stop such attacks in future.

However, I am unsure of the real motives of Israel in Gaza.  

There were lots of people killed or taken hostage on October 7th, but the destruction and deaths in Gaza are surely out of proportion. Many there are starving, and you can understand why many are calling the actions of Israel genocide. 

If, as was the declared intention of Israel, they want to decimate Hamas, then surely there are more clinical ways of going about it? I am not impressed from a population that was so badly impacted in WW2.

See https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-68004449 .

QRP 8m FT8 (Wednesday)

My 2.5W FT8 on 40.680 MHz has been on for about 30 minutes. 

Better equipped stations are regularly getting across the Atlantic again. It is much harder with just 2.5W and a low dipole! As the F2 season is good in February and March, we can expect even better times ahead.

UPDATE 1515z:   No spots yet today.

10m 500uW WSPR TX (Wednesday)

My 500uW (0.5mW) signal has already been spotted by EA8BFK (2880km) . 

The beacon is pre-programmed to report 500mW even though the actual output is just 0.5mW!! The QRPP power is confirmed by spectrum analyser.

UPDATE 1152z:  Now spotted 5 times today by EA8BFK. USA afternoon?

UPDATE 1519z:   No further spots of me. Not surprisingly, single hop F2 is the most successful. I guess the USA is at least 2 hops, so there is far greater path loss, so the USA would require conditions to be exceptional with 0.5mW.

Punting on the Cam - NOT amateur radio

The last few days have been crisp and cold in Cambridge. If you wrap up warm, ideal weather for punting. The photo was yesterday outside King's College.