31 May 2024

Fan Vaulting - NOT amateur radio

The photo shows the roof of King’s College Chapel in Cambridge which is very many centuries old. King's was founded in the time of King Henry VI.

As a local resident, we can go in whenever we like with a resident' pass. My son has an alumni pass which he can use with some guests.

10m 500uW WSPR (Friday)

Although my beacon has been on all morning and synced to internet time, no spots of me today.  I have lost count of the countries that have spotted my 500uW (0.5mW) 10m WSPR.

6m QRP FT8 (Friday)

48 spots of my 2.5W 6m FT8 to the V2000 vertical omni antenna so far. Most of these look like Es (see map).

Sunspots- Friday May 31st

 Solar flux is 185 and the SSN 144. A=8 and K=2.

30 May 2024

Rally News

 The following rally has been notified to me. As always, I recommend contacting the organiser to check details.

Sunday June 2nd - Spalding and District ARS Annual Rally, Spalding, PE12 6AF. Contact rally2024@sdars.org.uk .

6m QRP FT8 (Thursday)

Today, I am on 6m FT8 with 2.5W to the V2000 omni vertical antenna. At 1400z, 33 stations had spotted me. Most look like Es.

UPDATE 1517z:  40 spots of my QRP 6m FT8 today so far (see map).

500uW 10m WSPR (Thursday)

 No spots of my 500uW (0.5mW) beacon today.

Brunch in Cambridge - NOT amateur radio

One of the benefits of being old is free bus travel. This is us having brunch in Cambridge before shopping and sitting in King's College Chapel. Free entry to King's as a local. 😉

Google Adsense - NOT amateur radio

Perhaps they should rename this Google Nonesense? In the last hour my visitor numbers have (supposedly) doubled, which I am sure is not correct. I look regularly, although I am not sure why. Like the UK weather, I think your guess is as good!

European Es (Thursday)

As yesterday, there is intense Es in eastern Europe, which I hope moves west. Unlike yesterday, I have not seen any Japanese stations on 6m FT8. My own 2.5W FT8 is being spotted in the UK, with many on 6m hoping for some Far East DX!

See https://www.tvcomm.co.uk/g7izu/radio-propagation-maps/europe-sporadic-e/ .

Salcombe, Devon - NOT amateur radio

This photo shows where I lived as a young child. At the time we just took it for granted. Salcombe is in the distance on the left.

Much later, I realised just how lovely it was. These days it is a very expensive place to live with many second homes. House prices are ridiculously high, so much so that locals are priced out.

2200m beacon

Looking through some old photos, I spotted this one from 2012 showing my beacon for 2200m (137kHz).

As I recall it produced about 8W although the ERP was in the microwatts as my antennas were not very good.

Sunspots - Thursday May 30th

 Solar flux is 171 and the SSN 131. A=6 and K=1.

29 May 2024

6m FT8 on 2.5W (Wednesday)

At about 1916z, I decided to go on 6m FT8 with QRO (for me!) of 2.5W.  Lots of Es around Europe. 

The furthermost was a spot of me by PY2DS (9583km) in Brazil. This looks like Es linking with TEP.  On 6m FT8 RX loads of stations in Brazil spotted.

Pretty sure this is the third time I have reached South America on 6m in the last few weeks. One was with just with 10mW!

UPDATE 2117z:   115 stations have spotted me so far. Es in Europe seems to be good. My gear will be on overnight hoping that I might be spotted in the USA.

2m QRP FT8 (Wednesday)

About 15 minutes ago I switched to 2m FT8 with 2.5W and the big-wheel omni antenna. 

So far, at 1131z, 16 stations have spotted me with the furthermost F6DBI (501km) in Brittany.

UPDATE 1345z: 23 spots of me so far on 2m QRP FT8 (see map). Furthermost is EI9KP (649km).

2m QRP FT8 spots
 of me today
UPDATE 1648z: 
35 spots of me in 7 counties. 43 stations spotted on RX.

UPDATE 1850z:   39 stations have spotted me.

2m Es (Wednesday)

Es on 2m is rare. I see that 2m Es is occurring in the east of Europe. Maybe it will spread further west? 

See https://www.tvcomm.co.uk/g7izu/radio-propagation-maps/europe-sporadic-e/ .

6m 10mW FT8 (Wednesday)

My 10mW 6m FT8 to the V2000 vertical omni antenna has been on for a few hours. Already spotted by 7 stations. This is far easier than I was expecting. Every time I go on it works at 10mW. 

The map shows the stations that have spotted me.

10m 500uW WSPR (Wednesday)

 My 500uW  beacon is synced to internet time and on again. No spots at 0837z.

UPDATE 2055z:  2 stations in Europe have spotted my 500uW 10m WSPR.

Far East on 6m

Even with my attenuator in, I was spotting a Japanese station on 6m FT8. At first, as it is very early in the season for this, which happens every year in late June/early July, I assumed this was a pirate. 

However, when I spotted a second one I began to believe this could be real. 

It is believed this propagation is linked to noctilucent clouds which form usually in June and July. With climate change these seem to be more common.

Sean Henry statues, Ely - NOT amateur radio

At the moment there is an exhibition at Ely Cathedral of statues by Sean Henry. 

These are large and small and some are very realistic.

630m QRP WSPR overnight

Not a bad session. It would appear spots are still being received from the old favourites, although I have not had DX spots now for a while.

Sunspots - Wednesday May 29th

Solar  flux is 166 and the SSN 141. A=6 and K=0.

28 May 2024

Quansheng UV-K5(8)

This 5W handheld has been on sale for £12.89!!   I just cannot understand how they do it and make profits. 

If they are trying to kill off Japanese radios, they are succeeding.

Back in the early 1970s we used to sell professional UHF handhelds for over £700.

6m 10mW FT8 (Tuesday)

My QRPP signal is again on 6m FT8. Plenty of stations being copied on RX, despite the attenuator!

UPDATE  1034z:  My 10mW spotted by 4 stations mainly in the Baltic area.

UPDATE  1055z:  8 stations have spotted my 10mW 6m FT8.

UPDATE 1220z:  13 stations have spotted my 10mW 6m FT8 today most in Scandinavia.

Spots of my 6m
10mW FT8 today 
UPDATE 1539z: 
21 spots of my 10mW FT8 today (see map). I never expected it to be this easy, or to spot so many on RX with the attenuator in!

Strong Es in eastern Europe (Tuesday)

 At the moment I can see strong Es in eastern Europe.  Let's hope it moves further west.

See https://www.tvcomm.co.uk/g7izu/radio-propagation-maps/europe-sporadic-e/ .

10m 500uW WSPR


My 500uW 10m WSPR was spotted by DK6UG (633km) late yesterday. This looks like a patch of Es.

UPDATE 0834z: synced to internet time, but no spots this morning.

UPDATE 1547z: Yet again, my 500uW 10m WSPR was spotted in Scotland. I have lost count of how many countries my 500uW WSPR have been spotted in, but it is a lot.

Double rainbow - NOT amateur radio


This was our close last evening. On the whole it was a dry day with just some rain after teatime.

160m QRP FT8 overnight with the earth-electrodes in the ground

It works!  

Connecting the FT817ND to the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground the match via the transformer used on 630m remained good, so I left things unchanged. It was pretty effective on the setting below maximum on the FT817ND. The map shows the spots I got.

Sunspots - Tuesday May 28th

 Solar flux is 170 and the SSN 116.   A=8 and K=2.

27 May 2024

Recent events in the UK - NOT amateur radio

Several recent events have severely dented my confidence in "the deep state". These include the contaminated blood scandal, Grenfell Tower and the Post Office scandal.  Time and again, we hear of corruption in high places. It makes me sick.

It would be good if those in high places operated at all times with high integrity and honesty. It would appear many cannot be trusted sadly.

160m QRP FT8 tonight?

Overnight, I may give 160m FT8 a go with my earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. This assumes the match is acceptable. 

For a first try I shall probably use 2.5W. It is unlikely I shall be on until it gets dark. I don't think I have tried 160m FT8.

UPDATE 1656z:  The match is good and I am on 160m with 2.5W FT8.  No spots on RX or TX.

UPDATE 1831z:   One UK spot of me by 2E0INH (60km).

UPDATE 1900z:  3 UK spots of me so far this evening. Still very much light. Furthermost is G4BRK (133km). This is quite reasonable with 2.5W FT8.

UPDATE 2039z:  6 spots of me (see map).

UPDATE 2154z : 11 spots of me with 2 spots from Norway.

Wicken Fen walk - NOT amateur radio


This morning, we did a very nice walk around part of Wicken Fen.

630m QRPP WSPR overnight

Well, either the internet was not working here from the shack or there was an issue with WSPRnet. Although I was spotting DX on 630m WSPR and was sending all night, no spots at all. I shall probably try again tonight.

6m 10mW FT8 (Monday)

My QRPP 6m FT8 has been on since about 0815z. No spots.

UPDATE 1601z:
  32 spots of my 6m 10mW FT8 (see map). This proves that very little power is needed when Es is good.

Sunspots - Monday May 27th

 Solar flux is 156 and the SSN 148. A=10 and K=1.

26 May 2024

Is there a problem with WSPRnet?

 At the moment I am on 630m WSPR with my usual 10mW ERP. I am seeing no spots on RX or TX. This could be that I cannot connect to the internet or there’s a problem with WSPRnet. I shall leave it on overnight.

Distant thunder - NOT amateur radio

Between the showers, we were trying to do some gardening. 

The photo (yet again!) is of the windmill next door with storm clouds behind just now.

Low cost 70cm QRPP modules

Before anyone tells me I know Baonfeng and Quansheng handhelds are available at very low cost, but I wonder if any experimenters are experimenting with low cost modules designed to send digital signals at short range?  

Many are available on Amazon.

500uW 10m WSPR (Sunday)

Quite surprised to see my 500uW QRPP 10m WSPR had been spotted this morning by GM4WJA (624km). I suspect this is Es as I have been spotted in N.Ireland when I was running just 10mW FT8 on 6m.

6m 10mW FT8 (Sunday)

My 10mW 6m FT8 to the V2000 vertical omni antenna is on, but no spots at 0858z. 

UPDATE 0950z:  Spotted by GI0OTC (560km) in Northern Ireland. I suspect this is Es as I have also been spotted running just 500uW in Scotland on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1459z: No more spots of me on 10mW 6m FT8 surprisingly. No further Es reports of my QRPP. Perhaps later?

UPDATE 1735z: Some Es now. 4 spots of my 10mW 6m FT8 so far.

Es (Sunday)

At the moment Es looks quite promising in Eastern Europe. Let's hope this spreads west.

See https://www.tvcomm.co.uk/g7izu/radio-propagation-maps/europe-sporadic-e/ .

QMX+ from QRP Labs

Yesterday evening I heard that QRP Labs had received my payment, although I do not know what the delivery date will be for my QMX+.

See https://qrp-labs.com/qmxp.html .

Near where I come from - NOT amateur radio

This is Blackpool Sands in Devon (not THAT Blackpool!!). It’s near where I come from in South Devon. 

It is a private beach with restricted access.

6m 10mW FT8 overnight

 Although I (accidentally) left my 6m QRPP on overnight, no spots.

Sunspots - Sunday May 26th

 Solar flux is 152 and the SSN 106. A=6 and K=1.

25 May 2024

POTA with the Elecraft KH1

In the USA POTA seems very popular. Amateur Radio Weekly reports on a POTA activation pedestrian portable with the KH1 and a small whip by K4SWL

I don't think the tiny KH1 is available in Europe.

6m 10mW FT8 in the Es season

At the start of the Es season, I started with 10mW 6m WSPR. It worked, so I changed to 6m 10mW FT8, which in theory needs a better S/N to decode.  

Every day, 10mW 6m FT8 has been very successful.  Some reports suggest some margin too. 

I think the fact that FT8 only needs a 15 second TX period compared with 120 seconds for WSPR helps to catch very brief Es openings. 

When I return to 8m, I think I shall try 10mW ERP FT8 instead of WSPR.

23cm activity session

Well over a year ago I bought a 2W 23cms transverter that I intended to use /P in the 23cm activity sessions. As it has been so wet, I have yet to do this. Perhaps later?

I was only going to go out very locally, but on higher ground.

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

My 500uW 10m QRPP WSPR beacon was turned on at about 0830z.  European Es looks quite promising, so I am hopeful. 

See https://www.tvcomm.co.uk/g7izu/radio-propagation-maps/europe-sporadic-e/ .

UPDATE 1117z:  No spots.

UPDATE 1738z:  Just a single spot of my QRPP by DK6UG (633km). 

6m 10mW FT8 (Saturday)

Es map of Europe
My 10mW 6m QRPP FT8 was turned on at about 0830z. No spots yet.  European Es looks quite hopeful. 

See https://www.tvcomm.co.uk/g7izu/radio-propagation-maps/europe-sporadic-e/ .

UPDATE 1026z:   5 spots of my 10mW 6m FT8.

UPDATE 1731z: 10 stations have spotted me.

630m QRP WSPR overnight

Last night I went on 630m WSPR with my 10mW ERP. In all, 7 stations spotted me, which was better than I was expecting. Best DX was GM3YXM (425km). 


Back in the 1960s I first joined the International Short Wave League. 

It produces a magazine called "Monitor" which is probably unique in that it supports both amateur radio (RX and TX) and broadcast band listeners. 
They are currently offering a generous package to attract old members back.

See https://www.iswl.org.uk/ .

Sunspots - May 25th

 Solar flux 163 and the SSN 100. A=9 and K=1.

24 May 2024

630m QRP WSPR (Friday)

My 630m 10mW ERP WSPR from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground was turned on at about 2040z.

UPDATE 2115z: 2 stations have spotted me so far this evening.

500uW 10m WSPR (Friday)

My beacon is on and sync'd to internet time.  No spots. 

UPDATE 1839z:   2 spots in Germany of my 500uW WSPR. A reminder that my WSPR beacon is hard programmed to report 0.5W even though with the PA turned off it is actually 500uW only.  I think these German spots were the first in several days.

European Es

At the moment European Es does not look too great although things can quickly change.

See https://www.tvcomm.co.uk/g7izu/radio-propagation-maps/europe-sporadic-e/.

Amazing flowers - NOT amateur radio


My wife does not usually buy peonies, but these are looking great at the moment.

10mW 6m FT8 (Friday)

My QRPP 6m FT8 was turned on at about 0750z.

UPDATE 0830z:   No spots.

UPDATE 1523z:  11 spots of me.

630m WSPR overnight

For a change I went on 630m WSPR overnight with my 10mW ERP from the earth electrode “antenna” in the ground. In all, 7 stations spotted me. This was more than I expected. No real DX.

Sunspots - Friday May 24th

 Solar flux is 176 and the SSN 130. A=10 and K=2.

23 May 2024

630m QRP WSPR (Thursday)

For a change, I am again on 630m WSPR with my 10mW ERP from my earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground.

UPDATE 1908z:  So far, just spots by G8OCV/SDR.


At the moment, I remain puzzled: at 10mW I was surprised that FT8 worked at all on 6m. Already today (presumably by Es) 10 stations have spotted me on 6m FT8 at 10mW.  

At 13dB weaker my 10m WSPR at 500uW remains unspotted. I had assumed that signals 13dB weaker might have been harder, but then WSPR works with signals considerably weaker than FT8.

Probably Jan OZ9QV is correct, that the far shorter TX period for FT8 (about 15 seconds) catches very brief Es bursts with FT8 that the 120 seconds needed for WSPR does not decode: the Es cloud has to remain around for longer.  Perhaps Es just bubbles up for very short periods more than we thought. Maybe FT4 would be better still, even though it is even less sensitive?

With FT8 I am pleasantly surprised how well just 10mW works with 6m FT8.  Of course the WSPR signal at 500uW is more likely to be buried in noise too. Overall, I suspect the briefness of FT8 must help more than I was expecting.

Rally this Sunday

 The following rally has been notified to me. As always, I recommend contacting organisers to check details.

Sunday May 26th - Durham and District ARS Radio Rally. Bowburn, DH6 5AT. Contact dadars@gmx.com .

Cambridge bookshops - NOT amateur radio

When I first came to Cambridge in 1970 there were loads of bookshops and it seemed a sleepy academic town. 

Many people nowadays prefer to buy their books online, so there are fewer bookshops left. 

The photo shows one that is still around although it would not surprise me if much of its business is now online. Many of the books they sell are secondhand.

10m 500uW WSPR (Thursday)

 My 10m WSPR QRPP beacon is on again. 

UPDATE 1553z:  No spots.

European Es (Thursday)

At the moment, Es in Europe looks promising. Time will tell.

See https://www.tvcomm.co.uk/g7izu/radio-propagation-maps/europe-sporadic-e/

All change - NOT amateur radio


We change our bedding plants for the spring and summer. 

These were planted yesterday. I hope they grow and thrive.

6m 10mW FT8 (Thursday)

Once again, I am on 6m FT8 with 10mW and the V2000 vertical omni antenna. So far, no spots.

UPDATE 1220z: 8 spots so far.

UPDATE 1705z:
20 spots of my 10mW 6m FT8 today (see map).

UPDATE 1713z:  23 stations have spotted me today.

Greenpeace and a multinational oil giant - NOT amateur radio

This morning, I received a WhatsApp message from a friend urging me to sign a petition. 

Sadly, these days I get very paranoid about links thinking the link could be a virus or bot being installed. If you are unsure of a link never, ever click it. Check that it is genuine by some other way if in any doubt. Often scammers try to work on your better nature trying to oblige a friend. A common one is "are you in this video?".

In this case I think it was genuine about a multi-billion pound profit multinational oil giant suing Greenpeace. Deep state gone mad again.

See https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/ .

Sunspots - Thursday May 23rd

 Solar flux is 196 and the SSN 120. A=4 and K=1.

22 May 2024

QMX+ plunge taken

This 5W multi-band, multi-mode transceiver has been ordered, assembled and cased. 

QRP Labs make some fantastic kit and I look forward to using it.

In the past, I would have enjoyed building it. Sadly, those days have passed and my fine motor skills are just not up to it any more.

See https://www.qrp-labs.com/qmxp.html .

Our back garden - NOT amateur radio

Spring is a great time of year. Blossom briefly appears, leaves have a fresh green appearance and everything is new. Spring soon goes and the fresh green turns to a tired green.

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

My beacon has been on all day. No spots all day.

If I had good results on 6m FT8 with 10mW, I would have expected some Es spots with 500uW on 10m WSPR. Perhaps the 13dB difference takes signals into the noise floor?

That famous plaque - NOT amateur radio

This famous plaque is outside the Eagle pub in Bene't Street  Cambridge. Within about 100m many world changing events took place. Rutherford split the atom, the form of DNA was understood, to name just two. The plaque was re-created recently to acknowledge the contribution of others.

6m 10mW FT8 (Wednesday)

My 10mW 6m FT8 was on overnight.  To my great surprise stations in Norway and Finland spotted me in the middle of the night. To be spotted at all at this time is remarkable, but with just a few milliwatts took me totally by surprise.

UPDATE 1046z: Spotted in Poland with my 10mW 6m FT8.

UPDATE 1424z: Spotted by 31 stations when I was using 10mW 6m FT8.

UPDATE 1555z:
  Spotted by 46 stations (see map).

UPDATE  2116z:  My 10mW 6m FT8 spotted by 47 stations. Even with my 15dB attenuator right next to the rig, 109 stations were still copied on 6m FT8 RX.

Sunspots- Wednesday May 22nd

 Solar flux is 191 and the SSN 146. A=9 and K=0.

21 May 2024

Few new radios at Hamvention 2024?

Apart from the hint about the ICOM X60, I have not heard rumours of new radios on the horizon from the likes of Yaesu and Kenwood. If my thoughts are correct (I hope I am wrong!) both these are having thoughts of getting out of the amateur radio market. 

Personally, it is my view that Yaesu has lost its way.  Nearly a quarter of a century after the launch of the FT817 the world is still waiting!! Personally I think they have, sadly, missed the boat again.

Going on and on!! - NOT amateur radio

Poinsettia plants are often thought of as Christmas flowers but my wife has one that has got new buds and goes on and on!!

Seen in Cambridge - NOT amateur radio

It’s good to see Jewish students supporting the innocent people caught up in the war following the horrific events of October 7th. This was outside King’s.

10m 500uW WSPR (Tuesday)

 Once again, my 500uW 10m WSPR is turned on although I am not too hopeful.

UPDATE 1410z:  No spots today.

The pattern seems to be that 500uW is not quite enough for most people most of the time. I guess many have a background noise floor that has to be exceeded. It is also possible there are fewer people on WSPR these days. I would have expected ŧo see far more WSPR spots by Es.

6m 10mW FT8 (Tuesday)

Once again, I am on 6m with 10mW FT8. Unless things improve, I am not too hopeful.

UPDATE 1356z:  Just 2 spots of my 10mW 6m FT8 today from Portugal.

European Es

Looking at the maps of Es reports, it would seem, at the moment. that Es is not as good as the last few days. As with all things sporadic E (Es), things can quickly change.

See https://www.tvcomm.co.uk/g7izu/radio-propagation-maps/europe-sporadic-e/ .

Sunspots - Tuesday May 21st

 Solar flux is 200 and the SSN 124. A=7 and K=1.

20 May 2024

Our green - NOT amateur radio

In our quiet part of the village is this delightful green. One of the trees has half its leaves of a different colour.

6m 10mW FT8 (Monday)

Once again I am on 6m FT8 with 10mW and the V2000 vertical omni antenna.  At 1545z, 20 stations (see map) have spotted me with the furthermost EA8/DF4UE (2875km).

It never fails to amaze me how little power is needed with 6m FT8.

10m 500uW WSPR (Monday)

 Although my 500uW (0.5mW) 10m WSPR beacon has been on all day, I am surprised to not get any spots. On 6m FT8 I have had lots of spots with 10mW. I shall try a re-sync.

UPDATE 1808z:  No spots all day.

UPDATE 1851z:  OE3GBB (1233km) has spotted my QRPP.

8m experiments

Experiments at 6m (as opposed to 8m) have FAR exceeded what I expected and convinced me that 8m WSPR at 10mW ERP would definitely be spotted by Es. The fact that 10mW FT8 on 6m reached Brazil yesterday was amazing with an omni antenna.

I may try 8m FT8 at 10mW ERP as soon as my 8m antenna is mended. At this rate, it would not surprise me if this spanned Europe as well. Judging by results at 6m, it certainly should. The only difference is the dipole, which is a bit lower in height than the V2000 used on 6m. I would expect this to (maybe) make a few dBs difference.


For the first time in months I was not on 630m QRP WSPR, when I was at home, last night. Gradually, the number of spots I had received had been dropping off. I shall be back on in the autumn and may try occasionally in the coming months, but not every night.

A new night-time challenge calls! I am still undecided what form this should take.

Swifts - NOT amateur radio

Although I both saw and heard swifts in Ghent, Belgium last week, yesterday was the first time this year I had heard swifts screaming in a feeding party overhead in England. It is too soon to comment on numbers although I spotted 5 overhead. 

Swifts are part of the UK sky in late spring and early summer.

Sunspots- Monday May 20th

 Solar flux is 201 and the SSN 156. A=9 and K=1.

19 May 2024

QMX+ transceiver

My thanks to Steve G1KQH for bringing this to my notice. 

QRP Labs have the QMX+ multi-mode 160-6m transceiver on sale. Hans makes some really good kit and I have no doubt that this rig will also be great.

See https://www.qrp-labs.com/qmxp.html .

6m QRPP FT8 (Sunday)

Yesterday I was surprised how well 6m FT8 worked at 10mW, so I am again trying 6m QRPP (10mW) FT8 today. 

How do I work out 10mW?  The rig is set to the lowest power setting (measured 500mW). There is a 15dB pad right at the antenna connection of the radio. My 6m antenna is fed with RG58 coax with a loss of 2dB at 6m. Assume 0dB gain on 6m from the V2000 omni antenna, although it probably has a loss in many directions on 6m!  

So just 10mW to the antenna.

UPDATE 0855z: Already spotted with 10mW pretty well in Sardinia by IS0AWZ (1599km). Really, with good Es not much power at all is needed! Even at 10mW 6m FT8, I probably had 8dB in hand.

UPDATE 1141z: 
8 spots of my 10mW 6m FT8. Who needs power?

UPDATE 1726z: 
24 stations have spotted my 10mW 6m FT8 to the V2000 omni antenna. The best DX is western Ukraine. I am amazed how little ERP is needed at times on 6m FT8. Judging by the results on 6m FT8 with 10mW, perhaps I should try 10m FT8 with 10mW?

Spots of my 10mW
6m FT8 today
UPDATE 2020z: 
I can scarcely believe this!!  My 10mW 6m FT8  has reached Brazil!  In all, I have been spotted by 32 stations today with the furthermost PY1EME (9453km). This is with an omni vertical antenna too!  I guess this was TEP and Es. Truly amazing for a VHF band. The antenna and take-off at PY1EME must help as must the electrically quiet environment. Many of PY1EME's spots were in South America, so I am pretty sure this is genuine.
PY1EME's 6m antenna

6m FT8 RX spots
- despite the 15dB pad!