26 Oct 2016

Slowly declining solar conditions

We are now on the gradual slide down the solar cycle to the next minimum. The slide down is usually slower than the climb after the minimum. The experts are not expecting great things of the next maximum. As always, these are averages, so some days can be much better.

Next autumn we should not expect conditions on the higher HF bands to be much good, although I firmly believe 10m is better than people think. OK, you need to hunt for the DX - it is not as easy as a few years ago, but it is there quite often.

See http://www.solen.info/solar/ .

10m JT65

I returned to 10m JT65 (2W QRP) at 0715z today, having turned the rig on and resynced the shack PC to internet time. So far, no spots.

UPDATE 1008z: EU7FBB (1931km) spotted me recently. F2 or Es?

UPDATE 1050z:  Spots of my 2W QRP 10m JT65 also received from Italy and Slovakia. Es? Nothing yet from outside Europe.

UPDATE 1100z:  It looks like there is widespread 10m propagation to Europe with my 2W QRP JT65 being spotted in Austria, Italy, Slovakia and Belarus. I am assuming this is Es. As I have said many times, 10m is open far more than people think. We have weak signal modes like JT65 and WSPR to thank for enlightening us all.

UPDATE 1345z: 8 European spots of my QRP 10m JT65 so far. Who said 10m was "dead"? Remember, my antenna for 10m is very very average and low. If you have more power and a better antenna you are likely to do better.

UPDATE 1800z: 2 South Americans spotted on 10m JT65 here today (Argentina and Brazil). I am sure this is TEP with the extension to the UK because of good openings in Europe.

UPDATE 1813z:  Now 6 South Americans spotted on 10m JT65 here.  Not bad at all.

UPDATE 1835z:  Now a couple of South Americans have spotted my 10m JT65 QRP: PY1TS (9350km) and PU4ENY (9359km). 10 South Americans spotted here with best RX CE7KF (12753km) in Chile.

UPDATE 2020z: Now spotted 22 South Americans on 10m JT65 today, including HC5K (9541km) in Ecuador. Nothing from the USA.

Sunspots and 10m - Wednesday October 26th 2016

Solar flux is 77 today. Sunspot number is 17. K=4.

On the face of it, today does not look promising on 10m.

The Dutch and the Danes - NOT amateur radio

It is now 8 years since I retired. In my working days I visited several countries around the world. Without doubt the people I liked most were the Dutch and the Danes. Somehow we just "clicked" and got on. They seemed to be like us with a similar sense of humour.

It is some years since I was last in Denmark, but we were in Amsterdam earlier this year. I still like Holland and its people. They are my kind and I wish them, and the Danes, well.

25 Oct 2016

Smart phones - NOT amateur radio

Tuesday is one of my days in Cambridge doing Polar Studies at the Scott Polar Research Institute. The course is run by the University of the Third Age. We are very lucky to have a huge range of courses in Cambridge. We are lucky to have many ex-university lecturers.

See http://www.spri.cam.ac.uk/ .

In a not very scientific study into smart phone use, these were my findings, just looking:
  • Younger people are the main users
  • About 1 in 10 (at least) seemed to be using these
  • More women than men seemed to use these (keep away, don't speak to me, acknowledge my private space?)
OK, I hear you say, so what, but this is a social thing:  in days gone by there was eye contact, people chatted to each other. At the very least people acknowledged each other. It seems most young people have lost the skill of face-to-face contact; the phone seems more important! If this is OK, OK. Sadly, as a boring old git, I think this will come back to bite us.

Above 275GHz

OFCOM is issuing NoV for bands above 275GHz (the Terahertz bands). Although I have experimented at lightwave frequencies (where the test gear is easy) I have not tried terahertz frequencies. What is needed is very simple design that is "sure fire".  At the moment, I suspect only professionals with access to terahertz test gear will apply.

See http://rsgb.org/main/blog/news/gb2rs/headlines/2016/10/21/new-terahertz-band-nov/

RadCom and RadCom Plus

This is the magazine of the RSGB, the UK's national amateur radio society. There is also an additional online version available to members (RadCom Plus) with extra content. Usually the paper copy is a mix of technical and operational news.

See http://www.rsgb.org/  .

10m JT65

Before breakfast I turned the PC and rig on and checked internet time sync. As yet, no spots given or received. South America (if at all) usually gets through late afternoon. There are quite a few monitors in Europe, but they have not copied me yet. I am convinced that JT65 is a very effective 10m mode as the solar cycle recedes and conditions get worse. I remain convinced there is life on 10m long after most people abandon it. My advice? Run 10m JT65 or WSPR in the background and be surprised. On most recent days, 10m has opened to somewhere briefly.

UPDATE 1054z:  Still no 10m JT65 spots as yet.

UPDATE 1625z:  Only UK spots today on 10m JT65 with best DX G0JEI (141km) on RX. So, no great DX today!

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday October 25th 2016

Solar flux is 75 today and the sunspot number 13. K=4. On the face of it, we should not expect great 10m conditions today, but we may be surprised on JT65 and WSPR!

24 Oct 2016

QRP and QRP Club

Latest from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Welcome new members:
# 89 - RU3GS op. Vladimir
# 90 - R1CAF op. Victor
# 91 - UW5EKR op. Maxim
# 92 - R2AJA op. Igor
Note: to become Club 72 member recommendation require from true member
with more than 1 year membership experience. See rules on the Club 72

Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous report (October 17 to 23, 2016)
Visitors  of  the  week:  US3EN,  DK1DW, SM7RYR, DK1HW, UR7VT, G3XJS,
See  full  Visitors  and  Frequenters  lists  on  the  Club 72 page -

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"