21 Feb 2017

UK Pound to Euro exchange rate - NOT amateur radio

It is my view that the Euro will lose value this year so the UK Pound will buy more Euros. Of course, I could be entirely wrong! The reasons for thinking this are:
  • Greek debt is still a big issue and there will be fewer nations able to bail them out.
  • Several nations are disillusioned with the Euro project and are worried by totally free movement within the EU.
  • Several nations are in favour of tariff-free borders to trade but are nervous of ever closer integration.
  • I think the UK will show the world it can succeed outside of the EU.
No, several things point to an improved exchange rate. As for the US Dollar and the Japanese Yen exchange rates, I am less clear.

By the way, in last year's EU referendum I voted to "remain" in the EU. I believe the EU faces a difficult year ahead and this year will be "crunch time".

10GHz made simple

The HB100 Doppler radar modules can be bought for just a few UK pounds on eBay. These are the modern day equivalent of the Gunnplexers of old. A range of 106km has been achieved with one of these at the focus of a dish antenna on wideband FM.

In conjunction with a separate LNB converting down to 600MHz and a wideband FM RX and you have the makings of a low cost 10GHz system. This was recently used by G4HJW to cover a 10km path. I think Bernie was using just the HB100's own antenna. The HB100 is basically a small PCB unit.

At least one UK station is trying to design a stand-alone 10GHz transceiver based on the HB100 module. Watch this space!

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday February 21st 2017

Solar flux is 80 today and the sunspot number 25 . A=10 and K= 1

6m MSK144 RX again today

At the moment I am on 6m MSK144 RX again, but only receiving G stations (G3RED and G4CLA) so far today. No real DX as yet, although both these stations are at a good range.

UPDATE 1422z: Now 5 stations received including GD and EI. I suspect these are aircraft reflections.

UPDATE 1648z: SK0TM (1156km) now spotted on 6m MSK144.

20 Feb 2017

Back to 6m MSK144 RX again

After a day on 2m WSPR, I have returned to 6m MSK144 RX. This is my log for the last week on 6m MSK144 RX.

In all, 14 countries have been copied on 6m MSK144 RX.

Cambridge Botanic Gardens - NOT amateur radio

Today was very mild at 16 deg C. We visited the Botanical Gardens in Cambridge to see the orchid display in the hothouses. It is the first time I felt warm this winter. I dispensed with my coat.
Outside, there were lots of snowdrops out, but very few daffodils. Another few weeks and the daffodils will be out. Everything seems late this winter.

VLF amateur messages

From Eddie G3ZJO:

"Hi All
Since my last post Stefan DK7FC has been sending data using EbNaught on 8270.100 Hz. A 2 letter message was decoded by RN3AUS near Moscow a real first for Amateur operation.
Overnight on 17the Feb 2017 Stefan set the following challenge.
Let's risk something more again and try:

f = 8270.100000 Hz
Start time: Saturday 18.Feb.2017   18:00:00 UTC
Symbol period: 30 s
Characters: 7
CRC bits: 16
Coding 16K21A
Duration: 10h, 24m, 0s
Antenna current: 700 mA
By this time I was set up and operational for EbNaut after several Spectrum Lab freezes using the latest software release, and I had decoded theEbNaut files received by RN3AUS.
Next morning I loaded the overnight capture for decoding and concentrated intently on the computer screen.
Wow, in just 7 seconds ................... DREAMER
What a wonderful message for this iconic event on Sub9KHz, I didn't give thought to the significance of the test being 7 characters, expecting a dry radio call or expression. What could be better on the frequencies where we "are all dreamers and will never get any further than our own garden fence".
Today I can reveal the message as RN3AUS received it also and posted to the VLF Group. Currently there are 3 stations receiving EbNaut on VLF in addition the the 2 developers, Paul Nicholson and DF6NM plus DK7FC the TX'ing station.
DF6NM decided to run an EbNaut TX test concurrently with DK7FC on the night of 17th Feb. After the initial shock of decoding DK7FC I gave thought to looking for a 2 symbol decode, again in seconds appeared his message, a decode over a distance of more than 900Km. A surprise decode since I have not been able to spot his signal on my Spectrogram.
73 Eddie G3ZJO"

2m FSK441 - not

Yesterday evening I was all prepared to give 2m FSK441 RX a go. Then I discovered this mode was not supported in WSJT-X V1.7, so instead I stayed on 6m MSK144 RX.

I think the assumption was 2m MS users would migrate to a new mode, but they appear not to have done so yet. As the previous post shows, I went to 2m WSPR instead and had quite a bit of success on RX and TX.

2m and 10m WSPR

For a change, I returned to 2m WSPR and 10m WSPR. Already I have been spotted and I have spotted others, on 2m WSPR, but nothing on 10m.
2m WSPR - spots today so far (at 1620z)

Sunspots and 10m - Monday February 20th 2017

Solar flux is 78 today and sunspot number 23.  A=10 and K=2.