23 May 2017

UK terror threat level raised to "critical" - NOT amateur radio

This evening, the UK terror threat level has been raised to "critical" meaning an attack is highly likely. I guess the UK government has got some new intelligence.

In the end, there are far more good people than evil ones. It is sad that a few people with evil intent can cause such widespread fear. In the end we must not be intimidated.

Back Garden - NOT amateur radio

This afternoon, we planted a few more bedding plants, cut the grass and enjoyed a cup of tea in the garden in the warm sunshine. At this time of the year, lots of birds are singing and, it seems, everything in the garden is coming out and looks fresh.

ICOM's new R8600 RX

Reading the latest RadCom I was amazed to read that the likely selling price of the new ICOM R8600 receiver based on the IC7300 is £2500!!!

Is this a joke? I was expecting the price to be below £1000.

I don't doubt this is a nice radio, but the price is stupid. At this price I hope no-one buys it and the dealers learn a lesson - don't take us for a ride to make inflated profits. By all means make a profit, but I smell the nasty side of capitalism.

See http://www.icomamerica.com/en/products/amateur/receivers/r8600/default.aspx

New antennas for 6m/4m from Hy-Gain

Southgate News has reported that Hy-Gain is producing a new dual-band antenna for 4m/6m designed by G0KSC.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2017/may/new-hy-gain-antennas.htm#.WSP_9bpFyP8

The person who usually creates the Southgate News postings is away, so someone else must be doing these.

New Yaesu and ICOM products

As yet, I have not heard about any new product announcements by the big players coming out of Dayton. I was expecting to hear news by now. I shall have to do another trawl for news.

Mars - NOT amateur radio

I think a manned expedition to Mars is unlikely in my lifetime. It still seems amazing that the first Moon landing was 1969, before I had started work! That is a long time ago.

For news of Mars, try http://marsnews.com/ .

Mars has fascinated us for a long time. There is little doubt it is a hostile place, but mankind will go there some day. I suspect this will be in the lifetime of my children.

The bigger question is, "is there other intelligent life in the universe?".  CETI has been looking now for over 50 years without success. When (if?) we do detect other life out there, it will be a profound moment. If we are truly alone, we have to ask, "why?".

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday May 23rd 2017

My friend G4NUA in Cambridge was copying PY on 10m JT65 last night. He re-erected his half sized G5RV higher and it now seems to work well. I think my 10m antenna is several dB down on an optimised 10m antenna.

Solar flux is 74 today and the sunspot number a respectable 55. A=10 and K=3.

6m JT65 transceive and 10m WSPR TX

This morning I am on 10m WSPR (500mW 100% TX and 6m JT65 (1W ERP beacon mode, as well as RX). On 6m I have been spotted by 3 stations (all G) and received stations including GW3TKH (252km). On 10m WSPR nothing yet. So far, no signs of Es on either band.

UPDATE 0900z: HA4ULB (1456km) has spotted my 10m WSPR and 4 G stations have spotted my 6m JT65. Still no Es on 6m JT65 here.

UPDATE 1045z: Now being spotted widely in Europe on 10m WSPR, even with my poor 10m antenna. What has amazed me is the number of 6m G and GW JT65 spots. These are either tropo or aircraft reflections which would be possible at any time, irrespective of conditions.

UPDATE 1300z:  Plenty of 6m Es now with several stations in the eastern Baltic area spotted or spotting me on 6m JT65. Widespread Es spots on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1317z: Widespread 10m spots mainly from Denmark and Germany. Decent Es on 6m JT65 too with best report from ES4NY (1806km) in Estonia.

22 May 2017

Stroke update - NOT amateur radio

One of the side effects of my stroke in 2013 is that I get totally exhausted doing anything physical or mental for about 15-20 minutes.

My worst time, normally, is just after breakfast when I am "done in" and have to rest. After a short rest I am OK. I much regret being as I am, but it has left me with a great deal of sympathy for those with conditions like ME and MS. Before, I had no idea what total exhaustion meant.

Today, I put some plants in the garden. In the past this would have been trivial, but I was totally exhausted and had to rest to recover. It is very hard for others to understand.

60m (5MHz) band

More and more countries are being allocated the narrow WRC15 60m allocation. Many suffer from man-made interference on the lower bands from SMPSUs and similar. Nonetheless, this is an important new band that will be increasingly important as the sun gets quieter.

I have tried WSPR on this band in the past and must try again soon, although I have no suitable antennas, so use a random wire and my ATU.

In the UK we have not been granted access to the WRC15 allocation yet, so it important to stick to the bits we do have access to.