Tag Archives: WSPR

That Was The Year That Was….Pt 2

Have you wakened up since Pt 1 ? don’t worry the end is nigh.

July – Dec……

SOTA activations continued..

Skiddaw near the end of July was my first activation in England, the Lake District to be precise. I was away for a few days as part of a celebratory 30th anniversary break and being based in the north-west lake area, a compromise was made as I don’t shop so I got allowed to play ‘radio’. Skiddaw was memorable more for the crazy parking area and being passed by mountain bikers just before the last climb to the summit plateau. I activated on both 4 and 2m FM with no problems and made three STS (summit to summit) contacts, two locally on Pillar, Arnside Knott ( the lowest ‘Marilynin England) and one to Jimmy EYP on Sighty Crag in the Border region.

Derwent Water from the ascent of Skiddaw

Derwent Water from the ascent of Skiddaw

Two days later, I returned to old pastures with a quick nip up to Dale Head from the top of Honister Pass, I first visited this summit in the early ’80 and was blown away with the view north to Skiddaw and yep, the view is worth the visit. I had intended to try to fit in the nearby Robinson but alas we had to head home early so one for the next visit. There is a convenient fencepost at the summit so off I called and worked the same friendly group of chasers I had worked two days earlier on Skiddaw. Only STS was again Jimmy EYP who was on Peel Fell. A quick activation then to Honister Hause and sadly off back home.

My English adventure was over and the next activation was two months later but what a doozy, Ben More on the Isle of Mull, I had worked Gerald AQU there earlier in the year and as I always do, I had a look at the hill etc and made a mental note that this would be a cracker and when Roddy IOB mentioned a trip, I was front of the queue.

The weather gave us a window of blue skies and sunshine and we took full advantage, 4m contacts to outside Glasgow, South Uist and Skye was surprising plus two STS to Iain WJZ on Beinn Chaorach and Robin PKT on Beinn Lora. As we descended and reached our start point, it started to drizzle. An excellent 3 days on Mull thrown in as well.

Looking towards Loch Scridain from Ben More

Looking towards Loch Scridain from Ben More

Finally but not least was my annual trip to Beinn Chaorach in the Luss Hills, another excellent weather day and only one STS but made not with the 5 ele 2m yagi but my wee Baofeng handie and its two watts(Nagoya 701 antenna), I was trying 4m FM with no joy and whilst I called, I had my handie monitoring s20 and heard Robin PKT on Meall Chuaich so I followed him and made contact at approx 105km with the twin peaks of Ben More and Stobinnean in the way. Another good day.

That was the last for 2011, 13 activations and plenty fun and tired legs along the way. Thanks go to Roddy 2MØIOB for his company and his suffering my snail pace and tales of yore.

Thanks also to anyone with whom I have spoken to over the past year from a summit.

2012 ? who knows…

Chasing highlights…

Leaving out the STS, all contacts are highlights as well as points!!!! It is possible I could work 95% of contacts from sitting here in the shack but a good day, sunshine, fresh air and the chance of a contact outside isn’t to be sniffed at. I have a selection of high points I use.

I achieved ‘Shack Sloth’ during the activation of Cruach Ardrain with an STS,  I only claim points after the activator posts his log online so looking at my chaser log it looks different date wise but Colwyn YCJ was on one of Beinn Eighe‘s tops and that when uploaded gave me over 1,000 pts. Over the year, I amassed at least 800 plus points doubling both 2009 and 2010’s total.

Beinn Chaorach from the Green Road

Beinn Chaorach from the Green Road

In conclusion…

My thanks go out to all those who were out in all conditions to activate and for the points I accrued from you.  I have promised to try get my golf handicap down in 2012. I said that this time last year and never.

HF…

Another year but I have not been as active as possibly the previous year but I still manage on most days for a call. In addition to PSK (I only use datamodes), WSPR and RTTY. I have also made contacts on ROS, JT65 and Contestia.

I experimented with ROS and V4 before deciding to give more time to WSPR whilst getting set up for JT65 which has taken most of my HF work lately.

A few new DXCC counties added to the list and in November, I finally worked into South America on 10m JT65. WAC achieved.

The outlook for 2012..

I’ll work away on HF mostly from 20m to 10m and have a more than close look at the other data modes I’ve not used. I had thought of looking more at WAB (Worked All Britain)this year but got bogged down elsewhere, next year ?

SOTA wise…

Hopefully to get my 150 activator points then cut back on both that and chasing.

The end of my inane ramblings for another year….I said that last year didn’t I ?

Hope the year 2012 is a good one for you in all radio and other contexts.

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WSPR

Let us give it it’s proper name..

Weak Signal Propagation Reporter

I’ll let the Wikipedia article tell the history <HERE>.

My first look at using this mode was in mid ’09 but had initial set up problems, I had unknowingly fixed those (a blonde moment, perhaps ?) and had on the last occasion, operated in both TX / RX  modes unwittingly, this was on 6m (50Mhz). I hadn’t read the blurb properly.

Everything is down to time, you must calibrate your computer time clock, I use this <HERE>. Please remember to have an active antivirus running when downloading.

I recently logged back on to the WSPRnet site <HERE> in early September ’10  and decided to get my radio set up to operate with 5 watts, I got it all set up and proceeded to use the software. I tend to broadcast at 25 % of the time, the rest is spent receiving, once everything is tuned , it automatically works away in the background.

I intend at some point to set up the FT817 and set the power to 500 mW.

WSPR Activity 18th Sept '10

WSPR Activity 18th Sept '10

I normally work on 30m or 20m, if you take a look on the ‘Activity’ page it shows the call signs of which stations are ‘active’. These bands are well supported. I will leave it running for multiples of an hour if possible. I watch the program window for updated stations which I am receiving, for all information including who is hearing me, you have two choices, firstly , the ‘Map’ which you can configure to your own callsign, band etc , just click on ‘update’ occasionally to see how you are doing. Secondly, there is the ‘Database’ which as in the map you can set up with various personal options.

On the main page of the website , at the top left hand corner, there is a ‘Propagation Activities’ section which highlights activity days on certain bands.

Hopefully a method of logging your TX / RX contacts will come available.

It shows you what could be achieved on a near level playing field although power output is up to the individual user although 5 watts seems to be the norm.

Go on, have a look at the website and see if it is for you.

Click on each photo for larger image.

Just a reminder, all downloads or websites recommended here are that, a recommendation. It is your choice to follow. ( A bit harsh sounding but you know the blurb). If downloading a program, scan the file after downloading for both virii or malware( although most antivirus programs will do this in real time.

I use Avast Free Antivirus  <HERE> and Malawarebytes Free Anti-Malware <HERE> although there are many similar programs on the market.

(October) Radio Days

VHF

On occasion to work the odd local stations or pre-arranged skeds but quiet otherwise.

SOTA Activity…

One activation this month,

A return trip to Beinn Eich in the Luss Hills area.

A blog post/ report is <HERE>.

Activated the hill on 4m FM with local stations based in Alexandria, Dumbarton, Greenock, Larkhall. Clive, FZH was the fifth and was also the furthest station contacted, he is based in the Isle of Whithorn.  I have made contact with him before on my Ben Donich activation. All other stations were then contacted on 2m FM and  scattered throughout the Central Belt as far as Edinburgh to the east plus another two in new locations for me, Roddy 2M0IOB, fellow blogee, was mobile through the Cowal Glens although when first contacted had just left the Colintraive ferry. Paul DDQ came back to my call from Kilchattan Bay at the south end of the Isle of Bute. The furthest contact was to Phil, a M0 station who was activating a WOTA hill Great Calve in the English Lake District, an excellent contact with no problems both ways. Phil was using a 5 watt handheld with a 40cm helical antenna.The occasional station worked outside Scotland is a bonus but thanks also go to those regular chasers who we meet on each activation. Mention must be made of fellow bloggee, Graeme 2M0GIL who called in portable from the steepest part of Dumgoyne near Glasgow, I knew instantly it was the steepest part he was at hihi.

Loch Lomond south basin from Eich summit

‘Chasing’…

First contact of the month was Bob, AWV who was activating my previous one, Ben Bowie, I had been out for a walk locally when Roddy alerted me. The following day, our regular activator and blogger, Neil, 2M0NCM was traipsing about the Cowal hills in all sorts of murk and mist. Neil had travelled the long way round to the Loch Eck area to activate Creag Tharsuinn and weather wise it was not a kind day. I have seen his photos of the descent off the east side of this hill, I’m only glad it wasn’t me. Another 2 points in the bag. Neil’s Creag Tharsuinn blog post <HERE>

Finally I worked Andy FMF on the last day of the month, I had headed to Corlic knowing a 60m GM activation alert had been posted, I took my Rybakov type vertical, Andy was on the Sow of Atholl in the Drumochter Pass area.

Due to commitments, I missed a few activations over the month. DOH !!!

HF…

Spent most of my radio time listening and working through the HF bands, I paid attention mostly to 40M and when open, 12M. The 12M band at present is ‘in and out’, it is a case of being in the right place at the right time. I had switched on one evening when arriving home from work and within 10 minutes  I had two eastern seaboard US stations in the log but as soon as I had worked them, the band died. Worth persevering with I think. Using the PSK reporter website, it has interested me in how you notice how ‘centralised’ some of the 12m contacts are when the band is open.

The winter season is almost upon us so I think 40M will be my listening band. Top band (160M) and 80M have high local levels of noise for to do any serious listening.

I haven’t been as active with WSPR this month but still occasionally set up the radio and let it run for an hour, mostly on 30m.

ODDS…

Royal Mail delivered another incorrectly addressed QSL card.

I have in one of my PSK  ‘macros’, I mention that I only QSL via eQSL or LoTW but will do ‘direct’ if the station contacts me for my home address, the language difference shows.

I visited Paisley Amateur Radio Club on a couple of occasions this month and was warmly welcomed, the first night was a ‘Natter’ night and the last visit was a talk on ‘Antennas’ by club member Jim UWX. A most enjoyable talk with a lot of  interaction from those present.

(September) Radio days

VHF..

Not much to report for September, still pretty quiet but hopefully with the long winter nights fast approaching, we may see more activity.

SOTA Activity…..

One activation this month.

Helensburgh and the Clyde Estuary

I decided to revisit Ben Bowie which is my nearest ‘Marilyn’ albeit it 10km across the river estuary from me. The report is the previous post to this one on the main page so I won’t waffle on too much except to say it was an excellent day to sit and contact the regular ‘chasers’ of the area. Contacts were made on 4m and 2m. Mention must go to Steve UAU who ‘spotted’ me on my 60m attempt and 2m.

The regulars were out as normal, first points ‘chased’ this month was from Terry, a G0 station who was activating Gummers How in the Lake District, this contact was made on 60m. The following day our fellow blogger Graeme, 2M0GIL who activated from a cloud covered Cruach Ardrain. You can read Graeme’s blog post on his activation <HERE>.

On the 12th of the month, Neil, 2M0NCM travelled northwards to eliminate another Cowal ‘virgin’ summit in Cruach Neuran, high above Innellan.  There is another ‘virgin’ summit nearby, I wonder which of our ‘virgin’ hunters will ‘bag’ this first. Neil’s blog post on the activation is <HERE>. I see Neil is also a member of the ‘Fuuny Hat Club’

Mid month, Neil was out once more, heading northwards to tackle and activate Cruach Ardrain, thoughts of Nevis were toyed with but Nevis had already been posted on the SOTA Alert page but after it all, the lad who was to activate Nevis got to the top and conditions were not conducive to activate so he headed back down off the summit. Neil was like Graeme previously, a cracking signal from Cruach Ardrain.

The last chaser points of the month was a STS (Summit to Summit) with Neil, 2M0NCM who ‘activated’ Beinn Each, a four pointer in the Trossachs area.

HF…

Nothing much to report this month. I have only been using the 60ft N/S stealth dipole antenna in my loft space, having spent most of the month listening and occasionally working around the bands, 40m is the most consistent band, 30m and 20m come next, 15m then 17m. I may just set up another stealth dipole cut for 17m, my favourite band.

I did work some short inter G skip on 40m with two Scottish contacts, one in the Fife area and the other on Orkney.

Still experimenting with WSPR, mostly still on 30m, interesting reports received. I have been using this mode around 7am to 8am and 5pm – 7pm, working into mostly Europe with the occasional trip to the East Coast of North America. I must try other time bands.

ODDS..

Royal Mail did us proud, I received an envelope containing a SQ9 (Poland) station QSL card. It had been addressed with only my name and town , no street address but the ‘Pony Express’ got through with my card, well done !