WSPR activity in January

I got the WSJT-X program running on my notebook. The program includes the WSPR mode, ant that is what I have been running mostly, because it can run unattended.
Bands from 630m to 10m have been tested, mostly on receive only, and the results are encouraging.

- 630m have shown spots from Europe, up to about 2000km.
- one night 40m showed and FY5 many times, and just a few days ago VK6XT came through with more than 10 spots in an evening, one evening my 5W signal was spotted by VK6XT once or twice.
- 80m mostly shows European stations
- then there is 10m. This band has shown low activity in December and January, with some local spots and scattered spots from EA8 and a few sporadic E openings into Europe. Today I have had three surprise spots from VK2KRR until now. It looks like 10m is waking up a bit from the winter doldrums.

Having said that, I have also been listening to beacons on 10m, and the 4X6TU and ZS6DN beacons, as well as 5B5CY are frequent visitors in my receiver. Also some Mediterranean fishing buoys have been heard on a multitude of frequencies on 10.
10m is not dead, as such, it just lacks some dedicated operators.

Almost all this WSPR receiving activity has happened with my old Dressler active antenna, not dedicated resonant antennas. Just shows that the antenna requirements for propagation monitoring are not that big. The active antenna, though not as efficient as a dedicated antenna, works surprisingly well.

WSPR receiving is done here more or less continuously. Transmit activity will require a dedicated transceiver and antenna, so will only be active when I am in and around the house. I am thinking of testing some of the cheap Raspberry Pis to do more WSPRing.

Update 1100Z : I just spotted VK6DZ on 10m.


More weak signal activities.

Signals from the outdoor active antenna have been routed to the desk in the living room. Of course with much better results than with the indoor wire.
For now signals are split to a SW RX and to a VHF RX for 4 and 6m.

The SW receiver is set up for WSPR signals, and some tests have been done.

On 472kHz the system works nicely with spots every night, once as far as SV8 (about 1400km) No complaints about that.
On 30m and 20 spots all day on most days, so not too much activity there.
My daylight time efforts have been focused on 28MHz. However, in the dark of the winter season there is not too much activity on the band at this time of the solar cycle. Mostly I have seen a local station about 50km away, and some scattered spots from EA8.

More activity will be there as the days get longer. Among others, an old HF transceiver (IC-706) will be placed downstairs for some casual CW activity.


2016 ... Beginning Weak Signal Experiments

This is the first post of 2016, so first of all let me wish you a Happy New Year.

This year started for me with installing the WSJT-X program and start monitoring (again) WSPR signals, and the first tests on receiving JT65 on the HF bands.
Right now the receiving is done by a FT-817, and just a piece of wire strung along the living room max 2m AGL.
In spite of this, the first night on 40m provided reception of FY5KE. The first night of the year was rather poor due to the arrival of a CME, so the magnetic field was quite disturbed.
This is done from a secondary "shack" in my living room. No cables have been extended to this, but soon ... A few practical things must be done in the house, so it may take a little while.
Next year should see some 6m activity, mainly in the sporadic E season, or if some strong aurora propagation appears, and hopefully some 2m SSB/CW activity, possible with an omnidirectional antenna with a modest gain - most likely two (maybe four) stacked Big Wheel antennas.
Several more experiments are planned for 2016, and I will report as I get to do them. One of those will most likely involve a multiband QRSS grabber receiver.

A look back on 2015 :

I moved back to my native Denmark, and got some antennas up in September and October :
- an active receiving antenna covering all bands from 136kHz to 70MHz, not in any way an ideal antenna, but it has provided some interesting reception, and the signal is good enough to split up and provide output to several receivers for monitoring purposes. Further, it should not be too much work to add some amplification for the extension down into the living room, at least on the higher bands.
- a multi dipole for HF, covering, with good SWR in the lower parts of the bands 80/40/20/15m, and a few more bands with a useable SWR
- a 10m half wave antenna with the feed point up 7m.
- there was already an old triband Comet antenna for 50/144/432MHz. This may need some maintenance in the spring summer, or may have to be replaced (I have a replacement antenna, if necessary.

Since I got back I have been pretty active on 10m, and the count at the end of the year was 71 countries and 6 continents worked, mostly with the vertical. On other bands was a QSO with the US on 80m with the multiband dipole - the feed point is only up 7m, so it was a bit of a surprise.

I am looking forward to getting the house in better order, so it will be feasible to receive visitors. The Kitchen/Bathroom is from 1970, so a renewal is in order ...

So I look forward to making my own experiments, and see what others will be doing in the coming year.