Saturday, February 16, 2019

FT8 signals heard on 144 MHz - Fri 15th Feb 2019

This was a day of two halves with plenty of signals heard on 144 MHz in the morning and hardly anything in the evening.

It's a pretty amazing map considering I'm just using a Slim Jim antenna resting up against the rafters in the attic of my house. When I look at the map and remember that this is 144 MHz, there is a bit of a 'wow' moment.

There are the stations heard...

Friday, February 15, 2019

Opening on 144 MHz - Thurs 14th Feb 2019

After several days of dire conditions on 28 MHz, I noticed a post on Facebook about a lift on 2 metres. I decided it was time for a change so I monitored 144 MHz instead for the day.

The level of activity was certainly a marked change to 28 MHz! All of those signals were heard with a simple Slim Jim vertical half-wave in the attic of my house.

It should be noted that this was a Thursday, not the weekend. I was suprised that there were so many stations on the band.

I don't have any evidence but I suspect that a LOT of guys are now using FT8 on 144 MHz with vertical aerials. I don't believe that everyone shown above is using a beam or is horizontally polarised. I suspect a lot of people are just using simple verticals and a few watts to get the most out of the band.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

FT8 signals heard on 28 MHz - 9th, 10th & 13th Feb 2019

Conditions on 28 MHz have been dire for the last few days.

On the 13th of February, I heard one lone FT8 signal on the band after listening most of the day.

The 11th and 12th were just as bad and I didn't bother making maps.

On the Sunday, there were a few signals and it was probably due to the fact it was the weekend and people were on.

Friday, February 8, 2019

FT8 signals heard on 28 MHz - 6th, 7th & 8th Feb 2019

The last three days weren't completely dead with some snippets of DX on the 10 metre band. Going in reverse order...

Friday the 8th of February 2019..... I had the 10m antenna lying on the ground for this one as I had dropped it because of high winds due to a passing storm. Amazingly, I heard Paraguay and Brazil although the PY station didn't show up on PSK reporter.

183600 -12  0.1 1308 ~  CQ F4IAA JN05
185400  -5  0.0 1455 ~  CQ CS7ANU IN51
190800 -15  0.0 2289 ~  G4HZW ZP4KFX R-02
192500 -18 -0.2  541 ~  C5YK PY5KD -06
193830 -15  0.1 2290 ~  K6NX ZP4KFX RR73
194030 -18  0.1 2291 ~  CQ ZP4KFX GG14

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Poor conditions on 28 MHz - Tues 5th Feb 2019

Since the modest opening on 28 MHz on the 24th of January 2019, conditions on the band have been pretty dire. Tuesday the 5th of February was one of the better days and that was hardly noteworthy. The FT8 signals heard are shown above.

There seems to be two factors at work. One is that we're at the bottom of the solar cycle, the solar flux is down around 70, it's February which is a month not noted for Sporadic-E and so perhaps it's no suprise that conditions are poor.

The other factor seems to be just a lack of stations on 28 MHz.

Some of the other days are shown below...

Monday, January 28, 2019

PE5HV looking for interested parties on 40 MHz

The following comment was left on the blog by Harry, PE5HV who is interested in conducting some experiments on 40 MHz.

"Hello ham radio operators from Ireland and elsewhere, Some time ago I heard about the 8 m band allocated in some countries: - ZS - G (beacon GB3RAL0 - OZ (beacon OZ1IGY) - S5 - EI I have setup a websdr as an experiment (can switch easily between 70 MHz and 40 MHz) for 8 m. My antenna is a tunable HF dipole, now north-south. If there is some interest, I might install a 40 MHz dipole in the direction of interest. Please let me know if there is some interest. You can find my email address on Hope to hear some reactions, 73 Harry PE5HV PS: no allocation in PA yet !"

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Opening on 28 MHz... 24th Jan 2019

After two dismal days on the 22nd and 23rd of January, the 10 metre band finally opened up on Thurs 24th of January.

As can be seen from the plots above, I heard F2 signals from the south of Italy, Greece and Israel.

Further afield, I heard 3B8CW in Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. According to the PSK Reporter website, he was only heard by five stations in Europe... three in France, one in England and myself. I suspect perhaps that might be because of a lack of stations on the band even in Europe.

The solar flux was 72 so not great change.

A closer look at what I heard in Europe is shown below...

The reception reports for the two previous days are shown below...

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

70cms Repeater EI7HXR nr Clonmel off air

The 70cms repeater EI7HXR at Harney's Cross near Clonmel is currently off the air for maintenance. This is part of the Southern Ireland Repeater Network and provides coverage to south Tipperary and Kilkenny.

Callsign:   EI7HXR (Tipperary Amateur Radio Group)
Location:    Harney's Cross, Co. Waterford.
Locator:    IO62EH
Output:   430.850MHz

Southern Ireland Repeater Network

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Special call EI19RE active for 2019

The special call sign EI19RE will be active for the duration of 2019 to commemorate the establishment of the Dáil, the first Irish parliament. The first Dáil met in January of 1919 following a landslide victory for Irish nationalists in December 1918.

The call EI19RE is an amalgamation of the term Éire and 1919.

EI19RE will be activated by Mark Turner EI3KD during the year of 2019 on the HF and VHF bands.

Keep an eye on the DX cluster for spots!

Monday, January 21, 2019

FT8 signals heard on 28 MHz - Mon 21st Jan 2019

Conditions on 28 MHz have been very poor for the last week with just a few signals from Europe heard most days. The only exceptional day was Saturday the 19th of January when I heard a ZP station in Paraguay. The PSK Reporter website at the time however was not working so my report failed to upload.

On Monday the 21st of January, there was a reasonable opening. The one sole signal from South America was PU1JSV in Brazil.

As the map shows below, there was a nice collection of signals from across Europe. Probably Sporadic-E but the SV stations in Greece may have been F2.

Solar Flux was 70.

Monday, January 14, 2019

EI DMR Registrations at the end of Q4 2018

At the end of 2018, a grand total of 143 DMR numbers were allocated to EI stations. This is an increase of 44 for the year and up 7 in the last quarter.

In Northern Ireland, the grand total was 424, up 66 for the year.

It's probably likely that the growth in EI will remain at this level until there is a digital repeater in areas like Dublin.

Poor conditions on 28 MHz - Sat 12th & Sun 13th Jan 2019

Band conditions on 28 MHz on both Saturday the 12th and Sunday the 13th of January 2019 were pretty poor.

On the 12th of January shown above, just three signals were heard on FT8 on 28 MHz.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Opening to the USA on 28 MHz... Fri 11th Jan 2019

Well today was a bit of a suprise! It started off quiet enough with just a handful of FT8 signals from around Europe on 28 MHz. It just seemed like a typical poor day until around 17:40 UTC when two signals from the USA popped out of the noise.

174345 -14 -0.8  971 ~  CQ N4TL FM05
175300 -16 -0.6 1109 ~  CQ N3GWZ FM19

Looking at the PSK reporter website, it seems as if I was the only person in Europe to hear them.

Local sunset here in Cork was at 16:47 UTC so I presume it was sunset related.

At about 19:13 to 20:25, there were a bunch of signals from Brazil in South America. There were some Sporadic-E signals in there from Spain and Portugal as well so that would have helped the signals from Brazil reach up into northern Europe.

191345 -21 -0.3  542 ~  EB8AC PY2EZL GG67
191945 -16 -0.3  547 ~  EB8AC PU2MVE GG66
192545  -2 -0.1  637 ~  2E0XXO PU1JSV R-15
195015 -17  0.2  645 ~  CQ PY2JOS GG66
195315  -8 -0.5  709 ~  CQ G8KHF IO92
195500 -16 -0.9 1235 ~  G0OYQ EA3IEF JN12
200000 -22 -0.3 1196 ~  PY2CP PY2UG GG66
200215  -4 -0.3  821 ~  G4XYT PY2RJ RR73
201630 -11 -0.4 1890 ~  CQ CS7ANU IN51
202515 -14 -0.3 1493 ~  CQ DX PY2CP GG66

Solar Flux is at 68 so pretty much at rock bottom of the cycle.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

FT8 signals on 28 MHz... Wed 9th & Thurs 10th Jan 2019

Conditions were pretty poor on 28 MHz for the last two days with relatively few signals heard on FT8.

On Wednesday the 9th of January, there were a few signals from around Europe with the only suprise being a ZP5 station in Paraguay who was heard around 20:00UTC, about 3 hours after sunset.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Practical Wireless article on Network Radios from July 2018

An article from the July 2018 issue of Practical Wireless about Network Radios has now appeared on the G7DDN website. He is the author of the article and it is published on his site with permission from the publishers.

It gives an overview of what Network Radios are and how they might be used.

The article in PDF format is HERE

Previous article on Network Radios from April 2018

Monday, January 7, 2019

IRTS CW Tests for 2019

From the IRTS News...
CW Tests
CW testing will be carried out at the following rallies over the coming months starting with Coolmine on February 17th, Limerick on March 10th and at the IRTS AGM in Athlone on April 14th.

Booking for these tests is essential and intending candidates should contact Dave EI4BZ by email “davebeag /at/ gmail /dot/ com”.

Full details of the Morse test are available on the IRTS web site under licensing at

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Italy heard on 144 MHz... Sun 6th Jan 2019

Compared to the previous two days, there were a lot fewer FT8 signals heard on 144 MHz on Sun 6th Jan 2019.

Best DX heard was IK4ADE at 1679 kms! As for how??? Meteor scatter?

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Another day of FT8 signals on 144 MHz... Sat 5th Jan 2019

Another day listening to FT8 signals on 144 MHz and the map looks like I had been on 80m or 40m. All those shown above were heard with a vertical Slim Jim antenna in the attic of my house, pretty amazing.

There were 9 which were over 1000 kms with the nest DX being DF6PW at 1261 kms.

The conventional convention is that anyone using FM on 145 MHz uses a vertical antenna where as anyone using SSB on 144 MHz uses a horizontal beam.

I wonder how many guys are just using a simple vertical with FT8? A lot of people have deserted SSB because it was dead but FT8 seems to have given new life to the band. Are most stations just pressing their verticals into use with FT8 rather than putting up horizontal Yagis???

It just seems a bit strange that I can hear so many signals with a basic vertical antenna.

Following the publication of this post, Hardy DF6PW kindly sent on his station details...

FYI: I was operating from a hilltop QTH in JO40AQ 652 m asl. In your direction I was using the 6-over-6 homebrew stack on the right hand side of the pic attached (36m above ground) . Rig was a Icom-IC-706 boosted by a very gentle 4CX250 tube amplifier ... no pre-amp.

Hardy, DF6PW

Friday, January 4, 2019

Good opening on 144 MHz... Fri 4th Jan 2019

The map above shows the FT8 signals heard on 144 MHz on Friday the 4th of January.

It almost looks like it might have been on say 80m but this is in fact the 2-metre band. And all with an indoor Slim Jim vertical in the attic!

Five stations were over 1,000kms were heard so conditions were pretty good.

The common mantra is that the VHF bands are dead and nobody is on. The map shows the impact that FT8 mode is having on the VHF bands with plenty of people active.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

SD Contest Software now Free

As of the 1st of January 2019, Paul EI5DI has kindly made his SD contest software free.

While the appearance may look a bit old fashioned, the most important thing is how it functions. Back in 2017 when I was dabbling in the odd contest, I found the software great. The priority for me was for it to tell if the person I was hearing was a dupe, something that would calculate my score and for it to generate a format so that I could submit an entry.

As with anything, there is a learning curve but it's reasonably easy to use with practice.

As someone who wasn't hugely interested in contesting, I didn't want some bloatware with loads of features. I wanted something easy and functional and I found SD did what I wanted.

The contest software can be found on Paul's website at