Friday, August 31, 2018

Remote controls for garage doors on 40 MHz...

Another post about 40 MHz :o)

The ISM (Industrial, Scientific, Medical) band goes from 40.660 to 40.700 MHz and is intended for use by a range of very low power devices. I came across some information recently about a garage door remote control system which operates in the band.

40.66 MHz 40.7 MHz B 40.68 MHz Worldwide

40.685 MHz

Hormann Garador HSM4 Garage Door Remote Control Keyfob Transmitter - 40.685MHz - Grey Buttons

It just goes to show that the band is not completely empty and radio amateurs should probably avoid using the ISM band especially in built up areas.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Italian Paging System at 40 MHz...

There was a news item on the Southgate ARC website today about a new DAPNET POCSAG Pager Gateway being licensed in the UK.

After reading up a bit on it, I found a website which lists the frequency allocations for commerrcial paging devices and it turns out that there is one in Italy at 40 MHz.

As always, I try to keep a record of any 40 MHz information here on the blog for references purposes.

Copied text below......"In Italy the 26.225-26.935 MHz band (AM/FM, odd frequency steps) and 40.0125-40.0875 MHz (in 25 kHz steps) may be used for local pagers. These frequencies are often used for on-site hospital paging systems, including voice paging."

Going off the information above, the four Italian frequencies are...
40.0125 MHz
40.0375 MHz
40.0625 MHz
40.0875 MHz

As can be seen from the proposed 8 metre band plan from the IRTS, these pagers are in the beacon band.

Considering that pagers are only intended to receive local signals, it's unlikely that they are susceptible to interference from Sporadic-E type signals. However, those frequencies are probably best avoided for beacons in Ireland or elsewhere.

Low Band VHF Pagers... I have included a list of frequencies between 30 and 50 MHz which are used for paging systems below...

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

New Facebook page for the EI7GL blog...

Just to make it a bit easier for people to follow the posts on the blog and perhaps to attract a few more readers, I have set up a new page on Facebook...

One of the main targets of this blog is to promote more activity on the amateur bands so hopefully it might noticed by some of guys there on Facebook.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Applications for the Irish Radio Amateur Licence Examination now open

The Irish Radio Transmitters Society have announced that the next Amateur Station Licence Examination will be held on Thursday 15th November 2018 in the ComReg offices in Dublin and at other centres if warranted by the numbers. The closing date for applications to sit this examination is Thursday 1st November 2018.

Interested individuals can find more information on the IRTS website...

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Zello Network Radio connection to the Southern Ireland Repeater Network

There has been a lot of interest of late in 'Network Radio' and the most popular app for this is probably Zello. (See previous post)

In the last few days, the Southern Ireland Repeater Network has been connected to the Zello network. In effect, this allows people to access the repeater network over the internet.

From my understanding of it, anyone can listen to the SIRN on Zello but only licenced radio amateurs are allowed to gain access.

Here is some info from one of the repeater group moderators...

Hi all, I’m delighted to announce that the Southern Ireland Repeater Network now has a Zello gateway. This is a very comprehensive network which covers most of the country with VHF, UHF, 4m, and also has a DMR link.

Please visit our pages for all the info and we welcome all licensed amateurs and listeners.

The same moderator structure as used in network radio is in place just add as a friend and you will be trusted as a friend and have full access to most of EI on RF! As these are RF amateur repeaters it will be obviously for licensed holders only though non licensed operators can listen.

I believe this will be one of the first Repeater network gateways to be accessed through the Zello network and we’re very excited to be able to provide this facility which will enhance more activity.
Thank you very much de John EI2HW.

SIRN Activity... The Southern Ireland Repeater Network covers roughly half the island of Ireland and consists of two repeaters on 2m and five on 70cms. It is also connected to the DMR network on TG27240.

The repeater network can be pretty quiet considering the number of repeaters on the network. The busiest period is usually on Tuesday evenings when the IRTS news is read out at 9:30pm local time.

The EI activity evenings on 2m and 70cms are on the first two Tuesdays of every month and it's worth having a listen then as well.

If you are calling in via Zello then be sure to give your callsign and call more than once if you get no answer at first. A number of people may well be monitoring or scanning and may not hear you first time around.

Zello to Zello.... Just remember that if you do access the network via Zello then you are tying up a whole RF repeater network. If the person you are talking to is also on Zello then that conversation can be held on Zello instead.

Remember that it is not just another Zello channel, it's a means of accessing a repeater network in Ireland from the Zello network.

Getting on Zello.... It's very easy to get started on Zello. If you have a smartphone or tablet then just download the app for free and then set up a Zello account. To get on the Southern Ireland Repeater Network, just go to the this page.. or scan the QR code that is shown there.

SIRN Coverage... A map showing the RF coverage of the Southern Ireland Repeater Network can be seen below...

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Italian CB allocation at 43 MHz...

I came across a piece on the web today about an Italian CB allocation at 43 MHz. This is especially relevant considering that the proposed 8 metre radio amateur band in Ireland will go from 40.0 to 44.0 MHz.

The graphic above is from a 2012 brochure from Intek. A close up of the mobile is shown below...

International Versions... Note there seems to be an 'International Version' with 224 channels! With 12.5 kHz spacing, that's about 2.8 MHz of spectrum and it seems to cover 42.300-45.0875 MHz. The power o/p has been increased from 4w to 20w.

List of 43 MHz CB radios... Alan HM-43 4 W, Dragon MX-430 4 W, Intek K-43 4 W, Intek SY-343 4 W, Intek SY-5430M 4 W, Layayette ULTILITY

Wikipedia... Here is some info from Wikipedia...

Italy has a "VHF CB" allocation at 43 MHz, usually called "Apparati a 43 MHz" or "CB 43 MHz". 

Italy, like many other countries, suffers from extremely lax enforcement of radio communications laws, and "freeband" modified equipment covering wider frequency ranges as well as amplifiers are widely available and openly advertised by communications equipment vendors. "Freebanding" occurs with both the 27 MHz area (often as low as 25 MHz and as high as 30 MHz) and the 43 MHz area (as 43 MHz CB equipment is often modified to cover down to 34 MHz and up to 47 MHz, using 12.5 kHz steps). There is evidence of these frequencies being used outside of Italy for illegal "CB-like" operations.

Italian 43 MHz "VHF CB" or "43 MHz CB" allocation. 24 channels, FM mode, 12.5 kHz channel spacing. Each channel has a "recommended use" associated with it. Portable handheld (walkie-talkie), in-vehicle mobile and base station transceivers are available for this band. Channels are numbered in straight sequence, however many transceivers marketed for this band also include a frequency display. Due to the low-VHF band frequency characteristics of this band, it is often used as an adjunct to, or replacement for, the traditional 26–27 MHz CB allocations.

1 - 43.3000 MHz – Rescue, Road/Traffic Control, Forestry, Hunting, Fishing, Security
2 - 43.3125 MHz – Rescue, Road/Traffic Control, Forestry, Hunting, Fishing, Security
3 - 43.3250 MHz – Rescue, Road/Traffic Control, Forestry, Hunting, Fishing, Security
4 - 43.3375 MHz – Rescue, Road/Traffic Control, Forestry, Hunting, Fishing, Security
5 - 43.3500 MHz – Rescue, Road/Traffic Control, Forestry, Hunting, Fishing, Security
6 - 43.3625 MHz – Rescue, Road/Traffic Control, Forestry, Hunting, Fishing, Security
7 - 43.3750 MHz – Industrial, Commercial, Agricultural, Crafts
8 - 43.3875 MHz – Industrial, Commercial, Agricultural, Crafts
9 - 43.4000 MHz – Industrial, Commercial, Agricultural, Crafts
10 - 43.4125 MHz – Industrial, Commercial, Agricultural, Crafts
11 - 43.4250 MHz – Industrial, Commercial, Agricultural, Crafts
12 - 43.4375 MHz – Industrial, Commercial, Agricultural, Crafts
13 - 43.4500 MHz – For safety of life at sea, Marine Use (Ship-to-Ship/Ship-to-Shore), Marinas and Harbors
14 - 43.4625 MHz – For safety of life at sea, Marine Use (Ship-to-Ship/Ship-to-Shore), Marinas and Harbors
15 - 43.4750 MHz – For safety of life at sea, Marine Use (Ship-to-Ship/Ship-to-Shore), Marinas and Harbors
16 - 43.4875 MHz – For safety of life at sea, Marine Use (Ship-to-Ship/Ship-to-Shore), Marinas and Harbors
17 - 43.5000 MHz – To aid in the administration of sports and other competitive activities
18 - 43.5125 MHz – To aid in the administration of sports and other competitive activities
19 - 43.5250 MHz – To aid in the administration of sports and other competitive activities
20 - 43.5375 MHz – to aid in the administration of sports and other competitive activities
21 - 43.5500 MHz – For use by health professionals, doctors, hospitals, and activities related to them.
22 - 43.5625 MHz – For use by health professionals, doctors, hospitals, and activities related to them.
23 - 43.5750 MHz – For use by health professionals, doctors, hospitals, and activities related to them.
24 - 43.5875 MHz – For use by health professionals, doctors, hospitals, and activities related to them.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

RTE podcast about amateur radio at Loop Head Lighthouse

On Saturday 18th & Sunday 19th August 2018, members of Limerick Radio Club activated Loop Head lighthouse in Co.Clare as part of the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend.

The Countrywide programme on RTE 1 radio had an interview with the club... see below...

Amateur radio enthusiasts are gathered at Loop Head in Co. Clare this morning to connect with fellow operators across the world as part of the 21st International Lighthouse & Lightship Weekend. John met members of the Limerick Radio club to find out more.

Listen here...

There was also a piece in a local newspaper...

Monday, August 13, 2018

EI9E/P on 23cms - July 2018

A short video from Terry G0VRL showing a contact with EI9E/P during the VHF contest in July 2018. The distance was approx 257kms over mostly water.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

New World Meteor Scatter Record on 144 MHz... 7th Aug 2018

It seems to be a week of new records on 144 MHz. Following on from the new Region 1 tropo record on the 5th of August 2018, a new world record for meteor scatter on 144 MHz was set on the 7th of August.

In the early hours of the 7th of August, Dieter DJ6AG (JO51eq) in Germany worked Fernando EA8TX (IL18qi) in the Canary Islands to set a new world distance record of 3428 kms. The FSK contact took several hours to complete with the final decode being received in Germany at 00:14 UTC.

001430 16.0 220 1 26 9 R!RRRR EA TX RRRR RRRR EA8TX RRRR

The new record of 3428 kms breaks the old record between EA8TJ and S50C by 51 kms.

Previous best distances by meteor scatter on 144 MHz in Region 1...

Distance record on 144 MHz Propagation : MS
Band Propagation Call a Loc Call b Loc Mode Date Distance
144 MHz MS S50C JN76JG EA8TJ IL18RJ FSK441 2013-08-12 3377
144 MHz MS EA8TJ IL18RJ PA4EME JO20WX FSK441 2013-08-12 3132
144 MHz MS GW4CQT IO81LP UW6MA KN97VE CW 1977-08-12 3101
144 MHz MS HB9FAP JN47PH EA8TX IL18QI FSK441 2014-08-14 3077
144 MHz MS HB9FAP JN47PH EA8TJ IL18RJ FSK441 2013-08-13 3069

It's very probable that there was a combination of meteor scatter and tropo involved in this record. It was probably a long meteor scatter hop of about 2,200-2,300 kms from Germany to the south coast of Portugal and marine ducting tropo from there to the Canary Islands.

Is this the maximum?

Monday, August 6, 2018

EI3KD works Cape Verde on 144 MHz to set new Region 1 DX record

On Sunday the 5th of August 2018, Mark Turner EI3KD managed to work D4Z on the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of of Africa on 144 MHz, a distance of some 4163 kms. This remarkable contact made on CW was a new record for tropo in IARU Region 1. The previous record of 4130 kms was set back in July of 2015.

The contact was made on 144.300 MHz at about 18:26 UTC at a time when the band was also open to the Canary Islands from the south of Ireland and the UK.

EI3KD RIG: 11el F9FT, only at 7m agl or so, RX mast preamp, TX 400W.

Station setup
EI3KD:  11el F9FT, only at 7m agl, RX mast preamp, TX 400W.
D4Z: IC 275, max 100W, 2 stacked dipoles on 3 directions (omnidirectional antenna), no preamp.

Just to an idea of just how far the new record is, if the same distance of 4163 kms was measured west of EI3KD's location then it would reach as far as Nova Scotia in Canada!

Earlier in the day, the D4C beacon on 144.436 MHz had been spotted at 08:37 UTC by GI6ATZ locator IO74AJ distance 4476km and by GM4ZJI at 16:40 locator IO86KE distance 4739km. The beacon was running just 14W into a stacked dipole array.

D4Z also worked G7RAU and G4LOH in the South-West of England on 2m SSB.

Video of D4Z working EI3KD on 144 MHz...

The mode of propagation was probably marine ducting which is a process whereby VHF and UHF signals can get trapped between the water surface and a layer in the lower atmosphere. The result is that signals can travel over quite far distances and the path from the UK and Ireland down to the Canary Islands can produce some of the longest distances in Europe. On rare occasions, the path can extend as far as the Cape Verde Islands.

Spot on the DX Summit cluster...
EI3KD 144300.0 D4Z 18:26 05 Aug IO51VW HK76MU tnx!!! 4163km Cape Verde

Previous best distances for tropo on 144 MHz for Region 1...
Band Propagation Call a Loc Call b Loc Mode Date Distance
144 MHz TR D44TS HK77KE M0VRL IO70PO SSB 2015-07-09 4130
144 MHz TR M0VRL IO70PO D44TD HK86NO SSB 2011-08-10 4106
144 MHz TR G4LOH IO70JC D44TD HK86NO CW 2007-08-04 4041
144 MHz TR EB8BRZ IL27HK YT3I KN05HP SSB 2009-06-08 3757
144 MHz TR EI5FK IO51RT RW1ZC/MM IK18PQ SSB 2005-08-15 3745

The tropo forecast below from F5LEN shows the path conditions around the time of the contact.

Video of GI6ATZ hearing the D4C beacon...

Links... (Updated 5th Sept 2018)
1) DX spots for D4Z on 144 MHZ
2) F5LEN Tropo Forecast for EI to D4
3) IARU Region 1 VHF DX records
4) EI3KD's website
5) D4C / D4Z website
6) Newsletter from D4C Contest team

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Japan heard on 28 MHz... Sun 5th Aug 2018

For the first time this summer, I have heard a Japanese station on FT8 on 28 MHz. As the map above shows, I heard JA4FKX at 08:39 UTC or 9:39am local time.

I have been monitoring the FT8 frequency on 10 metres more or less full time since early May 2018 and this is the most easterly station I have heard to date. Over the last few weeks, I have heard Thailand and Indonesia but they are more southerly paths.

The European stations that heard JA4FKX on 28 MHz today are shown below. These include MI0JST in the north of Ireland and GM4WJA in Scotland.

Other stations in Japan were also spotting JA4FKX so I presume it was genuine? I was just using the usual vertical half-wave about 5m above the ground.

I also checked the FT8 reception reports for other EI stations on 50 MHz and there doesn't seem to have been any similar opening on 6 metres.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Breakdown of amateur radio calls in the UK - July 2018

Southgate Amateur Radio News had an item today about the number of licences in the UK and how they are broken down. I had a look at the raw numbers for the nearly 88,000 licences and plotted it out as a chart.

Raw data is all very well but sometimes you need a chart to make things clearer. As can be seen, the Foundation licence accounts for the two most popular class of licence.

Foundation and Intermediate licences now account for 38.6% of all amateur radio licences in the UK.

From the Southgate ARC website...