Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Opening on 28 MHz to South Africa & the Indian Ocean - Wed 31st March 2021


There was a modest opening via F2 propagation on 28 MHz on Wednesday the 31st of March 2021 with Israel, South Africa, Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, Brazil & Uruguay. 

Sometimes with FT8, my PC is decoding signals that I can't hear but some of these were very audible. I checked the beacon band and I heard the ZS6WAB beacon on 28.2048 MHz at about 419.

The solar flux was up to 80 today, a jump of 4 on yesterday.

There also seemed to be a weak opening to Europe with some UK stations making it through on what seemed like weak short skip.

One signal of interest was that of EI2CN who was -6dB even though he is 250kms distant. I noticed that BBC4 radio was coming in from Wales on 104.9 MHz earlier this morning so there was some tropo about. Was there tropo on 28 MHz as well? It seems like it.

List of stations heard over 3000kms...

ALDI selling DAB radios despite the Irish network shutting down

At the start of March 2021, the Irish state broadcaster RTE announced that it was shutting down its DAB digital radio network.

The shutdown is scheduled for today the 31st of March.

During a visit to a local ALDI store on Monday, I noticed that they are now selling DAB radios are part of their 'Special Buys'.

These went on sale in Ireland on the 28th of March with the DAB network shutting down three days later.

Now in fairness to ALDI, these radios also have FM so they're not completely useless but it does have DAB radio in large letters across the front of the box.

These radios are probably produced mainly for the UK market and they just happen to be part of the offering in Ireland as well. This 'Special Buy' offering was also probably planned months in advance and the decision to manufacture, import and sell the radios was made months in advance of the decision by RTE to close the DAB network.

I just thought it was ironic that they started selling a digital radio on a Sunday and the digital radio network was closing down the following Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Weak Sporadic-E opening on 28 MHz - Tues 30th March 2021


There was a weak Sporadic-E opening on 28 MHz to the south of Spain for about two hours on the evening of the 30th of March 2021. While many of the signals were audible, they were quite weak.

I did have a listen around the beacon part of the band at one stage but I couldn't hear anything.

The Falklands and St Helena was also heard...

Txmtr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
VP8NO 10m FT8 12351 km 17:45:45
ZD7JC 10m FT8 7542 km 17:16:46

As we move towards mid-April, we should start seeing more Sporadic-E openings on 28 MHz with stronger signals.

Monday, March 29, 2021

ICOM IC-705 Reviewed in RadCom by Peter Hart

In 2020, ICOM introduced the IC-705 radio, a 10-watt QRP multiband multimode portable capable of operating from all bands from 160m (1.8 MHz) to 70cms (432 MHz) with the exception of the 4m (70 MHz) band.

For a low power radio, the amount of hype and buzz surrounding it has been amazing. There has been a host of online reviews, blog posts and videos about it but they tended really only to concentrate on the radios features rather than its performance.

In addition, I think it's fair to say that a lot of the reviews were done by HF operators. I saw one person doing a frequency stability test on WSPR on 20m (14 MHz) which was frankly useless as it meant nothing. Frequency tests need to be done at the highest operating frequency on the radio i.e. 432 MHz where the changes would be the biggest.

RadCom Review... In the April edition of RadCom magazine, a full review was carried out by Peter Hart, G3SJX. Peter carries out extensive performance tests of radios on his bench on a regular basis and his reviews are highly regarded as they're seen to be truthful and honest. If there is a problem or issue with a radio then he calls it out for people to see.

The review is quite extensive running to five pages but I noted that he mentioned some 'low level intermodulation products' appearing with some 'quite small input signals' on the VHF bands. Whether you'd notice these or not I guess might depend on how RF quiet your location is.

One of the big questions that VHF operators had about this radio was about its frequency stability. The previous IC-9700 was known to drift and many VHF guys had to add third-party GPS locked frequency standards to overcome this. Would the IC-705 have the same issue?

When the IC-705 was introduced, it was mentioned that it had a built in antenna for GPS and some people speculated that the frequency stability might be GPS locked as a result.

Peter confirms in his review that the IC-705 uses a high stability temperature controlled crystal oscillator to achieve a performance of 0.5 parts per million (PPM). The built in GPS is as far as I know  just there primarily for D-Star operation in terms of timing and location.

I did however come across a YouTube video today from Hayden, VK7HH who did a frequency test on 432 MHz with WSPR.

While the IC-705 did drift 2Hz over the two minute transmission, it did stay within the required 4Hz window for the mode.

In Conclusion... In his final summary, Peter G3SJX concludes..."The IC-705 is a great take-anywhere QRP radio, ideal for all outdoor activities and SOTA expeditions. Covering HF through to the UHF bands with all-mode operation, a top-level performance and extensive remote connection capabilities, it is quite a remarkable piece of kit. Currently priced at £1300, it is excellent value for money."

It might be outside the price range for some but it looks that it's a great radio for those who can afford it.

RadCom... RadCom is the journal of the Radio Society of Great Britain and is posted out on a monthly basis to all members. A digital version is also available on their website for members to view and each issue stays there for 12-months.

The RSGB website can be found at

Addendum: Snippet from the review done in QST magazine...

Sunday, March 28, 2021

New report shows 84% of contacts on the 50 MHz band are via the digital FT8 mode

A new report by Michael, G7VJR of the popular  ClubLog website shows that an amazing 84% of contacts on the 50 MHz band over the last 13-months have been via the FT8 digital mode.

The data is taken from the almost 1.8 million QSO's logged on the site in the last 13-months.

This is bound to stir some controversy with a lot of people having misgivings about how this digital mode seems to be replacing the traditional SSB and CW means of communication.

As can be seen from this previous post, FT8 has enjoyed an explosion in popularity since it was released in 2017.

It does look though as if the pendulum have swung a bit too far in the digital direction. During the Summer Sporadic-E season, there are many times where signals are reasonably strong and a SSB contact could be completed in a much shorter time frame than say a FT8 contact with its 15-second transmission cycles going back and forth.

There is also the advantage of SSB and CW users being spread out over 100 or so kHz where as the FT8 users are all gathered at the 50.313 MHz watering hole.

How to get more of a balance though might be easier said than done.


1) G7VJR Blog

Latest stats from ClubLog website show over 50% of contacts in 2020 were via FT8


The latest stats from the Clublog website suggests that the FT8 digital mode now accounts for over half of all contacts made on the amateur radio bands in the year 2020.

The chart below from July 2017 to March 2021 shows how FT8 has grown to dominate the bands since its release in the second half of 2017.

Surprisingly, the newer and faster FT4 mode doesn't seem to have made any inroads on the popularity of FT8 since its introduction in late 2019.

Tens of thousands of logs are uploaded to the Clublog website every year and the data trends for 2020 are based on over 66.4 million contacts.


1) G7VJR blog post

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Is there a bogus ZD7GWM beacon operating on 144 MHz in the south of France???

Back in the middle of March 2021, I reported in a previous blog post how F0FYF in the east of France had heard a beacon on 144 MHz that was using the same callsign as the ZD7GWM beacon on St Helena in the South Atlantic.

After listening to various recordings, I was able to confirm that the signal heard by F0FYF was different from the real one. 

Now, there is a report that the beacon has been heard by someone else in France but on a completely different beam heading.

Someone left a comment on the blog of Jeff, F0FYF to say that they had heard the bogus ZD7 beacon on 144.475 MHz as well! This person said that he was in the south of Perpignan and that the 'beacon' was on a beam heading of 70 degrees from his location. He was using a 7-element Yagi on a 9-metre mast.

F0FYF originally said that he had heard the beacon on a beam heading of 200 degrees. I plotted out these two beam headings and they intersect near Marseilles.

They also said that the beacon is often on air for 90 minutes to 2 hours at a time on a regular basis. 

Is it located somewhere inside the circle above?? It would be interesting for some local French radio amateurs to have a listen. Is there an online SDR with 2m in the area?


1) My original post

2) Blog post on F0FYF blog with comments (in French)

Weak Sporadic-E on 28 MHz - Fri 26th March 2021


There was a hint of the upcoming Sporadic-E season when there was a weak opening on 28 MHz on Friday 26th March 2021. It didn't amount to much though and it seemed mainly confined to Spain.

The previous day, the 25th of March was a bit unusual in that I didn't hear a single FT8 signal on 10m all day. I nearly always hear something.

As we move into early April, the Sporadic-E openings on 28 MHz should start up with maybe more regular openings later in the month.

Friday, March 26, 2021

How to check your horizon for HF & VHF propagation

If you're interested in the upper HF bands or any of the VHF and UHF bands then your horizon is all important. On bands like 144 MHz and above, the vast majority of signals are coming in from the horizon and just above it.

On bands like 28 MHz, 50 MHz & 70 MHz, the signals may be coming in at a slightly higher angle with Sporadic-E but they are still very close to the horizon. Whether you're operating from home or thinking or going portable then knowing your horizon can help explain what's going on.

First off, the website for checking your horizon is

In this post, we'll look at how to use it and some tips on getting them most out of it. To help explain it, I am going to do a profile of Paul Logan's location in Lisnaskea in Co.Fermanagh, Ireland. Paul is an avid listener to the Band 2 FM band from 88 to 108 MHz and logs hundreds of radio stations from all over Europe every year.

Getting started...

After going to the HeyWhatsThat site, click on the 'New panorama', zoom in to find your own location on the map and then click on it. 

I have done this in the example above for Paul's location and them zoomed back out. On the left side of the screen, your latitude and longitude will be automatically filled in after you click on the map. You can also select the height above ground so I selected 8-metres which is the height of Paul's antenna.

Note that the site uses the general topography to calculate your horizon, it doesn't take buildings or trees into account.

Also make sure to select 'Metric' at the bottom of the screen to use proper measurements.

Then click 'Submit request'.

Using the results...

After a short while, a map is generated. I clicked on the 'Visibility cloak' to show the areas that are visible from Paul's location. The Red triangles are distant peaks and I clicked on 'Contours' to highlight the topography.

This is that the horizon looks like for Paul...

I have exaggerated the vertical scale and added some numbers to make it clearer.

There is a large hill with an elevation of about 5 degrees to the north-east of Paul's location (45 deg bearing) and this is clearly shown on the image above. This would have a major impact on all signals at 144 MHz and above. As Paul notes himself, he finds it very difficult to get distant stations on Band 2 in that direction. 

That hill would also impact on all long distance single hop Sporadic-E coming from that direction on all bands from 28 MHz to 144 MHz. Short skip arriving at a higher angles on say 28 MHz or 50 MHz would probably clear the hill.

Due east at 90 degrees, there is an interesting gap which might might allow some distant Band 2 tropo or Sporadic-E through.

From 100 to 140 is another impediment to low angle signals but it gets much better after 150 degrees or so. Paul has a very good take off at about 190 degrees towards the Canary Islands and even those distant line of sight peaks around 270 degrees are so low that there are unlikely to be much of a problem. As a result, his location will be wide open to say the USA on 28 MHz once the sunspot numbers increase.

Example 1: Poor tropo path to Scotland.

In this example, I have shown what the path is like to Scotland and how the hill is in the way. If you are trying this from your location, then just click on any location of interest and the site will show you the path and where it is on your horizon.

Example 2: Good tropo  path to Spain

As can be seen from the horizon profile, Paul has a good path to the south and this can allow him to gain access to the marine duct that sometimes occurs between Ireland and Spain. The distance shown is about 1200kms which is really good for Band 2 tropo.

Example 3: Sporadic-E footprints...

Using the 'Up in the air' button, I was able to simulate what the limit for one hop Sporadic-E from Paul's location might be. One the left above is the approximate range if Paul had a completely flat horizon. The one on the right is the reality.

For Italy, the local hill restricts signals further south than Rome.

For Poland, signals from the east of the country should be easy to hear except the local hill makes things more difficult. Belarus and the west of Ukraine are also more difficult. Notice that that little gap at 90 degrees is reflected in the Sporadic-E footprint.

For the Baltic states and Finland, they should be well within Sporadic-E range but again, the local hill makes things difficult.

It's possible in many cases that some local tropo conditions will extend the footprint further east but overall, the local hills make hearing these areas more challenging.

Example 4: F2 propagation...

As the sunspots increase, there will be weak F2 openings on 28 MHz. Towards the west, Paul should have no problems reaching Newfoundland and Nova Scotia in Canada. With the help of a more southerly second hop, he is well placed to hear signals from well into the USA.

Towards the eastern Mediterranean, the local hill will block some of those signals when the band is just open. Ironically, it may actually be easier to hear signals further away in places like the Arabian peninsula once there is a second hop.

'Up in the air' Values... 

For your own propagation footprint maps, try 360000 for Sporadic-E and 1300000 for F2.

Example 5: Line of sight paths...

The HeyWhatsThat site can also be used to examine line of site paths. The map above shows the path from Paul's location to Clermont Carn in Co.Louth, about 75kms away. This is a major transmitter site for Irish radio stations.

Let's say for example, Paul wanted to get a line of sight path for a contact on the microwave bands. The profile below shows the local hill in the way but there is a location 7kms away that is line of sight to Clermont Carn.

It's not hard to imagine how it might be used for finding suitable paths on the microwave bands or even if someone was just curious if a distant mountain was visible or not.

Other uses... Here's a few...

Portable operation, DX-peditions, Summits on the Air (SOTA) activations, contesting ... are there obstructions in the way? Is your 'perfect' contest location blocked at a low angle on the upper HF bands say to the USA?

In summary... This is a very useful utility to have and the more you use it, you tend to think of other uses.

For the bands like 28 MHz and 50 MHz, short skip can hide the shortcomings you may have in a certain directions. Your horizon profile should make you aware of these and you're looking for no more than 2 degrees.

For the higher bands like 70 MHz, 88 to 108 MHz, 144 MHz and above, tropo becomes a more important propagation mode. This time, you're looking for a very low horizon and the lower the better.

There's a very good reason why people put antennas up as high as possible on the VHF and UHF bands.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

11460km contact on 50 MHz between the USA & Saudi Arabia - 2nd July 2020

 This is one of the VHF contacts that caught my attention during the summer last year.

On the 2nd of July 2020, HZ1SK in Saudi Arabia and K4MOG in the USA completed a successful FT8 contact on 50 MHz

What was unusual about this contact was the fact that it was in the region of 11,460 kms. To put that into context, that is the equivalent of London to Hawaii or London to the NW of Australia.

The propagation mode was probably multi-hop Sporadic-E with at least six hops being required. While single hop or double hop Sporadic-E is reasonably common, the chances of getting six Sp-E clouds in the right spot and the correct distance apart is much lower.

The very first 6m contact between the USA and Saudi Arabia took place just a few weeks earlier when K1TOL in the state of Maine in the NE of the USA worked 7Z1SJ. The distance on that occasion was around 9933 kms which may have been five hop Sporadic-E.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

5000km TEP opening on 144 MHz from Puerto Rico to Brazil - 23rd March 2021

Around the time of the equinox every year, there are long distance VHF contacts made across the equator by means of Trans-Equatorial Propagation (TEP).

This year is no exception and on the evening of the 22nd of March 2021 (early morning on the 23rd in terms of UTC time), the 144 MHz band was open between Brazil and the Caribbean.

The map above shows the FT8 signals heard by WP4KJJ in Puerto Rico.

Txmtr Rcvr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
WP4KJJ PY5EK 2m FT8 5198 km 01:20:59
PY5EK WP4KJJ 2m FT8 5198 km 00:24:44
WP4KJJ PU2MBY 2m FT8 4760 km 01:24:29
WP4KJJ PU9DCB 2m FT8 4702 km 00:25:29
WP4KJJ PU9GTA 2m FT8 4672 km 01:21:29
WP4KJJ PT9FD 2m FT8 4666 km 01:51:29
PT9FD WP4KJJ 2m FT8 4666 km 01:28:44
PT9AL WP4KJJ 2m FT8 4660 km 00:23:44
WP4KJJ PT9AL 2m FT8 4660 km 00:23:30

As can be seen from the chart, most of the distances are in the region of 4700 to 5200 kms.

It's worth pointing out that while the times for these TEP openings are around 00:00 UTC, that is about 8pm local time in Puerto Rico.

The TEP opening was also evident on the lower bands like 50 MHz with spots on the DX-Cluster showing paths from Brazil, Argentina and Chile across the equator to the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America.

The Band 2 FM band was also open as reported by the FM DX Brasil account on Twitter.

The map shows the TEP opening at 00:00 UTC with a FM radio station on 103.7 MHz FM on Puerto Rico being heard 5289 kms away in the south of Brazil.

I haven't seen any reports of 144 MHz openings across the equator in Africa and the Pacific. Is it just a lack of stations in the suitable locations? Are stations in the south of Spain and Portugal listening for the 144 MHz beacon on St. Helena???

Monday, March 22, 2021

Very quiet on 28 MHz - Mon 22nd March 2021


Unlike the previous day, the 28 MHz band on Monday the 22nd of March 2021 was very subdued with only a handful of FT8 signals heard on the band all day.

There were reports of an aurora to the north of Europe last night so perhaps that is the difference? i.e. yesterday was pre-aurora and today is post aurora?

The solar flux was just 77 which isn't far from the usual minimum value.

In a few weeks time, the Summer Sporadic-E season will be starting  which will bring good propagation on 10-metres regardless of what the sunspot cycle is like.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Conditions on 28 MHz - Sunday 21st March 2021

There was a slight jump in the solar flux to 80 today and there was a modest opening on 10m from here to parts of Africa, South America and the South Atlantic. According to the PSK Reporter website, I heard 74 stations on FT8 in 25 countries although in truth, I suspect the vast majority were buried in the noise.

There are two key points here when you look at the map. 

First of all, all the long distance F2 propagation is North-South. There were no East-West openings for example to Russia or the USA. That tells me that yes, the band was open but just about. 

The second thing is the Sporadic-E around Europe.

There was one weak opening to Slovenia and Austria when I noticed that the signals were audible. Some of the other signals may well have been either meteor scatter or weak Sporadic-E. The fact it was a Sunday and a lot of people were on the radio probably helped.

These are the stations that were over 2,500kms...

Txmtr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
CX5ABM 10m FT8 10709 km 17:54:29
PY5EG 10m FT8 9475 km 17:56:14
PY2OKB 10m FT8 9195 km 17:49:44
PY1JG 10m FT8 8982 km 17:52:29
PY1EU 10m FT8 8978 km 18:03:44
9J2MM 10m FT8 8297 km 16:00:29
9J2BS 10m FT8 7971 km 13:15:59
ZD7JC 10m FT8 7542 km 10:09:14
ZD7MY 10m FT8 7540 km 12:01:44
ZD8HZ 10m FT8 6673 km 17:49:14
9K2OW 10m FT8 5215 km 09:39:59
5T5PA 10m FT8 3518 km 17:51:44
EA8DFQ 10m FT8 2705 km 18:02:14
VP8NO 10m FT8 12351 km 17:47:59

Meteor explodes over the English Channel (20th of March 2021) - Were there any unusual radio signals??

On Saturday the 20th of March 2021 at approximately 14:53 UTC, a large meteor entered the earths atmosphere and burnt up over the English Channel.

According to a news report on the BBC website, this resulted in a large sonic boom as the meteor exploded.

The meteor probably burnt up at a height of about 100kms which meant it would have been visible over quite a large area.

The photo above is from a dashcam on the island of Jersey.

This image from a weather satellite shows a flash over the Bristol Channel. 

Note however how much the photo is distorted which suggests that perhaps the photo was taken from a geostationary satellite over the equator and it is looking at the UK from a low elevation. That 'white dot' may not be actually over the Bristol Channel but it could be maybe 200kms further south. Note that while the clouds in this picture might be say 5kms above the ground level, the flash is about 100kms up.

There are other reports of a meteor burning up over the English Channel.... see HERE


Any unusual radio signals???

As this large meteor burnt up at a height of about 100kms above the earths surface, it would have left a trail of ionised gas in its wake.

I know it's a long shot but I wonder if anyone noticed any unusual signals at about 14:53 UTC on the 20th of March 2021?

Example. Were you on a digital mode like FT8 on 28 MHz, 50 MHz or 70 MHz? If your WST-X programme is still running from Saturday then you can go back and have a look. Your logbook of received signals is up on the PSK Reporter website for 24 hours after the event.

Example. Were you listening on the FM band (88-108MHz)? Were you using an SDR receiver and recording the band?

If you heard anything then get in touch or leave a comment.

* * *

Update 25th March 2021: In the hours after the meteor burnt up, I had a look at the PSK Reporter website and looked at some of the FT8 signals that were heard by stations in the UK, Ireland & France on the 28 MHz & 50 MHz bands.

(FT8 is a digital mode where signals are sent in 15 second bursts)

I have put together maps below for several stations. My own conclusion is that there are signs of some meteor scatter activity over the north coast of Brittany and Normandy but I don't think we can be 100% sure about any individual reception report.

I'd suggest that the results show that something happened in this general area but I'm not sure we can infer anything about the exact direction the meteor was traveling.

I have included the time stamps for each of the paths and you can decide for yourself if they are indeed due to this meteor burning up.

See below...

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Back on 28 MHz as my 10m antenna returns from the dead


Back in mid-February 2021, my vertical half-wave for 10-metres cracked into two pieces after a windy few days. After seeing half of the antenna sticking out of a hedge, I had pretty much given up on it and thought it was a dead duck.

I looked at other options such as buying a new antenna or building something and didn't really decide on anything.

With the current spell of mild dry weather over Ireland, I finally got around to examining the broken antenna this weekend. It had a reasonably clean break so I cleaned it up, cut off a damaged section with a hacksaw, put in a slot for the lower section to compress and tighten and hey presto, it's back in action!

As the antenna was so wideband anyway, losing 10cms or so of it had no impact on the VSWR at the bottom end of 28 MHz.

I left on the radio on 28 MHz today and this is what I heard on the FT8 frequency...

There is evidence of some weak Sporadic-E around Europe as well as some F2 propagation to Israel, Africa and Brazil. The solar flux is down at 74 which is pretty much rock bottom.

I have to admit that I have a soft spot for the 10-metre band. Even though I have no real interest in making contacts, it's good to be back listening on the band again.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

The DL7APV 8 x 9 Element Antenna Array for Band 2 (88-108 MHz)

One of my interests is listening for long distance radio signals on the 88 to 108 MHz band which is  otherwise known as Band 2 or as simply the FM band to the general public. I recently came across this impressive antenna array from Bernd, DL7APV in Germany.

He is using an array of eight bayed 9-element Band 2 beams mounted on a rotatable base which is normally used for moon bounce on the higher VHF & UHF bands.

According to DL7APV, the antenna array has an impressive gain about about 14 to 15 dBd with a beam width of about 10 degrees.

The individual antennas are the 9-element 3H-FM-9M19 - Modell 2019 from Antennenland which retail at €109 each.

Despite the fact that the antenna has 9 elements, a lot of them are used to make the antenna broadband. It seems to have the same gain as say a narrowband 4 to 5-element Yagi.

For more details on this array, how it goes together and what was heard, check out DL7APV's 3-metre page on his website.

64% of consumer radio devices sold in Europe are analogue only


A recent news item on the RADIOWORLD website mentioned that a tech company named Frontier Smart Technologies had stated that 64% of consumer radio devices sold in Europe in 2020 were analogue only.

Just think about that for a second. Despite the fact the DAB+ digital radio networks are being rolled out across Europe at the moment, nearly two thirds of the consumer radio devices now being sold can't receive it.

This suggests that FM radio on the 88 to 108 MHz band in Europe will be around for a long time to go yet.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Did a 143 MHz signal cross the North Atlantic back in 1959???

There's a story that way back on the 14th of August 1959, there was a partial trans-Atlantic  contact between two MARS stations operating at 143.950 MHz!

(MARS - The Military Auxiliary Radio System is a United States Department of Defense sponsored program, established as a separately managed and operated program by the United States Army, and the United States Air Force.)

W1REZ in Fairfield, Connecticut was operating under the MARS callsign of AF1REZ and the station at the eastern end of the path was using the call AJ2GA at the Torrejón Air Base near Madrid in Spain.

It is alleged that each station heard the other station and audio recordings are supposed to exist. It was thought that the propagation mode was meteor scatter aided by tropo ducting formed by two high pressure systems over the North Atlantic.

I examined the locations and the path was around 7,800 kms. The date of the 14th of August would certainly tie in with the annual Perseids meteor shower.

Is this one of those stories that when it got retold multiple times, errors crept in and it became essentially like an urban myth?

Or did a VHF signal just below the 2-metre amateur radio band really cross the North Atlantic all those years ago?

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Useful LC Filter Design Tool

I came across this online design tool may be of interest for anyone wanting to make their own low pass, high pass or band pass RF filters.



 LC Filter Design Tool

Calculate LC filters circuit values with low-pass, high-pass, band-pass, or band-stop response.

Select Chebyshev, Elliptic, Butterworth or Bessel filter type, with filter order up to 20, and arbitrary input and output impedances.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

South African 8-metre beacon on 40.675 MHz heard in Portugal - 14th March 2021


Back in February, I had a post up about the ZS6WAB 8-metre beacon in South Africa transmitting on 40.675 MHz.

On the 14th of March 2021, someone in the Algarve in the south of Portugal claims to have heard it.

The 48-second recording which is in WMA format can be downloaded HERE

I fed the audio into the Spectrum Lab software programme and a screen grab of part of the signal is shown above.

The full morse signal reads... DE ZS6WAB DE ZS6WAB DE ZS6WAB BCN LOC KG46RB ...followed by a steady carrier.

The signal was heard by an experienced TV-DXer in the south of Portugal.

The distance works out as approximately 7,800kms.

As of the propagation mode??? ....F2? Multi-hop Sporadic-E? Trans-Equatorial propagation (TEP)? 

There are spots on the DX-Cluster for ZS stations on 28 MHz being heard in southern European countries.

"I started to received this in March during the afternoon.. At times it can be very strong, enough to copy the signal using a 20cm piece of wire as an aerial. There's often not much other activity in the 30-40MHz range when it's being received. Never heard it before 12.30 or after 16.30 gmt. On some days it can briefly appear just for a few minutes only. Hugh. "

1) My 40 MHz page...

EI2PMD - New Digital Gateway on 2m in Dublin

Update 14th March 2021: The new digital gateway in Dublin can now cater for DMR and D-Star modes.

IRTS News... New Multi-mode Digital Gateway, EI2PMD, Portmarnock, North Dublin

Ger, EI4HOB is pleased to report that the new Multi-Mode Digital Gateway, EI2PMD, located in Portmarnock, North Dublin, is now fully operational. The Gateway operates DMR, C4FM and D-Star on 144.825 MHz with a wide coverage of Dublin from the Northside down to the Tallaght and Dún Laoghaire areas. The DMR operates on Time Slot 2 and Colour Code 2. DMR Defaults to TG 2724, C4FM to IE-YSF-Ireland and D-Star to DCS 049 I. The Gateway operates 25 watts of power into a vertical colinear antenna. This gateway will provide a much needed digital service for the Dublin area. Good coverage reports have been received to date as borne out by the coverage maps.

* * *

Original post 22nd Jan 2021...In the last few days, a new Yaesu C4FM Digital Gateway for the Dublin area went on air.

Steve EI5DD writes..."A new C4FM Wires-X Gateway, EI2PMD, located in Portmarnock, Dublin, became active today (19th Jan 2021). The Gateway is operating on 144.825MHz and is linked to the CQ-IRELAND Room along with systems from Galway, Limerick, and Northern Ireland. YSF-Ireland, DMR TG 2724, and the Peanut App. We congratulate Ger EI4HOB for placing the first Digital system on air in the Dublin area."

As amateur radio digital repeaters and gateways have popped up around Ireland over the last few years, the one obvious omission was a digital repeater/gateway near the capital Dublin. This is in marked contrast to what usually happens with any new technology in that it usually starts near the capital or main city of a country and then spread outwards.

The new digital gateway is located in Portmarnock in the north side of Dublin City and it uses the 2m frequency of 144.825 MHz.

The approximate coverage is shown below...

From what I understand, the RF part of the gateway is confined to those using YAESU C4FM digital radios at present. It is hoped that in time, it will become a multimode gateway allowing DMR operation.

The gateway runs 20 watts into a Diamond omni-directional antenna.

Well done to EI4HOB and the North Dublin Radio Club for getting project up and running.