WSPR beacons on 5 MHz

Early this morning I tuned my radio on the 60 m WSPR frequency (5287.2 kHz) using the new WSJT-X 1.7.0 software. A number of beacons were active in north and northwest Europe. The session produced the map shown above on the WSPRnet site.
0336  -21   0.2    5.288671    1   G7TAT         JO01     23   2322
0338  -14   0.8    5.288720    0   OH5LIZ        KP30     37   2513
0346  -17   0.8    5.288663    0   OH5AG         KP30     37   2513
0348  -23   0.2    5.288672    0   G7TAT         JO01     23   2322
0348  -22   0.4    5.288721    0   G4SFS         IO81     30   2566
0348  -26   0.3    5.288796    0   MM0HVU        IO85     27   2784
0350  -28   0.4    5.288733    0   OZ8WSP        JO47     23   2419
0352  -11   1.9    5.288733    0   G3SHK         IO90     30   2391
0400  -24   0.5    5.288671    0   G7TAT         JO01     23   2322
0402  -16   0.9    5.288688    0   G4ZFQ         IO90     30   2391
0402  -25   0.2    5.288798    0   LX0QRP        JN39     23   1845
0406  -19   0.9    5.288719    0   OH5LIZ        KP30     37   2513

Merry Christmas!


5-9 Report QRT

Σίγουρα η διακοπή της έκδοσης του 5-9 Report που εξέδιδε ο SV5BYR από το 2001 είναι ένα πλήγμα στην πολυφωνία και την ενημέρωση.

Από την αρθρογραφία του για εμένα περισσότερο ενδιαφέροντα ήταν τα άρθρα του SV1DB. Ο εν λόγω συνάδελφος έχει ένα καταπληκτικό αρχείο για κεραίες από την επαγγελματική του δραστηριότητα στον χώρο. Επίσης έχει πολύ καλή μεταδοτικότητα, κάθε μήνα περίμενα το άρθρο του και το διάβαζα μονορούφι, ακόμα και αν αναφερόταν σε θέματα που γνώριζα καλά.

Αρκετά καλά και τα άρθρα του SV1NK, ο Μάκης είναι επίσης συγγραφέας με καλή μεταδοτικότητα, αλλά μάλλον προορίζονταν για διαφορετικό κοινό.

Κάποια στήλη DX ήταν χρήσιμη όσο το περιοδικό κυκλοφορούσε στην ώρα του. Αν θυμάμαι καλά κάποια εποχή έγραφε και ο SV1DPI.

Η υπόλοιπη ύλη μάλλον αδιάφορη για εμένα, ίσως κάποιοι ραδιοερασιτέχνες ή CBers να έχουν άλλη άποψη.

Τα αποθηκευμένα στον δίσκο μου τεύχη είναι συνολικά κάτι λιγότερο από 1000 MBytes, μάλλον θα τα αποθηκεύσω σε DVD για μελλοντική αναφορά.




Thessaloniki NDB

Most radio hobbyists ignore that a Non-Directional Beacon (NDB) operates near former Alatini works in Thessaloniki. Its Morse code id is THS and it transmits continuously on 345 kHz.

Last week I visited the site of the beacon and shot a few photos.

Panoramic view from the NorthNo tresspassing sign
The eastern mastTransmitter shed
Detail of insulators and pulleysView from the East

This nice NDB has been in operation for decades. Although it is located on the approach to RWY 16 of Makedonia Airport (LGTS), nowdays is not used much by aviators. 

It is easily accessible from public spaces and roads, just south of Thessaloniki Music Hall, at 40.593600 N - 22.948100 E, so if you are in the area you may visit the site. 


CNSP30 balloon over Greece

CNSP30 balloon
Plot of CNSP30 balloon from HABhub
Today we had a daytime pass of CNSP30 balloon over Greece. Most previous passes took place during nightime so we missed the change to plot it. In the morning it appeared that the balloon would follow a southest course and pass over Attica, unfortunately it turned East and was better received in Larissa and Thessaloniki. The balloon transmits APRS packets using callsign K6RPT-11, which are gated to the APRS.IS network and then plotted at the HABhub tracker site. 

During the pass I run an APRS receive only setup and I enabled my connection to the APRS internet servers network with a filter to pass only K6RPT packets. Some of the packets uploaded were from my station, either received directly or over an APRS digipeater.


NASA releases research papers to the public

NASA published the following announcement, effectivley giving free public access to NASA research papers: 

NASA PubSpace

NASA is using PMC to permanently preserve and provide easy public access to the peer-reviewed papers resulting from NASA-funded research. Beginning with research funded in 2016, all NASA-funded authors and co-authors (both civil servant and non-civil servant) will be required to deposit copies of their peer-reviewed scientific publications and associated data into NASA’s publication repository called NASA PubSpace. This exlcudes patents, publications that contain material governed by personal privacy, export control, proprietary restrictions, or national security law or regulations. NASA PubSpace is part of PubMed Central (PMC) which is managed by the NIH.

You can now search NASA related articles archived in PMC at NASA PubSpace. PubSpace will be fully functional Fall of 2016.

Already over 800 recent research articles, published within 2016, have been uploaded in PDF format to the site, which uses the infrastructure of the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.


IOTA programme introduces paperless QSLs !

At last! The RSGB Islands on the Air (IOTA) programme shall implement paperless QSL credits, in cooperation with Clublog ! Last month Roger G3KMA published the following press release on the IOTA site:

One of the first actions of Islands on the Air (IOTA) Ltd., the new managers of the programme, has been to expand the application routes on IOTA’s existing software system to include Club Log QSO Matches. This is intended as the first step to the introduction of a much broader system of Paperless QSLing that is scheduled to be launched in the late Spring of 2017. Only a relatively small number of IOTA operations have been added at this time, mainly ones from islands which satisfy the criterion of one DXCC entity equals just one IOTA. This action was intended to provide a test run on how Club Log QSO matching would work in due course on the new IT system. Even so, modest as this approach is, more than 10,000 QSO matches were obtained in the first week, and the first IOTA 100 Island applications have been received using this option exclusively. As with all new IT enhancements there were a number of bugs and queries raised which have now been resolved. Finally, to make use of this additional feature, sign in to the IOTA website and go to https://www.rsgbiota.org/mycredits/ and click on Club Log QSO Matches. Bear in mind, this is not the full-blown system envisaged for introduction next year. We will expand the list of accepted operations over the coming weeks and months but, much as we would like to do more, it will be mainly in the area of recent operations from the rarer IOTA groups and, of course, ones that have uploaded logs to Club Log and indicated that they do not wish to delay or block IOTA QSO matching.

G3KMA, 10 Jul 2016

Today I applied for an account on the RSGB IOTA site and wait for the passord from my local checkpoint.

In the meatime I spent a few hours in a holiday style IOTA contest operation as SV1XV/P from Lesvos Island, EU-049. Propagation was not great, and I notices short skip conditions, like working 5B4AIF on 28 MHz in mid-summer, indicative of a Sporadic E openning. Many thanks to Alex SV8QG for the support and logistics for this operation.


IARU HF contest

HF propagation is deteriorating, however during the recent IARU-HF contest we enjoyed good Es openings on 28 MHz. 

I had 51 QSOs on 14 and 28 MHz and worked some intersting callsigns:
  • EU1A on 28 MHz - still need EU on 10m
  • Z60A (SHRAK) on 14 MHz SSB and CW
  • ET3AA on 14 MHz SSB
  • ZB2TT on 14 MHz CW
  • J77HQ (DARCI) on 14 MHz CW

At the same time there were sporadic E openings on 50 MHz,  with the longest paths in the E-W direction (EA7HG and EA8DBM). These should be attributed to double hop Es.


50 MHz Sporadic E season

Locator squares worked (yellow) and confirmed (orange) on 50 MHz in 2016

In early May 2016 we had a few weak Es openings on 50 MHz  to the North and Northwest. This year's map is still white but I hope to fill it in.


Iceland (TF3HZ) on 60m WSPR

Last night I left my station switched on overnight in WSPR frequnecy hopping receiving mode. The monitoring program covered 60m (5287.2 kHz) , 30m (10138.7 kHz) and 17m (18104.6 kHz) in random switching. Logs were uploaded automatically to WPRnet.

I noticed a number of 60m transmissions from WSPR beacon TF3HZ in Iceland (locator HP94ad).

UTC   dB    DT    Freq      Drift Call   Loc   dBm  Dist
0130  -25  -1.0   5.288761   -3   TF3HZ  HP94  27   4138
0210  -28  -1.1   5.288761   -2   TF3HZ  HP94  27   4138
0240  -28  -1.0   5.288761    3   TF3HZ  HP94  27   4138
0320  -25  -1.0   5.288761    2   TF3HZ  HP94  27   4138

Halldor, TF3HZ, is active in digitlal transmission and automated stations. He is known for the VLF grabber he used to run, covring frequencies below 9 kHz.


Ham awards - 4: DXCC on 10 MHz (30m)

Last week was a good one for DXCC. YV5JBI confirmed my 100th DXCC entity using LoTW. Actually I have worked a couple more but they have not sent their QSL cards, even after direct requests. Most recent confirmations came via LoTW and a number of unusual entities were worked using JT65.

With this confirmation in hand I applied finally for the DXCC award on 30m and the ARRL DXCC Desk cleared my application today. Now I am eagerly waiting for the cyllinder with the certificate. 

30 m DXCC certificate
 UPDATE 2016-05-13: The certificate arrived today...


Σεμινάριο VHF από τον SV1DH

Χθές είχα την ευκαιρία να παρακολουθήσω το δεύτερο σεμινάριο για τα VHF στα γραφεία της Ε.Ε.Ρ. Ομιλητης ήταν ο Κώστας SV1DH και θέμα η διάδοση στις χαμηλότερες μπάντες VHF (50 και 70 MHz). 

Αναφέρθηκαν πολλά και ενδιαφέροντα που έχει συγκεντρώσει ο ομιλητής κατά την διάρκεια της μακροχρόνιας ερευνητικής του δραστηριότητα στο αντικείμενο και ιδίως στην διισημερινή διάδοση (Trans-Equatorial Propagation - TEP).

Καλύφθηκαν αρκετά σχετικά θέματα με ενεργό συμμετοχή μερικών μελών του ακροατηρίου. Κοινή παραδοχή ήταν η απογοητευτική ηλιακή δραστηριότητα στον τρέχοντα ηλιακό κύκλο, η οποία δεν επέτρεψε την ενεργοποίηση διαφόρων ανοιγμάτων.


ARRL Frequency Measuring Test, April 2016

The results of the recent ARRL Frequency Measurement Test (April 7, 2016) were published early this morning. Once again I managed to measure the frequency of K5CM with a pretty good accuracy of -0.44 Hz. 

I used a very basic setup, which consists only of my Icom IC-706 MkII tranceiver with a dipole antenna (currently near the ground, pending installation of a 4 m mast), a PC with a standard soundcard and the GB3RAL software, normally used to receive the 5290 kHz beacons.

The Icom radio has an option to display frequency with a precision of 1 Hz, instead of the 10 Hz display of other radios.

My metodology is to calibrate the whole system against stations CHU (7850 kHz) and  RWM (4996 kHz), and a GPS-referenced source on 10000 kHz. I produce a first degree calibration equation, which I use to correct the display of the radio with the actual FMT signal.

This time I concentrated on the 40 m CW transmission of K5CM. The 20 m path was closed and 80 m is too noisy at my location. On 40 m, near 7055 kHz, I measured a carrier frequency of 7055773.15 Hz instead of the correct value of 7055773.59 Hz (error -0.44 Hz), which I believe is a good achievement with such a basic setup.


Σεμινάριο VHF από τον SV1BJY

Παρουσίαση του bandplan των 2 m

Πως μπορώ να κάνω επαφές στα 2000 km ?

Το εκλεκτό ακροατήριο της διάλεξης

Ο ομιλητής εξηγεί τις διαδικασίες του meteor scatter.

Σήμερα είχα την χαρά να παρακολουθήσω ένα πολύ ενδιαφέρον σεμινάριο στα γραφεία της Ε.Ε.Ρ. Ομιλητης ήταν ο Γιάννης, SV1BJY και θέμα η διάδοση στα VHF και ιδίως στους 144 MHz. Αναφέρθηκαν πολλά και ενδιαφέροντα που έχει συγκεντρώσει ο ομιλητής κυρίως από την συμμετοχή του στα διάφορα VHF contest, στα οποία συμμετέχει ανελιπώς.

Καλύφθηκαν όλα σχεδόν τα θέματα εκτός από το Aurora Propagation, το οποίο βέβαια είναι άγνωστο στην χώρα μας. Από τα πλέον ενδιαφέροντα ήταν η λεπτομερής περιγραφή της σκέδασης σε μετεωρίτες. Επίσης λίγα θέματα σχετικά με τα 23 cm και αρκετές αναφορές για τις επικοινωνίες στους 10 GHz και την σχετική τεχνολογία.

UPDATE: The four photographs were uploaded locally (2018-02-03)


CQ WPX award update

The WPX Program (page 89)

The current issue of CQ-Amateur-Radio (March 2016) lists my updated score for CQ WPX Mixed (1400), CW (500) and Digital (900) awards. My updated SSB score did not show up yet.


The Flypast

Apollo B
Apollo-B (Mirage 2000-5)


ES-561 (AB-205)
Once again a rainy day and poor atmospheric conditions for the National Day flypast, very few acceptable photos. My D90 camera got wet and I am trying to dry it.


SV1SIX beacon active again

SV1SIX beacon
After a few months of inactivity, 50 MHz beacon SV1SIX is back on the air. 

It transmits on 50040 kHz in F1A (frequency shift Morse code), sending the following message: SV1SIX LOCATOR KM17UX ATHENS 30W ERP.


Οι εξελίξεις στους 5 MHz

Η διοίκηση της Ε.Ε.Ρ. ενοχλήθηκε γιατί κρατώ μικρό καλάθι. Δεν καταλαβαίνουν ότι είναι άβολο και κουραστικό να περιφέρω ένα μεγάλο άδειο καλάθι ?


Alternative site for Athens Digisonde

Today I discovered that the digisond of the National Observatory of Athens host an alternative website with different skin but with the same basic information. The address is http://noa-dps.astro.noa.gr/ and I don't know if it is a permanent service or some provisional or experimental feature.

Their main site at http://www.iono.noa.gr/ is again fully operational.



ADS-B broacast from a crane !

ADS-B plot from https://planefinder.net/

A strange marker shows up on ADS-B plots in the Docklands, near London City Airport. A relevant NOTAM has been issued, indicating that it is a fixed ADS-B beacon on a crane at a construction site:

Q) EGTT/QCBXX/IV/BO /AE /009/999/5130N00001E
B) 16/01/28 23:59
C) 16/03/12 23:59

I believe it is the first time that a Mode-S/ADS-B marker is used in this way. Stay tuned for more info.

UPDATE 2016-05-17: See additional information by Pat Carty in Radio User magazine, 11 (5), May 2016, page 49, ISSN 1748-8117.


CQ WPX award update

CQ WPX Mixed (1400 pfx)
CW WPX Mixed (1400)
CQ WPX Digital (900 pfx)
CQ WPX Digital (900)
CQ WPX CW (500)
Yesterday I received three endorsements for WPX: WPX Mixed 1400, WPX Digital 900 and WPX CW 500. I received all my WPX credits via the ARRL Logbook of The World (LoTW).


Meteo FAX on 7100 kHz

HF-Fax 20160118 0303
Surface analysis for N. Atlantic chart - 2016-01-18

Yesterday afternoon a meteo station started sending meteo charts by FAX on 7100 kHz (this is the USB dial frequency, "white" is on 7101.9 kHz). No station identification is sent but it is believed that it is a military station in the United Kingdom.



Today I received a QSL card from PJ7K via JA1ELY. It confirms a RTTY QSO on 40 m (7 MHz) in November 2015. This is an All Time New One (ATNO) for me, getting my DXCC total to 279 entities.

They have also promissed confirmation via the Logbook of The World (LoTW), bu they have not uploaded the QSOs yet, so I shall wait for some time before submtting this card to DXCC.


Intruder on 7035 kHz

This evening at around 18:30 UTC, a strong, 15 kHz wide digital transmission, centered on 7035 kHz obliterates part of the 40m band. Waterfall recorded on my Perseus SDR show that the part affected is 7027 to 7043 kHz. It is believed that it is a OTHR (Over the Horizon Radar) from China.


VUCC on 50 MHz - 125 locator squares

Yesterday DJ90IARU uploaded logs to the Logbook of The World (LoTW). For me these included a 6 m QSO with locator JO42 in June 2015. With this QSL I reached 125 confirmed locators on 50 MHz so I applied for the VUCC endoresement. 

ARRL accepted my application within a few hours, so now I wait for the sticker in the mail.

Update 2016-01-22: Today I received the 125 locators endorsement sticker. Thanks ARRL!

Update 2016-02-04: Read about the related experience of Bob K0NR: "50 MHz VUCC Via Logbook of the World" (2013-01-11).


Ε.Ε.Ρ.: Νέα διοίκησις - Νέα πνοή


Σήμερα ανέλαβε το νεό Διοικητικό Συμβούλιο της Ε.Ε.Ρ. Μετά από πολλά χρόνια είχαμε και αλλαγή προέδρου, με την εκλογή του SV1GE στην θέση του απερχομένου SV1IW.

Στην mini γενική συνέλευση που ακολούθησε για αλλαγή έδρας παρευρέθησαν 25 τακτικά μέλη και υπήρξε απόλυτη ομοφωνία.

Ορισμένα ραδιοερασιτεχνικά θέματα στα οποία εμπλέκονται οι αρχές (Υπουργείο Μεταφορών, ΕΕΤΤ) είναι σε εξέλιξη (π.χ. 5 MHz). Ελπίζω και εύχομαι ο νέος πρόεδρος να ανταποκριθεί στις προσδοκίες.

Ο SV2FWV ανέφερε Τακτική Γενική Συνέλευση στις 17 / 24 Ιανουαρίου 2016 και πιθανώς κοπή πίτας στις 31 Ιανουαρίου.