Monday, 24 August 2015

Data modes - 3. Modes and software

This is the third of three postings about data modes.

You can find others at:-
Data Modes - 1. Getting Started. Find it here.
Date Modes - 2. CAT etc. Find it here.
Data Modes - 3. Software and modes. You are here.
and a related posting:-
Flex 1500 and data modes. Find it here.

This posting is about Windows. I do use other OS as well myself, but I am not very knowledgeable about them.

I think I need to deal with modes in three categories (one of which is divided in two!).

First are "beacon" modes, where you do not have a QSO,
Second are "formula" modes, which allow you to exchange the minimum information and not much else - subdivided into "fast" and "slow", and:
Thirdly "free form" modes, where you can send whatever message you want.

There are hundreds of modes around. I cannot deal with the less popular ones, mostly because I do not use more than a few. Just because I leave a mode out, it does not mean that I do not think it is good. There are just too many to consider them all.

In many cases popular modes have been superseded, in other words replaced by something which the author thinks is better. However, many amateurs are used to dealing with the old mode and do not change to the new one.

Beacon Modes
1) WSPR - this is one of the best known beacon modes. You can use it to listen to WSPR beacons worldwide, or if you can transmit you can create your own beacon. The bit rate is very low, but as a result the possible signal to noise result at a distant receiver is surprisingly high. WSPR software collects the callsign and locator data it receives, organises it and allows you to see a list of the times and stations received. The list includes signal strength, locator, frequency., etc, so that you can see, for example, how propagation changes over time. You find all this here, and at other parts of the WSPRnet site.

2) OPERA - appears similar to WSPR but instead of frequency shift keying (FSK - transmitting a signal of varying keying) as WSPR does, OPERA uses on/off keying, rather like a CW operator would. On the face of it, this should produce a simpler system which requires less stability. However, WSPR is the established mode. Even though Opera may be technically superior (opinions differ on that point) WSPR is the more popular.

Formula modes - SLOW.
3) JT65 - this mode only offers very basic options for sending information. Unlike WSPR, stations exchange signal reports and acknowledge receipt of these, making each completed contact a QSO. The messages consist of short exchanges, usually
CQ (your callsign) and locator
(your callsign) (dx callsign and their locator) - other station calls you
(dx callsign) (your callsign) Signal report - you give other station a report
(your callsign) (dx callsign) R Signal Report - other station sends roger and your report
(dx callsign) (your callsign) RRR - you send acknowledgement
(your callsign) (dx callsign) 73 73 73  - not strictly necessary and then you can call CQ again.
There is scope to personalise the messages but only to the extent of 14 characters.  Sometimes I might send a greeting or some station details, but most stations just stick to the above.

JT65 is a "slow" mode as it works best in stable conditions without too much fading (QSB). You can also use it for earth-moon-earth communication (EME). JT65 has been adopted as a very popular HF mode.

4) JT9. JT9 is an ultra-narrow successor to JT65. It is less popular, even though it offers better performance.

Formula Modes - FAST
5) JT6M - this mode is frequently used for 6m meteor scatter (and also for tropo scatter and iono scatter). On 6m the meteor trails are of longer duration than at higher frequencies, so a slower mode can work quite well. However, this is still a "formula" mode and you usually only get to exchange the basic QSO details.

6) ISCAT - this outperforms JT6M and you might think that most 6m enthusiasts would have changed over to it, but it is still quite unusual to see it in use. Even it is now challenged by a new version of JT9  - called "Fast JT9" or the version many in Europe use - JT9H.

7) FSK441 - this is an even faster mode than JT6M. As you get higher in frequency the meteor bursts are shorter and you need a mode that sends the messages in a shorter time frame. "FSK" as it is usually known (though "FSK" means frequency shift keying which is a name that could cover most of these modes except Opera) tends to be used above 50MHz - though at 70MHz there is some debate about whether ISCAT is better. FSK does not seem to work very well with a stable signal strength, it works much better with short bursts of signal.

8) JTMS offers advantages over FSK441, but not many people have changed over.

Free form modes
9) RTTY - this is an amateur radio version of the two-tone signalling system used for commercial radio versions of the land-line based teletype network. Hard to imagine now, but there used to be a hard-wired international teletype network, with its own telephone-type exchanges. For military and other purposes the hard switching was converted in modems to tones and transmitted over dedicated radio links. When the whole teletype network was destroyed by the invention of the FAX machine, the old teletype machines were snapped up by amateurs and mated to amateur type modems. Now of course the tones are generated in computers. This mode is seriously outdated, slow, wide, power-sapping, inefficient and a lot of other dire things, but it is very popular. RTTY was the first data mode amateur really adopted.

10) PSK - a truly amateur designed and operated mode with many advantages over RTTY. Like RTTY you can send any message you like, have a rag-chew, etc., which can make it slow to use. PSK31 is the commonly used one, but there are faster versions for contest use etc.

11) SSTV - slow scan TV is a bit like a FAX machine for radio, and now exists in various digital forms too. The general idea is that a still photo  is scanned and transmitted by two tones.

Other modes are too numerous to mention.

The basic idea is the same. Once you have got your rig receiving and you can work the PTT, you can  work most of these modes. As they involve sending tones to the rig, changing the mode means changing the frequency of the tones and/or the speed with which the tones are changed. However, broadly the same computer and rig set-ups can be used for most of them.

This similarity means that you can download "suites" of software containing many modes. FLdigi is one of these and it is free  to download and use. Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD)  was formerly free but is now paid-for. Joe Taylor and others make his "JT" modes available for free.

With one suite, like HRD,  you can use many modes, such as PSK, RTTY, and many rather less well known ones like Hell and Contestia. If you have two suites you can switch between a wide range of modes suited to different types of communications.

Why do we need all these modes and why switch between them? Well, HRD covers much of HF operation within its modes. But WSJT-X, for example, extends this to JT65 and JT9 (useful HF modes), ISCAT and JT9H for 6m meteor scatter, and WSPR. So you can start with one mode, and then move on to others.

Got HRD and play with PSK on HF? Very good. Thought about meteor scatter - well anyone with a 100W rig covering 6m and a simple antenna can try meteor scatter with JT6M.

You see, once you have one mode, the door is open to try more.

I will give more details of Ham Radio Deluxe later.



Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Meteor scatter getting easier???

If all this looks complicated, there is a nice homely message at the bottom...

Just as I have been working on a review of data modes, everything gets thrown into chaos.

Lots of progress has been made bringing together WSJT modes into an integrated suite. Gradually WSJT-X has morphed from being a JT65 and JT9 HF type chat mode into a multi-mode platform. It isn't finished yet. WSJT-Suite brings together the development stages here. In there you find trial versions of WSPR4.0, WSJT-X 1.6.1 and WSJT10. In the one package by KI7MT, you have the latest HF data modes, meteor scatter, low power beacon modes and so forth, but beware --- this approach is still in development.

But that same time, Joe Taylor himself has packaged up a slightly different version of WSJT-X with WSPR and some new variants of the JT9 HF mode and offered it for trial on his Princeton University site. The version of WSJT-X he is offering is version 1.6.1 "development version" (1.6.1devel) and you can find it here. There are some words of explanation from Joe here.

Of interest to me is a fast mode called JT9H. Joe has always made the distinction between his slow modes (WSPR, JT65) and his fast ones (FSK441 and JT6M). The slow ones are for HF, and the fast ones for VHF. Basically that holds except for moon bounce, which is more like HF as there is not so much fluctuation as you get on terrestrial VHF - the moon stays pretty well in the same place over the duration of a QSO, and it moves gradually. Meteorites move pretty quickly from our perspective, by comparison.

So he has taken JT9, a very good low power HF mode, and adapted it for uses like meteor scatter. There are a lot of variants, but I decided to try JT9H. Immediate result:-
An easy 6m QSO with San, DD3SP, at a time of day when meteor scatter usually struggles. Good result.

There are a few issues with JT9H and WSJT-X 1.6.1 devel. As its name suggests it is still under development and there will be bugs and issues. For instance it lacks the "hot" beam angle calculator in the other meteor scatter programs, and it needs some way of adding a working frequency to the CQ call. But no doubt these things will come in due course.

I really like JT9 as an HF mode, and now I have JT9H for VHF meteor scatter. At first acquaintance it looks terrific. Better than JT6M I bet.

And now for the homely bit of reassurance. If all this looks too complicated, please do not give up on data modes. Just try Ham Radio Deluxe. Have a go at PSK and have a few QSOs. Even RTTY, not a mode I love, but reliable. Or WSPR: the nice simple WSPR 2.21 version is a good place to start. Just connect your computer to the rig and have a play.

After that, all ths meteor scatter or moon bounce stuff can come later (or not, if you don't need it).

I make it sound complicated, when it isn't really.

Just like I do with everything else.



Sunday, 16 August 2015

Hunting for VHF DX.

This is what I said yesterday ...
Here, wait a minute. There has just been an aurora warning. K=7. 
I must have another listen.

There was no aurora here, or not yet anyway. I am on alert for the rest of today though.

However, I believe that high K levels often are associated with Sporadic E, so last night I went on the hunt. No bed until 2.00am clock time.

After 17:00 6m was buzzing with WSPR spots, and I netted over 75 spots by close of play, mostly in Germany, Sweden but also one to 4X1RF. Yes, the 6m band was open at 2.00 am clock time. And why not?

By 21:00 the K number was 9 and I looked hard at the 4m map on DXMaps. I have altered this map below to show what it was showing 5 minutes earlier, with my station on it to show where I am on the map. 

The stations in Southern England seem to be working Es into Poland, and there are some Scandinavian stations working across them at 90 degrees. So there must be an Es layer somewhere over the point where the lines cross. As usual, click on the photo to enlarge it if required.
By dead reckoning and a bit of geometry, it looked to me that I was wasting my time calling CQ on 70.200 looking for Poland or the Baltic states. Although the G and EI stations were working due East, I needed to point at the Es layer, which was South East.

It looked like Germany was the best target, so I beamed there (about 125 degrees) and moved to the German allocation (about 70.176 to be precise). One CQ and back came DD8BQA (JO72en 1092km). You can see on the map how this fitted into the geometry of the Es layer being roughly where I though it would be:-
This, remember, is at 21:40 at night (22:40 clock here and later in Germany). I then worked DD3SP, DL4WO, OK1VEC, DJ5MN and DK6SP, ending this phase of Es at 23:36.

What I am trying to get at here is not that I am some great Sherlock Holmes DX finder, but that anyone could do it.

First step would be to ignore the "official" guidance. The latest "news" from a certain National Society says that Es (if there is any this week) will be during the morning and afternoon peak and probably from the UK to Portugal. Great tips there then. And the Weatherman is still going on about the Jet Stream (yawn).

These people are trying to predict Es a week in advance. Pointless, especially as they believe it is a weather phenomenon. My own predictions are about two days in range, and are based on careful study of Solarham and DXMaps - sites listed on the sidebar and for which I am hugely grateful.

Next step is to look for patterns in the maps and point your beam at where there is likelihood of success. Yes earlier I was hoping for an aurora. If I had stuck to that idea I would have been beaming North I would have missed the Es.

And finally, this is purely PERSONAL. I think that the "KST Chat Room" is a waste of time for me. Calling CQ is the way to go here, provided I am selective. Sitting in a cosy chat room trying to set up skeds might work for random meteor scatter, and be great fun, but it just hampers my way of working.

If you use KST, well jolly good. I do not want to have it banned or anything. I am just saying that it does not work for my style of DX hunting. My hunting is not "following the pack" like a fox hunt with hound dogs, no no, no, I am a "stalker". I hunt my DX with guile and tactics.

What a fool I am! It is all pretty random really. But it keeps me happy and it is just as effective as the Weatherman's pontifications about wind in the upper atmosphere.

I think that the more predictions these people make, the more chance there is of some of them being right. And the same applies to me really.

I am foolish if I think I can beat the solar system. It always has the last laugh in the end. But my silly predictions seem to work sometimes, and until I find a better way, I will go on the way I do.



Saturday, 15 August 2015

Meteor scatter was never so difficult.

Arrrggghhh. I heard YL3HA (in Latvia) calling on 144.370 saying they were listening on 144.341. I tried for half an hour but got no response so I left it for a while.

Then I heard them again at 11:57. I thought I would give it another a try. The QSO took an hour to complete. The screen did not look tidy either.
I seemed to be sending RRRR for about 45 minutes.

Then, of course, when it came to sending 73s it all went perfectly smoothly and we finished up in ten minutes.

The great problem with trying to work someone on meteor scatter around midday is that, due to the path of the earth relative to the meteorites, your "hit rate" is reduced. So I was trying at the wrong time of the day. Believe me, I have tried at the right time (around midnight and early morning) but nobody seemed to be listening.

I suppose that I just have to work the people when they are there, even if a QSO takes an hour. It was better than the 3 hour QSO with Italy I once had on 4m.

After that - new DXCC on 2m, new square, 1625km - I got confused and tried to work Henning OZ1JXY on 4m with no callsign in the "to radio" field. That meant he had a signal and a report but no indication who from. Henning entered "check call" in the report field and I was able to find the problem.

Well, so much for meteor scatter being just a callsign and signal report mode. We then had a chat and you can see that we exchanged full rag-chew messages:-

As I pointed out to Henning, I must be getting old. If I cannot remember to send my callsign then I must be past it.

It was right for Henning to point it out to me. I have had similar instances on JT65 mode where people have missed a step in the call process, and therefore not sent me their report. Sometimes I try to point it out, but they rarely understand. But if it is not a QSO (callsigns, reports exchanged, and confirmed) then it should not stand.

Right, Perseid meteor shower or not, I am taking a break. I got up early this morning intending to work some radio but there was nobody around, and now I am showing the signs of tiredness.

Here, wait a minute. There has just been an aurora warning. K=7. 

I must have another listen.



Thursday, 13 August 2015

Meteor scatter was never so easy.

Today is near the peak of the annual Perseids meteor event.

For a time, it can look as if meteor scatter is just a matter of point and shoot.

QSOs, like this one with F6FDR/P in JN14 (approx 1314km) are like routine e-mails.

Sadly on some other days a meteor scatter QSO can take hours.

However, let us make hay while the sun shines.

The Perseids should be at their peak for a day or two more, so I hope to be active again.

I wrote before about PE1MXPs experiment using ISCAT-B. He was looking for meteor scatter reports on his beacon on 4m meteor scatter. Usually the beacon runs PI-RX mode, but during meteor events he runs it overnight on ISCAT-B.

Well, strangely I could not hear him on meteor scatter, but I heard him on tropo during the day. Here is the PI-RX screen :-

687km is not bad for tropo. Well done Roelf.



Saturday, 8 August 2015

40m dipole with skyhooks

Beauty, as we all know, is in the eye of the beholder, and a 40m dipole never looked so beautiful...
It is now the case that the antenna wire and the supporting cord are about the same "conspicuity", so if you do not notice the cord you will not notice the antenna either. So that's great then.

Full marks to an outfit called Antenna Engineering for handling this via eBay, and when I ordered it on Thursday, it arrived with me on Friday. It is proper Mastrant guy rope.

I visited Pearsons of Duns today to use their coffee shop (it is the local garden centre/ coal merchant/ hardware supplier/ builders supplier/ everything else). There I also acquired two "Rawlbolts" (well cheaper Rawlbolt-alikes) for wall fixings (at the moment the antenna is relying on cuphooks) and some cable tensioners. Cheap and cheerful, that should move it all from a lash-up to a proper fixing.
The pole is nicely held by the two "guy ropes". It is not actually guyed as it can support itself, but there are two ropes which balance out the forces from the antenna which is strung from one side.

What is missing is the 70MHz vertical which used to be above it. After having mysterious problems, I changed the antenna, the coax and switched from the rig to the antenna analyser. Whatever was wrong with the rig/ coax/ antenna is still wrong after changing all three of them. Now that is even more mysterious and needs some resolving. However, I am fed up with all this and it will need to wait.

I wrote a while ago about whether 4m FM is worth bothering with around here. I am still unsure about that.

Without the 4m antenna on the top, the pole is at its full height, making the 40m dipole a bit higher than it was. And it is working brilliantly, given that it is a modest wire antenna not very high up.

Still to be changed over to the new guy rope is the coax which feeds the Sirio 10m antenna. This passes over a path using a support made of old bathroom light switch cords. I suspect that the new guy rope would look better (and be better at holding up the coax). The Domestic Authority might prefer dark grey to white. Problem is, I need to change the cable ties, and it is too windy anyway.

A further job is replacing polyprop rope on another support which carries the 6m beam and 2m vertical coax plus rotator cables across to the T and K brackets which hold that antenna system up. Too windy today for that too.

Once those are done, all the supporting ropes will be the new, low profile, almost invisible type.


Right, today I was actually running WSPR on 4 bands at once. 4m, 6m, 10m and 40m. There is a problem with this.

For some reason my PC goes daft if the Flex is running any WSJT programme at the same time as WSJT runs on either the Yaesu 450 or the Icom Ic-7100. I cannot fathom that all all. Nasty audio appears, and if you turn the PowerSDR off and turn it on again that either cures it or I get a horrible buzzing noise on the PC audio, requiring a reboot to clear. Closing the WSJT on the other rigs stops it immediately.

I cannot see why this happens. I used to have the Flex on a separate computer in the past, and that worked as far as it goes. Having two computers is a bind for keeping the RF noise down.

Oh dear, more delving needed.



Friday, 7 August 2015

40m - it is like being a child again

Silly, but true.

Discovering the combined abilities of the 40m band and WSPR is like finding Short Wave Magazine on sale in Donaghy's newsagent at Finaghy Cross Roads in 1963. Suddenly endless radio opportunities open up that I never knew existed.

Power Reported Distance
Date Call Frequency SNR Drift Grid dBm W by loc km mi
 2015-08-07 06:04  ZL3PX  7.040074  -22  0  RE66hm  +37  5.012  GM4FVM  IO85wu  18589  11551 
 2015-08-07 05:08  ZL3PX  7.040071  -24  0  RE66hm  +37  5.012  GM4FVM  IO85wu  18589  11551 

I have never worked ZL and this isn't it. This was rx only. But at least I have now heard it.

OK, I heard about 40m being a great band, but all I ever did was work a handful of G stations during the day. I suppose I never expected a hastily strung-up dipole to do as well as it has. After trying the attic antenna Brian, G0MJI, suggested that I should stick at it. He was right.

Yesterday produced one spot on 10m WSPR and one QSO on 6m JT65 (S58T). By contrast, 40m at a time of year I would not have expected much, but it produced a hatfull of stuff including both ways to Victor HS0ZKM and a lot of US states.
As I hoped, raised solar activity level (K=3), has got 10m hopping along now at 08:00. 6m also looks promising. So I need to go and deal with that.


Jim (aged 8 again)

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Shock news, antenna rope "too conspicuous"

News just in -- a Scottish radio amateur has been required to change his antenna set-up due to his blue rope being "too conspicuous".

The "Domestic Authority Chez GM4FVM" has decided that the 4mm polypropylene rope used to "lash up" the antenna is too thick and easy to see and must be replaced.  There is no appeal against the decisions of the Domestic Authority.

Put-upon amateur, Mr GM4FVM (aged 59 years) said "I had bought thinner and darker coloured rope and this decision says it is still too thick and noticeable. Now I have had to buy expensive grey guy rope instead. This decision is an assault on the freedom of all radio amateurs, world wide"

SERIOUSLY, after spending several days getting the antenna up, I had not thought the rope was too noticeable. It is thinner than the rope I have used before. It is not actually guy rope, just supporting the antenna and balancing out the weight of the antenna on one side of the mast.

It all looks graceful and artistic to me, but not to Mrs FVM, or so it seems.
Who could say that arrangement is not beautiful to look at?

And anyway, as soon as I put it up, I heard Victor HS0ZKM from Thailand (which was part of the objective of putting it up in the first place).

Power Reported Distance
Date Call Frequency SNR Drift Grid dBm W by loc km mi
 2015-08-05 23:10  HS0ZKM  7.040024  -21  1  OK03gr  +37  5.012  GM4FVM  IO85wu  9517  5914 
 2015-08-05 22:54  HS0ZKM  7.040024  -20  0  OK03gr  +37  5.012  GM4FVM  IO85wu  9517  5914 
 2015-08-05 20:36  HS0ZKM  7.040024  -22  0  OK03gr  +37  5.012  GM4FVM  IO85wu  9517  5914 
 2015-08-05 19:12  HS0ZKM  7.040022  -23  0  OK03gr  +37  5.012  GM4FVM  IO85wu  9517  5914 

In due course, I plan to raise the power to 5 watts myself, to see if I can reach him.

Nothing lost. It was just lashed up to see what it looked like (and I did not have a problem with it).

Perhaps the moral of the story is never "lash it up to see what it looks like". Do a proper professional job and then it is too late to change.

I was going to lower it and add the tensioners and cut the rope to the right lengths, so I suppose nothing is lost.

I did point out that the birds would find it harder to see the dark grey thin expensive guy wires I would have to buy, but that did not cut much ice.

Nothing else for it but to change the ropes.

Ah well.



Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Fibre Broadband, Ethernet cables and EMC - update.

Well, the "CAT7" screened ethernet cable arrived thanks to eBay etc. It looks much better than the previous one, and it has nice metal shields over the plugs etc.

What you see here is
On the left, the Netgear router (it is just held up with Velcro, hence not vertical yet)
On the right the BT Openreach modem
Between them the thick blue ethernet cable.

The cable tends to try to push the modem over, as it is only 600mm long. Shorter cable, less chance of radiation I reckon.

A shelf might help, as Velcro on the wall is not ideal ...

So that seems to have killed the noise on the bands I use.

Both units come with "wall wart" switching PSUs which are still suspect. More work to do there with ferrites etc. I may replace them with a linear power supply (they are both 12 volt).

So far, I have had no other noise problems with the fibre broadband. It does not seem markedly faster but I have still to do a speed check.

As those screened CAT7 cables seem so much better for EMC purposes I am pondering over buying another couple and doing my neighbour a "free upgrade" for her BT system. It would cost a few £££ but it might knock down the noise level in here.



Sporadic E fades, but the meteor scatter season arrives.

At the start of August the Sporadic E season here begins to tail off.

A bit like the reverse of the start of the season, there are openings in the Mediterranean and from Southern England, Germany, etc, but they do not often come this far North.

No doubt somebody has a link between this and the clouds or migration of snails, but apart from the increasing number of days from the solstice (and thus mid-summer), it all seems pretty random to me. There is the pattern I see with heightened K index - a measure of ionised material arriving from the Sun.

So perhaps not only does there need to be more energy from the Sun (X-rays etc arriving at a high level due to the higher angle of the rays hitting atmosphere in Summer) but also maybe particles. So if there are a lot of high speed particles we get aurora, but I see a pattern of Es openings being related to moderate levels of ions arriving.

My pet theory: - too many ions = aurora, high levels = Es, low levels = silence.

Well, that is the way it looks to me. I need more evidence, which is more than the other madcap theorists say that they need.

With gently raised ions arriving (K numbers of about 2 or 3) we have had nice short openings, mostly on 6m,. Since 24 June this has brought me 6m contacts into Italy, France, Portugal, Poland, and Ukraine on JT65 mode via Es. I also managed to work a few on 6m using SSB, which is unusual for me. None of these openings seemed to reach 70MHz here, though one did give good contacts to other GM stations (Grrr). You win some and you lose some.

Last year the last 4m Es contact here was on 14 September (OH1TM and OH6PA 1504 and 1513km), the only stations on the band that day. The last large opening was on 22 August when I worked Spain, Hungary Poland and France on 6m, plus Hungary, Czech, Germany, Croatia, and Romania on 4m.

So there can still be a few good openings during August and a few isolated ones up to mid-September. But it is generally a downhill slope form here, at least this far North. the joy of Es is that you don't know, and the weak openings bring the best DX!

The K number is predicted to rise to about 5 over the next couple of days, so we will see if it happens, and if there is any Es or aurora as a result.

On the HF front, the solar flux has tottered up to 107. I said when it rose over 100 something might happen. I received PU3WSF on 10m WSPR. 10500km, but either he did not hear me or he was in beacon mode and not listening. Nothing else trans-Atlantic noted, which has been the case for weeks.

The 40m dipole is in the garden, in the sense that it is lying on the path, ready for the weather to clear enough to put it up. I have the dual problem of having terrible hay fever (must be summer) and needing to put the heat on in the shack (must be winter). The wind has also prevented raising a new mast to support a new 4m vertical and the centre of the 40m dipole.

Hope is at hand with the Perseid meteor shower. Whilst I have not worked anyone yet, it looks promising. I can see pings on the 6m JT65 trace. I did work SP8WJW on 28 July, and SP2JYR/4 (1511km, KO03pv - new square) on 3 August, via meteor scatter as the rocks build up. There might be a flurry of activity as the Germans prepare to go off the main part of 4m at the end of August (temporarily we hope). Peak night for the Perseids should be around 12 August.

PE1MXP put out an appeal via his page on (for some reason I cannot put in a link) asking for listeners to send him reports for meteor scatter reception of his beacon. Frequency is (dial) 70.094.20, mode ISCAT-B, hours 18:00 to 09:00. So far I have heard nothing.

That is it for now.