Friday, June 29, 2007

MGmaps - something to try?

Having created the repeater and beacon maps earlier in the week, I was playing with a nice little mapping application on my phone this morning. If you've not tried MGMAPS I really recommend it. You've full access to the Google (and Yahoo, MS and Ask) maps, including photographic imagery. It's free, by the way.

But my point really, was that I'd not previously tried loading up a KML file in it before. To my surprise it worked, with a slight limitation. I found I was able to load up the repeater file and view it on my phone.

The limitation? Only the first 25 records of the KML were displayed. Could get around that, I guess, by splitting it up. Oh, and the descriptions were a bit odd as the phone browser didn't seem to be able to interpret the KML CDATA tags correctly. Minor matter really!

DXing in the 21st century

I was reflecting last weekend how the information age has affected our hobby.

Let's even not go into what the cluster has done for DXing! I used to be a fan, but it's mortally wounded DXing as far as I'm concerned, at least on HF.

More positively though, I worked a Norwegian on 50MHz last weekend. I'd never worked him before. He greeted me by name and already knew my locator - I'm guessing from a VHF database. Not to be outdone, I was already looking at where he lived on Google Maps!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

UK 6m repeater map

Ian, M3ULM was saying yesterday that he'd not heard a 6m repeater yet. I thought I'd knock up a quick UK 50MHz repeater map. The data was in the same file as the maps I produced earlier in the week, so a nice easy job.

Here's the link to the UK 6m repeater map

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Somerset to Canada on 70MHz

I was just reading on the Four Metres forum of a really outstanding QSO made this week. Nige, G7CNF and Mike, VE9AA made a 70/50MHz crossband contact on the evening of Tuesday, 25th June. Nige, of course, was transmitting on 70MHz and Mike on 50MHz.

Though this path has been worked before, to my knowledge it has always been by F2 rather than multi-hop Es.

Well done Nige and Mike.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

SOTA Summits Map

Talking to Richard, G4ERP on the way home last night, I had the idea of creating a SOTA Summits map for Google Earth. It's not absolutely precise at the moment, because I derived the lat/lon from the locator square, so the summit may not be 'quite' where the map says! I'm after the lat/lon information for the summits and when I get it, I'll reissue the map.

In the meantime, you may find the following link of interest - at least it gives a good idea of where each of the summits is!

SOTA Summits for the UK

Remember - you need Google Earth on your machine to try this out.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

DCF77

I was just thinking last week that I hadn't seen the weather station sync to DCF77 for ages. Then there it was on Saturday morning! Interesting propagation!

If anyone reads this that's active on VLF, I'd be interested to compare notes

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Iceland on six

Driving home from work last night, I heard a familiar voice on six and stopped to listen.

It turned out to be my friend Keith, G4ODA on holiday in Iceland. He was operating from IP13 and had a great pileup going from DL and Italy. I put in a couple of calls, but it clearly wasn't going to work with 5w to a mobile whip. Good to hear him though. I managed a QSO with Andy, SM3/EA8CN a little later on. That was fun, as I more normally work Andy from the Canaries on HF.

This morning, six was open early - I worked into Italy and a nice surprise, 9H1XT from Malta.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Repeater maps

Here's a map of UK 2m and 70cms repeaters. That's it, the code's working fine. No more for today!

Improved Beacon Maps

I've consolidated the VHF beacon maps into one, with the different bands set up as folders:

European VHF Beacons

I've also added a 10m beacon map. I used G3USF's beacon list. There were quite a few beacons that didn't have a locator, so I excluded those. Some of them had incomplete locator information, so I put them in the middle of the locator square. Better than nothing!

Worldwide 28MHz Beacons

Remember - you'll need Google Earth on your machine to use these links.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Beacon maps in Google Earth

I was playing with some code at work today creating KML files which are data files that can be read by Google Earth or Google Maps. It suddenly struck me that I could 'test' it by creating some beacon maps from the really excellent beacon lists created by LA0BY.

If you've got Google Earth on your machine, you can click on the following links and see the beacon maps.

6m beacons in Europe
2m beacons in Europe
70cms beacons in Europe
23cms beacons in Europe

A bit basic at the moment, I was thinking I could combine them and put some folder structures in there, but this will do for now. Might try and do some Worldwide beacon lists.

Hope you like the maps. And if any beaconkeepers see this and would like to improve the accuracy of the lat/lon - just send me a more precise lat/lon and I'll sort it.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

VHF/UHF conditions good too...and the Bill Windle QSO Party

My tune around of the beacons before bed last night showed GB3BSL near Bristol a lot louder than normal on 432MHz. I checked again this morning and signals were still good. CQs on 432MHz and 144MHz to the west and south west yielded nothing!

Interestingly, though, I took some time to look for the GB3MCB beacon in Cornwall as I'd never heard that from here before. I found it amongst some nasty big carriers, so it's plugged into the memories now, so it will be interesting to see how reliable it is. Must check the path profile on Google Earth. FX3THF in IN88 was coming through this morning as well.

All these bands going well and only so much time... and FOC invite you to the Bill Windle QSO Party on HF CW today as well. Must get on for a few contacts sometime during the day...

New country on six

Yesterday afternoon, 8th June, I found a little Es on 50MHz. The first station I worked was LZ3CQ - great - as I hadn't worked into Bulgaria before. The opening continued with a good number of stations in Hungary being worked on CW, before I ended up with OE3DXA/3 near Wien.

Gear: FT847 and the 70MHz (!) vertical

First 50MHz mobile QSOs of the year

Some nice conditions on the evening of the 6th June. I did my tune around of 50MHz in Didcot station car park to find some interesting conditions. GI0EJU was booming in and had a big pileup of southern UK stations.

Driving up the A34, I found GM4PMK on Mull calling CQ and I was delighted to work him with the FT817 and 5w to mobile whip. Several other GM stations were audible and I even heard Charlie, EI5FK in Cork - real short skip so the MUF was probably quite high.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

It's the first week of June...

...and anecdotally, it's always a great week for Sporadic E.

Yesterday evening, driving home I was listening to some Es on 50MHz. Jo, CT1HZE was really booming in. I heard him stop the pileup saying that he was going to 144MHz as there were Es there.

Later on in the evening, I spoke to Dave, M0XUK, a few miles away from me in Highworth and he mentioned that he'd worked Jo on 144MHz. Great going!

Judging by the Band II spots too, there was an opening between the southern UK and Portugal.

Actually, 144MHz tropo was good last night too. F5XAM was around 20db over normal and stations from the southeastern UK were loud in the 144MHz activity contest.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Interesting opening on six...

Nothing terribly distant, but I was pleased with some contacts on 50MHz tonight.

YU6DZ on CW was a nice one as were T96C and HV0A on SSB. Haven't worked the Vatican on six for years and years! Some interesting things heard too - and an LZ beacon - though I didn't hear any LZ stations, unfortunately. And 4X4DK was a decent signal working into SV8. That must have been double hop at least...

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