24 January 2015

How to check SMFF activity

Hunting (visiting) Swedish nature reserves and national parks for worked nature reserve SMFF diplomas or just for fun is popular among Swedish hams. This is administrated by SK6AW SMFF.

On the SK6AW SMFF page is a link to "Senast aktiva" (latest active). This is of great help to see where and when and on wich band/frequency SMFF stations recently have been active. The photo below shows recent SMFF activity on my mobile phone as it was on March 13, 2014 13:18 UTC.

Another easy way to be informed about SMFF activity is by listening to an Internet SDR radio while driving. In the video clip below I am listening to a SDR radio in Holland. This is when I am near a nature reserve called Torsmyran SMFF-2331 in Nordmaling in northern Sweden.

Some of my nature reserve visits in 2014 in northern Sweden are described (photos and videos) here.

23 January 2015

It´s cold outside

January 23, 2015: The photo shows a balanced feeder starting point to a low hanging G5RV wire antenna. At the left side of the little storage house is clamped a 6.5 m mast with an inverted dipole for 7 MHz.

It´s cold outside so I prefer stay indoors. The temperature is -20 C. It dropped down to -30 C a few days ago. We have a lot of snow here in Boden (KP05vs), ca. 1 m. The Sun is up now for 5 1/2 hours, today 07:58 - 13:31 UTC.

I tried to call CQ with the Elecraft KX3 (10 W output) on the 7 and 14 MHz bands with no luck. On 21 MHz the noise was low and my first CQ was heard by several stations in the Reverse Beacon Network. Henry, HB9APJ near Zurich answered my CQ. He used a 3 el yagi and I the inverted 7 MHz dipole. We both exchanged 579 reports. Mni tnx Henry!

25 December 2014

Christmas Aurora

December 24 2014 20:30 UTC - QTH Boden, Sweden Loc KP05vs - Outdoor temp -25 C (-13 F)

The Russian TV-carrier on 49.750.00 MHz can also be used (in Europe) to monitor Es and meteor activity. When listening for meteor "pings" the receiving frequency in CW mode should be set to 49.750.00 MHz or in USB mode 49.749.50 MHz. "Pings" and sometimes longer lasting "pings" are always heard, even when there are no well-known meteor showers happening.

A nice view of the Big Dipper´s seven stars behind the Aurora cloud. Close to Mizar, the second star from below, is another star. Its name is Alcor and it is one light-year beyond Mizar. Resolving them is used in a traditional sight of test. Right click on the photo to open it in a new tab and the left click on the photo to magnify it (1600x1600 pixels). Now it is easy to see the star Alcor.

A small group of stars can be seen in the photo. It is the star cluster named Pleiades. This cluster is a smaller version of the Great Dipper. By magnifying the photo you will get a very nice view of the Pleiades.

Camera Sony NEX-6 in auto mode (green). Typical exposure time was ca. 3 seconds automatically set by camera for photos above. A tripod is needed!
Lens Samyang fish-eye 8 mm 1:3.5, with manual focus and aperture settings, for EOS cameras
Lens Adapter Kipon EOS-NEX
Tripod Manfrotto 785B

28 November 2014

Merry Christmas

Wireless World December 1919

27 November 2014

SM0FOB is calling ...

Radio Amateur News July 1919

02 April 2014

Result from 6 months use of the 60 m band

The first 60 m permit I got from the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) was for the period January 23 to June 30 in 2013. The result from that period is shown here. I then got a new 6 months permit starting from October 2013.

First I did erect a "better" antenna than the G5RV antenna. The new higher positioned end-fed wire antenna with a 9:1 balun did not show up as a good performer so I stucked to the G5RV. The transceiver I used is an ICOM IC-746 together with a manual antenna tuner DAIWA CNW-419.

Below is my log showing QSOs and Skimmer receive stations reports in dB above noise. The distance is in kilometers and time is UTC.

Oct 18, 2013 - Feb 18, 2014
SM 60 m Permit Channels:  5.310-5.313   5.320-5.323   5.380.5.383   5.390-5.393 MHz
SM0FOB/2 in Boden KP05vs

Green = DX >2000 km   Blue = SM Stations

The result is according to the "book". Best result for DX is, as for the 80 and 40 m bands, early mornings and late evenings or during night. During daytime, when DX is dead, the propagation is still very good with low power and for distancies up to ca. 1,000 km. This propagation type is called NVIS, Near Vertical Incidence Skywave. My very low hanging G5RV wire antenna is a typical NVIS antenna. For DX work the best simplest antenna is a vertical. 

NVIS propagation is good for emergency communications when other networks are lost. If the biggest electricity power dam is busted in northern Sweden it will cause 25 % drop of all available electriciy power in Sweden, cities will be drowned and so on. All communications networks for telephony, mobiles, Internet etc. in 1/3 of the country will stop working for a very long time. But in this situation radio networks in the 5 MHz can play a vital role. That is why emergency communications often are mentioned in discussions for implementing a 5 MHz amateur radio band. Norway, our neighbour country, is one of the few who already has implemented a 5 MHz (5260-5410 kHz) amateur radio band. Norway has performed governmental led emergency training situations together with ham radio operators. 

But most countries, like Sweden, allows only restricted channelized use of the 5 MHz band. Finland has a strange restriction. They allow only voice traffic channels! Maybe it is because of the Russian neighbour? Russia allows no use for hams. The band is very useful for military traffic. On the 5 MHz band this type of traffic is often heard, even with telegraphy keys! Maybe the Swedish restriction is because of the need of interception? Recently it is learned that mobile phones and Internet are intercepted by big states. Maybe again using HF bands for i.e. one-way spy communications is the best. With very low power using digital modes it should be difficult to intercept HF. A receiver can be just a small SDR USB-dongle compared to a receiver many years ago. The Swedish top spy air force colonel Stig Wennerstrom used a Hallicrafter S-20R.