Gremlins

This year I have decided to focus on the high frequency bands – 10m and 6m – this spring and summer. The predictions for the peak of this solar cycle are not very good, as you can read in several blogs, but it’s all we’re going to get for the next 10 years so I may as well make the best of it.

To this end I have started WSPRing on 10m when I switch on in the morning, with the intention of moving up to 6m if there appears to be a chance of propagation. On the previous few days I have been rewarded with a two-way path to VK on 10m at quite decent signal strengths. Not bad for 5 watts to an attic dipole. But today I received not a single spot, not a single trace.

Although not the reason for the lack of spots today, I think there is a gremlin in the machine. Twice I have come up to the shack to see what is happening and found the K3 in transmit mode but with no RF output. The K3 monitor mode shows no audio is being sent to the radio, so it isn’t a radio problem. The WSPR software settings haven’t changed, and are correct. Restarting the program makes no difference. The only solution is that hoary old first resort of the computer technician: Switch it off and then switch it on again. Works every time. But I wish I knew why it is doing it.

Julian Moss, G4ILO, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Cumbria, England. Contact him at [email protected].

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