Friday, 3 September 2021

Field day 4 Sept 21

Saturday 4th Sept was Field day and Banbury Amateur Radio Society (BARS) went to Balscote Mill to put up a /P station.

I also went along to put up my ELAD FDM-DUO and an AL-705 loop antenna.


I have updated my old MacBook 12" to run Windows 10 Pro and install the ELAD FDM-SW2 SDR suite. Looking to make any contacts on 40-30-20m.


I switched to my new MacBook Air and WSJT-X and try for FT8 contacts.

Most of the day was a disaster. We were located in a deep dip with little take off. I was heard in Croatia but no contact confirmed. The main station's G5RV  antenna broke in the centre and was irreparable!

More on our needs for EV charging by 2030 (9 years away!!)

 Chucking out the peanuts

Day after day our government is announcing this and that million pounds for peanut initiatives for the upheaval change we must make to move to Electric Vehicles.

What about 2030, just 9 years away? Will there be 6m or 18m EVs on our roads? It varies depending which part of government you ask, BEIS/Dft or Ofgem. So what? It's just chicken and egg. And here most definitely the chargers come first, for without them along our strategic road network EVs will not come, people will not buy them.

We are faced by seemingly random government actions. "190,000 home/work chargers of 7kW power by ???" "25,000 chargers, unspecified, and without declared funding, by ???" Magnificent £1.3bn declared over 4 years, for what? Not defined, but turning out to be handouts to cowboys operations putting chargers in the wrong places like McDonalds or Chester Zoo, not along our roads. Lots of talk about "£950m for rapid chargers on our roads, 6000 by 2035" (far too few). Plus a miserable £20m for Local Authorities to divide their car parks and prevent fossil fuelled cars equal access to parking, oh, and some unspecified "street" charging in 2021 & maybe 2022...

Like I said, chaos.

Pools, chargers and points

And on top of this Boris's stated bold angelic vision of charger pools "every 30 miles along our Strategic Road Network". Which, when you work it out, means 2,300 miles of motorways needing 80 charge pools, at which at least 20 pools with 10 chargers each or 9,300 points.  And even then 15m EVs will need up to 15m home/work fast charge points. We have to deliver the power, a mean of 1kW per EV by 2030 is the EU estimate for electricity suppliers.

But this is not the direction things are going. Is it? The government firmly believes in the approach of "the market will provide" (read: it's not our job, we are only the government). But the market  will not. Today few of the chargers are finding their way to motorway pools and very few, if any, to "A" roads. They are being installed at local destinations, supermarkets, fast food outlets, in town car parks. The result of which will simply be huge traffic jams as people drive in and out to put energy in their cars. And as EV's fight ICEs for a parking place.

And again just think, EVs need a 45-60 minute charge (it is getting faster but not until better battery technology comes along) versus fossil fuels cars needing just a 10 minute stop. Or 6 times as long. And the range of the EV is, not as makers claim 200-250 miles, but a realistic 150 miles, or lower in cold weather, versus a fossil fuelled car of 500-600 miles. Or four times smaller. This means many more EV stops and many more chargers. It is obviously foolish to think of just replacing petrol stations with EV charging stations. A new architecture of a revolutionary Travel System is needed, only achieved by good top down thinking and planning.

This is where our government is failing us.

It seems the only company that knows this is Tesla, with its manufacture of batteries, cars, of  navigation systems that route you to/via chargers and of an adequate national charger network.

Bad place

So where are we today? In a bad place. The useless national data base of chargers, on line as Zap Map, shows puddles of chargers. Except when you drill down to find one you need right now, right here, for example in East Anglia desert. There are more vast desserts when none can be found. Worse still are the fifty different "networks" run by 50 different cowboys, all given handouts by government to put chargers anywhere they want. All branding no substance. 

No plan, no hope.

The government financing model of handouts to stimulate private initiatives will not provide a pan-national charging infrastructure. What it promotes is seed money promoting sharing of costs with destinations. You know, "come to McDonalds and eat as we provide Rapid EV charging"... In other words the focus of the private investment is shared with destinations. No destination, no chargers. And worse, the paltry sums handed out to Local Authorities most of whom have no idea what to do with it, who employ "consultants", more cowboys, then sprinkle their patch with useless EV only parking. Some even refusing to provide on-street points for those without a private drive.

Sensible EU policy for EU charger infrastructure - UK where are we?

EU Policy exxtract


Read, digest and push your MP to make UK Gov meet these policies.

And by the way the EU also says countries must provide 1kW power for every EV car, for 15m expects in UK by 2030 this means 15GW of electricity must be deliverable.

Sunday, 22 August 2021

How I got WSJT working under MacOS Big Sur

First download the latest version of from 

Then execute the ".dmg" file, this will open the install page. Drag the WSJT app to your apps folder. Then open the Terminal and do this: 

1. List long the file supplied on the download volume

ls -l /Volumes/WSJT-X/com.wsjtx.sysctl.plist

-rw-r--r--@  1 antonywatts  staff  543 28 Mar 12:53 /Volumes/WSJT-X/com.wsjtx.sysctl.plist

As you can see it has the "@" marker indicating special attributes, and has the wrong owner and group. The file as needed in /Library/Daemons is

-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel  543 21 Aug 15:18 com.wsjtx.sysctl.plist

2. Copy the file to the correct location

sudo  cp  /Volumes/WSJT-X/com.wsjtx.sysctl.plist  /Library/LaunchDaemons

it has special permissions set - as seen by a '@' after the mode, as well as the wrong owner and group

-rw-r--r--@ 1 antonywatts staff ...

3. After copying the file to /Library/LaunchDaemons both issues must be solved. First change your directory

cd /Library/LaunchDaemons

and list the files using

ls -l

where you will see the things that are wrong with the .plist: the "@" and the wrong owner and group

4. Remove the special permissions "@"

sudo xattr -c com.wsjtx.sysctl.plist

and check that is has gone with another

ls -l ...

5. Set the correct owner and group

sudo chown root:wheel com.wsjtx.sysctl.plist

The result should be

-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel  543 21 Aug 15:18 com.wsjtx.sysctl.plist

6. Now restart your Mac and check the settings with

sysctl -a | grep sysv.shm

If shmmax is not shown as 52428800 WSJT-X will fail to load with an error message: "Unable to create shared memory segment".  And you have to fiddle around a bit more.


I just bought a new Apple MacBook Air (M1 chip). On this the installation went more smoothly. I copied the com.wsjtx.sysctl.plist file across to /Library/LaunchDaemons (see #2 above). It arrived with right owner and group and no special permissions, and then I restarted the MacBook Air and the sysv.shm value had correctly been  updated.

So WSJT is right at least for new MacBooks.

Monday, 16 August 2021

Antenna switching unit

Ok so I have one decent antenna - an indoor AL-705 loop. But I have three things I want to connect it to

* My ELAD FDM-DUO SDR transceiver, possibly via my MAT-125E auto ATU

* My QPR-Labs QCX+ WSPR transmitter

* My NanoVNA, for tuning and checking the SWR to the loop

So I am building a switching unit. And for fun I am putting in it a stupidly simple resistor SWR bridge, with LED indication for high/low SWR which will also help with loop tuning (in addition to the power meter described below which still is, for now, the best way of optimising the matching)

Here it is. Without the three way switch which will mount on the right & I have ordered but which has not yet arrived

The red switch bypasses the small SWR bridge. I chose this green LED after trying a bunch from my scrap box as the brightest of the bunch, there was a notable difference between LEDs. I have standardised, good or bad, on BNC connectors, they are so quick and easy to plug/unplug when fiddling about.

Project finished, works great, now can switch antenna from ELAD for FT8, U3S for WSPR and NanoVNA for tuning

Friday, 13 August 2021

More EV, not radio

 Email sent to Warwickshire CC after finding out there latest EVcharging plan is 4 years out of date, written in 2017.

It seems to me that the matter of providing charging, or energy delivery, for the major change to a new EV Transport System has not been re-visited since 2017! I don't think it will be of any use to reply to those old policies and proposals. A lot has happened since then. With the unfortunate wild growth of over 50 charging networks placing a scattergun of points across the country. Leaving charger deserts in lots of rural and less visited places. EV car drivers have huge range anxiety due to the lack of chargers on the routes where they need them.

The only solution for the delivery of energy to run a national EV Transport System is a nation-wide utility installation. Like the electricity in our homes.

May I put forward some thoughts having studied the national situation for some time.

1. We expect 15m-18m (higher figure is from Ofgem) EVs nationally by 2030, most of which will be BEVs as Hybrids bring nothing to the mandated reduction of CO2 party. So 50% of all cars will be electric. A major challenge. H2 cars are much too inefficient to used.

2. We have to be very serious about providing a utility charging network to provide enough energy to power them. Imagine, back of the envelope, 18m EVs doing 10,000 miles per year, each one doing just 4 miles per kWh of electricity. This is a vast amount of kWhs to deliver at home/work or on the roads 

3. To put a smattering of chargers across the county would be a disaster. Thus Slow AC 3kWh are useless, Fast AC 7kWh are good for homes/work places only, DC 50kWh is the minimum for any major road installation.

There are three growths of chargers: the Government has set a target of charger availability every 30 miles all over UK:

A) Along motorways, where some work is on-going to provide updates to old technology, there are still far too few points total. A typical M-way services needs at least 20 points and probably after 2025 many more. Along A-roads there is a need again for similar charging stations, many more than petrol stations as EVs take x6 times longer to charge and have a limited range of only 150-200 miles (in practical terms of higher speed - uses more power - and low temperature - batteries store much less, It can be as low as 110 miles for a 50kWh battery car).

B) As a result of the Government financing choice (basically "the market will provide") it is not profitable to provide on the road (M or A road) charging utility farms we require, this is a national political issue. But it has given rise to a very unfortunate outcome, that of Destination Charging - at supermarkets, visitor parks and LA car parks, attractions etc - in order to share the costs with other businesses as a way to attract shoppers and vistors. 

Destination Charging cannot be part of a nationl plan, it is just private sales initiatives. They will cause humongous traffic jams in locations as people on route come in to get a needed charge on their route to elsewhere.

C) Home charging, which will be used by as many people as can have it available, by having a private driveway to mount the chargers near their electricity supply. For others, for example flats on private estates (with or without car parks) or for housing estates without parking provided, personal charging is needed in the streets with 7kWh points. This personal charging cannot be a public free for all, but must be allocated to appartment/house owners as is done for parking permits.

Let me make clear some charging principles:
* Our charging networks must be regulated, public and open
* With unrestricted access (as garages are today for fossil fuel cars!)
* They must have contactless payment and not require you to signup for contract or a phone app.

Lastly, let me make some suggestions out of this analysis.

1. No chargers should be located in town or their car parks, they will just cause disagreements and traffic jams as the volume of EVs reaches 50% of all cars by 2030. They are not a service to shoppers, but simply occupy parking places and all cars (EV or ICE) must have equal rights to parking.

2. Both Fast and Rapid chargers should be located only on the outskirts of towns so people can charge up before entering the town for shopping, or use park and ride.

These should complement the national plan to have charging every 30 miles on our strategic road network to provide seemless routing travel across the country. (By the way the EU has mandated all 27 members to provide open charging every 60km across Europe)

3. Employers with private car parks should be encouraged to provide free employee charging, as a part of their salary package. And if they use delivery vans, charging must be provided anyway.

4. A very serious local effort has to be made to provide home charging, both for houses with driveways and for those on private estates with private parking.

5. For those who normally park in the street allocated charging must be provided, Fast 7kWh as a minimum in order to charge overnight and as a major way to deliver energy for EVs.

For planning purposes local electricity suppliers must be consulted to provide sufficient power is available in the right place at the right me.

As a last point, as well as car infrastructure, chargers must be provided for lorries as they transverse the county.

A spacial plan must be developed: what, where, how.

Not Radio - EV charging

There is a disappointing and potentially disastrous trend in installation of EV Rapid chargers across UK. They are in the wrong place.

To have any chance of financial success they are tending to be placed near commercial hubs - supermarkets, shopping centres and fast food outlets or in LA and attraction car parks. The argument being "charge while you shop/play”. Known as destination charging. 

But these chargers are little more than marketing for the outlets and attractions. Drivers are not going to make special trips to these just to charge their cars. Or if they do then the only result will be traffic jams. Where as what we need is Travel Charging on all strategic roads.

For a smooth operation of the switch from ICE cars to EVs needs a very different strategy of where and how you deliver the energy to keep the cars moving, EVs do, and will continue to have limited range - the average today is around 200miles, meaning you can make only a journey of 100miles and gey back. You must find chargers on the way, on the major roads to keep going.

There are two major issues, first any distant travel or even for example delivery travel cannot be done by charging at car parks and attractions, you cannot divert 15m EV cars (by 2030) into towns for this. Second, there has to be a strategic distribution of chargers along motorways, A-roads and B-roads. One estimate is,

EV Rapid chargers every 30 miles our government stated aim (EU has mandated 60km),meaning,
2,300 mlles motorways = 80 charge sites x 20 = 1,600 points
29,500 miles A roads = 930 charge sites x 10 = 9,300 points
18,900 miles B roads = 3,150 points
Total 14,050 points A+M+B

This is simplistic calculation based on road milage, but if the calculation is made assuming EVs will, like cars today, travel 10,000 miles/yr, then most likely many more charge points are needed to supply the 35GW this will need. In addition to this we must provide Personal Convenience Charging at home, at workplaces and in streets.

The problem is that such a plan is not financially viable and will not attract private investment as Price Waterhouse Cooper have pointed out in a recent report, "Unlocking capital for Net Zero infra structure”. Where they clearly state that to build a charging infrastructure must be a public utility, run by state players and organised and installed along the lines of today’s electricity supplies by National Grid and the National DNOs.

This metter must be solved, and quickly before we make a very expensive mistake, even if our current government and DfT seems to believe that a policy of “the market will provide”, it will not and financially cannot.