Sunday 4th December 2016
The news headlines:
Sandringham kicks off GB16YOTA
RAIBC seeks readers
Shake-up for RSGB contests
Sandringham School in St Albans activated the special callsign GB16YOTA for the first time on the first of December. Over 100 students visited the station and a number of young licensees operated during the event. Although conditions were poor and copy was difficult in many cases, they made 97 contacts in 24 countries across the school day. Support was provided by members of Verulam ARC. The purpose of GB16YOTA is to introduce and promote amateur radio to young people. It will be operated from a variety of clubs and organisations throughout December. Today, Sunday the 4th, Worcester ARC has the callsign. On Monday to Thursday it’s operated by Aberystwyth and District ARS, moving to Hilderstone Radio and Electronics Club on Friday. Next Saturday it’s at Silcoates, and CDXC will take up the callsign on Sunday the 11th. If you hear GB16YOTA on the air please give them a call, as you might well be giving a young person their first-ever taste of amateur radio.
RAIBC, the charity working for radio amateurs with disabilities, produces spoken word recordings of many publications. These include equipment manuals, radio magazines such as RadCom, licence documents, and much more. All recordings are made by volunteers. Only ordinary computer equipment is used, and all that is required is enthusiasm and a clear speaking voice. If you think you could find the time to record material for RAIBC, either on a regular basis or occasionally as needed, please contact the RAIBC Audio Manager, Ian Spencer, via email to email@example.com or phone 004 922 451 657.
Starting in the New Year, some significant changes are being made to RSGB contests. This is as a result of the Presidential Review of Contesting and detailed consultation with the contest community. A summary of the changes is in the January edition of RadCom, which should start arriving with RSGB Members from Wednesday onwards. The RSGB Contest Committee website, www.rsgbcc.org is in the process of being updated to reflect the changes.
In the December RadCom Club Calendar, some club calendar information had events for January accidentally mixed in. Unfortunately this was not noticed until after the magazine had been printed, and we apologise for the error. The GB2RS Local News in December should not be affected, as it is extracted from our database in a different way.
Goran, SM7DLK and Torleif, SM6YOR, report that the Swedish Post & Telecom regulator has been issuing temporary, 6 month experimental licenses for 5351.5 – 5366.5kHz with 15W EIRP. This replaces the previous four 3kHz segments used in past years, which have now all expired. There is still no decision on whether Post & Telecom will implement the WRC-15 recommendation in their national band plan. It is considered unlikely to happen before January 2018, or until a new national band plan is released.
David Honess, M6DNT, has been given the prestigious Sir Arthur Clarke award for Space Achievement, Industry/Project Individual. David was the driving force behind the Astro Pi project, which saw two Raspberry P computers installed on the International Space Station whilst Tim Peake – also a Clarke award-winner – was aboard. The award was presented at the British Interplanetary Society’s Reinventing Space Dinner at the Royal Society.
The origins of Silicon Valley spring from the early efforts of amateur radio enthusiasts, according to a newly released video. Paul Wesling, KM6LH tells of the interesting events in San Francisco early in the 20th century, as early radio was being developed, and how hams designed new devices and equipment to address steamship traffic plying the Pacific Ocean. Their efforts before World War II, including extending the state of the art into the microwave region, formed the basis of what became Silicon Valley. The video is on YouTube and can be found via tinyurl.com/gb2rs-1204
And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week
The Bishop Auckland RAC Rally is on Sunday the 4th at Spennymoor Leisure Centre, 32 High St, Spennymoor, Durham DL16 6DB. The venue has good car parking and disabled facilities. There will be the usual radio, computer and electronics as well as a Bring & Buy. Catering and bar facilities will be available on site. Doors open at 10.30am with disabled visitors gaining access from 10.15am. Admission is £2 with under 14s free of charge with an adult. Talk in will be on S22. More details from John, G4LRG on 01388 606 396.
We know of no more rallies for 2016. If you have any rally or event information for 2017 that you’d like to appear in future editions of GB2RS News, in RadCom and on the RSGB website, please email full details to firstname.lastname@example.org as early as possible.
And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources
Christian, IS0BWM can be heard from the club station 9H0HQ/3 in Kenge in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He plans to stay in the Congo until Christmas Day, December 25th. Send QSL cards directly to his address in Sardinia.
Jurgen, DJ2VO and Martin, DL3KMS will be active from Bonaire Island, IOTA reference SA-006, from the 3rd to the 15th of December as PJ4/DJ2VO and PJ4/DL3KMS. They will operate on HF bands. QSL PJ4/DJ2VO via DJ2VO and PJ4/DL3KMS via DL3KMS.
Chris, VK3FY will be on the air as 3D3FY from Denarau Island, OC-016, from the 4th to the 14th of December. Activity will be on 80-6m, CW and SSB. QSL via M0OXO.
W9ILY is on the air from Sint Maarten, IOTA reference NA-105, as FS/W9ILY until the 10th of December.
Now the special event news
Dutch radio amateur Sascha, PD9Z will be operating PC16XMAS from the 6th to the 31st of December. The station is intended to maintain the spirit of friendship between amateur radio operators in the Christmas period – and to provide a nice QSL card! Operation will be on 160 to 10m, SSB and CW.
The USS KIDD Amateur Radio Club will be operating W5KID on 7 December from Baton Rouge, USA, in observance of Pearl Harbor Day. Activity will be on 14.240, 14.060, 7.240 and 7.060MHz from 1530 to 2130UTC.
Remembering the same event, the USS Midway Museum Chip will be on the air from San Diego on 14.230, 7.250 and PSK31 on 14.070MHz from 1700 to 2359UTC on Saturday the 10th.
GB2MOP will be on the air from the Museum of Power from Friday the 9th. Details of the operation remain sketchy at the time this bulletin was written, but www.GB2MOP.org may have up to date information.
Now the contest news
The 144MHz AFS contest runs from 1000 to 1600UTC today, the 4th. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
The ARRL 160m CW contest ends today at 1600UTC. Work the USA, US Territories and Canada. The only time there is a path is when it’s dark at both ends of the QSO so it’s unlikely that much activity will be in evidence from the UK as this edition is broadcast.
On Tuesday it’s the 144MHz UKAC, which runs from 2200 to 223UTC. All modes are used on the 2m band and the exchange is RST, serial number and locator.
Next weekend sees the ARRL 10m contest, running from 0000 on the 10th to 2359 on the 11th. Using CW or phone, the report is RST plus serial number, with Ws, VEs and XEs also sending their state or province code. There are a number of categories in this contest so it will pay to check the ARRL website for details.
Finally, a reminder that the UK Six Metre Group Winter Marathon continues on 6m until the end of January. Details are on the UKSMG.org website.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday 2nd December.
Last week was a mixed bag in terms of HF propagation. The solar flux index hovered around the 80 mark and the K index was poor at the weekend, although a little more settled later in the week.
Last weekend saw the CW leg of CQ Worldwide and the consensus was that conditions weren’t brilliant. We said that 20 and 15m would be the optimum HF bands with occasional 10m openings. This turned out to be true as Roger, G3LDI proved by only working 67 stations on 10 metres in 48 hours. Roger said that they were mostly weak and watery European contacts, despite using a three-element SteppIR. The days of extensive DX openings on 10m may, alas, be behind us for a few years.
Back to the Sun, there have been three visible sunspot groups, with region 2615 generating M-class solar flares. So watch out for potential coronal mass ejections and flare-induced blackouts or sudden ionospheric disturbances.
As we head into December, now is the best time for the low bands, especially Top Band and 80m. You may find that the evening critical frequency drops so much that 40m struggles to open to DX at times. With a typical critical frequency of around 3MHz at 2000hrs even 80m may struggle at distances less than 300-400km. Unfortunately, geomagnetic conditions are also predicted to be unsettled from December 7th to the 11th due to recurrent coronal hole effects.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
High pressure will continue to provide slightly improved tropo conditions on the VHF/UHF bands at the beginning of the week, but there is likely to be a slow decline later as pressure falls to the north of Britain. Although lift conditions could affect much of the country at first, these will become confined to the south by midweek and all gone soon after.
Don’t forget to try the multimode part of the bands with CW or SSB, and do call CQ and announce your activity in advance on email reflectors, DX chat such as ON4KST.info and social media if the bands seem quiet.
The Moon is at lowest declination today and path losses are still high, but declination goes positive late on Thursday 8th and losses are lower. Look out for GHz bands EME operation from Jericho from that day until the 13th of December by E44QX and E44HP.
The big Geminids meteor shower is now only a week away. The zenithal hourly rate for this shower is up to 120 meteors per hour, so it’s a really good one. We’ll have more information next week as to the best times to operate. Look at dl1dbc.net for Virgo, a Java real-time meteor tracking web page that may help you. Unfortunately it doesn’t run on all browsers: you may have to try more than one before you get it to work.
And that’s all for this week from the propagation team.