Sunday 7th February 2016
The news headlines:
ISS linkup for Rickmansworth
Brit wins I4XCC Memorial Award
Free Exam Questions seminar
The next ISS schools contact in the UK will be on Thursday the 11th of February at 1811UTC, when the Royal Masonic School for Girls in Rickmansworth will operate GB1RMS. During a 10 minute window, when the ISS passes over the UK, an amateur radio contact will be established with Tim Peake and students will be able to ask him questions about his life and work on board the ISS. The transmissions from the ISS can be heard on the usual downlink frequency of 145.800MHz.
Claudio Maracci, I4XCC was a very active amateur for many years and his various successes included wins in the 1994 and 1996 Marconi Memorial Contest. The organisers of that contest decided to create an I4XCC Memorial Award for 2015 for the Single Operator that made the best DX during the contest. There were 676 valid logs in the single operator category and 147 in the multi operator category, including several well-known VHF operators from the UK. Congratulations to John, G4ZTR who wins the I4XCC Memorial Award. The full results can be found at http://tinyurl.com/j9onhdc
Would you like to learn how the Examiners set questions – and be able to take these skills back to your club? Members of the Exam Group, led by the Chief Examiner, Alan Betts, will be holding a one day seminar at the Martin Lynch and Sons Ham Radio Training Academy in Staines on Saturday the 12th of March. This is an opportunity for all those involved in training and who have confidence in their radio theory to learn how to write good questions. For further details please email email@example.com
The Amateur Radio Observation Service, AROS, is an advisory and reporting service of the RSGB. Its primary purpose is monitoring the amateur radio spectrum, and discouraging operating practices that might bring the hobby into disrepute. AROS relies on a team of observers to gather evidence on issues that are confidentially reported to them. The RSGB would welcome applications from any Members interested in joining our team of volunteers. Applications from the West of England, South Wales and the London area are particularly welcome. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information, or to apply.
The 13th of February is World Radio Day. It is a day to celebrate radio as a medium, to improve international cooperation between broadcasters, and to encourage major networks and community radio alike to promote access to information, freedom of expression and gender equality over the airwaves. This year, the UNESCO theme for World Radio Day is “Radio in Times of Emergency and Disaster”, as radio still remains the medium that reaches the widest audience worldwide, in the quickest possible time. Whilst this is an event to celebrate broadcast radio, you will hear some special event stations from around the world. Check out the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WorldRadioDay for more information.
Accomplished author Ian Poole, G3YWX has just completed a video about the history of the Morse key. We all know that the Morse key has undergone considerable development since the first Morse telegraph messages were sent. The video describes many different keys and keyers. At under 6 minutes in length, it can be seen on YouTube https://youtu.be/yw9z82COjU8
And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week
Today, the 7th, the Canvey Radio & Electronics Rally takes place at The Paddocks, Long Road, Canvey Island, Essex SS8 0JA, which is on the southern end of A130. The venue has disabled facilities, is served by public transport and also has free car parking. Doors open at 10.30am. There will be radio and electronic component exhibitors, special interest groups and an RSGB bookstall. Details from Vic Rogers, G6BHE on 07957 461 694.
If you are holidaying in Florida over the next week you may be interest to know that the 70th Orlando Hamcation radio and computer show takes place between the 12th and 14th at Central Florida Fairgrounds, Orlando, Florida, USA. More details at www.hamcation.com.
On Saturday the 13th, the Ballymena ARC winter radio rally will be held at 80 Cullybackey Road, Ahoghill, Ballymena BT42 1LA. Doors open at 10.30am and admittance is £3. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy and an RSGB bookstall. Catering is available on site and a prize draw will take place on the day. Contact Hugh Kernohan, GI0JEV on 02825 871 481.
On Sunday the 14th the UK Allstar Radioactive Fair will be held at the Civic Hall, Nantwich, Cheshire, CW5 5DG. The venue is well served by public transport, has free car parking and disabled facilities. Doors open at 10.30am (7am for traders) and admission is £4. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy, an RSGB bookstall and catering facilities. More information from Roger Reeves, M0ROJ on 0774 761 8131.
Also on Sunday the 14th. the Harwell Radio and Electronics Rally will be held in Didcot Leisure Centre, Mereland Road, Didcot, OX11 8AY. The venue has free car parking, disabled facilities a licensed bar and catering. The talk-in station will be on 145.550MHz. Doors open at 9.45/10am and admission is £3, with under 12s free, There will be trade stands, a flea market and special interest groups. Details from Ann, G8NVI on 01235 816 379.
If you have any rally or event information you’d like to appear in future editions of GB2RS News, in RadCom and on the RSGB website, please email details to email@example.com.
Now the special event news
On Saturday the 13th of February, Houghton-Le-Spring Amateur Radio Club is running a special event station from The Watch House, South Pier, South Shields, NE33 2JZ. This is to celebrate the 150 year anniversary of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade. There will also be a re-enactment of the first drill that took place in the Pier Yard at 11am to 12:30pm. Although unconfirmed they hope the callsign will be GB150VLB.
The Council of Europe Radio Amateur Club will be on the air with the call TP30CE for its 30th anniversary. Activity will be on all bands using SSB, CW, RTTY and PSK on the 12th and 13th of February. QSL via F5LGF. More information at http://tp2ce.eu
The Radio Club D’Haïti will put 4V1TL on the air until 30 April in memory of General Toussaint Louverture, who was arrested and sent to France and jailed at Fort de Joux where he died on 7 April 1803.
And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources
Peter, DC0KK, is operating as 4S7KKG from Moragalla, Sri Lanka, IOTA reference AS-003, until the 3rd of April. He will be working mainly in CW and digital modes with operation on 20 to 10 metres. QSL via DC0KK, via the bureau, which is preferred, or direct. All QSLs will be sent via the QSL bureau.
Sam, LY5W will be on the air in Lithuania using the special callsign LY16W for the month of February. This is a rare prefix for LY WPX Trophies award credits. His time on the air celebrates Lithuania's independence on the 16th of February 1918. Visit his QRZ.com page for more details.
David, K1KA is at Calypso Bay in the St Kitts and Nevis Islands, NA-104, until the 25th of February. This will be a holiday-style operation and his callsign will be V47KA. QSL to his home call.
Martin, DL3ASM is back in Afghanistan with the NATO-led ISAF mission. He will be using his T6SM callsign from Camp Marmal until the end of March. QSL to his home call.
Wim, ON6DX will be QRV as 5V7TH from Lome from the 10th to the 22nd of February. Activity will be on 40 to 6 metres using CW, SSB and RTTY during his local mornings and evenings. QSL via operator's instructions.
Now the contest news
Today, the 7th, the 432MHz AFS contest takes place from 0900 to 1300UTC. Using all modes in the 70cm band, the exchange is RST, serial number and locator. This is the final event in the 2015-2016 Super League series so it’s your last chance to top up your points.
On Tuesday the 432MHz UK Activity contest runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Saturday the 13th the 1st 1.8MHz contest runs from 1900 to 2300UTC. It’s CW only and the exchange is signal report, serial number and your District code.
The first of this year’s CQ Worldwide Worked All Prefix Contests is RTTY, which is held for the entire 48 hours of the weekend of the 13th and 14th. There are too many categories to list, so please check the contest website www.cqwpx.com/ for more information. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz bands the exchange is signal report and serial number.
Another contest on the same weekend with numerous categories is the PACC, a Dutch contest. It’s a CW and SSB event that runs for 24 hours from 1200UTC to 1200UTC. Using the 1.8 to 28MHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and Dutch stations send their Province code too.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G4BAO & G3YLA on Friday the 5th of February.
Last week’s HF propagation was spoiled by a K5 geomagnetic event in the early hours of Wednesday morning. This was caused by an enhanced high-speed solar wind stream. This had the effect of knocking the HF bands for six with the VP8SGI DXpedition on South Georgia barely making an appearance for modestly-equipped stations for the rest of the day.
The solar flux index remained around the 110 mark last week, with the sun's disk looking quite spotty towards the end. As a result, the solar flux index for the coming week is predicted to remain in the range 100-110.
According to NOAA, geomagnetic conditions are predicted to be settled, with perhaps an elevated K index on Monday the 8th and Tuesday the 9th. So midweek doesn’t look the best time for the upper HF bands.
This remains a good time of year for north-south paths on the upper HF bands, with openings right up to 12 metres. There could also be occasional signs of life on 10 metres.
Paths to the eastern seaboard of the United States have around a 75% probability of success on 14 to 21MHz from 1400Z to 1800Z.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
The charts for the UK and Western Europe this coming week show that low pressure still predominates. Any tropo prospects are mainly due to shallow surface inversions, following a cold frosty and/or foggy night; and they will probably be relatively localised and scarce. There could be deep winter convection over the sea for helping scatter propagation on the GHz bands, otherwise there will be thin pickings on VHF and UHF.
Another week then for some satellite activity unless you are lucky enough to be seeking the warmth of a winter break in Southern Spain, the Canaries or Cape Verde. Here, the F5LEN tropo maps show strong ducting conditions extending up the African coast and tantalisingly close to the Gibraltar peninsula.
The moon declination increases all week so moon windows will lengthen and, as we approach perigee on Thursday night, losses will be low.
We are still in the early-year minimum for random meteor rates so persistence and early morning activity is still the order of the day for meteor scatter operators.
That’s all for this week from the propagation team.