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GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 1st May 2016

The news headlines:

  • Next Tim Peake contact confirmed

  • Advanced exams now ‘on demand’

  • IARU Interim Meeting minutes released

The ARISS UK Operations team is delighted to announce that the ARISS Schools contact between Ashfield Primary School in Otley, West Yorkshire and Tim Peake on the International Space Station has now been confirmed for Thursday the 5th of May at 0908BST. It will be a direct contact operated by GB1APS. The contact should be audible over Western Europe. Interested parties are invited to listen in on 145.800 MHz narrowband FM.

The Examinations Standards Committee has agreed to offer the Advanced examination ‘on demand’. This means that Advanced exams can be booked in the same way as the Foundation and Intermediate, with the important exception that one calendar month’s notice must be given. On-demand bookings will commence on the 1st of May, so Advanced exams can be booked after then for any date after the 1st of June 2016.

The minutes from the Interim Meeting of IARU Region 1 are now available on the RSGB Spectrum Forum website. Over the weekend of the 16th and 17th of April, delegates from Member Societies discussed numerous papers and proposals on HF, VHF/Microwave and EMC matters. The resulting recommendations for band plan and other changes will be considered for approval by the Region 1 Executive when they meet on the 7th and 8th of May 7. Details at http://tinyurl.com/gkw2w6h

At a recent RSGB Board meeting, the application of the Construction, Design and Management Regulations 2015 in respect of amateur radio activities was discussed. Board Director Steve Hartley, G0FUW will be preparing an article for RadCom giving guidance to clubs and individual Members on how this legislation applies to them.

Due to the increase in D Star activity with many new users of the mode, UKFM Group Western, who maintain D-Star repeaters throughout the North west, has produced a guide to D-Star etiquette. The web page outlines some common practices and hints on use of repeater linking and radio settings, which will be helpful in maintaining the best use out of the system. The page can be found at www.ukfmgw.co.uk under D-Star etiquette.

The RSGB-provided repeater and beacon insurance premium for the period from the 30th of April 2016 to the 29th of April 2017 will be £10 per repeater. If you are a Keeper and have not already received an email about this, you may renew online at the RSGB shop. A certificate will be sent by e-mail once payment has been received, but please allow a couple of days for applications to be processed.

On the 8th of May there will be no 7127kHz news broadcast from Germany, as both readers are unavailable. News broadcasts will be back to normal on the 15th.

The RSGB Examination Standards Committee wishes to appoint an Examination Standards Manager for the Radio Communications Exams. Reporting to the Examinations Standards Committee, the post is responsible for developing and documenting the internal and external procedures that govern the running of the RCE. Candidates should ideally be located in a central part of the UK and be prepared to travel around the UK. They should have a UK Full amateur radio licence and will ideally have experience in a senior position in industry or mainstream education, with responsibility for leading a team and quality management. Those interested in applying should contact Simon Watts, G3XXH, via email to esc.chair@rsgb.org.uk, providing a brief CV and a covering letter outlining how they meet the requirements of this role.

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

The Dambusters Hamfest takes place today, the 1st of May, at Thorpe Camp Museum, Tattershall Thorpe, near Coningsby, Lincolnshire LN4 4PE.The venue is all on one level and doors open at 10am. Admission is £3 and includes entry into the museum. Hot food will be available in addition to the NAFFI. This is mainly an outdoor rally but some limited space is available indoors, with a small charge for tables. More information by email to tony.nightingale@yahoo.co.uk.

Dartmoor Radio Club Rally will take place on the 2nd of May at Tavistock College, Crowndale Road, Tavistock, Devon PL19 8DD. The venue has free car parking as well as disabled facilities but please note there is no talk-in station. Doors open at 10.30am, with disabled visitors gaining access 15 minutes earlier. Admission is £2. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy and special interest groups. Catering is available on site. Contact Roger Hann, 2E0RPH, on 01822 840 723.

The 35th Lough Erne Amateur Radio Rally takes place on the 8th of May at the SHARE Centre, Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh, Northern Ireland BT92 0EQ. Doors open from 11.15am to 4pm, with disabled visitors gaining access 15 minutes earlier. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy, car boot area, flea market, special interest groups and an RSGB bookstall. A licensed bar and catering will be available on site. Lectures will form part of the day’s activities and there will be a prize draw during the day. Camping is available. More information from Michael, MI5MTC on 0286 862 1436.

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 radcom@rsgb.org.uk.

And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources

Koji, JI1LET, is operating as JD1BOI from Chichijima Island in the Ogasawara Archipelago, IOTA reference AS-031, until the 6th of May. Ogasawara is about 1000km south of Tokyo and counts as a separate entity for the DXCC Award. Koji is working all bands from 80 to 6m using CW, SSB and RTTY. QSL via his home callsign.

A DXpedition to Lundy Island, EU-120, will take place from the 2nd to the 7th of May by three members of the Virtual Amateur Radio Club from Kent. Mark, G0GQT, Keith, M0KJA and Nigel, G0GDA will be using MX0VRC/P. The island has no grid electricity and uses locally generated power between 6am and midnight, the generators being switched off during the night. Three stations will be using a variety of aerials and running SSB, data and CW on the 80 to 10m bands. QSL is by eQSL. See QRZ.com for more details.

Chris, HB9LCA will be active as YJ0CS from Vanuatu, OC-035, from the 1st to the 27th of May. He will be mainly on CW and will be working holiday style. QSL to his home callsign.

Martin, LU9EFO will be QRV as CE0Y/LU9EFO from the 6th to the 16th of May from Easter Island, SA-001. Activity will be on the HF bands. QSL direct via F4BHW.

A group of operators will be QRV as MJ/ON4RSX from St Brelade, Jersey from the 5th to the 8th of May. Jersey is IOTA reference EU-013. Activity will be on the 40 to 6m bands using CW, SSB and various digital modes. QSL direct via ON8VP.

Now the special event news

Ballymena ARG will be operating a station at the Shanes Castle Steam Traction Rally on the 1st and 2nd of May. This will be a station in the Castles and Stately Homes on the Air award scheme. The Traction rally takes place at Shanes Castle, Randalstown Rd, Antrim BT41 4NE. Contact Hugh Kernohan, GI0JEV, on 028 2587 1481.

Now the contest news

The SSB leg of the 80m Club Championships takes place from 1900 to 2030UTC on Monday. The exchange is the usual signal report and serial number.

On Tuesday the 144MHz UK Activity Contest takes place from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The 432MHz-248GHz Trophy starts at 1400 on the 7th and runs for 24 hours. Using the 432MHz to 248GHz bands the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Starting at the same start time, but running for eight hours, the 432MHz Trophy and 10GHz Trophy contests are ideal if you are not equipped for all the UHF and microwave bands. Using all modes on the respective two bands, the exchange is the same for both, signal report, serial number and locator.

Starting on the 7th, the UK Six Metre Group’s Marathon is a contest without fixed operating times. The object of the exercise is to work as many Locator squares as possible across three months of the Sporadic-E season. Using all modes on the 50MHz band, the exchange is you 4-character locator.

The Italian National Society ARI International DX Contest runs for 24 hours from midday on the 7th. There are sections for Single-op CW, SSB, RTTY, mixed, and Multi-single. Italians send a signal report and a 2-letter Province code, while non-Italians send a signal report plus serial number. Check the rules for scoring.

The UK Microwave Group Low Band Contest is on the 8th. It coincides with the RSGB events taking place the same weekend. Running from 0800 to 1400UTC on the 1.3 to 3.4GHz bands the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Also on the 8th, the IRTS 40m Counties Contest runs from 1200 to 1500UTC. Using CW and SSB only exchange a signal report and serial number, EIs and GIs also give their county.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 29th of April.

It's been another mixed week. with coronal holes dominating once again. The K index, a measure of the disturbance to the earth's magnetic field due to incoming solar plasma, fluctuated all week, being as low as one and as high as four.

The solar flux index started the week at 82, but rose steadily to reach 94 by Friday. By then there were actually six sunspot regions visible on the sun, although some were so small they looked like dust on the lens.

Two small, but almost geo-effective, coronal holes could be seen in the Solar Dynamics Observatory's extreme ultra-violet image on Thursday, which suggest we may have unsettled conditions as you hear or read this report. NOAA predicts the solar flux index could rise to 95 by the 3rd of May, although unsettled geomagnetic conditions will continue to affect propagation, especially on the first and fourth.

As we are now in May, Sporadic-E will become prevalent on the higher HF bands, notably ten metres, but more about that later.

Otherwise, a look at an HF propagation coverage map from VOACAP Online shows May generally sees the start of the summer doldrums when maximum usable frequencies are generally lower during daylight hours, but remain higher at night.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

We may start this weekend with a weak ridge of high pressure over southern Britain, which is potentially useful for some limited Tropo, especially down to the south towards western France and northern Spain. Unfortunately, almost as soon as it happens, it will be gone and low pressure will be in control, so it's more likely to be rain scatter on the GHz bands from large shower clouds that gives any enhancement locally.

On a more positive note, the Sporadic-E season is now under way and current weather patterns are producing good jet streams in the right places over Europe. These are known to be helpful for Sporadic-E and the Sporadic-E maximum usable frequency has already reached more than 100MHz in the past week over the northern Balkans, and allowed UK stations to have 6 metre QSOs with Greece.

Sporadic-E is not an everyday thing, so check the beacons and clusters to follow any openings as it intensifies. Openings usually start as short skip on 10m, then up through 6m to 4m and perhaps even 2m. There are two main periods of activity from the UK, usually late morning and again late afternoon into early evening.

Moon declination is climbing this week and losses are falling as the moon comes in to perigee on Thursday. So this is a good week for EME with a daytime moon.

And that’s all for this week from the propagation team.

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GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 24th April 2016

The news headlines:

  • Tim Peake contact on Monday

  • Operating at the Olympics

  • Club Calendar error in RadCom

The next planned school contact with Tim Peake on the ISS is tomorrow, Monday 25 April from The Derby High School in Bury at 1202UTC. This contact will be webcast on the ARISS Principia website and Tim’s transmissions will be audible over most of Western Europe on the usual downlink frequency, 145.800MHz.

Thanks to the Brazilian Amateur Radio League, LABRE, radio amateurs who will visit Brazil for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games will be able to get on the air easily. During August and September any foreign amateur will be able to operate in Brazil, regardless of whether there is a reciprocal agreement. No IARP or CEPT licence is necessary and no fees are required. You just need to send a scan of your passport identification pages and licence, a list of the cities you intend to operate in and when, plus an email address, to executiva@labre.org.br 

We’d like to make you aware that the Club Events Calendar printed in the May edition of RadCom is incorrect. Due to a clerical error, the February information was repeated. A revised version of the Affiliated Clubs Newsletter for May 2016 has been sent out to clubs, and the electronic versions of RadCom on the RSGB website will be issued with errata bearing the correct information. The RadCom editorial team apologises for any inconvenience this error may cause, and has taken steps to reduce the chances of the same thing happening again.

Following agreement with the RSGB Board, management of the Islands on the Air program has transitioned to Islands Radio Awards Ltd, a new, not-for-profit company. This entity will assume full responsibility for all aspects of the program, which it will run in partnership with the Society. The company has been registered in the names of its current directors, Roger Balister, G3KMA, and Stan Lee, G4XXI, and a full Board of Directors will established. The new company is fully committed to completing the paperless QSLing project that will allow electronic confirmation of contacts and no significant policy changes are anticipated.

On Monday, the 25th, ANZAC Day remembers those who died in 1915 in the fighting at Gallipoli. To commemorate this, amateurs in New Zealand and Australia will be on the bands using the same older modes once employed by radio operators in the military. This AM & CW event has become a popular annual ANZAC Day activity with those participating using older, crystal-locked transceivers or former military radios.

Statutory Instrument 2016 No. 426, The Wireless Telegraphy (Control of Interference from Apparatus) Regulations 2016 are now in effect. There is a brief summary in the May RadCom and in June there will be a longer article from the EMC committee. The legislation can be read at www.legislation.gov.uk/2016/426

The RSGB Board is embarking on a review of the Society’s strategic vision and goals and a Member with group facilitation skills is sought to work with the Board and others during the process. Please contact the General Manager via gm.dept@rsgb.org.uk if you are able to assist.

The QSL bureau is pleased to welcome Andy Hood, GM7GDE, as the new volunteer for GM4-8 series cards. Our thanks go to Tom Wylie, GM4FDM the retiring manager and for his help, in ensuring a smooth transition. For details, see the RSGB website.

Twenty five used ex BBC local radio cars are being sold on behalf of the BBC by Cambridge Broadcast. These have a professional technical installation of a pneumatic mast. The vehicles are all Peugeot based on either 806 or 807 models and ages range from 2001 to 2006. Most have technical battery fit-outs with split charging from engine, and external mains inputs, with 19” equipment racks, and audio monitoring. Details are on the cambridgebroadcast.com website

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

The Ripon & District ARS Rally takes place today, the 24th, in the Hugh Ripley Hall, Ripon, North Yorkshire HG4 2PT. Doors open at 10am, with entry costing £2. Details are online at www.ripon.org.uk

Today, the 24th, the Cambridge Repeater Group Rally will be held at Foxton Village Hall, Hardman Road, Foxton, Cambridge CB22 6RN. Car parking is free at the venue, which also has disabled facilities. The doors open at 9.30am. Admission is £2. A talk-in station will be on air to assist visitors. There will be trade stands, a car boot area, a Bring & Buy and an RSGB bookstall. Catering will be available on site and this year sees new caterers booked. Contact Lawrence, M0LCM, on 0794 197 2724.

The Dambusters Hamfest takes place on the 1st of May at Thorpe Camp Museum, Tattershall Thorpe, near Coningsby, Lincolnshire LN4 4PE.The venue is all on one level and doors open at 10am. Admission is £3 and includes entry into the museum. Hot food will be available in addition to the NAFFI. This is mainly an outdoor rally but some limited space is available indoors, with a small charge for tables. More information by email to tony.nightingale@yahoo.co.uk

Dartmoor Radio Club Rally will take place on the 2nd of May at Tavistock College, Crowndale Road, Tavistock, Devon PL19 8DD. The venue has free car parking as well as disabled facilities but please note there is no talk-in station. Doors open at 10.30am with disabled visitors gaining access 15 minutes earlier. Admission is £2. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy and special interest groups. Catering is available on site. Contact Roger Hann, 2E0RPH on 01822 840 723.

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 radcom@rsgb.org.uk.

And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources

Doug, VK4ADX will operate holiday style from Norfolk Island from the 23rd of April to the 2nd of May. While there he will use the callsign VK9NU and be on SSB only. Logs will be uploaded to Logbook of The World.

Elvira, IV3FSG will be active from the Democratic Republic of Congo for one month. She will operate SSB, RTTY and PSK31 on 80 to 10 metres. Her callsign will be 9Q0HQ/1 from the 22nd to 30th of April and 9Q0HQ from the 1st to the 22nd of May. QSL via IK3GES. Logsearch on Club Log.

Koji, JI1LET, will be active as JD1BOI from Chichijima, AS-031, Ogasawara from 26 April to 6 May. He will operate CW, SSB and RTTY on 80 to 6 metres. QSL via JI1LET, direct or bureau.

Andre, DL1AS, Martin, DM4IM and Erwin, DK4BX will be active from Belize as V31DL, V31IM and V31BX respectively from the 20th of April to the 20th of May. QSL V3V via V31BZ, others via home calls and LoTW.

Mike, VO1OK will also be active from Belize as V31OK.. He will start on 25 April from Belize City, and then will move to Ambergris Caye, NA-073, from the 28th of April to the 3rd of May. QSL via home call.

GS0NWM will be operated by Bob, M0KLO, Glenn, G0SBN, and Chris, GM3WOJ from the Isle of Barra, EU-010between April 24 and 30. The locator is IO67ga, which is WAB NF71. They will be active on 80 to 10m, CW, SSB and digital modes. QSL via M0URX, OQRS.

Andy, M1LOL and Ray, M1REK will be operating as MM1LOL from the Isle of Muck, EU-008, from the 1st to the 7th of May. Look for them on 80 to 10m, SSB and data.

Now the special event news

South Essex ARS will operate GB2BOX today, the 24th, from 10am to 4pm at RAF Boxted Airfield Museum, Langham Lane, Langham, Essex CO4 5NW for Airfields on the Air. Admission to the museum is £3, accompanied children are free.

Ballymena ARG will be operating a station at the Shanes Castle Steam Traction Rally on the 1st and 2nd of May. This will be a station in the Castles and Stateley Homes on the Air award scheme. the Traction rally takes place at Shanes Castle, Randalstown Rd, Antrim BT41 4NE. Contact Hugh Kernohan, GI0JEV, on 028 2587 1481.

Now the contest news

The SP DX RTTY contest ends its 24 hour run at 1200UTC today, the 24th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number, with SP stations sending their Province code too.

Today, the 24th, the BARTG Sprint 75 runs from 1700 to 2100UTC. Using 75 baud RTTY only on the 3.5 to 28MHz bands, the exchange is just the serial number.

On Tuesday the 50MHz UK Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is the usual signal report, serial number and locator.

Also on Tuesday the SHF UK Activity Contest takes place on the 2.3GHz bands and up. Running from 1900 to 2130UTC and using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Wednesday the UK EI CC takes place for an hour between 2000 and 2100UTC. Using CW only, the exchange is your 4-character locator only.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 22nd of April.

It has been week of mixed HF propagation, good at times and lousy at others. The solar flux index declined from 102 on Sunday to 83 on Thursday, as only one lonely little sunspot remained visible.

The K index, which is the three-hourly measure of geomagnetic disturbance due to incoming plasma from the Sun, has also risen and fallen, starting off at four last Sunday, and declining to one at times during the week.

Looking ahead, the solar flux index is predicted to be between 85-98, according to the US Air Force, rising as sunspot 2533 comes into play over the next few days.

It is bad news on the geomagnetic disturbance front. The Solar Dynamics Observatory’s extreme ultraviolet image showed a massive coronal hole looking straight at us on Thursday. The associated high-speed solar wind stream from this may hit the earth on Saturday, just in time for International Marconi Day. NOAA predicts the K index could rise to four in the early hours of Saturday morning, tailing off to two by late afternoon. This may not bode well for HF propagation.

Unsettled conditions are expected to continue until 26 April with isolated active periods likely. Mostly quiet conditions are expected from 27 to 28 April.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

After some high pressure during last week produced a little bit of Tropo for stations in the North of England, we are returning to low pressure over the North Sea. This may eventually drift across southern England later in the week. The result is a return of a cool northerly wind and means that April showers will continue to be a theme this week, and hence give options for rain scatter on the gigahertz bands.

Last week, Sporadic-E was reported on 10 metres and 6 metres and, with the continued presence of a jet stream blowing down across the UK into southern Europe, there is plenty of scope for further Sporadic-E events this coming week.

The 2016 Lyrids meteor shower has passed its peak so it is back to random meteor scatter contacts in the early mornings.

Over the next few years, the Moon is entering a phase when high declination is combined with the moon being at perigee or closest to the earth. This means long, high-elevation moon windows will occur when path loss is at its lowest, improving EME conditions. This week, lowest declination occurs on Wednesday so expect short Moon passes in the early hours of the morning.

And that’s all for this week from the propagation team.

Next, the Local News:

Please note that details of all RSGB-affiliated clubs and societies
can be found on the RSGB website, including email addresses
and website links where known.

[Note to Newsreaders: Please read the local news items appropriate to the service area of your transmission.]

NEWS FOR THE MIDLANDS

Now for news from clubs that have several events this week. Leicester Radio Society concludes its CQ LRS weekend of activity today. On Monday there’s a table top sale. Details from Alex, G8FCQ, on 07531 201 640.

Wythall Radio Club has its club net from 8pm on 145.225MHz or GB3WL tonight and next Sunday. Monday sees a curry night at the Monsoon. On Tuesday there’s a Morse class plus a club night and a talk. The regular nibbles night in the shack is on Friday. Details from Chris, G0EYO, on 07710 412 819.

Coventry Amateur Radio Society has an open net on Monday and Thursday from 8pm on 145.375MHz FM and/or 7.16MHz ± QRM. On Friday there’s a skittles evening at Brandon Social Club. Contact John, G8SEQ, on 07958 777 363.

Gloucester Amateur Radio & Electronics Society is having an informal and general operating evening on Monday. Wednesday and Thursday see club nets, starting at 7.30pm on 145.550MHz. Contact Anne, 2E1GKY, on 01242 699 595, daytime.

South Birmingham Radio Society is planning for outside events on Monday. The regular coffee morning in the shack is on Tuesday from 11am. Thursday sees training classes with Dave Murphy, G8OWL. On Friday there’s an open meeting and ragchew. Contact Gemma Gordon, M6GKG, via email to gemmagordon.m6gkg@gmail.com.

On Monday Sutton Coldfield Amateur Radio Society has a club meeting. Tuesday sees a DMR open net on GB7FW slot/local2 from 7.30pm. More information from Robert Bird, by email to spirit.guide@hotmail.co.uk.

Lincoln Short-Wave Club is taking part in the UK Club Contests on Tuesday. On Wednesday there’s a used equipment sale in Aisthorpe Village Hall, LN1 2SJ. The club net is on Thursday from 8pm on 145.325MHz. Saturday sees shack activities plus G5FZ on the air. For more information contact Pam Rose, G4STO, on 01427 788 356.

On Tuesday Salop Amateur Radio Society Club has its CW net from 4.30pm on 144.070MHz. Wednesday sees the club voice net on GB3LH from 8.30pm. On Thursday there’s a natter night. For details, email salopamateurradio@gmail.com.

Now we return to the traditional listing in date order. On Monday RAF Waddington Amateur Radio Club has its net on 145.325MHz from 8pm. Details from Bob, G3VCA, on 07971 166 250.

On Tuesday Cheltenham Amateur Radio Association has a slow CW net on 3540-3550kHz from 8pm. More information from Derek Thom, G3NKS, on 01242 241 099.

On Tuesday Derby & District Amateur Radio Society is on the air. Contact Richard Buckby, by email to radio@dadars.org.uk.

On Tuesday Loughborough & District Amateur Radio Club is having a practical evening. More information from Chris, G1ETZ, on 01509 504 319.

On Tuesday Mid-Warwickshire Amateur Radio Society is having a technical topics and homebrew evening. Details from Don, G4CYG, on 01926 424 465.

On Wednesday Malvern Hills RAC is having an informal evening. Contact Dave, G4IDF, on 01905 351 568.

On Wednesday Midland Amateur Radio Society is having a general meeting, along with the shack on the air and training classes. Details from Norman, G8BHE, on 07808 078 003.

On Wednesday South Kesteven Amateur Radio Society has its net on 145.525MHz at 8pm. More information from Andrew, M0NRD, on 07969 062 859.

On Wednesday Telford & District Amateur Radio Society is looking at power supplies, including QRM from them. Contact John Humphreys, M0JZH, on 07824 737 716.

On Saturday Central Radio Amateur Circle has a shed work evening and group meeting. Details from Martin Hallard, G1TYV, on 07948 027 994.

NEWS FOR THE NORTH OF ENGLAND

South Manchester Radio and Computer Club is holding a technical forum on Monday. On Thursday there’s a talk on the science of surfing by Bob Marsh. Details from Ron, G3SVW, on 01619 693 999.

On Tuesday Chester & District Radio Society is having a visit by Paul Darlington of Kanga Products. Wednesday sees an inter club quiz with Wirral & District Radio Society at Irby Cricket Club. Contact Bruce Sutherland, M0CVP, on 01244 343 825.

Halifax & District Amateur Radio Society has its net on Wednesday on 145.400MHz. Thursday sees a net in association with the West Yorkshire branch of RAFARS on 145.350MHz from 7pm. Details from Martin, M0GQB, on 01422 341 317.

On Monday Angel of the North Amateur Radio Club is on the air. Contact Nancy Bone, G7UUR, on 01914 770 036.

On Monday Bolton Wireless Club is having a social evening at Tavern Fayre. For details, send an email to boltonwireless@gmail.com.

On Monday Macclesfield & District Radio Society is watching the WWFF 44 film. For details, email info@gx4mws.com.

On Monday Sheffield Amateur Radio Club is having a shack night operating M0RCU. Contact David, G6DCT, via email to littlewood20@btinternet.com.

On Monday Thornton Cleveleys Amateur Radio Society is having a video night. Details form John E Rodway, G4FRK, on 01253 862 810.

On Tuesday Stockport Radio Society has a skills night. More information from Heather Stanley, M6HNS, on 07506 904 422.

On Wednesday Denby Dale Radio Club is having a night on the air. Details from Darran, G0BWB, on 07974 423 227.

On Wednesday Mid-Cheshire Amateur Radio Society is testing the HF contest equipment. Contact Peter Paul Fox, G8HAV, on 01606 553 401.

On Wednesday Sheffield & District Wireless Society is having a social night. Contact Krystyna, 2E0KSH, on 07884 065 375.

On Thursday Bishop Auckland Radio Amateur Club is having a normal club night with training classes. Contact Mark, G0GFG, on 01388 747 497.

On Thursday Ripon & District Amateur Radio Society is holding a club night. More information from David Cutter, G3UNA, on 01423 860 778.

On Friday East Cleveland Amateur Radio Club is on the air. For more information contact Alistair, G4OLK, on 01642 475 671.

NEWS FOR NORTHERN IRELAND

On Tuesday Mid Ulster Amateur Radio Club is erecting the new Antennae A4, with the first call to be carried out by club chairman Jimmy, GI0OND. Details from Dave, via email to muarc.secretary@yahoo.co.uk.

Next Sunday and Monday Ballymena Amateur Radio Group is running a Castles and Stately Homes on the Air station at Shanes Castle, Randalstown Rd, Antrim BT41 4NE. The special event station is part of the steam traction rally at Shanes Castle. There will be catering, family attractions, disabled facilities, car parking and access by public transport. Contact Hugh Kernohan, GI0JEV, on 02825 871 481.

NEWS FOR SCOTLAND

Stirling and District Amateur Radio Society has training, construction and projects from 10.30am till 2pm today and next Sunday. Thursday sees operating, training and presentations from 7 until 9pm. Contact Myles Williamson, MM0MYL, on 07890 477 516.

Livingston and District Amateur Radio Society is having an operating and training evening on Monday. Thursday sees an operating evening. For more information contact Cathie, 2M0DIB, on 01506 433 846.

On Wednesday Glenrothes & DRC is holding a club night. More information from Tam, MM0TGB, on 0775 3526 498.

On Wednesday Lothians Radio Society has a club night at Braid Hills Hotel. Contact Mike Burgess, MM0MLB, via email to secretary@lothiansradiosociety.com.

On Thursday Aberdeen Amateur Radio Society is having a construction and on the air evening. More information from Fred Gordon, GM3ALZ, on 01975 651 365.

On Friday West of Scotland Amateur Radio Society has its regular club night from 8pm at Garnethill Multicultural Centre. For details, email info@wosars.org.uk.

NEWS FOR THE SOUTH EAST and EAST ANGLIA

We start with news from clubs that have several events this week. Cambridge & District Amateur Radio Club has nets today and next Sunday from 8.30am on 144.180MHz USB, from 10.30am on 7.0875MHz or 3.620MHz LSB, and from 11.30am on 145.550MHz FM. Thursday sees a club net from 8pm on 145.550MHz FM. More information from Ian, M0HTA, via email to publicity@cdarc.co.uk.

Surrey Radio Contact Club has a net today and next Sunday on 1905kHz from 9.30am. On Thursday there’s a net from 8pm on 70.300MHz and Friday sees a net on 145.350MHz, also from 8pm. Details from John, G8IYS, on 020 8657 0454.

Fareham & District Amateur Radio Club has a Top Band net from 7.30pm on 1967kHz LSB on Monday. The 2m net is on Tuesday on 145.475MHz. On Wednesday there’s a video night, and Thursday sees a Top Band net from 7.30pm on 1967kHz. For more information contact Steve Ellis, G7HEP, on 01329 663 673.

Southdown Amateur Radio Society has its regular schedule of multiple nets and meet-ups on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday on various bands. For details contact Andy, M6GND, on 01323 486 924.

Now we return to the traditional listing in date order. On Monday Eastbourne Electronics & Radio Club is having a talk. Contact Peter, via email to g4urt@btinternet.com.

On Monday New Forest Amateur Radio Society is having a presentation by Richard, M0RBF on mobile installation and operation. More information from Richard, M0RBF, on 01425 612 612.

On Tuesday Dorking & District Radio Society is having a talk on digital amateur radio by Denis Stanton, G0OLX. Contact David Browning, M6DJB, via email to djb.abraxas@btinternet.com.

On Tuesday Leiston Amateur Radio Club has its 2m and 70cm contest. Details by email to m0iah2008@gmail.com.

On Wednesday Bracknell Amateur Radio Club has its net from 8pm on 145.375MHz. Contact Andy, M0HAK, via email to andy@m0hak.co.uk.

On Wednesday Bromley & District Amateur Radio Society has its net, commencing on 145.500MHz at 9pm. Contact Andy, G4WGZ, on 01689 878 089.

On Wednesday Crawley Amateur Radio Club is having a surplus equipment sale. More information from John, G3VLH, on 01342 714 402.

On Wednesday Darenth Valley Radio Society is holding its AGM. Contact Mike, G8AXA, on 01689 856 935.

On Wednesday Norfolk Amateur Radio Club is having an informal and Bright Sparks evening. Details from Chris Danby, G0DWV, on 01603 898 308.

On Thursday Echelford Amateur Radio Society is holding its AGM and watching the Saba Island - Dutch Caribbean PJ6A DXpedition video. Contact John, G4GSC, on 01784 451 898.

On Thursday Edgware & District Radio Society is discussing G3ASR/P operations for 2016, led by Bill, G0STR. More information from Mike, G4RNW, on 02089 500 658.

On Thursday Hilderstone Radio and Electronics Club is having a talk on DMR by Matt, M1CMN. Contact Ian, 2E0DUE, via email to hilderstoneclub@gmail.com.

On Thursday Horsham Amateur Radio Club is having a social evening at The Bax Castle, Two Mile Ash. More information from Alistair, G3ZBU, on 07855 268 666.

On Thursday Loughton & Epping Forest Amateur Radio Society has its net on 144.725MHz from 8pm. The Field Weekend at The Rainbow and Dove Public House, Hastingwood also commences on Thursday. For more information contact Marc Litchman, G0TOC, on 0774 345 6058.

On Thursday Newbury & District Amateur Radio Society is having a talk by David, 2E0GBG about World Scout Jamboree 2015 in Japan. Contact Rob, G4LMW, on 01635 862 737.

On Thursday Norfolk Coast Amateur Radio Society is having a talk on restoring the CR100. Details from Steve, G3PND, via email to info@norfolkcoastamateurs.co.uk.

On Thursday Reading & District Amateur Radio Club is having a talk on the Chilton Ionosonde by Dr Ruth Bamford of Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. Details from Pete, G8FRC, on 01189 695 697.

On Thursday Thames Amateur Radio Group has its net on GB3DA. For more information email targradio@outlook.com.

On Thursday Thurrock Acorns Amateur Radio Club has an open net on 2m FM simplex from 7.30pm. Details from Gordon, 2E0ELI, via email to acorns@taarc.co.uk.

On Friday Fort Purbrook Amateur Radio Club is having a presentation on transmission lines. Details from Graham Yoxall, M0CYX, on 0785 040 0108.

On Friday Itchen Valley Amateur Radio Club has a net on 145.525MHz from 8pm. More information from Quintin Gee, M1ENU, on 023 8078 7799.

On Friday Mid-Sussex Amateur Radio Society is having a quiz and cakes night. More information from Stella Rogers, M6ZRJ, on 01273 844 511.

On Sunday Worthing & District Amateur Radio Club has its regular net on 3.172MHz from 7.30am, followed by the regular breakfast meeting at 9am. Details from Al, M0OAL, via email to information@wadarc.org.uk.

NEWS FOR THE SOUTH WEST

We start with news from clubs that have several events this week. We start with news from clubs that have several events this week. Today and next Sunday North Bristol Amateur Radio Club is holding an open net on GB3BS from 7pm. On Friday there’s a relax and chat evening plus operating and training classes. Details from Mat, G7FBD, via email to g7fbd@gb3bs.com.

The SouthWest Cluster is holding further experimental nets on the DMR Network, Slot 2, Talk Group 950, from 6pm tonight and next Sunday.

Exeter Amateur Radio Society is having an SDR dongles workshop on Monday. Tuesday sees the club net on 145.575MHz from 7.45pm. Contact Nick, M0NRJ, on 01363 775 756.

Thornbury & South Gloucestershire Amateur Radio Club is on the air on Wednesday. The club net is on Friday. Saturday sees the start of the weekend field event. For details, email night tsgarc@gmail.com.

Now we return to the traditional listing in date order. Tonight, Flight Refuelling Amateur Radio Society has its Spring auction sale, open to all who enjoy bargains. Details from John, G4POF, via email to g4pof@hotmail.com.

On Monday Bristol RSGB Group is having a talk by Roger Dixon, G4BVY on complex impedance matching. Details from Robin Thompson, G3TKF, via email to robin@g3tkf.co.uk.

On Monday Weston Super Mare Radio Society is having a construction, operating and natter night. Contact Paul, G3SDH, via email to g3sdh@btinternet.com.

On Thursday South Bristol Amateur Radio Club is having an open house and on the air night. Details from Andrew Jenner, G7KNA, on 07838 695 471.

On Thursday Yeovil Amateur Radio Club has the club station on the air. Details from Rodney Edwards, M0RGE, on 01935 825 791.

On Friday Torbay Amateur Radio Society has its auction and 90/10 sale. For more information contact Dave, G6FSP, by email to g6fsp@tars.org.uk.

NEWS FOR WALES

On Monday Llanelli Amateur Radio Society has a junk sale. Contact Craig, MW0MXT, on 01269 845 773.

On Thursday Aberystwyth & District Amateur Radio Society has its net on 145.500 then 145.550MHz. More information from Ray, GW7AGG, on 01970 611 853.

On Thursday North Wales Radio Society is having a natter night. Details from Ceri Jones, 2W0LJC, via email to 2w0ljc@mail.com.

On Friday Blackwood and District Amateur Radio Society is having a teaching session on D-Star by Andy, MW0MWZ. Details are online at www.gw6gw.co.uk.

00:0000:00

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 17th April 2016

The news headlines:

  • RSGB launches new amateur radio video

  • International Marconi Day activities

  • Listen for Tim Peake contact

Amateur radio is a hobby with so many aspects it can be hard to describe and difficult to know what to try first. The RSGB’s new video gives you a taster of just some of the many exciting, challenging and fun things you can do. You can see the video on the RSGB website via www.rsgb.org/main or via the RSGB’s YouTube channel. The Society will take a look at other parts of the hobby in the future, so let us know if you have any particular aspect you’d like to see covered.

Marconi was born on the 25th of April 1874 and amateur radio operators around the world are again taking part in International Marconi Day on Saturday, the 23rd of April. The 24-hour-long event has drawn participation by as many as 60 stations from around the world. GB4IMD will be operating from the Stithians Showground in Cornwall. For a list of confirmed stations visit http://gx4crc.com/imd-stations/

The next amateur radio contact with Tim Peake on the International Space Station is scheduled for the 18th of April at approximately 1456 UTC, that’s 1556 BST. Pupils at St Richards Catholic College, Bexhill-on-Sea will use the callsign GB4SRC to make contact with Tim, who should be audible over most of Western Europe. Interested parties should listen in on 145.800MHz narrowband FM.

ANZAC Day on the 25th of April remembers those who died in 1915 in the fighting at Gallipoli. To commemorate, amateurs in New Zealand and Australia will be on the bands using the same older modes once employed by radio operators in the military. The AM & CW event has become a popular annual ANZAC Day activity with those participating using older, crystal-locked transceivers or former military radios.

The RSGB is pleased to announce that two members of staff have successfully passed their Foundation licence exam. Membership Secretary Clare Davies is now licensed as M6GSV, and RSGB Sales Secretary Louise Routh, is M6TZH. This now means that 11 of the 15 RSGB HQ staff are licensed, with a mixture of Full, Intermediate and Foundations levels.

Voting closes this week, on the 21st, for the 89th RSGB AGM that will be held in Glasgow on Saturday the 23rd of April, commencing at 12 noon. For details, go to www.rsgb.org/AGM2016.

World Amateur Radio Day takes place on the 18th of April. It marks the founding of the International Amateur Radio Union in 1925. Radio amateurs worldwide will take to the airwaves to celebrate amateur radio’s contribution to society.

The International Amateur Radio Union has announced that Hans Blondeel Timmerman, PB2T, has been appointed to serve as IARU Satellite Adviser. He replaces ZS6AKV, who has served as Satellite Advisor since 1994 and to whom the IARU is grateful for his excellent work. Hans has also been nominated as the CEPT coordinator for WRC-19 Agenda Item 1.1, which will consider a formal 50MHz amateur allocation in Region 1.

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

Today, the 17th, the West London Radio & Electronics Show takes place at Kempton Park Racecourse, Staines Road East, Sunbury on Thames TW16 5AQ. The venue has free car parking and disabled facilities. There will be a talk-in station and doors open at 10am, with disabled visitors gaining access 10 minutes earlier. Other attractions include trade stands, a flea market, a Bring & Buy, special interest groups and lectures. A raffle will also be held. Catering is available on site. Details from Paul, M0CJX on 08451 650 351.

The Andover Radio and Computer Boot Sale will be held today, the 17th, at Tangley Village Hall, Wildhern, Andover, Hants SP11 0JE. Doors will be open from 9am to 4pm, with disabled visitors gaining access from 8.30am. Admittance is £2. There will be a Bring & Buy, Car boot area, as well as trade stands. Catering is available on site and there will be a raffle held on the day. More details from Paul Phillips, G4KZY on 0777 573 8200.

The Martin Lynch Training Academy is hosting RSGB Train the Trainers in Staines on Thames on Saturday 23 April. The course will run from 09.30 until 17.00 and is free for RSGB members. Details are online at www.hamradio.co.uk/training.php

The Ripon & District ARS Rally takes place on the 24th of April in the Hugh Ripley Hall, Ripon, North Yorkshire HG4 2PT. Doors open at 10am, with entry costing £2. Details at www.ripon.org.uk

On the 24th of April the Cambridge Repeater Group Rally will be held at Foxton Village Hall, Hardman Road, Foxton, Cambridge CB22 6RN. Car parking is free at the venue, which also has disabled facilities. The doors open at 9.30am. Admission is £2. A talk-in station will be on air to assist visitors. There will be trade stands, a car boot area, a Bring & Buy and an RSGB bookstall. Catering will be available on site and this year sees new caterers booked. Contact Lawrence, M0LCM on 0794 197 2724.

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 radcom@rsgb.org.uk.

And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources

Svein, LA9JKA, is operating on Jan Mayen Island, EU-022, on all HF bands, until early October. He is using the callsign JX9JKA. Send QSLs to his home callsign.

Tom, KC0W will be active for several months as KH8/KC0W from American Samoa, using CW only. Send cards to his home QTH in the United States.

Members of the Palos Verdes ARC will be working as K6PV/6 from Santa Catalina Island, NA-066, from the 28th of April to the 1st of May. Look for them operating SSB, CW, RTTY and PSK31 on the 10 to 80m bands. Send QSL cards via K6PV.

Doug, VK4ADC is working holiday style as VK9NU from Norfolk Island, OC-005, from the 23rd of April until the 2nd of May. He will only be working SSB. Look for him on the 80 to 6m bands. Send QSL cards via his home callsign, either direct or via the bureau. You may also use eQSL and Logbook of the World.

Alex, W1CDC is on the bands as 8R1A from Guyana until the 24th of April, holiday style. Listen for him on the 80 to 10m bands, mainly working CW. QSL to his home callsign.

Now the special event news

Kerry Amateur Radio Group will participate as an Award Station in this year's International Marconi Day event on the 23rd of April. The station will be set up the site of the former Marconi Station at Ballybunnion. Members of the Expeditionary Radio Team will operate from 0000 to 2359UTC on the 23rd. Two HF stations are planned, using EI6YXQ to commemorate the original callsign, YXQ, used for the first transatlantic voice radio transmission in March 1919.

South Essex ARS will operate GB2BOX on the 24th of April from 10am-4pm at RAF Boxted Airfield Museum, Langham Lane, Langham, Essex CO4 5NW for Airfields on the Air. Admission to the museum is £3, accompanied children are free.

North-West ARC will take part in World Amateur Radio Day on the 18th from 12 noon to 4pm at The Brooklyn Hotel, Green Lane, Bolton BL3 2EF.

GB1STG will be on the air for St George’s Day, the 23rd, from 10am to 6pm from Galleywood Common, Galleywood, Chelmsford, Essex CM2 8TS. Operation will be on 40m and 2m.

OE16M will be on the air from the 22nd to 24th of April as part of the Marconi Day celebrations. This is also an official International Marconi Day station and contacts on the 23rd count for awards. QSL via the bureau to OE1WHC.

GB0STG will celebrate St George's Day on the 23rd of April from the Harby Allotments in the Vale of Belvoir in Leicestershire. The location will be supporting Sheds, Allotments and Green Houses on the Air.

From the 18th to the 28th of April IQ4FE will be on the air to commemorate the World War II battle that occurred near Parma. Details are on QRZ.com.

Pontefract & District ARS will put GB1AVR on the air on the 22nd and 23rd of April for the Ackworth Vintage Rally, a gathering of Scammell and other vintage vehicles.

Now the contest news

The Worked All Britain Datamodes Contest takes place today, the 17th of April. Using the 3.5, 7 and 14MHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square. There are two separate contests, one for RTTY and one for PSK, and you will need a separate set of entry sheets for each. The PSK contest is from 1400 to 1600UTC and again from 2000 to 2200UTC. The RTTY contest is from 1200 to 1400UTC and again from 1800 to 2000UTC. Both are split into two periods to allow for good propagation on 40 and 20m in the afternoon and on 80 and 40m in the evening. Entries need to be with the contest manager by the 8th of May. Full details from the WAB website www.worked-all-britain.org.uk

On Tuesday the 1.3GHz UK Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Thursday, the data leg of the 80m Club Championships take place from 1900 to 2030UTC. Using RTTY and PSK the exchange is signal report and serial number

On the 23rd and 24th, the SP DX RTTY contest runs from 1200 to 1200UTC. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz bands the exchange is signal report and serial number, with SP stations sending their Province code too.

On the 24th the BARTG Sprint 75 runs from 1700 to 2100UTC. Using 75 baud RTTY only on the 3.5 to 28MHz bands, the exchange is just the serial number.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday 15th April.

No sooner did we say that it was beginning to look like the start of a solar minimum than an enormous sunspot appeared around the sun's limb. Sunspot 2529 has produced a number of B and C-class solar flares. And despite NOAA predicting a solar flux index of around 80 last week, it rocketed to 111.

Geomagnetic conditions remained unsettled all week thanks to coronal hole activity and associated high-speed solar wind streams. The K index hit five on Wednesday and Friday, and hovered around three and four all week. Next week the solar flux index is predicted to remain around 90-100. Geomagnetic conditions are predicted to be more settled, with perhaps Tuesday the 19th and Saturday the 23rd more unsettled.

Speaking of which, Saturday the 23rd is International Marconi Day, when more than 60 special event stations around the world join in on HF to celebrate the inventor's birthday. You can get a nice certificate by working 15 of these stations and Steve G0KYA has a set of propagation conditions for UK stations on his Blogspot page – just Google G0KYA.

Eighty and forty metres will be best for working the UK stations, while 20m may be optimum for the Europeans. The East Coast of the USA is more problematic, with 20 or 17m likely to be the best bands.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

This weekend we still have the leftovers of the low pressure and April showers in south-eastern Britain, but high pressure is building in from the west to affect much of the country early next week. This could bring some slightly-enhanced Tropo conditions, but only briefly since unsettled showery weather will return after midweek. We therefore have some chance of Tropo, mostly West-East paths into northern Europe during the first half of the week, and either side. April showers could give some rain scatter on the gigahertz bands.

There have been a few Sporadic-E openings on 10m. One on Wednesday 13th April, from Austria to Scotland was crossed by a jet stream over the mountains of southern Germany. It is worth checking the RSGB propagation forum for the daily jet stream forecast charts to see which direction the Sporadic-E might appear from. Look for jet streams crossing mountain ranges like the Alps or Pyrenees.

The 2016 Lyrids meteor shower peaks on the 21st and 22nd of April so by now we should be seeing a noticeable increase in meteor rates. For EME operators, the Moon is up in the evening and overnight this coming week, but losses are highest as we approach apogee on Thursday.

And that’s all for this week from the propagation team.

00:0000:00

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 10th April 2016

The news headlines:

  • New RSGB General Manager appointed

  • Ofcom revises Licence Guidance

  • New DXpedition Fund trustees

Steve Thomas, M1ACB has been appointed as the new General Manager of the Radio Society of Great Britain. He will join the staff on Monday the 11th of April. Steve has been an active volunteer with the RSGB for many years, and is presently the Regional Manager for Region 12. Graham Coomber, G0NBI will remain in place until the 30th of April, to ensure a smooth handover.

Ofcom have revised their Guidance notes relating to the UK Amateur Radio Licence. The document should be read in conjunction with the Licence, and is intended to help licensees understand and comply with the Licence terms and conditions. It can be downloaded from the Ofcom website, or via the shortcut tinyurl.com/ofcom-ar-2016

The RSGB sponsors HF DXpeditions to the rarer countries through a fund that is supported each year from proceeds of a raffle held at the annual RSGB Convention, as well income from legacies and donations. The Society wishes to put on record its thanks to Colin Thomas, G3PSM who is stepping down as a Trustee of the fund after 19 years, and to welcome two new trustees, Martin Atherton, G3ZAY and Gordon Rolland, G3USR. Details of the fund are on the RSGB website under the Operating tab.

The 89th RSGB AGM will be held in Glasgow on Saturday the 23rd of April, commencing at 12 noon. Arrangements have been made for Members who are unable to attend the AGM to cast their votes by proxy. For details, go to www.rsgb.org/AGM2016. Please note that online voting closes at 12 noon on the 21st of April. Whilst the Society encourages Members to vote electronically via the website wherever possible, if you require a postal vote please call HQ on 01234 832 702. Lunch will be provided for Members who notify their attendance in advance. Please register using the form on the website.

The April/May edition of the online RadCom Basics is now available to RSGB Members and was emailed to subscribers last week. It contains features on receiving transmissions from the International Space Station, part two of the feature on making homemade coaxial trap antennas, getting your first HF award with International Marconi Day, plus a look at JT65. RadCom Basics is aimed at new amateurs and those who may want to find out more about aspects of the hobby they may have never considered. You can find out more about RadCom Basics and subscribe in the publications section of the RSGB website, www.rsgb.org.

The Martin Lynch Training Academy is hosting an RSGB Train the Trainers session in Staines on Thames on Saturday the 23rd of April. The course will run from 9.30am until 5pm and is free for RSGB Members. Train the Trainers is designed to encourage and support anyone delivering Foundation, Intermediate and/or Advanced licence classes who is not already a professional teacher. It's a fun day delivered by 3 enthusiastic professional teachers and keen radio amateurs, who between them have over 50 years’ experience in the classroom. To book a place please email steve@hamradio.co.uk

World Amateur Radio Day, observed every year on the 18th of April, marks the founding of the International Amateur Radio Union in 1925. Radio amateurs worldwide will take to the airwaves to celebrate amateur radio’s contribution to society. The IARU has provided a World Amateur Radio Day poster that can be downloaded from www.iaru.org under the ‘operating’ tab. Amateurs are encouraged to promote their activity on social media by using the hashtag #WARD2016.

The surprise visit to North Korea by Dom, 3Z9DX last December where he gave a demonstration of amateur radio to local officials has been given approval for DXCC credit. The callsign used was P5/3Z9DX. He made in the region of 785 QSOs and it is hoped that further visits may be possible in the future.

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

Today, the 10th of April, the NARSA exhibition will take place at Norbreck Castle Exhibition Centre, Blackpool FY2 9AA. The venue has car parking as well as disabled facilities. There will be a talk-in station and Morse proficiency tests are also available. Highlights include trade stands, a Bring & Buy, special interest groups, and an RSGB bookstand. There is a licensed bar and catering facilities. More information from Dave, M0OBW on 01270 761 608.

Also today, the 10th, is the 32nd Yeovil QRP Convention held at Digby Hall, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3AA. Doors open at 9.30am and admission is £3. There will be traders, a Bring & Buy and club stalls, plus a programme of talks. Contact Bob Harris, by email to wjh069@gmail.com.

Next Sunday, the 17th, the West London Radio & Electronics Show will take place at Kempton Park Racecourse, Staines Road East, Sunbury on Thames TW16 5AQ. The venue has free car parking and disabled facilities. There will be a talk-in station and doors open at 10am with disabled visitors gaining access 10 minutes earlier. Other attractions include trade stands, a flea market, a Bring & Buy, special interest groups and lectures. A raffle will also be held. Catering is available on site. Details from Paul, M0CJX on 08451 650 351.

The Andover Radio And Computer Boot Sale will be held on the 17th of April at Tangley Village Hall, Wildhern, Andover, Hants SP11 0JE. Doors will be open from 9am to 4pm, with disabled visitors gaining access from 8.30am. Admittance is £2. There will be a Bring & Buy, Car boot area, as well as trade stands. Catering will be available on site and there will be a raffle held on the day. More details from Paul Phillips, G4KZY on 0777 573 8200.

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 radcom@rsgb.org.uk.

And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources

A team of operators will be on the air as EP2A from the Gilan Province in Iran between the 16th and 25th of April. They will be using the 160 to 6m bands, except 60m, using CW, SSB and RTTY. They will have four stations on the air. QSL via YL2GM or Club Log OQRS, either direct or bureau.

Brian, GW4DVB will be active as J88PI from Palm Island in St Vincent and the Grenadines, NA-025, from the 12th to the 22nd of April. Using an Elecraft KX3 and KXPA100 with a 10m vertical and M0CVO multiband dipole, he plans to operate on the 6 to 40m bands SSB only. QSL via his home address, see QRZ.com.

Listen for Bill, K2HVN, working as 9Y/K2HVN on the Island of Tobago, SA-009, from the 4th to the 26th of April. He will work 40 to 10m holiday style. He will be operating SSB and CW. QSL via his home callsign only; he will not accept LoTW. See QRZ.com for information.

Operators Helen, RC5A and Yuri, RM0F are going to Maldive Islands, AS-013, where they will be active as 8Q7CA and 8Q7FU, respectively, between the 17th and 30th of April. They will work the 160 to 6m bands using CW and SSB. QSL via their home callsigns, direct, by the Bureau or the OQRS on ClubLog.

Alex, W1CDC will be active as 8R1A from Guyana from 11th to 24th April. This will be a holiday-style activation of 80m to 10m, mainly on CW. QSL to the home call.

Jacek, SP5APW will visit Koh Rong Sanloem Island in Cambodia from 12th to 18th April. His callsign will be XU7AKC and the IOTA reference is AS-133. QSL via Club Log OQRS.

Now the special event news

We have no reports of special event stations taking place this week.

Now the contest news

Today, the 10th, the First 50MHz contest takes place from 0900 to 1200UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number, locator and postcode.

Also today, the 10th, the UK Microwave Group 2nd Low Band contest takes place from 1000 to 1600UTC. Using the 1.3 to 3.4GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Tuesday the 432MHz UK Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes the exchange is the usual signal report, serial number and locator.

On Wednesday it’s the turn of the SSB leg of the 80m Club Championships, which runs from 1900 to 2030UTC. The exchange s signal report and serial number.

On Saturday, the 16th, the International Sprint SSB contest runs from 1700 to 2100UTC. Using SSB only on the 3.5 to 14MHz bands the exchange is both callsigns, serial number and name.

The Worked All Britain Datamodes Contest takes place next Sunday, the 17th of April 2016. Using the 3.5, 7 and 14MHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square. There are two separate contests, one for RTTY and one for PSK, and you will need a separate set of entry sheets for each. The PSK contest is from 1400 to 1600UTC and again from 2000 to 2200UTC. The RTTY contest is from 1200 to 1400UTC and again from 1800 to 2000UTC. Both are split into two periods to allow for good propagation on 20 and 40m in the afternoon and on 40 and 80m in the evening. Entries need to be with the contest manager by the 8th of May. Full details from the WAB website www.worked-all-britain.org.uk

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4DDK on Friday 8th April.

It is beginning to look like we’re getting an early taste of the upcoming solar minimum. The sun currently only has one small sunspot group and, at the time of writing, there were no new spots coming up behind it. The solar flux index hovered in the low to mid eighties this week, giving a noon-time critical frequency of 5.9MHz on Tuesday and 5.2MHz on Wednesday, as measured at Chilton, near Harwell. These figures suggest that the maximum usable frequency over a 3,000km path struggled to get up to 15m, although FT4JA on Juan de Nova has been audible on 12 metres at times. Forty metres was only open to Europe and beyond, after losing its valuable inter-G capabilities.

The earth was hit by yet more plasma from the solar wind in the early hours of Friday, sending the K index up to five.

Next week, NOAA predicts the solar flux index will decline further to around 80. Unsettled geomagnetic conditions are predicted for the 11th to the 14th, thanks to recurring coronal holes on the solar surface and high speed solar wind streams. We suggest you get your HF DXing in on Sunday, before the onslaught from the solar wind.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

It will be another unsettled week, with low pressure being the main driving force behind the weather, and we are therefore very unlikely to see any enhanced conditions on VHF or UHF due to Tropo. There is, however, still a very good chance of further heavy showers, some thundery, and these big clouds can produce good rain scatter paths on the gigahertz bands.

We mentioned last week that April is the time to start looking on 10m for Sporadic-E openings. There were indeed some fleeting European 10m Sporadic-E paths logged on the various cluster sites last week. Admittedly, some of these have been beacons and skimmers, but it is worth putting in a human presence on 10m just in case any early season paths are accessible from Britain.

As the moon moves away from perigee, degradation on the EME path will increase throughout the week. The increase will be approximately 1.9dB by next weekend. The early part of this week will be favoured by small EME stations.

The 2016 Lyrids meteor shower peaks on the 21st and 22nd of April. A noticeable increase in meteor rates can be expected from about the 16th of April.

And that’s all for this week from the propagation team.

00:0000:00

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 3rd April 2016

The news headlines:

  • YOTA 2017 UK Summer Camp

  • Ofcom pausing revalidations

  • KH5K off DXCC List

The RSGB is pleased to announce that the Youngsters on the Air 2017 summer camp will be held in the UK. The Society looks forward to welcoming teams of young amateurs from some 15 countries in IARU Region 1 to the UK in August 2017. The RSGB Youth Committee and RSGB HQ will be working hard over the coming weeks and months to deliver a great YOTA event.

Representatives of the Society met with Ofcom last month. Further details are on the Notices section of the RSGB website. Subjects discussed included how the Society and Ofcom could work more effectively to tackle reports of EMC, implementation of the WRC-15 agreement to harmonise the spectrum allocation at 5MHz and progress with licence re-validation. Ofcom reported that, due to the commissioning of a new IT system, there would be a pause in the revalidation process until later in the Spring.

The ARRL Awards Committee has voted to delete Kingman Reef, KH5K, from the DXCC List, effective from the 29th of March 2016. Honor Roll status will now be attainable after confirming 330 entities on the DXCC List and the total number of entities on the List will drop from 340 to 339.

The findings of the Amateur Radio Survey that was undertaken at the end of last year have now been analysed. An initial summary will appear in the June edition of RadCom and a presentation of the key findings will be made available to affiliated clubs later in the year.

Sad news now. Northern newsreader Hugh Morgan Jones, M1NTO has become a silent key after a long illness. Hugh was a very capable news reader and always reliable. Our sympathy goes out to his family and friends. His funeral will be held at Tyldesley Methodist Church on Monday the 11th of April at 10am.

The Leicestershire UHF Beacon, GB3LEU, was switched off on the 24th of February to investigate spurious emissions that were being produced by the transmitter’s synthesiser stage. The design is based on the LMX2541 IC. It is not known how long it will be out of service. If anyone has experience of this particular chip, the repeater group would appreciate a call. Please contact Geoff Dover, G4AFJ on 01455 823 344.

RSGB Members are reminded that voting is still open for the resolutions at the forthcoming AGM. Full information, and details of how to vote, were contained in the April edition of RadCom.

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

Hack Green Bunker Rally takes place today, the 3rd of April, at the Hack Green Nuclear Bunker, Nantwich in Cheshire CW5 8AL. On sale will be electronic equipment, amateur gear, components, military radio sets and vehicle spares. Doors open at 10am and catering is available on site. Further details from Lucy on 01270 623 353.

On the 10th of April, the NARSA exhibition will take place at Norbreck Castle Exhibition Centre, Blackpool FY2 9AA. The venue has car parking as well as disabled facilities. There will be a talk-in station and Morse proficiency tests are also available. Highlights include trade stands, a Bring & Buy, special interest groups, and an RSGB bookstand. There is a licensed bar and catering facilities. More information from Dave, M0OBW on 01270 761 608.

Also on the 10th is the 32nd Yeovil QRP Convention held at Digby Hall, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3AA. Doors open at 9.30am and admission is £3. There will be traders, a Bring & Buy and club stalls, plus a programme of talks. Contact Bob Harris, by email to wjh069@gmail.com.

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 radcom@rsgb.org.uk.

And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources

Four German operators are active as 5V7D from Kpeme in Togo until the 11th of April. They are working all bands 10m to 80m using SSB, CW and RTTY. QSL manager is DL9MBI.

Dick, G3RWL returns to Barbados, NA-021, until the 22nd of April where he will reactivate his 8P9DR callsign. He will operate on CW and RTTY. QSLs go via ClubLog OQRS.

In addition to the ongoing Heard Island DXpedition, VK0EK, there will be another rare DXCC entity on the air this week. Until the 11th of April, look out for FT4JA from Juan de Nova Island, AF-012. The island is located in the Mozambique Channel and has a small garrison of French troops and a weather station. QSLs will be available via ClubLog OQRS.

In April, Svein, LA9JKA returns to Jan Mayen, EU-022, for another 6 months on the island. On the air during his spare time as JX9JKA on HF using SSB and digital modes, he will focus on 160, 80, 40 and 30m. QSL direct via LA9JKA.

Akira, JH0CKF will be operating as T88MZ from Koror Island, OC-009, between the 5th and 8th of April. QSL via JH0CKF either direct or via the bureau, LoTW or eQSL.

Now the special event news

Today, the 3rd, GB1HPT will be on the air celebrating RAF Hooton Park, Cheshire. See the entry on QRZ.com for more information.

Now the contest news

The CW/SSB leg of the SPDX Contest ends its 24 hour run at 1500UTC today, the 3rd. Work Polish stations only, giving them a signal report and serial number. Expect a signal report and one of sixteen single-letter Province codes in return. There are a large number of categories, and certificates are on offer for the category winners in each DXCC entity.

The SSB leg of new contest, RoLo 1, which replaces RoPoCo, runs for 90 minutes this evening, the 3rd, starting at 1900UTC. The power limit for all entrants is 100W. Send a signal report plus, for your first QSO, your own full Locator. In subsequent QSOs you send the Locator you received in each of your previous QSOs. Even if you receive a Locator that is obviously corrupted, pass it on exactly as received. This contest is a qualifying event for the HF Championship. It is all about logging accuracy, and as long as you aren’t the person who introduces an error, you won’t lose points.

Also today, the First 70MHz contest runs from 0900 to 1200UTC. Using all modes in the 4m band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Monday, the CW leg of the 80m Club Championships takes place from 1900 to 2030UTC. The exchange is the usual signal report and serial number.

On Tuesday, the 144MHz UK Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Wednesday sees the UK EI 80m CC, which runs from 2000 to 2100UTC. Using SSB only the exchange is your 4 character locator.

On Saturday the 9th, the International Sprint CW contest runs from 1700 to 2100UTC. Using the 3.5 to 14MHz bands the exchange is both callsigns, serial number and name.

On Sunday the 10th, the First 50MHz contest takes place from 0900 to 1200UTC. Using all modes the exchange is signal report, serial number, locator and postcode.

Also on the 10th, the UK Microwave Group 2nd Low Band contest takes place from 1000 to 1600UTC. Using the 1.3 to 3.4GHz bands the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4DDK on Friday 1st April.

This past week saw continued low to medium geomagnetic disturbances thanks to ongoing solar coronal holes. A geomagnetic storm watch has been issued for the 2nd of April due to a disturbed interplanetary magnetic field, coupled with elevated solar wind speeds from a coronal hole high speed stream. This could see the K index climb again to five or six. Periods of further, but less potent, geomagnetic storming are forecast for the rest of next week.

At the time of writing there was just one solitary sunspot, which is stable and non-threatening. The overall trend of declining sunspot and flare activity will gradually continue as we slowly make our way towards the next solar minimum around the end of the decade.

Next week, NOAA predicts the solar flux index will be in the mid 80s. As we are now in April you should be using a smoothed sunspot number of 39 for VOACAP-based prediction programs.

April remains a good month for north-south paths, such as UK to South Africa. We also have the continuing DXpeditions of VK0EK on Heard Island and FT4JA on Juan de Nova Island near Madagascar. The optimum bands to work FT4JA are likely to be 17 or 15m, with occasional openings up to 10m if the K index remains low.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

It seems that we are stuck in this slightly unsettled April showers story for another week, with any high pressure displaced to the east and well away to the south-west of the British Isles.

So what does that leave for VHF/UHF operators? From a Tropo perspective, not a lot really, but we could again see some rain scatter options on the microwave bands from the large April shower cumulonimbus clouds. Lastly, it is worth another ‘heads up’ for the 2016 Sporadic-E season, which should be showing its hand on 10m during late April. Dust down those frequency lists, check the beacon portion of the band and give it a try. The 28MHz beacons are listed from page 135 to 140 of the 2016 RSGB Yearbook and, with more than 100 beacons per page, you’ll be spoilt for choice. There is also the prospect of some trans-equatorial propagation activity at this time of the year, making 10m a band well worth keeping an eye on during April.

There are no major meteor showers this week. In the run up to the Lyrids, from the 16th to the 22nd of April, there may be a small increase in random meteors towards the end of the week.

The moon will be close to the sun in the sky on the 7th, so EME degradation will be high due to sun noise. Additional path losses due to the moon’s perigee will be low for a few days either side of this.

And that’s all for this week from the propagation team.

00:0000:00

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 27th March 2016

The news headlines:

  • Welcome to BST

  • 10MHz for Internet of Things

  • K1JT is Amateur of the Year

Don’t forget that the clocks changed at 1am today, the 27th of March, for the start of British Summer Time. This means that all times given as UTC in this bulletin are one hour earlier than local time.

Ofcom has announced measures to help ensure adequate spectrum is available for the so-called Internet of Things, and to encourage investment and innovation in this developing technology. The Internet of Things is set to enable large numbers of previously-unconnected devices to communicate and share data with one another, a process known as machine-to-machine communications. Ofcom is allocating a total of 10MHz of VHF spectrum including 70.5-71.5MHz that, in 2015, Ofcom agreed could be used by radio amateurs for digital experimentation using a Special Research Permit. Section 4.30 of Ofcom's statement says "Radio Amateurs will continue to be permitted temporary access to the 70.5–71.5MHz band".

Joe Taylor, K1JT has been named as the 2016 Dayton Hamvention Amateur of the Year. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1993 for the discovery of the first orbiting pulsar, leading to observations that established the existence of gravitational waves. Joe was first licensed in 1954 as KN2ITP. Since his retirement, he has been developing and enhancing digital protocols for weak-signal amateur radio communication, including JT65 and WSPR.

In the April issue of RadCom, reference was made to GB2RS news reading in Northern Ireland within the GB2RS report. It suggested that there were no news readers there or in the Isle of Man. The GB2RS Manager, G3VBA, would like to apologise for the error as there are a number of excellent news readers in Northern Ireland, some of whom have been reading the news for many years. There are, however, no news readers yet on the Isle of Man. Apologies to all those news readers in Northern Ireland, and our grateful thanks for their service to the amateur radio community.

A new video has been released by the European Space Agency showing a summary of astronaut Tim Peake's Principia mission so far. It can be viewed at https://youtu.be/5PHpF4xnvKQ

On the 21st of March the UBSEDS14 balloon, launched by University of Bristol students, completed its circumnavigation of the Northern Hemisphere. During the flight, at an altitude of about 11.5km, the balloon transmitted telemetry data at 4 minute intervals using Contestia 16/1000 on 434.600MHz USB, with an output power of just 3mW. Each telemetry packet was preceded by 10 seconds of 1Hz pips for manual alignment and a RSID tone for automatic alignment with suitable software. Additionally the payload had the capability for 144MHz APRS.

An initial meeting for all those interested in Broad Band HamNet, a system of digital communications on the amateur microwave bands, will be held on the 22nd of May at the HQ of Crawley Amateur Radio Club. The organisers hope to attract attendees from across the country. There will be presentations, demonstrations and open discussions. Please contact Ted, G4ELM, via email to BBHN.Event.2016@gmail.com to receive a copy of the agenda and to let him know if you plan to attend.

Two important consultations close at the end of March. These concern the future of the three UK 5MHz beacons, GB3RAL, GB3WES and GB3ORK, and input to the papers for the April IARU Region 1 interim meeting. Comments from all UK amateurs are invited via the RSGB consultations forum, which includes guidance and links to the papers. Please go to the section entitled Forums on the main RSGB website page.

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

There are no rallies in the diary for this Easter weekend. The next is the Hack Green Bunker Rally on the 3rd of April at the Hack Green Nuclear Bunker, Nantwich in Cheshire CW5 8AL. On sale will be electronic equipment, amateur gear, components, military radio sets and vehicle spares. Doors open at 10am and catering is available on site. Further details from Lucy on 01270 623 353.

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 radcom@rsgb.org.uk.

And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources

The big DXpedition event this week will be VK0EK operating from Heard Island. They plan to be on the air until the 10th of April. This is a multi-national effort is led by the experienced DXer Bob, KK6EK. Up to date info is available on http://vk0ek.org/

Mike, VK8MA is involved with a climate project that will be operating on Ascension Island, AF-003, over the next 20 months or so. He has obtained the callsign ZD8MA and will take an FT-897 with 100W and a Buddipole. He will operate on the 10 to 40m bands as work allows.

Paul, G8AFC will continue to be operational as 3B8/G8AFC from Mauritius on 10m, usually around 28.480MHz ±QRM until early April. 50MHz operation is available if conditions allow. He is running 100W to a Moxon Rectangle and is located right on the north coast. The island has the IOTA reference of AF-049.

Richard, G3RWL is working as 8P6DR from Barbados, NA-021, from the 29th of March until the 22nd of April. He will be on the air holiday style on the 10 to 80m bands using CW and RTTY. QSL via his home callsign, direct or via the bureau using ClubLog OQRS.

Eric, KV1J will be on the air as FP/KV1J from Miquelon Island, NA-032, until the 29th of March. Miquelon Island is part of the DXCC entity of the St Pierre & Miquelon Islands, located off the coast of Canada. Activity is on the 10 to 160m bands using CW, SSB and RTTY. QSL via his home callsign and Logbook of The World.

Joerg, DL3LUM is going to travel to Curacao, SA-099, from the 26th to 31st of March. Using the callsign PJ2/DL3LUM on HF, mostly CW, he will be using a KX3 and a vertical antenna. QSL via his home callsign either direct or via the bureau, OQRS, Logbook of the World or eQSL.

Now the special event news

Next weekend, on the 2nd and 3rd, GB1HPT will be on the air celebrating RAF Hooton Park, Cheshire. See the entry on QRZ.com for more information.

Mid Ulster Amateur Radio Club will be running a special event callsign to coincide with the club’s 50 year birthday during April. For further information contact the secretary, Dave, by email, to muarc.secretary@yahoo.co.uk

Between the 26th of March and the 22nd of April, Harlow and District Amateur Radio Society will be activating GB0HAF from Hunsdon Airfield for RAFARS Airfields on the Air. Operation will be on HF and 2m throughout the period. More details available on QRZ.com

Pontefract & District ARS will be operating GB4SL until early April to mark the visit of Apollo 17 commander Gene Cernan.

Now the contest news

The CQ WorldWide Worked All Prefix SSB Contest is on this weekend from 0000UTC on the 26th to 2359 on the 27th. In addition to all the common prefixes, expect to hear plenty of interesting and obscure ones too. Using the 1.8 to 28MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

On Tuesday the 70MHz UK Activity Contest will run from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Wednesday the UK EI contest takes place from 2000 to 2100UTC. Using CW only on the 80m band, the exchange is your 4 character locator.

The CW/SSB leg of the SPDX Contest runs for 24 hours from 1500 on the 2nd. Work Polish stations only, giving them a signal report and serial number. Expect a signal report and one of sixteen single-letter Province codes in return. For single-op stations there are High, Low and QRP categories for single- and multi-band, CW/SSB/mixed, but there’s also an uncommon mixed mode category called Single-Op Three Bands. Certificates are on offer for the category winners in each DXCC entity,

The SSB leg of new contest, RoLo 1, which replaces RoPoCo, runs for 90 minutes on the evening of the 3rd, starting at 1900UTC. The power limit for all entrants is 100W. Send a signal report plus, for your first QSO, your own full Locator. In subsequent QSOs you send the Locator you received in each of your previous QSOs. Even if you receive a Locator that is obviously corrupted, pass it on exactly as received. This contest is a qualifying event for the HF Championship. It is all about logging accuracy, and as long as you aren’t the person who introduces an error, you won’t lose points.

Also on the 3rd, the First 70MHz contest runs from 0900 to 1200UTC. Using all modes in the 4m band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The Royal Omani Amateur Radio Society has had to cancel the Oman High Speed Telegraphy Championship that had been planned for the 21st to 25th of September. The IARU Region 1 High Speed Telegraphy Working Group is reviewing the available alternatives.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G4BAO and G3YLA on Thursday 24th March.

This week has seen more settled geomagnetic conditions with the K index hovering around two, although Wednesday saw it spike up to four due to a high-speed solar wind stream from a coronal hole. Sunspot wise, the solar surface was a little lacklustre, with just one sunspot group visible. This pushed the solar flux index to the high eighties.

The current image from the Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft shows extensive coronal holes on both hemispheres. These don’t bode well for settled geomagnetic conditions over the next week.

The solar flux index is predicted to remain around 90. And although both NOAA and the US Air Force are predicting settled geomagnetic conditions, the SDO extreme ultraviolet image suggests otherwise. With a geo-effective coronal hole rotating into position on the sun we could get a geomagnetic storm before the end of the Easter weekend, with subsequent negative effects on the HF bands.

The goods news is that the VK0EK Heard Island DXpedition is under way. The best band and times to work them from the UK appear to be 15m from 0600 to 1400UTC, with potential 17 and 12m openings around the same time. There will be shorter openings on most of the bands at various times of day and night, so see the VK0EK website for more details.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

Last week was poor for tropo despite some forecasts saying otherwise. And it looks like another poor week with low-pressure dominating, especially over the north and east of the country. This means April showers-type weather is the most likely. Since these can often bring large towering cumulonimbus clouds with heavy rain, this provides some prospect of rain scatter on the GHz bands.

On the lower VHF bands, it’s not too long to wait now for the Sporadic-E season. There was one report last week on four metres, with the focus centred over the Apennine Mountains of central Italy. This was probably due to a jet stream being disturbed over the mountains.

Keep a lookout on 10 metres for the characteristic ‘short skip’ conditions as your early season indicators. The RSGB propagation forum will have a map of the jet stream locations each day to guide you where to look.

A week for EME system repairs is coming up as Moon declination is at its lowest on Wednesday, meaning only short, low-elevation windows. The moon is coming back towards us next week, but path losses are still high.

And that’s all for this week from the propagation team.

00:0000:00

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 20th March 2016

The news headlines:

  • VK0EK team en route to Heard Island

  • Register for Mills on theAir

  • Roy, G8CKN retires after 37 years of GB2RS

The VK0EK team are almost at the end of their 10 day journey to Heard Island at the time of writing. The operators are currently active as ZL/ZS9HI/MM from Braveheart. Activity has been mainly on CW on 30, 15 and10 meters. See their website at http://vk0ek.org for more information on the DXpedition.

Denby Dale ARS invite registrations for this year’s Mills On The Air weekend that takes place over the weekend of the 14th and 15th of May. Please visit www.g4cdd.net and follow the links.

Roy, G8CKN has decided to retire from presenting the GB2RS news and the RSGB would like to thank him for his many years of dedicated service to the amateur radio community. He started broadcasting at the beginning of the 2m FM service 37 years ago, adding simultaneous 70cm FM and 23cm ATV transmissions for the last 21 years. He then added world-wide internet video streaming some 15 years ago. A replacement or replacements are required to take over the current transmissions on 2m FM, 70cm FM via GB3BN, 23cm Analogue or 70cm Digital ATV via GB3HV and Internet Streaming via batc.tv. Assistance will be given to set up these transmissions and some equipment may also be available. If anyone would like to take over as a GB2RS news reader in Hampshire/central southern England please contact the GB2RS News Manager, Ken Hatton, G3VBA, via email to gb2rs.manager@rsgb.org.uk.

Following the transfer of responsibility of amateur licence examinations to the RSGB, the Examinations Group is looking for volunteers to join them. Ideally volunteers will have a Full licence and experience in radio communications technology in some professional, educational or employment capacity. Full details are on the RSGB website, just put volunteering in the search box.

Voting has now opened in the RSGB’s 2016 election. Members have one of three options for registering your vote on each Resolution. You can attend the AGM in person on the 23rd of April at Glasgow City Hotel, 36 Cambridge Street, Glasgow G2 3HN, starting at 12 noon. You can vote by the internet on the RSGB website at www.rsgb.org/votersgb16 or you can vote by post by contacting the RSGB HQ by writing to the General Manager, by email from gm.dept@rsgb.org.uk or by telephone 01234 832 702. Full details are in the April RadCom. The closing date for internet or postal voting is 12 noon on 21 April 2016.

A number of teams will be working the CQWW WPX SSB Contest on the 26th and 27th of March. They include members of the CT3 Team, active as CQ9T from Funchal, AF-014, working as a Multi-Single/ Low-Power entry. QSL via CT3KN. Also listen for members of Amateur Radio Taipei, active from Taiwan as BP0P as a Multi-2 entry. QSL via BP0P, see qrz.com. During the contest, listen out for Laurent, FM5BH, who will be active as TO972M from Martinique Island, NA-107, as a Single- Op/All-Band/High-Power entry. QSL via FM5BH direct. The bands will be very busy and you should get the opportunity to work many more DX stations.

If you are looking for something to entertain the younger members of the family over Easter, take a look at the activities available at Bletchley Park. Children will enjoy the Nifty Number trail and the code breaking session available over the Easter long weekend. Go to www.bletchleypark.org.uk for full details. Don’t forget to visit the National Radio Centre whilst you are there. Remember to take a copy of your licence if you wish to operate GB3RS.

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

Today, the 20th the 31st Wythall RC Rally will take place at the Wythall Radio Club HQ, Wythall Park, Silver St, Wythall B47 6LZ. The venue has car parking as well as disabled facilities. Doors open at 9.30/10am and admission is £3.50. There will be trade stands as well as a licensed bar and catering facilities. Details from Mike on 07976 744 479.

Today, the 20th the Devon & Cornwall Repeater Group and Callington ARS Rally will be held at Callington Town Hall, New Road, Callington PL17 7BD. Doors open at 10.30am and admission is £2. More information from Roger by email to 2e0rph@gmail.com. 

Today, the 20th, the Causeway Coast Glens AC Radio Rally will be held at Bushmills Community Centre, 14 Dunluce Road, Bushmills, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland BT57 8QG. The venue has disabled access and suitable car parking on site. Doors open from 11am to 4pm and admission is £3. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy as well as an RSGB bookstall. Catering facilities are available on site and there will be a raffle taking place during the day. More details from MN0CCG on 0754 492 3956.

There are no rallies in the diary for Easter weekend. The next is the Hack Green Bunker Rally on the 3rd of April at the Hack Green Nuclear Bunker, Nantwich in Cheshire.

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 radcom@rsgb.org.uk.

And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources

Herbert, DK2BR is operating holiday style from Con Son Island, Vietnam, until the 26th of March with the callsign 3W2BR. This is IOTA reference AS-130. He will be on the 10 to 40m bands using SSB, RTTY and PSK31. Send QSL cards direct to his home callsign.

Hiro, JA6WFM, will be active in Tonga as A31MM during the CQWW WPX SSB Contest, taking place on the 26th and 27th of March. He will work a Single-Op/All-Band/Low-Power entry. QSL via EA5GL or Logbook of The World.

A group of four Norwegians will sign VK9CK from the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, OC-003, until the 26th of March. Operation will be on the 10 to 160m bands using SSB, CW and RTTY.

Bogdan, SP2FUD and Zenek, SP2GCJ will be on the air as C5FUD and C5GCJ, respectively, from Brufut in the Gambia until the 1st of April. Activity will be on the 10 to 80m bands using CW, SSB and RTTY. This includes a possible entry in the upcoming CQ WPX SSB contest. QSL to their home callsigns.

Bill, K1CN is on the air as C6AMM from Harbour Island in the Bahamas, IOTA NA-001, until the 3rd of April. Activity is holiday style on the 6 to 40m bands using mostly SSB with some CW. QSL direct to his home callsign.

Now the special event news

Between the 26th of March and the 22nd of April, Harlow and District Amateur Radio Society will be activating GB0HAF from Hunsdon Airfield for RAFARS Airfields on the Air. Operation will be on HF and 2m and on various days. More details available on qrz.com or from Colin, by email to g0mgu@hotmail.co.uk

Special event stations in Russia will be on the air until the 16th of June as part of the international scientific-educational radio marathon called Inventors of Telecommunications, established by the Russian Geographical Society and supported by radio clubs and individual operators. There will be awards and certificates. Each RT73-prefix station represents a historical figure in the area of telecommunications or electronics. For example, RT73BA represents Alexander Graham Bell, RT73EA represents Edwin Howard Armstrong and RT73NT represents Nikola Tesla.

Now the contest news

The 24 hours of the Russian DX Contest ends at 1200UTC today, the 20th. There are numerous entry categories, for single- and multi-band, single- and multi-mode, multi-op, various power levels, clubs, and so on. An interesting aspect of this event is the possibility of submitting two single-band entries, for example 15m and 80m. Work everyone and send a signal report and serial number, but expect Russian stations to send you a signal report and a 2-letter Oblast code.

The BARTG HF RTTY contest ends at 0200UTC on the 21st. Operating on the 3.5 to 28MHz bands the exchange is signal report, serial number and time.

On Tuesday the 50MHz UK Activity Contest runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Also on Tuesday the SHF UK Activity Contest is taking place at the same time. Using all modes on the 2.3 to 10GHz bands the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Thursday it’s the SSB leg of the 80m Club Championships taking place between 2000 and 2130UTC. The exchange is signal report and serial number.

The CQ WorldWide Worked All Prefix SSB Contest is on next weekend from 0000UTC on the 26th to 2359 on the 27th. In addition to all the common prefixes, expect to hear plenty of interesting and obscure ones too. Using the 1.8 to 28MHz bands the exchange is signal report and serial number.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G4BAO and G3YLA on Friday 18th March.

This week has seen continued geomagnetic storms, thanks to a high-speed solar wind stream flowing from a geo-effective coronal hole on the sun's surface. As we predicted, last weekend was reasonably settled, but then it all went pear shaped. The K index hit five on Tuesday night, and five again on Wednesday night, this time remaining at five for up to nine hours. High K indices are usually a sign of bad conditions, although there can be highlights.

During the initial phase of a geomagnetic storm you can often get enhanced conditions, but they tend not to last and you can be left with noisy bands and fluttery or no HF signals, especially if they go near the poles.

The noon critical frequency as measured by the RAL Digisonde on Tuesday was 7.2MHz, but just 5.4MHz on Wednesday. Quite a few of the IBP beacons on 14.100 MHz could be heard on Tuesday, but by Thursday morning none were audible.

Next week the solar flux index is predicted to be around 85-95 all week. With no geo-effective coronal holes rotating into view on the sun's surface the K index is predicted to remain around two. This means we may have more settled HF conditions next week. We suggest you keep your fingers crossed!

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

Last week’s high pressure gave some modest Tropo openings on the VHF bands, but as hinted at in the last bulletin, it was often handicapped by dry air at the surface, below the inversion. This has the effect of lessening the quality of the ducts formed and makes any Tropo weaker and more marginal. It looks like a similar story through the coming week, with the occasional improved spells when the surface layer of air becomes more moist. You’ll know this by the drizzle and misty low cloud.

As always check the bands and look for areas of fog and misty low cloud on the satellite pictures to see which directions might produce the better quality lifts.

Around the March Equinox, is “Fireball season” A fireball is just an especially bright meteor and they seem to appear in greater numbers than usual around this time. In fact, one was reported last week over the UK. Sadly fireballs are no help to meteor scatter operators as they are so few and are short lived.

Conditions were perfect for the Dubus CW EME event last weekend, with the moon at high declination and just beyond perigee.

Next week, losses will increase to maximum as the moon reaches apogee on Friday and windows will shorten, the declination going negative on Wednesday.

And that’s all for this week from the propagation team.

00:0000:00

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 13th March 2016

The news headlines:

  • Belgium gets WRC15 5 MHz allocation and 4m extension

  • Convention video available

  • Kenwood award for 2 and 6m

The Belgian telecoms regulator, IBPT, has issued a decision permitting access to the new WRC15 60m allocation for all Belgian Class A amateur licensees. The allocation is from 5351.5 to 5366.5kHz on a Secondary basis with a maximum power of 15W EIRP. All modes are permitted. Belgian amateurs also now have wider access to 4m. The band 70.1125 to 70.4125MHz has now been made available with a maximum power from the transmitter output of 50W. Secondary status with all modes is available for all Belgian Class A licensees.

Several of the presentations at the RSGB Convention in 2015 were videoed and they are being made available via the RSGB website. The first talk is on Engineering the Gemini range of VHF UHF power amplifiers by Chris Bartam, GW4DGU. Go to the video archives section on the RSGB website.

Kenwood UK has launched a VHF Challenge. The aim is to work as many large locator squares during 2016 on 2m and 6m as possible. For example, one point for a QSO with JO01 and one point for IO91 and so on. All modes are allowed but not the use of repeaters, satellites or other relaying. Provide a simple list of your QSOs with station worked, band, time and locator squares in either a Word, Text or Spreadsheet file to Mark Haynes, M0DXR by email to mark.haynes@uk.jvckenwood.com by the 14th of January 2017. There will be a trophy and prize for the winner.

The MB6IRH wires-x simplex gateway located in Northwich, Cheshire is now live. Located at IO83SG on 431.150MHz simplex, more details can be found by email to g0sph@g0sph.tv

The Arfon Repeater Group has announced an upgrade to their 70cm repeater, GB3AN. It is located on the north east coast of Anglesey near the town of Amlwch. The repeater has a change of operation with the recent installation of a Yaesu DR-1X Fusion repeater system, and following an NoV, it became operational in dual mode. Digital voice mode of C4FM together with normal FM is now available. The operating channel is RB08, an output frequency of 433.2000MHzRX and receive frequency of 434.8000MHz with a CTCSS access tone of 110.9Hz. Report on the coverage would be very welcomed via the website at www.arfon.info .

Stephen Purser, G4SHF has indicated that he wishes to stand down as Chair of the Planning Advisory Committee and the RSGB is looking for his successor. The successful applicant will have experience of the planning process, preferably in a professional capacity, and will head up a small team of advisers. The post will not involve the preparing planning applications for members, only advising members on their preparation. If you are interested in applying for this post, please contact Len, GM0ONXat gm0onx@rsgb.org.uk.

Coming up at the end of March is an opportunity to work the 6th most-wanted DXCC entity according to the Club Log DXCC Most Wanted List. Juan de Nova is a small island located between Mozambique and Madagascar with the IOTA reference AF-012. It was last activated in 2003 but FT4JA should be on the air starting on the 29th of March. Leading up to the DXpedition, two of its operators, F2DX and F6BEE, will head to Mayotte Island, AF-027, which is northeast of Juan de Nova, and be active as FH/ using their home callsigns from the 18th to 24th of March, when they will focus on the 6 to 40m bands. The other eight FT4JA operators will join them later.

The first UK amateur radio contact on the 241 GHz band took place on the 19th of February at 1500UTC between Roger, G8CUB and Chris, G0FDZ. The distance was 30 metres and the CW signals were 559 and 589. The transmit power at each end was in the order of one microwatt and the antennas used were 250mm and 300mm dishes. This contact has been made on the highest frequency allocation available to amateurs in the UK.

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

The Dover Radio Rally takes place today, the 13th, at the Whitfield Village Hall, Sandwich Road, Whitfield, Dover CT163LY. There will be a talk-in station. Doors open from 10am to 2pm with disabled visitors having access from 9.30am. Admission is £2. Highlights include trade stands, an auction, a Bring & Buy, special interest groups and an RSGB bookstall. There is catering available. Information from Peter Love, G0KOK on 07850 464 026.

Also today, the 13th, the Grantham ARC Radio and Electronics Rally takes place at Earlesfield Community Centre, Trent Road, Grantham NG31 7XW. The venue has free car parking and disabled facilities. Doors open at 9.30am and admission is £3. There will be trade stands and a flea market as well as a Bring & Buy stall. Specialist interest groups will be in attendance and there will be an RSGB bookstall. A raffle will be held on the day. More information on 0751 0271 577.

Next Saturday, the 19th, Laugharne Radio Rally will take place in the Millennium Memorial Hall, Clifton St, Laugharne SA33 4QG. Doors open from 10am to 2pm and admission is free. Disabled visitors can gain access at 9.30am. There will be a raffle and light refreshments on the day. Details from Matthew, GW6KOA on 01994 427 581.

Also on the 19th, the 41st Dutch National Radio Flea Market will be held at Autotron, Rosmalen (Den Bosch), in The Netherlands. The Autotron has its own exit with signs on the A59 motorway. Doors open from 9am to 3.30pm. There are more than 330 stands booked at the event.

Next Sunday, the 20th the 31st Wythall RC Rally will take place at the Wythall Radio Club HQ, Wythall Park, Silver St, Wythall B47 6LZ. The venue has car parking as well as disabled facilities. Doors open at 9.30/10am and admission is £3.50. There will be trade stands as well as a licensed bar and catering facilities. Details from Mike on 07976 744 479.

On Sunday the 20th the Devon & Cornwall Repeater Group and Callington ARS Rally will be held on Callington Town Hall, New Road, Callington PL17 7BD. Doors open at 10.30am and admission is £2. More information from Roger by email to 2e0rph@gmail.com. 

Finally for next weekend, the Causeway Coast Glens AC Radio Rally will be held on the 20th at Bushmills Community Centre, 14 Dunluce Road, Bushmills, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland BT57 8QG. The venue has disabled access and suitable car parking on site. Doors open from 11am to 4pm and admission is £3. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy as well as an RSGB bookstall. Catering facilities are on site and there will be a raffle taking place during the day. More details from MN0CCG on 0754 492 3956.

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 radcom@rsgb.org.uk.

And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources

A Polish Team of operators, working as 5J0P from San Luis, San Andres Island, will be operating until the 21st of March, using CW, SSB and RTTY on the 6 to 160m bands. QSL via the Club Log's OQRS tools for Bureau and direct requests. No QSL cards please. The QSL Manager is SP6IXF.

Bob, G3PJT will be back in Grenada as J34G until the 24th of March. This will be a holiday style operation with activity mainly on CW on 80m to 10m.

A group of 10 German operators will be in Sri Lanka until the 18th of March. Callsigns to look for are 4S7GWG and 4S7RTG. They will operate on the 6 to 40m bands and QSLs are via Club Log OQRS.

Noel, F6BGC will be operating holiday style on Thulhagiri Island until the 22nd. The IOTA reference is AS-013. Using the callsign 8Q7NC, he will operate SSB, CW and RTTY on the 6 to 40m bands. QSL via F6BGC either direct or via the bureau, Logbook of the World or Club Log.

John, GW4SKA plans to operate as GD4SKA from the Isle of Man, EU-116, from IO74QB from the 15th to the 23rd. He will be on the 10 to 80m bands using RTTY and PSK, including an entry in the BARTG RTTY Contest using the callsign GD0A. Logs will be put to Club Log daily, QSL via M0OXO.

Bert/DK2BR will be active holiday-style until the 26th from Con Son Island, AS-130. Operating as 3W2BR on the 10 to 40m bands he will be using SSB, RTTY, and PSK31 running 100W and verticals. QSL via DK2BR direct.

Now the special event news

Pontefract & District ARS will be operating GB4SL on the 12th of March for 28 days to mark the visit of Apollo 17 commander Gene Cernan to Pontefract.

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, the 15th and 16th, Mid-Somerset Amateur Radio Club will be operating a special event station GB4BSC for British Science Week at the Blue School in Wells, Somerset. Operation will mainly be on 40m from around 9am to 5pm each day. If you hear them please give them a call as the students will be taking part in greetings messages. A special QSL card will be available and QSLs should be via the QSL manager Brian, G0FZI.

Orchard County DX Club will be operating a station, MN0OCG, for St Patrick’s Day on the 17th of March from 1am to 11.59pm. It is an official station for the St Patrick Day Award. Contact Alex Simpson, MI0MVP, on 0283 898 7505.

Now the contest news

The Worked All Britain 3.5 MHz Phone Contest takes place today, the 13th, from 1800-2200UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square. Entries need to be with the contest manager by the 3rd of April. Full details of the rules and log sheets are on the WAB website, www.worked-all-britain.org.uk

On Sunday the 13th, the 2nd 70MHz Cumulative contest runs from 1000 to 1200UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The Commonwealth Contest ends its 24 hours runs at 1000UTC today, the 13th. Using CW only on the 3.5 to 28MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

On Tuesday the 1.3GHz UK Activity Contest runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Wednesday it’s the CW leg of the 80m Club Championships from 2000 to 2130UTC. The exchange is the usual signal report and serial number.

For 24 hours over the weekend of the 19th and 20th the Russian DX Contest takes place. There are numerous entry categories, for single- and multi-band, single- and multi-mode, multi-op, various power levels, clubs, and so on. An interesting aspect of this event is the possibility of submitting two single-band entries, for example 15m and 80m. Work everyone and send a signal report and serial number, but expect Russian stations to send you a signal report and a 2-letter Oblast code.

The BARTG HF RTTY contest runs from 0200 on the 19th to 0200UTC on the 21st. Operating on the 3.5 to 28MHz bands the exchange is signal report, serial number and time.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G4BAO and G3YLA on Friday 11th March.

Last week we said that a geo-effective solar coronal hole looked like it might threaten the Earth, and we were right. Its open magnetic field allowed plasma to escape, impacting the earth on Monday and sending the K index up to six. This also sparked visible aurora, which were seen in southern UK.

This didn't bode well for the HF bands, which continued to suffer all week as the K index struggled to recover. Having said that, DX was workable at times. The TX7EU DXpedition in French Polynesia, for example, has been worked from the UK by some better-equipped stations.

This week NOAA predicts the solar flux index will be in the range 90-95. Geomagnetic conditions may be quieter at the beginning of the week, but storm conditions may return with a vengeance from Wednesday onwards.

Make the most of the slightly more settled conditions this weekend when the CW-only Commonwealth Contest should give you a great opportunity to work some rare DX entities with little competition from the rest of the world.

The K index is predicted to hit four again on Wednesday and five for the rest of the week. So we can expect noisy band conditions, with lower maximum usable frequencies plus visible and radio aurora.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

This may be a good week to look for DX on the multimode part of the bands. At last, we have the prospect of some longer lived Tropo as high pressure over Scandinavia links up across the UK with the high near the Azores.

Throughout the week, high pressure will always be nearby, ending up over the North Sea or Scandinavia.

High pressure areas tend to develop temperature inversions in the lower atmosphere with the effect of changing the refractive index of the air over a short vertical distance.

In the right conditions, this can form a duct whereby VHF/UHF signals can travel over much longer distances than normal. These Spring systems are not usually as good as the Autumn ones, since the air below the inversion is often cold and dry, reducing the refractive index change.

The western side of Britain may have low pressure to deal with by the end of the week, but eastern areas across to Scandinavia and northern Europe should yield some results through to the following weekend.

This is another quiet week for meteor activity, and for EME operators the Moon reaches maximum declination on Wednesday. This gives long moon windows, albeit with increasing losses as the moon heads out to Apogee.

And that’s all for this week from the propagation team.

00:0000:00

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 6th March 2016

The news headlines:

  • Learn to write exam questions

  • Longstanding Newsreader retires

  • Short Callsigns from the RSGB

Would you like to learn how the Examiners set questions and be able to take these skills back to your club? Club trainers are constantly challenged with the task of preparing practice questions which meet the needs of the syllabus and their students. 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. A short presentation will be followed by informal work in small groups to develop skills and generate novel ideas for future development. For further details please email question.workshop@rsgb.org.uk

Trevor Harris, G2KF has decided to retire from reading GB2RS news due to ill health. The RSGB would like to thank Trevor for his service to GB2RS and the amateur community. If anyone would like to be a news reader in the South West please contact Ken, G3VBA by email to gb2rs.manager@rsgb.org.uk. Readers for other parts of the country would also be most welcome.

As of the 29th of February, the RSGB has taken over the responsibility for administering and distributing Special Contest Callsigns on behalf of Ofcom. The criteria for the issuing of a SCC have also been reduced. Full details and an application form are available from rsgb.org/scc and you can also find a list of currently-issued Special Contest Callsigns linked from that page.

A review is ongoing of the syllabus for all three levels of Radio Communications exams. This is being done by the Examinations Group and the Syllabus Review Working Group. The intention is to better align the Advanced with HAREC and to smooth out the steps more evenly between the different levels of exam. Also, the syllabus will be refreshed to include more recent technologies and practices currently in use. Later this year an advanced draft of the new syllabus is expected to be available, and there will be consultation with the training community. No changes will be implemented before January 2018 and at least 12 months notice will be given between the formal release of the new syllabus and the start of the corresponding updated exams.

During last year’s President’s Review of Contesting, some work was carried out on alternative scoring systems for VHF contests, with the aim of making the scoring evenly balanced across the country. This activity wasn’t completed and a commitment was made to come back to the subject in 2016. Volunteers who would like to get involved with this analysis would be welcome. The task will involve analysis of the open logs that are now being generated, along with other publicly available data, so the ability to manipulate and analyse large datasets will be very helpful. If you’d like more information, or just want to offer your help, please contact Andy Cook, G4PIQ, via email to vhfcc.chair@rsgb.org.uk

The Early Days of MFJ will be the topic as MFJ Founder Martin Jue, K5FLU, keynotes the 31st annual Dayton DX Dinner, sponsored by the SouthWest Ohio DX Association. Held in conjunction with the 2016 Dayton Hamvention®, the dinner will be on Friday, the 20th of May at the Marriott Hotel, 1414 S Patterson Boulevard, Dayton.

The MSF 60kHz time and frequency signal broadcast from Anthorn Radio Station will be shut down on Thursday the 10th of March from 1000 to 1400UTC. The interruption to the transmission is required to allow maintenance work to be carried out in safety. More information is online at www.npl.co.uk/time

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

The Exeter Radio & Electronics Rally takes place today, the 6th, at America Hall, De La Rue Way, Pinhoe, Exeter EX4 8PW. Doors open at 10.30am, or 10.15 for disabled visitors and anyone booking items into the Bring & Buy. Admission is £2. There will be the usual range of traders, and catering is available on site. Details from Pete, G3ZVI, on 07714 198 374.

The Dover Radio Rally takes place next Sunday at the Whitfield Village Hall, Sandwich Road, Whitfield, Dover CT163LY. There will be a talk-in station. Doors open from 10am to 2pm with disabled visitors having access from 9.30am. Admission is £2. Highlights include trade stands, an auction, a Bring & Buy, special interest groups and an RSGB bookstall. There is catering available. Information from Peter Love, G0KOK on 07850 464 026.

Also next Sunday, the Grantham ARC Radio and Electronics Rally takes place at Earlesfield Community Centre, Trent Road, Grantham NG31 7XW. The venue has free car parking and disabled facilities. Doors open at 9.30am and admission is £3. There will be trade stands and a flea market as well as a Bring & Buy stall. Specialist interest groups will be in attendance and there will be an RSGB bookstall. A raffle will be held on the day. More information on 0751 0271 577.

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 radcom@rsgb.org.uk.

And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources

UA4CC and LY2IJ will be on the air from Swaziland from the 9th to 15th of March, where the callsigns will be 3DA0CC and 3DA0IJ. On each occasion they will operate the HF bands, with a focus on the low bands. QSLs will be via Club Log OQRS and Logbook of the World.

Kenneth, LA7GIA is on the air as 3C7GIA from Malabo on Bioko Island, IOTA AF-010, until the 13th of March. Activity is on the 80 to 10m bands using CW and SSB. QSL direct to his home callsign.

Michel, F6GWV and Gildas, F6HMQ will be in Guadeloupe, NA-102, until the 14th of March. They will use FG/homecall and in addition will use the special callsign TO66R.

Paulo, CT1ITE is QRV as D2/CT1ITE until the end of March from Angola. Activity is in his spare time on 80 to 10 metres, and possibly 160 metres, using CW and SSB. QSL to his home call.

Alan, G3XAQ will be back in Uganda until the 16th of March and will be found on CW using 5X1XA. His QSL manager is G3SWH.

Members of the ET7L team are QRV from Ethiopia until the 12th of April. QSL via US0LW.

Mike, UA1QV will be QRV as RI1PA from Kolguev Island until the 19th of March. Kolguev is located in the Arctic at 69 degrees north and has a population of just 300. The IOTA reference is EU-085 and QSLs go via the home call.

Now the special event news

Mid-Somerset Amateur Radio Club will be operating GB4BSC during British Science Week from the Blue School Wells. Planned days of operation are Tuesday and Wednesday the 15th and 16th, mainly on 40m.

Pontefract & District ARS will be operating GB4SL on the 12th of March for 28 days to mark the visit of Apollo 17 commander Gene Cernan to Pontefract.

Now the contest news

The ARRL International DX contest ends its 48 hour run at 2359UTC today, the 6th. Using SSB on the 1.8-28MHz contest bands, the exchange is RS plus Tx power. US stations will also send their State and Canadians their Province.

The RSGB 144/432MHz contest, a VHF Championship event, ends at 1400UTC today, the 6th. All modes can be used on the 144 and 432MHz bands, and the exchange is RST, serial number and locator.

Today, the 6th, the YL France team and DARC’s YL group are organising an international YL-Activity day in advance of International Women’s Day, March the 8th. Activity is from 0700 UTC to 1100UTC on 40m and 80m using SSB and CW. Scoring is heavily weighted towards YLs working YLs; OM to OM contacts score nil. Details are online at tinyurl.com/YL-comp-2016.

The first UK Microwave Group Low Band contest takes place today from 1000UTC to 1600UTC. Using all modes on the 1.3 to 3.4GHz bands, the exchange is RST, serial number and locator.

On Monday the 80m Club Championships data leg runs from 2000 to 2130UTC with the exchange being signal report and serial number.

On Tuesday the 432MHz UK Activity contest runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The Commonwealth Contest runs for 24 hours from 10am on the 12th. There should be several Commonwealth countries active that you don’t hear every day and because non-Commonwealth countries don’t enter this contest the pile-ups for the rare ones should be less, making them easier for the owner of an average station (100 watts and a doublet) to work. It’s CW only and the exchange is signal report and serial number, although HW stations also send HQ.

The Worked All Britain 3.5 MHz Phone Contest takes place next Sunday, the 13th, from 1800-2200UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square. Entries need to be with the contest manager by the 3rd of April. Full details of the rules and log sheets are on the WAB website, www.worked-all-britain.org.uk

On the 13th, the 2nd 70MHz Cumulative contest runs from 1000 to 1200UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G4BAO and G3YLA on Friday 4th March.

Solar activity was at lower levels this week. The Solar Flux Index declined to 91 on the 29th, before recovering toward the end of the week. However, it never quite reached 100.

Geomagnetic conditions were reasonably settled, with the A index in single figures and the K index hovering between one and three. This was mainly due to a lack of geo-effective coronal holes in the first half of the week, although at the time of writing this was unlikely to continue.

On Thursday a solar coronal hole on the sun's equator was pointing directly at the Earth, threatening unsettled conditions as you are reading or hearing this report.

Next week, the solar flux index is predicted to be around 100 to 105. After an unsettled start, geomagnetic conditions may become quieter, which may lead to better HF conditions later in the week.

Conditions on the lower bands have been very good, with the Medium Wave Circle reporting good reception of signals from the USA. Forty metres has also been humming, with strong North American SSB signals appearing from around 2200 UTC.

HF has also been active with Andy, M0NKR reporting many contacts to the Caribbean on twenty to twelve metres. This was probably due to the more settled geomagnetic conditions rather than the lacklustre sunspot activity.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

It will be another quiet week for VHF and UHF tropo-style propagation, with low pressure and a cold northerly wind this weekend. This will last into Monday before a ridge builds from the west. This ridge is probably not as good as it sounds, since it is building in fairly cold air and so not very useful for tropo. In any event, it may only provide temporary enhancement over southern Britain. A weak trough will bring a collapse of any lift midweek, but a further ridge of high pressure may restore slightly better conditions at times over the second half of the week.

The rare 50MHz Sporadic-E opening on the 24th February, as reported last week, seems to have been caused by a very sharp and moving jet stream trough moving across western Iberia. This fits in nicely with the wind shear theory of Sporadic-E whereby turbulence caused in the jet stream can propagate upwards as gravity waves to cause wind shear in the E region.

We are still going down the slope of seasonal random meteor rates until the onset of the April Lyrids, so early morning continues to be best time for random meteor scatter operation.

The Moon’s declination goes positive on Wednesday night so the longer moon window, combined with perigee where losses are lowest, make it a good week for EME operation.

And that’s all for this week from the propagation team.

00:0000:00

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 28th February 2016

The news headlines:

  • RSGB UK bid for YOTA 2017

  • Special special Scout centenary callsigns

  • Latest ISS contact announced

The IARU has run a Youngsters on the Air International Summer Camp every year since 2011. It has been hosted in Romania, Belgium/Netherlands, Estonia, Finland, Italy and Austria. The RSGB Board has agreed to submit a bid to host the 2017 YOTA Summer Camp in the UK. If successful, this will see young members from countries within Region 1 coming together for a week long programme of amateur radio related activities.

Ofcom has announced that it will release so-called ‘special special’ callsigns to support the Scouts’ Centenary celebrations. These callsigns will be prefixed GB100 (one zero zero), GB1OO (one oh oh) and GB1O0 (one oh zero), and have up to eight characters in total. An example might be GB100CSD. These callsigns will be available for special events by Cub Scout District and higher level groups and must be endorsed by the District Commissioner or equivalent for higher level groups. Ofcom has further clarified that events at the level of individual Cub Scout Groups will continue to be limited to normal special event callsigns.

The date of the next ISS School Contact has been confirmed by NASA. On Saturday the 5th of March, students from Powys Combined Schools will get their chance to speak to Tim Peake as he flies overhead. The pass is around 10.55 in the morning. Amateurs all over Northern Europe will be able to listen to the downlink live on 145.800MHz. A 2m handheld radio outdoors is adequate to hear much of his transmission, using only a rubber duck antenna.

Financial institutions are starting to see radio as a higher speed alternative to fibre optic networks. Making deals faster than others can bring huge benefits to traders, and every microsecond counts. A recent article in the Times reveals that a financial services consortium is seeking permission to build a thousand-foot mast in Kent. The purpose is to carry data traffic to the continent via radio, fractionally more quickly than other methods. The mast is just a mile from a similar height mast proposed by a rival company last year.

Recently, Norman Pascoe, G4USB, became a silent key. He was one of the founders of International Marconi Day and the yearly organiser. This year’s event will go ahead as planned, and the Cornish Amateur Radio Club expects to keep it running for many years to come. Unfortunately an online attack has taken down the International Marconi Day websites. If you have already registered for IMD 2016 you need not take any further action. For new registrations, or to find out more, please email the club via crac.imd@gmail.com

Interference from VDSL, the very high bitrate digital subscriber line technology used for superfast broadband to the home, is an increasing concern to amateurs. This problem, and other EMC-related matters, will be the subject of discussions between the RSGB and Ofcom at meetings in March 2016.

Papers are now available for the April IARU Region 1 interim meeting. Proposals cover a wide range of HF, VHF, microwave and EMC matters. These include band plans, contest rules, and interference issues. Comments from UK amateurs are invited via the RSGB Consultations forum, which includes guidance and links to the papers. Comments are also invited on a separate consultation regarding the future of the UK 5MHz beacons. These must be received before the end of March. Information on both of these items can be found at http://forums.thersgb.org

The latest version of the RSGB Band Plans were published in the March edition of RadCom. For reasons of space, the usual quite-small print was used. The Band Plans are also available in a variety of formats on the RSGB website, which can be viewed at much larger sizes if required. To find them, go to the www.rsgb.org website, select Operating and then Band Plans. There you will also find additional information such as a detailed look at the changes made this year.

70cm beacon GB3LEU has been suffering from frequency stability anomalies. It was switched off shortly after noon on 23 February and will remain off the air whilst the issues are investigated. Progress reports will be issued online at www.leicestershirerepeatergroup.org.uk.

A new volunteer QSL sub manager has been appointed for the G1 and G2 series of call signs. Colin Tuckley, G8TMV replaces long-time volunteer Anthony Nowell, who died suddenly, shortly before Christmas. Unfortunately, we have been unable to recover Members’ collection envelopes from Anthony’s estate. G1 and G2 call holders are advised to send replacement envelopes to the new manager ASAP. Please remember that all collection envelopes must have the relevant callsign and unique membership number in the top left corner.

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

The Brats Rainham Radio Rally takes place today, the 28th, at Rainham School for Girls, Derwent Way, Rainham, Gillingham, Kent, ME8 0BX. Doors open at 9.30/10am and there will be a talk-in station. There will be trade stands, special interest groups and catering on site. More details from Trevor on 07717 678 795 or online at www.brats-qth.org.

Also today the Pencoed Amateur Radio Club Table Top Sale takes place at Pencoed Rugby Football Club, The Verlands, Felindre Road, Pencoed CF35 5PB. Doors open at 9.30am. Admission is £2. Hot food will be available in the morning and at lunch time and hot and cold drinks will be available from the bar. Details are online at www.MW0PRG.co.uk/events.uk.

Next Saturday the Lagan Valley ARS annual rally takes place at Hillsborough Village Centre, 7 Ballynahinch Road, Hillsborough BT26 6AR. The only other information we have been given is that the doors open at 11am.

Next Sunday the Exeter Radio & Electronics Rally takes place at America Hall, De La Rue Way, Pinhoe, Exeter EX4 8PW. Doors open at 10.30am, or 10.15 for disabled visitors and anyone booking items into the Bring & Buy. Admission is £2. There will be the usual range of traders, and catering is available on site. Details from Pete, G3ZVI on 07714 198 374 or by email to g3zvi@yahoo.co.uk.

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 radcom@rsgb.org.uk.

And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources

VK5MAV and VK5CE will be activating Breaksea, IOTA reference OC-243, from the 29th of February to the 4th of March. QSL via Clublog OQRS, direct and bureau.

DK2AMM, DL6JGN, GM4FDM and PA3EWP will be on the island of Nuku Hiva, OC-027 from the 3rd of March to the 15th. Activity will be on 40-10m, CW, SSB and RTTY. QSL via DK2AMM.

Majuro, OC-029 will be put on the air by AH6OY from the 1st to the 7th of March, probably with a V73I callsign. QSL direct or via the bureau.

UA1QV will activate Kolguev, EU-085 from the 5th to the 16th of March. Using the callsign RI1PA, activity will be on all bands. QSL to the home call, direct or bureau.

A group of 10 operators will be on the air as DA0HEL from Helgoland, EU-127 from the 5th to the 13th of March. Activity will be on all bands, possibly up to 2m, on SSB, CW, RTTY, PSK and JT65. QSL direct or via the bureau to DF6QC.

Operating form the lowest point on the Earth’s surface, 429 metres below sea level, 4X429DS will be on the air from the shores of the Dead Sea on all bands and modes from the 3rd to the 6th of March. QSL to N4GNR.

Now the special event news

Llanelli ARS will be putting GB4SDD on the air on Tuesday from 10.30am to mark St David’s Day.

R85PAR will be on the air from the 1st to the 21st of March to celebrate 85 years of Russian polar aircraft. QSL via RZ5D, direct or via the bureau.

Marking 70 years since Winston Churchill’s speech that coined the phrase ‘iron curtain’, W0C will be on the air from the 4th to the 7th of March. Sponsored by Callaway Amateur Radio League LLC, the special event will be operating at or near 14.275, 14.070, 7.225, and 7.070MHz.

St Patrick’s Day, the 17th of March, sees the third year of the annual St Patrick’s Day Award. The sole aim of this one-day award is to enjoy the festivities and connect with other stations across the world. To find out more or to register a station for the day, go to http://stpatrickaward.webs.com/

Now the contest news

The French REF Contest concludes tonight at 1800UTC. Using SSB on the 3.5-28MHz contest bands, the exchange is RS and serial number. French stations also send their département number or overseas prefix.

The CQ WW 160m DX contest concludes tonight at 2200UTC, having started on Friday. Using SSB on the 1.8MHz band, the exchange is RS plus CQ Zone. US stations will also send their State and Canadians their Province.

The first 70MHz Cumulative runs from 1000UTC to 1200UTC today on the 4m band. Using all modes, the exchange is RST, serial number and locator.

On Wednesday the UKEICC 80m SSB contest takes place from 2000UTC to 2100UTC. Using SSB only on the 3.5MHz band, the exchange is your 4-character locator.

Next weekend sees the ARRL International DX contest from 0000UTC on the 5th to 2359UTC on the 6th. Using SSB on the 1.8-28MHz contest bands, the exchange is RS plus Tx power. US stations will also send their State and Canadians their Province.

Also on the 5th and 6th is the RSGB 144/432MHz contest, which is a VHF Championship event. Action commences at 1400UTC on Saturday and ends at 100UTC on Sunday. All modes can be used on the 144 and 432MHz bands, and the exchange is RST, serial number and locator.

Next Sunday the YL France team and DARC’s YL group are organising an international YL-Activity day in advance of International Women’s Day, March the 8th. Activity is from 0700 UTC to 1100UTC on 40m and 80m using SSB and CW. Scoring is heavily weighted towards YLs working YLs; OM to OM contacts score nil. Details are online at tinyurl.com/YL-comp-2016.

Finally, the first UK Microwave Group Low Band contest takes place from 1000UTC to 1600UTC next Sunday. Using all modes on the 1.3 to 3.4GHz bands, the exchange is RST, serial number and locator.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G4BAO and G3YLA on Friday 26th February.

This week didn't bring the better HF conditions that we talked about in the last GB2RS. This was due to a declining solar flux index and generally active geomagnetic conditions. The SFI declined to 88 by Thursday due to a lack of sunspots, although NOAA had predicted around 100 to 110. The K index also fluctuated between one and three due to ongoing solar coronal holes, although there were no major geomagnetic events. Together this brought reasonable propagation during the ARRL DX CW contest, with many of the eastern and mid-western states being workable up to 21MHz, but ten metre openings were a little lacklustre.

We now have one solitary sunspot group on the solar surface – and it’s a small one at that. So next week the SFI should start with a lowly 85, but is predicted to finish the week at a more promising 115, according to the US Air Force. The geomagnetic K index may continue to remain reasonably unsettled due to coronal holes. The first, third and sixth of March may potentially be worse with a predicted K index of four.

We are now entering a period where north-south paths are potentially much better on HF, but east-west paths may suffer, especially on the higher bands.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

It’s thin pickings again for VHF/UHF tropo this week. There will be some weak ridging at first and again from midweek, but these cold air winter highs or ridges are not necessarily great at producing good lift conditions. Ideally, we need a good flow of cloudy moist air from the Azores or Biscay, but alas not this week.

Other potential sources of higher frequency action may come from isolated wintry showers around the coasts, which can make good sources of scatter mode propagation on the GHz bands. This week will favour the North Sea for scatter points.

Last Wednesday’s cluster reports saw a short 50MHz Sporadic-E opening from the South West down to Spain and Portugal, so remember to check the lower bands around lunchtime for these rare surprises.

The seasonally-low random meteor rates continue and, with no major showers, early morning continues to be best time day for random meteor scatter operation.

The Moon heads towards its lowest declination on Friday and the short, low elevation windows added to high losses mean not much time for QSOs. But it is a good week to check out your EME systems. At this this time of year the sun is reaching up to 30 degrees elevation at noon so you can again use the sun for cold sky noise measurements to check your system sensitivities on the higher bands.

And that’s all for this week from the propagation team.

00:0000:00
GB2RS NEWS
Sunday 21st February 2016

The news headlines:
ISS link to City of Norwich school 
5MHz Beacon consulatation opens
Antarctic Activity Week starts

The next UK school contact with Tim Peake on the ISS will be with the City of Norwich school on Friday the 26th of February. The 10-minute window opens at 1434UTC and the call will be GB2CNS. A team of 9 amateurs, mainly from Norfolk ARC, have already run two 1½ hour workshops entitled Making Waves for students. The workshops started with an introduction into amateur radio and included a showing of the new RSGB youth video. Then they ran a circus of 5 activities covering SSTV, Morse, waves, APRS and a 4 component batteryless crystal set. The following scheduled contact is Powys Combined Schools, between the 29th of February and the 6th of March. The exact dates and times are only notified by NASA about 10 days beforehand, but will be publicised via GB2RS, the RSGB website and social media once available. All school contact transmissions from the ISS can be heard on the usual downlink frequency of 145.800MHz.
As announced in the March edition of RadCom, a consultation has opened on the future of the three UK 5MHz beacons, GB3RAL, GB3WES and GB3ORK. With the completion of the 5MHz Experiment and increasing technical and site difficulties, views on their future and offers of support are sought as part of the consultation exercise. Full details are online at http://forums.thersgb.org/ 
Look for this year's 13th Antarctic Activity Week to take place between February 22-28th. Complete details and a list of participants is available online at www.waponline.it/Default.aspx?tabid=113 The website will have an updated list with callsigns and QSL Managers. As many as 37 stations could be on the air, conditions permitting.
The Youth Contesting Programof IARU Region 1 will be continued in 2016. Youth members from IARU R1 member societies are invited to take part in a contest from so called Top Gun stations. They will learn how to operate the contest station, improve their contest skills and will aim for the best results together as a team. A youngster will probably be coming for the first time to the host country, and will get the chance to experience this country and share amateur radio knowledge with local youngsters. The contests take place in May, July and September and full details, including information on how to apply, are online. The website is www.ham-yota.com/youth-contesting-program
International Amateur Radio Union President Tim Ellam, VE6SH/G4HUA has presented former ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ with the IARU’s prestigious Michael J Owen, VK3KI, Memorial Award. Tim cited David’s  “skill, diplomacy, and encyclopedic knowledge” of amateur radio, and his role on the international scene, as most deserving of the award. Michael J Owen, VK3KI was a towering figure in the IARU and the Wireless Institute of Australia. He died in 2012. David Sumner started with his service at the watershed World Administrative Radio Conference in 1979, which yielded the so-called WARC bands, 30, 17, and 12 metres. David has travelled to more than 60 countries in connection with his ARRL and IARU responsibilities, which include 17 years as IARU Secretary.
World Thinking Day is taking place this weekend. This is when members of Girlguiding use amateur radio to try to contact other members throughout the world, as part of the celebrations of their founders’ birthdays. If you hear Thinking Day stations on the air, please give them a call.
Over 1,000 Members volunteer for the RSGB in a wide variety of roles. What motivates them and what do they get out of it? Find out from the RSGB’s new video. Go to www.rsgb.org/ volunteer-video to see it on our website, or view it on the RSGB YouTube channel. If you’d like an offline copy to show at your club, please contact us. In the video Andy Roberts, M0GYK, Diana Smith, M6FIO and Graham Parry, G7OSR explain why they enjoy volunteering at the NRC. So if you’ve got some spare time, would like to help others within the amateur radio community, or would like to shape the future of the hobby, watch the video then take a look at the volunteering section in ‘About us’ on our website, www.rsgb.org – see what inspires you! 
And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week 
There are no rallies in the diary for this weekend. Next weekend, two rallies will take place. 
The Brats Rainham Radio Rally is at Rainham School for Girls, Derwent way, Rainham, Gillingham, Kent, ME8 0BX on the 28th of February. Doors open at 9.30/10am and there will be a talk-in station. There will be trade stands, special interest groups and catering on site. More details from Trevor on 07717 678 795 or online at www.brats-qth.org. 
Also on Sunday the 28th of February the Pencoed Amateur Radio Club Table Top Sale takes place at Pencoed Rugby Football Club, The Verlands, Felindre Road, Pencoed CF35 5PB. Tables will be £5 each on a first come first served basis. Please book with Madeline on 01639 885126. Doors open at 8.30am for sellers buyers at 9.30am. Admission is £2. Hot food will be available in the morning and at lunch time and hot and cold drinks will be available from the bar. Details are online at www.MW0PRG.co.uk/events.uk.
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 radcom@rsgb.org.uk. 
And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources
Masato, JA0RQV will be active as 6Y5/JA0RQV mainly from his hotel in Kingston, Jamaica, NA-097, starting on the 21st of February until the 17th of April. Activity will be mostly on the weekend and spare time. He will work on the 10 to 160m bands using CW and SSB. QSL via M0OXO using ORQS or Logbook of The World.
Members of the Radio Club Argentino will be on the air from Carlini Base in the South Shetland Islands during the last few weeks of February. They will sign LU1ZI and the IOTA reference number is AN-010.
Members of the Italian DXpedition Team will be active as 3XY1T from the Los Islands, AF-051, until the 4th of March. They will be on all bands from 160m to 6m on SSB, CW and RTTY. 
Mark, K0MDJ is on the air as 9H3DJ until 1 June while on a business trip to Malta. Activity is in his spare time using mostly SSB on 17m. Malta is EU-023. QSL to his home call.
A team of 9 operators from North America will be active as A35T from the island of Tonga until the 28th of February. QSLs will be handled by M0URX. 
A number of American operators will be QRV from Guantanamo Bay, NA-015, until the 4th of March. Look for the callsigns KG4BP, KG4EU, KG4HF, KG4HP and KG4WV. 
Now the contest news
The ARRL International DX 48-hour contest is coming to a close tonight. Work the USA, contiguous 48 States, and Canada only, giving them a signal report and your transmit power. US/Canadian stations give a signal report and their State/Province code. This is the CW leg of the event; the SSB leg takes place next month. 
The RSGB 50MHz UKAC is on Tuesday from 2000UTC to 2230UTC. The SHF UKAC takes place at the same time on the 2.3 to 10GHz bands. Both have an exchange of RST, serial number and locator. 
On Wendesday the UKEICC 80m contest takes place from 2000UTC to 2100UTC. Operating in CW on the 3.5MHz band, the exchange is your 4-character locator. 
Friday sees the start of the CQ WW 160m DX contest at 2200 UTC, concluding at 2200UTC on the 28th. Using SSB on the 1.8MHz band, the exchange is RS plus CQ Zone. US stations will also send their State and Canadians their Province. 
The French REF Contest takes place next weekend from 0600UTC on the 27th to 1800UTC on the 28th. Using SSB on the 3.5-28MHz contest bands, the exchange is RS and serial number, with French stations also sending their département number or overseas prefix. 
Finally for next weekend, the 70MHz Cumulative #1 runs from 1000UTC to 1200UTC on the 4m band. Using all modes, the exchange is RST, serial number and locator. 
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G4BAO and G3YLA on Friday 19th February.
This week has been a mixed bag in terms of HF performance. At times 10 metres has been open, with the 7P8C DXpedition to Lesotho putting in an appearance on the band for hours on Monday and Tuesday. But the high-speed solar wind is never far away and played havoc with geomagnetic conditions later on Tuesday and all day Wednesday, with the Kp index hitting six on both days. The solar wind exceeded 600 kilometres per second at times, causing geomagnetic storming at higher latitudes. This was due to an ongoing coronal hole on the southern hemisphere of the sun – a region within the sun's corona with open magnetic field lines that allows a stream of particles to escape. This left the HF bands very noisy indeed.
Next week NOAA predicts the solar flux index will be in the range 100-115, which could spell openings up to 10m. The good news is that the K index is predicted to be a reasonably-settled 2 all week long. If this turns out to be accurate we can expect some good DX openings on HF.
Finally, don't forget the lower bands. There have been some good openings to Australia and Asia reported on 80m during the hours of darkness, especially around greyline times.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
There is another rather poor tropo week coming up, but with one possible glimmer of hope in the south around mid-week. We start the week with low pressure to the north of Britain and the long-term area of high pressure near the Azores. This makes for a cold start to the week with northwesterly winds and some snow showers possible, producing good highly reflective clouds for GHz band scatter modes.
Around mid-week, a ridge from the Azores high will cross southern Britain to give a brief enhancement, but nothing dramatic. It's unlikely to last because low pressure will return by the end of the week. 
Watch out for auroral propagation on the lower VHF bands in the coming week as the sun has been active and produced recent auroral propagation for northerly stations.
The seasonally-low random meteor rates continue and no major showers, so early morning continues to be best time day for random meteor scatter operation.
The Moon will be up overnight and in the early morning this week and its declination is decreasing. Moon windows will shorten and losses reach a maximum as the Moon reaches apogee, its furthest distance away, on Saturday.   
And that’s all for this week from the propagation team.  


00:0000:00

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 14th February 2016

The news headlines:

  • First school ham TV ISS link

  • Thinking Day next weekend

  • New 472kHz distance record set

The UK ARISS team achieved a world first at the Royal Masonic School for Girls, Rickmansworth on Thursday, by receiving live ATV video from the ISS during the contact. Using the HamTV transmitter, which has recently been commissioned on board the ISS, Tim Peake was the first astronaut to use this equipment during a two way schools contact. The next UK school contact will be with Oasis Academy in north Bristol, on Friday 19 February. The 10-minute window opens at 1423UTC. Students there have already completed a Buildathon, thanks to Shirehampton ARC, and are looking forward to the actual contact. After that, The City of Norwich Schools have a contact scheduled between the 22nd and 28th of February. The exact dates and times are only notified by NASA about 10 days beforehand, but will be publicised via GB2RS, the RSGB website and social media once available. All school contact transmissions from the ISS can be heard on the usual downlink frequency of 145.800MHz.

World Thinking Day will take place on the 20th and 21st of February. This is when members of Girlguiding use amateur radio to try to contact other members throughout the world as part of the celebrations of their founders’ birthdays. For further details and to add your station to the list of participants go to www.guides-on-the-air.co.uk or contact Liz, M0ACL via m0acl@guides-on-the-air.co.uk If you hear Thinking Day stations on the air, please give them a call.

Tuesday the 9th of February saw a new record set for the longest DX on the new 600m band. WSPR was used by Phil Dwyer, VK3ELV and Laurence Howell, KL7L, the latter operating as WE2XPQ. The contact, from Victoria in Australia to Alaska in the USA, is the first-ever between VK3 and KL7 on the 472kHz band. KL7L also reported a 136kHz opening to Japan at the same time.

Stuart, M0SGS has been given granted an NoV to operate a Simplex Fusion C4FM Digital Voice Gateway callsign MB6ILE on 431.075MHz. The gateway is located in Pudsey, West Yorkshire, and serves the Leeds and Bradford area. Transmission is via a 70cm folded dipole at about 630ft ASL with a 5 watt output. The system went live on the 6th of February and can be accessed via any C4FM Fusion enabled radio. Details of operating times, updates and how to connect can be found at www.m0sgs.co.uk

The latest RSGB Band Plans have now been finalised. They cover all 29 UK amateur bands from 136kHz to 250GHz, including the special 146MHz band that is only available by Notice of Variation to Full licence holders. The Band Plans are available on the RSGB website at www.rsgb.org/bandplans. They also appear in the March edition of RadCom, which should start arriving with Members on Wednesday this week.

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

Today, 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 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 today, the Harwell Radio and Electronics Rally takes place 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.

There are no rallies in the diary for next weekend. On the 28th, two rallies will take place. These are the Rainham Radio Rally and Pencoed Table Top Sale. More details on those next week.

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 radcom@rsgb.org.uk.

And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources

Masato, JA0RQV will be active as 6Y5/JA0RQV mainly from his hotel in Kingston, Jamaica, NA-097, starting on the 21st of February until the 17th of April. Activity will be mostly on the weekend and spare time. He will work on the 10 to 160m bands using CW and SSB. QSL via M0OXO using ORQS or Logbook of The World.

Wim, ON6DX is visiting Togo in West Africa. He will reactivate his 5V7TH callsign until the 22nd of February. He will be active on 40m to 6m CW, SSB and RTTY. QSL to his home call.

Members of the Radio Club Argentino will be on the air from Carlini Base in the South Shetland Islands during the last few weeks of February. They will sign LU1ZI and the IOTA reference number is AN-010.

Members of the Italian DXpedition Team will be active as 3XY1T from the Los Islands, AF-051, between the 18th of February and the 4th of March.

Mark, K0MDJ is on the air as 9H3DJ until June 1 while on a business trip to Malta. Activity is in his spare time using mostly SSB on 17 meters. Malta is EU-023. QSL to home call.

Now the contest news

The first of this year’s CQ Worldwide Worked All Prefix Contests is RTTY, which is held for the entire 48 hours this weekend ending at 2359 on the 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 this weekend with numerous categories is the PACC, a Dutch contest. It’s a CW and SSB event ends its 24 hour run at 1200UTC today, the 14th. Using the 1.8 to 28MHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and Dutch stations send their Province code too.

On Tuesday the 1.3GHz UK Activity Contest takes place from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes the exchange is the usual signal report, serial number and locator.

On Thursday it’s the CW leg of the 80m Club Championships running from 2000 to 2130UTC. The exchange is signal report and serial number.

The second 48-hour contest is the ARRL International DX, on the weekend of the 20th and 21st. Work the USA, contiguous 48 States, and Canada only, giving them a signal report and your transmit power. US/Canadian stations give a signal report and their State/Province code. This is the CW leg of the event; the SSB leg takes place next month.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G4BAO and G3YLA on Friday 12th February.

This past week saw an increase in the solar flux index, helped along by a gaggle of sunspots. The SFI hovered around 117 mid-week which, when coupled with relatively settled geomagnetic conditions, brought some life to the upper HF bands. Andy, M0NKR reported working Japan on twenty metres from his car at lunchtime using a monoband whip and 150 watts. Australia has also put in an appearance on 10m at times.

Next week, NOAA predicts the solar flux index will be around 110 to 115, with generally settled geomagnetic conditions. There is the chance of unsettled conditions later in the week with the K index predicted to hit four on Thursday and/or Friday. This is due to a high-speed solar wind stream from a recurring coronal hole. So the message is, get your DXing efforts in earlier in the week.

The critical frequency as measured by the Chilton Ionosonde was 8.6MHz at noon on Wednesday the 10th. This translates to an estimated maximum useable frequency of 31MHz over a 3,000km path and explains why DX was to be found on ten metres. It may be worthwhile keeping an eye on 28MHz this week to see if the good conditions continue.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

It’s been a poor winter overall for tropo and there are few glimmers of hope in the coming week. After we have shunted the cold wintry weather into the continent, indications are that it will be Monday when a ridge of high pressure moves into Ireland and western Britain. This will migrate eastwards across the country, being replaced by low pressure again from Thursday onwards. This means that we may have a mid-week opportunity to get some marginal tropospheric enhancement on the VHF and UHF bands, before it fades away again.

This is not a particularly strong ridge and is unlikely to bring widespread good conditions. The best tropo prospects are reserved for the eastern Mediterranean, around Cyprus and Crete, and also from Portugal to the Azores and Canaries.

There is still no respite from the annual dip in meteor rates so early morning continues to be best time day for random meteor scatter operation.

The Moon declination increases all next week, reaching maximum on Thursday. So long moon windows, with associated low losses, means it’s a good week for Earth-Moon-Earth operation. If you aren’t equipped for EME, or Oscar Zero as the Moon is sometimes called, artificial satellite DX is always available. Maybe take this slow week as an excuse to try satellite operation.

And that’s all for this week from the propagation team.

00:0000:00

GB2RS NEWS

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 question.workshop@rsgb.org.uk

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 aros@rsgb.org.uk 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 radcom@rsgb.org.uk.

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.

00:0000:00

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 31st January 2016

The news headlines:

  • New CEO for ARRL

  • VP8STI Shuts Down Early

  • Amateurs help in USA snowstorms

Tom Gallagher, NY2RF, of West Palm Beach, Florida, will succeed David Sumner, K1ZZ, as the chief executive officer of ARRL, effective April 18. In that role, he will oversee all activities at ARRL Headquarters in Newington, Connecticut. Meeting in a special webinar session on January 25, all 15 ARRL Directors voted to elect Gallagher as CEO and Secretary, positions that Sumner will relinquish on April 18. Gallagher will join the ARRL staff as CEO-Elect on February 29, and a transition period will follow.

After managing to recover from the effects of a fierce South Atlantic storm, an emergency resulting from the storm has forced the VP8STI team back to their transport vessel, the R/V Braveheart. They were able to remove all of the VP8STI equipment from Southern Thule on the 26th of January. The DXpedition team is now headed for South Georgia, AN-007, where it plans to operate for 8 days as VP8SGI.

Last weekend’s severe snowstorms in the United States saw many Amateur Radio Emergency Service volunteers on standby in case of need. Nets were set up on 40m plus VHF and UHF repeaters, using a variety of modes. The Great South Bay Amateur Radio Club took part in storm-related operations on Long Island, New York.

The AggieSat4 satellite carrying the University of Texas CubeSat Bevo-2 is expected to be deployed from the International Space Station on January 29. Both have amateur radio payloads. After release, AGS4 will eject Bevo-2 and perform relative navigation tasks as well as take pictures of the release of Bevo-2. The IARU has coordinated these frequencies for the amateur radio payloads. AggieSat4 transmits 9k6 or 153.6 kbps FSK on 436.250.MHz, and Bevo-2 transits CW and 38k4 FSK on 437.325MHz.

Papers for the forthcoming IARU Region 1 interim meeting that will be held in April are now available. Topics include HF, VHF, microwave and EMC matters. Comments from UK amateurs are invited via the RSGB IARU Consultations forum, which includes guidance and links to the papers.

VK amateurs are trialling an experimental digital retransmission of the Wireless Institute of Australia’s news service. Operating under its club callsign VK5ARG, the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group is transmitting via the FreeDV-1600 mode on 7.177MHz LSB from 2230UTC. There are several free, open source software packages compatible with FreeDV, which can be used to receive the transmissions. Following the news there is a callback net on the same frequency that gives amateurs the opportunity to experiment further with the mode. More information on the transmissions can be found at the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group website, www.areg.org.au and details of the mode can be found at www.freedv.org

Staying with technology, a new app has been written for the Apple Watch that lets users compose SMS text messages using Morse code. The app was written by Patryk Laurent, a cognitive scientist working at the Brain Corporation in San Diego. So far the app does not appear to be available for download, but a screenshot seen online suggests its working title is “PAKLMORSE2”. There is no word yet on whether it can be interfaced with any amateur radio equipment, however it may point the way for a future possibility.

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

Today, the Horncastle Winter Rally takes place at Horncastle Youth Centre, Horncastle, Lincolnshire LN9 6DZ. The event supports the Wolds Repeater Group and GB3FJ. The venue is all on one level and doors open at 10.30am. Admission is £1.50. There will be refreshments available, including hot bacon butties. Details from Tony Nightingale, G3ZPU on 01507 527 835.

Next Sunday 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 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 radcom@rsgb.org.uk.

Now the special event news

We have no news of special event stations this week.

And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources

Dagoberto, CE5COX will operate as 3G9JA from Hornos Island from 1st to 6th February. This one counts as SA-031 for the Islands on the Air Award. QSLs go to CE5JA.

Roly, ZL1BQD will be on the air from Raratonga, OC-013, in the South Cook Islands until the 7th of February. He is using the callsign E51RJR on CW on all bands from 80m to 10m. QSL to his home call.

Stan, WS5K will be active as 5H2SF from Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania from 26th January to 10th February.

Jean-Paul, HB9ARY will operate holiday-style as 3B8HC from Mauritius, AF-049, until the 8th of February. He will be on all bands from 80m to 10m, with priority given to 80m. QSL direct to NI5DX.

Gene, N9SW will sign FJ/N9SW from the Caribbean island of St Barthelemy, NA-146, until the 9th of February. He will mainly be on CW and cards go to his home call.

Now the contest news

The CQ World Wide 160m DX CW contest comes to a close tonight, having run for 48 hours from 10pm on Friday the 29th. Exchange a signal report and your CQ Zone, which is 14 for the UK. American and Canadian stations will send their State/Province code.

The 2016 series of 80m Club Championship contests starts on the 1st of February. Monday’s SSB leg runs from 2000 to 2130UTC and the exchange is RS plus serial number.

The 144MHz UKAC is on Tuesday, from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes on the 2m band, the exchange is RST, serial number and locator.

On Wednesday the UKEICC 80m SSB contest runs from 2000 to 2100UTC. The exchange is your 4-character locator and you must submit your log within one hour of the end of the contest. Provisional results will be posted shortly thereafter.

Next Sunday the 432MHz AFS contest takes place from 0900 to 1300UTC. Using all modes n 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.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G4BAO and G3YLA on Friday 29th January.

Solar activity was a little more settled last week. The solar flux index was in the range 104-113 and the K index was mainly around one or two later in the week, after reaching four on Sunday.

This week the solar flux index is predicted to remain in the range 100-118, with lower activity on Friday the 5th and Saturday the 6th. The K index will be mostly settled, but possibly reaching four on Tuesday or Wednesday.

During this past week the noon critical frequency as measured by the Chilton Ionosonde reached 7.5MHz on Wednesday, offering a maximum usable frequency over 3,000km of about 27MHz. Ten and twelve metres have shown some activity with Bob, VP8LP on the Falkland Islands making an appearance at times.

Staying with the South Atlantic, the VP8SGI DXpedition should hopefully be on the air this week from South Georgia Island. On 7MHz and 14MHz, the best times for working them will be on 40m after midnight and 20m in the late evening and early hours of the morning.

During daytime, all the upper HF bands may offer opportunities, with even the possibility of a 10m opening from around 1000 to 1500 UTC. The optimum band, with a 90% probability of an opening, is 15m during late morning.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

The hoped-for tropo didn’t materialise last week and the charts look very unsettled again. Later in the week one of the weather models predicts a small high in the cold air over northern Britain, but others are less convinced and maintain a much larger high near the Azores. Any useful ridging from this extending into the continent to give some tropo across the Mediterranean, France and Iberia is sadly just out of reach from the UK.

The Moon reaches minimum declination on Friday so we will have short moon windows and low elevations with losses still quite high.

We are still in the early-year minimum of random meteor rates, so persistence and early morning activity is still the order of the day for meteor scatter operators.

Overall then, it is not looking promising for any significant tropo, but perhaps other modes will come to our rescue like rain scatter on the GHz bands or possibly aurora. This is perhaps a good week to try some satellite QSOs if you want to keep your VHF and up QSO rates ticking over.

And that’s all this week from the propagation team.

00:0000:00

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 24th January 2016

The news headlines:

  • New 134GHz DX record

  • Club of the Year deadline extended

  • Apply NOW for Board and Regional positions

A new UK 134GHz DX Record was set by Ian, G8KQW and John, G8ACE, who achieved 35.6km on the 16th of January, over a line of sight path between Cheesefoot Head and Chute Causeway. Signals were 10dB above noise at best. The key enabler for success on this extended distance record contact was lower path loss due to less water vapour attenuation courtesy of the low temperature, 2.5°C, and dew point, 1°C. This was sufficient to overcome the ~9dB increase in free space path loss attenuation over the previous record path. Congratulations to both.

The deadline for entries to the Club of the Year 2015 Competition has been extended to 29 February. The national competition is kindly sponsored by Waters and Stanton. For details of how to enter, please see http://rsgb.org/main/clubs/national-club-of-the-year/ The Regional winners of the competition will be announced at the RSGB Annual General meeting in April and the National winners will receive their prizes at the National Hamfest in Lincoln on the 1st of October.

The deadline for nominations for the position of President, Board or Regional Manager in Regions 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 13 is the 1st of February 2016. Details of the nomination process are in both the January and February RadCom and on the RSGB website at www.rsgb.org.uk/elections2016.

In response to requests from Affiliated clubs, a subtitled version of the popular video Amateur Radio – a hobby for the 21st Century is now available. The subtitles may be helpful when the video is shown in a noisy environment. It can be downloaded from the RSGB website at http://rsgb.org/main/get-started-in-amateur-radio/amateur-radio-a-hobby-for-the-21st-century/

The American Amateur Radio League – or ARRL – Board of Directors elected a new president on the 15th of January, during the Board’s Annual Meeting. Rick Roderick, K5UR has been licensed for 48 years, is an ARRL Life Member and has served on the Board for 24 years. The sitting president, Kay, N3KN, is stepping down after 3 terms in office.

Australia Day is on the 26th of January and radio amateurs may choose to substitute their callsign’s VK prefix with AX. Australian amateurs will get to do this twice again this year, on ANZAC Day, the 25th of April, and International Telecommunications Day, on the 17th of May. The Australian Communications and Media Authority automatically grants amateurs use of the prefix for the duration of the named celebrations.

Following details of the RSGB Contest Committee restructuring and vacancies announced last week, the Board have approved terms of reference for the three new contest committees. Details are now available online at http://rsgb.org/main/about-us/committees/

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

There are no rallies in the diary for this weekend. On the 31st of January the Horncastle Winter Rally will take place at Horncastle Youth Centre, Horncastle, Lincolnshire LN9 6DZ. The venue is all on one level and doors open at 10.30am. Admission is £1.50. There will be refreshments available, including hot bacon butties. Details from Tony Nightingale, G3ZPU on 01507 527 835.

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 radcom@rsgb.org.uk.

Now the special event news

GX0MWT and GB2LBD will be among the stations active for RNLI SOS Radio Weekend today. Check out the website www.sosradioweek.org.uk for the full listing.

On the 22nd and 23rd, there will be a commemoration of Francis Bacon, born in 1561, and Robert Boyle, born in 1627. MX0YHA and MX0PHX will be on the air and contacts will qualify for the British Scientists award. These commemorations will be on the 40m band SSB and also on the higher bands if conditions permit.

Owen, M1OJS, will be running GB0HLB from Hartlepool Lifeboat Station for SOS Radio Week on the 24th and again on the 30th and 31st. He will be active on 2m and the HF bands. He looks forward to working as many other amateurs as possible.

And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources

The VP8STI team has been on the air from Southern Thule Island with three stations since arriving on the 17th. The 14-member team will activate South Sandwich, AN-009 and South Georgia, AN-007, over the course of their adventure. South Sandwich is the number 3 most-wanted DXCC entity, while South Georgia is the 8th most-wanted, according to ClubLog. The VP8STI/VP8SGI team plans to spend 10 days on each island, including setup and teardown. Very rough seas are endangering the process of transporting supplies, as are the high winds and some snow.

Bertrand, DF3FS will be in Kenya until the 7th of February. He will operate holiday-style using the callsign 5Z4/DF3FS.

Gene, N9SW will be active from the 28th of January to the 9th of February as FJ/N9SW from St Barthelemy, NA-146. He will work holiday style on the 6 to 60m bands, mainly in CW. QSL via his home callsign.

Thilo, DL9NBJ, is working from Curacao, SA-099, until the 9th of February using the callsign PJ2/DL9NBJ. He will work both single sideband and CW on the HF bands. QSL only via ClubLog OQRS.

Stig, SM3PHM will be on holiday until the 3rd of February on the Caribbean island of Dominica, NA-101. His callsign will be J79M. QSL via his home call and also Logbook of The World.

Now the contest news

The first UK/EI DX CW contest of the year ends its 24 hours run at 12 noon today, the 24th. It is CW-only on the five contest bands from 80 to 10 metres. There are multi-op and single-op categories and the exchange is a serial and your district code. You'll need to know your own district code, and these are listed in the rules at www.ukeicc.com

The BARTG RTTY Sprint also ends at 1200UTC today, the 24th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz bands the exchange is just the serial number. Please note that if you have been placed anywhere in the Top 10 in this contest in the past three years you have to enter the Expert category.

On Tuesday, two Activity Contests take place, both from 2000 to 2230UTC. The 50MHz event uses all modes on that band and the SHF event uses the 2.3 to 10GHz bands, again all modes. The exchange for both events is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Wednesday the UK-EI CC takes place between 2000 and 2100UTC on the 80m bands. Using SSB the exchange is your 4-character Locator.

The final contest of the month is the CQ World Wide 160m DX CW that runs for 48 hours, starting at 10pm on Friday the 29th. Exchange a signal report and your CQ Zone, which is 14 for the UK. American and Canadian stations will send their State/Province code.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G4BAO and G3YLA on Friday 22nd January.

We've had yet another week with unsettled geomagnetic conditions. This time the Kp index hit five on Wednesday, and even six on Thursday, caused by a plasma emission from the Sun with a prolonged southward-facing Bz field. This was a shame as the field had been very settled on Monday, with a Kp index of zero, which usually bodes well for good HF conditions.

On Monday the critical F2 layer frequency, as measured by the Chilton ionosonde, hit 6.8MHz at noon, giving a predicted maximum usable frequency of about 21MHz.

By Wednesday it was 7.6MHz, giving a MUF of about 25MHz over 3,000km. This shows that, perversely, a higher K index can sometimes result in better conditions as the initial onset of solar plasma can cause a positive phase with better maximum useable frequencies, before the subsequent negative phase with depressed MUFs, noisy bands and auroral conditions.

The moral of the story is that the best thing to do is monitor the HF bands as often as you can, as you never really know what you might hear.

The forecast for the next week is more of the same, with a further high risk of unsettled geomagnetic conditions at times, especially on the 28th and 29th.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

The edge of a high pressure system sits well to the East over the continent, so stations in the South and East of the country could get some enhanced conditions this week.

The second half of the week looks the best, with the F5LEN tropo maps showing a long narrow finger of enhancement over Southern England, into the Low Countries and the Southern Baltic. This could link up with the Azores high, providing slightly-enhanced conditions into Western France, Spain and Portugal. Otherwise, the bulk of the country offers windier weather with low pressure and frontal rain bands, with not much tropo on offer for VHF and UHF. However, some active weather fronts could introduce the prospect of some rain scatter on the GHz bands.

We are now in the year’s quiet period for meteor activity, extending from early January until the Lyrids shower at the end of April, so it’s back to early mornings waiting patiently for the random meteors to provide fleeting low VHF DX opportunities.

Moon declination is falling and goes negative on Thursday and, with apogee next Saturday, path losses will continue to increase throughout the week.

That’s all for this week from the propagation team.

00:0000:00

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 17th January 2016

The news headlines:

  • ISS School contact video released

  • Workshops wanted for EMF 2016

  • Minister launches spectrum report

A 92-minute video containing the Sandringham School GB1SAN and Tim Peake GB1SS amateur radio contact is now available on the ARISS UK Team channel on YouTube. The contact took place on Friday the 8th of January and was led by Jessica, M6LPJ. The video includes the presentations given to the students by ARISS UK's Ciaran, M0XTD, Head Teacher Alan, G4DJX, and the Chair of the RSGB Youth Committee Mike, 2E0MLJ. Watch the ARISS Schools contact at http://tinyurl.com/hxbyh6h

Electromagnetic Field EMF 2016 will take place from the 5th to the 7th of August near Guildford, Surrey. It is a UK camping festival for those with an inquisitive mind or an interest in making things, aimed at hackers, artists, geeks, crafters, scientists and engineers. The organisers are looking for talks and workshops for the festival. They are especially keen to hear from people with different backgrounds than you'd expect to find at a technology conference. The London Hackspace Amateur Radio Club is planning to erect at least one of their Clark masts in the village, showcasing amateur radio on 3.5MHz to 430MHz – and maybe higher. Further information is online at www.emfcamp.org/cfp

The UK Spectrum Policy Forum, the industry-led sounding board to Government and Ofcom, has launched a new report called UK Spectrum Usage & Demand 2nd Edition. It was launched at the UK Spectrum Policy Forum conference, with a keynote speech from Ed Vaizey MP. Amateur radio features strongly in the report, following input by the RSGB. See http://tinyurl.com/z4kj4jh

The 2015 Christmas Eve transmission from SAQ, the Alexanderson alternator station at the World Heritage Grimeton site in Sweden, brought more than 350 reports, according to a preliminary accounting, many of them from amateurs. SAQ transmitted on its standard frequency, 17.2kHz. The majority of reports came from Europe, with nearly 160 from Germany.

The RSGB Promotion Group, working with the Inspire initiative, has developed a resource pack to assist clubs that are considering or planning to stage public demonstrations of amateur radio. The pack provides material and links to existing good practice in all the areas that a club needs to address. All clubs are encouraged to use this resource to share what they do with others. From Tuesday the 19th of January the pack will be on the RSGB Club Membership portal, which is accessed by logging into the RSGB website.

The February/March 2016 edition of RadCom Basics will be emailed out to subscribers on Tuesday the 2nd of February so there’s plenty of time for new readers to sign up. It will contain features on making the most of tropospheric lifts on 2m, homemade coaxial traps for antennas, taking part in the Commonwealth Contest on 12-13 March and making a 2m Slim Jim antenna with 300 ohm ribbon cable. You can find out more about RadCom Basics and subscribe in the publications section of the RSGB website, www.RSGB.org

Tom Wylie, GM4FDM wishes to step down as sub manager for the GM4 to GM8 series of callsigns sometime during 2016 and we are now seeking his replacement. Ideally this should be another active GM with time and space to handle 20 to 25 thousand cards per year and who has email and basic spreadsheet skills. Tom reports a higher than average rate of non–collection in this call range, so a proactive volunteer with organisational, time and people skills would be an advantage. Enquiries please to qsl@rsgb.org.uk

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

The first rally of the New Year is the Red Rose Winter Rally, which takes place today, Sunday the 17th of January. Organised by West Manchester Radio Club, it is at The George H Carnall Leisure Centre, Kingsway Park, M41 7FJ. The venue is easily accessible from junction 9 of the M60 and has disabled facilities with good access as it is all on one level. There is a large free car park and a café on site. Doors open at 11am. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy, special interest groups and an RSGB bookstall. Details from John on 07840 389 427, or see www.wmrc.org.uk

The next rally is on the 31st of January when the Horncastle Winter Rally will take place at Horncastle Youth Centre, Horncastle, Lincolnshire LN9 6DZ.

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 radcom@rsgb.org.uk.

Now the special event news

Rowan Hill Prep School will be running GB4RHS on Friday the 22nd of January as part of a space and science fayre. If you hear students passing greetings messages, please give them a call.

GX0MWT will be active for RNLI SOS Radio Weekend on the 23rd and 24th of January. Chelmsford ARS will be operating on HF and 144MHz using SSB, data and CW from 10am to 4pm each day from the Marconi Sailing club at Steeple in Essex.

GB2LBD will be on the air as part of SOS Radio Week on the 23rd and 30th of January, operated by the Nunsfield House Amateur Radio Group in Derby. It is hoped to be operational on 40m and other HF bands depending on conditions, along with some VHF depending on propagation and availability of aerials.

The next commemorative events in the British Scientists Amateur Radio Award programme will be on the 21st of January to commemorate the work of biologist and mycologist Helen Gwynne-Vaughan, born in 1879. Then, on the 22nd and 23rd, there will be a commemoration of Francis Bacon, born in 1561, and Robert Boyle, born in 1627. M0YBX and MX0PHX will operate on the 21st and MX0YHA and MX0PHX on the 22nd and 23rd. These commemorations will be on the 40m band SSB and also on the higher bands if conditions permit.

And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources

Jean-Paul, HB9ARY will be active from Mauritius, IOTA reference AF-049, as 3B8HC from the 23rd of January to the 8th of February. He will work holiday style on the 6 to 80m bands, but focus most heavily on 80m. His main mode will be SSB, but he will also work some slow CW. Send QSLs direct via NI5DX.

Bertrand, DF3FS will be active as 5Z4/DF3FS from Diani Beach, Keyna, starting on the 23rd of January 23rd until the 7th of February. He will work the HF bands holiday style using CW and SSB. Send QSLs via DF3FS or the bureau.

Willy, KB8YRX will be active as 8P9CA from Barbados, NA-021, until the 4th of February. He will work on the 10 to 20m bands using SSB. Send QSLs via KB8YRX and Logbook of the World.

A team of 9 experienced US operators are scheduled to be active from Palmyra Atoll in the Pacific until the 25th of January. They will use the callsign K5P. Palmyra is located 1000 miles south of Hawaii and is under the control of the Nature Conservancy. The IOTA reference is OC-085 and the grid locator is AJ85. QSL via ClubLog OQRS.

A group of seven Japanese operators will operate as E51J from Raratonga Island, OC-013, in the South Cook Islands until the 21st of January. They will be on all bands 160m to 6m. QSLs go via ClubLog OQRS.

Peter PA8A is operating holiday-style as PJ4B from Bonaire. He will be there until the 22nd of January. QSL to his home call.

Now the contest news

The RSGB Board is seeking chairpersons for the new VHF Contest Committee, HF Contest Committee and Contest Support Committee. Applicants must be experienced contesters with a commitment to jointly drive a successful RSGB contesting programme. More information is contained in the February edition of RadCom. Further details can be obtained from the RSGB General Manager by email to graham.coomber@rsgb.org.uk and the closing date for applications is the 8th of February.

The first UK/EI DX CW contest of the year runs for 24 hours next weekend, from 12 noon on Saturday the 23rd of January. What's new is that EI and UK entrants will compete on equal terms against DX entrants. It is CW-only on the five contest bands from 80 to 10 metres. There are multi-op and single-op categories and the exchange is a serial and your district code. You'll need to know your own district code, and these are listed in the rules at www.ukeicc.com

The Worked All Britain 1.8MHz Phone Contest takes place next Saturday, the 23rd of January, from 1900 to 2300UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square. Entries need to be with the contest manager by the 13th of February. Full details of the rules and log sheets may be obtained from the WAB website, www.worked-all-britain.org.uk

On Tuesday the 1.3GHz UK Activity Contest runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is the usual signal report, serial number and locator.

Next weekend, the 23rd and 24th, the BARTG RTTY Sprint takes place from 1200 to 1200UTC. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz bands the exchange is just the serial number. Please note that if you have been placed anywhere in the Top 10 in this contest in the past three years you have to enter the Expert category.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G4BAO and G3YLA on Friday 15th January.

We've had another week of disturbed geomagnetic conditions, with the K index hitting four at times. This was due to an ongoing high-speed solar wind stream from a coronal hole on the sun. As we predicted, the solar flux index remained in the range 100-110, bringing lacklustre HF performance at times.

Next week looks like more of the same, with the USAF predicting a solar flux index in the range 95-105. There are currently two sunspot groups visible on the sun, but as they rotate out of view the rest of the sun is looking fairly spotless at the moment.

NOAA is predicting unsettled geomagnetic conditions on Thursday and Friday next week, with the K index possibly hitting four again. Another model has a high-speed solar wind stream hitting the Earth on Monday or Tuesday.

With such conflicting information is it hard to predict HF conditions, but if the quieter geomagnetic state can last just a little longer, and one model is wrong, we may get better ionospheric conditions for the upper HF bands, perhaps on 18 and 21MHz, at the beginning of the week. There have even been some fleeting openings up to 28MHz. The lower HF bands are still in the doldrums during daytime, with 40m closing early to near vertical incidence radiation contacts around the UK. Luckily, 80m can then take over.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

After putting up with low pressure and flat conditions for some time, we now have real signs of high pressure returning to the charts. Weather models are showing high pressure building in cold air so we could be in for a prolonged period of quiet, settled weather with sharp frosts and some freezing fog. This means that there may be good low level temperature inversions near the surface as well as elevated inversions aloft due to the high pressure. This could produce good tropospheric openings, although stronger winds over western Britain suggests that the better conditions will be in the east and over the North Sea into the near continent and southern Scandinavia.

More 50MHz Sporadic-E openings occurred last week so it’s still worth keeping a lookout mid morning and at teatime for DX opportunities on an otherwise empty band. That said, once the high pressure moves in to cover a large part of Europe, it will remove the persistent strong jet stream, which has probably underpinned these recent winter Es events

Moon declination reaches maximum on Friday so we have long moon windows this week but with losses increasing as the week goes on.

That’s all for this week from the propagation team.

00:0000:00

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 10th January 2016

The news headlines:

  • Students to speak to Tim Peake in space

  • RSGB General Manager to retire

  • Beware third party traffic

The news team and all the staff at RSGB HQ would like to wish our newsreaders, listeners and online readers a very Happy New Year. We would like to remind listeners that the deadline for news items is 10am on Thursday mornings and we welcome your news every week. Please send any contributions to radcom@rsgb.org.uk – it helps us if you only send information to that ONE address. The GB2RS script is uploaded to the RSGB website on Friday afternoons by 4.30pm.

Students at Sandringham School, St Albans spoke to Tim Peake aboard the International Space Station on Friday the 8th of January, using the special event callsign GB1SAN. The contact was made by a year 10 pupil, Jessica Leigh, M6LPJ who passed her Foundation exam just before Christmas after training with Verulam ARC. She operated the radio under the supervision of Ciaran Morgan, M0XTD. This is the first of several planned schools contacts in the coming weeks.

RSGB General Manager, Graham Coomber, G0NBI, has announced his retirement and the RSGB is seeking someone to take over the mantle of providing leadership for the HQ staff and support for the Board and the Membership. For further information about the role and how to apply, please email Graham Murchie G4FSG, Chairman of the Board at g4fsg@rsgb.org.uk Or if you would like an informal discussion about the job, Graham Coomber will be pleased to hear from you on 01234 832701 during office hours. The deadline for submitting formal applications is Friday 26 February 2016.

The Amateur Radio Observation Service, in conjunction with the Emerging Technology Co-ordination Committee, has noted a number of examples of UK amateurs operating internet linked nodes that are carrying third party traffic. They would like to draw attention to the requirement for an NoV to the amateur’s licence under these circumstances. Guidance for the use of personal hotspots, cross band repeaters or other similar installations can be found in Section 10 of the UK Amateur Licence.

The annual CWops award is to recognise individuals, groups, or organisations that have made the greatest contribution toward advancing the art or practice of radio communications by Morse code. It is presented at the Dayton Hamvention. For full details on the criteria and nomination process, go to www.cwops.org/awards.html Nominations should be emailed to awards@cwops.org with a copy to secretary@cwops.org and the deadline is the 15th of April.

The Clacton on Sea DMR repeater, GB7CL, went on air on 28 December. The frequencies are 430.6375 and 439.6375MHz, colour code 3. The repeater group would welcome any signal reports via the website, www.martellotowergroup.com

The RSG Propagation Studies Committee has begun work on a new web HF Propagation Prediction Service. It will feature both area coverage predictions as well as point-to-point on-demand predictions. Presently, only area coverage has been completed and this can be seen at www.predtest.uk This will soon be followed by the P2P predictions. It is planned that following these trials the RSGB web site will host the predictions. Comments and suggestions are invited by Gwyn Williams, G4FKH via email to g4fkh@sky.com

The RSGB Board has agreed to split the Contest Committee into three Committees with effect from the first of January 2016. The three committees will be known as the VHF Contest Committee (VHFCC), the HF Contest Committee (HFCC) and the Contest Support Committee (CSC). Vacancy notices for the three chairs, and other positions, will be posted in the next edition of RadCom. Please see the Notices section of the RSGB website for more information. 

The latest edition of The 5MHz Newsletter, a WRC15 Special, is now available for free pdf download from http://tinyurl.com/owttc4x or from the RSGB 5MHz page.

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

The first rally of the New Year will be the Red Rose Winter Rally on Sunday the 17th of January. Organised by West Manchester Radio Club, it takes place at The George H Carnall Leisure Centre, Kingsway Park, M41 7FJ. The venue is easily accessible from junction 9 of the M60 and has disabled facilities with good access as it is all on one level. There is a large free car park and a café on site. Doors open at 11am. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy, special interest groups and an RSGB bookstall. Details from John on 07840 389 427, or see www.wmrc.org.uk

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 radcom@rsgb.org.uk.

Now the special event news

As part of the Scotsman in Steam event, Bury ARS will be operating GB0ELR from Rawtenstall Station on the 10th, 16th and 17th of January. The two weekends will be the first opportunity for the general public to preview the Flying Scotsman engine in its wartime black livery following its restoration.

The Radio Club D'Haïti will put 4V1TL on the air until the 30th of April in memory of General Toussaint Louverture, who was arrested and sent to France and jailed at Fort de Joux where he died on the 7th of April 1803.

And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources

JA3ARJ, JA3AVO, JA3IVU, JA3UJR, JF3HPN, JH3LSS and JH3PBL will be active as E51J from Rarotonga, South Cook Islands, IOTA reference OC-013, between 12 and 21 January. They will operate CW, SSB and digital modes on 80-6 metres, and might also give 160 metres a try. QSL via JA3AVO, direct or bureau, and LoTW.

Jean-Pierre, F6ITD will be active again as FG/F6ITD and TO6D from Guadeloupe, NA-102, from 19 January to 9 March. Usually he is QRV on SSB and digital modes on the HF bands and 6 metres. QSL via LoTW, preferred, or home call; logsearch on Club Log.

Bernhard, DL2GAC will once again be active as H44MS from Honiara, Guadalcanal, OC-047 in the Solomon Islands, from 18 January to 14 April. He will operate SSB only on 80-10 metres, and might also be active on 160m during the CQ WW 160 Meter DX SSB Contest in February. QSL via home call, direct or bureau.

Peter, PA8A will be active again as PJ4B from Bonaire, SA-006, on 7 to 23 January. He will operate holiday style on 40-10 metres. QSL via PA8A, direct only.

Gerd, DJ4KW will be active again as V31YN from Consejo Shores, Belize from 9 January to 21 February. Usually he operates CW and RTTY on 160-10 metres, with participation in the CQ WW 160 Meter CQ WPX RTTY and ARRL DX CW contests. QSL via DJ4KW, direct or bureau, and LoTW (preferred).

Now the contest news

Today, on Sunday the 10th, the CW AFS takes place from 1400 to 1800UTC. Using the 3.5 and 7MHz bands the exchange is signal report and serial number.

On Tuesday the 432MHz UK Activity Contest takes place from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Next weekend, on the 16th, the SSB Affiliated Societies Contest runs from 1400 to 1800UTC. Using the 3.5 and 7MHz bands, SSB only, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G4BAO and G3YLA on Friday 8th January.

As we've entered 2016 it would be nice to have some better HF propagation conditions. Unfortunately, life is never that simple or accommodating! This week we have suffered from the effects of a high-speed solar wind stream that flowed from a geo-effective coronal hole on the sun. The effect was a K index of five in the early hours of Wednesday morning, with continued problems into Thursday. The sun has been otherwise quite quiet with only two visible sunspot groups, one of which is really tiny, and a solar flux index of 95.

This week one model has a high-speed solar wind stream predicted to hit the Earth on the 11th or 12th. But both the NOAA and USAF predictions have conditions more settled with a K index of two. The solar flux index should remain around 100-110. This should mean maximum useable frequencies of up to around 21MHz on DX paths during daylight, with occasional openings on the higher HF bands.

The critical frequency has been approaching 7MHz around noon, which means 40m may be open to NVIS signals around the UK. If not, then drop down to 5MHz for better reliability. At night, even 80m may struggle to remain open for inter-G contacts, but should be optimum for DX.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

A Winter 50 and 70MHz Sporadic E opening occurred for UK stations last Sunday, and there have been more QSOs spotted throughout the week. Keep a watch for others this week as they are not uncommon around the New Year.

A large area of low pressure will move across the country and into Europe during this weekend leaving us under a northerly weather pattern for much of the week. This is a generally less favourable pattern for tropospheric enhancements, but it could produce large (possibly wintry) showers around our coasts, which may be a useful boost for Gigahertz bands rain scatter propagation.

Some weather models predict the arrival of a substantial high next weekend, but it may stay to the west of Ireland and maintain the cold northerly instead, so Tropo is not guaranteed. If this potential high forms in cold, dry northerly air with no obvious moisture layer near the surface, there are only weak Tropo prospects.

Moon declination is at a minimum today so we have short moon windows, increasing as the week goes on, with losses falling as it comes in towards perigee, its closest point to Earth.

That’s all for this week from the propagation team.

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 27th December 2015

The news headlines:

  • Students to speak to spaceman Peake

  • News of 5MHz in Spain

  • Surprise activity from North Korea

Students at Sandringham School, St Albans are expected to speak to Tim Peake aboard the International Space Station some time during the period of the 5th to the 10th of January, using the special event callsign GB1SAN. This is the first of several planned schools contacts in the coming weeks. Three of the students have been trained by Verulam Amateur Radio Club to qualify them for their Foundation licences. This contact should be the high point of the school’s four-day Festival of Space. As part of the festival, members of the Verulam club will be running a station from the school using the club’s callsign GX3VER. The station will operate on all bands and with various modes. For more information see Verulam Club’s website, www.verulam-arc.org.uk

At the end of November, the existing Spanish 5MHz permission came to a close. Following the result of the WRC-15 decision on 5MHz, the Spanish administrator has now permitted access to the new allocation from 5351.5 to 5366.5kHz with 15W maximum EIRP and 3kHz maximum bandwidth, using SSB and CW modes. The permission runs until the 31st of December 2016.

The world’s most-wanted entity, North Korea, was briefly on the air on the 20th of December. Polish DXer Dom Gryzb, 3Z9DX worked several hundred stations as P5/3Z9DX on 20, 15 and 10m. He reported very high noise levels in Pyongyang, from where he ran 100W to a vertical just above ground level. The site was amid many government high-rise buildings. Many officials visited the station whilst it was on the air, keeping a close watch on the amateur radio operation. Dom was in the country as part of preparations for a proper DXpedition to P5, planned for February 2016.

The Irish regulator ComReg is considering additional spectrum allocations to the amateur services in the bands 30 to 49MHz and 52 to 70.5MHz. The intention is to facilitate propagation beacons, digital amateur television repeaters and to align current allocations with those in the European Common Allocation Table.

During December, groups from schools, universities and local clubs are activating the callsign G15YOTA and its regional variations. Many of the operators will be experiencing amateur radio for the first time, so if you hear the station, please give them a call. On the 27th the RSGB Youth Committee will be on the air and on the 28th, Leicester Radio Society will put the callsign on the air. GM15YOTA will then be active until the end of the month.

AMSAT-UK and AMSAT-NL have announced operational times for the SSB/CW linear transponders on board the AO-73 and EO-79 satellites during the festive period. AO-73 will be available continuously until the 3rd of January and EO-79 from the 28th until the 31st. Further information is at http://amsat-uk.org/

The RSGB Board has appointed two new trustees to the Legacy Sub-Committee. They are Glen Bates, G6HFF and Lindsay Pennell, G8PMA. The Legacy Committee considers applications, and makes recommendations to the Board, for funding from the Society’s Legacy funds. Recently, two generous donations totalling £16,800 have been received from the estate of a donor who wishes to remain anonymous and have been added to the Society’s Legacy Fund. 

The 5th of January 2016 marks 60 years since the foundation of the UK’s largest ever amateur radio manufacturing company, KW. The KW Yahoo-Group will be celebrating the company’s 60th anniversary with KW days-on-the-air on the 2nd and 3rd of January. Daytime SSB activity centres will be on 7.177, 3.777 and 14.277MHz but operators are encouraged to use KW gear on other bands. AM activity will be on the VMARS channels.

Earlier in the year, Ofcom agreed to permit amateurs with a main station address in Cornwall use of the RSL K throughout 2016. In common with comparable past temporary RSLs, it will be available for all classes of licence, including stations participating in contests. Notices of Variation are required, which are available free via the RSGB website, but note that the K must not be used until the 1st of January.

This week is the final GB2RS news reading for 2015. There will be no news script on the 3rd of January as the RSGB HQ is closed. We would like to take this opportunity to once again thank all those that read the news, in whatever format, for their tireless dedication to their fellow amateurs. Best wishes to all our listeners, via all mediums, for the New Year.

Now the special event news

To celebrate the 90th Anniversary of IARU the Radio Club of Haïti will be using HH90IARU until December 31st. The QSL Manager is W3HNK.

Brian, G8GMU, supported by Coventry ARS, is putting GB4BLC on the air from the 1st to the 10th of January for Bedworth Lions Club Awareness Month. This is to mark the work of Bedworth Lions Club & Lions Clubs International. GB4BLC will mainly operate on 40m SSB and 2m FM.

As part of the Scotsman in Steam event, Bury ARS will be operating GB0ELR from Rawtenstall Station on the 9th 10th, 16th and 17th of January. The two weekends will be the first opportunity for the general public to preview the Flying Scotsman engine in its wartime black livery following its restoration.

And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources

Brian, GW4DVB will be active as V25GB from Antigua, NA-100 from the 6th to the 14th of January. He will have a KX3 with 100 watts into a 10m vertical and M0CVO multiband dipole. He plans to operate SSB only on the 40 to 6m bands. QSL to his home callsign.

Ravi, M0XUU will be holidaying in Botswana until the 30th of December. He will sign A25GR from Kasane and Gaborone. He hopes to be on SSB and CW on 40m to 15m. QSL to his home call.

Another upcoming holiday-style operation is by Laci, OM3AG who will sign V25LK from Antigua, NA-100, until the 10th of January. He will operate on 20m to 10m with emphasis on CW. QSL to the home call.

Frank, I2DMI will operate RTTY from Palau, OC-009, using the callsign T88RY until the 29th of December. Bands will be 40m to 10m.

Steve, G0UIH will be staying on Phillip Island, IOTA OC-136, from the 29th of December to the 1st of January using VK2IAY/3. Operation will be SSB only on 20m. QSL is via G0UIH direct or via the bureau.

Now the contest news

The Marathon from the UK Six Metre Group ends on 31 January. There is no contest exchange, however the normal QSO data must be recorded. The scoring is 1 point per unique 4-digit Locator worked. Logs are submitted via the UKSMG website in ADIF format.

The Christmas Cumulatives end on Tuesday the 29th. Activity is on all bands between 50 and 432MHz each day from 1400 to 1600UTC and the trick to doing well is to be agile, turning beams regularly and band hopping as necessary. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The first few days of the New Year are really busy for contests. The IRTS 80m Counties Contest takes place on New Years Day. Only QSOs with EI and GI count for points.

The ARRL RTTY Roundup takes place for 30 hours over the weekend of the 2nd and 3rd. Send a signal report and serial number, but expect to receive a signal report plus a State code from US stations and a Province code from Canadians. Multipliers count just once, not once per band, and entrants are limited to a maximum operating time of 24 hours.

Next come the two sessions of the European 160m CW Party. The first is on the evening of the 2nd between 20000 and 2300UTC and the second is in the early hours of the 3rd between 0400 and 0700UTC. What you send your QSO partners depends on whether you are a member of a club that’s affiliated to the Association. In the UK that means FOC, FISTS, G-QRP and the Essex CW Club. If you are, send RST + name + club abbreviation + membership number; otherwise send RST + name + ‘NM’ for non member. You can work the same station in each session.

The UKEICC 80m series resumes after its month off, with SSB on the 6th. Exchange the first four characters of your locator (eg IO94). Upload your log within 1 hour of the contest end and expect provisional results to be posted within minutes of the entry deadline.

On the 5th the 144MHz UKAC runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Finally, on Sunday the 10th the CW AFS takes place from 1400 to 1800UTC. Using the 3.5 and 7MHz bands the exchange is signal report and serial number.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G4BAO and G3YLA on Wednesday the 23rd of December.

This week we have a slightly different approach to the HF propagation news. We want to help you and your family contact Santa's elves in Lapland, Finland.

The station Oscar Foxtrot Nine X-ray, OF9X, is once again on the air this Christmas from Santa Claus land in the Arctic Circle. The station, which is near the city of Oulu, will be active until the 28th of December on all bands. This is actually the 30th anniversary of their operations.

To work the elves at OF9X, the best starting point is the DX cluster or reverse beacon network to see where they are operating. They have been spotted on many bands and modes over the past week.

Looking at VOACAP Online, the predictions suggest that seventeen or twenty metres, 18MHz or 14MHz, both give a good possibility of a contact with a probability of greater than 90% from about 0900UTC to 1600UTC. Even 15m may be possible around midday.

Forty metres, 7MHz, should also give a high probability for the whole 24 hours, while 80m and 160m may be open during the hours of darkness in the UK.

Watch out for the effects of coronal mass ejections and coronal holes, as these can impact HF propagation to and from the Arctic Circle. Check for a low K index at solarham.com.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

Well, Santa will be on his way back to base and there is still no real sign of a cold winter snap to help tropospheric conditions. The main reason has been the prevailing strong south westerly weather pattern, which has given us all a very mild start to winter.

This will continue through this last week of December into the New Year. The rather windy, unsettled weather will again limit the options for Tropo, although late Sunday and Monday show promise for southern Britain, but it is unlikely to last long.

EME windows are still long, but with increasing losses that leaves meteor scatter and the occasional aurora perhaps to keep our spirits up. Along with all the usual Christmas fare, of course! Remember that the Quadrantids meteor shower is just a week away, so be ready.

That’s all for this year, so good DX and Happy New Year from the propagation team.

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 20th December 2015

The news headlines:

  • Tim Peake now aboard ISS

  • UK Spectrum Forum reports

  • GB3HY back on the air

On the 15th of December, British European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake arrived at the International Space Station. During his six month stay he will be using the amateur radio equipment on board the ISS to make contact with selected UK schools, using the callsign GB1SS. The first will be Sandringham School, St Albans between the 4th and the 10th of January. Tim will be the first ISS crew member to use the HAMTV fast scan digital amateur TV system.

The UK Spectrum Policy Forum has published its final report that provides a snapshot of current UK spectrum usage and expected long-term future needs. The launch event was a high profile one, with Minister Ed Vaizey giving the keynote speech. Based on a submission by the Society in June, amateur radio is featured as one of the 11 sectors examined. You can download the report from the TechUK website via tinyurl.com/gb2rs-tc

Mid Sussex Repeater Group has announced that GB3HY is back on the air, after an absence of nearly three years. The repeater is now operating from the same location in Haywards Heath with an output power of 10W. The input frequency is 430.900MHz, output is on 438.500MHz and CTCSS is 88.5Hz. The repeater group will appreciate any reports to G6DGK@msars.org.uk

Groups from schools, universities and local clubs are activating G15YOTA and its regional variations in December. Many of the operators will be experiencing amateur radio for the first time, so if you hear the station, please give them a call. Today, the 20th, Worksop Amateur Radio Society will be on the air with local young people and on Monday the RSGB Youth Committee will operate the callsign. Tuesday sees Wythall Amateur Radio Club on the air and on the 26th and 27th the RSGB Youth Committee is on the air again.

The ARISS Russia team is planning a couple of slow scan TV transmissions in the next few months on 145.800MHz FM using 5kHz deviation. The first session is being targeted for the 26th and the 27th of December, although this is subject to change. The downlink mode will be PD120, which should allow for the opportunity to receive more images in a single pass. The ISS puts out a strong signal and a 2m handheld with a quarter wave antenna may be enough to receive it. Further info is online at http://amsat-uk.org/

The RSGB’s National Radio Centre, at Bletchley Park museum, will be closed from the 24th of December until the 5th of January inclusive. The RSGB would like to take the opportunity to thank the volunteers for their time and effort throughout the year. Bletchley Park itself is open to visitors daily except the 24th, 25th and 26th of December and the 1st of January. There is a new exhibit in Hut 8, The Petard Pinch, telling the incredible story of the capture of crucial Enigma codebooks. These enabled Bletchley Park to break back into the German naval Enigma network codenamed Shark, following a devastating ten-month blackout. RSGB Members are entitled to free entry to Bletchley Park on production of a voucher that can be downloaded from the RSGB website.

Next week, the 27th, will be the final GB2RS news reading for 2015. There will be no news reading on the 3rd of January as the RSGB HQ is closed. We would like to take this opportunity to once again thank all those that read the news, in whatever format, for their tireless dedication to their fellow amateurs.

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

There are no more rallies in 2015 in the diary. If you have any rally or event information you’d like to appear in future editions of GB2RS, in RadCom and on the RSGB website, please email details to radcom@rsgb.org.uk.

Now the special event news

Brian Justin, WA1ZMS, will again put his 600m Experimental Station WG2XFQ on the air on for a Christmas Eve commemorative transmission. WG2XFQ will transmit on 486kHz from Forest, Virginia, to mark the 109th anniversary of Reginald Fessenden’s first audio transmission. Justin will conduct a run-up to this year’s event starting at around mid-day Eastern Time on the 23rd of December. The official Christmas event will begin on the 24th at 0001UTC and will continue for at least 24 hours. Justin said he plans to repeat the commemorative transmissions on New Year’s Eve and on New Year’s Day.

Members of the Holy Land DX Group will activate the call sign 4X4WFF from Avdat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in the Negev Desert in southern Israel on the 25th and 26th December. The group will have two stations running using CW and SSB. QSL only via IK2DUW.

And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources

Aaron, VA1AXC is back on Sable Island, NA-063, until the end of January signing CY0/VA1AXC. He will be on the air during his spare time and his QSL Manager is JE1LET.

For those interested in working stations located in the Antarctic there is a new operator at the Bharati Research Station. He is VU3BPZ and his Antarctic callsign is 8T2BH. He will be there for one year and his QSLs will be handled by I1HYW.

Antoine, 3D2AG will be on the air as 3D2AG/p from Rotuma Island, OC-060, from the 20th of December to the 20th of January, using solar power. Look for him on 80 to 6m on CW, SSB, RTTY and PSK31. QSL to 3D2AG.

Bodo, DF8DX will be active from Israel from the 22nd to the 27th of December as 4X/DF8DX. QSL via his home call, direct or via the bureau.

Tom, WL7HP and his wife Margret, H44MK will be active from Guadalcanal Island, OC-047, until the 16th of February 16 as H44TM and H44MK, respectively on 40, 20, 17, and 15m, using mostly SSB. They plan to activate other islands as well. QSL H44TM via WL7HP, direct and H44MK via qrz.com.

Now the contest news

The 6m Marathon from the UK Six Metre Group ends on the 31st of January. There is no contest exchange, however the normal QSO data must be recorded. The scoring is 1 point per unique 4-digit locator worked. Logs are submitted via the UKSMG website in ADIF format.

The Christmas Cumulatives take place from Saturday the 26th through to Tuesday the 29th. Activity is on all bands between 50 and 432MHz each day from 1400 to 1600UTC. The trick to doing well is to be agile, turning beams regularly and band hopping as necessary. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The German DARC Christmas Contest takes place on Boxing Day from 0830 to 1059UTC on 80m and 40m. For UK stations the band that will carry the bulk of the traffic will be 40m. The exchange is signal report and serial number with German stations sending DOK or NM.

Known as The Big Stew, the Stew Perry Topband Distance Challenge runs for 24 hours starting 3pm on Saturday 26th. Entrants are limited to 14 hours operating, which, considering the band is closed during daylight hours, seems about right for Middle America. In the UK the band is open for 16-18 hours, depending on how far north you live. The exchange is your 4-character locator.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G4BAO and G3YLA on Friday the 18th of December.

The smoothed sunspot number for December is 46.1. This time last year it was 63.7, which shows how we are sliding down solar cycle 24.

Coronal mass ejections and coronal holes continue to cause problems at times, with the K index hitting five on Tuesday the 15th. As the incoming plasma hits the earth you can sometimes get an initial positive phase on HF, with maximum useable frequencies increasing. This may be what happened on Saturday the 12th during the ARRL 28MHz contest. Ten metre DX conditions were good on Saturday, when the high latitude K index recorded at College, Alaska, hit five. But by Sunday reports says DX conditions were not so good. This shows that it is a good idea to keep an eye on the upper HF bands, as openings can happen at any time.

This week, the solar flux index is predicted to be in the range 105-120, with geomagnetic conditions mostly settled with a predicted average Kp index of two.

Using the Chilton ionosonde data, maximum usable frequencies are still hitting 25-28MHz at times, so watch for fleeting openings on 12 and 10 metres during daytime. For example, the 15 watt 5B4CY Cyprus beacon on 28.220MHz has been heard in the UK when the band is otherwise empty.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

It looks like there is a low potential for tropospheric openings over Christmas week. This is due to very unsettled weather with mostly mild, and rather windy south-westerly patterns throughout the period. There will, however, be higher pressure over the continent, but much of the time this is some way to the southeast of us and not really a great option for tropo. There is just a chance the high will build a little closer to the UK just after Christmas, but this will probably only benefit the south-eastern parts of the country.

The small Ursids meteor shower, due yesterday or today, may already have peaked by the time you hear this bulletin, so it’s back to early morning random meteor scatter operation until the Quadrantids. This shower should happen before dawn on January 4th, and can produce more than 100 visible meteors per hour. It has a sharp, unpredictable peak lasting only a few hours so you have to be on the band at the right time to take advantage of it.

It's a good week for EME, with low losses and lengthening moon windows due to the moon reaching maximum declination on Christmas day.

Finally, do remember that there’s always satellite QSOs to be had on the VHF bands irrespective of the weather. That’s all for this week, so season’s greetings from the propagation team.

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 13th December 2015

The news headlines:

  • Tim Peake launch coverage

  • RAYNET active in flooding

  • Keep legal on 5MHz

On the 15th of December at 1100UTC, British European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake will be launched on his mission to the International Space Station. It will be being televised on BBC ONE and streamed live on bbc.co.uk so that everyone can have the chance to watch this historic event. During his stay on the ISS, he plans to make contact with selected schools within the UK via the ARISS programme, supported by the RSGB, and the first of these is programmed for the first week of the New Year. Regular updates will be available at www.rsgb.org/principia.

RAYNET groups in the north of England and Scotland were active during last weekend’s flooding incidents. In Lancashire, Central Lancs group were called out on Saturday at 10.35am and the other two groups put on standby, Ribble Valley RAYNET having already been called out. Operators were on the ground and sent to attend Control, the CCTV centre, the Environment Agency Incident Room and Clitheroe Control. RAYNET was stood down at 8pm. In Scotland, Lothians RAYNET were placed on standby on Saturday at 3.30pm. Two Lothians 4x4 response vehicles were at Hawick and Newcastleton. The group were finally stood down at 8.25am on Sunday. Northumberland RAYNET was placed on standby at 9pm Saturday for possible deployment to the Haydon Bridge area of Northumberland. They were stood down at 7.10am on Sunday morning. Cumbria RAYNET was called out at 8am Monday, but deployment was difficult as most roads were already completely flooded. Patterdale suffered a loss of communications. The group were stood down at 4pm when communications began to be restored.

The RSGB Amateur Radio Observation Service has noted several examples of British JT65 and JT9 mode transmissions straying outside of the UK allocated band slots. It is understood that software commonly used by UK licensees for the production of signals in both modes uses default 5MHz band preset frequencies of 5.357MHz for JT65 or 5.359MHz for JT9. After applying the audio offset to the AFSK signal in JT65 mode, using these presets will, in the majority of cases, cause the transmission to fall outside of the upper band edge of the UK allocation of 5.354MHz to 5.358MHz. In the case of JT9, if the default of 5.359MHz is used then all transmissions will be outside of the UK allocation. Users of these modes are requested to check that their transmissions fall within the allocated spectrum.

During December, groups from schools, universities and local clubs will activate callsign G15YOTA and its regional variations. Many of the operators will be experiencing amateur radio for the first time, so if you hear the station, please give them a call. On Wednesday the priory Academy LSST School Amateur Radio Society will put the callsign on the Air. They will be followed on Thursday by Stirling & District ARS. Friday and Saturday sees Silcoates School Amateur Radio Club on the air and on Sunday, the 20th, Worksop Amateur Radio Society will be giving young people the chance to get on the air.

The next Bath Buildathon is to be held on Saturday the 9th of January 2016. The aim of the event is to encourage newcomers to have a go at homebrewing radio equipment under the watchful eye of some experienced radio constructors. The kit chosen for the 2016 Bath Buildathon is the Acorn II software defined radio receiver from Kanga UK, which comes ready to go on 40m but can be configured to work on another bands after the event. The Buildathon is planned to run from 9am to 5pm. All soldering and test equipment will be made available on the day. The cost of the day will be £30 to include the cost of the kit, room hire, use of tools, tea, coffee, biscuits, etc. You just need to bring yourself and a packed lunch. Due to the generosity of the Trowbridge & District ARC there are two free places for youngsters that would like to build the kit. For further details, please contact Steve Hartley, G0FUW, by email to G0FUW@tiscali.co.uk

The RSGB Training and Education Committee invites expressions of interest from clubs who wish to host a Train the Trainers event during 2016. This fun one-day Saturday course is aimed especially at course tutors who are not already professional teachers. The RSGB asks the host club to provide a suitable venue and to provide tea & coffee for delegates during the day. The Society provides the course instructors and teaching materials. If your club is interested in hosting an event in 2016 please email Paul, G4DCV via paul@g4dcv.co.uk

Five years ago, the RSGB undertook a comprehensive online survey of amateur radio in the UK. The data was used in the development of a Vision and Strategy for the Society. A new survey was launched in September and all UK radio amateurs are invited to complete the online questionnaire. The survey will close at the end of the year to allow the data to be analysed. Add your views at via tinyurl.com/rsgb-survey

Over the Christmas and New Year period there will be GB2RS news readings on the 27th of December and the 10th of January 2016. There will be no news reading on the 3rd of January as the RSGB HQ is closed. We would like to take this opportunity to once again thank all those that read the news, in whatever format, for their tireless dedication to their fellow amateurs.

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

There are no more rallies in 2015 in the diary. The first rally of the New Year is the Red Rose Winter Rally on the 17th of January. If you have any rally or event information you’d like to appear in future editions of GB2RS, in RadCom and on the RSGB website, please email details to radcom@rsgb.org.uk.

Now the special event news

ANZAC centenary commemorations end with VI4ANZAC on the air until the 20th of December commemorating the work of the Royal Australian Naval Bridging Train. A QSL card will be available.

And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources

Magnus, SM6WET is going to the South Cook Islands. Using the callsign E51WET he will be on Rarotonga Island, OC-013, from the 14th to the 17th December. From the 17th of December to the 4th of January he will be on Aitutaki Atoll, OC-083. He will activate all bands from 160 to 6m as circumstances allow on SSB, CW, RTTY and JT65 HF. Information is on QRZ.com.

Steve, G0UIH of Vortex Antennas will be travelling back to Australia and the Pacific during December 2015 and January 2016. He will be operating holiday-style from Lord Howe Island, OC-004 as VK2IAY/9 between the 16th and 23rd of December. Operation will be SSB only, concentrating on 10, 15, 17 and 20m, although other bands are possible.

William, K2HVN will be active from the Caribbean island of St Barthelemy, NA-146, until the 17th of December. He will use the callsign FJ/K2HVN and will be on 40m to 10m CW and SSB. QSL to his home callsign.

Now the contest news

The ARRL 10m contest runs until 2359UTC today, the 13th, ending the 48 hour run. Using CW and phone only on the 28MHz band the exchange is signal report and serial number. Additionally, US stations will send their State code and Canadian stations their Province code.

The UK Six Metre Group Winter Marathon contest runs from the beginning of December until the end of January. Information and rules can be found on the UKSMG website. Any station can enter; you don’t have to be a member of the group.

On Tuesday the 1.3GHz UK Activity Contest runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes on the band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G4BAO and G3YLA on Friday the 11th of December.

This has been another week with an elevated solar wind stream from coronal holes. This had a negative effect on the geomagnetic field, which reached storm levels at times again with visible aurora at higher latitudes. The solar wind often had a south-facing magnetic Bz component, which meant it coupled more easily with the earth's magnetic field. The solar flux index stayed around the 110 mark, but the geomagnetic Kp index hit four, and even five at times, reflecting the storm conditions.

The Chilton ionosonde at Harwell showed a critical frequency of 7.8MHz at noon on Wednesday, indicating a maximum usable frequency of around 26MHz over a 3,000km path. This also showed that 40m was usable for inter-G contacts, at least around the late morning and early afternoon periods. Fifteen metres, 21MHz, remains the highest HF band to support reliable long-distance communications.

Next week should see the solar flux index in the range 100-120. The Kp index may indicate continued unsettled geomagnetic conditions, hitting four at times. The end of the week is likely to be more settled.

December remains a great month to get on the lower bands, including 160m, 80m and 40m, where DX may be found during the long nights.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

This week expect neutral tropospheric conditions at first, but we are starting to see some signs of a ridge of high pressure developing close to the southeast of England during the week.

This might give slight help for tropo paths into the continent and across the North Sea into southern Scandinavia. Unfortunately, this is not supported in all models, as some keep low pressure over the country through the whole week.

In these changeable patterns, the forecast models often diverge after a few days and since this is being written early, it is perhaps not surprising that there are variations beyond the following midweek.

Meteor activity is on the agenda again with a fairly broad peak of the Geminid shower centred on Monday night, December 14th. Look up the band plan and operating techniques, or simply listen in and watch the ON4KST chat to hear what goes on during these events. Try six, four and two metres.

Moon declination starts to increase again this week, so moon windows will lengthen and, after yesterday’s apogee, losses will start to decrease. From the UK the moon will be up from lunchtime to early evening, getting progressively later as the week goes on.

And that’s all from the propagation team for this week.

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