Sunday 6th September 2015
The news headlines:
RSGB Construction Competition deadline extended
RF engineer to get Whittle medal
QCWA honours centenarian radio amateurs
The deadline for entering the RSGB’s Construction Competition has been extended until 30 September. You just need to register your entry by then, as judging takes place at the RSGB Convention in October. There are four classes you can enter, either as an individual or a group. So if you’ve done a club construction competition or a club project this year, think about entering that project in this annual competition. Projects large or small are welcome. Details, and the entry form, are online at www.rsgb.org/construction-competition
British microwave engineer Professor Peter Clarricoats worked at the Queen Mary University of London for nearly 50 years. He is to receive one of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s highest accolades, the Sir Frank Whittle Medal, for his influential achievements. The Emeritus Research Professor will receive the honour at the Academy’s AGM in London on Monday the 21st of September. Amateur radio enthusiasts will be interested to learn that Professor Clarricoats is the son of John Clarricoats, G6CL, who was the general secretary of the RSGB for many years. The full story can be read at www.qmul.ac.uk/media/news/items/162122.html
Two long-time radio amateurs have been in the news this week. The Quarter Century Wireless Association has honoured 105-year-old Charlie Hellman, W2RP for his 90 years in amateur radio. Charlie got his licence in 1925 when he was just 15. Two of his siblings also held amateur licences. Robert, now a Silent Key, was W2JAN and Benjamin, 96, is W2VB. Another long-lived radio amateur is Harry Wolf, W6NKT who is 106, although he’s ‘only’ been licensed since 1936.
The RSGB Convention takes place over the 9th to the 11th of October at Kent’s Hill Conference Centre in Milton Keynes. The provisional programme for Saturday and Sunday is now on the RSGB website. There will be a wealth of lectures on a very wide range of subjects. We are looking forward to welcoming some favourite lecturers back this year as well as new ones from both the UK and overseas. Day tickets are available online and savings are available until the 30th of September. Go to www.rsgb.org/convention for all the information. Places are still available at the RSGB Buildathon that takes place on the Saturday at the Convention. See the website for details.
The Supplemental 2015 White Paper on Proposed RSGB Contest Rules Changes is now available on the RSGB website. It gives details of the proposed new scoring system for the UK Activity Contest series, and a proposal to permit the use of Machine Generated Modes, or MGM, in most VHF UHF contests. These two rule changes were suggested at the President’s Review of Contesting Workshop held in July 2015. Comments on these proposals are invited. Instructions on how to submit your response to these proposals are contained within the document, which can be downloaded from www.rsgbcc.org/supp_whitepaper2015.pdf
Churches and Chapels on the Air will take place next weekend on Saturday the 12th of September from 10am to 4pm. Stations mainly use the 40 and 80m bands, SSB. A full list of CHOTA stations can be found on the WACRAL website, www.wacral.org
The first DMR repeater in Malta has been operating for some time and now has a new callsign, 9H1DMR. The frequencies of operation are 438.525MHz input and 430.925MHz output. It is hosted by C Bridge DMR UK, Colour Code 1 with slots TS1 and TS2. Amateurs visiting Malta are welcome to use the repeater using their allocated Maltese callsigns, which are obtainable free of charge on application to the Malta Communications Authority, MCA, the Maltese equivalent of the UK’s Ofcom.
Channel 5 is looking for a venue with 1960s-style radio equipment to film some scenes for a documentary. They hope to film on Tuesday 8 September, so there is very little time to get in touch if you can help. Please contact Will Steel on 020 7308 5470 if you think your shack or other kit might be suitable.
The field strength calculation program ICNIRPcalc has been updated to Version 1.3. You can calculate the distance persons need to stay clear from a given antenna so that European exposure limits are not exceeded. The new version has no changes in the program itself, but the antenna database has been enlarged. You can download the program from the IARU Region 1 website at www.iaru-r1.org/
And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week
We start with the sad news that the North Wales Rally, due to take place on the 1st of November, has had to be cancelled due to a drop in bookings.
Telford HamFest takes place today, the 6th of September, at the Enginuity Centre in Coalbrookdale, Telford. As in previous years, there will be numerous traders and exhibitors as well as an RSGB Information and Book stand. More information is online at www.telfordhamfest.org.uk
Caister Lifeboat Radio Rally will be held next Saturday, the 12th, at Caister Lifeboat Station, Tan Lane, Caister on Sea, Norfolk NR30 5DJ. Doors open at 9.30am, admission is £1 and there will be refreshments available. Details from Zane, M1BFI on 07711 214 790.
On Sunday the 13th, the West Kent Radio & Electronics Fair will be held at the Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys, St John’s Road, Tunbridge Wells TN4 9XB. Doors open to the public at 10am. There is free parking and refreshments will be available. There will be an RSGB stand at the event to deal with enquiries and memberships, and offering a wide range of RSGB books for sale. Details are online at www.wkars.org.uk
Also on the 13th, the Andover RAC Boot Sale will be held in Wildhern Village Hall, SP11 0JE. Admission for buyers is £2 and sellers £8, with tables in the hall costing £10. Doors open at 9.30am for disabled visitors and general access is at 10am. Details from Martin, M0MWS on 07776 181 646.
The British Vintage Wireless Society Murphy Day takes place on the 13th at Mill Green Museum, Hatfield AL9 5PD. Details are on their website, www.bvws.org.uk.
The Torbay Annual Communications Fair takes place next weekend, on the 13th, at Newton Abbot Racecourse, Newton Abbot TQ12 3AF. There will be a Bring & Buy, an RSGB bookstall and refreshments will be available. Doors open at 9.30am for disabled visitors with general admission at 10am. Admission is £2. Details from Mike Dixon, on 01803 557 941.
If you have any rally or event information you’d like to appear in future editions of GB2RS News, in RadCom and on the RSGB website, please email details to email@example.com.
Now the special event news
Orkney Wireless Museum’s radio station GB2OWM will be active as part of Orkney International Science Festival until the 9th of September.
Today, the 6th, members of Brickfields ARS are operating GB4AUK from the grounds of Wolverton Manor on the Isle of Wight to support Age UK. Contacts will earn a point for The Isle of Wight County Award.
ON44WAR will be on the air to commemorate the sacrifice of the Belgian Resistance in WW II. They will be on the air from 0700UTC to 1600UTC on the 5th and 0700 to 1300UTC on the 6th. More details are on QRZ.com.
From the 1st to the 28th of September PD2015GH will be on the air to promote the Groene Hart of the Netherlands.
On Friday the 11th Newport Amateur Radio Society starts 28 days of operating rare callsign GB75BB for the Battle of Britain. Activity will be on all bands from 160m to 2m at various times.
GB2QLR will be on the air for the Queen’s Longest Reign starting early on the 9th of September. The station will be at the home of G0GDA in Kent running all bands using SSB and data. See QRZ.com for more info.
GB0AH will be active from 10am to 4pm on the 12th of September from Astley Hall, Charley PR7 1XA as part of their Heritage Weekend. Visitors are welcome.
Many amateurs are taking part in Churches and Chapels on the Air on the 12th of September. GB1LIM will be on the air from Lowton Independent Methodist Church, WA3 1EE from 9am to 9pm. There is disabled access from 8.45am. All are welcome, call in for a chat, or bring your licence and operate.
GB2MTM will be operated by Halifax & District Amateur Radio Society from Mount Tabor Methodist Church.
GB4STS will be at St Saviours Church, Brookwood, Woking GU24 0AS. Everyone is welcome and there will be interactive displays, communication related crafts and radio based coding and decoding challenges. Any nearby amateurs who wish to get involved can contact Mark, M0MXC by email to GB4STS@brookwood.org.uk
Gloucester & District ARS are operating GB4GC from the grounds of Gloucester Cathedral, GL1 2LX. Visitors are welcome.
And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources
Chas, NK8O is on the air as 5H3DX from Zinga in Tanzania until the 28th of September. Activity will be mainly on CW on all bands 20m to 6m running 100W to a Hexbeam. QSL manager is EA7FTR.
Robin, ZL4IG will operate as 5W0RM from Samoa until the 13th of September. It will be holiday style operation using QRP on 40m to 15m. QSL to his home call.
Heinz, DF1YP will sign FO/DF1YP from Moorea Island in French Polynesia until the 1st of October. IOTA reference is OC-046 and QSLs are requested via the German QSL Bureau.
Volker, DL1ZB will be active until the 29th of September as SV5/DL1ZB from Kos, which is IOTA reference EU-001. He will operate SSB, RTTY, SSTV and PSK63 on 20-6 metres. QSL via DL1ZB via the bureau, Logbook of the World and/or eQSL.
A group of Russian operators will be active as RT9K/0 from Dobrzhanskogo Island in the next week or so for about 7 days. The island is located in Zone 19 and this will be the first activation for the IOTA Award. The IOTA reference is AS-203 and QSL manager is RX9KM.
Now the contest news
The 144MHz Trophy Contest ends its 24 hours run at 1400UTC today, the 6th. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator. Overlapping the last three hours of that contest and then continuing for one hour on its own, the fifth and final 144MHz Backpacker contest. In the Backpackers contest there are two permitted power levels, 3W and 10W, and the exchange is the usual signal report, serial number and locator.
The IARU 144MHz Contest also overlaps the RSGB 144MHz Trophy contest. Trophy contest logs will automatically be entered in the IARU contest unless entrants specify otherwise.
SSB Field Day takes place for 24 hours ending at 1300UTC today, the 6th. The exchange is signal report and serial number.
The All Asian DX Contest ends its 48 hours run at 2359UTC today, the 6th. Asian stations want to be sent the operator’s age, not a serial number, so it can be helpful to have a suitable number to give them.
The Worked All Britain 144MHz QRO Phone Contest takes place today, the 6th, from 1000 to 1400UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square.
On Tuesday, the 8th, the 432MHZ UK Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Wednesday the SSB leg of the 80m Club Sprint runs from 1900 to 2000UTC. The exchange is both callsigns, serial number and name.
The Kulikovo Polye CW contest is on Saturday 12th. If you take part in this one, even casually, the important thing to remember is that you really should submit an entry, because if you don’t your QSO partners won’t get points for the QSOs you have with them. Stations in the Kulikovo Region of Russia send KP instead of a serial number.
The second leg of the WAE DX Contest takes place for 24 hours over the weekend of 12-13th. Europe works non-Europe only. Using SSB on the 3.5 to 28MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.
The UK Microwave Group is holding two Cumulative Contests this month. The first is on Sunday 13th, on 24 to 47GHz. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA and G3YLA on Friday the 4th of September.
This week brought a much-needed break from the effects of the virtually continuous coronal holes on the sun.
This saw the Kp index come down to a more reasonable one or two most of the time, with a corresponding improvement in HF conditions. As we are now in September we should see a bigger improvement as we head further into the autumn.
The solar flux index remained firmly below 100 and is predicted to stay below 90 until next weekend, when it may rise to 110-115.
The critical frequency over the UK has risen to around 6.4MHz this week, opening up paths with a maximum useable frequency of about 21MHz at times.
Nevertheless, 14 and 18MHz remain the ‘money bands’ for HF DX, but they remain vulnerable to the effects of the high-speed solar wind at times.
Other highlights to look out for this week include greyline openings to the Pacific on 40m and 80m at sunrise. Gary, ZL2IFB and Tony, ZL2AGY have both been spotted on 40m CW around 050UTC. Paths to the West Coast of the USA are also improving, especially on 17 and 20m.
Finally, good luck to all those taking part in this weekend’s HF SSB Field Day. Short path HF predictions from G0KYA for the UK can be found in the propagation section of www.RSGB.org.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
This week a long-awaited area of high pressure is going to move in across the British Isles.
The high should last until mid-week, when an Atlantic low is expected to move in towards the north-western parts of the UK with strengthening winds. Tropo propagation is likely to be slightly enhanced due to the high pressure area and the temperature inversions it creates.
Recent wet weather and damp ground will mean some fog overnight and early mornings, this could create the potential for good ducting conditions within the UK and near Continent, although these will tend to weaken as the temperature picks up in the mornings.
Stronger winds in the northwest will probably curtail any lift conditions after midweek.
These enhanced conditions will hopefully help the 2m Trophy and Backpackers contests this weekend, and should hang around for the 70cm Activity Contest on Tuesday evening.
And that’s all from the propagation team for this week.