Sunday 28th August 2016
The news headlines:
Italian hams aid earthquake response
60m and 630m for Latvian hams
ARISS proposals sought
Following the magnitude 6.2 earthquake that struck central Italy on the 24th of August, Italian radio amateurs are active in the emergency response. Please keep 7060kHz clear, along with other Emergency Centre of Activity frequencies in the 80 and 40m bands for emergency communications within Italy. No external assistance is required at this time. The Italian radio amateur groups are following their planned response with their government. Any requests for information on missing persons should be made via the Red Cross or other recognised relief organisations.
Latvian amateurs have two new bands following the introduction of their new amateur radio licence on the 9th of August. Access has been allowed to the new WRC15 60m, or 5MHz, allocation from 5351.5 to 5366.5kHz with a power of 15W EIRP. 472 to 479kHz in the 630m band has also become available with a power of 1W EIRP. Both bands are subject to a narrow transmit bandwidth of 800Hz and are permitted to Category A licence holders only.
The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station program is seeking proposals from schools and formal or informal educational institutions and organisations to host amateur radio contacts next year with ISS crew members. The window to accept proposals opens on the 1st of September and the deadline to submit a proposal is the 1st of November. ARISS anticipates that contacts will take place between July and December 2017. Crew scheduling and ISS orbits will determine the exact contact dates. The online GB2RS has a link to the application process.
This year’s International YL Convention takes place between the 3rd and the 10th of October at the Novotel Hotel, Milton Keynes MK13 7RA. Ladies from USA, Canada, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and India are already booked in, some with their partners. A full programme of events will take place. Details can be found at www.bylara.org.uk or from Carol, 2E1RBH via email to email@example.com.
The RSGB 2016 Convention takes place on the 7th to the 9th of October at Kents Hill Conference Centre, Milton Keynes. The early bird booking discount for weekend packages and day tickets has been extended to the end of August, so don’t miss out, go to www.rsgb.org/convention for bookings and details of the event. The provisional programme will be on the website next week, along with a detailed list of lectures.
On Saturday the 10th of September there will be many Churches and Chapels on the air from all over UK, some in rare Worked All Britain squares. The northernmost church on the UK mainland will be on the air, as will, for the first time, the most northerly church in the UK, on the Isle on Unst in Shetland. Operation will be mainly 40m SSB from around 10am. There’s still time to register a station, go www.wacral.org for information.
If you are planning to sit any of the UK amateur radio exams at the RSGB Convention in October, please note that they must be booked in advance. The deadline for the Advanced exam booking is the 9th of September and the Intermediate and Foundation exam deadline is the 23rd of September. Practical assessments, where necessary, must be completed before the exam. Please book your exams by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. USA exams are also available on Sunday the 9th of October. Please book via email to email@example.com
And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week
Today, the 28th, the Milton Keynes ARS rally takes place at The MK Irish Centre, Manor Fields, Watling Street, Bletchley, Milton Keynes MK2 2HX. It’s opposite Dobbies Garden Centre. There will be a talk in station. Doors open at 10am and admission is £3. There will be trade stands, special interest groups and local clubs. A licenced bar and catering will be available on site. More details from Roy, G8RCK on 0786 667 3192.
On Monday the 29th of August the Huntingdonshire ARS Annual Rally takes place at the Ernulf Academy, St. Neots PE19 2SH. Further info from rally organiser Malcolm Hirst on 01480 214282.
Telford & District ARS are holding their annual HamFest on Sunday the 4th of September. This is held in the World Heritage location of Ironbridge Gorge, at its Enginuity site. There will be numerous traders and exhibitors as well as an RSGB Information and Book stand. A special feature this year is a presentation by Noel Matthews, G8GTZ who is Chairman of the British Amateur Television Club, and was also ARISS TV Team Leader for the recent Principia project of school amateur radio contacts to the International Space Station. His presentation is entitled Amateur Radio on the ISS. More information from Martyn, G3UKV on 01952 255 416.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources
Two amateurs from Japan are operating as VP6J from Pitcairn Island, IOTA reference OC-044, until the 3rd of September. Activity is on 160m to 10m operating CW, SSB and RTTY. QSL direct to JF2MBF. Following their departure on the 3rd, a German amateur, Uli, DL2AH, arrives and will be there until the 25th of November.
Carl, DU6/OE9MON is active from Panay Island, OC-129, until the 2nd of September. QSL via LZ1JZ.
William, K9HZ is on the air as J68HZ from Labrelotte Bay, Castries, IOTA NA-108, until the 11th of September. Activity is on 160 to 6m using CW, SSB and RTTY. QSL to home call.
Tom, KC0W will be operating CW from Vanuatu where he will sign YJ0COW until the 21st of September. Send QSL cards directly to his home call.
David, OK1DBS and Josef, OK1XC will be on the air as JT1DBS and JT1XC, respectively, until the 24th of September in Mongolia. The first week they will be active from Ulaanbaatar, and for the remainder of the time they will be QRV as JT1DBS/3 and JT1XC/3, respectively, from Batshireet. QSL all calls to home calls.
Now the special event news
Houghton–le-Spring ARC and Wearside Electronics ARS are operating from Shildon Railway Museum today, the 28th, using the callsign GB6MOB. Operation will be on HF and VHF/UHF. Visitors are invited and entry into the museum is free, although donations are welcome.
GB100E will be commemorating the rescue of the crew of the Endurance by Ernest Shackleton in August 1916. Activity will be until the 31st of August at the Nottingham Transport Heritage Centre. More information is at www.RedKiteRadio.org.uk
GB75ACO – that’s Air Cadet Organisation – will be operating at Stalham ATC Squadron, Norfolk, from the 3rd to the 18th of September. They are celebrating 75 Years of the Air Training Corps. Primary activity will be on 40m, with some local 2m and 60m. Special QSL cards will be available and details are on QRZ.com
GB2ATC will be operational on the 3rd of September from 10am to 4.30pm and will be manned mainly by cadets from the Orsett Hundred Squadron, supported by members of the Thurrock Acorns Amateur Radio Club. The station will be located at the Orsett Show Ground, just outside Grays in Essex.
GB0APS will be on the air on the 4th of September from 1 to 5pm from Abbey Pumping Station Museum, Corporation Road, Leicester LE4 5PX, operating mainly on 40m SSB. Admission to the museum is £3.50.
Now the contest news
The Irish IRTS 2m Counties takes place from 1300 to 1500UTC today, the 28th. In this contest QSOs with EI and GI are the only ones that count for points. Each of the 32 Irish counties is a multiplier. Using the 2m band only, SSB and FM, the exchange is RTT and serial number, with EIs also giving their county.
Today, the 28th, also sees the UKuG 5.7 and 10GHz contest from 0600 to 1800UTC. Using all modes, RST, serial number and locator form the exchange.
The 70MHz UK Activity Contest takes place on the 30th of August from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes on the band the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
SSB Field Day takes place for 24 hours over the weekend of the 3rd and 4th. Like its CW counterpart, this contest has Open and Restricted sections, although the antenna limitations are different, so please check the rules beforehand. It runs from 1300 to 1300UTC on the 3.5 to 28MHz bands. The exchange is signal report and serial number.
The 144MHz Trophy, which takes place for 24 hours on the 3rd to the 4th, is hotly contested in the Open category, but there are four other categories. Three of them are for single ops, so there are opportunities for all to strive to do well. Running on 2m from 1400 to 1400UTC using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
For 24 hours over the same weekend the IARU 144MHz Contest takes place. It coincides exactly with the RSGB 144MHz Trophy contest. For those taking part in the former there’s no need to enter the latter, because your entry will be automatically submitted for you unless you specify that you don’t want to enter the IARU event. Using all modes the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Overlapping the last three hours of the 144MHz Trophy contest and then continuing for one hour on its own, the fifth and final 144MHz Backpacker Contest takes place on Sunday the 4th from 1100 to 1500UTC. In the Backpackers there are two permitted power levels, 3W and 10W. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
The All Asian DX Contest takes place for the whole 48 hours of the weekend of 3rd-4th of September. UK stations taking part in SSB Field Day will find it helpful to have a suitable number to give them, because All Asian stations want to be sent the operators’ age, not a serial number. Using SSB on the 1.8 to 28MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and age, although YL operators can exchange 00.
The Worked All Britain 144MHz QRO Phone Contest takes place next Sunday, the 4th of September from 1000 to 1400UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and Worked All Britain square. Entries need to be with the contest manager by the 25th of September. It helps if stations, including mobiles, please try to find out their IARU Locator in addition to their WAB Area, as this contest coincides with part of the RSGB contest. Full details of the rules and log sheets may be obtained from the WAB website www.worked-all-britain.org.uk or from the contest manager Tony Beardsley, G3XKT, via email to email@example.com
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 26th of August.
This week was a mixed bag in terms of the sun and HF propagation. The solar flux index hovered around the 80 mark, but there was a geomagnetic disturbance on Tuesday evening that sent the K index up to five for more than six hours. This prompted warnings that aurora might be visible from lower than usual latitudes.
There are signs that the summer HF doldrums are starting to wane a little. The daytime critical frequency, as measured by the Chilton Digisonde near Harwell, peaked at more than 6MHz on Tuesday afternoon, bringing some signs of life on 15 metres. This continued to increase during the early evening, but was probably due to the early positive phase of the subsequent geomagnetic and ionospheric disturbance caused by plasma from a coronal hole. It does go to show that you never quite know how HF propagation may pan out, so it is worth keeping an eye on the K index at solarham.com.
Next week NOAA predicts the SFI will be in the range 75-85. Ongoing coronal activity and associated high speed solar wind streams will push the K index up to five midweek, with the unsettled conditions predicted to last across the weekend, potentially causing problems for HF SSB field day.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
There were some good tropospheric openings around last week. As we head into the weekend there will be a ridge of high pressure close to southern Britain, which in some models remains close by for much of the coming week.
This could give some extended Tropo paths to the south across Biscay to northern Spain and the Azores as well as across the North Sea to Denmark and North Germany. Scotland will be slightly more breezy at times with rain or showers, so is not quite as likely to see the Tropo conditions.
It really is getting close to the end of the main Sporadic-E season and, since the jet stream pattern is looking weak and not well placed for paths into Europe, we may have little to get excited about.
The new moon on the first of September, together with decreasing moon declination, means an increase in degradation on EME paths.
With the Perseids meteor shower now a passing event, the Alpha Aurigids may produce some sporadic activity between the 29th of August and the 3rd of September. This is a class II shower and comprises Halley's comet debris. The Orionids shower is spread over many months between late August and mid November, but early activity may be detected this coming week.
And that’s all for this week from the propagation team.