Sunday 28th June 2015
The news headlines:
MBE for radio amateur
RSGB Convention news
Nine satellites to be launched
Congratulations to Ray Aldous, G8CBU who was awarded the MBE in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours for his service to Scouting. Ray became interested in radio whilst he was a student at Luton Technical College and he joined the RAF in 1951 as a wireless mechanic. He was posted to Egypt and it was there that he became a leader in the Scout movement. After leaving the RAF he continued as a Scout leader with the 7th Luton troop. His interest in radio was re-kindled when he accompanied his Scouts to the 1966 JOTA station in Luton and 2 years later he gained his amateur licence. Ray has been involved in JOTA since 1966 and over the years has inspired a number of Scouts and leaders into becoming licenced – and influenced a few amateurs to get involved with Scouting.
The RSGB Convention takes place over the 9th to the 11th of October at Kent’s Hill Conference Centre in Milton Keynes. More lectures have been confirmed. Steve Nichols, G0KYA will be speaking on Understanding HF Propagation with a look at the sun, sunspots, solar flares, coronal mass ejections and their effects on HF. He will also discuss propagation prediction programs and where amateurs can get solar information. Ian White, GM3SEK will help visitors to clean up their shack by showing how you can reduce your noise levels on receive, and reduce risks of causing interference. Details can be found at www.rsgb.org/convention
Nine satellites, designated CAS-3A to CAS3i, with payloads operating in the amateur bands, are expected to be launched on 20 July on the new CZ-6 rocket. The Chinese amateur satellite group CAMSAT says that six of the satellites, CAS-3A to CAS-3F, are equipped with substantially the same amateur radio payloads. This will be a 20kHz bandwidth 435/145MHz 100mW linear transponder for SSB/CW communications, a CW telemetry beacon and an AX.25 19.2k/9.6k bps GMSK telemetry downlink. CAS-3G has 9k6 GMSK AX25 downlinks on 145MHz and 437MHz; CAS-3H carries 145MHz APRS, an FM transponder and a 437MHz CW beacon while CAS-3i has a 9k6 FSK telemetry downlink on 437MHz.
Ofcom has published a statement giving effect to policy decisions to extend Recognised Spectrum Access for Receive-Only Earth Stations to two new frequency bands. These are ground based terminals that are used to receive signals from meteorological satellites, earth exploration satellites and space missions, but do not transmit. This now extends to the 7850 – 7900MHz band and the 25.5 – 26.5GHz band and will come into force on the 10th of July.
The CISPR 11 standard with the catchy title of ‘Industrial, scientific and medical equipment – Radio disturbance characteristics – Limits and methods of measurement’ covers power electronic devices such as solar inverters. Although there were voltage limits for conducted emissions at the mains port in the past, limits for the connections to the solar cells were missing. After a positive vote of the international standard bodies, CISPR 11 Ed.6.0 is about to appear officially. In this new version, limits finally apply for the DC terminals, in particular for systems up to 2kVA in residential environments. These limits are 74dBµV between 500kHz and 30MHz. The IARU has worked with the standardisation bodies over the last 5 years to achieve this but the work in terms of photovoltaic does not end here. With the current limit, however, a reasonable protection for short wave reception has already been achieved. Ofcom have published details on their website.
Ofcom has published a policy on temporary callsigns and callsign enhancements and the subject was discussed at a recent meeting between the RSGB and Ofcom. The RSGB has asked for clarification about two issues. The first is that all clubs in England must now use the Regional Secondary Locator ‘X’ in the callsign at all times, although this would appear to differ from the licence conditions. The second point is that the structure of temporary callsigns for special events is such that some very recent approvals do not follow the policy and, as written, this will restrict Ofcom’s ability to accommodate some requests in future. For example, G100RSGB would not now be allowed. Ofcom agreed to look again at these points but, nevertheless, the policy is now a public document and thus in force. The RSGB will report any further communication from Ofcom.
And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week
Today, Sunday the 28th of June, the West of England Radio Rally will be held at the Cheese & Grain, Bridge Street, Frome, Somerset BA11 1BE. Doors open from 10am to 2pm and admission is £2.50. There will be trade stands, including an RSGB bookstall, as well as disabled facilities. Details from Shaun, G8VPG on 01225 873 098.
On Saturday the 4th of July the Bangor and District Amateur Radio Society annual rally will be held in the Donaghadee Community Centre, located just 100m from the harbour. Doors will be open at 11am sharp and there will be a small entrance fee. All are welcome.
Next Sunday, the 5th of July, British Vintage Wireless Society Swapmeet and Auction will take place at the Royal Wootton Bassett Memorial Hall, Royal Wootton Bassett, Swindon SN4 8EN. Doors open at 10am and the auction starts at around 1pm. Details from Mike Barker on 01380 860 787.
Also next Sunday, the 19th Red Rose QRP Festival will be held in Formby Hall, Alder Street, Atherton, Manchester M46 9EY. There is free car parking and the doors open at 11am with £2 admission. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy and special interest groups. Details from Les Jackson, G4HZJ on 01942 870 634.
The Barford Norfolk Radio Rally will be held in the Barford Village Hall & Green, Barford, Norwich NR9 4AB on the 5th of July. Doors open at 9am. There will be trade stands, a car boot area, a Bring & Buy as well as special interest groups and catering on site. Admission is £2 with under 16s free. See www.norfolkamateurradio.org.
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
Today, the 28th of June, Martin, G7MRV and Bob, M1BBV are walking the Lyke Wake Walk challenge, whilst operating GB0MAG. Operation will be at quite low power on 2m FM only with an ultra lightweight rucksack mounted antenna to increase the range. See QRZ.com for more information.
The 16th Island Games will be held in Jersey until the 3rd of July. Jersey ARS will be active with GJ15IG using SSB and CW. Logs will be uploaded the Logbook of the World and paper QSLs should be requested using the OQRS facility provided by Club Log.
Bush Valley ARC will be taking part in the Museums on the Air from The Green Lane Museum in The Roe Valley Country Park today, the 28th of June, using GB8GLM. Two stations will operate HF, VHF and D-Star.
Banbury Amateur Radio Society is operating GB8OOM until mid-July to celebrate 800 years of the signing of the Magna Carta. Operation is on HF, VHF and UHF, with days given for modes other than voice. The club will have a special 48 hour event for the weekend of the 4th of July including a barbecue and will also enter VHF Field Day under the club call of G0BRA. Further information is at www.banburyarc.org
Durham & DARS is participating as one of the bonus stations in the 13 Colonies special event, operating GB13COL. The event will run from 1300UTC on 31 June until 0400UTC on 6 July. The primary focus of the event will be the HF bands except the WARC bands and 60 metres, as well as VHF & UHF for local QSOs using SSB, CW and digital modes. Every year there is a different certificate theme for amateurs who make contact with either one or all participating stations, including the bonus stations. See www.13colonies.info
And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources
G8OFQ will be active stroke HC8 from the Galapagos Islands, SA-004, from the 1st of July to the 30th of September. Operations will be on the 160 to 6m bands. QSL via HA3JB.
ON8VP, ON6QQ and ON5TQ will be operating as OJ0V from Market Reef from the 28th of June to the 4th of July. Activity will be on the 40 to 10m bands using CW and SSB. QSL via ON5TC.
PJ5A will be active from St Eustatius Island, IOTA NA-145, until the 6th of July. Their emphasis will be on 6m but there will be some HF and low band activity as well. QSL via M0URX.
T88MZ will be active from Koror Island, IOTA OC-009, from the 30th of June to the 3rd of July. Activity will be holiday style on the 80 to 6m bands using SSB. QSL to home call.
Kouchi, JR2GAG will be QRV as V63GG from Pohnpei Island, IOTA OC-010, from the 29th of June to the 5th of July. Activity will be on the 20 to 6m bands and possibly the lower bands as well. QSL to his home callsign.
VK7NSE and VK2HV are on the air as VK7FG from Flinders Island, IOTA OC-195, until the 2nd of July. Activity is on the 6 to 160m bands. QSL via M0OXO.
Now the contest news
The 50MHz CW contest takes place today, the 28th of June, from 0900 to 1200UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
The 4th 70MHz Cumulative contest runs from 1400 to 1600 today, the 28th of June. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Finally for today, the UK Microwave Group contest runs from 0600 to 1800. Using all modes on the 5.7 to 10GHz bands the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Tuesday the 70MHz UK Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2130UTC. The exchange is the usual signal report, serial number and locator.
The first VHF contest of July is VHF National Field Day, which runs for 24 hours from 1400UTC on Saturday the 4th of July. There are station inspections in this contest so if you have registered and decide not to take part for any reason, please contact the Contest Committee in case an inspector wastes time trying to locate a station that’s not active. Bands in use are 50MHz to 1296MHz and all modes can be used. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Sunday the 5th of July the 3rd 2m Backpackers contest will take place from 1100 to 1500UTC. Using all modes in the 144MHz band the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator. It is helpful is portable and mobile stations in this contest also know their WAB square for the contest taking place at the same time.
The Worked All Britain 144MHz Low Power contest takes place next Sunday the 5th of July from 1000-1400UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square. Entries need to be with the contest manager by the 26th of July. The power limit is 10 watts for this contest. Details from the WAB website, www.worked-all-britain.org.uk
The UK Six Metre Group’s Summer Marathon continues throughout July. With no particular operating times, just try to work every Locator square you can, whenever you can. The exchange is your 4 character locator.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 26th of June.
What a week it has been in terms of solar activity and its effects on HF propagation. We've had everything thrown at us. On Sunday we started with a series of strong M-class X-Ray flares. One of these resulted in a full halo coronal mass ejection. The halo effect observed means the CME was coming straight towards earth.
On Monday we had a proton radiation storm, which impacted HF radio propagation through the polar regions, a so-called Polar Cap Absorption Event. And on Tuesday we had the big one with the arrival of the CME from Sunday's flare. This pushed the Kp index to eight, with dire effects on the F2 layer and ionospheric propagation, with aurora and depressed critical frequencies.
The Chilton Ionosonde struggled to get any returns from the F2 layer on Tuesday morning and all that could be heard were a few weak European signals on 20m. By early afternoon the critical frequency was 4.350MHz, giving a maximum usable frequency of about 16.8MHz on 3,000km paths. By Thursday the K index hit six again thanks to another CME.
So, this week has been characterised by dismal HF conditions with Sporadic-E being disrupted as well. Next week is predicted to be more settled with a solar flux index in the 120s and quieter geomagnetic conditions, so HF propagation may improve.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
We are still in the peak period for Sporadic-E and the weather triggers, chiefly jet streams in the upper atmosphere, are still likely to be present for the coming week. There was more good Sporadic-E across Europe last week with some 6 metre openings to the Caribbean and the Americas, plus Auroral Es to Scandinavia and 2 metre paths to southern Italy. Expect more of the same.
Longer-term weather models are showing good potential for enhanced Tropo conditions in the coming week. A ridge of high pressure should develop across southern England today, and soon build to form a large high over southern UK which moves into the North Sea and Scandinavia by mid-week. By this time, a trough may bring some heavy thundery showers into southwestern Britain from France to give a chance of rain scatter on the gigahertz bands.
Remember that Tropo paths across the sea can remain active throughout 24 hours, but inland stations may benefit during night-time and early morning, before the sun breaks down any temperature inversion. Often Tropo tends to be better on the higher bands, like 70cm and 23cm, and is often long-lasting compared with the fleeting lower band QSOs via Sporadic-E.
And that’s all from the propagation team for this week.