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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.

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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.

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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.

00:0000:00

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.

00:0000:00

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.

00:0000:00

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.

00:0000:00

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 6th December 2015

The news headlines:

  • Over 500 amateur licenses revoked

  • Check your APRS deviation

  • Could you read GB2RS?

All UK amateurs are required to revalidate their licence at least once every five years. Ofcom have now revoked around 530 licences that have not been revalidated. The notice of revocation, and list of the callsigns affected, has been published on the Ofcom website. Some 15,000 licenses remain un-revalidated and Ofcom say these will be revoked in due course. Details are at tinyurl.com/revocation-2015

APRS users on 144.800MHz are asked to ensure that their transmitters are set to narrow deviation, that’s 2.5kHz peak deviation. The 2m band plan as a whole is now a 12.5kHz channel spacing band and the adjacent channel at 144.8125MHz is assigned to DV Gateways. Using excessive deviation increases the potential of adjacent channel interference to these gateways and their users.

The GB2RS News Manager, Ken, G3VBA, is interested in hearing from RSGB Members who would be willing to join the team of news readers on the 1.8MHz and 5MHz bands. If you are interested in volunteering, please email gb2rs.manager@rsgb.org.uk

It is with sadness that we report that long time G1-G2 QSL bureau sub manager, Anthony Nowell, BRS 94111 died suddenly in November. The QSL bureau is working with his executors and more information will be available in the New Year. In the meantime could any G1 & G2 callsign holders please not send collection envelopes and refer to the RSGB website for further information.

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. Today, the 6th, it’s the turn of Stirling & DARS in Scotland. Monday and Tuesday sees the callsign move to Bath University, then on Wednesday the 9th Hilderstone Radio Club take over. Aberystwyth & District ARS will be operating G15YOTA on the 10th to 12th inclusive.

SOS Radio Week 2016 will start at 0000UTC on Saturday the 23rd of January and end at 2359UTC on Sunday the 31st. This will coincide with the RNLI’s own SOS Day on the last Friday of January. Stations intending to take part should register on the SOS Radio Week website at www.sosradioweek.org.uk.

G4R series callsign members are advised that a temporary QSL sub manager has been appointed, whilst a review of sub manager provision in the G4 series is on-going. Wayne, M0WAY has kindly agreed to caretake this group. Details can be found on the RSGB website, under operating. Wayne can be contacted via email to m0way@hotmail.co.uk

The Bushvalley Amateur Radio Club 2m net takes place with members travelling to high ground to increase the participation. It has operated for a month now with success every Tuesday evening starting on 145.500MHz. They look forward to welcoming even more participants in the future.

Five years ago saw the start of discussions to put the RSGB GB2RS News Bulletins, in the form of a podcast on the cyber-air. Jeremy, G4NJH and Ed, VK2ARE, now DD5LP, worked together to create a GB2RS podcast. Technical setup and tests took until mid January 2011. Since then the podcast has been published every single weekend without fail. To find the latest edition of the podcast, simply search on GB2RS on either iTunes or The Lounge or, to hear the file online with the full script, go to http://gb2rs.podbean.com For the last six months or so, the GB2RS News Broadcast has also been available from TXFactor. The presentation style of the TXTalk program, which is not intended for rebroadcast over repeaters in the UK, is different and some may prefer it. To find this podcast, simply search on TXTalk on iTunes or through Google. Whichever version you listen to we hope you enjoy the RSGB's weekly GB2RS news broadcasts.

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

Today, the 6th, the Bishop Auckland Radio Amateurs Club rally will be held at Spennymoor Leisure Centre, Co Durham DL16 6DB. Talk in will be on the air on S22. Doors open at 10.30am, with disabled visitors gaining access 15 minutes earlier. Admission is £2 with free admission for under 14s. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy and catering on site. More information from John, G4LRG on 01388 606 396.

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

ANZAC centenary commemorations end with VI4ANZAC on the air between the 12th and the 20th of December commemorating the work of the Royal Australian Naval Bridging Train. A QSL card will be available.

The 200th Anniversary of the birth of Ada Lovelace will be commemorated by special event station GB200ADA at Newstead Abbey, Nottinghamshire, from the 10th to the 13th of December. Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron, is internationally recognised as the author of the first computer algorithm, which was written for the Analytical Engine designed by Charles Babbage to increase the accuracy of astronomical calculations. A special, self-service, downloadable certificate will be available to everyone who makes contact.

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

The Santa Claus Arctic Circle Team will be active as OH9SCL from the Finnish Lappland above the Arctic Circle during December. Activity will be mostly on the HF bands, on all modes. QSL via OH9AB.

On the 18th of February 1930, astronomer Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, using a blink comparator and photographic plates. 2015 was designated the Year of Pluto. To celebrate, the members of the Northern Arizona DX Association will operate special event station W7P starting at 0000UTC on the 5th of December 5 and ending at 2359UTC on the 13th. W7P operators will be on the air from inside the Pluto discovery telescope dome, as well as from club members’ homes. Operation will be on SSB and CW.

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

Martin, W8AKS will be active as 8P9EZ from Barbados, IOTA reference NA-021, from the 5th to the 12th of December. He will operate on 40m to 10m and logs will be uploaded to Logbook of The World.

Haru, JA1XGI will operate from the South Cook Islands as E51XGI from the 3rd to the 10th of December. Operation will be on all bands 160m to 10m, CW, SSB and digital. QSL via his home callsign.

Antoine, who normally is resident in Fiji using the callsign 3D2AG, will be travelling to the separate DXCC entity of Rotuma, OC-060, from mid-December until mid-January. While in Rotuma he will use the callsign 3D2AG/P. He will be using solar power and a Spiderbeam and/or wire antennas on all bands 80m to 6m.

Freddy, F4HEC will be travelling in the Pacific region during December. Look for him as KH2/F4HEC from the 3rd to the 9th of December from Guam, OC-026. This will be followed by activity as KH0/F4HEC from Saipan, OC-086, in the Mariana Islands from the 10th to the 13th of December.

Pedro, C5WP will be active in The Gambia from the 12th of December to the 9th of January. He also hopes to operate from Western Sahara & Mauritania. He is planning to bring delta loops for 80m as well as operating on the higher bands. The country’s only other amateur, C5YK, is leaving the country permanently, which leaves Pedro as the only resident ham left in The Gambia.

Now the contest news

The ARRL 160m contest runs until 1600UTC today, the 6th, concluding its 48 hour session. It is CW only and the exchange is your signal report. US and Canadian stations will also send their ARRL or RAC section details.

Also today, the 6th, the 144MHz AFS contest runs from 1000 to 1600UTC. Using all modes the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

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

Next weekend, the ARRL 10m contest runs from 0000UTC on the 12th to 2359UTC on the 13th. 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.

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

Last weekend saw reasonably settled conditions for the CQ Worldwide contest, with DX to be had on all the upper HF bands. However, ten metres was a little lacklustre this year due to the lower solar flux index compared with 2014.

Twenty and fifteen metres proved to be the ‘money bands’ as the flux dipped below 100. Both bands managed to remain open, even giving DX contacts on 14MHz after sunset to countries like Costa Rica, with Mark, M0DXR's activity at TI5W.

This week has seen more unsettled geomagnetic conditions with the K index hitting five on Monday due to an elevated solar wind stream. This had a southward-facing Bz component that more easily coupled to the earth's magnetic field. We should see the solar flux index in the 90-115 range and we also expect to experience continued unsettled geomagnetic conditions, with the K index hitting three or four at times. This may impact the higher HF bands, but as we are heading towards the winter solstice our advice is to concentrate on the lower bands, meaning 40, 80 and 160 metres, where you may get some surprises. Forty metres in particular may start to open to DX before sunset, tending towards longer skip as night progresses.

And now the VHF and up propagation news

There was good tropospheric conditions for the 2m UKAC last week, and there is still a chance of improved tropo conditions in time for the 70cm UKAC on Tuesday evening.

The majority of the Continent will be under a large area of high pressure, with good tropo prospects, especially across the Mediterranean and across Biscay down past Spain and Portugal to the Canaries.

Southern Britain, to the south of the weather front, may be able to tap into these better conditions, especially in the first part of the week.

For this tropo action remember to keep to paths south of the weather front. Beaming into northern Europe may be good. Once the front moves away to the south and the weather turns brighter and colder again, you will no longer be in the tropo ducting region. It’s worth checking the forecast maps during the week for signs of the high rebuilding towards southern areas.

The Geminids meteor shower peaks next Sunday the 13th, so be prepared for some good meteor scatter QSOs next weekend.

Moon declination is negative all this week, so there are short moon windows and low elevation paths. The Moon is very close to the sun next Friday, meaning high noise levels and losses are at maximum on Saturday due to it reaching its apogee, the furthest point from Earth.

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

00:0000:00

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 29th November 2015

The news headlines:

  • WRC-15 final news

  • K Regional Identifier for Cornwall

  • G15YOTA to tour the country

The 2015 ITU World Radio Conference in Geneva has concluded. Following earlier success at 5MHz, the conference has agreed to include a future agenda item for the next conference, in 2019, which will consider harmonising the 50MHz band in Region 1. Several other agenda items that might have affected the amateur services have also concluded largely favourably. The Society would like to thank Colin Thomas, G3PSM, Ian Greenshields, G4FSU and the many other volunteers for their efforts over the years in advancing the amateur cause at ITU in often very challenging circumstances. Attention now immediately turns to preparations for the 2019 ITU World Radio Conference.

Ofcom has agreed that the special Regional Secondary Locator, K, may be used between the 1st of January and 31st of December 2016 inclusive by the holder of any amateur radio licence with a main station address in Cornwall, subject to the licensee obtaining a valid Notice of Variation. It may only be used when the radio equipment is located in Cornwall. Use of this NoV is optional, and can be obtained from the RSGB website at www.rsgb.org/k-for-cornwall from the 1st of December, but may not be used until the 1st of January. Cornish Clubs have set up The Kernow Award, details of which are http://tinyurl.com/ofrt7a9. There will be a special activity day on St Piran's Day, the Patron Saint of Cornwall, on 5 March.

During December, 14 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, a fantastic opportunity for licensed youngsters get on the air. If you hear the station, please give them a call. Durham and District Amateur Radio Society will operate the station on the 2nd then the following day it’s the No 2 Welsh Wing RAF Air Cadets. On Friday the 4th is the turn of the 2364 Sqn Welshpool RAF Air Cadets. The call moves over to Northern Ireland with Mid Ulster Amateur Radio Club on 5th. On the 6th it’s the turn of Stirling & DARS in Scotland.

Rebecca Hughes, M6BUB, has organised a Youth Night net hosted on the North Wales 2m repeater GB3MP. Sixteen year old Rebecca is a member of the RSGB's Youth Committee and sees this initiative as a way of bringing the young amateurs of the English North West and North Wales together on a weekly basis. The Youth Net will be starting on Wednesday the 2nd of December at 7pm and Rebecca, M6BUB will be the net controller. Several of the Southport and District ARC committee, Rebecca’s local club, have volunteered to keep an ear out to ensure that licence conditions are complied with and that the youngsters are kept safe. For further information visit www.sadarc.org.uk

APRS Cave-Link uses the amateur radio’s Automatic Packet Reporting System, or APRS, inside caves to get their position data and other messages out of the caves it has been reported on hackaday.com. Digipeaters and battery packs are dropped, in Hänsel and Gretel fashion, as the cavers work their way through the cave. The trick is to make sure to place one repeater before they’ve entirely lost the radio signal from the previous one. But a test of the APRS Cave-Link project got a full mile’s worth of transmission in Mammoth Cave without using wires at all.

ANZAC commemorations are closing with VI4ANZAC, commemorating the work of the Royal Australian Naval Bridging Train. The station will be on the air from the 12th to the 20th of December. The Royal Australian Naval Bridging Train served as engineers, and often as wireless operators, at Kangaroo Beach, Suvla Bay, with the British Army from August to December 1915. They were in fact the last Australians off of the Gallipoli Peninsula. All the details, frequencies and times of VI4ANZAC operations, plus the story of the RANBT, is on QRZ.com.

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

There are no rallies taking place today, the 29th. The final rallies of the year are due to take place on the 5th and 6th of December.

The South Lancs Winter Rally is on Saturday the 5th at Bickershaw Labour Club, Bickershaw Lane, Bickershaw WN2 5TE. Doors open for the public at 9am and admission is £2.50. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy and special interest groups as well as catering on site. Details from Jason on 01942 735 828.

On Sunday the 6th the Bishop Auckland Radio Amateurs Club Rally will be held at Spennymoor Leisure Centre, Co Durham DL16 6DB. Talk in will be on the air on S22. Doors open at 10.30am, with disabled visitors gaining access 15 minutes earlier. Admission is £2 with free admission for under 14s. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy and catering on site. More information from John, G4LRG on 01388 606 396.

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

Raymond Smit, PD7DX is operating special event station PD15XMAS from the 5th of December to the 1st of January, in the spirit of the holiday. He will be active on 7, 14 and 28MHz on HF as well as 2m and 440MHz.

Some of the International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 Member Societies will be marking the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Thursday the 3rd of December. Listen out for special event callsigns.

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

Mats, SM6LRR is operating holiday style in Vietnam as XV2D until the 6th of December and is participating in the CQWW CW Contest this weekend. Logs will be uploaded to Logbook of The World.

Donald, KD4UDU will be working as EL2DW from Monrovia, Liberia until the 17th of December. Look for him on 20m, 15m and 10m on SSB. Send QSL cards to his home callsign.

A team of 5 US operators will operate from Tuvalu and Fiji over the coming weeks. Initially they will be active as T2TT in Tuvalu until the 2nd of December. Then they travel to Fiji where they will sign 3D2RJ from the 3rd to the 10th of December. In both locations they will operate SSB and CW. The QSL via Club Log OQRS.

Francois, F8DVD will be on the air with special event callsign TM21COP from the 29th of November to the 13th of December during the 21st session of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Activity will be on 40 to 10 metres using SSB. QSL via operator's instructions.

Livio, IZ3BUR is transmitting as J52HF from the Cumura Hospital in Guinea-Bissau until the 10th of December. Activity is in his spare time, mainly on 20, 15, 10 and 6 metres, using SSB and PSK31. QSL via I3LDP.

Take, JA1UII is QRV as JD1BON from Chichi-Jima Island, IOTA AS-031, until December the 5th. Activity is on 80 to 6 metres using CW, SSB and RTTY. He will be active in the CQ World Wide DX CW contest. QSL to his home call.

Now the contest news

The biggest contest is the CW World Wide DX CW contest, which ends its 48 hour run today, the 29th at 2359UTC. Using the bands 1.8 to 28MHz the exchange is your signal report and CQ Zone. For the UK the Zone is 14.

On Tuesday the 144MHz UK Activity Contest runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes the exchange is the usual signal report, serial number and locator.

The first UKEI DX contest runs next weekend for 24 hours from 12 noon on Saturday the 5th of December. What’s new is that EI and UK entrants will compete on equal terms against DX entrants. It is SSB-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 number and your district code. You’ll need to know your own district code, and these are listed in the rules at www.ukeicc.com.

Next weekend, the ARRL 160m contest runs from 2200UTC on the 4th to 1600UTC on the 6th. It is CW only and the exchange is your signal report. US and Canadian stations will also send their ARRL or RAC section details.

On Sunday the 6th the 144MHz AFS contest runs from 1000 to 1600UTC. Using all modes the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

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.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G4BAO and G3YLA on Friday the 27th of November.

This week has been geomagnetically quiet with the K index hovering around zero or one. This is in contrast to the extremely unsettled conditions we have been having on and off over the past few months. Coupled with a solar flux index of around 110 to 120 this has brought reasonably settled conditions on HF and good conditions on MF too.

Medium wave enthusiasts have heard radio station WBBR in New York on 1130 kilohertz with ease during the night, which bodes well for Top Band propagation. The lower HF bands have also been lively with John, HR5/G4IRN in Honduras being worked by Jack, G8DX on 80, 40 and 30 metres. With the increasing periods of darkness, now is the time to make the most of the lower bands.

Next week NOAA predicts the solar flux index will remain in the range 110-115, but with unsettled geomagnetic conditions next weekend – the fifth and the sixth. Meanwhile, Morse enthusiasts can hopefully make the most of the settled conditions during this weekend's CQ Worldwide contest. There should be plenty of DX to work and the bands are predicted to be reasonable with reliable openings up to 21MHz, and even 28MHz, virtually guaranteed.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

It looks like another difficult week for tropospheric propagation. There are low pressure systems passing to the north of Britain and high pressure displaced well to the south over Iberia and the Mediterranean.

This means that conditions on the VHF/UHF bands will probably be flat much of the time with no significant openings due to weather events. That said, the F5LEN forecast pages suggest a minor tropospheric enhancement late Tuesday, early Wednesday.

For meteor scatter enthusiasts, there’s just two weeks to go to the major Geminids shower on December 13th, so sharpen up your operating skills with early morning random QSOs until then. For EME operators, path losses are beginning to rise again and windows shortening as the moon heads out towards apogee from today and declination goes negative again. In all then, this is probably a good week to try some VHF satellite operation to keep the QSO count up. Pete, 2E0SQL tells us that AO85, SO50, NO84, AO73-Funcube, FO29, XW-2F and AO7 are all in good health.

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

00:0000:00

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 22nd November 2015

The news headlines:

  • WRC-15 News

  • Youngsters on the Air

  • Listen to Marconi’s voice

This week, the World Radio Conference in Geneva finally approved a new amateur service allocation at 5MHz. Although only a small allocation of 15kHz between 5351.5 - 5366.5kHz was agreed, it is the first new allocation at HF since the WARC of 1979. After intense pressure from the fixed service primary user, power limits have been set at 15 watts EIRP in Regions 1 and 3, 20 watts EIRP in Mexico and 25 watts EIRP in Central America, South America and most of the Caribbean area. The new Radio Regulations will not come into force until the 1st of January 2017 but it will be for individual administrations to agree local arrangements. No change is expected to the current spectrum allocation at 5MHz within the UK. Regular updates from Colin Thomas, G3PSM who is attending the conference and other background information are at www.rsgb.org/wrc-15

This December, 14 groups will activate G15YOTA and its regional variations taking part in Youngsters on the Air month. The mix of participants is diverse; from schools to universities and local clubs. Many of the operators will be experiencing amateur radio for the first time and it also presents a fantastic opportunity for youngsters already licensed to get on the air. The first couple of activations will take place on the 2nd of December at Durham and District ARS and on the 3rd at No 2 Welsh Wing RAF Air Cadets. If you hear the youngsters on the air, please make the time to talk to them.

The Essex Record Office has released a sound recording that includes the second part of a speech by Marconi, delivered at the unveiling of the Fisk Memorial in Australia. In the speech, Marconi forecast the impact that wireless communication will have on ship navigation and on the world economy in general. The Fisk Memorial commemorated the first direct wireless message sent from the UK to Australia in 1918. You can find the speech by typing ‘essex record office’ into your favourite search engine and then searching the site for Marconi. https://soundcloud.com/essex-record-office/speech-by-marconi

Do you think the VHF bands are quiet, well think again. Earlier this year Thurrock Acorns ARC arranged a 2m activity afternoon that proved successful. The next activity afternoon is planned for the 28th of November between 1pm and 5pm. The club’s own callsign GX4HKO will start calling at 1pm. Over in Northern Ireland, Bushvalley ARC chairman Jack, Mi0JPD and some fellow club members have formed a VHF net on Tuesday evenings. Jack operates from Slieve Gallion, at approximately 1800 feet ASL and other club members are stationed on available high ground. So far contacts have been made into North Wales, Lincolnshire, Scotland as well as plenty of contacts within Northern Ireland. The net listens on the calling channel, 145.500MHz, before moving to a suitable frequency. If your club is doing something to keep the levels of activity high on the bands, drop us a line at radcom@rsgb.org.uk

Sadly, the RSGB has to announce that Peter Dodd G3LDO became a Silent key. For many years Peter shared his vast knowledge of antennas through the medium of RadCom and his many RSGB books. His writing will be sadly missed by the amateur community and our thoughts go to his family and friends at this difficult time.

DX Magazine has announced that it will no longer solicit input or publish its traditional, annual Most Wanted DXCC survey. The last survey was conducted in the autumn of 2014. The list typically has appeared in the newsletter’s January/February issue. The Club Log website survey and Most Wanted DXCC List is now the best place to find this sort of information. See www.clublog.org

Between 6.50pm on Sunday the 15th of November and 7am on the 16th, the main GB7HM DMR digital voice repeater and back ups were stolen from the repeater site 6 miles north of Wrexham. Details of the items and their serial numbers are on the repeaters website, www.gb7hm.uk/ If you have any information leading to the return of these units, please contact them as soon as possible.

Following the work of Essex Ham and Chelmsford ARS, interest in the highly successful Amateur Radio Skills Nights is spreading. These events are themed evenings aimed at helping attendees to gain confidence, develop skills, and progress in the hobby. For more information to enable your club to stage a similar event, go to www.essexham.co.uk/skillsformula A Skills Night will be held at the Felixstowe & District ARS HQ in Suffolk on Wednesday, December 2 and all are welcome.

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

There are no rallies taking place on either today, the 22nd, or next weekend the 28th or 29th. The final rallies of the year are due to take place on the 5th of December. The South Lands Winter Rally will be held in Wigan at the Bickershaw Labour Club and the Bishop Auckland Rally will be at the Spennymoor Leisure Centre in Co Durham. More details nearer the date or on the RSGB website.

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

Today, the 22nd, could be when VI0ANZAC gets on the air from Casey Base in the Antarctic. The station’s plan to get on the air has been, like the weather itself in that part of the world, highly changeable. Starting at 0200UTC, the station will try again, beginning on 14.250MHz, and hopefully both the weather and conditions will cooperate.

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

Yuriy, N2TTA, will once again be active as NP2P from the US Virgin Islands during the CQWW DX CW Contest on the 28th and 29th of November as a Single-Op/All-Band/ Low-Power entry. QSL via Logbook of the World. During the same contest, Al, WP3C, will be active as NP4A from Puerto Rico as a Single-Op/Single-Band (40m)/ High-Power entry. QSL via W3HNK.

Henning, OZ1BII will be active as 9H3EE from Malta between the 24th and the 30th of November. He will work all bands from 10m to 160m with an emphasis on the 30, 17 and12m bands using CW only. He will also participate in the CQ World Wide DX CW Contest on the 28th and the 29th, working a Single-Op/All-Band/Low-Power entry. QSL via OZ1BII or Club Log.

Daniel, DL5YWM, is working in Crete as SV9/DL5YWM until November 25. QSL to his home callsign.

In Liberia, Donald, EL2DW is working from Monrovia until the 17th of December and can be found on 20, 15 and 10 meters using SSB. QSL via KD4UDU in Florida.

Peter, DL1RPL, and Soren, DL3RKS, are activating two Indian Ocean islands. They will be on Mayotte Island until the 25th of November, working as FH/DL1RPL and FH/DL3RKS, respectively. Beginning on the 27th and running until the 3rd of December they will be on Reunion Island, active as FR/DL1RPL and FR/DL3RKS. They will operate on the HF bands from 10 to 20m, mostly on CW, with some SSB. Peter will also operate on 2m and 440 bands EME using WSJT65 and CW. Send QSL cards via DL1RPL.

Nick G3RWF is due back in Rwanda as 9X0NH until the 2nd of December. He will be QRV all bands 80m to 10m. Logs will be uploaded to Logbook of The World and QSLs go via his home callsign.

Now the contest news

The final session of this year’s UK Microwave Group Low Band Contest using the 1.3, 2.3 and 3.4GHz bands is on today, the 22nd. It’s shorter in duration than the others in the series, because the organisers want portables to be able to pack up and vacate remote hilltop sites before it gets dark. Running from 1000 to 1400UTC and using all modes the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Tuesday, two different UK Activity contests take place at the same time, 2000UTC until 2230UTC. The 50MHz contest uses all modes and the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator. The SHF contest uses the 2.3 to 10GHz bands, all modes and the exchange is also signal report, serial number and locator.

Wednesday evening from 2000UTC to 2100UTC the UK EI contest is on the 3.5MHz band, using CW only. The exchange is your 4 character locator square.

There’s another 3.5MHz band contest on Thursday when the 80m Club Sprint takes place from 2000 to 2100UTC. Again, CW only the exchange is your serial number and name.

Finally for this week, the biggest contest is the CW World Wide DX CW contest running for 48 hours over the 28th and 29th. Using the bands 1.8 to 28MHz the exchange is your signal report and CQ Zone. For the UK the zone is 14.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G4BAO and G3YLA on Friday the 20th of November.

This week has been a bit of a mixed bag in terms of HF propagation. The early part of the week saw reasonable openings on 18 and 21MHz, although a continuous K index of around three due to the high-speed solar wind stream, took its toll. The VK9WA Willis Island DXpedition was even audible on 40m with a simple dipole around tea time on Wednesday.

But overall, DX signals were never brilliant and the bands had a tendency to be noisy.

Very late on Wednesday evening plasma from a coronal mass ejection arrived on Earth, pushing the K index to five. As a result Thursday saw the bands noisier still, although the maximum useable frequency at noon remained around 26MHz according to the Chilton ionosonde.

Next week we expect more of the same with the solar flux index in the range 105-115. The K index is expected to be in the range two to three, showing reasonably-settled geomagnetic conditions that may bode well for next weekend's CQ Worldwide CW contest.

As ever, be prepared for a sudden elevated K index due to the effect of the high speed solar wind, which can be difficult to predict.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

Things are looking flat for VHF/UHF propagation again next week. The charts suggest low-pressure will not be far away from the north of Britain with strong west or southwesterly winds at times. There are unlikely to be any significant tropospheric openings to get excited about, but last week saw some good rain scatter propagation on the GigaHertz bands.

With strong shower activity around coastal areas, and along the English Channel on some days, there will be scope for more of the same this coming week. Unlike summer thunderstorms, which can be very heavy and slow-moving, winter showers are often fast moving in the strong upper-level steering winds. Up to 30-50mph is possible, so you’ll need to track your dish to keep up with them. They are also shallower, so you’ll need to be closer than is the case with the deep convection of summertime.

The Leonids meteor shower is over so it’s back to early morning random QSOs for meteor scatter enthusiasts, while we wait for the major Geminids shower in December.

This is a good week for EME operators, with the Moon reaching perigee, or its closest point, losses will be low tomorrow and increasing declination means moon windows will be long.

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

00:0000:00

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 15th November 2015

The news headlines:

  • WRC-15 News

  • Changes to PMR

  • ISS update

Lengthy negotiations are ongoing at World Radio Conference in Geneva on a wide range of agenda items. Regarding 5MHz, a compromise position based on a 15kHz wide contiguous secondary allocation for all three ITU Regions has been provisionally reached. However, this still faces opposition in its path to formal approval. Even if it happens, the current UK allocation will be in place for the foreseeable future. Progress is also being made on several other items that affect amateur allocations, as well as a potential future agenda item for 50MHz harmonisation. Regular updates from Colin Thomas, G3PSM who is attending the conference and other background information are at www.rsgb.org/wrc-15

The 4U1ITU station in Geneva is on the air as 4U1WRC during the WRC-15 conference until November 27. QSL via 4U1ITU. The callsign is counted as 4U1ITU with the DXCC Entity as ITU HQ, ITU zone-28.

Ofcom has decided to amend the existing Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006 licence exemption criteria for some wireless devices including Personal Mobile Radio, or PMR 446. Ofcom has expanded the frequency band and technology choice slightly but also introduced restrictions on abuse and enforcement as well as better receiver standards. Please see the news section on the RSGB website for a link to the Ofcom statement.

A 3.8m dish is being loaned to the ARISS project by Satellite Catapult at Goonhilly and it will be used to track the ISS and provide real time video during the schools contacts scheduled for early next year. Last week, G8GTZ, M0AEU and G3VZV installed a PC with mini-tutioune software and a DB6NT downconverter to receive the ISS on the dish and they received video for 8.5 minutes during one pass whilst conducting tests. You can see a video about watching the ISS by Graham Shirville, G3VZV on the BATC YouTube channel as part of the CAT15 lectures.

GB3BP is a new system Fusion repeater on-air in IO93ga serving the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire area. The repeater is currently configured in dual mode so will accept FM or C4FM on the input. The repeater has an Input frequency of 438.4875MHz and an Output frequency of 430.8875MHz with a 71.9Hz CTCSS tone. Reports to the repeater keeper are welcome.

To celebrate the 90th Anniversary of IARU several countries have special event stations running to the end of the year. Contacts with these stations go towards a diploma celebrating this IARU milestone where you need to contact 10 special IARU callsigns before the end of the year. The Radio Club of Haïti will be using HH90IARU and the QSL Manager is W3HNK. Members of the Malta Amateur Radio League are using 9H90IARU and their QSL manager is 9H1SP. EV90IARU is on the air from Belarus and you should QSL direct via EW1I. The Mongolian national society is putting JT90IARU on the air and you should QSL via JT1KAA. Finally, UP90IARU is on the air from Kazakhstan with RW6HS acting as QSL manager.

The reports from the RSGB Spectrum Forum meeting held on the 7th of November have been released They cover the HF, VHF and Microwave spectrum, the Amateur Radio Observation Service, Propagation, Contests, ETCC and national special interest groups such as GQRP. See the reports on the RSGB website at www.rsgb.org/sf2015

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

Today, the 15th, the Coulsdon ATS Radio & Electronics Bazaar takes place at the Coulsdon Community Centre, Chipstead Valley Road, Coulsdon, Surrey CR5 3BE. There is limited on site parking but plenty of street parking is available. Doors open from 10am to 2pm and admission is £1 including a complimentary tea or coffee. There will also be a Bring & Buy. Details from Glenn, G4FVL by e-mail to bazaar@catsradio.org.

Also on today, the Plymouth Radio Club Rally will be held at Harewood House, The Ridgeway, Plympton, Plymouth PL7 2AS. Doors open at 10am and admission is £2. There will be trade stands and the usual refreshments. More information from Sheila, 2E0YSH on 07815 542 477.

The Rochdale & District ARS Traditional Radio Rally takes place next Sunday, the 21st, at St Vincent de Paul's, Caldershaw Rd, off Edenfield Road, Norden, Rochdale OL12 6BU. Doors open at 10.30am with disabled visitors gaining access at 10.15am and admission is £2.50. There will be talk-in on S22. More details from Dave, G0PUD on 0161 285 1600.

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

The RSGB HQ Special Event Callsign GB3HQ will be activated today, the 15th, by Brimham Contest Group in North Yorkshire. The station will operate on HF bands 160m, 80m, 40m, 20m, 15m & 10m, CW and SSB. In particular between 2000 and 2300UTC on Saturday the call will be used in the RSGB 160m Club Calls SSB contest. Stations are invited to contact GB3HQ over the weekend and in particular during the contest. If you are interested in finding out more about the activities or would like to visit the station please e-mail gb3hq@rsgbcc.org

On the 15th, GB5SH will be run from St Hilda's Church, Hartlepool, TS24 0DA as part of the Church's Patronal Festival remembering St Hilda. Operation is expected to be on 80, 40 & 2m.

Mid Ulster ARC will put GB4ONI on the air throughout the night on the 20th and 21st of November from Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh BT61 9DG. Visitors are welcome and there will be a talk-in station running. More information from Dave Parkinson on 0796 704 3982

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

Harald, DF2WO is operating as XT2AW from Burkina Faso until the 27th of November . Harald will likely be operating on slow CW. QSLs go to his manager, M0OXO.

Andi, DL9USA and Jan, DJ8NK will be active as VP2ECC and VP2ENK respectively from the Caribbean island of Anguilla, NA-022, until the 18th of November 18. They are using CW, SSB and digital and QSLs go via the home callsigns.

Dave, EI9FBB, is activating Coetivy Island, AF-119, in the Seychelles for the IOTA program and will operate as S79C. He will be there from the 16th to the 22nd of November.

Alan, G3XAQ is on the air as 9G5XA from Ghana until the 21st of November. Activity is on the HF bands using CW. QSL via G3SWH.

Daniel, DL5YWM is on the air as SV9/DL5YWM from Crete, EU-015, until the 25th of November. He also plans an IOTA trip to Gavdos Island, IOTA EU-187, on the 16th and 17th of November. Activity is holiday style on the HF bands using SSB. QSL to his home callsign.

A large group of operators will be on the air as VK9WA until the 23rd of November from Willis Island. Activity will be on 160 to 10 meters, and possibly 6 meters, using CW, SSB and RTTY with up to four stations active. QSL via N7SMI.

Now the contest news

The WAE DX RTTY contest ends its 48 hour run at 2359 on the 15th. It’s the last of this year’s WAE series. Unlike the CW and SSB WAE contests held in August and September, in the RTTY WAE contest everyone can work everyone. Remember that QTCs or reports of previously conducted contest QSOs can add a lot of points to your total score, so it’s worth reading the rules on the DARC website to understand how they work. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

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

The Second 1.8MHz Contest runs for four hours starting at 2100UTC on Saturday the 21st. An Austrian 1.8MHz contest runs at the same time. The Austrian exchange includes a District Number, while the RSGB exchange includes a District Code, which is an abbreviated Postcode. Just log what you receive. This contest is CW only.

The final session of this year’s UKuG Low Band Contest using the 1.3, 2.3 and 3.4GHz bands is on Sunday the 22nd. It’s shorter in duration than the others in the series, because the organisers want portables to be able to pack up and vacate remote hilltop sites before it gets dark. Running from 1000 to 1400UTC and 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 the 13th of November.

We've had another week of disrupted HF conditions, thanks to an ongoing high-speed solar wind stream. The K index hit six on the 10th and five on the 11th showing severe geomagnetic storming.

The maximum usable frequency over a 3,000km path has yo-yoed this week, being as low as 19.7MHz at noon on Tuesday, but hitting 33MHz on Wednesday. In other words, you had to keep a close eye on the bands as conditions changed quite quickly throughout the week.

Looking at next week, the 18 and 21MHz bands may provide good to excellent DX openings during daylight hours. The period from noon to late afternoon may be best, but both bands are likely to close soon after sunset and remain closed until some time after sunrise the following day, unless the solar flux is very high.

If the solar flux index remains higher than 100 or so, good DX may also be possible on 28MHz during daylight hours.

Next week, the solar flux index is predicted to be in the range 100-110, with continuing unsettled geomagnetic conditions, especially around the 17th according to NOAA.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

We are in an unsettled weather pattern for the next week as Britain finds itself on the edge of areas of low pressure. The main centres of low pressure will be passing by to the northwest of the UK, which means that northern Britain will be quite windy at times. Even in the south, some stronger winds are possible as smaller lows track quickly east across southern England.

This points to poor VHF/UHF tropospheric conditions and the best prospect of DX will be on the 5.7 and 10GHz bands from rain scatter in any heavy showers. Remember that in the winter months, showers are more likely around the coasts.

For meteor scatter enthusiasts, next week brings the Leonids, the first of the three big winter showers. It has a short peak between the 17th and 18th of November. The Leonids has produced some of the greatest meteor storms in history. On the morning of the 17th of November 1966, visual meteor rates were as high as thousands per minute during a short 15-minute period, so be prepared for an intense but short shower.

For EME operators, the Moon is at the lowest declination at the moment so next week, moon windows will increase. The path loss will decrease as the Moon comes in to perigee – its closest point - a week tomorrow.

00:0000:00

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 8th November 2015

The news headlines:

  • Ofcom published licence guidance

  • Add your voice to the amateur radio survey

  • Dutch 5MHz QSOs

Ofcom has published new guidance to help amateur radio licensees understand and comply with the terms and conditions of the UK amateur radio licence. This guidance should, therefore, be read in conjunction with the licence. Following the Guidance should help licensees reduce the risk of breaching the terms and conditions of the Licence. It does not impose additional licence conditions or modify the effect of the existing terms and conditions of the Licence. The RSGB is aware from Member enquires that there are areas of operating practice where further advice may be appreciated, and the RSGB is thus proposing to publish some ‘Best Practice’ notes later in the year. The Ofcom document is at http://tinyurl.com/GFL-2015

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. So far, 1,433 completed responses have been made online at tinyurl.com/rsgb-survey so why not add your views too.

Several Dutch stations have appeared on the 5MHz band in the erroneous assumption that 5MHz has become available in The Netherlands. It isn’t, and won't be until the middle of November at the earliest. The confusion arose in the way the law is applied in The Netherlands. Following the announcement, the radio amateur frequency tables have to be officially adjusted and published and this has not happened yet. Until that time, any contacts with Dutch stations on 5MHz are not, in fact, legitimate.

On the 2nd of November the 2015 World Radio Conference opened in Geneva with a record number of 3800 delegates attending. Amongst many topics is Agenda Item 1.4 regarding a potential global 5MHz amateur allocation, which is facing serious opposition. There are several other items that may affect other amateur and amateur satellite service allocations. Colin Thomas, G3PSM is attending as part of the UK Delegation and is providing progress updates via a blog on the RSGB website. IARU volunteers are also present and are under no illusions regarding the challenge and opportunities ahead over the coming weeks, until the conference concludes on the 27th of November. The updates from Colin and other background information are at www.rsgb.org/wrc-15

On the 4th of November, the inaugural launch of an experimental US military vehicle carrying several satellites with amateur radio payloads failed in mid-flight shortly after taking off at 0345UTC from Hawaii. Destroyed in the demonstration flight were 13 small research spacecraft clustered on the mission for NASA researchers and university students. None of the satellites carried amateur radio transponders, but several were equipped to transmit beacon signals and telemetry on 2m, 70cm and 13cm amateur frequencies.

The next edition of RadCom Basics is due out in the first week of December. This edition, available to all RSGB Members, will contain features on Christmas presents for radio amateurs, how Morse reading software works, making the most of the low bands this winter and how to send and receive QSL cards. To subscribe to this membership benefit, go to http://rsgb.org/main/publications-archives/radcom-basics/

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

Today, the 8th, the West London Radio & Electronics Show takes place at Kempton Park Racecourse, Staines Road East, Sunbury on Thames, TW16 5AQ. There is free car parking and doors open at 10am, with disabled visitors gaining access 10 minutes earlier. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy as well as special interest groups. Details from Paul, M0CJX on 08451 650 351.

Next Sunday, the Coulsdon ATS Radio & Electronics Bazaar takes place at the Coulsdon Community Centre, Chipstead Valley Road, Coulsdon, Surrey CR5 3BE. There is limited on site parking but plenty of street parking is available. Doors open from 10am to 2pm and admission is £1 including a complimentary tea or coffee. There will also be a Bring & Buy. Details from Glenn, G4FVL by e-mail to bazaar@catsradio.org.

Also on the 15th, the Plymouth Radio Club Rally will be held at Harewood House, The Ridgeway, Plympton, Plymouth PL7 2AS. Doors open at 10am and admission is £2. There will be trade stands and the usual refreshments. More information from Sheila, 2E0YSH on 07815 542 477.

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

The RSGB HQ Special Event Callsign GB3HQ will be activated the weekend of the 14th and 15th of November by Brimham Contest Group in North Yorkshire. The station will operate on HF bands 160m, 80m, 40m, 20m, 15m & 10m, CW and SSB. In particular between 2000 and 2300UTC on Saturday the call will be used in the RSGB 160m Club Calls SSB contest. Stations are invited to contact GB3HQ over the weekend and in particular during the contest. If you are interested in finding out more about the activities or would like to visit the station please e-mail gb3hq@rsgbcc.org

On the 13th and 14th of November, GB0CIN will be on air from 9am to 11pm highlighting the BBC Children in Need appeal. Located at the Worksop ARS HQ at 59-61 West Street, Worksop, Nottinghamshire S80 1JP, operation will be on all bands from 80m to 70cm using CW, SSB, data and FM. Visitors are welcome and there will be plenty of fund-raising activities taking place.

To mark the 5th anniversary of the International Day of the Flamenco for UNESCO, EG7IFD will be on the air from the 13th to the 16th of November. See QRZ.com for more details.

On the 14th and 15th of November, GB5SH will be run from St Hilda's Church, Hartlepool, TS24 0DA as part of the Church's Patronal Festival remembering St Hilda. Operation is expected to be on 80, 40 & 2m.

On air from the 20th to the 25th of November, KC9HYY/WSL3 commemorates the sinking of HMHS Britannic on the 21st of November 1916. Operation will be on 10 to 40m using SSB and PSK31, with the possibility of CW. More information at www.kc9hyy.wordpress.com

Z38CE will commemorate the 20th Anniversary of Macedonia becoming a member of the Council of Europe on the 9th of November 1995. Operation will be from the 7th to the 13th of November. QSL via F5LGF.

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

Toshi, JA8BMK, is active as 4W/JA8BMK from Timor Leste, OC-148, until the 9th of November working 80 and 40 metres, using mainly CW. QSL via JA8BMK direct only.

S79C will be active as from Coetivy Island (AF­119, new one for IOTA) in the Seychelles from the 15th to the 23rd of November. The team will operate CW, SSB and RTTY on 40 to 10m with up to six stations during peak times. QSL via M0OXO and LoTW.

Eric, F6ICX returns to Madagascar until the 12th of December. He will reactivate his 5R8IC callsign from Sainte-Marie Island, IOTA reference AF-090. This will be a holiday style operation and QSLs go via the home call.

Three US operators will visit Montserrat from the 4th to the 12th of November. Look for the callsigns VP2MXP, VP2MEW and VP2MRL. Activity will be on all bands from 80 to 6 metres.

Now the contest news

The International Police Association Radio Club organises the IPARC Contest, which takes place on the 7th and 8th of November. It’s SSB on the 8th from 0600 to 1000UTC and 1400 to 1800UTC, the same times as the CW section the previous day. The exchange is signal report and seral number for the mode you are working. Full details are online at www.iparc.de.

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

On Wednesday the 80m Club Sprint runs from 2000 to 2100UTC. It’s SSB only and the exchange is just the serial number and your name.

Saturday the 14th sees the Club Calls contest that takes place from 2000 to 2300UTC. It’s SSB on the 1.8MHz band only and the exchange is signal report, serial number, and club code.

The WAE DX RTTY contest takes place on the 14th and 15th. It’s the last of this year’s WAE series. Unlike the CW and SSB WAE contests held in August and September, in the RTTY WAE contest everyone can work everyone. Remember that QTCs or reports of previously conducted contest QSOs can add a lot of points to your total score, so it’s worth reading the rules on the DARC website to understand how they work. Running for a full 48 hours from 0000UTC on the 14th to 2359UTC on the 15th, it uses the 3.5 to 28MHz bands and the exchange is signal report and serial number.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G4BAO and G3YLA on Friday the 6th of November.

This week saw a perfect example of how the sun affects HF propagation. As we predicted last week, a high-speed solar wind stream hit the earth on Tuesday. This pushed the K index to five as the incoming plasma had a south-facing Bz field that enabled it to more easily couple to the earth's magnetic field.

The result was that on the afternoon of Tuesday the 3rd, ten metres was alive with signals during the initial positive phase of the subsequent geomagnetic storm. Stations from Columbia and the Falklands were very strong as the maximum usable frequency headed past 40MHz on southerly paths. Even stations in Belgium could be heard via backscatter on 28MHz.

By Wednesday the incoming solar wind was still fierce at up to 750 kilometres per second. The noon critical frequency as measured by the Chilton ionosonde was 10.15MHz, giving a predicted maximum usable frequency over a 3,000km path of 36MHz and pushing the K index to five. Usually the secondary phase of a geomagnetic storm sees critical frequencies plummet, but that didn’t seem to happen with this event.

Next week, NOAA predicts that the solar flux index will be in the range 110-125 with a continued risk of geomagnetic disturbances, especially on the 13th and 14th. This season stills remains a good time to be on HF.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

With some very good tropospheric conditions still fresh in our memory from last weekend, it’s probably going to be the complete opposite for a while. Deep lows will pass by the far north-west and produce generally windy conditions across much of the country during the coming week. There is, however, a possibility of high pressure over the continent that may just lift conditions over the south of England at times in the second half of the week. This may connect the southernmost counties into what will probably be some very good tropo within Europe.

For meteor scatter enthusiasts, the Taurids meteor shower, which has a broad peak from the 5th to 12th of November, may provide some large fireballs and long, strong trails.

For EME operators, declination is now negative, reaching its lowest next Saturday, meaning short windows with increasing losses as the Moon reaches apogee, its furthest point away from Earth, on Sunday.

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

00:0000:00

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 1st November 2015
 
The news headlines:
TX Factor makes youth video for RSGB
1000th contact for ARISS
13cm and 9cm spectrum to be auctioned off
The short video Amateur Radio: A Hobby for the 21st Century was produced by TX Factor for the RSGB and is intended as an introduction to amateur radio for young people. This video can be freely downloaded by anyone for use in the furtherance of amateur radio. Please read the Conditions of Use on the RSGB website, where you will find the download button.
The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station, or ARISS, programme has marked its 1000th space station amateur radio event. It started 15 years ago when the program established the first permanent amateur radio presence in space. The inaugural ARISS contact took place on the 21st of December 2000 between a school near Chicago and Commander William ‘Shep’ Shepherd, KD5GSL. Several UK schools will have the opportunity to speak to UK astronaut Tim Peake in 2016. You can read more about his mission and his involvement with amateur radio on the RSGB website.
Spectrum at 2.3 and 3.4GHz that once was allocated to amateur radio is going on the auction block, Ofcom announced this week. In April 2014 Ofcom announced that it was ending amateur access to significant portions of the 2.3 and 3.4GHz bands following a year-long consultation. Amateur radio was secondary on both bands. Ofcom expect the frequencies to be of interest to mobile network operators and others involved with mobile broadband.
The 5MHz beacon, GB3RAL, which is part of the 5MHz beacon chain, is currently off air due to local difficulties. A decision about possible relocation of the beacon will be taken later in the year. 
UKube-1 has now completed its nominal mission following over 14 months of operations. Launched in July 2014, UKube-1 is a technology demonstration mission aimed at attracting and training future generations of engineers and engaging with students. Although the UK Space Agency-supported mission phase has ended, discussion is underway with AMSAT-UK about the possibility of taking over UKube-1 operations to continue its educational and outreach activities until the satellite orbit naturally degrades.
Amateur radio’s interests will be well represented when the 2015 ITU World Radiocommunication Conference convenes on the 2nd of November in Geneva, Switzerland. Held every 3 or 4 years, the conferences review and, if necessary, revise the Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the use of the radio frequency spectrum. Delegates will consider several items of interest to the amateur radio community during the nearly month-long international gathering. Whilst most attention by amateurs is likely to be focussed on the prospect of a 5MHz allocation, several other topics are included that represent either threats or opportunities. The RSGB’s detailed responses can be found on the RSGB website.
And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week 
The inaugural radio rally organised by Bushvalley Amateur Radio Club takes place today, the 1st of November, in the United Services Club premises at 8 Roe Mill Road, Limavady Co Londonderry, BT49 9DF. The RSGB President, John Gould, G3WKL, will be attending. Doors open at 11am and admission is £3, which includes entry into a raffle. There will be free parking, disabled access as well as trade stands, a Bring & Buy and an RSGB bookstall. Light refreshments will also be available. Details from Jack, MI0JPD, on 07885 292 545. 
Sadly, the North Wales rally planned for today, the 1st, has been cancelled.
The Bangor & District ARS annual surplus equipment sale takes place on Thursday evening in the Groomsport Boat House, 19 Harbour Road, Groomsport BT19 6JP. Table spaces are free to sellers but must be reserved in advance. Admission is £2 at the door, open from 7 to 10pm. Contact Harry, on 02890 422 860.
Next Sunday, the 8th, the West London Radio & Electronics Show will take place at Kempton Park Racecourse, Staines Road East, Sunbury on Thames, TW16 5AQ. There is free car parking and doors open at 10am, with disabled visitors gaining access 10 minutes earlier. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy as well as special interest groups. Details from Paul, M0CJX on 08451 650 351.
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 
To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of becoming a member of the Council of Europe on the 9th of November 1995, The Council of Europe Radio Amateur Club, TP2CE, in cooperation with the Amateur Radio Operator's of Macedonia, will put Z38CE on the air between the 7th and 13th November. QSL via F5LGF.
And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources
Felix, DL5XL, will once again be active as DP1POL from the German Neumayer Antarctic Station III between November 2015 and February 2016. Activity will be on all HF bands using mainly CW and possibly some SSB and digital modes. QSL via DL1ZBO or Logbook of the World.
Marcus, DL1MH, is expected to be active as DP0GVN from the same Antarctic station between December 2015 and February 2017. His activity will be on the HF bands using mainly SSB. QSL DP0GVN via DL5EBE.
A multi-national team of twenty operators from the Mediterraneo DX Club will be active as 3W3MD from Da Nang, Vietnam from until the 10th of November. They plan to be on all bands and modes with five stations running 24/7. 
Three Japanese operators will be active from the island of Palau, IOTA reference OC-009, until the 5th of November. Look for the callsigns T88ZE, T88KK and T88SH. They will operate all bands 160m to 6m on CW, SSB and RTTY.
Oliver, W6NV will travel to Ascension Island, AF-003, and be on the air as ZD8W from the 6th of November to the 4th of December. QSL via W6NV.
Janio, PY4NY will be on the air as PY0NY from the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, SA-003, until the 5th of November. He will be using the 10 to 40m bands CW, SSB and digital modes using wire antennas and a 2el quad for 10m. QSL via PY4NY direct, via Logbook of the World and eQSL.
Now the contest news
On Tuesday the 144MHz UK Activity Contest takes place from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes on the band the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Wednesday sees the UK EI CC take place from 2000 to 2100UTC. This is the SSB leg using the 80m band. The exchange is your 4-letter locator square.
The 2m Marconi CW Contest runs for 24 hours from 1400UTC on Saturday the 7th. In this one there are 24-hour and 6-hour sections for Single-op Fixed and Open multi-op stations. With no multipliers it’s simply a case of trying to accumulate as many kilometres worked as possible. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
The International Police Association Radio Club organises the IPARC Contest, which takes place on the 7th and 8th of November. It’s CW on the 7th from 0600 to 1000UTC and 1400 to 1800UTC, then SSB on the 8th at the same times. The exchange is signal report and current number for the mode you are working. Full details at www.iparc.de.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA and G3YLA on Friday the 30th of October.
It has been another week with great HF conditions. Last weekend gave many people the chance to work DX on 10 metres in the CQ Worldwide contest.
The solar flux index stayed above 110 and geomagnetic conditions were generally quiet, especially compared with the problems we had with high speed solar wind streams last month. This, coupled with better general autumnal propagation, meant the maximum useable frequency headed past 29MHz. Many low-powered ten metre beacons in the US could be heard in the UK, which is always a good sign. However, there was also a proton event on Thursday that may have affected polar paths.
Propagation on ten metres to the United States, Caribbean and South America has improved dramatically, so make the most of it while it lasts.
Next week NOAA predicts the solar flux index will decline, possibly into the mid eighties. The K index is predicted to rise to five or six on Tuesday or Wednesday due to incoming plasma from the sun. If the prediction is correct, expect MUFs to drop and HF conditions to be poorer mid week.
As we are now in November, according to voaacap.com you should be using a smoothed sunspot number of 46.4 for your propagation prediction programs.
And now the VHF and up propagation news. 
The first week of November looks like getting off to an unsettled start on Sunday in the far north and west, but with some promising lift conditions in the south-east of the country.
This could be the start of a good week for VHF/UHF/microwave ducting with high pressure residing over the continent for much of the time, and allowing substantial parts of the UK to couple into the action. Even the north should benefit from these quieter weather conditions later. The most likely extended paths will be towards the south into France as far as the Alps and Pyrenees, and eastwards across the North Sea to the Baltic. So it’s a good week for checking the multimode sections of the bands. SSB and CW should prove especially rewarding, and it is worth spending a few minutes getting a beacon list printed off.
If you are new to these higher frequencies, remember that cross polarisation is not a good philosophy for VHF DXing. It may be time to experiment with just a simple horizontal wire dipole, rather than struggle with a collinear.
There are no major meteor showers this week, but we have the Leonids on the 17th and 18th of November to look forward to.
For EME operators, next week shows falling declination and moon window length with increasing losses. There is still plenty of Moon time, with up to 15 hours of moon visibility on Monday, falling to 12 hours n
00:0000:00

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 25th October 2015

The news headlines:

  • UK returns to GMT

  • RSGB fees unchanged again

  • IARU consolidates EMC roles

Did you remember to change your clock last night? In the UK, the clocks reverted to Greenwich Mean Time, or UTC, at 2am this morning. The Youth Hostels Amateur Radio Group is commemorating the start of Greenwich Mean Time today, the 25th, from Mount St Bernard Abbey in Charnwood Forest, with the callsign GB0GMT. The planned operating frequency is around 7.175MHz, with some activity on 2m and 20m as conditions permit. Details are at www.yharg.org.uk

Despite the increasing strain on operational finances, the RSGB Board has announced that the cost of Society Membership will be unchanged in 2016, the sixth year in a row that this has been achieved. It has also proved possible to maintain examination fees at the same level as previous years. Further details of all charges are on the RSGB website.

The IARU has announced that it will consolidate into one position the responsibilities for overseeing IARU’s relationship on EMC matters with CISPR, the international special committee on radio interference. Christian Verholt, OZ8CY, will be standing down from his Advisor role, with the Administrative Council’s appreciation for his work over some 20 years. All EMC matters relating to CISPR and associated issues will now be handled by EMC Coordinator Thilo Kootz, DL9KCE.

Still on EMC matters the CENELEC Committee TC210 WG 11 has completed the standard for in-home PLC devices that operate above 30MHz. The first standard in the family, EN 50561-1, covers the frequency range up to 30MHz and was debated heavily amongst radio users. It does safeguard the broadcast, amateur and aeronautical frequencies, but the fairly high emission limit of 110dBµV spoils the rest of the spectrum for local use. EN 50561-3 covers measurement setup and limits for frequencies above 30MHz. It specifies a fairly low emission limit value, between 85 and 80dBµV, depending on frequency. Additionally, the 50 and 70MHz amateur bands were notched down to 55dBµV. This coming standard will help to keep the amateur spectrum cleaner than it might otherwise have been.

The United Nations amateur radio club station, 4U1UN, will mark the UN’s 70th anniversary by operating this weekend with the callsign 4U70UN. It’s not exactly a QSO Party, but it is a celebration of international proportions. The club’s station will set up in a garden area on the ground level of the UN’s Manhattan headquarters and operate during daylight hours only. Operators plan to be on as many bands, in as many modes, as possible. Satellite operation will also be included. DXers, take note: 4U1UN is considered a separate DXCC entity. Visit www.QRZ.com for QSL card details. Please do not send QSL cards to the UN.

We’ve heard of an interesting job vacancy that may appeal to a radio amateur. The Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering at Bath University is looking for a highly skilled, adaptable and self- motivated Toolmaker / Skilled Machinist / Technician to provide hands-on technical support and supervision in the department’s manufacturing workshop and laboratories. If you are interested, full details are on the Bath University website.

As you may have noticed if you have been tuning around the HF bands this weekend, the CQWW SSB 48 hour contest is in progress. It ends at 2359 GMT tonight. The corresponding CW leg is next month, over the weekend of the 28th to 29th of November.

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

The 26th Great Northern Hamfest takes place today, the 25th, in the Barnsley Premier Leisure Complex, Queens Road, Barnsley S71 1AN. Follow the brown Metrodome signs. Doors open at 10am and there will be trade stands and special interest groups. Details from Ernie, G4LUE, on 07984 191 873.

The inaugural radio rally organised by Bushvalley Amateur Radio Club takes place next Sunday, the 1st of November, in the United Services Club premises at 8 Roe Mill Road, Limavady Co Londonderry, BT49 9DF. The RSGB President, John Gould, G3WKL, will be attending. Doors open at 11am and admission is £3, which includes entry into a raffle. There will be free parking, disabled access as well as trade stands, a Bring & Buy and an RSGB bookstall. Light refreshments will also be available. Details from Jack, MI0JPD, on 07885 292 545.

Sadly the rally in North Wales planned for the 1st of November has been cancelled.

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

GB0RWC will be on the air for the Rugby World Cup on the 26th and 27th of October from South Road, Sully, operated by Barry ARS. On the 28th and 29th the callsign moves to Shute Farm, Fluxton in Devon operated by Sidmouth ARS. Finally, on the 31st, it will be operated by Whitton ARG from the Whitton Community Centre.

On 31st October, Captain Jim Lovell from Apollo 13 will be lecturing in Pontefract. Pontefract & District ARS will be operating GB4SL to mark the event. Further details are on the PDARS website.

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

The Mediterraneo DX group will be travelling to Vietnam and plan to be on the air as 3W3MD from the 31st of October to the 10th of November on all bands and modes. Additional information is on QRZ.com.

John, ZS5J and Beth, 2W0VOW will be active until the 3rd of November as C91B. Activity will be on all HF bands from 160 to 6 metres using CW and SSB. Daily logbook uploads will be done to Logbook of the World and Club Log. Information is on QRZ.com.

A team of Cuban and US operators will operate as T42US from Havana from the 21st to 28th of October. Direct QSLs go via WB2REM and bureau QSLs via K9DIG.

Masa, JA0RQV will be active as A35JP/p from Vava'u Island, OC-064, from the 31st of October to the 2nd of November. He will operate CW and SSB on 40 to 6 metres, running 100 watts into verticals. Prior to that, he will be on the air as A35JP from Tongatapu, OC-049, until the 29th of October. QSL via JA0RQV, direct or bureau using OQRS on Club Log, and Logbook of the World.

Godoi, PY4NY will be active as PY0NY from Fernando de Noronha, SA-003, from the 28th of October to the 5th of November. He will operate CW, SSB, PSK31 and RTTY on 40 to 10 metres, and maybe also on the 80 and 6m bands. See QRZ.com for more information. QSL is direct to his home call.

Now the contest news

As noted earlier, the SSB leg of the CQWW DX Contest ends its 48 hour run at 2359 today, the 25th. This is an event that will undoubtedly attract a huge level of participation. Exchange a signal report and CQ Zone number, which is 14 for the UK. Expect some exotic callsigns and rarely heard countries to be active.

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

Also on Tuesday, the SHF UK Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes on the 2.3 to 10GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Wednesday, the CW leg of the UW EI CC takes place on 80m from 2000 to 2100UTC. The exchange is just your 4-character locator, for example IO63. Remember to upload your log within one hour of the end of the contest.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G4BAO and G3YLA on Friday the 23th of October.

This week has shown just how good the upper HF bands can be. A healthy solar flux index of 120 or more, plus settled geomagnetic conditions, has seen maximum usable frequencies rise to more than 30MHz. As a result, a lot of DX has been heard and worked, especially on 10 and 12m.

This weekend is the CQWW phone contest, so what can we expect? The SFI is predicted to remain in the range 120-130 and the K index is predicted to be two. This suggests that HF conditions may be good with maximum useable frequencies reaching and exceeding 28MHz on 3,000km paths. The US Solar Weather Prediction Center’s model is showing a low probability of any CME material hitting the earth, which bodes well for good conditions.

However, the risk of high speed solar wind stream effects that could reduce the MUF cannot be ruled out. Next week, the 29th and 30th are looking more unsettled with a potential K index of four. Assuming CME and solar wind problems don’t materialise we could have good HF conditions with upper band openings to many parts of the globe. Make the most of them as conditions may not be as good this time next year as solar cycle 24 declines.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

Next week looks like we could have marginally-enhanced tropo conditions at first, with high pressure to the southeast of Britain. But overall it looks like a difficult week with a tendency for low pressure to dominate the charts through the period. Low pressure means the possibility of winter rain scatter on the GHz bands; never usually as intense as with summer storms, but even light rain can provide 10GHz and 24GHz enhancements.

The only other positive may come from any transient warm airstream ahead of a cold front later in the week, but this may only affect parts of the south and west, providing paths across Biscay towards Spain.

There are no major meteor showers this week, but there is not long to wait for the Leonids on the 17th and 18th of November. Keep looking for the usual early morning enhancement due to the increased number of meteoric particles swept up by the Earth. This is due to the Earth’s rotational velocity adding to the main orbital velocity.

Next week is a good one for EME operators, as we go through the ‘sweet spot’ where losses are still quite low, but declination and hence moon window length is increasing. There is up to 15 hours of moon visibility on Friday the 30th.

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

00:0000:00

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 18th October 2015

The news headlines:

  • Licences to be revoked

  • RSGB youth video now online

  • Temporary RSL for Cornwall

 

Ofcom have published a notice advising that steps are now being taken to revoke all amateur radio licences that have not been revalidated as required by the terms of the licence. The first tranche of revocations will affect those licences due for revalidation between September 2012 and January 2013. If you have not revalidated your licence within the last 5 years, contact Ofcom by email to amateur.validations@ofcom.org.uk or telephone 0207 981 3131, option 3. The full Ofcom notice is available on the RSGB website.

The RSGB are working with two film companies to make a series of promotional videos. The first of these, promoting amateur radio to young people, has been produced by the TX factor for the RSGB and is now on general release on the RSGB’s YouTube channel.

Earlier in the year, representatives of some radio amateurs in Cornwall approached Ofcom to request temporary use of the Regional Secondary Locator K for Kernow, the Cornish word for Cornwall, following the recognition of the Cornish People under the Framework Convention on National Minorities. Ofcom has agreed to this request and will 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. Ofcom will authorise the use of K by varying individual licences. Notices of Variation will be available during December via the RSGB website, www.rsgb.org

Next year, a new organisation, the IOTA Foundation, will manage the RSGB Islands on the Air program in partnership with the Society. Last year the RSGB Board identified a number of challenges facing the program, including the need to provide an online system to track and manage the submission of island credits similar to the ARRL’s Logbook of The World. Since then, a small group of IOTA enthusiasts has been working with the RSGB to ensure that the IOTA program continues to grow and the IOTA Foundation is the fruition of that work. Roger Balister, G3KMA, Bob Barden, MD0CCE, Cezar Trifu, VE3LYC and Johan Willemsen, PA3EXX are the team who will implement the IT changes and some of these will form the IOTA Foundation, with representation from radio amateurs at home and abroad.

The GB3TS repeater located in Sunderland has received the NoV to be switched to dual mode Fusion on 70cm. It will be off line for a couple of hours for maintenance and switch over. Reports should be sent to the repeater keeper by e-mail to g7mfn@hotmail.co.uk.

The current edition of RadCom Basics is now available via the Members section of the RSGB website. Look out for articles on PSK31, working the world with low power, what is amateur television, how to use an SDR dongle as a VHF/UHF receiver and making the most of 15m.

Today is the final opportunity to work the many JOTA stations operating throughout the UK and the world. Details of GB stations on the air are available on the RSGB website at www.rsgb.org/jota

Last weekend’s RSGB Convention proved to be the most successful yet with a record number of delegates. For the first time, videos of some of the most popular presentations will be available in due course for Members via the RSGB website.

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

Today, the 18th, the Galashiels & District ARS radio and computer rally takes place in the Volunteer Hall, St Johns Street, Galashiels TD1 3JX. Doors open at 11.30am, with disabled visitors gaining access 15 minutes earlier. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy and refreshments.

Holsworthy Amateur Radio Rally takes place today in Holsworthy Community College, Victoria Hill, Holsworthy EX22 6JD. There will be trade stands and a Bring & Buy.

The 6th Fog On The Tyne Rally will be held on Saturday the 24th at Whitehall Road Methodist Church Hall, Bensham, Gateshead NE8 4LH. Organised by Angel of the North ARC, the doors open at 10.30am and admission is £2. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy and an RSGB bookstall. Details from Nancy, G7UUR on 01914 770 036, evenings only.

The 26th Great Northern Hamfest takes place next Sunday in the Barnsley Premier Leisure Complex, Queens Road, Barnsley S71 1AN. Follow the brown Metrodome signs. Doors open at 10am and there will be trade stands and special interest groups. Details from Ernie, G4LUE on07984 191 873.

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

MX0PHX will be on air today, the 18th, from the October Steam Party at Draycott-in-the Clay, Staffordshire. Subject to conditions, they will be operating on 40m and 2m for much of the day.

JOTA stations on the air today include GB2COS from the Cestrian Scout Group HQ at Vicars Cross, Chester CH3 5LP and GB5HDS, run by Harlow and District ARS for Harlow District Scouts from their club house. GB0PSG will be active for the 3rd Prestatyn Scout Group from the Jubilee Community Centre, Prestatyn and Thurrock Acorns ARC is supporting two stations for JOTA; GB1TDS in Grays and GB2TDS in Corringham. Gloucester Scouts will be using GB1GLO from the Murray Hall headquarters in Tuffley, with the station provided by members of Gloucestershire County RAYNET. 

GB0RWC will be on the air for the Rugby World Cup on the 21st to 23rd of October with Leicester Radio Society, at postcode LE3 9QJ. Then it will be on the air on the 24th and 25th with Sidmouth ARS at Shute Farm, Fluxton, Devon EX11 1RL.

MX0YHA will commemorate the start of Greenwich Mean Time on the 24th and 25th of October from Mount St Bernard Abbey in Charnwood Forest, Leicestershire. The nominated frequency will be around 7.175MHz, with some activity on 2m and 20m as conditions permit. Details are at www.yharg.org.uk

On the 20th of October MX0YHA will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the publication of Return of the King, the final part of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Operation will be from Skipton, North Yorkshire, WAB SD95, and near Nottingham, WAB SK53. Contacts with MX0YHA qualify for the Robin Hood Award. The nominated frequency is 7.175MHz or nearby, with a possible QSY to 20m in the early afternoon. Everyone is welcome to join in.

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

A 12-man German team will operate as V73D from Majuro in the Marshall Islands until the 28th of October. They will have four stations on all bands CW, SSB and RTTY. The IOTA reference is OC-029 and QSLs should go via Club Log OQRS.

A multi-national team will sign D4D from Boa Vista in the Cape Verde Islands, AF-086, until the 24th of October. They will be on 80m to 6m SSB, CW and RTTY. QSL Manager is EB7DX.

Two Polish operators will be in Macao until the 28th of October. Their callsign will be announced in due course and will have an XX9 prefix. The operators are SP9FIH and SP2FUD and both have experience of handling pile-ups in various parts of the world.

Oliver, W6NV will be on the air as ZD7W from St Helena, AF-022, until the 2nd of November. He will be active on all bands 160m to 10m SSB and CW. QSL to his home call.

Mal, VK6LC is on the air as 3W2HCM from Ho Chi Minh City until the 23rd of October . Activity is on 20, 17 and 15 metres using CW and SSB. QSL direct to home call.

Now the contest news

The World All German contest ends its 24 hour run at 1500UTC today, the 18th. You can use CW or SSB on the 3.5 to 28MHz bands, although single operator stations can enter CW-only or mixed mode. Working German stations only, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

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.

The SSB leg of the CQWW DX Contest takes place for the full 48 hours of the weekend of the 28th and 29th. This is an event that will undoubtedly attract a huge level of participation. Exchange a signal report and CQ Zone number, which is 14 for the UK. Expect some exotic callsigns and rarely heard countries to be active.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G4BAO and G3YLA on Friday the 16th of October.

We've had another week of unsettled HF conditions. Geomagnetic storming was observed on Monday at high latitudes as a high-speed solar wind stream, flowing from a geo-effective coronal hole, caused problems. By Wednesday the Kp index peaked at five and the bands were left noisy with only fairly local European stations audible on 40-20m.

The solar flux index was 96, but conditions were dominated by the negative effects of the solar wind.

The Chilton ionosonde showed the critical frequency to be just 5.4MHz at noon on Wednesday, giving a predicted maximum usable frequency of only around 15.4MHz over a 3,000km path. Thursday was a lot better, with 21MHz opening up, showing what a difference a day can make.

The poor conditions due to coronal holes are likely to continue on and off over the coming week. Sky watchers, especially around the Arctic Circle, should be alert for visual aurora once it is dark.

It is not all bad news though – there is DX to be heard if you look for it. Mike, 5H3EE in Tanzania was 599+ on a 20m dipole on Wednesday evening when little else could be heard on the band.

And now the VHF and up propagation news

It looks like another week of mainly high pressure on the charts over the UK, although there will be some lows passing by to the North.

Most areas should have a chance of slight lift conditions on occasions during the week. The high is likely to move from North to South and then later divide, leaving one centre to the East and another to the South-West.

The way tropo works means that the ducting is better at higher frequencies and then slowly improves at lower frequencies as the temperature inversion develops. Even if you don’t operate on the GHz bands, you can always check for activity on the cluster to watch for increased activity on 23 and 70cm, before 2m shows.

Check the SSB and CW segments as well as FM, and of course look for beacons – the new RSGB Yearbook has all the latest lists and frequencies.

The Orionids meteor shower, one of two created by debris from Comet Halley, peaks in the early hours of Tuesday morning, so look for enhanced meteor scatter on 2, 4 and 6 metres.

The moon is at maximum negative declination tomorrow, so short EME windows will start to lengthen and losses decrease as we go towards perigee on the 26th.

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

00:0000:00

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 11th October 2015

The news headlines:

  • Speak to young people during Jamboree on the Air

  • Renewed NoVs for 146 to 147MHz

  • 5MHz newsletter available

Next weekend is the 58th Jamboree on the Air. It is the largest Scouting event in the world and in 2014 over 1.3 million Scouts participated across 157 countries. In the UK, over 60 callsigns have been registered for the event with many radios clubs helping out. If you hear these stations on the air please exchange greetings messages with the many young people who will be on the air. A full list of participating stations can be found on the JOTA website at http://jotajoti.info/

Ofcom has agreed that Full licence holders, including those with Club or Reciprocal licences, may continue to have temporary access to 146-147MHz for a further 12 months when the existing NoVs expire on the 31st of October. A new NoV must be applied for via the RSGB website. One change on the new NoV is that the exclusion of certain NGR squares is no longer an explicit restriction. Details of the latest 2015-2016 version can be found on the RSGB website.

The 14th edition of The 5MHz Newsletter is now available for free download in pdf format from http://tinyurl.com/ockn2ea and it can also be found on the RSGB 5MHz page. The 5th birthday edition includes news on the CEPT European Common Proposal for an amateur 5MHz secondary allocation for WRC15, allocations in Hungary, Oman, The Netherlands and Honduras, and a pyramid antenna for 5MHz.

Due to unavoidable circumstances, the 40m GB2RS news reading from Germany will not take place on Sunday the 18th of October. Readings will be back to normal on the 25th.

An International Space Station contact is planned for a school in Washington, USA on the 14th of October at 1941UTC and signals from the ISS will be audible in Europe. This will be a telebridge contact between OR4ISS and IK1SLD. Some of the questions they are hoping to ask include are you allowed to have pets in space, is time different in space and if so by how much, and what happens if you get sick in space.

The dates for SOS Radio Week 2016 have been announced. It will start at 0000 on the 23rd of January and end at 2359 on the 31st of January, to coincide with the RNLI’s own SOS Day on the last Friday of January. This year’s event will follow a new format too. As usual all amateur radio stations, individual and clubs, are invited to take part, but instead of making it predominantly a fund-raising event it will be a celebration. Participants are still encouraged to raise money for the RNLI during the event but the aim is to encourage as many stations on the air to simply promote the work of the brave crews that selflessly go out to save lives at sea, often in the most appalling weather conditions. For further details, and to register your intention to operate a special event station during the event, please visit www.sosradioweek.org.uk.

The results of the IARU Region 1 50/70MHz Contest have been released. In the multi 50MHz entry G8T came 2nd out of 79 entries and GM4ZUK/P and G8XVJ/P were 3rd and 7th respectively out of 459 entries in the 50MHz single entry. Congratulations to all.

The RSGB Board has set up a small working group, led by Stewart Bryant, G3YSX, to review the current book publications strategy. The group would be pleased to hear from anyone with a background in publishing via publications@rsgb.org.uk

The latest edition of RadCom Basics is now available to RSGB Members. Look out for articles on PSK31, work the world with low power, what is amateur television, how to use an SDR dongle as a VHF/UHF receiver and making the most of 15m. To download your copy, go to the publications section of the RSGB website.

The RSGB has two vacancies for Trustees to administer the RSGB HF DXpedition Fund, which has been running for many years to provide financial support for groups running HF DXpeditions of interest to stations in the British Isles. Its funds come mostly from the proceeds of the raffle for the generously donated prizes at the RSGB Convention, but individual legacies and donations are also received. Expressions of interest and further information can be obtained from the RSGB President, John, G3WKL by e-mail to g3wkl@rsgb.org.uk

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

Today, the 11th, is the final day of the RSGB Convention at Kent’s Hill Conference Centre, Milton Keynes MK7 6BZ. The principal sponsor for the event is Martin Lynch & Sons, to whom the Society would like to pass on their thanks. Full details at www.rsgb.org/convention

Also today, the 11th, the Hack Green Bunker Rally is at Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker, Nantwich, Cheshire CW5 8AL. There will be electronic equipment, amateur gear, components, military radio sets and vehicle spares. Doors open at 10am. Details from Lucy on 01270 623 353.

Next weekend, on the 17th, the North Wakefield Radio Club rally will be held in Middleton Leisure Centre, Middleton Ring Road, Middleton, Leeds LS10 4AX. Tables are £6 if you bring your own, £12 with club tables. There will also be a Bring & Buy and refreshments available. Details from Tony, G0JVI on 07740 003 159.

Next Sunday, on the 18th, the Galashiels & District ARS radio and computer rally will be held in the Volunteer Hall, St Johns Street, Galashiels TD1 3JX. Doors open at 11.30am with disabled visitors gaining access 15 minutes earlier. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy and refreshments.

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

West Kent ARS will run a JOTA station from 12 noon to 4pm on the 17th supporting the 4th Sevenoaks Scout group. They will have HF and VHF stations from postcode TN14 5BX in Sevenoaks.

GB2COS will be operating a JOTA station from the 16th to the 18th of October from the Cestrian Scout Group HQ at Vicars Cross, Chester CH3 5LP. They will be active on HF bands, VHF/UHF IRLP, D-STAR and Echolink. Scouts, Cubs, Beavers, Guides, Brownies and Rainbows are all welcome to join them, as are leaders and members of the public who may be interested. The Lord Mayor of the city of Chester will be visiting the station on the Saturday afternoon to lend support.

OT4CLM will be on the air to commemorate the Canadian Liberation March, a 33km march that the Canadian troops did to liberate the town of Knokke in 1944. The event takes place from the 15th of October to the 14th of November.

GB5HDS will be on the air between the 16th and 18th run by Harlow and District ARS for Harlow District Scouts from their club house. Local Scouts, Cubs and Guides are invited to attend.

JOTA station GB0PSG will be active for the 3rd Prestatyn Scout Group on the 16th to 18th October from the Jubilee Community Centre, Prestatyn.

Thurrock Acorns ARC is supporting two stations for JOTA; GB1TDS in Grays, Essex and GB2TDS in Corringham, Essex on the 17th and 18th of October.

GB0RWC will be on the air for the Rugby World Cup on the 12th to 15th of October from Cray Valley RS in Eltham, postcode SE9 2SD. Then from the 16th to 18th of October from Barry ARS at South Road, Sully CF64 5SP.

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

The TX3X Chesterfield Island DXpedition will continue until the 12th of October. The 12-member TX3X team hopes to log 80,000 to 100,000 contacts before they leave the island. Chesterfield Island is number 21 on ClubLog’s DXCC Most Wanted List.

John, W5JON will be spending a month at his retirement home on St Kitts in the Caribbean from the 6th of October. He will use his V47JA callsign and prefers to confirm QSOs by way of Logbook of the World.

Ulrich, DL2AH will be on the air as NH0/DL2AH from Rota Island, OC-086, in the Mariana Islands until the 16th of October. This will be followed by him activating V63AH from Yap Island in Micronesia from 18th October to 10th November. QSLs for both stations go directly to DL2AH.

Bill, W4WV, Keith, KE4KDY and Jim, KG9LB are at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba until the 23rd using the calls KG4WV, KG4DY and KG4AW. QSL via their home callsigns.

Jay, K4ZLE will be active as 5X2A from Uganda until the 19th of October. He will operate CW and maybe some RTTY on 40-17 metres in his limited spare time, around 0300 to 0500UTC and 0800 to 2000UTC. QSL via K4ZLE and Logbook of the World.

Now the contest news

On Tuesday, the 13th, the 432MHz UK Activity Contest takes place from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes the exchange is the usual signal report, serial number and locator.

On Wednesday it’s the CW leg of the 80m Club Sprint running from 1900 to 2000UTC. The exchange is simply the serial number and your name.

The first contest of the 2015-2016 Super League series takes place on the morning of Sunday the 18th. The 50MHz AFS runs from 0900 to 1300UTC and, using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The World All German contest runs from 1500UTC on the 17th to 1500UTC on the 18th. You can use CW or SSB on the 3.5 to 28MHz bands, although single operator stations can enter CW-only or mixed mode. Working German stations only, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G4BAO and G3YLA on Friday the 9th of October.

The sun severely disrupted the HF bands again this week. A high-speed solar wind stream with a south-facing Bz magnetic component continued to interact strongly with the Earth’s geomagnetic field. Strong, G3 level geomagnetic storming was observed at high latitudes and the K index hit seven on Wednesday evening. There were long periods on Wednesday and Thursday where it sat stubbornly at five or more.

The net result was a very depleted F2 ionospheric layer. At noon on Wednesday the critical frequency as measured by the Chilton Ionosonde was just 3.7MHz, indicating a maximum usable frequency over a 3,000km path of only 15MHz.

The only good news is that this means these are good conditions to look for auroral propagation on the higher HF and VHF bands.

Further storming may remain possible during the next week due to ongoing coronal holes. Sky watchers should be alert for visible aurora displays once it is dark.

With the solar flux index at more than 130, if the geomagnetic storming decreases there is a chance of decent DX if and when the F2 layer recovers.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

The autumn months of October and November are often a good time to expect Tropo lifts due to the presence of areas of high pressure at this time of the year. These can be slow moving and provide several days of enhanced conditions on VHF, UHF and microwave bands.

The indications are that we may have a large high over Scandinavia for most of the coming week, extending a ridge towards the UK and down past Spain to the Azores. This could again bring lift conditions to many parts of Britain, favouring E-W paths across the North Sea to southern Scandinavia and the Baltic states, with a secondary option southwards past western France to northwest Spain and the Canaries.

There is a possibility that the North Sea paths may not quite last to the end of the week though, as low pressure reaches northern Scandinavia by Friday. There are no major meteor showers this week, so continue to look for the best random meteor scatter QSO opportunities in the early mornings as the earth's rotation and orbital path combine to sweep up the maximum number of meteoric particles.

The moon reaches apogee today and its declination goes negative, meaning shorter, but daylight, Moon windows with high losses in the coming week.

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

00:0000:00

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 4th October 2015

The news headlines:

  • Exams changed on 1st of October

  • Consultation for IARU Region 1 Interim Meeting

  • GB0RWC celebrates Rugby World Cup

On the 1st of October, the new UK Licence rules started to be examined. Updates to the Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced training books have been published on the ‘Extras’ webpages under ‘Publications’ on the RSGB website. The revised Exam Reference Data Booklets and sample exam papers have also been made available on the Training pages of the RSGB website. These should now be the only ones used by anyone preparing for a UK amateur radio exam. If anyone has any questions about these changes, please contact Philip, M0PHI, who is chair of the RSGB Training & Education Committee, by e-mail to tec.chair@rsgb.org.uk

In preparation for the 2016 Region 1 Interim Meeting, the RSGB has re-opened its IARU Forums so that UK amateurs can suggest topics on matters such as operating or technical recommendations, band plans, contests and EMC. The initial phase is an open call and will be followed by further opportunities as UK papers are developed, or subsequently when all meeting papers are available. There are separate discussion forums covering HF, VHF/Microwave and EMC matters. Please ensure that initial topic suggestions are submitted by the end of October.

Worked All Britain is commemorating the Rugby World Cup 2015 with a period of activity until the 31st of October. GB0RWC is being used by the 9 radio clubs taking part. See the WAB website at www.worked-all-britain.org.uk for the schedule. QSL cards are not required by WAB, but for those that require one for GB0RWC, eQSL is available. WAB would like to thank the various clubs hosting this callsign, to Colin, M0DMJ for hosting the QRZ page and to Geoff, G7GJU for organising the event.

At 0448UTC on the 27th of September, an automatic bot gained access to the IOTA website database and was able to exploit a bug in the IOTA code in order to reset the password for every user on the site. There is no sign in the system logs that any data was read or that personal data was compromised. Once the IT team was aware of the issue, they immediately took the database offline for analysis and corrected the bug. User passwords are stored in a hashed format in the database, not in plain text. In accordance with best practice, however, the team would like to encourage all users of the IOTA website to change their passwords. Additionally, if you have used your IOTA password on other websites, you should also change the passwords on those sites. If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact iota.online@rsgb.org.uk

The second edition of RadCom Plus is now available online to RSGB Members from the RSGB website. We received several requests to provide a version that can be downloaded and read offline and we are thus publishing this edition in two formats – the original flip version, which also allows for a copy to be printed, and an e-pub version. Subjects covered in this second edition are a position reporting system using WSJT weak signal data modes, an all-digital PAL vectorscope, a high grade remote antenna switch and an HF multimode beacon. Issue 3 will be available in the New Year. Article submissions for RadCom and RadCom Plus are most welcome: please e-mail radcom@rsgb.org.uk

The Radio Amateurs Emergency Network and RSGB formed a Joint Working Group in 2014 to encourage a closer working relationship between the two organisations and to explore ways in which RAYNET could become a single unified body. In the consultation that followed, the vast majority of responses supported a move to one organisation in the UK concentrating on emergency communications. Draft proposals to achieve this are being formulated and will be published shortly for consultation. For further information, see the RSGB Notices section on the RSGB website.

The RSGB Convention takes place next weekend, the 9th to 11th, at Kent’s Hill Conference Centre in Milton Keynes. Visitors may be interested to know that the IET will be represented in the Exhibitors Lounge. The IET is the professional society for the engineering and technology community, with more than 150,000 members in 127 countries and their representatives are looking forward to meeting delegates at the Convention. DXCC card checking will be available courtesy of the ARRL, and US exams will take place on the 11th. If you are interested in the US exams, please e-mail g3zay@btinternet.com as soon as possible. Go to www.rsgb.org/convention for all the latest information.

The Amateur Radio Observation Service, AROS, has an important role as it works behind the scenes, largely independent of the rest of the RSGB, to assist radio amateurs and others to investigate reports of licence infringements and poor operating that might bring the hobby into disrepute. The service is seeking a deputy coordinator who will work closely with the coordinator to support and organise any investigation carried out by the group of observers and liaise directly with Ofcom. A good working knowledge of amateur radio is needed, along with a discreet but objective approach to problem solving and issue resolution, and a track record of good interpersonal skills. Applications by CV, or expressions of interest, should be sent to Graham Coomber, G0NBI, General Manager, via email to graham.coomber@rsgb.org.uk or by mail to 3 Abbey Court, Fraser Road, Priory Business Park, Bedford MK44 3WH, to arrive by 30 November. AROS coordinator Mark Jones, G0MGX would also welcome informal enquiries via aros@rsgb.org.uk

Due to a problem on the iTunes site the weekly GB2RS News Bulletin podcast stopped being searchable on iTunes about a month ago. Subscribers to the podcast still received editions but new subscribers could not find the program. Ed, DD5LP has worked with Apple to rectify this fault and now, once again, searching for GB2RS in the Apple iTunes store will take you to the weekly RSGB amateur radio news broadcast from the UK read by Jeremy, G4NJH.

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

Today, on the 4th of October, the British Vintage Wireless Society Auto Jumble takes place at The Angel Leisure Centre, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1SF. Doors are open from10.30am to 4.30pm. See www.audiojumble.co.uk for details.

Also today, the 4th, the Blackwood ARS Rally will be held in Rougemount School, Newport NP20 8QB. Talk in will be on145.550MHz and the doors open at 10am. There will be trade stands, a car boot area as well as a Bring & Buy. Details from Andy on 01495 220 687,

The Hornsea Amateur Radio Club is holding its rally today, the 4th, in the Floral Hall, 7 The Esplanade, Hornsea, East Yorkshire HU18 1NQ. Doors open at 10am and there will be trade stands, a bring & Buy as well as special interest groups. Details from Rick, M0CZR on 01964 533 712.

Next weekend is the RSGB Convention on the 9th to 11th, at Kent’s Hill Conference Centre, Milton Keynes MK7 6BZ. The principal sponsor for the event is Martin Lynch & Sons, to whom the Society would like to pass on their thanks. Full details of the two-day programme is at www.rsgb.org/convention

On the 11th of October the Hack Green Bunker Rally will take place at Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker, Nantwich, Cheshire CW5 8AL. There will be electronic equipment, amateur gear, components, military radio sets and vehicle spares. Doors open at 10am. 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.

Now the special event news

Houghton-Le-Spring ARC is running GB6HF to celebrate Houghton Feast 2015 during the evening of Tuesday the 6th of October. The station will be located at the Dubmire Royal British Legion Club, Fence Houses.

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

N7QT and N7BX will operate from Manihiki Island, OC-014, in the North Cook Islands until the 27th of October. The callsign will be E51MQT and activity will be on all bands 10m to 160m. QSLs go via N7BX.

Ulrich, DL2AH will be on the air as NH0/DL2AH from Rota Island, OC-086, in the Mariana Islands until the 16th of October. QSLs go directly to DL2AH.

A group of 7 operators from Poland will activate S79SP from Mahe Island, AF-024, in the Seychelles from the 3rd to the 18th of October. They will be on all bands 160m to 6m on SSB, CW and RTTY. QSL Manager is SP6FXY.

Willi, DJ7RJ will sign 3B8/DJ7RJ from Mauritius, AF-049, from the 5th to the 30th of October. Willi will be active on all bands SSB and CW and in particular on 160m.

The Lundy DX Group will be active again from Lundy Island, IOTA EU-120, from the 6th to the 13th of October as MX0LDG. Operation will be on 10m to 40m using SSB and RTTY but there will be no operation between midnight and 6am due to power restrictions. Please do not send QSL cards: requests should be made via OQRS. See www.m0urx.com/oqrs for details.

Now the contest news

There are coinciding VHF and microwave events this weekend. Running for 24 hours and ending at 1400UTC today, the 4th, the 432MHz-248GHz Contest is where the serious microwavers will be found. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator. The IARU event also runs at exactly the same time with the same frequency bands and exchange. Your logs will be entered into both, unless you specify otherwise.

The first international event of October is the SSB leg of the Oceania DX Contest. It runs for 24 hours ending at 0800UTC on the 4th. Work Oceania, that’s VK, ZL and Pacific islands, only. The exchange is signal report and serial number on the 1.8 to 28MHz bands.

The Worked All Britain HF Phone Contest takes place for 24 hours and ends at 1200UTC today, the 4th. The exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square. Full details are at www.worked-all-britain.org.uk.

The 21/28MHz Contest takes place from 0700 to 1900UTC today, the 4th. Using CW and SSB the exchange is signal report, serial number and District.

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

On Wednesday the UK EI Contest Club 80m event runs from 2000 to 2100UTC. Using SSB only the exchange is the first four characters of you locator.

Next weekend from 0800UTC on the 10th to 0800UTC on the 11th is the Oceania DX CW contest. 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 the 2nd of October.

Better autumnal HF conditions continued this week with more settled geomagnetic conditions and a healthy solar flux index that reached 131 on Thursday. However, the solar proton flux increased slightly that day, which may have caused some problems.

During such an event, the Earth can be showered with highly-energetic solar particles. When these protons arrive at Earth and enter the atmosphere over the polar regions enhanced ionisation can be produced at altitudes below 100km.

Ionisation at these low altitudes can be particularly effective at absorbing HF radio signals and can render HF communications impossible throughout the polar regions. This type of event is also known as a Polar Cap Absorption Event or PCA, and paths through the North Pole may be affected. Otherwise, autumn continues to be a good time to try the upper HF bands.

Data from the Chilton Ionosonde show that the maximum usable frequency on Thursday rose to nearly 26MHz on 3,000km paths. So our advice is to try listening or calling on 15, 12 and even 10m this week to see if the bands are open.

As always, solar flares, coronal mass ejections and high-speed solar wind streams may cause disrupted conditions at times.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

After a good week of enhanced VHF/UHF tropo conditions, especially in the north of the country, the area of high pressure responsible for the ducting is showing signs of collapsing in the coming week, as low pressure moves past north-west Britain. Models suggest that there may be a chance of the high re-asserting itself over south-eastern Britain later in the week but, at the time of writing, it seems the best conditions will be behind us by this weekend.

The Draconids meteor shower peaks on Thursday so keep a lookout for a short-term improvement in meteor scatter opportunities either side of the peak.

With positive Moon declination all next week we will have long Moon windows for EME, extending from late night through to late afternoon the following day. Losses will increase over the week as the Moon approaches apogee.

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

00:0000:00

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 27th September 2015

The news headlines:

  • Sixty years of GB2RS broadcasts

  • New RSGB questionnaire

  • Preparation for World Radio Conference-15

On the 25th of September 1955, at 10am, the first RSGB News Bulletin was broadcast from the station of RSGB Council member Frank Hicks-Arnold, G6MB using the callsign GB2RS. It had taken two years of negotiations with the GPO to get to the first broadcast. Initially, the GPO had declined to allow the HQ station to be used for broadcasting purposes, despite a number of other national radio societies having a news service. Jimmy, GI3GGY had carried out some test transmissions from his home in Northern Ireland on 7047.5kHz using AM telephony to prove the reliability of such a service under his own callsign the previous year. At a meeting in the GPO Headquarters in July 1955, the GPO agreed to allow the Society to “broadcast news bulletins to its members”. Sixty years later GB2RS is still broadcast each week by volunteers, to whom the Society would like to express its thanks.

All UK radio amateurs are invited to complete the RSGB’s online questionnaire available at www.rsgb.org/ar-survey The survey will be available until the 31st of December. The data collected will be used by the RSGB when it reviews its strategy next year and the results published on the RSGB website and in RadCom. It takes between 10 and 30 minutes to complete depending on how the questions are answered, some are mandatory.

IARU Region-1 reports good progress was made at the final European preparation meeting for the World Radio Conference that will be held in November. For 5MHz, CEPT have agreed that the overall range should be 5350-5450kHz, though opposition at the Conference is still expected. However, this is not likely to result in any changes to the 5MHz spectrum allocated for UK amateur use in the near future. Proposals for the future harmonisation of the 1.8 and 50MHz bands have also been developed and it is hoped that at least one of these gets adopted as an agenda item for the next conference in 2019. Further information at www.rsgb.org/wrc-15

This year sees the first ever Buildathon at an RSGB Convention; a kit building workshop with mentors on hand to assist and guide. The kit being built is the Kanga UK Acorn II SDR receiver for 7MHz. The build will take place on the afternoon of Saturday the 10th of October at the Kent’s Hill Convention Centre. Places can be booked via the Convention booking page on the RSGB Shop. If you would like to learn a bit more about the kit, Dan, M0TGN, one of the mentors, has posted a video of his test build on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFAtzTAE2V4 and if you want any additional information you can e-mail RSGB Board member Steve Hartley, G0FUW via g0fuw@rsgb.org.uk

ARISS, the body that enables students worldwide to experience the excitement of talking directly with crew members of the International Space Station via amateur radio, held its European section board elections recently. I0ELE was elected as chairman, DG6BCE as technical director and PE1KEH an F6DZP as council members.

The RSGB Convention takes place over the 9th to the 11th of October at Kent’s Hill Conference Centre in Milton Keynes. An updated programme for Saturday and Sunday is now on the RSGB website. Convention packages are still available and Day tickets can be booked online saving you £5 on each ticket. Online bookings will close on the 4th of October. Go to www.rsgb.org/convention for all the information.

For the next two weeks, GB2RS will be read via the GB3BT repeater in Berwick upon Tweed at 7pm on Sunday evenings. This trial is to ensure that the local club meeting information reaches as many amateurs as possible in the area.

It is the final call for entries to the RSGB Construction Competition this week. Entries close on Wednesday the 30th of September and judging will take place at the RSGB Convention. Full details are on the RSGB website at www.rsgb.org/construction-competition Don’t forget, many of the projects you have completed for local construction competitions will be suitable as an entry.

The Training and Education Committee has organised a meeting for all those interested in delivering amateur radio training, whether as a tutor, as a provider of support materials, a writer of exam questions or simply as someone interested in seeing what is happening at the RSGB Convention on the 10th of October from 11am to 12.15pm.

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

Today, the 27th, the Pencoed ARC Table Top Sale will take place at Pencoed Rugby Football Club, The Verlands, Felindre Road, Pencoed CF35 5PB. Doors open at 8.30am for sellers and 9.30am for buyers with admission being £2. Details from Madeline on 01639 885 126.

Next weekend, on the 4th of October, the British Vintage Wireless Society Auto Jumble takes place at The Angel Leisure Centre, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1SF. Doors are open from10.30am to 4.30pm. See www.audiojumble.co.uk for details.

Also on the 4th of October, the Blackwood ARS Rally will be held in Rougemount School, Newport NP20 8QB. Talk in will be on145.550MHz and the doors open at 10am. There will be trade stands, a car boot area as well as a Bring & Buy. Details from Andy on 01495 220 687,

The Hornsea Amateur Radio Club will also be holding a rally on the 4th of October in the Floral Hall, 7 The Esplanade, Hornsea, East Yorkshire HU18 1NQ. Doors open at 10am and there will be trade stands, a bring & Buy as well as special interest groups. Details from Rick, M0CZR on 01964 533 712.

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

Today, the 27th of September, Harlow and District ARS will be using GB0EOR to activate Epping and Ongar Railway for Railways on the Air. They will be active on the 40, 20 and 2m bands from the railway station at North Weald. Many other special event callsigns will also be on the air for the same event.

The Canvey Community Archive will be hosting a History Trail day at the Bay Museum on Canvey Island today, the 27th.

Bishop Auckland Radio Amateurs Club will be active using the call GB2EVR at Eden Valley Railway today, the 27th. A licence has been granted to transmit from a moving train on the Eden Valley Line between Warcop and Appleby. Transmissions will be on the 40m band. Research has found that the first amateur radio transmission from a moving train was in 1924.

Worked All Britain are commemorating the Rugby World Cup 2015 with GB0RWC. Today, the 27th and the 28th, Sutton Coldfield ARC will operate the callsign from Sutton Coldfield Rugby Club at B76 2QA. Then on the 1st and 2nd of October, Barry ARS, will operate from postcode CF64 5SP. On the 3rd to the 5th, the Radio Society of Harrow will operate from WD3 7ES.

GB0IOI will be on the air from the 2nd of October for 28 days to commemorate the loss of the air ship R 101 which crashed in France on its maiden flight. The airship was built at Cardington in the huge hanger no 1 by Shorts Brothers and was launched on the 4th of October 1930. Sadly, it crashed in France with great loss of life. Operation will be from the Air Cadet unit at Shortstown, MK42 0UR and run by Bedford & District ARC.

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

DU3JH and DU3LA will participate in the CQ WW DX RTTY Contest as DX3R from Subic Bay, which is IOTA reference OC-042. QSL via Logbook of The World only as no paper cards will be printed for this operation.

Moto, JA1GZV will be on the air as TX7A from Moorea in French Polynesia until the 31st of October. This is IOTA reference OC-046. QSL via his home callsign direct or via the bureau.

Frank, PH2M will be active as PJ4M from Bonaire, SA-006, until the 11th of October. He will operate SSB only on the 80 to 10m bands. QSL via his home callsign, direct or bureau, and Logbook of The World.

John, KK7L will join the T2GC expedition to Tuvalu on the 29th of September and will operate CW until the 6th of October. QSL T2GC via LZ1GC, direct or bureau, using OQRS on Club Log and Logbook of The World.

Three Czech amateurs will operate as Z21MG in Zimbabwe until the 1st of October. QSLs will be available via Club Log OQRS.

Now the contest news

The CQWW RTTY DX contest ends its 48 hour run at 2359UTC today, the 27th. All contest bands from 2.5 to 28MHz are in use, RTTY only, and the exchange is RST plus Zone, which is 14 for the UK.

The UK Microwave Group contest is on the 5.7 and 10GHz bands from 0600 to 1800UTC today, the 27th. All modes are permitted, and the exchange is RS(T), serial number and locator.

The PW 70MHz Contest also takes place today, the 27th, running from 1200 to 1600UTC. Using all modes on 4m, the exchange is RS(T), serial number and locator.

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

There are three coinciding VHF-microwave events on the first weekend of October. The 1.2 and 2.3GHz Trophy Contest takes place for eight hours on Saturday the 3rd running from 1400 to 2200UTC. The exchange for both is signal report, serial number and locator. Starting at exactly the same time, but running for 24 hours, the 432MHz-248GHz Contest is where the serious microwavers will be found. Again the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator. Those who enter any of these contests will have their logs automatically forwarded for entry into the IARU event that runs from 1400 to 1400UTC, unless they specify otherwise.

The first international event of October is the SSB leg of the Oceania DX Contest. It runs for 24 hours from 0800UTC on Saturday the 3rd. There are sections for single-op and multi-op stations, with the points for QSOs different on each band. Work Oceania, that’s VK, ZL and Pacific islands, only. The exchange is signal report and serial number on the 1.8 to 28MHz bands.

The Worked All Britain HF Phone Contest takes place next weekend, the 3rd and 4th of October from 1200 to 1200UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square. Entries need to be with the contest manager by the 25th of October 2015. Full details of the rules and log sheets may be obtained from the WAB website worked-all-britain.org.uk.

Finally, on the 4th, the 21/28MHz Contest takes place from 0700 to 1900UTC. Using CW and SSB the exchange is signal report, serial number and District.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G4BAO and G3YLA on Friday the 25th of September.

Starting on a happier note, it has been good to see the HF bands becoming more active this week as we head into Autumn. With a solar flux index of around 105, fifteen metres has been showing promise with the YV5B beacon in Venezula and 4U1UN beacon in New York romping in on 21.150MHz during mid to late afternoon. These are both part of the worldwide International Beacon Project that lets you get a feel for global conditions on the five highest HF bands.

The “Six Gs” DXpedition to Niue Island in the Pacific has also proved to be fruitful for better-equipped stations. They have been worked on a variety of bands with 20m, 17m and 15m being productive.

Conditions have still been variable with the Kp index hitting seven last Sunday due to an incoming coronal mass ejection hitting the earth. But the middle of the week was more settled, which no doubt helped the higher bands.

This coming week, the solar flux index is predicted to be in the range 90-100. Geomagnetic conditions may be reasonably settled, at least until next Thursday and Friday.

As always, solar flares, coronal mass ejections and high-speed solar wind streams may cause disrupted conditions at times.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

The area of high pressure over the country this weekend will continue to be a major player on the weather charts throughout the coming week. Most weather models start off with the centre over the North Sea, then one evolution transfers it to the west of Ireland, while another to the north of Scotland. This means that the early part of this week should be good for enhanced VHF/UHF tropo conditions on paths within and from the UK. Paths will occur where the temperature inversion is strongest and the moisture content near the surface greatest.

Get those horizontal beams turning and try SSB and CW modes to get the best out of any lift conditions. Look for areas of fog or misty low cloud on the satellite pictures to get the best paths.

Note that it is often better to try paths along the side of the high rather than across its centre, since the temperature inversion can be too low in the middle.

Again, no major meteor showers this week so keep looking in the early mornings for the best random meteor scatter opportunities.

For EME operators, the moon’s declination goes positive today with increasing Moon windows starting in the evening until the following morning. Monday sees the moon at perigee, which means lowest losses.

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

00:0000:00

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 20th September 2015

The news headlines:

  • Exam management changes

  • Intruders found on amateur bands

  • New Robin Hood award launched

Changes are being made to the overall management of the UK amateur radio exams, although this will have no impact on day-to-day operations. In a move approved by Ofcom, the responsibility for overall management is being transferred from the Radio Communications Foundation to the RSGB. The same people will be doing the same things; they will just be reporting to the RSGB Board instead of the RCF. This will free the RCF Trustees to concentrate on their charitable work. The change takes place on 1 October, and full details can be found on the RSGB website at www.rsgb.org/exam-changes

Russian military traffic continues to be a problem on the 40m and 20m bands, says the latest IARU Monitoring System newsletter. There have also been many other intrusions from various other nationalities, including over-the-horizon radar on 10MHz, Spanish-language fishery traffic on 1.810MHz and North Korean diplomatic transmissions on 20m from their Moscow embassy. The full report of the IARU Region 1 Monitoring Team can be downloaded from www.iarums-r1.org/ and any reports should be sent to the UK Intruder Watch service via email to iw@rsgb.org.uk

The Robin Hood Award has recently been launched by the Phoenix Amateur Radio Club, based around Nottingham. It is for making contact with fixed or portable radio stations at the many places associated with the legendary character, not just around Nottingham. There are categories for both Activators and Chasers. Details of the self-regulated free award can be found by following the link from www.M0PHX.org.uk

Ofcom is looking for an engineering specialist to develop and enhance their software and systems used in radio monitoring systems throughout the UK and Northern Ireland. These consist of radio receivers, RF sensors, direction finders and so forth, predominantly from 20MHz to 3GHz. These are hosted on a mixture of permanent, transportable and mobile sites. A full job description is on the Ofcom website, reference 1223, which you can also reach via tinyurl.com/ofcom-1223

This week has seen two developments in amateur space communications. On Thursday, the Brazilian CubeSat SERPENS, callsign PY0ESA, was deployed from the International Space Station. Details of the mission are at tinyurl.com/PY0ESA and reception reports are welcomed. We also understand that a Chinese Long March 6 will be launching four CubeSats with amateur radio payloads around 2300 on Friday 18 September. The latest news on these and other satellites can be found at http://amsat-uk.org/

Morse code was allegedly used to cheat in an Italian chess tournament recently. A contestant was believed to be concealing a video camera and transmitter about his person, and batting his eyelids in an unusual manner to communicate via Morse with an unidentified accomplice. Suspicions were further aroused when he started beating players with abilities far above his own.

The RSGB Convention takes place over the 9th to the 11th of October at Kent’s Hill Conference Centre in Milton Keynes. An updated programme for Saturday and Sunday is now on the RSGB website. One of the many highlights will be Howard Long, G6LVB, describing his experiences of taking a hobby project into full scale production. In 2010, what was originally to be a small project to support the FUNcube amateur satellite turned into a rather more substantial undertaking. Without any previous experience of large scale production, Howard talks through the trials, tribulations and learning experiences, from outsourcing manufacturing to organising global logistics. Convention packages are still available and Day tickets can be booked online saving you £5 on each ticket. Go to www.rsgb.org/convention for all the information.

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

Today, Sunday the 20th of September, the Crawley Microwave Round Table takes place at the Crawley ARC Club House Hut, 18 Tilgate Recreation Centre, Tilgate Forest from 10am. There will be demonstrations, presentations, equipment and component sales, all microwave related, and the day includes a construction contest. Please do bring along your constructed equipment and enter. Refreshments are available and visitors are most welcome.

The Chippenham & District ARC Mini Indoor Radio Rally also takes place today, at Neston Village Hall, Pool Green, Neston, Corsham, Wiltshire SN13 9SN. Doors open at 10am and admission is £2, with under 16s free. Sellers have access from 9am. Parking on site is limited but disabled spaces will be made available. The organisers have requested that you don’t park in Pool Green Road, but instead park in Leafield Way, which is a trading estate, just a 5 minute walk away.

The week’s big rally news is the National Hamfest, hosted by Lincoln Short Wave Club, which takes place this Friday and Saturday at the Newark & Notts Showground. The postcode for satnav is NG24 2NY. There are around 60 trade and special interest group stands plus a major RSGB presence including committee representatives and a huge RSGB bookstall. Gates open at 9.30am for early access to the celebrated car boot sale area, then at 10am for the main hall. Admission is £5 and there are full facilities including catering and disabled provisions. Full details are online at www.nationalhamfest.org.uk

Next Sunday sees the Belgium Amateur Radio and Computer Rally at the Louvexpo in La Louviere, 50km south of Brussels. Doors open from 9am to 4pm and talk in will be available on local repeaters. Details are at www.on6ll.be

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

Worked All Britain are commemorating the Rugby World Cup 2015 using GB0RWC from the 15th of September to the 31st of October. Nine radio clubs are taking part, each in a locality in which the teams will be playing. The venues are in Whitton, Cheltenham, Sutton Coldfield, Barry, Harrow, Angel of the North, Cray Valley, Leicester, Sidmouth and finally back to Whitton. QSL cards are not required for WAB, but for those that require one for other purposes, eQSL will be available. Full details are on the WAB website www.worked all britain.org.uk.

M0MNG is taking part in the International Air Ambulance Week for the first time this year, supporting the Kent and Sussex air ambulance. Operations start on Monday 21st September and conclude next Sunday, and will mainly be on 40m SSB and 2m, plus the Echolink Ireland conference. On the afternoon of Saturday the 26th he will be on high ground on 4m, 2m and 70cm. Details are on QRZ.com

The UKHUB has an NoV for the National Hamfest. Simplex gateway link MB7IHF will be on 434.475MHz with 77Hz CTCSS from Thursday to Saturday evening. It will give access for third party traffic to use the UKALLSTAR Linked repeater system, which is linked all over the UK and some overseas gateways.

The DMRplus UK Group has also been granted an NoV to run a demonstration repeater for the National Hamfest. Using the callsign GB7HUK, Tx is 439.600MHz and Rx is 430.600MHz, Colour Code 1.

On 26 and 27 September, Harlow and District ARS will be using GB0EOR to activate Epping and Ongar Railway for Railways on the Air. They will be active on the 40, 20 and 2m bands from the railway station at North Weald. Many other special event callsigns will also be on the air for the same event.

The Canvey Community Archive will be hosting a History Trail day at the Bay Museum on Canvey Island on 27 September. The aim on this day is to have all the museums, historical sites, etc open and available to the public and linked by a heritage bus service.

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

David, OK6DJ, Petr, OK1FCJ/OL8R and Pavel, OK1FPS will be active from Zimbabwe from the 20th to the 30th of September as Z21MG. They will operate on 160 to 10m on CW, SSB and digital modes including RTTY. They will also be active in the CQ WW RTTY Contest next weekend. QSL via OK6DJ, OQRS, LOTW or eQSL.

Gerben, PG5M will be active as PJ2/PG5M from Curacao Island, IOTA reference SA-099, until 26 September, operating HF CW. QSL via home call or OQRS.

Radio amateurs from Radio Club D’Haiti will be active from Haiti as HH2AA until 27 September. They will operate on HF bands. QSL via NR6M.

Kazu, JA8ECS will be active as 3D2YJ from Viti Levu Island, Fiji, OC-016 from the 23rd to the 28th September. He will be active on SSB and CW on the HF bands. QSL via his home call.

Stan, LZ1GC and Lubo, OM5ZW will activate Tuvalu as  T2GC  from the 24th of September until the 14th of October. They will be on all HF bands on CW, SSB, RTTY and PSK. Details are at www.c21gc.com/

Doug Dowds, W6HB/E51DLD will be operating holiday style from Rarotonga, IOTA OC-013, from the 21st of September until the 3rd of October. On the 22nd, Andrew Nillson, VK3JBL arrives on Rarotonga with plans to activate one of more of the summits as part of a SOTA holiday expedition. His callsign has yet to be determined.

Finally, a reminder that a group of UK operators are presently activating Niue island as E6GG. Details are at www.e6gg.com.  

Now the contest news

Today, the second 70MHz contest takes place from 0900 to 1200UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Also today, the BARTG Sprint 75 contest runs from 1700 to 2100UTC. Using 75 baud RTTY on the 3.5 to 28MHz bands, the exchange is just the serial number.

On Tuesday the 22nd the 50MHz UKAC takes place from 1900 to 2130 UTC. Using the 6m band, the exchange is RS(T), serial number and locator.

Also on Tuesday, the SHF UKAC is on the air from 1900 to 2130. Using the 2.3 to 10GHz bands, RS(T), serial number and locator form the exchange.

Wednesday sees the UKEICC 80m CW contest from 2000 to 2100UTC. Using CW only on the 3.5MHz band, the exchange is your 4-character locator square.

On Thursday it’s the 80m Club Sprint CW leg from 1900 to 2000 UTC. Using CW only on the 3.5MHz band, the exchange is both calls, serial number and name.

Next weekend the CQWW RTTY DX contest takes place from 0000 UTC Saturday to 2359 on Sunday. All contest bands from 2.5 to 28MHz are in use, RTTY only, and the exchange is RST plus Zone, which is 14 for the UK.

Next Sunday, the 27th, the UKuG contest is on the 5.7 and 10GHz bands from 0600 to 1800UTC. All modes are permitted, and the exchange is RS(T), serial number and locator.

The PW 70MHz Contest also takes place next Sunday, running from 1200 to 1600UTC. Using all modes on 4m, the exchange is RS(T), serial number and locator.

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

Despite ongoing solar coronal holes, and their contribution to the high-speed solar wind, HF conditions have fared a little better than in previous weeks. This is due to the traditionally better autumnal HF conditions, which should improve further as the month goes on. Despite the geomagnetic K index never really dropping below three, and often hitting five, maximum usable frequencies have exceeded 18MHz at times, sometimes making 21MHz. Radio hams waiting for decent 10m openings may still have to wait another month though – and then they may be sparse, given the poor solar flux index. NOAA predicts that the solar flux index this week will be around 105, dropping to 90. The K index may suffer yet again from the effects of the high-speed solar wind. Thursday and Friday are predicted to be the most unsettled, geomagnetically speaking.

The Six Gs DXpedition to Niue Island in the Pacific should be under way by now. The best predicted paths to E6GG look to be on 20m and 17m, with an optimum short-path opening on 17m between 1000 and 1400UTC, and again at 1800. There may also be a long-path opening on 17m around 1900UTC.

As a reminder, September is a good month for north-south paths on HF, such as UK to South Africa and South America. In between geomagnetic storm events we should also see the lower bands becoming more usable too.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

Today looks promising for tropo conditions to the continent and the South East, but this is only likely to last for a day or so. By Wednesday there may be some tropo from the West of the UK which could couple into the Atlantic tropo systems off Iberia and West Africa.

The remnants of Tropical Storm Henri brought some nice rain scatter propagation to 5.7 and 10GHz last week, but sadly few UK stations were active to take advantage of it. Next week is looking drier, but still be aware of the possibility of rain scatter on the GHz bands in any showers that might crop up. Watch out for auroras as there are a number of sunspots with the potential for M-Class solar flares.

The sporadic E season is over so it’s unlikely that there will be much in the way of propagation by that mode on the VHF bands. There are no major meteor showers this week so keep looking in the early mornings for the best random meteor scatter opportunities.

For EME operators, the moon is at its lowest declination today, so we will see short Moon windows, but losses will be at their lowest at perigee on Monday.

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

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