Sunday 21st December 2014
The news headlines:
Christmas and New Year arrangements
Youngsters on the Air news
Island DXpedition to Iran announced for January
This is the penultimate GB2RS broadcast of 2014 and the RSGB sends its seasonal greetings to all listeners. There will be no news readings on 4 January. The RSGB HQ will close for the Christmas and New Year holiday at noon on 24 December. It will re-open on 5 January. The National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park will be open until the end of the day on the 22nd; it will re-open on 2nd January. We would like to thank those volunteers who continue to give their time to keep the NRC open and on the air.
December is Youngsters on the Air month and 37 stations will be operating all around Europe, Africa and the Middle East getting young people involved in amateur radio. There are even two stations from Asia and the Caribbean that are part of this event. In the UK, the callsign G14YOTA is moving around the country throughout December. Today, the 21st, Wirral & District ARS will operate the callsign and on the 27th and 28th it will be Wolverhampton ARS. If you hear young people on the air at these stations, please take the time to speak to them.
The Rockall DX Group are planning a new challenge for January – activating Kish Island, Iran, which is IOTA AS-166 and number 33 on ClubLog’s DXCC Most Wanted list. EP6T should be on the air from 16th January, operating from 160m to 10m. Emphasis will be on 160m, and the operation is expected to continue until 26 January. According to the ARRL, of Iran’s 80 million citizens only 13 are licenced amateurs, although 60 students have recently passed their exams and should be able to receive an EP callsign in the near future. Details of the EP6T DXpedition can be found at www.rockall.be
The RSGB Board is delighted to announce the co-option of Barrie Palin, G4AHK, to the vacant Nominated Director vacancy. Barrie is the chairman of the Bromsgrove and District Amateur Radio Club in the West Midlands and is active on the HF and VHF bands. He will initially take the lead role on the Board for the implementation of the Promotional Plan that is currently being finalised.
Scottish Memories is a monthly nostalgia magazine and in an upcoming issue they are planning to publish a wartime special feature focusing on World War Two. As part of this they are hoping to write a feature about the huge impact of radio on ordinary families during the war. Deputy Editor, Rachel Bellerby, would like to hear from amateurs who were involved in radio during the war years or whose family were. Please e-mail her via firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a small group of RSGB Members in Poland who are trying to form a group so they can keep in touch and generally form a virtual radio club based around their common interest as Members of the RSGB. Anyone in Poland, any Polish radio amateurs living in the UK, or anyone who has a connection with Poland is invited to e-mail email@example.com, marking the e-mail RSGB-PL for SQ8PDP. All e-mails will be forwarded.
2015 will see a new IRTS award available, the Worked all Ireland Counties Award. It is designed to encourage activity and is based on working or hearing a combination of squares and counties in Ireland. The detailed rules are available atwww.irts.ie/wai15
And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week
The first rallies of the New Year are on 18th January when the Hatherleigh Rally will open in Devon at 10am and the Red Rose Winter Rally will open at 11am in Manchester. More details will be in 2015.
As a prelude to the move to larger premises in the New Year, ML&S will start a post-Christmas sale from 27 to 31 December. As well as the usual fare, there will be older kit that he doesn’t want to take with him, which sounds like a club junk sale night.
The latest list of rallies is on the RSGB website at www.rsgb.org/ukevents and if your rally isn’t there, please e-mail details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now for the news of special events
WW1USA will be on the air on 27th and 28th December to commemorate the Christmas Truce of 1914. Details are on QRZ.com.
And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources
Special callsigns in the format E50x have been issued to the seven resident amateurs in the Cook Islands, OC-194, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Self Governance. They may be used at the operator's discretion between 1st January and 31st December 2015.
RV3ARY is planning to operate from Mount Vinson in Antarctica between 24th December and 3rd January. He will use battery power and take Windom and Yagi antennas for 20 metres. Listen out or him on 7.045, 14.260 and 21.260MHz.
F2VX and F9IE will be active stroke FM from Martinique, NA-107, until 8th January. Operations will be on all HF bands using CW and SSB from FM5WD’s station. QSL via their home callsigns.
Bruce, 3W3B will be in Laos operating as XW4XR until 2nd January. He operates CW and RTTY and his QSL manager is E21EIC.
Nobuaki, JA0JHQ will sign JA0JHQ/VK9N from Norfolk Island, OC-055 until 22nd December. He expects to be mainly active on 17 and 15m SSB. QSLs go via the home call.
Now the contest news
The UK Six Metre Group’s Winter Marathon began on the 1st and continues for two months. The Winter Marathon isn’t a contest in the traditional sense; it’s basically a way of promoting activity on 6m during the winter. There are no points for individual QSOs; just for working as many Locator squares as possible. You can claim the squares worked in any 6m contest over the period, as well as non-contest QSOs. The exchange is simply signal report and locator.
For anyone wanting a good excuse to disappear into the shack on Boxing Day – and the three following days – the Christmas Cumulatives run for 2 hours on the 26th to the 29th. 6m, 4m, 2m & 70cm are in use each day, so band hopping is essential if you want to do well. Operations take place from 1400 to 1600UTC each day and the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
The DARC Christmas Contest runs for 2½ hours on Boxing Day morning. There isn’t likely to be much propagation between the UK and Germany on 80m at this time of day, so 40m will carry most of the traffic for participating UK stations. Starting at 0830UTC the exchange is signal report and serial number, with DL stations sending DOK or NM.
Finally, the RAC Canada Winter Contest is on Saturday 27th from 0000 to 2359UTC. There are numerous entry categories and everyone can work everyone, but concentrate on working Canada because Canadian Provinces and Territories are where the multipliers are. Certificates are on offer to the winner of each category in each DXCC entity. You can use the 1.8 to 144MHz bands, either CW or phone. The exchange is signal report and serial number, with VE stations also sending their Province code.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA and G4BAO on Friday the 19th of December
The sun remains peppered with a large number of spots. This has kept the solar flux index up in the 160s, even peaking at 192 on the 18th. This has also brought a lot of M and C class solar flare activity with associated short-term blackouts, although there have been no mammoth X-class events.
Continuing high solar wind speeds has kept the K index at 2 or 3, which has not helped HF conditions. But despite this there has been much DX to be worked, with 12m and 10m being wide open during daylight hours.
Christmas Eve sees a rare opportunity to hear the Swedish Grimeton SAQ VLF station, which will be transmitting a Christmas message in CW on 17.2kHz from 0800UTC. The massive 200kW Andersson alternator will be tuned up on air from 0740. The special event station SK6SAQ will also be on air from the site, with CW and SSB transmissions on 80m, 40m and 20m. All of these may be suitable for reception in the UK.
And now the VHF and up propagation news
Season’s greetings to all the VHF/UHF DXers from meteorologist Jim Bacon, G3YLA, who reports that, like last week, the weather is still not playing ball.
Low pressure will be nearby for the whole week and we’re unlikely to see much scope for high pressure driven lifts, but there are some hints that the south of the country may get onto the northern flank of a ridge over France, Biscay and Iberia later.
So in the south – look south, and perhaps in the north, looking north could work if the sun produces any significant auroral activity.
Last week’s Geminids meteor shower was a good one and not long to wait until the Quadrantids, which run from January 1st to 5th. It peaks on the night of the 3rd and morning of the 4th.
In the UK, it’s a daytime Moon, reaching its lowest declination today, but it will be at perigee – that’s the closest point – on Wednesday, meaning lowest path losses, but increasing moon time this week.
And that's all this week from the propagation team.