Sunday 29th March 2015
The news headlines:
RSGB Eclipse Experiment yields data
G3TXF wins Cass Award for ZD9XF DXpedition
Amateurs run community broadcast radio station
The RSGB’s solar eclipse radio experiments on 20th March were deemed a great success. Radio amateurs took part in a wide range of experiments on many bands, including a QSO party on 160, 80m and 40m. The use of the reverse beacon network and Morse code meant that the received signal to noise ratios of those taking part could be automatically logged. Other stations, including some in Iceland and the Faroe Islands, used WSPR, the Weak Signal Propagation Reporter, to test propagation on paths around Europe. All this data is now available for RSGB Members to download and analyse themselves on the RSGB’s Radio Propagation Questions forum on the RSGB website. A lot of analysis can now be done to look at specific paths and times using the data that were collected and Propagation Studies Committee Chair, Steve Nichols, G0KYA, would like to thank everyone who took part in the experiments. A full report will appear in a future edition of RadCom.
The Cass Award encourages DXpedition operating excellence and the 2014 Single-Operator Cass Award has been won by Nigel Cawthorne, G3TXF. Congratulations Nigel. It was awarded for his DXpedition to the island of Tristan da Cunha as ZD9XF in September 2014 where he worked 9314 unique stations during the first 14 days of his one-man DXpedition. The award states that it demonstrated an outstanding effort to log as many DXers as possible and set a new Single-Operator Cass Award record. Club Log founder Michael, G7VJR presented Nigel with his plaque and prize at the CDXC Annual Dinner is on 21st March.
Community broadcast radio station Cambridge 105 is a voluntary organisation with over ten radio amateurs involved. On Good Friday, 3rd April, they are going back to the days of pirate radio and setting up a completely analogue studio on the Riverboat Georgina, moored on the River Cam. The day's music will cover the whole pirate radio era, from the 60s to early 90s when the final stations closed. However they have also teamed up with the DARC team who took over Deutsche Welle's short wave licence on 6070kHz and, for the duration of the broadcast, Cambridge 105 will be relayed across Europe on their 10kW transmitter in southern Germany, near Munich. Dom, M0BLF will be managing QSL cards for any SWLs who hear them on 6070kHz on the day. Anyone wanting to listen can do so on 105MHz FM, online at http://cambridge105.fm or, between 10am and 10pm on Good Friday, on 6070kHz.
Three more RSGB Train the Trainers days will take place in the coming months. Available free to any RSGB Member involved with training, these events are for those with no professional background in teaching. You will learn additional skills for working with a class and find the best way to help individuals understand the material. The next Train the Trainers day is on 9th May in Norwich. In order to book a place, please email David, G7URP via firstname.lastname@example.org. The second is in Badsworth, Yorkshire on 13th June and is now open for bookings. To claim your place at this location, please email email@example.com. Finally, another RSGB Train the Trainers day event will take place in Merthyr Tydfil, on Saturday 11th July. Please contact Jimmy, MW0EQL, via firstname.lastname@example.org for bookings and further details.
The 2015 reunion of the Radio Security Service will take place at Bletchley Park on 10th May. Registration will be from 10am and the meeting starts promptly at 10.30am. The venue for the meeting will be in a different building this year, the Teleprinter Hall. Please contact email@example.com for further information if you wish to attend.
To celebrate the 90th anniversaries of the International Amateur Radio Union and French national Society as well as the 150th anniversary of the International Telecommunications Union, several special event stations from different French areas or entities will be on the air. The first is TO90IARU that will be on the air from the 4th to the 18th April from Martinique.
Shortwave Radio in World War II is a 59-minute version of the 1944 film Voice of Victory that tells the story of how Hallicrafters developed the WWII SCR299 military shortwave radio from the pre-war HT-4 amateur radio set. You can watch Shortwave Radio in World War II: Voice of Victory 1944 Hallicrafters at www.tinyurl.com/GB2RS-329
The ITU deployed emergency telecommunication equipment to Vanuatu following the devastation caused by Cyclone Pam, a Category 5 tropical storm that hit the archipelago on 13th March. They dispatched 40 satellite phones, 10 broadband global area network terminals and 35 solar panels to the island nation to support relief coordination efforts. Cyclone Pam slammed into the Vanuatu archipelago. Winds are estimated to have reached 250km/h, with gusts peaking at around 320km/h, causing damage to the infrastructure, impacting services such as electricity. The idyllic location is a haven for tourists and DXpeditioners, with all who had been there struggling to recognise damaged landmarks shown on TV news.
And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week
Today, the 29th, the Devon & Cornwall Repeater Group and Callington ARS Rally will be held in the Callington Town Hall, Callington, Cornwall PL17 7BD. Doors open at 10am and admission is £2,. There will be a Bring & Buy. Details from Roger by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ripon Radio Rally will take place in Hugh Ripley Hall, Ripon, North Yorkshire HG4 2PT, 100m west of the High Skellgate traffic lights on the B6265 today, the 29th of March. Doors open at 10am and admission is £2. There will be a Bring & Buy as well as refreshments available. The organisers warn prospective visitors that the Bring & Buy is upstairs, so if you can't carry it, don't bring it! Email email@example.com for further details.
There are no rallies taking place over the Easter weekend, the 3rd to 6th April. The next is the 31st Yeovil QRP Convention, which will take place on 12th April at Digby Hall, Hound Street, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3AA. There will be talk-in on S22 and the doors open from 9.30am to 3pm. Admission is £3 and there will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy as well as a lecture stream. More details from Steve, G7AHP, on 01803 666 407.
Also on 12th April the 52nd Northern Amateur Radio Societies Association Exhibition will be held at Norbreck Castle Exhibition Centre, Blackpool FY2 9AA. Doors open from 10.30am, with disabled visitors gaining access 15 minutes earlier. There will be trade stands and a Bring & Buy as well as an RSGB bookstall. Details from Dave, M0OBW on 01270 761 608.
If you have any rally or event information you’d like to appear in future editions of GB2RS News, in RadCom and on the RSGB website, please email details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now the special event news
Bushvalley ARC will active as GB8RAF from two locations during the RAF Airfields On The Air activation period of 28th March to 12th April. They will be at RAF Ballykelly today, the 29th. The following two weekends will be split between RAF Eglinton for one day and RAF Ballykelly for one day. More information is on QRZ.com.
West Manchester radio club is holding a special event on Bank Holiday Monday 6th April using the callsign GB2EFD. The event is being hosted by the Tyldesley town partnership at Astley Street Park, Astley Street. Tyldesley, Manchester M29 7BB. All are welcome to this local community event. Starting at 11am they will be working HF, 2m, 70cm and D-Star.
The GM0RAY event organised by Glasgow and Clyde RAYNET Group for 5th April in Gourock has had to be cancelled.
If you have news of any future special event stations, please email details to email@example.com.
And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources
Marc, DU9/ON5SM will visit the Philippines until 25th April operating from Mindanao, IOTA reference OC-130. Using a Kenwood TS480SAT and 300W PA, Signalink DIGImodem into a GB5RV, 6 band Hexbeam and a 10m vertical with CG3000 antenna tuner he plans to be as active as possible. A special QSL card for these contacts can be sent via the bureau to those who wish.
A short operation from the Brazilian island of Trindade, SA-010, will take place from 2nd to 4th April. Trindade is a separate DXCC entity and is normally inhabited by a small detachment of Brazilian naval personnel. The callsign will be PQ0T and they hope to be active on the 6 to 160m bands. QSL manager is PP5BZ.
The Pacific island of Nauru, OC-031, will be on the air until 4th April. A team of 4 operators will sign C21EU and be on 40 – 10m bands using CW, SSB and digital modes. QSLs go via DL2AWG.
A holiday-style activation will be on the air until 2nd April from the Maldive Islands, AS-013, by Ben, DL1RNT, who will sign 8Q7NT. Operation will be mainly CW on 40 – 10m. QSLs go via the home call.
Keith, GM4YXI/GM5X and Chris, GM3WOJ/GM2V will be on the air from Weno Island, OC-011, as V6Z until 9th April. A part time entry in the CQ WW WPX SSB contest in the M/2 category is planned. QSL via N3SL.
Now the contest news
Please note that contest times are given as UTC, which is an hour behind local clock time in the UK now that British Summer Time came in at 1am on the 29th.
The second – and final – major American contest is the SSB leg of CQWW WPX running for 48 hours ending at 2359UTC tonight, the 29th. Everybody works everybody, exchanging a report and serial number. Expect the contesting bands to be heaving and some large serial numbers to be exchanged. The exchange is signal report and serial number.
Next weekend, on the 5th, the first RoPoCo contest takes place from 1900 to 2030UTC. Using SSB on the 3.5MHz band you send a signal report plus, for your first QSO, your own full postcode. In subsequent QSOs you send the postcode that you received in each of your previous QSOs. Should you receive a postcode that is obviously corrupted, which is not unusual, pass it on as received. This contest is all about logging accuracy and as long as you aren’t the person who introduces the error you won’t lose points. Bear in mind that some Continental postcodes also creep into the proceedings. This is a surprisingly challenging contest, with the same power limit for everyone – 100 watts.
Also on 5th April the first 70MHz contest runs from 0900 to 1200UTC. Using all modes on the band the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
The first of this year’s SP DX Contests takes place for 24 hours over the weekend of 4-5th, that’s the Easter weekend, from 1500 to 1500UTC. The modes in this one are CW and SSB on the 1.8 to 28MHz bands. Only contacts with SP stations count for points. Send a signal report and expect to receive a signal report and single-letter Province code, with 16 to collect. There are lots of sections, mostly for single-op stations.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA and G4BAO on Friday the 27th of March.
Last week’s solar eclipse was a great opportunity to try out some propagation experiments. Many listeners reported the enhanced reception of distant medium wave stations at the time of maximum eclipse as the D layer of the ionosphere became less absorbing. The other data are currently being analysed for a feature in RadCom.
This week has shown how hard it can be to accurately predict solar conditions. NOAA had indicated that it expected the solar flux index to be around 100-110. In fact, at the time of writing, it was edging towards 140, thanks to a host of new sunspots. These, coupled with relatively quiet geomagnetic conditions with the K index often around two, have brought excellent HF conditions with the bands wide open to many parts of the world.
This week, predictions place the solar flux index in the range 130-140, but with continuing unsettled geomagnetic conditions. The K index could reach as high as five on Sunday 29th, due to a particle stream from a recurrent coronal hole, and four towards the end of the week. This suggests that HF conditions could be variable, with auroral-type conditions at times, which could impact signals on polar paths. Maximum usable frequencies are likely to be depressed as well.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
This week is starting fairly windy and unsettled, with high pressure to the south of the UK, which is almost good enough, but unfortunately insufficient to develop a robust temperature inversion, and certainly not in the northern half of the UK; so expect initially marginal to flat tropo conditions.
Any hopes of slightly better conditions rest upon a weak ridge developing over southern England in the second half of the week. A recent model predicts a stronger high over Britain by Friday, with some prospect of lift conditions. So don’t give up on this week, and remember there’s always aircraft scatter to give us DX on the higher bands.
The 2015 Es season should be getting underway soon, typically in mid April from the UK on the lower VHF bands, and the 22nd to 23rd April Lyrids meteor shower is only three weeks away.
The Moon reaches apogee on Thursday meaning highest path losses and declination is decreasing giving shorter Moon windows for UK EME operators in the coming week.
And that's all this week from the propagation team.