Sunday 9th March 2014
The news headlines:
Sub-30kHz amateur signal crosses Atlantic
ISS Ham Video transmissions start
Radio club featured on BBC TV
In what’s believed to be a first, a very low frequency signal from Bob, W2ZM in New York was heard across the Atlantic by Paul Nicholson and later by Mike Dennison, G3XDV. Bob was transmitting on 29.499kHz under a US Part 5 Experimental licence using the callsign WH2XBA/1. His very slow-speed CW signal was initially detected in the UK just before 0000UTC on 3 March. Paul also copied a 29.501kHz transmission from Dex, W4DEX, in North Carolina, who was operating as WH2XBA/4. Congratulations to all concerned.
The Ham Video transmitter in the Columbus module of the International Space Station was commissioned on Thursday 6 March and is making its first transmissions this weekend. Pictures were planned for Saturday at approximately 13.27 UTC and from today, for a week, "blank video" emissions are expected. Three or more receiving sites will be streaming live video via the British Amateur TV Club website, www.batc.tv, and full details can be found at www.amsat-uk.org.
In a Gaelic programme on the BBC called Trusadh, meaning The Wave Messengers, ex radio officer Hamish Taylor of Harris talks about the role of radio operators at sea. Stirling and District Radio Club also took part in a 10 minute section where they described CW on the amateur bands. There was also a segment about the Sandford Mill radio museum in Chelmsford. The programme is available on the BBC iPlayer and is sub-titled.
The largest ever launch of micro-satellites operating in the 437MHz band is planned for 16 March when 200 tiny Sprite satellites will be taken into space. A Sprite is a miniature, 3.5 by 3.5cm, single-board spacecraft that includes a microcontroller, radio and solar cells, and is capable of carrying single-chip sensors. The 200 Sprites will be carried in a CubeSat called KickSat. On reaching orbit KickSat will perform a de-tumble manoeuvre and establish communication with Cornell University’s ground station. After a command signal from the ground station the Sprites will be released as free-flying spacecraft. These micro birds will be placed into a 325 by 315km 51.5 degree inclination orbit. All of the 200 Sprites operate on a single frequency, 437.240MHz, and use Code Division Multiple Access. Due to the low orbit Sprites will have a short lifetime before they re-enter the atmosphere and burn up. In the best-case scenario the orbital lifetime could be six weeks but realistically it may be considerably shorter, depending on atmospheric conditions.
The RSGB QSL Bureau is seeking a replacement volunteer with time to handle approximately 15 to 20 thousand cards per year for the G3M to G3P group of callsigns. If you are interested, have time, space, commitment and some basic spreadsheet skills, please contact the bureau by e-mail to email@example.com. Please head your message G3M-P sub manager.
The Chairman of the Brigg and District Amateur Radio Club, David Ogg, M0OGY, has become the United Kingdom’s representative to the European Citizen's Band Federation. That body is a member of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, mandated by the European Commission. Details about the work of the ECBF can be found at www.ecbf.eu.
The 70cm repeater GB3OH, in Scotland, has been returned to service on new frequencies. The repeater transmit frequency is 430.950MHz and it receives on 438.550MHz. The CTCSS tone access remains unchanged at 94.8Hz.
A new St Patricks Day award has been designed for both participating special event stations and those working these stations. Go to http://stpatrickaward.webs.com for full details.
The International Amateur Radio Union has advised that Timothy S Ellam, VE6SH/G4HUA and Ole Garpstead, LA2RR, have been nominated for president and vice-president, respectively, for 2014-2019. They are currently serving a five year term in those positions. An international consultation produced no additional nominations for these positions. The new term begins on 9 May.
The Southampton University Wireless Society web-based software defined radio has been used to receive signals from the new amateur radio LitSat-1 satellite, which was deployed from the ISS on 28 February. The builders of the satellite have been able to use the WebSDR to receive the satellite when it is out of the range of Lithuania. The WebSDR currently supports parts of the 10GHz, 1296MHz, 432MHz and 144MHz bands and can be listened to from anywhere in the world. The web address is http://websdr.suws.org.uk/.
And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week
The Wythall Radio Club Annual Radio Rally takes place today, 9 March, at the Woodrush Sports Centre, Shawhurst Lane, Hollywood, near Birmingham B47 5JW. This is on the A435, 2 miles from junction 3 of the M42. Doors open at 10am and there will be a talk-in station on the air. Admission is £3 and there will be trade stands as well as catering inside. Details from Chris, G0EYO on 07710 412 819.
The 39th Dutch National Radio Flea Market will take place on 15 March at Autotron in Rosmalen, just off A59 motorway. Check out the website for full details, www.radiovlooienmarkt.nl.
The Dover Radio Rally will be held on 16 March in the Whitfield Village Hall, Sandwich Rd, Whitfield, Dover, Kent CT16 3LY. Doors open 10am and admission is £2. There will be trade stands and a Bring and Buy. Tables cost £10. Details from Ian Keyser at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any rally or event information you’d like to appear in future editions of GB2RS News, in RadCom and on the RSGB website, please e-mail details to GB2RS@rsgb.org.uk.
Now for the news of special events
West Tyrone ARC is taking part in the St Patrick’s Day celebrations on Monday 17 March, running GB1SPD. They will be situated on the top floor of the Strule Arts Centre in the town centre, operating on HF, VHF/UHF, Echolink and digital modes, between 11am and 5pm. Visitors are welcome.
And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources
John, GM0KTO is travelling with his wife Rosemary to The Gambia from 12 to 26 March. He has renewed his Gambian visitor's amateur radio licence and will be operating from Bijilo as C5/G0KTO, using an Icom IC-706 Mk II and a selection of wire antennas for HF.
9J2T will be on the air from Zambia until 17 March. QSL via I2YSB, either direct, on OQRS or Logbook of the World.
DD5ZZ is now active as 8P9BZ from Dover Beach, Barbados until 13 March. His activity is holiday style on the 10 to 40m bands using mainly the digital modes. QSL to DD5ZZ either direct or via the DARC QSL bureau.
DL7DF will lead a team of operators to activate Sri Lanka until 23 March. Activity will be on 6 to 160m using several stations operating on CW and SSB. One station will be exclusively dedicated to RTTY, PSK31 and SSTV. They will upload the full logs of the DXpedition to Logbook of the World within 6 months after the DXpedition. QSL via DL7DF, direct or by the bureau.
A team of operators from Mexico will activate XF1T on Isla Cocina, Jalisco, Mexico, IOTA NA-189, on HF, 6m and satellites between 14 and 17 March.
Peter, EI7CC makes a return trip to Lesotho this month. He will reactivate his 7P8PB call from 14 March to 3 April.
Now the contest news
The Commonwealth contest ends 1000UTC today, 9 March. It’s CW only on the 3.5 to 28MHz bands and the exchange is signal report and serial number, with HQ stations also sending the letters HQ.
The 70MHz Cumulative contest takes place today, 9 March, from 1000 to 1200UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
The Tesla Memorial Contest ends at 0800UTC today, 9 March. It is CW only on the 80m band and points are given for distance between stations. For full details on rules, terms and conditions please look at www.radiosport.org.rs/HFTeslaMemorial/
On Tuesday the 432MHz UK Activity Contest runs from 2000UTC to 2230UTC. Using all modes the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
The CW leg of the 80m Club Championships takes place on Wednesday 12 March from 2000 to 2130UTC. The exchange is signal report and serial number.
The 1.3GHz UK Activity Contest runs from 2000 to 2230UTC on 18 March. Using all modes on the band the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
You will need to be up very early if you want to catch the start of the BARTG HF RTTY Contest: 2am, to be exact. It runs for 48 hours on the 15th to the 17th. Exchange signal report, a serial number and the time.
The Russian DX Contest is on the 15-16th. There are lots of entry categories, mostly for single ops. An interesting twist is that it is permitted for a single-op station to make two single-band entries. Usually this would be to take advantage of bands that aren’t open at the same time. The exchange is signal report and serial number, with Russian stations sending their Oblast code too.
The Worked All Britain 3.5MHz Phone contest takes place next Sunday, 16th March from 1800 to 2200UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square. Entries need to be with the contest manager by 6th April 014. Full details of the rules and logsheets may be obtained from the WAB website, http://wab.intermip.net, or from the contest manager, G3XKT, by email to email@example.com.
Now the solar factual data for the period from Friday the 28th of February to the 6th of March, compiled by Neil Clarke, G0CAS on Friday the 7th of March.
Thirteen sunspot groups were visible on the 28th but this had declined to nine by the 6th. Some of these groups were complex enough to produce the occasional M class solar flares, except on the 4th and the 6th when solar activity was low with only C class solar flares taking place. Solar flux levels declined from 171 units on the 28th to 149 by the 5th and the 6th. The average was 159 units. The 90 day solar flux average on the 6th was 160, that's two units up on last week. X-ray flux levels declined slightly from C1 units on the 3rd to B5.5 by the 6th, the average was B8.7 units. Geomagnetic activity was quiet every day and the average was Ap 6 units. Solar wind data from the ACE spacecraft saw solar wind speeds decline from 500 kilometres per second on the 28th to 330 by the 3rd. Particle densities were elevated on the 28th with 22 particles per cubic centimetre and 18 on the 3rd and the 4th. Bz varied between minus 10 and plus 9 nanoTeslas on the most disturbed day and between minus and plus 3 nanoTeslas on the quietest day. The HF bands were in good shape with 28MHz open to all continents during the period, also, 50MHz saw openings to South Africa on the 4th and Mauritius on the 6th.
Finally, the solar forecast for the coming week. This week the quiet side of the Sun is expected to be looking our way. Solar activity is expected to be at mostly low levels but a chance of a larger solar flare taking place is still possible. Solar flux levels should decline and be around the 130s during the second half of the week. Geomagnetic activity should be unsettled today and tomorrow due to a coronal hole disturbance. Activity should then decline to quiet levels for the rest of the week. MUFs during daylight hours at equal latitudes should be around 30MHz. Darkness hour lows are expected to be about 10MHz. Paths this week to the Middle East should have a maximum usable frequency with a 50 per cent success rate of around 31MHz. The optimum working frequency with a 90 per cent success rate will be about 24MHz. The best time to try this path will be between 1000 and 1500 hours UTC.
And that’s all for another week from the propagation team