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Sunday 28th August 2011
The news headlines:
RSGB SSB Field Day preparations
23rd IARU Region 1 Conference details announced
Region 1 amateurs asked to be aware of emergency traffic
The first contest in September is a big and popular one, namely RSGB SSB Field Day. SSB Field Day was very much introduced to be a club event and can form a great introduction to SSB contesting for your club’s newcomers, or an opportunity for some of the operators who have slogged away on 80m during the club championships to make some DX contacts on the HF bands. Because HF and LF contesting is quite different in terms of the openings that you can experience, SSB Field Day is a super way to introduce people to the fun of HF Contest operating. With Open and Restricted sections, it runs for 24 hours next weekend, 3 and 4 September. If you want to give some points away from home, it’s a quick-fire exchange of signal report and serial number. Participants will find it useful to have a suitable number ready to give Asian stations that are taking part in the All Asian DX Contest. The Asians will be looking for your age, rather than a serial number, YL ops may give ‘00’.
During the 22nd General Conference of IARU Region 1, held last week in South Africa, a new Executive Committee was elected to serve for the next three years. The committee includes RSGB past President Colin Thomas, G3PSM. Also announced at the conference were details of the 23rd General Conference of IARU Region 1. It will be hosted by the Bulgarian Federation of Radio Amateurs in Varna on the Black Sea in September 2014.
The activation of the American Hurricane Watch Net on 22 August in response to Hurricane Irene is a reminder that amateur radio continues to play a part in gathering and distributing information for the weather and emergency services each year. Radio amateurs in Region 1 are reminded that certain frequencies may be in use by nets in North and Central America to track and deal with the consequences of these severe weather events. It is possible for Region 1 amateurs to cause unintentional QRM to these nets so please listen carefully if operating near 14.300MHz, 14.325MHz and 14.265MHz. Frequencies used in Cuba are 3.740, 7.045, 7.080 and 7.110MHz. Frequencies used in Central America are 3.690, 3.750, 7.060, 7.075, 7.090 and 7.098MHz. Local emergency communications groups may also activate if a hurricane approaches their area and those frequencies would be announced at the time.
In August, Mario Lorenz, DL5MLO, from AMSAT-DL gave a presentation on amateur radio space communications as part of the Hacker Space Program track at the Chaos Communication Camp 2011. The 5 day event, held near Berlin, Germany, attracted hackers and makers from across Europe. Building amateur radio satellites has always been challenging and involves using technology in creative ways, so has great appeal to the hacker community. Mario's talk was entitled, From OSCAR 1 to Mars and beyond - Amateur Space Exploration – The last 50 years, Now, and the Future. An hour long video of the talk, in English, is now available on the web at http://tinyurl.com/ChaosCommsAMSAT.
Six News, the quarterly magazine from the United Kingdom Six Metre Group is now available in three electronic formats. It has been available in pdf format for several years but now each issue is also published in both epub and mobi format, which are compatible with mobile devices including Kindle. The hard copy magazine is still posted to members but a new Internet Only discounted membership with access to download Six News in all file formats is available at £10 per annum. Six News contains a plethora of information for anyone interested in 50MHz with articles on antenna design, propagation, equipment, operating, DXpeditions, data modes, EME and detailed band reports. Details are on the internet at http://uksmg.org.
The Dutch National Amateur Radio Society headquarters station PI4AA is now a part of that nation’s RTVS Media broadcasting. The amateur radio report airs every last Tuesday of the month from 8 to 9pm local Netherlands time. The broadcast area is south-east and east area of Holland on terrestrial stations 105.3 and 107.8MHz FM. Listeners outside of The Netherlands can tune in on the web at tinyurl.com/dutch-hamcast.
Castles And Stately Homes On The Air will be holding a UK and Ireland Heritage event during the month of September 2011 to coincide with the European Heritage Month. This is an opportunity to access locations which may previously have been inaccessible or closed to the public. For more information on regional dates and opening go to www.cashota.co.uk. The dates have been set for Castles And Stately Homes On The Air annual Castles weekend in 2012. The event will be held over 2 weekends on 18-19 May and 25-26 May. The organisers would like to invite both last year’s participants and any new activators to apply to be an award station. More details can be found at www.cashota.co.uk, or by contacting Chris, M0DOL on 0772 058 0968.
And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week
Milton Keynes ARS Rally takes place today, 28 August, at Bletchley Park, Sherwood Drive, Bletchley, Milton Keynes MK3 6EB. There will be trade stands, special interest groups and GB2BP will be on the air. Why not make this a family day and visit the Bletchley Park museum too? More details can be seen at www.mkars.org.uk.
On bank holiday Monday, 29 August, Huntingdonshire ARS Rally takes place at St Neots Community College, Barford Rd, St Neots PE19 2SH. Doors open at 10am and admission is £2. There will be trade stands, a car boot sale, a Bring & Buy and RSGB bookstall. Contact Clive Burchell, G3NKQ on 01480 810473 for more information.
Next Sunday, 4 September, the Telford Hamfest is taking place at the Enginuity Museum, Coalbrookdale, Telford, TF8 7DU. Doors will open at 10.30am and the usual traders will be present. The organisers have a large number of radio valves for sale. The Bring & Buy will be operating as usual. This year the lecturer will be Roger G4ROJ, with his fascinating talk and demonstration of kites and balloons used as antenna supports. There are two sessions, 11am & 1pm. There is limited seating so be early. The organisers recommend that, if you come to the Hamfest from the North, East or West, use the M54 and leave it at Junction 6. Enginuity is just 7 minutes from there. From the South, via Much Wenlock, take the Telford road. Turn off right for Ironbridge and then left up the hill to Coalbrookdale.
Now for the news of special events
Due to an administrative error, the table of special event stations in the September RadCom contains details for August. A corrected version is on the RadCom Plus website at www.rsgb.org/radcomplus. The editorial team apologises for this error.
On the Isle of Wight, Brickfields Amateur Radio Society will be operating GB4AC at Wolverton Manor, helping to support the charity Age Concern on Saturday 3 September and Sunday 4 September. Contact with GB4AC gives a point for CASHOTA G155, The Isle of Wight County Award, IOTA EU120 and WAB square SZ48.
On 3 and 4 September, the Radio club of Binche will activate the special event station ON4WAR to commemorate the Belgian Resistance during WWII. Operation will be from 9am to 6pm local time on Saturday 3 September and from 8am to 4pm on the Sunday. QSL via ON7RY, either direct or via the bureau. More details are available at www.on7ry.be.
Throughout September, Preston ARS will put GB4BOB Battle of Britain on the air operating from the club shack. Then, on 3 September, GB0PH will be on the air for Pontefract Heritage, operating from Pontefract Castle. On 4 September GB4CON will be on the air from the Festival @ The Farm at Farmer Copleys, Ravensknowle Farm. This is a fun day with many attractions.
And now the HF DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources
The 4W6A Timor-Leste DXpedition is now less than one month away. Top Band operators will be pleased to hear that the team now has a Titanex V160E vertical antenna for use on 160m that is 87ft, or 26.5m high. Listen out for 4W6A from 16 to 26 September.
OK1XD will be active from Lichtenstein portable HB0 between 1 and 10 September. Operation will be holiday style on 10m through to 80m using mainly RTTY and PSK31, with some SSB and CW. QSL via his home callsign, either direct or via the bureau.
I2KRR is a volunteer technical support person to the Catholic mission in Vanimo and will be active as P29FR in Papua New Guinea until March of 2012. He operates on 40, 20 and 15m SSB with his time on the air limited to the local evenings, plus Saturday and Sunday afternoons. QSL without any IRCs to I2RFJ, either direct or by the Bureau.
George, K3GV, will be active as K3GV/VY2 from Prince Edward Island between 1 and 30 September. Activity will be mainly on 20 and 15m. QSL via his home callsign.
Now the contest news
The IRTS 2m Counties Contest takes place today, 28 August, from 1300 to 1500 using both FM and SSB. For stations outside EI/GI, work EIs and GIs only, giving them a signal report and serial number. In return you can expect to receive a signal report, serial number and County. There are awards for the highest entrant from outside EI in each section. This often results in them going to GI, but not always – indeed, some sections often have no entries from outside EI. For a list of the 32 Irish counties, see EI8IC’s website at www.mapability.com/ei8ic/contest/eicounty.php.
On 3 September the Bulgarian LZ Open Club has organised a Simulated Emergency Situation Contest. The aim is to improve the ability of the amateur radio operators to act independently in case of distress or natural disasters. The contest simulates what happens when the conventional communications and power mains are broken and there is an immediate need of exchange of information between the place of the disaster and the outside world. The rules are published on http://lzopen.com/lzopenfield20/index.htm. Everybody is invited to participate.
Next weekend, 3 and 4 September, the RSGB SSB Field Day takes place from 1300 to 1300UTC. Operation is on all bands from 3.5 to 28MHz; the exchange is signal report and serial number.
The 144MHz trophy also runs for 24 hours over the weekend 3 and 4 September, from 1400 to 1400UTC. There are five sections to choose between, depending on how much time you can devote, whether you’re at home or away, and single- or multi-op. The last three hours of the 144MHz Trophy coincides with the first three hours of the fifth and final 144MHz Backpackers’ Contest, which continues for one hour afterwards. In the Backpackers’ there are 10 watt ‘Hilltopper’ and 3 watt ‘Backpacker’ sections. Those who operate from – or use power from – a vehicle, can only enter the Hilltopper section. For those unfamiliar with backpacker contesting, there are antenna and height restrictions in both sections.
And now the solar factual data for the period from the 15th to the 21st of August, compiled by Neil Clarke, G0CAS on the 22nd August.
First this week the latest smoothed monthly sunspot numbers which are for November, December 2010 and January 2011. These are 26.5, 28.8 and 31.0 respectively.
After the spotless day on the 14th, sunspot groups started to appear the following day and again on the 16th. Both these regions produced low strength C class solar flares. On the 20th a further group appeared, this was the return of old region 1260 which produced one M class solar flare on its last rotation. So far this group has remained small and quiet. Solar flux levels increased steadily from 90 units on the 15th to 101 by the 20th and 21st. The average was 97 units. The 90 day solar flux average on the 21st was 96, that’s the same level as last week. X-ray flux levels varied little day to day and averaged B2.1 units. On the 15th, geomagnetic activity was slightly unsettled due to a recurring coronal hole. The remaining days were quiet and the average was Ap 6 units. Solar wind data from the ACE spacecraft saw solar wind speeds decline from 650 kilometres per second on the 16th to 320 by the 20th and 21st. Particle densities were low every day. Bz varied between minus 7 and plus 6 nanoTeslas on the 15th, which was the most disturbed day, and between minus 3 and plus 4 nanoTeslas on the quietest day. The 19th saw some good Sporadic-E with an opening to the UK on 144MHz.
And now the solar forecast. A lot will depend this week on how active the returning sunspot groups are. Solar activity could be at moderate levels on some days but only very low to low if the sunspot groups are quiet. Likewise, solar flux levels could be as high as 120 units or as low as around the 100 mark with a quiet Sun. Either way a slight decline should take place towards next weekend. As always, almost anyway, geomagnetic activity is much easier to forecast. The coming week is expected to see a modest rise in activity towards next weekend as a recurring coronal hole takes effect. MUFs during daylight hours at equal latitudes should be around 22MHz for the south and 19MHz for the north. Darkness hour lows should be about 11MHz. Paths this week to India should have a maximum usable frequency with a 50% success rate of around 23MHz. The optimum working frequency with a 90% success rate will be about 18MHz. The best time to try this path will be between 1200 and 1700UTC. Sporadic-E is still possible on some days, but as every year the end of August signals the end of the summer sporadic-E season. Occasional openings can still take place on the odd days up to the end of October but no more forecasts will be made in this report. Remember though, there is a short but reliable winter season that takes place around the Christmas and New Year period.
And that’s all for this week from the propagation team.