Sunday 27th November 2016
The news headlines:
Youngsters’ GB16YOTA on the air
Join the Innovations Working Group
Virtual Buildathon from Chertsey
Every December, the IARU organises Youngster on the Air month, which is a month-long activity specifically aimed at getting young people operating amateur radio. It is not a contest but there is an Award to chase. The UK station, GB16YOTA, will be put on the air by Sandringham School ARC on the 1st of December, Sidmouth ARS on the 2nd of December, and by Durham & District ARS on the 3rd. Worcester RAA will be operating the callsign on the 4th. If young amateurs cannot get to these stations to take part, they can still join in by working as many YOTA stations as they can during December. Last year about thirty countries took part and there is an IARU Award for working the YOTA special event stations. Further details are available at www.ham-yota.com/december-yota-month/
The RSGB is looking for people interested in joining the Society's new Innovation Working Group. The required qualifications are simply an open and inquiring mind together with an enthusiasm to look for the new and the different within amateur radio. See the RSGB website, www.rsgb.org
Chertsey Radio Club will be hosting a Virtual Buildathon starting in December. Bob, M6FLT will be building a kit over a couple of weeks, live on camera, and will be able to answer questions as participants follow him. The kit will be a Kanga Products Fox-3, 40m CW transceiver and k16 keyer kit. Participants buy the kit but there is no cost to join in with the session. You will need access to a laptop or tablet device and internet connection. Places and kits are limited for this first session so e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
It’s with sadness that we report the passing of the long time G3M-P group QSL sub manager, Gordon Brown, G3MZV. He will be very much missed. The RSGB QSL Bureau is therefore in need of a replacement volunteer for a slightly enlarged and busy group, G3M-S. If you would like to help, have time, space and some basic computer skills, including the use of a spreadsheet, please email the bureau via email@example.com
The ARRL DXCC Desk has approved the October 2016 T31T DXpedition to Central Kiribati, Kanton Island, for DXCC credit.
The next Suffolk Radio and Electronics Development, or RED event takes place in Ipswich this week. Suffolk RED is run and supported by many of the radio clubs and amateurs in Suffolk and further afield. All enjoy the mix of practical, hands-on activities available at each event. Plans include HF and VHF operating, CW tuition, Raspberry Pi Python scripting, constructing a link dipole and Advanced tuition advice. It all takes place in a very social and relaxed environment. The event take place at 7.30pm on the 30th November at Hallowtree Scout Camp, Nacton, Ipswich IP10 0JP.
If you're interested in 472kHz CW make sure you're around on the weekend of the 3rd and 4th December when there is a QSO Party starting around sunset, about 1700UTC.
The last formal stage of the RAYNET reunification process was completed at a meeting in November. The process of setting up RAYNET-UK is ongoing and the Emergency Communications Committee page on the RSGB website will be updated regularly with progress reports. Full details will be in the next edition of RadCom, which should arrive with Members on or after 7 December.
A storm is threatening Nicaragua and Costa Rica through the remainder of this week. The Nicaraguan Government has raised the alert level for parts of the country to prepare for the storm and the Radio Experimenters Club of Nicaragua has activated their National Emergency Network. The main frequencies involved are 7.098MHz and 3.798MHz but also includes 7.105 and 3.805MHz. The Radio Club of Costa Rica has also activated their Network on 7080kHz. All radio amateurs should listen carefully before transmitting and avoid causing QRM to emergency traffic on those frequencies.
The Summits on the Air Summit to Summit event between Europe and North America on Saturday the 19th of November was a great success. Several activators had their first-ever inter-continental summit to summit contact. Seventy-seven summits were activated and the consensus seems to be that from a propagation point of view the 17m band was the best.
The UK Six Metre Group’s Winter Marathon starts on the 1st of December and ends on the 31st of January 2017. There are no specific operating periods; just work as many Locator squares as you can during that period. All modes are allowed on the 50MHz band and the exchange should be your signal reports and locator. For all the details, check out www.uksmg.org
And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week
We are not aware of any rallies taking place today. The final rallies in the 2016 dairy take place next weekend, the 3rd and 4th of December.
The South Lancs Winter Rally is on Saturday the 3rd of December at Bickershaw Labour Club, Bickershaw Lane, Bickershaw, Wigan WN2 5TE. The venue has disabled facilities and car parking on site. Doors open at 9am, with traders gaining access from 7.30am. Admission is £2.50. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy and special interest groups. There is a licensed bar and catering on site. Details from Jason, G0IZR on 01942 735 828.
The Bishop Auckland RAC Rally is on Sunday the 4th at Spennymoor Leisure Centre, 32 High St, Spennymoor, Durham DL16 6DB. The venue has good car parking and disabled facilities. There will be the usual radio, computer and electronics as well as a Bring & Buy. Catering and bar will be available on site. Facilities. Doors open at 10.30am with disabled visitors gaining access from 10.15am. Admission is £2 with under 14s free of charge with an adult. Talk in will be on S22. More details from John, G4LRG on 01388 606 396.
If you have any rally or event information for 2017 that you’d like to appear in future editions of GB2RS News, in RadCom and on the RSGB website, please email full details to firstname.lastname@example.org as early as possible.
And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources
Alan, K0AV will operate as ZD8V from Ascension Island, IOTA reference AF-003, until the 1st of December. Activity will be mainly on CW and QSLs go via the home call. Logs will be uploaded to Logbook of the World.
Tim, NL8F and Paula, NX1P will be on Norfolk Island, OC-005 until the 3rd of December. They will use the callsign VK9NF and be active on the 160 to 10m bands using CW, SSB and RTTY. QSL Manager is N7RO.
Jim, WB2TJO will be on the air as 3D2JS from Taveuni Island, OC-016, from December 2016 to March 2017. Activity will be on the HF bands and 6m using CW, SSB and some digital modes. QSL to his home call.
Volker, DJ8VW will be operating as 5P8VW from Roemoe between the 26th of November until the 10th of December. He will use the 10 to 160m bands SSB, CW and JT65. QSL via DJ8VW direct of via the bureau or Club Log OQRS.
Look for K2SX, W1UU, W2LK and WA6O to be active as VP2V from Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands, NA-023 until the 29th of November. QSL via their home callsigns.
Mike, GM0HCQ is active from on board the Royal Research Ship James Clark Ross. Whilst in Antarctic and Falkland Islands waters he uses the call VP8CMH/MM, at all other times he uses GM0HCQ/MM. The ship is due to arrive at Rothera Base on Adelaide Island, AN-001, Antarctica on the 27th of November and depart on the 30th. If time allows, Mike will be on the air as VP8ROT. QSL for all callsigns via GM0HCQ, direct only, Logbook of the World and eQSL. You can follow the ship itinerary and Mike’s daily updates at www.gm0hcq.com
Now the special event news
Members of ARRL Headquarters staff will be on the air as W1T from the 28th of November to the 4th of December, in honour of Mark Twain’s 181st birthday. On the 30th of November, Twain’s actual birthday, the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Connecticut has granted permission for a special event station to be set up in the front yard of the house from 1400-2100UTC. All other W1T activity during the week will be conducted from other sites, as ARRL staff time permits. All bands and modes will be considered, including satellite operation. A special W1T QSL card will be available to commemorate the event. Complete information is available on the W1T listing is at qrz.com.
Now the contest news
The CQWW DX CW Contest takes place for the entire 48 hours of this weekend, the 26th and 27th. It will undoubtedly keep the HF bands busy, although declining solar activity will probably mean patchy and short-lived propagation on 10m. Using the 1.8 to 28MHz bands the exchange is signal report and CQ Zone, which for the UK is 14.
On Tuesday the 70MHz UK Activity Contest runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes on the band the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Wednesday the UK EI 80m contest takes place from 2000 to 2100UTC. It’s CW only on the 3.5MHz band and the exchange is your four character locator square.
The ARRL 160m contest runs for 42 hours, starting 2200UTC on Friday the 2nd of December. Because you need to work the USA, US Territories and Canada only, the only time there is going to be a path is when it’s dark at both ends of the QSO. This means you can expect to hear the better-equipped East Coast stations from about 2200 each night. Propagation will spread west as darkness falls across North America, but the band will close around dawn in the UK, when the D Region forms. Using CW only, the exchange is signal report, with US and Canadian station also sending their ARRL or RAC section.
On Sunday the 4th of December, the 144MHz AFS contest runs from 1000 to 1600UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA, G3NYK and G4BAO on Friday the 25th of November.
This week NOAA, and us, got the HF propagation prediction wrong. The figures suggested that last weekend would be unsettled geomagnetically, but in fact conditions were actually much better. The K index did eventually rise, but not until late Tuesday evening.
The prediction for this weekend, as you either read or hear this report, remains uncertain as the Earth succumbs again to the last of the, weaker than expected, plasma stream from a large recurrent coronal hole on the sun. NOAA has this weekend's solar flux index predicted around 80 and the K index at three or four, but geomagnetic conditions may improve slightly as we move into next week.
It is hard to say exactly how conditions will be for this weekend's CW leg of the CQ Worldwide contest. If we continue to be hit with solar plasma maximum usable frequencies may be impacted adversely. However, as contesters tend to use larger than average antennas and power levels you should find the bands open to DX, at least up to 21MHz. Short occasional openings on ten metres may also be possible, especially to the southern hemisphere, southern Europe and equatorial Africa. But we certainly won’t see the kind of conditions we have enjoyed during the last two or three CQ Worldwide contests.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
We have high pressure in attendance and conditions on the VHF and UHF bands are picking up well. This high should provide temperature inversions, both near the surface and aloft, due to descending air within the high pressure area. These temperature inversions are important in that they form discontinuities of the refractive index over short height spans and become the regions that can duct your VHF / UHF signals over long distances.
Tropo conditions provide DX on paths around the edges of large highs, so look for flat layers of low cloud or mist and fog, both visual signs of temperature inversions. Favoured paths are likely to be within the UK and across the North Sea into northern Europe. Things will probably change around midweek as low pressure moves down from Iceland. It is possible that the high may reassert itself late in the week, but this is a bit of a long shot.
The Moon is at apogee today so path losses are at their highest. Moon declination is still negative so with the Sun close to the Moon on Tuesday it is a poor week for EME.
We had a Leonid fireball meteor last week. While spectacular, a single rock doesn’t help meteor scatter conditions, so just hang in there for the major Geminids shower in a few weeks time.
And that’s all for this week from the propagation team.