GB2RS
RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for September 27th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for September 27th 2020.

September 25, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 27th of September 2020

The news headlines:

  • RSGB introducing Full exam remote invigilation

  • Solar Cycle 25 is officially here

  • Latest Online Convention news

 

Following on from the success of the remote invigilation exams for the Foundation and Intermediate licence, the RSGB is now expanding that to include Full licence exams. The automated booking system is now accepting exam bookings for all three licence levels. Please note that the earliest date available for exam bookings at any level is Wednesday the 21st of October. It is important to read the Candidate Instructions before booking an exam. You can find a link to these and the calendar to book your exam on the Society’s website at www.rsgb.org/exampay.

The Solar Cycle 25 Prediction Panel, an international group of experts co-sponsored by NASA and NOAA, announced that the solar minimum occurred in December 2019, marking the start of a new solar cycle. Because our Sun is so variable, it can take months after the fact to declare this event. Scientists use sunspots to track solar cycle progress; the dark blotches on the Sun are associated with solar activity, often as the origins for giant explosions, such as solar flares or coronal mass ejections, which can spew light, energy, and solar material into space. This and more has been explained in a video on the NASA website. Go to https://tinyurl.com/gb2rs-nasa.

During the online RSGB Convention for 2020, you will be able to enjoy some excellent lectures. On Saturday the 10th of October, the RSGB will be presenting two online streams for everyone to enjoy. In An introduction to… we will have Getting Started on Low Earth Orbit Satellites by Peter Goodhall, 2M0SQL. He will look at using low earth orbit satellites, what they are, how to use them and what equipment is required both from low-cost system using a handheld and a Yagi to automated tracked systems. In the Learn more about… stream, Bruce Pea, N9WKE will explain how to Take your CW to the next level. Happily, a lot of people are learning the code, getting on the air, and having fun with CW. This presentation explores methods and options for improving your CW, head copy skills, and increasing your speed. Bruce is the founder and host of Dit Dit FM, the podcast celebrating Morse code, the CW operating mode and amateur radio. You can find out more about the whole day of lectures at www.rsgb.org.uk/convention.

Like the RSGB Convention, the AMSAT-UK Colloquium 2020 will also be online this year. Taking place on Sunday 11th of October, there will be a lecture stream from 11am to 4pm. Amongst the lectures on the day, Daniel Estévez, EA4GPZ will look at Decoding Mars spacecraft and explain the bit and pieces you can learn from spacecraft telemetry. Phil Ashby, M6IPX will talk about the FUNcube and creating an open platform in space. You can find out more at www.amsat-uk.org/colloquium. The registration URL is https://tinyurl.com/amsatukreg2020.

The RSGB’s next Tonight@8 webinar on Monday the 28th of September is a bumper edition! RSGB Convention Chair David Bondy, G4NRT will give a short pre-recorded interview about this year's online Convention. After that, Tim Kirby, GW4VXE will give a usual Tonight@8 live presentation on My world of VHF. You can watch and ask questions on the Society’s YouTube or BATC channels. For more details see our website at www.rsgb.org/webinars.

In the lead-up to this year’s online Convention, the RSGB has just published two more 2019 Convention presentations. In the first, Alwyn Seeds, G8DOH talks about Coax and connectors, the forgotten ingredient of high performance VHF/UHF stations. Whilst focused on VHF/UHF, this talk should be of interest to all radio amateurs. The second presentation features Chris Deacon, G4IFX talking about More on the polarisation of 50MHz signals via Sporadic-E. He looks at results from previous years and from newer experiments using more comprehensive measurement techniques, which are beginning to help answer key questions about the true nature of Sporadic-E propagation. Both can be found on the Society’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/theRSGB.

The RSGB’s Examinations Standards Committee has published its 2020 report that looks back on activities during 2019 – you can read it and previous reports on the RSGB website via tinyurl.com/esc-reports.

Now the special event news

Since the change of regulations applying to special event stations in the UK, many activations are now able to go ahead. UK amateurs would like to thank Ofcom for their help in making this happen.

PJ4TEN is a special event station that will be active during October 2020 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 10th of October 2010. On that date the former country of the Netherlands Antilles was dissolved and Bonaire became a special municipality of the Netherlands. As a result, Bonaire became a new DXCC entity on that date. Bonaire's radio amateurs are organising a month-long operating event. The rules for the award can be found on the PJ4TEN QRZ.com page.

Hannes, OE1SGU will be active as OE1990SGU between the 1st and the 31st of October to celebrate his 30th anniversary in amateur radio. QSL via LoTW, eQSL, or via OE1SGU either direct or via the bureau.

K1A will be operated as a special event station for the Amateur Radio Software Award until the 4th of October. Look for activity on 20 and 40 metres SSB. QSL direct to Claus H Niesen, PO Box 126, Ames IA 50010, USA.

Now the DX news

David, M0VDL will be active from Lundy Island, IOTA reference EU-120, between the 26th of September and the 1st of October. He plans to operate SSB and FT8 on 20, 40 and maybe 80 metres, primarily in the local morning and evening hours.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the contest for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your own national and local government’s advice first and foremost, especially in the instance of local lockdowns.

This weekend, the CQ World Wide DX RTTY contest ends its 48 hour run at 2359UTC today, the 27th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and Zone, which is 14 for the UK.

Today, the 27th, the UK Microwave group contest runs from 0600 to 1800UTC on the 5.7 and 10GHz bands. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Also today, the 27th, the PW 70MHz contest runs from 1200 to 1600UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Monday, the seventh FT4 Series contest runs from 1900 to 2030UTC. Using the 80m band, the exchange is your 4-character locator.

On Tuesday the 50MHz Machine Generated Mode Activity Contest and the 144MHz MGM AC run from 1900 to 2130UTC. The exchange is the same for both contests, signal report, serial number and locator.

On Wednesday the UK EI Contest Club 80m contest runs from 2000 to 2100UTC. It’s CW only and the exchange is your 4-character locator.

Next weekend the IARU 432-245GHz contest runs for 24 hours from 1400UTC on the 3rd to 1400UTC on the 4th of October. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Saturday the 3rd of October, the 1.2GHz and 2.3GHz Trophy contests runs from 1400 to 2000UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is the same for both contests, signal report, serial number and locator.

The Oceania DX SSB contest runs for 24 hours next weekend from 0800UTC on the 3rd to 0800UTC on the 4th of October. Using the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

The Worked All Britain DX Contest takes place on the 4th of October from 0500 to 2300UTC. Using SSB only on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB area.

The DX Contest takes place next Sunday from 0500 to 2300UTC on the 4th of October. Using CW and SSB on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

The Portable Operations Challenge a new kind of HF contest, which takes place on the 3rd and 4th of October. The aim of the challenge is to create a level playing field for small portable stations against the large contest stations by using handicapping algorithms similar to the one used in golf. Open to all, participants choose their own 8 hour contiguous time window within the 48 hour weekend. Operating portable, contact distance, power level and mode affect the final score. Details can be found at foxmikehotel.com/challenge.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 25th of September.

We finally broke our long-running record of zero sunspots last week thanks to active region 2773. This new solar cycle 25 spot appeared over the Sun’s limb and pushed the solar flux index to 73. The end of the week also saw unsettled conditions due to a high-speed stream from a coronal hole. The hole in the Sun’s North-Eastern quadrant pushed the Kp index to four on Wednesday evening and five by Thursday morning. A pre-auroral enhancement on Wednesday saw MUFs rise to nearly 21MHz over a 3,000km path, but by Thursday morning they were struggling to reach 14MHz.

As the month has moved on we have started to see an improvement in HF conditions generally. Laurie, G3UML reported working ZL4RMF in New Zealand on 40m SSB at 0645UTC on Tuesday and Andy, G3SVD worked FK8IK New Caledonia at 1006UTC on 20m CW. If you are looking for South Pacific contacts, Rob, F5VHN reports that Jim, E51JD on the South Cook Islands is often on around 14.225MHz SSB most mornings.

Next week NOAA predicts the solar flux index will be around 70 again. The week may start unsettled thanks to a coronal hole, but the Kp index should improve as the week goes on. We expect HF DX conditions to improve as we move towards October and hopefully, we can expect to see some more sunspots from the new Solar Cycle 25 as well.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

The weather patterns at this time of the year can be very fickle as the major driving jet streams can be seriously distorted by former-hurricanes from the USA side of the Atlantic. The predicted return of Tropo after midweek in the week just gone, was a bust for that reason. Other major distortions of the driving jet stream pattern are likely in the coming week, so the story is one of unsettled, changeable weather with periods of rain or heavy showers. That should mean another good week for rain scatter on the GHz bands, but tropo will not get much chance during this period.

Moon declination is rising this week, going positive late on Thursday night, so we’ll see longer Moon visibility windows as the week progresses, reaching a minimum on Thursday. Path losses are still increasing until we reach apogee on Saturday. 144MHz sky temperatures are low all week, but low peak Moon elevations early in the week won’t help.

The daytime Sextantids meteor shower peaked today but should still be active until the 9th of October. Continue to check around local dawn for the best random meteors, ie meteors that aren’t associated with any particular shower.

And that’s all from the propagation team this week.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for September 20th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for September 20th 2020.

September 18, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 20th of September 2020

The news headlines:

  • Mainstream media features amateur radio

  • Antenna modelling and ionoscatter at Convention

  • 2020 Radio Regulations now available

As part of its continuing Get on the air to care campaign with the NHS, the RSGB has been working with the BBC recently to highlight amateur radio in a number of ways. BBC Radio Surrey and Sussex ran an interview with RSGB Board Director Stewart Bryant, G3YSX last week; BBC Radio Somerset aired an interview that included RSGB General Manager Steve Thomas, M1ACB this week; and BBC TV Points West shared the story of ten-year-old Caitlin, M6XTT who passed her Foundation exam via remote invigilation recently after being tutored by her grandfather Don, G3XTT during the lockdown. You can find out more and listen to each of the interviews on the Society’s media pages at www.rsgb.org/gota2c-media.

During the online RSGB Convention for 2020, you will be able to enjoy some excellent lectures. On Saturday the 10th of October, the RSGB will be presenting two online streams for everyone to enjoy. In An introduction to… we will have Antenna modelling with MMANA-GAL with Steve Nichols, G0KYA. He will look at the free MMANA-GAL package and give hints and tips on how to use it, complete with some examples. In the Learn, more about… stream, Palle, OZ1RH will look at Ionoscatter on 50 and 144MHz. In this lecture, ionoscatter is examined more closely to evaluate its possibilities for QSOs on 50 and 144MHz. You can find out more at www.rsgb.org.uk/convention.

The 2020 edition of the 2020 Radio Regulations, which will come into force on the 1st of January 2021, is now available as a free download. Go to https://tinyurl.com/GB2RS-0920A to get your copy.

Like the RSGB Convention, the AMSAT-UK Colloquium 2020 will also be online this year. Taking place on Sunday the 11th of October, there will be a lecture stream from 11 am to 4 pm. You can find out more at www.amsat-uk.org/colloquium. The registration URL is https://tinyurl.com/amsatukreg2020.

The UK Six Metre Group AGM takes place at 1700UTC on the 27th of September, via videoconference. It’s followed by a talk by Peter Lund, JW7QIA on of recent 50MHz and 70MHz operations from Svalbard. More at www.uksmg.org.

Mike Meadows, G4GUG has a passion for amateur radio that has led to a new University of the Third Age, or U3A, online group being set up. You must be a U3A member to take part. The RSGB is working with U3A to help support this special amateur radio interest group. For more details, email janine.aldridge@u3a.org.uk

The RSGB 2020 Construction Competition is open for entries. There are four categories, including one specifically for people who are new to amateur radio. But hurry, the deadline for entries is the 25th of September. For more details, including how to enter, see www.rsgb.org/construction-competition.

Are you heading for university this year? Several students who passed their remote-invigilation amateur radio exams are off to university in the next few weeks. If you would like to let others know which Uni you are attending, perhaps with the aim of setting up an amateur radio club, send your name, email and university to radcom@rsgb.org.uk and we’ll print the list in RadCom. UK University Amateur Radio also aims to help co-ordinate university clubs, see ukuar.org.

A new attended propagation beacon has gone on the air. Operating on 3.510, 7.015, 14.015 and 10.110MHz, the power will be 20 or 25 watts. There is no timetable for transmissions and further information is on the QRZ.com page of M1EDF, including details of details the unusual construction.

The RSGB Examinations Standards Committee has published its 2020 report that looks back on activities during 2019. You can read it on the ESC page on the Society’s website: https://tinyurl.com/esc-reports

Now the special event news

Since the change of regulations applying to special event stations in the UK, many activations are now able to go ahead. UK amateurs would like to thank Ofcom for their help in making this happen.

Members of the Royal Air Force ARS will be operating GB80BOB until the 28th of September to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Details are at www.rafars.org/GB80BOB/ and on QRZ.com.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the contest for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your own national and local government’s advice first and foremost, especially in the instance of local lockdowns.

Today, the 20th, the 70MHz AFS Contest runs from 0900 to 1200UTC. Using all modes on the 4m band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The BARTG Sprint 75 contest takes place today, the 20th, from 1700 to 2100UTC. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is the serial number.

On Tuesday the SHF UK Activity Contest runs from 1830 to 2130UTC. Using all modes in the 2.3 to 10GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Thursday it’s the data leg of the 80m Autumn Series, running from 1900 to 2130UTC. The exchange is signal report and serial number.

Next weekend, the CQ World Wide DX RTTY contest runs for 48 hours from 0000UTC on the 26th to 2359 on the 27th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and Zone, which is 14 for the UK.

On Sunday the 27th, the UK Microwave group contest runs from 0600 to 1800UTC on the 5.7 and 10GHz bands. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Also next Sunday, the 27th, the PW 70MHz contest runs from 1200 to 1600UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 18th of September.

We had another uninspiring week with zero sunspots. However, there was DX to be had, with many Chiltern DX Club members reporting openings on 17 and 15 metres for well-equipped stations. Clive, GM3POI reported hearing India, Japan, Lebanon and South Africa on 17 metres and South Africa, Kenya, Oman and Kuwait on 15 metres. This was no doubt due to seasonal changes in the ionosphere and a very low Kp index, reflecting settled conditions.

The Sporadic-E season in the Northern Hemisphere has now finished so 10 metre openings are now few and far between. Tony, G4CJC in his 10 metre band report said that it was an “appalling week” on 28MHz.

The good news is that NASA and NOAA reported that Solar Cycle 25 has begun. During a media teleconference on the 15th of September, an international panel of experts found that the sunspot number hit rock bottom in December 2019. Since then, it said sunspot counts have been “slowly increasing”, with the solar maximum expected in 2025. Nevertheless, NOAA predicts that the solar flux index will remain pegged at 70 next week, with quiet geomagnetic conditions and a maximum Kp index of two. However, things become more unsettled next weekend when the Kp index may rise to four or five due to the return of a coronal hole and its associated high-speed solar wind stream.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

It seems that we are continuing to show a strong hand for Tropo since high pressure remains close by for much of the time until the end of the coming week. A small blemish this first weekend is the risk of some isolated showers over southern England with possible GHz bands rain scatter options. With similar results, we also have a weak cold front moving south midweek. Otherwise, it’s high pressure predominating in the second half of the week and offering further Tropo opportunities.

With negative Moon declination, visibility windows will shorten as the week progresses, reaching a minimum on Thursday. Last Friday’s perigee means that path losses will steadily climb throughout the week. 144MHz sky temperatures are close to 3,000K on Wednesday and combined with the low Moon, EME conditions will be poor midweek. However, it’s a good week to increase your satellite DXCC and square counts between the Tropo events. There are plenty of LEO sats to choose from plus, of course, QO-100 available 24/7.

There is one meteor shower this week – the daytime Sextantitds. It has a radiant in the constellation of Sextans and is active until the 9th of October with the peak occurring on the 27th of September. The source of the meteor shower is asteroid 2005 UD.

And that’s all from the propagation team this week.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for September 13th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for September 13th 2020.

September 11, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 13th of September 2020

The news headlines:

  • RSGB Online Convention announces two more great talks

  • AMSAT-UK Colloquium news

  • Six Metre Group AGM goes online

During the online RSGB Convention for 2020, you will be able to enjoy some excellent lectures. On Saturday the 10th of October, the RSGB will be putting on two streams online for everyone to enjoy. In An introduction to… we will have a pictorial introduction to data modes by Mike Richards, G4WNC. He will guide viewers through the basics of data modes operation, explaining the commonly used terms and the development of the modes in general use today. In the Learn more about… stream, Alwyn Seeds, G8DOH will look at VHF/UHF radios for contesting and DXing. The talk will discuss the important specifications for high-performance VHF and UHF radios and how these can most easily be achieved. For transmitters, the importance of achieving low radiated noise will be explained. The talk will be illustrated with measurements for a variety of radios based on both conventional and software-defined radio design approaches. You can find out more at www.rsgb.org.uk/convention.

The AMSAT-UK Colloquium 2020 will also be online this year. Taking place on Sunday the 11th of October, there will be one lecture stream from 11 am to 4 pm. You can find out more at www.amsat-uk.org/colloquium. The registration URL is https://tinyurl.com/amsatukreg2020.

The UK Six Metre Group will hold its Annual General Meeting by videoconference on Sunday the 27th of September at 1700UTC, that’s 6 pm UK time. The brief formal part of the meeting will be followed by a talk from Peter Lund, JW7QIA on his recent 50 and 70MHz operations from Svalbard, which is the northernmost year-round settlement on Earth and only 1000km from the North Pole. Non-members of the Group will be welcome to join the call, but will not be able to vote. Connection instructions will be issued the week before the meeting via the group website, www.uksmg.org.

The RSGB administers a number of award programmes for HF and VHF, including the enhanced special awards for Foundation and Intermediate licence holders. A vacancy has arisen for a volunteer to promote and manage these programmes. For further information about the role, including how to apply, visit the Society’s volunteer web page at www.rsgb.org/volunteers.

The IARU R1 has just published a further news release following the online CEPT-PTC and CEPT-PTA meetings for WRC-23 prep. The RSGB Spectrum Forum Chair and the RSGB Microwave Manager have been closely engaged at these meetings. Details at www.iaru-r1.org.

Details of the Portable Operations Challenge given in last week’s news should have read the 3rd and 4th October. Find out all you need to know at foxmikehotel.com/challenge.

The RSGB 2020 Construction Competition is open for entries. There are four categories, including one specifically for people who are new to amateur radio. The deadline for entries is the 25th of September. For more details, including how to enter, see www.rsgb.org/construction-competition.

Mark, G0KZZ, has started a new internet forum for CW enthusiasts. It is wide-ranging, covering amateur CW operating to radiotelegraphy history and key collecting to internet-based CW contacts.

In the UK, the 5MHz, or 60m band, has been available to Full UK licensees since August 2002. This we owe to the initiative of the late Gordon Adams, G3LEQ, who at the time was Spectrum Director of the Radio Society of Great Britain. He was central to negotiations with the Regulator and the UK Ministry of Defence, the Primary User of the band. One of the elements of Gordon’s proposals was a country-wide news reading of the GB2RS. This has taken place regularly on a Sunday since the band’s inception by a team of newsreaders. Gordon became a Silent Key in February 2018 and the GB2RS 5MHz newsreading team, as The 5MHz Pioneers Group, applied for and received the call G5MHZ. The call will be on the air in recognition and remembrance of the work done by Gordon at 5MHz for UK radio amateurs.

Now the special event news

Since the change of regulations applying to special event stations in the UK, many activations are now able to go ahead. UK amateurs would like to thank Ofcom for their help in making this happen.

Members of the Royal Air Force ARS will be operating GB80BOB from the 1st to the 28th of September to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Due to Covid-19, Ofcom are allowing this call to be operated from homes. A list of operators and postcode locations will be displayed on the RAFARS website. A special QSL card is available. Details are at www.rafars.org/GB80BOB/ and QRZ.com.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the contest for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your own national and local government’s advice first and foremost, especially in the instance of local lockdowns.

The WAE DX SSB contest runs for 48 hours ending 2359UTC today, the 13th. Using SSB on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number. Note the EU stations only work non-EU stations.

The UK Microwave Group contest runs from 0900 to 1700UTC today, the 13th. Using all modes on the 24 to 248GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Also today, the 13th, the IRTS 70cm Counties contest runs from 1300 to 1330UTC. This is followed by the IRTS 2m Counties contest from 1330 to 1500UTC. Both use SSB and FM only and the exchange is signal report and serial number, with EI and GI stations also giving their county.

On Tuesday the 1.3GHz UK Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Wednesday the CW leg of the 80m Autumn Series runs from 1900 to 2130UTC. The exchange is signal report and serial number.

On Thursday it’s the turn of the 70MHz UK Activity Contest, running from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Next Sunday, the 20th, the 70MHz AFS Contest runs from 0900 to 1200UTC. Using all modes on the 4m band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The BARTG Sprint 75 contest takes place next Sunday, the 20th, from 1700 to 2100UTC. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is serial number.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 11th of September.

It was another week with zero sunspots, but the upside was that we had settled geomagnetic conditions. The maximum Kp index of two, but more often than not just one, was brought about by an absence of coronal holes last week. This meant that the ionosphere was pretty stable, with Maximum Useable Frequencies over a 3,000km path heading towards 18MHz at times.

Next week, NOAA predicts the solar flux index to be 70 and the largest Kp index to be two, so expect similar conditions. NOAA also predicts the Kp index could rise to a maximum of three on the 18th and 19th, due to a high-speed stream from a returning coronal hole.

Due to seasonal changes we do expect ionospheric conditions to improve slightly as we head towards the end of the month. We also expect to see transatlantic paths and openings to South Africa and South America improving around the time of the Autumnal equinox. There will also be a gradual improvement in daytime maximum useable frequencies as we head towards Autumn, but night-time MUFs will decline. Expect October to probably be the best month all round for HF propagation.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

It seems like the main Sporadic-E season is over for the summer. With even FT8 paths hard to spot on the DX clusters. So, unless something exceptional turns up you’ll have to wait at least until the small secondary December Sporadic-E peak for that DX mode again.

The basic weather pattern to end the current week and take us into early next week has high pressure over southern areas of the UK and cloudy unsettled weather over the north-western areas with wind and rain. This means that there is likely to be Tropo on offer over the next few days, with paths to the south across Biscay initially and later biased more towards northern Europe.

There could be an unsettled showery period of weather in the south as the high weakens by midweek and, typically after a few hot days, there may be thundery showers, which is great news for the GHz rain scatter operators.

A temporary return of high pressure later will probably put Tropo back into play again, but with a further return of unsettled weather after a day or two.

Expect a good week for EME, with the Moon at maximum declination this weekend followed by shortening Moon windows as the week progresses. Declination goes negative on Friday and this coincides with perigee where losses are at their lowest. 144MHz sky temperatures are low apart from next Thursday morning when the Sun and Moon are very close in the sky.

No meteor showers this week, so look for the best random meteors around local dawn while the Earth is rotating towards the orbital random meteor flux.

And that’s all from the propagation team this week.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for September 6th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for September 6th 2020.

September 4, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 6th of September 2020

The news headlines:

Latest RSGB Convention information

Anyone lost a trailer mast?

GB2RS Newsreader stands down after 40 years

During the online RSGB Convention for 2020, you will be able to enjoy some excellent lectures. On Saturday the 10th of October, the RSGB will be putting on two streams online for everyone to enjoy. In An introduction to… we will have How to get the most out of your dealer for your part-exchange with Martin Lynch, G4HKS. After over 42 years in the amateur radio business, Martin knows a thing or two about trade-in values for equipment and accessories and he’ll explain the best method of achieving the most for your part exchange or outright sale. In the Learn more about… stream, William Eustace, M0WJE will look at DSP: Underlying Concepts. Digital signal processing is built into most new radios for the amateur market, while tools like GNURadio have enabled amateurs to assemble signal processing systems with little or no code and William plans to give an easily-understood explanation. You can find out more at www.rsgb.org.uk/convention.

We received news from the Warwickshire Police Rural Crime Team regarding a trailer-mounted Strumech mast they believe may be stolen property. If you think you know where this tower belongs and can identify the mast, please contact PC Craig Purcell either by text, call or WhatsApp on 0779 059 7820.

After more than forty years as a GB2RS newsreader for the northeast, Martin, G3USF has decided to retire. The RSGB would like to thank him for his many years of service to the amateur radio community. Eddie, G0VVT is standing in to keep the news readings going in the future.

The RSGB’s autumn Tonight @ 8 webinar series starts this Monday, the 7th of September with Portable adventures with Summits on the Air by James, M0JCQ. Join live and ask questions on the Society’s YouTube channel or via the special BATC channel. On the RSGB website, you can find further information about the webinar series, presenters and resources to help you explore each topic more fully at www.rsgb.org/webinars.

The popular event Churches and Chapels On The Air will still take place this year, despite Covid-19 restrictions. On Saturday the 12th of September, operators will be a mix of individual activities nears churches as well as operating from home. Activity is usually 10 am to 4 pm and mainly on the 80, 40 and 20m bands using SSB. Contact John, G3XYF via jhwresdell@gmail for more details.

The RSGB has updated some of its web pages to reflect online remote invigilation exams and online training processes whilst physical meetings are still restricted. The Student Information section on the Society’s website has full Candidate Instructions for the remote invigilation exams, information about how to book your exams as well as a new page listing the online training providers that we are aware of. If your club is providing online training at any licence level and is not listed, please send full details to exams@rsgb.org.uk and the RSGB will add you to the new web list. For details of all the licence levels visit the Student Information web page at https://tinyurl.com/rsgb-student-information.

The Portable Operations Challenge is a new kind of HF contest. It will take place on the weekend of the 3rd and 4th of October. The aim of the challenge is to create a level playing field for small portable stations against the large contest stations by using handicapping algorithms similar to that used in golf. Participants choose their own 8-hour contiguous time window within the 48-hour weekend. Find out all you need to know at foxmikehotel.com/challenge.

ARISS has announced the activation of an FM cross-band repeater on the International Space Station. It has a downlink frequency of 437.800MHz. This followed the successful installation of the first element of the ARISS Interoperable Radio System. It enables new, exciting capabilities for amateur radio operators, students and the general public including a higher power radio, voice repeater, APRS capabilities and an SSTV system. Further details are at https://amsat-uk.org.

In the news item about the GB2RS Podcast last week there was an error. It’s not approaching twenty thousand downloads, it’s actually approaching two hundred thousand downloads. Our apologies to all those involved in this highly successful method of distributing GB2RS.

The RSGB Morse Proficiency testing service continues to operate during this time of limitations on face-to-face meetings. Many of the scheme's Assessors are experienced in offering online testing. This means there's always an opportunity for anyone to obtain a Certificate of Competency, without leaving their home, by using an online sound and video program such as Skype. Full details of the Scheme can be found in the RSGB Yearbook or on the Operating section of the RSGB website. If you want more information or to submit a Test application this can be done using email to morse.tests@rsgb.org.uk.

Don’t forget any nomination for the G5RP Trophy needs to be in by 25th September. If you are an established HF DXer and want to recommend someone, send your nominations to Ian Greenshields, G4FSU by email to hf.manager@rsgb.org.uk.

The RSGB 2020 Construction Competition is also open for entries. There are four categories, including one specifically for people who are new to amateur radio. The deadline for entries is the 25th of September. For more details, including how to enter, see www.rsgb.org/construction-competition.

OE SOTA Day is a popular annual Summits on the Air event, organised by the Austrian SOTA Association and will still take place on Saturday 19 September, but with no social meeting. It will be a festival of SOTA activations to mark the end of summer in Europe. The day should offer a very good opportunity for chasers to amass a large number of points and unique summits worked. For more information about the SOTA scheme, please visit www.sota.org.uk.

Now the special event news

Since the change of regulations applying to special event stations in the UK, many activations are now able to go ahead. UK amateurs would like to thank Ofcom for their help in making this happen.

Members of the Royal Air Force ARS will be operating GB80BOB from the 1st to the 28th of September to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Due to Covid-19, Ofcom are allowing this call to be operated from homes. A list of operators and postcode locations will be displayed on the RAFARS website. A special QSL card is available. Details are at www.rafars.org/GB80BOB/ and QRZ.com.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the contest for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your own national and local government’s advice first and foremost, especially in the instance of local lockdowns.

Three RSGB contests take place over this weekend, the 5th and 6th September. SSB Field Day runs for 24 hours until 1300UTC today, the 6th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number. The 144MHz Trophy is also 24 hours but ends at 1400UTC today, the 6th. Its exchange is signal report, serial number and locator. The 5th 144MHz Backpacker contest runs from 1100 to 1500UTC today, the 6th. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator. Sadly, the HF and VHF Contest Committees have come to the conclusion that the Government guidance on Covid-19 does not yet allow the restart of multi-operator sections in RSGB contests. The rules for all RSGB Contests can be found at www.rsgbcc.org.

The All-Asian DX Contest ends its 48 hour runs at 2359UTC today, the 6th. Using SSB on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and age, with YLs sending 00.

The IARU Region 1 Field Day ends its 24 hour run today, the 6th. Using SSB on the 3.5 to 28MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

The Worked All Britain 144MHz QRO Contest is today, the 6th, from 1000 to 1400UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square. The contest runs concurrently with part of the RSGB contest, and RSGB serial numbers will be accepted. Due to Covid-19, no multi-operator entries are allowed. See http://wab.intermip.net/default.php for details.

It’s time to decide if you or your club would like to take part in the Autumn Series of 80m Contests, which start with an SSB event on Monday the 7th September. These are 90-minute contests that have boosted scores for Foundation and Intermediate entrants and rules designed to encourage newcomers. Running from 1900 to 2130UTC, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

On Tuesday the 432MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1800 to 1855UTC. It is followed from 1900 to 2130UTC by the all-mode 432MH UK Activity Contest. The exchange for both is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Thursday the 50MHz UK Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2100UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The WAE DX SSB contest runs for 48 hours next weekend from 0000UTC on the 12th to 2359UTC on the 13th. Using SSB on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number. Note the EU stations only work non-EU stations.

The UK Microwave Group contest runs from 0900 to 1700UTC on the 13th. Using all modes on the 24 to 248GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Also on the 13th, the IRTS 70cm Counties contest runs from 1300 to 1330UTC. This is followed by the IRTS 2m Counties contest from 1330 to 1500UTC. Both use SSB and FM only and the exchange is signal report and serial number with EI and GI stations also giving their county.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 4th of September.

This last week was characterised by unsettled geomagnetic conditions caused by an incoming high-speed stream for a solar coronal hole. We warned of this in last week’s report, but in view of the small size of the coronal hole, we didn’t really expect its effects to be quite so severe.

The solar material impacted the Earth on Friday the 28th of August, pushing the Kp index to five. Unsettled conditions then persisted through until at least Wednesday, with the Kp index peaking at four on Tuesday the 4th. Ionospheric HF conditions were adversely affected, with maximum usable frequencies over a 3,000km path struggling to get much above 14MHz at times. But by Thursday the Kp index was down to one and the ionosphere was recovering. At the time of writing, there are large coronal holes at the Sun’s poles, but any solar material may not be Earth-directed.

NOAA predicts the Sun will remain spotless next week, with a maximum solar flux index of 70. The good news is it has the Kp index at two, which could bode well for better HF conditions over the next seven days.

On another note, the website Propquest.co.uk has a new NVIS tab on the foF2 graphs tab for a closer look at the prospects for inter-G nets on the lower HF bands.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

This will probably be the final mention of Sporadic-E in the bulletin for this summer season. The coming week might offer some good opportunities from the jet streams, the main source of the turbulence that produces atmospheric gravity waves, so don’t rule Sporadic-E out just because it’s September.

With a low Kp index you might be able to get the odd FT8 path out of it, and even a chance of CW or SSB if you’re really lucky. Propquest.co.uk shows the daily jet stream maps and now we also have the Sporadic-E Probability Index, a single graphic to look at for hints of where the paths may occur.

We had some decent Tropo over the last week, but it has temporarily suspended for now. Towards the end of Sunday a new high will build in from the Atlantic and, for much of the coming week, there should be some Tropo chances as high pressure dominates. It’s looking like reverting to low pressure and wet weather by next weekend. The models are showing some heavy rain in some areas, so there is a potential for strong GHz bands rain scatter events.

Finally, autumn usually produces better chances of auroral propagation, and with the recently disturbed conditions, keep a check on the Kp index. Anything above four should attract attention. Aurora produces a very garbled distorted sound to SSB, so CW is best but wide-tone digimodes such as JT4G should work well. Beam north-east to the north-northwest and you could work stations via backscatter on 6m or 2m.

Moon declination is positive again, meaning longer Moon windows. Today, Sunday the 6th, the Moon is at apogee so EME path losses are at their highest. 144MHz sky temperatures are moderate all week.

Just one small meteor shower this week, peaking on Wednesday, the September Epsilon-Perseids with a Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR) of just five.

And that’s all from the propagation team this week.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for August 30th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for August 30th 2020.

August 28, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 30th of August 2020

The news headlines:

Could you join the RSGB Board?

Latest Online RSGB Convention news

200,000 downloads for GB2RS Podcast

Following recent changes to the RSGB Board of Directors and the continuing effects of the ongoing pandemic, the RSGB is looking for Members to be considered for possible appointment to the Board. For more details about the Board, the essential personal attributes needed to be a Board Director and how to apply, see the RSGB website at www.rsgb.org/volunteers.

During the online RSGB Convention for 2020, you will be able to enjoy some excellent lectures. On Saturday the 10th of October, the RSGB will be putting on two streams online for everyone to enjoy. In An introduction to… we will have the magic of six metres by Chris Deacon, G4IFX. Join him to learn what makes the 6m band so special, how to get started – and how to get the best out of it. In the Learn more about… stream, Olof Lundberg, G0CKV will speak about having fun with HF contesting. There are so many factors that influence contest results – contesting rarely takes place on an even playing field. The fairest competition might well be with yourself and Olaf will go through some ways to improve your scores and enjoy your contesting experience. You can find out more at www.rsgb.org.uk/convention.

As the GB2RS Podcast approaches two hundred thousand downloads, two additional ways to receive the podcast have been added. Amazon Podcasts and Audible will carry the RSGB broadcast each week in addition to Apple, Blubrry, Stitcher and others who have been carrying the program for some time. A podcast is a short audio program that can be heard on a PC, smartphone or home audio device. It provides a way to publicise UK amateur radio even when listeners are out of range of the HF & VHF newsreaders. The GB2RS Podcast has been read by Jeremy, G4NJH for over 12 years. See https://rsgb.org/main/gb2rs/gb2rs-podcast for details.

Fred, M3CTW will celebrate his 100th birthday on the 1st of September and we wish him many happy returns. He is still active on the air and a recent contact told us that Fred speaks with the fluency of a much younger person and operates his radio in an excellent manner.

The media is still interested in the continuing growth of amateur radio and the RSGB is enjoying sharing stories with them, such as the interview with ten-year-old William, M7WHB that was featured in the i newspaper. The Society has also collected some great descriptions from new licensees who tell us why they are interested in amateur radio and what they’re keen to discover within the hobby. You can read all of these in the different parts of the Get on the air to care section of our website at www.rsgb.org/gota2c.

The G5RP Trophy is an annual award to encourage any RSGB Member who has recently discovered and made significant progress in HF DXing. If you are an established HF DXer and want to recommend someone to be awarded the G5RP Trophy for 2020, send your nominations to Ian Greenshields, G4FSU by email to hf.manager@rsgb.org.uk to arrive no later than the 25th of September.

The G-QRP club has released a detailed agenda for its Online Convention 2020, which takes place on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th September. Details of the agenda and how to sign up can be found at www.gqrp.com/convention.htm.

The RSGB 2020 Construction Competition is open for entries. There are four categories, including one specifically for people who are new to amateur radio. The deadline for entries is the 25th of September. For more details, including how to enter, see www.rsgb.org/construction-competition.

International Air Ambulance Week will take place between the 5th and the 13th of September. It covers two weekends, giving amateurs a great chance to get involved and support the event. A free series of Awards will be available for those who support the event. Go to www.radio-amateur-events.org/IAW/Registration.htm.

Now the special event news

Since the change of regulations applying to special event stations in the UK, many activations are now able to go ahead. UK amateurs would like to thank Ofcom for their help in making this happen.

Members of the Royal Air Force ARS will be operating GB80BOB from the 1st to the 28th of September to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Due to Covid-19, Ofcom are allowing this call to be operated from homes. A list of operators and postcode locations will be displayed on the RAFARS website. A special QSL card is available. Details are at www.rafars.org/GB80BOB/ and QRZ.com.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the contest for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your own national and local government’s advice first and foremost, especially in the instance of local lockdowns.

Today, the 30th, The UK Microwave group’s High Band contest runs from 0600 to 1800UTC. Using all modes on the 5.7 to 10GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Tuesday the 144MHZ FM Activity Contest runs from 1800 to 1855UTC. It is followed by the all-mode 144MHz UK Activity Contest at 1900 to 2130UTC. The exchange is the same for both: signal report, serial number and locator.

On Wednesday the UK EI Contest Club contest runs from 2000 to 2100UTC. Using SSB only on the 80m band, the exchange is your 4-character locator square.

Three RSGB contests take place over next weekend, the 5th and 6th September. SSB Field Day runs for 24 hours from 1300UTC on Saturday the 5th until 1300UTC on Sunday the 6th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number. The 144MHz Trophy is also 24 hours but ends at 1400UTC on the 6th. Its exchange is signal report, serial number and locator. The 5th 144MHz Backpacker runs from 1100 to 1500UTC on the 6th. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator. Sadly, the HF and VHF Contest Committees have come to the conclusion that the Government guidance on Covid-19 does not yet allow the restart of multi-operator sections in RSGB contests. The rules for all RSGB Contests can be found at www.rsgbcc.org.

The CW Open for 2020 takes place on the 5th of September. There are three sessions: from 0000 – 0359, 1200 – 1559 and 2000 – 2359UTC. The exchange is signal report and your name.

The All Asian DX contest runs from 0000UTC on the 5th to 2359UTC on the 6th. Using SSB on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and age, with YLs sending 00.

The IARU Region 1 Field Day runs from 1300UTC on the 5th to 1300UTC on the 6th. Using SSB on the 3.5 to 28MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

The Worked All Britain 144MHz QRO Contest is on Sunday the 6th from 1000 to 1400UTC. The exchange is the report, serial number and WAB square. The contest runs concurrently with part of the RSGB contest and RSGB serial numbers will be accepted. Due to Covid-19, no multi-operator entries are allowed. See http://wab.intermip.net/default.php for details.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 28th of August.

It was a quiet week, with zero sunspots and relatively quiet geomagnetic conditions and a maximum Kp index of three. After the new sunspots appeared over the past few weeks it did look like Solar Cycle 25 was getting underway. But it now looks like we may have to wait a little longer, languishing at solar minimum for the next couple of months.

It was not all bad news though. Laurie, G3UML reports good conditions on 20m SSB. He worked A25 Botswana and ZS3 South Africa, plus Ross, ZL1WN in New Zealand via the long path. Laurie said signals from the Middle East were also strong.

A series of narrow coronal holes are now beginning to partially face Earth. An elevated coronal hole stream should begin to move past Earth by Saturday 29th August, which could lead to an elevated Kp index and visible aurora at higher latitudes.

Other than that there is little to see on the STEREO Ahead spacecraft imagery. Barring surprises, this suggests the Sun will remain quiet from Monday.

NOAA has the solar flux index at 70-71 for the next seven days. The elevated Kp index over the weekend may cause MUFs to decline, but next week should see the ionosphere settle back down to a Kp maximum of two and normal HF conditions.

Maximum usable frequencies over a 3,000km path should remain similar to previous weeks. Expect 20 metres to be the DX band of choice, with some openings on 17m at times. There is always the chance of DX appearing on 15, 12 and even 10 metres, but these openings are likely to be short-lived and infrequent.

The good news is that next week we move into September, which should see a return to higher MUFs and better DX as the month progresses. This will also be a good time to work North-South paths, such as the UK to South Africa and South America.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

This period of more changeable weather is going to be hard to break and it looks like any weak ridges between the lows will be transient affairs. They are therefore unlikely to feature highly as Tropo events, although the odd temporary lift is possible. The nature of unsettled weather, like the spell we’re in now, is such that the late summer sunshine can easily produce showers or even thunderstorms. These are very good for rain scatter and for most of the period from this weekend to next, a weather front or heavy showers may not be far away. So we’re entering another potentially productive period for the GHz rain scatter enthusiasts.

We are running out of time to mention Sporadic-E, so this may be the penultimate week. Clutching at straws perhaps, but there are some good jet streams in periods of unsettled weather and the next week will continue to look promising from a weather perspective, even though events are likely to be thin on the ground.

Moon declination is at a minimum today, but goes positive again on Friday, meaning Moon windows are getting longer. EME path losses are still rising, with apogee a week today. 144MHz sky temperatures are low all week, but the low Moon elevations mean that the noisy horizon will be in antenna beamwidths for the first part of the week.

Just one small meteor shower this week, the Aurigids, peaking on Monday with a Zenith Hourly Rate of six.

And that’s all from the propagation team this week.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for August 23rd 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for August 23rd 2020.

August 21, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 23rd of August 2020

The news headlines:

Nominate a new DXer for G5RP Trophy

Latest Online RSGB Convention news

Vacancies on important RSGB committees

The G5RP Trophy is an annual award to encourage newcomers to HF DXing. The award is not limited to youngsters or the newly-licensed; it is open to anyone who has recently discovered and made significant progress in HF DXing. If you are an established HF DXer and want to recommend someone to be awarded the G5RP Trophy for 2020, now is the time to send in your nomination. Your nominee should be an up-and-coming HF DXer who has made rapid progress in the last year and has some real achievements to show, for example, a good total of new countries worked or some serious HF DXpedition activity. Please send your nominations to Ian Greenshields, G4FSU by email to hf.manager@rsgb.org.uk to arrive no later than the 25th of September.

During the online RSGB Convention for 2020, you will be able to enjoy some excellent lectures. On Saturday the 10th of October, the RSGB will be putting on two streams online for everyone to enjoy. In An introduction to… we will have Kevin, G0PEK and Lauren, 2E0HLR talk about youngsters using amateur radio and combining it with other activities such as cycling, hiking, canoeing and kayaking. In the Learn more about.... stream, the popular RSGB Convention lecturer Jim Bacon, G3YLA will talk about VHF propagation and weather. Jim will describe the processes behind compiling the GB2RS propagation bulletin. He’ll look at weather forecasting, tropospheric propagation, rain scatter and how to identify suitable candidates from forecast charts as well as Sporadic-E and its relationship to weather. We’ll highlight more lectures in the coming weeks, but you can find out more at www.rsgb.org.uk/convention.

The RSGB is looking for two people to fill the important volunteer roles of Legacy Committee Chair and Nominations Committee Chair. Full details of the roles and the committees can be found on the Society’s website at www.rsgb.org/volunteers.

The CW Open for 2020 takes place over the first weekend of September and is sponsored by The CW Operators’ Club. The three sessions are all on the 5th of September, from 0000 to 0359UTC, then 1200 to 1559UTC and finally 2000 to 2359UTC. See https://cwops.org/cwops-tests/cw-open/ for full details.

Tim, G4YBU and Richard, G8ITB have planned a Summits on the Air activity weekend ending today, the 23rd. The objective is to activate as many of the 15 summits in the Southern SOTA region of England. The event is for everyone and it is suggested that the popular 2m and 40m bands are used, on FM and SSB. For a detailed summit list see www.sotadata.org.uk.

International Lighthouses and Lightships Weekend is still going ahead this weekend. Participation will depend on local circumstances and government rulings regarding Covid-19 restrictions, see https://illw.net. Wirral ARS will be operating using GB2BHL from the club premises. Moray Firth ARS will be using GB0CSL from individual club members homes.

The RSGB has released two more 2019 Convention presentations to its YouTube channel. In the first one, Don Field, G3XTT talks about the fun and experience you can have by ‘Guest Operating’ as part of a multi-operator contest or DXpedition. In the second presentation, Nobby Styles, G0VJG builds on that by giving details of the DXpedition to Wallis Island. You can watch both on the RSGB YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/theRSGB

The Grid and Prefix Award Program has announced a comprehensive Digital Awards Program. Awards are available for radio amateurs and short wave listeners for confirmed grids and prefixes worked or heard using digital modes. Contacts made under any callsign you may have used in the past are valid for confirmations; there is no start time, so all confirmed digital contacts are acceptable. The program accepts electronic confirmations. See www.gapawards.com.

The RSGB 2020 Construction Competition is open for entries. There are four categories, including one specifically for people who are new to amateur radio. Deadline for entries is the 25th of September. For more details, including how to enter, see www.rsgb.org/construction-competition.

Now the special event news

Since the change of regulations applying to special event stations in the UK, many activations are now able to go ahead. UK amateurs would like to thank Ofcom for their help in making this happen.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, the RSGB has organised a VJ Day amateur radio marathon on the HF bands and 6m using SSB, CW and digital modes. Three special UK callsigns GB75PEACE, GB1945PE, GB1945PJ will be on the air until the 31st of August. See www.rsgb.org/ve-vj-marathon.

August sees two GB80 special event stations on the air, marking the critical role that radar played in the Battle of Britain 80 years ago. GB80BRS will be operated to commemorate Bawdsey Radar Station in Suffolk, where radar was developed in the late 1930s. This was the location of the world’s first operational radar station. Activity will be on 80 to 10m using SSB, CW and FT8. GB80CH, Chain Home, will be operated from Chelmsford in Essex.

And now the DX news

Many stations will be on the air this weekend from lighthouses around Europe and beyond. Listen out for T45FM, CQ0ODX/P, TM2LW, GB9UL and OV1LH amongst many others. A full list can be found at https://illw.net.

Giorgio, YI/IU5HWS is with the military in Iraq and will be operating on 40, 20 and 10 metres until the end of November.

Now the contest news

There are no RSGB HF contests this month, as August is the month of the traditional summer holiday. Please remember to check before the contest for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your own national and local government’s advice first and foremost, especially in the instance of local lockdowns.

On Tuesday the SHF UK Activity Contest runs from 1830 to 2130UTC. Using all modes on the 2.3 to 10GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Next Sunday, the 30th, The UK Microwave group’s High Band contest runs from 0600 to 1800UTC. Using all modes on the 5.7 to 10GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Over the weekend of the 5th and 6th September, three RSGB contests occur. On Saturday the 5th, there is SSB Field Day that starts at 1300UTC and the 144MHz Trophy Contest that starts at 1400UTC. On Sunday the 6th, there is the fifth 144MHz Backpackers Contest, which starts at 1100UTC.

Sadly, the HF and VHF Contest Committees have come to the conclusion that the Government guidance on Covid-19 does not yet allow the restart multi-operator sections in RSGB contests. As a result, the multi-operator sections in the 144MHz Trophy Contest have been removed. The single operator sections will continue as normal. For the 5th 144MHz Backpackers Contest and SSB Field Day, all sections are being restricted to single-operator entries only. The committees realise this announcement will disappoint some people, but they do hope that many will be able to enter the contests as single operators, whether from home or as portable stations. These contests normally bring exciting DX and weekend contest activity levels have been high this year, so please do come on and have some fun. The rules for all RSGB Contests are at www.rsgbcc.org.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 21st of August.

Sunspot region 2772 was rotating off the Sun’s limb at the end of the week. As a result, the solar flux index declined from 74 down to 71 as the Sun’s surface cleared. There was some activity though. A solar storm cloud was hurled into space on the 16th of August by a slow-motion solar flare in the Sun’s southern hemisphere. The coronal mass ejection was due to sweep past Earth on the 20th. A group of three smaller coronal holes passed the Sun’s central meridian on Wednesday and Thursday, which could spell unsettled conditions at the weekend due to the solar wind emanating from them. NOAA predicts that the Kp index will rise to three until the threat passes. This is not really high enough to cause big problems, but keep an eye on the Kp index at solarham.com as a guide.

Next week, NOAA has the SFI pegged at 71 to 72 reflecting a lack of sunspots. The Kp index should also be pegged at two, at least until Sunday the 30th of August when it could climb to four. Look out for a potential positive pre-auroral phase enhancement, followed by a decline in maximum usable frequencies as any potential geomagnetic storm progresses.

Current daytime MUFs over a 3,000km path are still in the 14-18MHz range, with night-time MUFs covering 10-14MHz according to Propquest.co.uk.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

A deep low and gales over the northern and western part of the British Isles is not ideal summer holiday weather and not good for antennas either. In fact, this unsettled pattern will stay with us through to Thursday, when some models show temporary high pressure over the country to end the week.

It’s fair to say that not all models do this and instead of a high, it’s no more than a one-day weak ridge before further lows arrive. In terms of propagation, it’s looking like another period of weather more suitable for GHz bands rain scatter.

Tropo may put in an appearance later in the week, but it might only be a brief visit and perhaps not with a well-developed inversion if it’s a temporary visit. As an aside, it’s a particularly good period of summer Tropo over the Mediterranean at the moment, with potential for east to west paths, say from EA to IT9 or IT9 to SV or 5B4.

The Sporadic-E season is hanging on, particularly for digital modes, and next week should continue to offer several nicely placed jet streams for paths into Europe.

Note that the propquest.co.uk website, which contains a daily blog on where the weather triggers may be more active, now contains a single Sporadic-E probability index, EPI. This combines many of the contributory factors into one experimental index on a map showing where the chance of Sporadic-E is highest. Click on the map or enter your locator to overlay the ideal distance rings for Sporadic-E from your QTH.

Moon declination is now negative and falling all week, and, as perigee was Friday, EME path losses are low but rising. Moon windows will shorten as the week progresses. 144MHz sky temperatures are rising, peaking at over 3000K on Thursday, so your masthead preamps won’t help you! Read G4BAO’s GHz bands column from the April 2020 RadCom for an explanation of why.

And that’s all from the propagation team this week.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for August 16th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for August 16th 2020.

August 14, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 16th of August 2020

The news headlines:

Thanks for massive lockdown efforts

Latest RSGB Convention Online info

TX Factor 26 is bumper episode

In this month’s RadCom, RSGB General Manager Steve Thomas, M1ACB thanks all the staff and volunteers who have pulled together to cope with the challenges of the last four months. He highlights the successes we should celebrate – such as helping 1,500 people take their first steps into amateur radio in just four months via remote invigilation Foundation exams – as well as the opportunities we all have to develop amateur radio in the future. You can also read the editorial online at https://tinyurl.com/rsgb-success-story. Practical Wireless this month features a look at how the RSGB is supporting new and returning radio amateurs. From the Beyond Exams range of resources through to the Tonight @ 8 webinars and a new Facebook group, there is a lot on offer. You can read the article on the RSGB website too.

With the Covid-19 pandemic changing the face of rallies and conventions around the world, the RSGB Convention 2020 is going online. You will be able to enjoy some excellent lectures. On Saturday the 10th of October, the RSGB will be putting on two streams online for everyone to enjoy. The first stream is An introduction to… and the second stream is Learn more about.... You can find more information at www.rsgb.org.uk/convention. The first two lectures are The Small Station by Joe Chester, M1MWD and QRO Magnetic Loop Antennas with Rael Paster, M0RTP. In the small station, Joe M1MWD says that most of us don’t have the good fortune to own several acres of land on which to erect tall towers for beam antennas and have just one or two transceivers and an ATU on the corner of a table. But there is lots of fun to be had operating even the most modest radio station and he’ll look at how to get the best from limited equipment, or space. In his talk, Rael, M0RTP says that a transmitting magnetic loop antenna offers the amateur a compelling option for getting on the air and having access to all the HF bands when restricted for size and height of the antenna system at your QTH. He will cover DIY construction tips, tricks and traps for QRO operation and will provide an overview on how to remotely tune a magnetic loop. Find out more at www.rsgb.org.uk/convention.

Running slightly behind schedule, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a bumper Summer edition of TX Factor is now available. Episode 26 is packed full of pre-lockdown features including a very relaxed tea and biscuits interview with Tim Kirby, GW4VXE as he speaks of his big passion for VHF and UHF operating. Bob, G0FGX and Mike, G1IAR take the lid off Bob’s Icom IC-7300 and fit a Radio Analog PTRX-7300 RF interface module. Coupled with an inexpensive SDR receiver like the SDR Play RSP1A and your computer, this board gives you a proper panadapter display so you can use your mouse to click and pounce on the signals you want to hear. Bob also gets his hands on one of the very first Icom IC-705 all-mode QRP SDR transceivers to arrive in the UK and gives a comprehensive review of all its wonderous capabilities. TX Factor is viewable on all devices from smartphones to smart TVs and is available at www.txfactor.co.uk, or search for TX Factor on YouTube. TX Factor is sponsored by the RSGB and Martin Lynch and Sons.

Tim, G4YBU and Richard, G8ITB have planned a Summits on the Air Activity Weekend to be held on the 22nd and 23rd of August. The objective is to activate as many of the 15 summits in the Southern SOTA region of England. The event is for everyone. Bands and modes are down to the equipment that any particular operator owns, but it is suggested that 2 metres and 40 metres are very popular both on FM and SSB. Most of the summits in the Southern SOTA region are within easy driving distance of major towns and are a short walk to the summit itself; some actually have a car park within the activation area. For a detailed summit list see the SOTA website, www.sotadata.org.uk.

International Lighthouses and Lightships Weekend is still going ahead this year on the 22nd and 23rd of August. Participation will dependent on local circumstances and government rulings regarding border and national parks closures, social contact and so on. Wirral ARS will be operating using GB2BHL but operation will be from the club premises. Moray Firth ARS will also be taking part, using the callsign GB0CSL for Covesea Skerries Lighthouse. The station will be run from individual club members homes. Details of this are at www.mfars.club.

The GQRP club has released a detailed agenda for its Online Convention 2020, taking place on the 5th and 6th of September. The online event, which replaces the club’s annual GQRP convention, is open to existing members. There is a special rate for non-members that will include GQRP Club membership until January 2022. The two-day event comprises a series of online presentations and knowledge-sharing meetings where people can share ideas. For more information, and to view the full event schedule, see www.gqrp.com/convention.htm

The Netherlands IARU member society, VERON, is encouraging amateurs to use digital amateur television, DATV, in the 2m band on the 22nd of August between 1200 and 1600UTC. Using either 144.600 or 145.300MHz, signals should be DVB-S or DVB-S2 and have a Symbol rate 125k. Details are at www.veron.nl/nieuws/datv-experiment-2-meter/.

Now the special event news

Since the change of regulations applying to special event stations in the UK, many activations are now able to go ahead. UK amateurs would like to thank Ofcom for their help in making this happen.

Fort Purbrook ARC will put GB1PF on the air from member’s homes until the 17th of August. They will operate using CW, SSB and data across the HF/VHF/UHF bands. More information is on QRZ.com.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, the RSGB has organised a VJ Day amateur radio marathon on the HF bands and 6m using SSB, CW and digital modes. Three special UK callsigns GB75PEACE, GB1945PE, GB1945PJ will be on the air until the 31st of August. See www.rsgb.org/ve-vj-marathon.

August sees two GB80 Special Event Stations on the air, marking the critical role that radar played in the Battle of Britain 80 years ago. GB80BRS will be operated to commemorate Bawdsey Radar Station in Suffolk, where radar was developed in the late 1930s. This was the location of the world’s first operational radar station. Activity will be on 80 to 10m using SSB, CW and FT8. GB80CH, Chain Home, will be operated from Chelmsford in Essex.

And now the DX news

Commemorating the 105th anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli during World War I, special event stations TC3GP and TC3GS will be active until the 23rd of August. QSLs via YM3KCN.

Giorgio, YI/IU5HWS is with the military in Iraq and will be operating on 40, 20 and 10 metres until the end of November.

Now the contest news

There are no RSGB HF contests this month, as August is the month of the traditional summer holiday. That said, there is some doubt about going anywhere on holiday at present thanks to the current Covid-19 precautions! Please remember to check before the contest for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your own national and local government’s advice first and foremost, especially in the instance of local lockdowns.

RTTY operators can participate in the Scandinavian Amateur Radio Teleprinter Group contest. The first sessions were on Saturday but today, the 16th, it runs between 0800 and 1600UTC. The exchange is RST and serial number. Multipliers are DXCC entities and call areas in VK, VE, JA and W. See sartg.com/contest/wwrules.htm for full information.

On Tuesday the 1.3GHz UK Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Thursday the 70MHz UK Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 14th of August.

Sunspot region 2770 will have just about rotated out of view by the time you hear or read this. After a promising start it quickly faded away, but there is more hope as active region AR2771, belonging to Cycle 25, is forming in the Sun’s southeast quadrant. A secondary bright plage region is also now turning into view off the southeast limb, although it appears to be spotless for now. This is very encouraging as we think it shows that Sunspot Cycle 25 is ready to get under way. On Thursday the solar flux index was 74 with a sunspot number of 24.

Please note that on Propquest.co.uk, the feed from the Chilton ionosonde has been down for a few days, but if you switch to FF051 Fairford you’ll find that feed is working.

Daytime critical frequencies have generally been in the range 4 to 5.3MHz, which means that 40m remains unsuitable for close-in NVIS contacts around the UK. You may find 60m or 5MHz more reliable for inter-UK working. But critical frequencies are generally staying higher just after sunset, which can be good news for stations chasing DX. The charts suggest that 14MHz is remaining open to contacts over 3,000km until nearly local midnight.

Next week NOAA predicts the solar flux index will remain at around 72, with the largest Kp index being two. This reflects the fact that there are no Earth-facing coronal holes at present, although this can change without much notice. Active region 2771 could develop further, as could the plage area in the southeast quadrant. But it really is guesswork at this point.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

The weather pattern is changing into something much more unsettled generally, and not just in isolated instances of severe thunderstorms as we’ve seen recently. Tropo conditions were good in some parts as last week came to an end. It's easy to get Tropo over sea paths at this time of the year and, whilst there could still be some opportunities across the North Sea early next week, most areas will be in the realm of low pressure, so no more Tropo.

The Sporadic-E season has had a little boost by the recent meteor input from the Perseids so it's still worth looking at the usual times, mid-morning and late afternoon to early evening. The season can last into early September, so there’s still time.

Rain scatter should be the mode of choice this coming week, with a slow-moving area of low pressure over the country bringing thundery showers and spells of heavy rain to many places. It’s a good time to use one of the many radar displays available online to track the heavy rain cells and try some GHz band rain scatter.

Mid-August is a good time for meteor scatter, so keep that on the list as the Perseids meteor shower declines. Opinion was that this year was not a vintage one, with many reporting poorer performance than last year. That said, the meteorscan.com website showed hourly rates at over 100 around 0600 on the 12th and 13th.

The Moon was at peak declination yesterday and path losses are falling as we approach perigee on Friday, so it’s a good week for EME. 144MHz sky temperatures are low.

And that’s all from the propagation team this week.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for August 9th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for August 9th 2020.

August 7, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 9th of August 2020

The news headlines:

Remote invigilation helps hundreds

Check RSGB news online

Could you write for children?

The RSGB remote invigilation exams continue to help hundreds of people join the world of amateur radio and progress to the Intermediate licence level. From youngsters who have decided to learn a new skill whilst being off school during lockdown to older people who have overcome their fear of exams, they have wanted to share their stories in the hope of inspiring others to take the plunge! You can read some of these on the RSGB’s website at www.rsgb.org/gota2c-licensee-stories.

This is a really busy time for amateur radio and the Radio Society of Great Britain is supporting members and non-members alike during these changing times. Remember that you can see the RSGB’s main news on its website, and its RSGB Notices page in particular. Check there for updates to the Board, Volunteer Leadership Team and Regional Team as well as news about ‘Get on the air to care’, new initiatives and activities, exams and the syllabus, support and general services. It’s all at www.rsgb.org.

Have you ever written a book for children in the 11-13 age range? The RSGB is looking for an author of a book aimed at Key Stage 3 school children. This is intended to be an appropriately illustrated technical book, so experience of working with an illustrator will be very useful. We already have a suitable manuscript for the topic but it needs to be re-written for the intended audience. If you have relevant experience writing for young people we’d like to hear from you. Send details of yourself and your experience to authors@rsgb.org.uk.

The RSGB has released two more 2019 Convention presentations to its YouTube channel. In I can hear it, why won’t it decode?, Neil Smith, G4DBN explains choosing the best digital mode for Tropo DX at VHF and above. He also investigates multipath, scintillation, scatter modes and radio characteristics on signal coherence and decodability. In the second presentation, 122GHz and up, well-known microwaver Chris Whitmarsh, G0FDZ covers the challenges and equipment used on the 122, 134, 241GHz and higher bands. To see both of these presentations go to the RSGB YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/theRSGB.

The vintage SAQ Alexanderson alternator in Grimeton, Sweden, conducted its transmissions on 17.2kHz on the 5th of July as part of SAQ Alexanderson Day. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the transmitter hall was empty except for the five members of the Alexander Association who would make the transmissions. Visitors were directed towards the Visitor Centre. The planned two transmissions took place at 0900UTC and at 1200UTC and were livestreamed to their YouTube channel. They have received 630 unique listener reports from all over the world – a new record for SAQ Anderson Day. For QSL information, see www.alexander.n.se.

The Youth Working Group within the IARU Region 1 created a new programme called YOTA Online. In these monthly gatherings a team of active youngsters have presented different topics, while answering questions from the youth community. You can see the previous broadcasts at www.youtube.com/hamyota.

Now the special event news

Since the change of regulations applying to special event stations in the UK, many activations are now able to go ahead. UK amateurs would like to thank Ofcom for their help in making this happen.

Fort Palmerston ARC will put GB1PF on the air from member’s homes between the 14th and 17th of August. They will operate using CW, SSB and data across the HF/VHF/UHF bands. More information on QRZ.com.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, the RSGB has organised a VJ Day amateur radio marathon on the HF bands and 6m using SSB, CW and digital modes. Three special UK callsigns GB75PEACE, GB1945PE, GB1945PJ will be on the air from the 1st to the 31st of August. The special stations have their own QRZ.com pages with details of the activation schedule. Full details of the radio marathon and the five awards are on the Society’s radio marathon web page, www.rsgb.org/ve-vj-marathon.

August sees two GB80 Special Event Stations on the air to mark the critical role that radar played in the Battle of Britain 80 years ago. GB80BRS will be operated to commemorate Bawdsey Radar Station in Suffolk, where radar was developed in the late 1930s and was the location of the world’s first operational radar station. Activity will be on 80 to 10m using SSB, CW and FT8. GB80CH will be operated from Chelmsford in Essex, which has the most complete surviving radar tower from the Battle of Britain. The BAE Systems Great Baddow Amateur Radio, club with amateur colleagues in local clubs, will be operating across the HF and 6m bands.

And now the DX news

Celebrating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Korea on the 15th of August 1945, members of the Korean Amateur Radio League will be active as HL75V until the end of August. QSL via 6K0MF.

Commemorating the 105th anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli during World War I, special event stations TC3GP and TC3GS will be active until the 23rd of August. QSLs via YM3KCN.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the events for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your own government’s advice first and foremost.

The WAE DX CW contest ends its 48 hour run at 2359UTC today, the 9th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, European stations work non-Europeans only. The exchange is signal report and serial number.

Today, the 9th, it’s the 5th 70MHz Cumulative contest from 1400 to 1600UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Tuesday the 432MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1800 to 1855UTC. It is followed by the all-mode 432MHz UK Activity Contest from 1900 to 2130UTC. The exchange is the same from both contests, signal report, serial number and locator.

On Thursday it’s the 50MHz UK Activity Contest from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 7th of August.

The week started with a geomagnetic disturbance caused by a high-speed stream from a coronal hole, which moved past the Earth at a speed in excess of 500 kilometres per second. This was not predicted by NOAA, but it was from a long coronal hole limb that stretched towards the solar equator. It pushed the Kp index to four in the early hours of Monday, causing a depletion of the F2 layer that impacted HF for much of the morning. MUFs over a 3,000km path struggled to get up to 14MHz until 0930hrs. Meanwhile, we are seeing some more activity on the sunspot front. A new Cycle 25 region numbered 2770 rotated into view, pushing the sunspot number to 13 and the solar flux index to 73. While this isn’t too exciting, it is another step in the right direction. This sunspot region has been emitting a lot of B-class solar flares and we expect that to continue. Next week, NOAA predicts that the solar flux index will return to 69-71 with a maximum Kp index of two. At the time of writing, there were no coronal holes looking to threaten Earth.

The Sporadic-E season is now well past its peak, but there is always hope for openings on 10m, especially with high-efficiency modes like FT8. We expect daytime F2-layer MUFs to peak above 14MHz, with occasional openings on 18MHz. Night-time MUFS over a 3,000km path should remain above 10MHz after paths on 20m close at around 2200hrs.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

The VHF highlight next week is the annual Perseids meteor shower, peaking on the 12th with a huge ZHR of 100. This is the big opportunity to try meteor scatter on digimodes, with a very good chance of results. Read up on the procedures, bands and modes before you dive in, to avoid disappointment.

It's a mixed selection of propagation weather this week. The south and east had some Tropo options last week and will do again into early next week, with a particularly strong indication from northern Britain across the North Sea at the end of this weekend. It also looks likely that a developing ridge from high pressure over the Atlantic will give a return of Tropo potential at the end of the week, especially in the north and west. In between these two Tropo periods, the weather is essentially unsettled, with a tendency to produce slow-moving areas of showers. It’s quite likely that some will be heavy and thundery. This bodes well for GHz rain scatter opportunities, especially from the heavier showers.

It’s still worth a shout out for Sporadic-E, which is not over yet, although events are harder to find using CW or SSB. It's not looking like a good set of jet stream charts, so as we said earlier FT8 is a good first place to look.

Moon declination is positive and rising this week so peak Moon elevations and visibility windows will follow suit. Combined with falling path losses, it’s an improving week for EME. 144MHz sky noise is low, peaking on Friday at 500K.

And that’s all from the propagation team this week.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for August 2nd 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for August 2nd 2020.

July 31, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 2nd of August 2020

The news headlines:

Intermediate Exam practical assessment abolished

RSGB creates Facebook group for new licensees

Australia increases amateur licence flexibility

The Examination Standards Committee is pleased to announce the latest syllabus revision for the amateur radio licence examinations. Following the valuable feedback from the tutor community, certain points have been clarified. There are no new learning points with this revision, version 1.4, but one very significant change is that the Intermediate practical assessment is to be discontinued with immediate effect. Some of the feedback has indicated a further syllabus revision that will involve new learning points. Further consultations will commence regarding this in the autumn with an expected publication date of January 2021, and the content examinable from July 2021. All the documents are on the Society’s website at www.rsgb.org/syllabus2019

As part of its continuing Get on the air to care initiative, the RSGB has created a Facebook group to support new Foundation licensees who have taken their exam this year via remote invigilation, plus those returning to amateur radio after a number of years. For details on how to join the group, see www.rsgb.org/beyond-exams.

The Australian comms regulator ACMA has announced a series of changes to give Australian amateurs more options and flexibility. Digital modes and shorter three-letter callsigns will now be available to Australian Foundation Licensees. In addition, regional identifiers that indicate which State any amateur is located no longer need be changed when travelling across the country. Further details are available from the Wireless Institute of Australia at https://tinyurl.com/gb2rs-au.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, the RSGB has organised a VJ Day amateur radio marathon on the HF bands and 6m using SSB, CW and digital modes. Three special UK callsigns GB75PEACE, GB1945PE, GB1945PJ will be on the air from the 1st to the 31st of August. The special stations have their own QRZ.com pages with details of the activation schedule. If you wish to participate and transmit using a VJ Day radio marathon callsign, contact Ian, G0FCT via email to csc.chair@rsgb.org.uk. Full details of the radio marathon and the five awards are on the Society’s radio marathon web page, www.rsgb.org/ve-vj-marathon.

Around 80 papers are now available online for the IARU Region 1 Virtual General Conference that will be held in October. Several inputs on a variety of topics are by a team of RSGB volunteers, covering HF-UHF Modernisation, support for innovation and the WRC-23 challenge in the 23cm band. The RSGB band plans may also be updated to take account of the outcome in January 2021. Full information can be found at https://rsgb.org/main/rsgb-consultations/iaru-consultations.

A Facebook group promoting Special Event Stations within the UK now has over 1000 members. Any radio amateur or SWL with an interest in organising, operating or working special event stations is welcome. The group is run by Mark, G1PIE, Martyn, MM0XXW and Pam, 2E1HQY. See www.facebook.com/groups/SESUk.

Milton Keynes ARS tells us that their training team has been part of the remote invigilating of exams. Over 300 candidates have been invigilated by Francis, M0UKF and Nigel, M0NYG since the online scheme started in April. The club thanks them for their efforts. Francis is taking a well-earned break to focus on other projects.

The objective of the AMSAT-UK OSCAR Satellite QSO Party is to encourage all radio amateurs to make contacts via satellites during northern hemisphere summer. The event runs until 2359UTC on the 22nd of September. Prizes will be awarded to the leading entries. Full details are at https://amsat-uk.org.

Now the special event news

Since the change of regulations applying to special event stations in the UK, many activations are now able to go ahead. UK amateurs would like to thank Ofcom for their help in making this happen.

August sees two GB80 Special Event Stations on the air to mark the critical role that radar played in the Battle of Britain 80 years ago. GB80BRS will be operated to commemorate Bawdsey Radar Station in Suffolk, which was where radar was developed in the late 1930s and was the location of the world’s first operational radar station. Activity will be on 80m to 10m bands using SSB, CW and FT8. GB80CH will be operated from Chelmsford in Essex, which has the most complete surviving radar tower from the Battle of Britain. The BAE Systems Great Baddow Amateur Radio, club with amateur colleagues in local clubs, will be operating across the HF and 6m bands.

And now the DX news

Tony, OH1TD is active again from his summer QTH on Korpo Island, IOTA reference EU-096, until September. QSL via his home callsign, either direct or via the bureau.

Mike, XW2DX is currently active as XW2DX from Vientiane and will be staying in Laos for the next few years. He is allowed to operate on the 20, 15 and 10m bands. QSL via RM0L.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the events for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your own government’s advice first and foremost.

Today, the 2nd, the 432MHz Low Power Contest is single operator only from 0800 to 1200UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number, locator and first two letters of your postcode.

On Tuesday the 144MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1800 to 1855UTC. It is followed by the 144MHz UK Activity Contest from 1900 to 2130UTC. The exchange for both is signal report, serial number and locator.

Next weekend is the WAE DX CW contest from 0000UTC on the 8th to 2359UTC on the 9th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, European stations work non-Europeans only. The exchange is signal report and serial number.

Next Sunday, the 9th, it’s the 5th 70MHz Cumulative contest from 1400 to 1600UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 31st of July.

The Sun showed signs of coming back to life this week with not one but two sunspot groups. The sunspot number climbed to 22, representing two spots in two separate groups, and the solar flux index rose to 73. This wasn’t really enough to make much of a difference to HF propagation though, but it is a step in the right direction. The Kp index was pegged pretty much at one or two due to a lack of coronal hole activity.

Propagation-wise, we continued to have a good run of Sporadic-E, with openings to the USA and Canada on 10m SSB and FT8, and China was reported on SSB in last weekend’s IOTA contest. Even Nand, VU2NKS in India has been reported in the UK via 10m FT8. Next week NOAA predicts that the solar flux index will decline from 72 down to 68 as the two sunspots rotate out of view. The Kp index should remain low all week as well due to a lack of coronal hole activity. Propagation will remain at seasonal lows as we enter August, with daytime F2 maximum usable frequencies grazing 17-18MHz, with Sporadic-E bringing openings up to 30MHz and beyond. Night-time maximum usable frequencies are likely to exceed 10MHz over 3,000km paths, but keep an eye on Propquest.co.uk for the odd surprise. We can’t really expect F2 layer openings to improve until September, so make the most of the Sporadic-E openings for now.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

The next week or so looks to be a mix of brief spells when high pressure might present us with some Tropo, as seen just recently at the end of the last week, due to a temporary high over the near continent. The longer-range part of the forecast also picks up another high at the end of the coming week, although for both these highs, the main areas of enhanced Tropo are for central and southern Britain across the Channel and North Sea into the continent and Baltic region.

The period in between the two high-pressure ‘bookends’ is occupied by low-pressure systems with fronts and showery troughs adding a good chance of rain scatter again on the GHz bands. The summer months are particularly good for strong thundery shower-cloud development with plenty of high-intensity rainfall or hail.

Sporadic-E has performed fairly well in the last week, particularly for FT8, but with a smattering of more traditional modes. The general advice still holds – check the bands mid-morning, late afternoon and early evening for signs of Sporadic-E. It's never too late for Sporadic-E until maybe the end of the first week in September, so it's still well worth a look.

The Moon is at minimum declination today so there will be very low peak Moon elevations and short visibility windows early in the week. This means that, despite 144MHz sky noise being low, the man-made noise from the horizon will be in the main beam of all but the largest antennas.

There are no significant meteor showers this week.

And that’s all from the propagation team this week.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for July 26th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for July 26th 2020.

July 24, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 26th of July 2020

The news headlines:

Over 400 remote-invigilation Intermediate exams booked

July’s RadCom Basic’s free to all

Tokyo Ham Fair cancelled

Since bookings opened on the 13th of July, the RSGB is delighted that over 400 people have booked a remote-invigilation Intermediate exam, with over 250 registering on the first day! These exams take place from the 12th of August and we wish the candidates well with their studying and the exam.

With more than 1000 remote-invigilation Foundation licence students having passed, the RSGB is making the July edition of RadCom Basics a special free-to-everyone edition. With many radio amateurs world-wide still affected by national lockdown restrictions, RadCom Basics is an opportunity to introduce elements of the hobby to newcomers in bite-sized pieces. To read the July copy of this bi-monthly online publication, go to www.rsgb.org/radcom-basics.

The Japanese national society, JARL, has announced that the Tokyo Ham Fair, due to be held on the 31st of October and the 1st of November has been cancelled due to coronavirus. In 2019, 42,000 people are reported to have visited the event that usually takes place in August, it was moved to later in 2020 because of the expected Olympic and Paralympic Games during the summer.

The objective of the AMSAT-UK OSCAR Satellite QSO Party is to encourage all radio amateurs to make contacts via satellites during northern hemisphere summer. Whether you are a seasoned operator or a newcomer, all are welcome. Although points are given per QSO, this isn’t a contest. The QSO Party will be supported by an online leader-board that will be available from the start of the event, which runs from 0000UTC on the 1st of August until 2359UTC on the 22nd of September. Prizes will be awarded to the leading entries, full details at https://amsat-uk.org.

The RSGB’s Tonight @ 8 webinars continue on Monday the 27th of July with a presentation by Dom Smith, M0BLF on Getting started on QO-100. You can watch the livestream and ask questions on both the RSGB YouTube channel or the special Tonight @ 8 channel on the BATC website. The webinar series takes a break in August then will be back on the 7th of September with James Stevens, M0JCQ who will be talking about Portable adventures with Summits on the Air. You can find out more about all the webinars via the RSGB website at www.rsgb.org/webinars.

NZART, the New Zealand National Amateur Radio Society, has published an update on its 60m band page indicating that the current New Zealand 60m trial period, which was due to have been concluded on the 24th of July has been extended for a further three months until the 24th of October. Go to www.nzart.org.nz/info/60m/ for more information.

The European Space Agency has released a new video ‘How to get pictures from the International Space Station via Amateur Radio’ that features radio amateur David Honess, 2E0XDO. It also has a collection of tutorial videos explaining how to receive ISS Slow Scan TV pictures for different computers and mobile devices. Go to https://tinyurl.com/gb2rs-iss to find out more.

The RSGB has uploaded two more 2019 Convention lecture videos to its YouTube channel. In the first one, Richard Banester, G4CDN talks about 2m Ionoscatter and using digital modes to open up paths that are usually unworkable. The second presentation is by Dean Pesnell from the Solar Dynamics Observatory who explains more about the Observatory and how studying the Sun helps us understand the Earth and amateur radio. Go to www.youtube.com/theRSGB to watch these presentations.

Now the special event news

Since the change of regulations applying to special event stations in the UK, many activations are now able to go ahead. UK amateurs would like to thank Ofcom for their help in making this happen.

August sees two GB80 Special Event Stations come on air marking the critical role that radar played in the Battle of Britain 80 years ago. GB80BRS will be operated to commemorate Bawdsey Radar Station in Suffolk, which was where radar was developed in the late 1930s and was the location of the world’s first operational radar station. Operation will be on 10m to 80m bands, SSB, CW and FT8. GB80CH will be operated from Chelmsford in Essex, which has the most complete surviving radar tower from the Battle of Britain. The BAE Systems Great Baddow Amateur Radio, club with amateur colleagues in local clubs will be operating across the HF+6m bands.

And now the DX news

Tony, OH1TD is active again from his summer QTH on Korpo Island, EU-096, until September. QSL via his home callsign either direct or via the bureau.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the events for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your own government’s advice first and foremost.

Today, the 26th, the UK Microwave Group contest runs from 0600 to 1800UTC. Using all modes in the 5.7 and 10GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The RSGB’s Islands On The Air contest ends its 24-hour run at 1200UTC today, the 26th. It’s CW and SSB only on the 3.5 to 28MHz bands and the exchange is signal report, serial number and your IOTA reference. Mainland Britain is EU-005, mainland Ireland is EU-115, while smaller islands have differing references. A full list can be found at www.qrz.com/i/iota.html. The IOTA contest has been scaled back this year, with no portable entries being accepted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Monday the sixth FT4 series contest runs from 1900 to 2030UTC. Using the 3.5MHz band only the exchange is your 4-character locator.

On Tuesday the SHF UK Activity Contest runs from 1830 to 2200UTC. Using all modes on the 2.3GHz and Up bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The fourth 144MHz Backpacker contest takes place on Saturday the 1st of August but with single operator entries only. Running from 1400 to 1800UTC, it’s all mode with the exchange of signal report, serial number and locator.

Also on the 1st of August, the 144MHz Low Power Contest runs from 1400 to 2000UTC. Again this is single operator only entries. Using all modes the exchange is signal report, serial number, locator and first two letters of your postcode.

The Worked All Britain 144MHz Low power phone contest takes place next Saturday, the 1st of August from 1400 to 1800UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square for UK stations. Entries need to be with the contest manager by the 11th of August. The maximum power for this contest is 10 watts input to the antenna. Mobile and portable entries are allowed but no club or multi-operator entries. Full details from www.worked-all-britain.org.uk.

Next Sunday, the 2nd, the 432MHz Low Power Contest is single operator only from 0800 to 1200UTC. Using all modes the exchange is signal report, serial number, locator and first two letters of your postcode.

The UK Six Metre Group’s Summer Marathon runs until the 2nd of August. Using all modes on the 50MHz band, the exchange is your 4-character locator.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 24th of July.

We had quite a quiet week with the Sun with zero sunspots and a settled geomagnetic field. The solar wind speed was slow, between 280 and 330km per second, and its magnetic field was weak, with no significant negative deflections in its important North-South Bz direction. Therefore, the resultant geomagnetic activity was settled.

On the 21st a sunspot appeared around the Sun’s limb. Now classified as sunspot group 2767, on Thursday it contained one sunspot, but its simple uni-polar magnetic signature suggests it is non threatening.

We do expect the Kp index to rise on Friday the 24th due to the arrival of a coronal hole high speed stream. Modest magnetic enhancement is also forecast for the 25th of July with the possible arrival of a slow CME from the 19th.

Expect a possible pre-aurora enhancement followed by the potential for suppressed maximum usable frequencies over the weekend and into early next week.

HF conditions have been generally lacklustre, but Laurie, G3UML reports that WH6FXL and WA6QDQ/KH6, both in Hawaii, were both quite readable signals on 20m SSB at 0800 on Wednesday. Tom, GM4FDM reports working two JAs on 17m using his newly-erected dipole. The 10m UK Net group on Facebook also reported an FT8 opening to Japan on Monday as well.

This just goes to show that you shouldn’t just write off the Summer as being no good for DX.

Next week NOAA predicts the solar flux index will remain in the high 60s with the Kp index between two and three. This generally suggests that HF conditions will remain similar to last week. Expect Sporadic-E openings on 10 metres to continue, although not at the rate that we had earlier in the month.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

A series of low-pressure systems passing close by northern Scotland and various fronts crossing the country mean that there are likely to be few opportunities for Tropo this week. High pressure is displaced to the south over France so any Tropo will be mostly likely from southern England into the continent or across Biscay to Spain. That brings rain scatter on the GHz bands onto the agenda for many regions of the UK at some time or other during the coming week.

Sporadic-E still warrants a mention, but it is becoming more elusive as we move towards August. It's not a 'no chance', but it will need some strategy for being in the right place at the right time. The best options will be to monitor 10m or 6m mid-morning and again late afternoon or early evening. Paths on FT8 will prove good indicators of which direction might deliver as the Es develops.

With the Moon declination negative and falling further as the week progresses, Moon visibility windows will shorten and peak elevation will be just 32 degrees today and falling, leading up to minimum declination a week today.

Perigee was yesterday, Saturday the 1st, so path losses are now increasing. 144MHz sky noise peaks at 2,500 Kelvin on Friday, so low noise preamps won’t help you that day.

The Southern Delta Aquarids meteor shower has a broad peak from the 26th to the 31st with a Zenithal Hourly Rate of 25, so look for enhanced meteor scatter activity in the coming week. In Europe, the shower radiant is above the horizon at night or in the early mornings.

And that’s all from the propagation team this week.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for July 19th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for July 19th 2020.

July 17, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 19th of July 2020

The news headlines:

Over 1000 online exams passed

Ofcom publishes EMF consultation responses

Covid-19 cancels National Hamfest

The RSGB is delighted to announce that recently the 1,000th person has passed the Foundation exam via remote invigilation. Congratulations to them and everyone else who has joined amateur radio via this exam process. To celebrate, the Society has launched a new web page to share the stories of just some of these successful candidates. Go to www.rsgb.org/gota2c-licensee-stories to read what attracted them to amateur radio and what they are hoping to do next.

Ofcom has published the responses to the EMF consultation on their website. A link can be found on the RSGB’s EMF webpage at http://rsgb.org/emf. The RSGB would like to thank the 255 of you who took the time to respond either individually or on behalf of your organisation. The majority of all responders were against the proposals. Now that ICNIRP guidelines 2020 have been published, the RSGB is preparing updated guidelines and advice as to how to operate your stations within these guidelines. These will be published on the EMC pages of the website later this year. This guidance is being prepared by a group of experts from the amateur community including the editors of the IEEE Standard for Safety Levels for Human Exposure to EMF fields.

It is with much regret that the organisers of the National Hamfest have cancelled the 2020 event. This was due to be held on Friday the 25th and Saturday the 26th of September. In consideration of their primary responsibilities to the health and welfare of volunteers, traders and visitors they have decided that this cancellation is the right decision. The environment in which the event is held presents unique and very difficult challenges in protecting social distancing, preventing handling of equipment and controlling numbers in a confined area. Arrangements are in hand for returning to the Newark Showground on the 24th and the 25th of September 2021 and they look forward to seeing you there.

Registrations for this year’s popular International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend appear to have been largely unaffected by the current Covid-19 pandemic. The event will take place this year on the 22nd and 23rd of August. By mid-July, more than 200 entries had been received. New this year is Corsica, registered as lighthouse FR0030, and two lighthouses in Ghana will be on the air for the first time. All participants are urged to observe local COVID-19 safety guidelines. Find out more at https://illw.net.

The Reverse Beacon Network will gain 15 new nodes, thanks to the Yasme Foundation. These will be added in regions where there is a need for reception reports to support amateur radio operation and where those reports will also have scientific value for geophysical research. The Yasme Foundation was assisted in this effort by supporting grants from Amateur Radio Digital Communications and by scientific advice from HamSCI researchers. Node locations will be available after a final list of hosts is available. 

Despite the closure of many amateur radio events, you can still visit the online QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo on the 8th and 9th of August. Attendance is free and registration is now open. There will be around 70 speakers over the weekend including Ward Silver, N0AX speaking on Grounding and Bonding; Glen Johnson, W0GJ talking DXpeditions and John Portune, W6NBC on building slot antennas. Go to www.qsotodayhamexpo.com to learn more and register.

Now the special event news

Since the change of regulations applying to special event stations in the UK, many activations are now able to go ahead. UK amateurs would like to thank Ofcom for their help in making this happen.

To commemorate the 3rd anniversary of the FT8 Digital Mode Club, special event stations will be on air during the FT8DMC Activity Days until the 31st of July. All stations will bear the FTDMC or FTDM suffix. An FTDMC Anniversary Award can be earned by working the FTDMC and FTDM stations and collecting points applicable for various award classes. See www.ft8dmc.eu for more details.

And now the DX news

Joe, K5KUA will participate in the IOTA Contest next weekend from his home QTH on Galveston Island,
NA-143. He will operate mainly CW with some SSB. QSL direct or bureau and Logbook of The World.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the events for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your own government’s advice first and foremost.

Today, the 19th, the Low Power Contest runs from 0900 to 1600UTC. This is CW only on the 3.5 to 14MHz contest bands, with an exchange of signal report, serial number and power. This is the only RSGB contest with a lunch break, so please check the rules.

The 70MHz Trophy contest also takes place today, the 19th. It runs from 1000 to 1600UTC. It’s all mode and the exchange is signal report, serial number, locator and postcode.

On Tuesday the 1.3GHz UK Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Thursday it is the data leg of the 80m Club Championships between 1900 and 2030UTC. The exchange is signal report and serial number.

Next weekend, the UK Microwave Group contest runs from 0600 to 1800UTC. Using all modes in the 5.7 and 10GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The RSGB’s Islands On The Air contest takes place over the weekend of the 25th and 26th of July. The exchange is signal report, serial number and your IOTA reference. Mainland Britain is EU-005, mainland Ireland is EU-115, while smaller islands have differing references. A full list can be found at www.qrz.com/i/iota.html. The IOTA contest has been scaled back this year, with no portable entries being accepted due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Running from 1200UTC on the 25th to 1200UTC on the 25th, it is CW and SSB only on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands.

The UK Six Metre Group’s Summer Marathon runs until the 2nd of August. Using all modes on the 50MHz band, the exchange is your 4-character locator.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 17th of July.

Last week a coronal mass ejection caught space weather experts by surprise, sending the Kp index up to four for around nine hours on Tuesday. The stream had a strong southward component in its Bz field, which meant it could more easily couple with the Earth’s magnetic field. The weak CME passage was enough to generate aurora at higher latitudes. Otherwise, the Sun was relatively quiet with zero sunspots and a solar flux index of 68-69 all week. Ten metre Sporadic-E has become less prevalent this week, with Thursday showing mostly weak openings to Mauritania, Spain, Sicily and Corsica.

Next week NOAA still predicts more of the same with a solar flux index of 68 and zero sunspots. There are signs of coronal holes on the Sun’s surface, which could result in unsettled geomagnetic conditions at times due to high-speed solar wind streams. The STEREO Ahead spacecraft’s extreme ultraviolet view shows signs of a hot spot on the Sun, which will rotate into view over the next week. This could be the precursor of a sunspot, but only time will tell. Meanwhile, daytime F2-layer maximum usable frequencies are still exceeding 20m, with occasional openings on 17m. Sporadic E openings still occur virtually daily with openings up to 10m. Night-time F-layer MUFs occasionally exceed 20m, especially up to around midnight.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

This weekend we have developing high pressure over southern Britain, and it should provide some good Tropo opportunities, especially across the Channel and over Biscay into Spain and down the west coast of Africa. It’s also worth noting that the Mediterranean is in full-on summer mode with strong ducts over the sea from most of the usual holiday destinations, for example EA6 to IS0. These Tropo conditions should last into the middle of the week. After that, the models seem to suggest a return to more unsettled conditions as a front moves south bringing rain and heavy showers, some thundery, particularly in the south, and this weather type will last into the following weekend. So, there should be some strong rain scatter conditions on the GHz bands in the second half of the week.

There have been some very strong Sporadic-E events all the way up to 2m during the last week. The traditional components like jet streams make a strong showing on the upper air charts, so I would expect to see further Sporadic-E popping up next week, so check the bands mid morning and early evening. With the Moon at peak declination today and path losses falling as we approach perigee next weekend, it’s a good week for EME. Although 144MHz sky noise is low all week, the exception is Monday afternoon when the Sun and Moon are close in the sky. There are no major meteor showers this week, so keep looking around local dawn for the best random contacts.

And that’s all from the propagation team this week.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for July 12th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for July 12th 2020.

July 10, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 12th of July 2020

The news headlines:

RSGB online Convention streams announced

Latest news on ‘Get on the air to care’

RSGB expands Remote Invigilation to Intermediate exams

The RSGB online Convention will consist of two streams. The first is called “An introduction to…” and will include a wide range of topics to support new and returning radio amateurs as well as existing amateurs who’d like to try something new. The second is “Learn more about…”, where speakers will dig deeper into the details of the subjects. We’re also pleased to announce that Eric Swartz, WA6HHQ, who is the co-founder of Elecraft, will be our keynote speaker. We’ll be releasing more details of the presentations over the next few weeks.

The RSGB and NHS ‘Get on the air to care’ campaign continues to gain coverage in the national and amateur radio media as well as being supported by clubs and radio amateurs. There are some great stories to read on the Society’s website that feature clubs like Denby Dale ARS, individuals such as remote exam invigilator Donna, M7DON and publications ranging from the Emergency Services Times to ‘Third Age Matters’, which is the magazine of U3A. Go to www.rsgb.org/gota2c to find out more.

Following on from the success of remote invigilation of Foundation exams, the RSGB is pleased to expand that to include Intermediate exams. From this Monday, the 13th of July, the automated exam booking system will accept bookings for both Foundation and Intermediate level exams. Please note that the earliest available bookings for exams at either level are during the second week in August. The requirement for Intermediate practical assessments is waived until further notice, but this will be reviewed at a later stage.

An article has just been published in Nature about the first amateur radio communication system in lunar orbit, Longjiang-2, also known as Lunar-OSCAR 94 or LO-94. It was built by students at the Harbin Institute of Technology. Read the Nature article at www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-17272-8. Thanks to the Spectrum Forum for this information.

Despite the closure of many amateur radio events, you can still visit the online QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo on the 8th and 9th of August. Attendance is free and registration is now open. There will be around 70 speakers over the weekend including Ward Silver, N0AX speaking on Grounding and Bonding; Glen Johnson, W0GJ talking DXpeditions and John Portune, W6NBC on building slot antennas. Go to www.qsotodayhamexpo.com to learn more and register.

John Armstrong, GW3EJR will be celebrating his 100th birthday on the 18th of July. He told us that, “It has been a long journey since 1920, although a rather shorter one from when I got my callsign, G3EJR, in 1948. I am still active, using a very ancient Icom IC-706, with a full size G5RV on HF and a Yagi on the 2m band. When I go out and about, I go on 2m with a Baofeng UV-5R5.” Many happy returns John.

Ofcom have advised the RSGB that their online portal was due to be down between 4.30am and 11.30am on Saturday the 11th of July.

Mid Ulster ARC have been holding online talks during the Covid-19 pandemic. These talks are available for everyone to view on the club’s YouTube channel. Last week RSGB Region 8 representative Philip Hosey, MI0MSO made a presentation, which was followed by a Q&A session with RSGB General Manager Steve Thomas, M1ACB. They have also had talks by Dom, M0BLF on QO-100, George, GI4SJQ on coaxial cable and connectors and Tony, G2NF speaking about urban QRM, amongst several others. The MUARC YouTube channel is at https://tinyurl.com/GB2RS-07-12.

Now the special event news

Since the change of regulations applying to special event stations in the UK, many activations are now able to go ahead. UK amateurs would like to thank Ofcom for their help in making this happen.

To commemorate the 3rd anniversary of the FT8 Digital Mode Club, special event stations will be on air during the FT8DMC Activity Days until the 31st of July. All stations will bear the FTDMC or FTDM suffix. An FTDMC Anniversary Award can be earned by working the FTDMC and FTDM stations and collecting points applicable for various award classes. See www.ft8dmc.eu for more details.

9A164T is the special callsign to commemorate the birth of Nikola Tesla, who was born on 10 July 1856. QSL via the bureau and eQSL.

VC3STYWELL is the third Covid-19 special callsign to be operated by The Seven Thirty Social Distancing Nets in Ontario. It is on the air until the 19th of July. QSLs via VE3ES.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the events for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your own government’s advice first and foremost.

The IARU HF Championship runs for 24 hours until 1200UTC today, the 12th. Using SSB only on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and ITU Zone, which is 27 for the UK.

On Tuesday the 432MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1800 to 1855UTC. Then from 1900 to 2130UTC it’s the all-mode 432MHz UK Activity Contest. The exchange for both is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Wednesday it is the SSB leg of the 80m Club Championships, running from 1900 to 2030UTC. The exchange is signal report and serial number.

The 70MHz UK Activity contest takes place on Thursday from 1900 to 2130UTC. It’s all mode and the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Next Sunday, the 19th, the Low Power Contest runs from 0900 to 1600UTC. This is CW only on the 3.5 to 14MHz contest bands, with an exchange of signal report, serial number and power. This is the only RSGB contest with a lunch break, so please check the rules.

The 70MHz Trophy contest also takes place on Sunday the 19th. It runs from 1000 to 1600UTC. It’s all mode and the exchange is signal report, serial number, locator and postcode.

The UK Six Metre Group’s Summer Marathon runs until the 2nd of August. Using all modes on the 50MHz band, the exchange is your 4-character locator.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 10th of July.

An elevated solar wind stream moved past Earth late on the 4th of July and early on the 5th, sending the Kp index to three. This was the most significant solar event of the last week as otherwise the Sun remained calm. The Kp index remained at one or zero for the rest of the week, which no doubt helped boost propagation. There were no sunspots this week after the minor group, region 2766, which pushed the sunspot number to 12, vanished on Monday. Note that the number 12 represents two sunspots (2) in one group (+10), so it wasn’t quite as exciting as it sounds. Otherwise there was little to write home about. Sporadic-E continues to be the major mode of propagation, although there were days when it was more sporadic than the previous week! We have probably seen the best of the Sporadic-E season now although it should keep running until late August, albeit at lower levels. If previous experience is anything to go by, we can expect a few bigger openings yet so please don’t write off 10 metres completely.

The NOAA space weather prediction for next week doesn’t exactly inspire either. It has the solar flux index pegged at 68-69, with a maximum planetary Kp index of two. The STEREO Ahead spacecraft view shows very little in the way of forthcoming activity, other than a few bright spots in the extreme ultraviolet view that may or may not come to something as the Sun rotates.

Looking for some good news, according to the Chilton ionosonde data, 20 metres is generally staying open on 3,000km paths until around midnight on most nights, although you may find 30 metres more reliable.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

It’s looking like another week of changes with last week’s unsettled weather making way for a new ridge of high pressure over this weekend. This means that, after a period of potential GHz bands rain scatter, we are now heading into some Tropo prospects, especially in the south for paths into France and across Biscay to Spain. But low pressure is never far away to the north, particularly after mid-week when a low passes close to Scotland and showery fronts are driven across the country to give a few rain scatter options again.

The Sporadic-E season is still out there and as usual the best advice is to check the bands and clusters for activity mid-morning and again late afternoon and early evening.

Moon declination goes positive today and 144MHz sky noise is low but rising as the week progresses. Apogee is tonight so path losses will be falling throughout the week. Peak Moon declination is just a week away, meaning longer Moon windows – time to get that EME system up and running again.

There are no major meteor showers this week, so continue to operate around local dawn for the best chance of random meteor scatter contacts.

And that’s all from the propagation team this week.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for July 5th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for July 5th 2020.

July 3, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 5th of July 2020

The news headlines:

Celebrate the NHS with Get on the air to care

Contest Committee to relax Covid-19 rules

IARU appoints new EMC Coordinator

The RSGB’s ‘Get on the air to care’ campaign with the NHS is celebrating the NHS’ 72nd birthday today, Sunday the 5th of July. The Society is encouraging all radio amateurs to 'Get on the air to care' to mark the celebration and to use /NHS after their callsign. Share photos on the RSGB Facebook or Twitter accounts and make sure you add #GOTA2C to your message. You can also email photos to comms@rsgb.org.uk. For more info about the NHS birthday see the NHS website, www.england.nhs.uk/nhsbirthday/about-the-nhs-birthday.

As we’re all aware, the changes to Covid-19 restrictions have been coming thick and fast recently, but they have also remained inconsistent across the different parts of the UK. The Contest Committee is preparing to allow Single Operator Portable entries to RSGB contests again from Tuesday the 7th of July. This is in time for the 2m UK Activity Contest and FM Activity Contest as well as the HF Low Power contest on the 19th of July. All activities must be properly socially distanced. All station activity, including station assembly, must be carried out by the operator, or only with support from people who are living at the same household. The RSGB is not opening up normal multi-operator contesting as in section ‘O’ entries at this time. Any local Covid-19 restrictions, such as any limitation on access to particular public locations, must be strictly observed. Please keep a close eye on the Contest Committee website www.rsgbcc.org for the latest updates.

The IARU Administrative Council has appointed Martin Sach, G8KDF, as global Electromagnetic Compatibility Coordinator, succeeding Tore Worren, LA9QL. The EMC Coordinator’s mission is to ensure that the concerns and needs of radio amateurs are effectively addressed in international standards bodies, particularly CISPR and the ITU, as well as in regional telecommunication organisations and at national levels through IARU member societies. Assisting in the effort is a network of volunteers with expertise in the field of EMC. Martin is also the RSGB IARU EMC Liaison.

RSGB General Manager Steve Thomas, M1ACB joined the Denby Dale ARC online meeting to hear Dan, KB6NU speak on Having Fun with Morse Code. After Dan’s talk and the question and answer session, the club asked Steve to do a Q&A session. There were a wide range of questions on current topics. Dan’s talk and both Q&A sessions are on YouTube at https://youtu.be/noC1pxTswg4.

In the light of the Covid-19 restrictions, the IARU Region 1 Executive Committee has split the 2020 General Conference into two parts. The first part in October will be a virtual conference and the second, in-person part will be in 2021. The IARU and its Member Societies face some very significant challenges for the future to ensure that growth into amateur radio is further stimulated and that Member Societies and the IARU continue to be seen as relevant and supportive by new entrants. The 2021 part of the Conference will be run in ‘workshop’ format with active participation from all Member Societies present.

Dave Wilson, M0OBW, RSGB President and Exams Quality Assurance Manager, has announced that the 1000th online invigilated exam took place on the 1st of July. He anticipated that the 1000th successful candidate will pass the exam sometime this coming week. The RSGB would like to thank all involved in this remote invigilation exam process, including Ofcom, the RSGB exams department and all those invigilating. It’s a great example of amateur radio coming together.

Please note that all news items for both RadCom and GB2RS should be sent to radcom@rsgb.org.uk and to that email address only. Sending to multiple addresses just slows the process down and some old addresses, such as gb2rs@rsgb.org.uk will be closed in the near future. The deadline for GB2RS is 10am on the Thursday before transmission and the deadlines for RadCom are shown in the Around Your Region section or on the RSGB website under the Publications tab.

Now the special event news

Since the change of regulations applying to special event stations in the UK, many activations are now able to go ahead. UK amateurs would like to thank Ofcom for their help in making this happen.

To commemorate their 3rd anniversary, special event stations will be on air during the FT8DMC Activity Days until the 31st of July. All stations will bear the FTDMC or FTDM suffix, referring to the third anniversary of the FT8 Digital Mode Club. An FTDMC Anniversary Award can be earned by working the FTDMC and FTDM stations and collecting points applicable for various award classes. See www.ft8dmc.eu for more details.

Durham and District Amateur Radio Society is participating as one of the bonus stations in the 13 Colonies Special Event. GB13COL will run until 0400UTC on 8 July. The primary focus of the event will be the HF bands using SSB, CW, FM and various digital modes, but VHF and UHF will also be in use. This year’s QSL cards for GB13COL has been kindly sponsored by Martin Lynch at ML&S.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the events for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your own government’s advice first and foremost.

On Monday the 80m Club Championships will runs from 1900 to 2030UTC. Using CW only, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Tuesday the 144MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1800 to 1855UTC. It is followed by the all mode 144MHz UK Activity Contest from 1900 to 2130UTC. The exchange for both is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Thursday the 50MHz UK Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Next weekend the IARU HF Championship runs from 1200UTC on the 11th to 1200UTC on the 12th. Using SSB only on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and ITU Zone, which is 27 for the UK.

The UK Six Metre Group’s Summer Marathon runs until the 2nd of August. Using all modes on the 50MHz band, the exchange is your 4-character locator.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 3rd of July.

This week saw the beginning of a new month and continued Sporadic-E openings. Traditionally we see a slow down in the number of Sporadic-E openings in July, but while we are seeing a few periods on 10m when there are no openings, they inevitably reappear.

An HF F2-layer opening to Angola occurred on Wednesday, allowing amateurs to bag Gabriel, D2EB on both 17 and 12 metres CW. Paul, G0KPH also spotted Gabriel on 40 metres CW in the evening.

As we said a couple of weeks ago, the HF bands are staying open later, which is a summer phenomenon. Darren, G0TSM has found 17m FT8 to be open to Japan, the West Coast of the USA, Alaska and Hawaii until around 0200UTC. Mike, G4FHQ said 80m has been good overnight too, after he heard a string of W2s and VE3s working the Canada Day contest at 0330UTC at 57/8 on SSB.

The Sun, however, remained very quiet with zero sunspots, which means our predictions are beginning to sound like a stuck record! The Kp index ranged from zero to three thanks to a high-speed solar wind stream. Next week NOAA predicts a solar flux index of 68 and a Kp index of two to three. There are no sunspots predicted, just a few bright spots on the STEREO Ahead spacecraft’s extreme ultraviolet view, which may or may not develop into spots. Mid-latitude coronal hole activity has declined recently and it does look like we are now truly at sunspot minimum.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

There is a change in the weather coming along and Sunday should see a ridge of high pressure building across the south of the country, bringing Tropo back into the options. This could be particularly good for paths to the south across the Channel and Biscay as well as across the southern North Sea. This ridge gets a bit of knock-back after mid-week as a small low tracks across the north of the country. In some models this is also followed by a further weak ridge for the next weekend, so Tropo will continue to feature.

The Sporadic-E season is less prolific in July, but it’s still a key month for the mode. The weather is always busy generating atmospheric gravity waves that can propagate upwards to affect the E region and trigger Sporadic-E, so hopefully some parts of the country may find the geometry is right for some VHF DX paths via Sporadic-E. These high summer weeks are often good for Sporadic-E ultra DX paths to the Far East, mostly in the early morning and on FT8, so it's well worth checking the clusters from 0600-0800UTC.

With low Moon declination and no major meteor showers this week, it’s a good week to increase your square count via the satellites. QO100 and the low-Earth orbiters are always there to work the DX if the bands are flat.

Finally, a thought. While we’re definitely not advocating “don’t call CQ”, you’ll increase your chances of making non-contest QSOs hugely, especially on the GHz Bands, if you announce your planned activity in advance. Use email reflectors, social media and the ON4KST microwave chat to let people know when you’re QRV.

And that’s all from the propagation team this week.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for June 28th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for June 28th 2020.

June 26, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 28th of June 2020

The news headlines:

  • Online remote invigilation expanding

  • Tonight @ 8: Antennas for small gardens

  • New Propagation Studies video released

The online remote invigilation of the UK Foundation amateur radio exam continues to be extremely popular, with over 800 successful candidates so far, and more than 650 already booked for future Foundation exams. The RSGB is now contacting candidates and Exam Secretaries who had previously booked for Intermediate exams before social distancing caused their postponement. Candidates will be offered online remote invigilation exam slots. It is hoped that bookings can also be opened to new Intermediate candidates in the near future, once existing bookings are cleared. Full exams will follow on in a similar manner in due course. The FAQ’s on the RSGB website, under the Training tab, will be updated shortly.

The next RSGB Tonight @ 8 webinar is on the 29th of June and is a presentation on Antennas for small gardens by Steve Nichols, G0KYA. You can watch the live stream and ask questions on either the RSGB YouTube channel or the special Tonight @ 8 channel on the BATC website, https://batc.org.uk/live/RSGB. You can find out more about all the webinars at www.rsgb.org/webinars and you can also watch previous talks in the series at the same site.

The RSGB has released a new VHF propagation video, created by the Society’s Propagation Studies Committee. You can watch this interesting presentation on the Society’s YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/theRSGB.

The annual transmission by the 17.2kHz VLF Alexanderson Alternator will take place, as usual, this year on Alexanderson Day, Sunday the 5th of July. As usual, it will use the callsign SAQ. Startup and tuning begins at 0830 and 1130UTC, with the transmission of a message at 0900 and 1200UTC. You can watch both events live on their YouTube channel and, of course, listen out if you have VLF capability.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, no RSGB awards information will be published between now and 22 July. If you have submitted your data for an award and have not yet received a reply, you will be contacted after that date. The Society would encourage you to keep working towards awards in the meantime – it is a great way to gain experience, especially if you’re new to amateur radio. You can find more details of the RSGB awards on the Society’s website, www.rsgb.org/awards.

We understand that Bletchley Park plans to re-open on 4 July and have further details on their website, bletchleypark.org.uk. The RSGB National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park will remain closed, for the time being, but this will continue to be regularly reviewed.

Due to uncertainty about large gatherings being allowed, and in recognition that many radio amateurs may not want to attend physical meetings for some time, the G-QRP Club took the unwelcome decision to cancel their Conventions for 2020. However, following a very successful survey of members, a meeting of the Standing Committee this week confirmed definitely that the G-QRP Convention for 2020 will take place as a virtual event, over the weekend of the 5th and 6th of September. There will be a series of webinars and possibly a virtual Buildathon. A small working group are now developing the detail and a number of key speakers have already volunteered. Full details will be shared as soon as they are known.

Apologies to Tony, VK5ZAI for the error in his callsign last week. Tony received the Order of Australia in the Queen’s birthday honours list for significant service to amateur radio, particularly to satellite and space communication.

The RSGB/NHS ‘Get on the air to care’ campaign continues to feature in the media across the world. Recently there were articles in the ARRL’s QST magazine and in the Emergency Services Times publication. You can see both on the Society’s media campaign web pages, www.rsgb.org/gota2c-media.

The latest Something for the Weekend video goes out today on YouTube. ML&S looks back at the 1970s and the beginning of Amateur Radio Exchange with Bernie, G4AOG. Fund raising for Alzheimer’s Disease is part of the video. Go to https://youtu.be/fICqJM_BIfw.

Now the special event news

Since the change of regulations applying to special event stations in the UK, many activations are now able to go ahead. UK amateurs would like to thank Ofcom for their help in making this happen.

Today, the 28th, is the Centenary of the Royal Corps of Signals. The Royal Signals Museum has a permanent special event callsign, GB100RSM, but due to the Covid-19 restrictions, they cannot run the station from the museum. The station will instead run from the home QTH of G3WZP in IO90BR. Activity will be until the end of June on the 40, 20 and 17m bands, using SSB and CW. Skeds are welcome.

Another Royal Corps of Signals centenary station is GB100RS Royal Signals, operating from Bishop Auckland. It will start operating today, the 28th. Full details of the centenary stations and their operations can be found at https://rsars.org.uk/rsars-corps-celebrations-2020/.

To commemorate their 3rd anniversary, special event stations will be on air during the FT8DMC Activity Days from the 1st to the 31st of July. All stations will bear the FTDMC or FTDM suffix, referring to the third anniversary of the FT8 Digital Mode Club. An FTDMC Anniversary Award can be earned by working the FTDMC and FTDM stations and collecting points applicable for various award classes. See www.ft8dmc.eu.

Durham and District Amateur Radio Society is participating as one of the bonus stations in the 13 Colonies Special Event. GB13COL will run from 1300UTC on 1 July to 0400UTC on 8 July. The primary focus of the event will be the HF bands using SSB, CW, FM and various digital modes, but VHF and UHF will also be in use. This year’s QSL cards for GB13COL has been kindly sponsored by Martin Lynch at ML&S.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the events for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. RSGB strongly advises obeying your own government’s advice first and foremost.

The UK Microwave Group’s 5.7 and 10GHz bands contest runs from 0600 to 1800 today, the 28th. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

Also today, the 28th, the 50MHz CW contest runs from 0900 to 1200UTC. It’s CW only and the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The 7MHz Cumulative contest runs from 1400 to 1600UTC today, the 28th. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The 3rd 144MHz Backpackers contest is cancelled and there is a different format contest to replace VHF NFD, for 2020 only, called ‘lockdown VHF NFD’. Only single operator fixed stations may enter this contest. The rules are available at www.rsgbcc.org/vhf/rules/2020/VHFNFD.shtml. The rules are loosely based around the UKAC and VHF AFS rules and include a team element.

The UK Six Metre Group’s Summer Marathon runs until the 2nd of August. Using all modes on the 50MHz band, the exchange is your 4-character locator.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 26th of June.

After the recent excitement of a new Solar Cycle 25 sunspot, it seems the Sun has decided to go back to sleep. We have had zero sunspots since the 16th of June and the STEREO spacecraft Ahead view shows just one small bright area on the Sun, which might result in a spot in due course. Luckily, geomagnetic conditions remained quiet throughout the week, with a maximum Kp index of two.

The bands were a little lacklustre, other than the continued Sporadic-E openings, which have brought almost daily fun on 28MHz.

There were F-layer openings to be found on 14MHz, but these were mainly enjoyed by well-equipped stations. Ed, WA6QDQ/KH6 in Hawaii was audible at 0652TUTC on Tuesday the 23rd at G3UML’s Hendon QTH. As was William, AL7KC in North Pole, Alaska, who had a big pile up on 14.224MHz.

Early morning does seem to be the best time to get on 14MHz, with Jim, E51JD on the South Cook Islands being reported again as well. But as the day goes on D-layer absorption grows and 14MHz doesn’t sound very lively at all. Fifteen metres was open to Brazil and Paraguay on Thursday afternoon, although this was mostly FT8. Otherwise, it was 10 metres and Sporadic-E contacts that continued to provide excitement, with one or two North American, South American and Caribbean openings occurring.

Next week NOAA predicts more of the same, with a solar flux index hovering around 68-70 and a maximum Kp index of two.

A weak solar wind stream flowing from a narrow coronal hole could reach Earth beginning on the 27th of June. A minor geomagnetic disturbance at higher latitudes may be expected.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

The heatwave of midweek should be over by today, so any enhanced sea path Tropo will have weakened too. Coasts can be productive for ducts across the North Sea or the English Channel and Biscay in any quieter settled window during the week.

Overall, Tropo is probably not a mode to rely upon this week, since much of the time we will have low pressure either over the UK or very close by. This will bring periods of rain or showers, many of which could have a chance of thunder and hail. This implies large convective clouds and potentially good GHz bands rain scatter.

That leaves Sporadic-E, and we are still within the main part of the season, so keep up the usual procedure of checking mid-morning and late afternoon/early evening. Sporadic-E is a mode ideally suited for weak signals and digital modes can give good clues as to which directions may open later for CW and SSB as the opening develops. Make use of the good map-based clusters to see if you are close enough to where the paths cross. Ideally, the hot spot should be between about 600km and 1400km away from your station.

Moon declination goes negative today but as perigee is on Monday, path losses will be at their lowest of the lunar month. 144MHz sky temperatures are low today but increasing to a peak of 2700K around midnight next Saturday. Compare this to the usual 300K cold sky temperature at 144MHz, do the maths and, you’ll see that your low noise preamps are not going to help you at this sky temperature!

The June Bootids meteor shower peaked yesterday but continue looking for the best meteor scatter conditions around local dawn.

And that’s all from the propagation team this week.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for June 21st 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for June 21st 2020.

June 19, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 21st of June 2020

The news headlines:

  • Important RSGB Convention announcement

  • Tonight @ 8: Antennas for small gardens

  • Amateur awarded Order of Australia

In response to the UK’s continuing social distancing regulations, the RSGB Convention Committee has changed the arrangements for the RSGB Convention on the 9th to the 11th October. Instead of the physical Convention in Milton Keynes, the RSGB is instead holding an Online Convention on Saturday the 10th of October. Whether you’re a new licensee or have been enjoying amateur radio for many years, there will be a range of topics from expert speakers that you can enjoy free throughout the day. The RSGB will announce further details of the presentations and how to take part over the coming weeks.

Don’t forget the RSGB’s new series of webinars that began on the 15th of June. The next “Tonight @ 8” is on the 29th of June and is a presentation on Antennas for small gardens by Steve Nichols, G0KYA. You can watch the live stream and ask questions on either the RSGB YouTube channel or the special Tonight @ 8 channel on the BATC website, https://batc.org.uk/live/RSGB. You can find out more about all the webinars at www.rsgb.org/webinars and you can also watch previous talks in the series at the same site.

Tony Hutchison, VK5ZAI has received the Order of Australia in the Queen’s birthday honours list for significant service to amateur radio, particularly to satellite and space communication. Amongst his many roles, he is the National Coordinator and one of 10 official ARISS VHF/UHF telebridge stations to the International Space Station and a HamTV ground station. Congratulations Tony.

Following the election of Len Paget, GM0ONX as a Board Director at the recent AGM, the RSGB Board has asked the General Manager, Steve Thomas, M1ACB to take on the additional role of Company Secretary. The Board would like to record its thanks to Len for the time he has given as Company Secretary over the last year.

The RSGB and NHS ‘Get on the air to care’ campaign was the focus of a webinar for healthcare professionals this week. Roy Lilley, Director of the Academy of Fabulous Stuff and the Institute of Healthcare Management interviewed RSGB General Manager, Steve Thomas and Paul Devlin who is part of the NHS England Emergency Care Improvement Support Team and also an RSGB District Representative. The webinar was a wide-ranging discussion of the origins of GB1NHS, the scope of the ‘Get on the air to care’ campaign as well as the benefits of amateur radio for health and wellbeing and for reaching global communities who do not have internet connections. You can watch the webinar on the Society’s YouTube channel www.youtube.com/theRSGB.

The Software Defined Radio Academy, supported by the German National Society, is taking place as an online conference on the 26th and 27th of June. The talks are pre-recorded, but the speakers will be available via the video conferencing system to respond to questions. See https://youtube.sdra.io.

Now the special event news

Since the change of regulations applying to special event stations in the UK, many activations are now able to go ahead. UK amateurs would like to thank Ofcom for their help in making this happen.

The 28th of June is the Centenary of the Royal Corps of Signals. The Royal Signals Museum has a permanent special event callsign, GB100RSM, but due to the Covid-19 restrictions they cannot run the station from the museum. The station will instead run from the home QTH of G3WZP in IO90BR. Activity will be until the end of June on the 40, 20 and 17m bands, using SSB and CW. Skeds are welcome.

Another Royal Corps of Signals centenary station is GB100RS Royal Signals, operating from Bishop Auckland. It will start operating on the 28th of June. Full details of the centenary stations and their operations can be found at https://rsars.org.uk/rsars-corps-celebrations-2020/.

On the 26th of June GB1GSW will be on the air to commemorate the railway pioneer George Stevenson. See QRZ.com for the latest information.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the events for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. RSGB strongly advises obeying your own government’s advice first and foremost.

The 50MHz Trophy contest ends its 24-hour run at 1400UTC today, the 21st. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The All Asian DX contest ends its 48-hour run at 2359UTC today the 21st. It’s CW only on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, with the exchange being signal report and your age.

The Worked All Britain 50MHz phone contest takes place today, the 21st of June, from 0800 to 1400UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square for UK stations. Details are at www.worked-all-britain.org.uk.

Today, the 21st, the UK Microwave Group contest takes place on the 24 to 248GHz bands. Running from 0900 to 1700UTC, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Tuesday the SHF UK Activity Contest runs from 1830 to 2130UTC. Using all modes on the 2.3 to 10GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Wednesday the UK EI Contest Club Summer Series runs from 1800 to 1900UTC. It’s CW only on the 3.5MHz band, with the exchange being you 6-character locator.

The 80m Club Championships SSB leg takes place between 1900 and 2030UTC on Thursday. The exchange is signal report and serial number.

Next weekend, the UK Microwave Group’s 5.7 and 10GHz bands contest runs from 0600 to 1800 on the 28th. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

Also next Sunday, the 28th, the 50MHz CW contest runs from 0900 to 1200UTC. It’s CW only and the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The 7MHz Cumulative contest runs from 1400 to 1600UTC on the 28th. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The UK Six Metre Group’s Summer Marathon runs until the 2nd of August. Using all modes on the 50MHz band, the exchange is your 4-character locator.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 19th of June.

We had another week dominated by Sporadic-E HF contacts. Ten metres has been open daily to Europe and often until very late at night. There have been reports of USA and Japanese FT8 contacts from the UK during the day, continuing almost to midnight. By Thursday signal levels appeared to be dropping off at first but, by 1100UTC, Canada and the USA was rolling in via multi-hop Sporadic-E.

Many people have been heard saying that HF propagation is taking off and that the Sun has woken up again. The truth is that Sporadic-E is not due to sunspots, and as we head towards July and August we can expect the Sporadic-E openings to become less frequent. On this subject, the Sun has been very quiet with zero spots and an SFI of below 70. There has been an absence of coronal holes, other than at the Sun’s poles, which has helped keep the Kp index down to two and below.

F2 layer propagation is suffering from the summer doldrums, although there have been virtually daily reports of Jim, E51JD on South Cook Islands being worked on 20m SSB.

Daytime critical frequencies remain in the range of 4 to 5MHz but are tending to be slightly higher just after sunset. This means that 20 metres may be remaining open to DX until nearly midnight local time. And it does suggest that 30 metres might remain open to DX all night. This is not unusual, as it is due to a change in ionospheric chemistry in the summer, with higher MUFs at night, but lower MUFs during the day compared with winter.

This weekend marks the Summer Solstice, traditionally a time when F2-layer DX is harder to come by. But with the Sporadic-E season well underway there is still plenty to keep HF enthusiasts happy.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

As we said in the HF section, we are still firmly in the midst of the Sporadic-E season and the savvy operators will be keeping a constant watch for Sporadic-E, starting on 10m and working up to 2m as an event develops. To save spending a whole day on it, we would also suggest looking mid-morning and again late afternoon or early evening. In most years, openings can still occur into the first week of September, but from now onwards the openings become less frequent, hence the need to develop your own early warning routines to make sure none are missed. Check the www.propquest.co.uk daily blogs to get some hints.

It is likely to be a mixed spell of weather throughout the coming week with elements of high pressure at times giving occasional Tropo, especially across the North Sea and south across Biscay. Remember Tropo paths are usually quite long-lasting, so there’s no need to rush as you do with Sporadic-E.

The other half of the mixed weather types involve heavy showers, sometimes thunderous with hail too. This is all good news for the microwave operators, giving a chance of some rain scatter propagation. The only way to work this on a day-by-day basis is to have some idea of where the showers are; there are many good online radar displays to help you with that.

Moon declination reaches a maximum on Monday and is positive all week. Path losses are falling and 144MHz sky temperatures are low from tomorrow.

Continue looking for the best meteor scatter conditions around local dawn and take advantage of the continuing high activity levels due to many people still home working.

And that’s all from the propagation team this week.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for June 14th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for June 14th 2020.

June 12, 2020

RSGB NEWS

Sunday the 14th of June 2020

The news headlines:

  • Join Tonight @ 8 on Monday

  • Lockdown VHF NFD rules announced

  • Listen to ARISS contact on Tuesday

Don’t forget the RSGB’s new series of webinars begins on Monday the 15th of June. The first “Tonight @ 8” features a presentation on the Raspberry Pi by Mike Richards, G4WNC. You can watch the live stream on the RSGB YouTube channel or you can watch and ask questions via the special Tonight @ 8 channel on the BATC website, https://batc.org.uk/live/RSGB. You can find out more about all the webinars at www.rsgb.org/webinars.

VHF NFD is the next big event on the RSGB contest calendar, scheduled for the 4th and 5th of July. It can’t be run in its normal multi-operator format, so the RSGB Contest Committee has designed an interesting alternative for single operator stations. The rules have been set for fixed stations only. If within 2 weeks of the event the Government guidance changes sufficiently, the rules to allow portable operation may be changed. The format of the Lockdown VHF NFD is a five-band club-based event, loosely based around the AFS rules and UK Activity Contest sections. Each band has its own two or three-hour operating slot during the weekend, with time between them to allow for equipment changes to take place. Full rules are at www.rsgbcc.org/vhf/rules/20rules/ldvhfnfd.shtml.

An ARISS educational school contact is planned between Chris, KF5KDR and students in Spain. The students will be talking with the ISS from their homes over phone lines. The link to the ISS will be operated by the amateur radio ground station ON4ISS, located in Belgium. The contact is scheduled on the 16th of June at approximately 1225UTC. Downlink signals will be audible over Western Europe on 145.800MHz narrowband FM.

The RSGB has released two more 2019 Convention lecture videos to its YouTube channel www.youtube.com/theRSGB. Chris Duckling, G3SVL talks about Lessons from the 6Gs VK9XG DXpedition whilst Tony Canning, G2NF discusses Urban QRM; What can I do?

Region 1 of the IARU attended the virtual meeting of one of the high-level CEPT Frequency Management Working Groups in the past week. Amongst the topics discussed were Ukraine joining the T/R-61-02 HAREC reciprocal licensing scheme, as well as the next steps for updating the European Common Allocation table and Wireless Power regulatory framework. More information is on the Region 1 website at www.iaru-r1.org.

The Software Defined Radio Academy, supported by the German National Society, is taking place as an online conference spanning two days, the 26th and 27th of June. The stream is starting in the afternoon. The talks are pre-recorded, but the speakers will be available via the video conferencing system with time for the speakers to respond to questions. The organisers look forward to welcoming amateurs at https://youtube.sdra.io.

The IARU Monitoring System Region 1 monthly newsletter is now available. It includes reports from RSGB Intruder Watch Coordinator, Richard Lamont, G4DYA, on pages 6, 7 and 8. The newsletter summarises that May 2020 was similar to the previous months, but now also in the higher bands, some intruders were observed due to the somewhat better conditions at times. Most of the coordinators reported intruders predominantly in the 20m and 40m band. Read more at www.iaru-r1.org.

It is great to see amateur radio still being profiled on the wider media as the momentum of our ‘Get on the air to care’ campaign with the NHS continues to grow. Thank you to everyone who is showing their support by getting on the air, caring for other radio amateurs and trying new aspects of amateur radio. More details can be seen at www.rsgb.org/gota2c.

Now the special event news

Since the change of regulations applying to special event stations in the UK, many activations are now able to go ahead. UK amateurs would like to thank Ofcom for their help in making this happen.

GB100MZX will be operated by Chelmsford ARS to celebrate the landmark broadcast made by Dame Nellie Melba on the 15th of June 1920 and will be on air until the 20th of June. MZX was the callsign of the 1920 15kW transmitter at Marconi New Street Works in Chelmsford, Essex where it happened.

The 28th of June is the Centenary of the Royal Corps of Signals. The Royal Signals Museum has a permanent special event callsign, GB100RSM, but due to the Covid-19 restrictions, they cannot run the station from the museum. The station will instead run from the home QTH of G3WZP in IO90BR. Activity will be until the end of June on the 40, 20 and 17m bands, using SSB and CW. Skeds are welcome.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the events for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. RSGB strongly advises obeying your own government’s advice first and foremost.

The 144MHz Backpackers contest scheduled for today, the 14th, is cancelled.

The IARU ATV contest ends its 30-hour run at 1800UTC today. Activity is on the 432MHz and up bands. The exchange is a picture report, serial number, your four-digit code and locator.

The World Wide South America Contest ends its 24 hour run at 1500UTC today, the 14th. It’s CW only on the 80 to 10m contest bands. Full rules are at http://contest.com.ar/gacw-wwsa

The Practical Wireless 2m QRP contest runs from 0900 to 1600UTC today, the 14th. It’s phone only on the 2m band, with an exchange of signal report, serial number and locator.

On Monday the fifth FT4 contest runs from 1900 to 2030UTC on the 3.5MHz band. The exchange is your 4-character locator.

On Tuesday it’s the 1.3GHz UK Activity Contest from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The UK EI Contest Club Summer Series runs from 1800 to 1900UTC on Wednesday. Using SSB only on the 3.5MHz band, the exchange is your 6-character locator.

On Thursday the 70MHz UK Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2130UTC using all modes. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Next weekend the 50MHz Trophy contest runs from 1400UTC on the 20th to 1400UTC on the 21st. Using all modes the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The All Asian DX contest runs from 0000UTC on the 20th to 2359UTC on the 21st. It’s CW only on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, with the exchange being signal report and your age.

The Worked All Britain 50MHz phone contest takes place next Sunday, the 21st of June, from 0800 to 1400UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square for UK stations. Entries need to be with the contest manager by the 1st of July. Full details at www.worked-all-britain.org.uk. Please note that due to Covid-19 there will be no mobile or portable categories in this contest and entries cannot be accepted from portable or mobile stations.

Next Sunday, the 21st, the UK Microwave Group contest takes place on the 24 to 248GHz bands. Running from 0900 to 1700UTC, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The UK Six Metre Group’s Summer Marathon runs until the 2nd of August. Using all modes on the 50MHz band, the exchange is your 4-character locator.

And finally, join the fun of the next round of RSGB Hope QSO Party on weekdays. See www.rsgbcc.org/hf.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 12th of June.

Well, we’ve finally got a good Solar Cycle 25 sunspot to talk about! Region 2765 was a big one with a number of spots appearing, taking the sunspot number to 17 at one point. But by the time it had rotated into the centre of the Sun, the spot had started to decline a little. While the sunspot had little effect on HF propagation, it is a good sign that we are moving in the right direction.

Meanwhile, HF propagation continued to be dominated by Sporadic-E, often with good multi-hop paths bringing in DX. J69DS and J68HZ in St Lucia were both on 10m FT8 at 1430UTC on Tuesday the 9th, and other Caribbean contacts were also reported. An elevated solar wind stream helped to disturb our geomagnetic field with the Kp index rising to three at times. Next week NOAA predicts that the solar flux index will remain around 70, with geomagnetic conditions remaining calm. The Kp index is predicted as being around two all week. Finally, do make the most of the Sporadic-E season as conditions are likely to decline a little once we leave June.

And now the VHF and up propagation news

The weekend’s unsettled weather should be followed briefly by a weak high from Sunday to Tuesday, then back to largely unsettled weather for the rest of the week. This means only a brief period of Tropo is possible early next week, particularly for paths across the North Sea and the Channel into Biscay. Otherwise, the weather patterns suggest that rain scatter will feature strongly and hopefully produce some good conditions on the microwave bands.

The ‘go-to’ mode is, of course, Sporadic-E at this time of year. This has been good at times, but mostly for digital modes where the bulk of the activity now lies. Let’s hope that in this peak part of the Sporadic-E season we can get some good openings to encourage CW and SSB operation. Certainly the jet stream pattern looks favourable as we ended this week, but it is not clear if it lasts into next week. Regardless, remember to check mid-morning and late afternoon/early evening for signs of activity.

Moon declination goes positive again tomorrow, the 15th, but with apogee on the same day, path losses are at their highest. 144MHz sky temperatures are low, so combined with lengthening Moon windows, EME conditions will improve as the week progresses.

June continues to be an active time for meteor scatter operations. The high on-air activity levels due to lockdowns mean that meteor scatter QSOs have been plenty, despite no major showers until the June Bootids on the 27th.

And that’s all from the propagation team this week.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for June 7th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for June 7th 2020.

June 5, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 7th of June 2020

The news headlines:

  • Join Tonight @ 8 on Monday

  • Respond to Ofcom EMF consultation

  • IARU paper on digital device noise

As another part of its national ‘Get on the air to care’ campaign with the NHS, the RSGB is launching a new series of bi-weekly live webinars. The series is called Tonight @ 8 and will start on Monday the 15th of June. The webinars will be live-streamed each week, allowing you to watch the presentations and ask questions online. They will cover a range of topics so whether you’ve just gained your Foundation licence, are looking for something new to try, or simply want to be up to date with the latest amateur radio ideas and technology, there will be something for everyone. The Society will release the live-stream details next week but in the meantime, you can find out more about the first four webinars on the special Tonight @ 8 web page, www.rsgb.org/webinars.

Now is the last chance to submit your response to the Ofcom consultation on Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields, or EMF, to meet the closing date of the 12th of June. The RSGB’s own response to the Ofcom Consultation has been added ahead of this deadline to the EMF page at rsgb.org.uk/emf. In summary, the RSGB appreciates the need for the ICNIRP guidelines but cannot support the proposals from Ofcom that are onerous. It is felt that the proposals could result in double regulation and are not proportionate to the risk. Instead, the RSGB recommends a more appropriate change to the existing amateur licence conditions referencing the 2020 ICNIRP Guidelines. The RSGB will also prepare its own guidance and training to help amateurs follow these ICNIRP guidelines.

IARU EMC specialists Tore Worren, LA9QL and Martin Sach, G8KDF have submitted a paper to CISPR concerning the increasing impact of multiple digital devices on the noise levels in the radio spectrum. The paper was considered at the CISPR Steering Committee in late May, and adopted for circulation to CISPR National Committee for comment as a Committee Draft, with a view to it becoming a CISPR Report. The IARU hopes that the result of this will be amendments to the way in which standards are developed, to recognise the need to properly consider the cumulative impact of multiple devices.

It is great to see amateur radio still being profiled on the wider media as the momentum of our ‘Get on the air to care’ campaign with the NHS continues to grow. This week RSGB Board Director Mike Bruce; Region 11 Representative Dean Brice; and Warrington Amateur Radio Club were all featured – go to the RSGB’s media coverage web page to find the links: www.rsgb.org/gota2c-media. Thank you to everyone who is showing their support by getting on the air, caring for other radio amateurs and trying new aspects of amateur radio. More details about the campaign and stories from clubs and radio amateurs can be seen on the RSGB website at www.rsgb.org/gota2c.

One from the history books now. On the 14th of June 1959 Leon Ward, G5NF made an AM contact with I1KDB in Naples using the 144MHz band. Leon was based in Fareham, Surrey, at IO91OF. At that time, it was a new World Record for that band, at 1084 miles. In January 2020, the record was set at 2963 miles in a contact between D41CV and GM0EWX.

The first Youngsters On The Air online session took place on the 28th of May. The successful session gathered more than 500 viewers from almost all of the continent. If you didn’t have the chance to join the live event or just want to see all of it again, you can watch the recording of the event on the YouTube channel https://youtu.be/6xKnd2UN9z0.

Now the special event news

Since the change of regulations applying to special event stations in the UK, many activations are now able to go ahead. UK amateurs would like to thank Ofcom for their help in making this happen.

The Royal Air Force Air Cadets is pleased to announce that the next Exercise Blue Ham will be held on the MoD 5MHz shared band over the weekend of the 6th and 7th of June. There are plenty of callsigns available for amateurs to contact over the period of the exercise using both SSB voice and data modes. Details can be found at alphacharlie.org.uk/exercise-blue-ham.

Due to the coronavirus situation, the GB1SCW special event station will no longer be held at the National Coast Watch station in Shoreham by Sea on the 7th of June. To make a presence and celebrate the work of Coastal Communities, members of Worthing and District Amateur Radio Club can call from their own station locations.

GB100MZX will be operated by Chelmsford ARS to celebrate the landmark broadcast made by Dame Nellie Melba on the 15th of June 1920 and will be on air between the 13th and 20th of June. MZX was the callsign of the 1920 15kW Marconi transmitter at Marconi New Street Works in Chelmsford, Essex where it happened.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the events for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. RSGB strongly advises obeying your own government’s advice first and foremost.

As previously announced, the RSGB confirms that this weekend’s National Field Day event has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 situation. The 144MHz Backpackers contest scheduled for next Sunday, the 14th is also cancelled.

The SEANET contest ends its 24 hours run at 1200UTC on the 7th. Using CW and SSB on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

The UK Microwave Group Low Band contest runs from 1000 to 1600UTC today, the 7th of June. Using all modes on the 1.3, 2.3 and 3.4GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Tuesday the 432MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1800 to 1955UTC. It is followed by the all-mode 432MHz UK Activity Contest. The exchange for both is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Wednesday the 80m Club Championships CW leg runs from 1900 to 2030UTC. The exchange is signal report and serial number.

Also on Wednesday is the UK EI Contest Club Summer Series, running from 1800 to 1900UTC. Using FT4 only on the 80m band, the exchange is your 6-character locator.

On Thursday the 50MHz UK Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Next weekend from 1200 UTC on the 13th to 1800UTC on the 14th, the IARU ATV contest is on the 432MHz and up bands. The exchange is a picture report, serial number, your four-digit code and locator.

The World Wide South America Contest runs from Saturday 1500UTC on the 13th to 1500UTC on the 14th. It’s CW only on the 80 to 10m contest bands, with full rules at http://contest.com.ar/gacw-wwsa

The Practical Wireless 2m QRP contest runs from 0900 to 1600UTC next Sunday, the 14th. It’s phone only on the 2m band, with an exchange of signal report, serial number and locator.

EIDXG is running a Summer Challenge as a fun event from the 1st of June to the 30th of August. Simply work as many unique DXCCs, CQ Worked all Zones, participating EIDXG members and 32 Irish counties as possible. Full information at www.eidxg.com/sc2020

The UK Six Metre Group’s Summer Marathon runs until the 2nd of August. Using all modes on the 50MHz band, the exchange is your 4-character locator.

And finally, join the fun of the next round of RSGB Hope QSO Party on weekdays. See www.rsgbcc.org/hf.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 5th of June.

Well, the excitement of Sporadic-E propagation continued last week. There were extensive openings on 20 to 10 metres, which resulted in very short-skip openings at times. Paul, GM4ULS in Perth reports working lots of G stations on the South Coast of England on 20 metres on Wednesday and the skip ran as short as a QSO into Northampton. He said, “At about 1320UTC the short skip lengthened slightly, and I began to attract stations in France and Belgium.” This just goes to show that Sporadic-E can affect all the higher HF bands. It is often seen on ionogram plots as flat reflections from the E layer about 95-100km, and a critical frequency of more than 10MHz. It often blocks signals from reaching the F2 layer, leaving gaps in the critical frequency plots on Propquest.co.uk.

There has also been some F2-layer propagation around. Paul, GM4ULS also worked Jim, E51JD in the South Pacific on 20 metres on Thursday at 0634UTC. Jim featured in last week's report as well.

The promised active sunspot region that was supposed to rotate into Earth’s view last week didn’t amount to much, but another sunspot group numbered 2765, has subsequently appeared. It is a sign that sunspot cycle 25 is starting to crank up. The solar X-Rays from this Cycle 25 spot appeared to be fairly stable on Thursday, but that could change.

Next week NOAA predicts the solar flux index will remain around 70. The Sun may also remain quite quiet geomagnetically due to a lack of coronal holes and NOAA has the Kp index pegged at two all week. Hopefully, the Sporadic-E season will continue giving plenty of short-skip and multi-hop activity on HF.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

The present shift of focus to unsettled weather has now taken place and from now through next week, the general theme is for this showery weather type to remain with us. This will mean that rain scatter is a good mode of choice for the microwave bands. Make use of the various radar displays to see where the nearest reflecting storms might be.

Tropo will be a rarity during this period, although there are signs of high pressure to the northwest of Britain later next week and one model even suggests a new high forming over the country next weekend, but it's at a long lead time and much could change before then.

Now onto Sporadic-E, which has produced stunning results recently. Although it's taken a step back, as I write this on Wednesday, I’m sure other good days are out there for us during the next week, and there will be plenty of jet streams on the charts to provide the triggers. Check the bands mid-morning and late afternoon or early evening for signs of activity and you should catch most of the openings.

The Moon is at minimum declination today, the 7th, and the consequent Moon peak elevation is accompanied by very high 144MHz sky temperatures. Unfortunately, we are now entering a period of the lunar cycle where low path losses start to coincide with low declination. This continues to get worse until July 2022, when apogee, that’s highest loss, coincides with maximum declination. Perigee and highest declination don’t coincide again until May 2026.

June continues to be an active time for meteor scatter operations, and the daytime Areitids shower peaks today.

And that’s all from the propagation team this week.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for May 31st 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for May 31st 2020.

May 29, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 31st of May 2020

The news headlines:

  • Exam bookings resume on Monday

  • Respond NOW to Ofcom EMF consultation

  • GB2RS Newsreaders shine in a crisis

Following the Society’s announcement about the introduction of a new booking system for online remote invigilation Foundation exams, bookings will resume on Monday the 1st of June. Exam bookings can only be made via the online booking form at www.rsgb.org/exampay. The next available examination sessions are from 8 am on Wednesday the 1st of July. You can choose your preferred date and time from those shown on the booking form as being available. You will need to pay for the exam when you make the booking. This temporary booking arrangement is only for use during the Covid-19 lockdown. The Society is hoping to introduce online remote invigilation exams for the Intermediate and Full licences in the course of the coming weeks. Practical assessments, and other transitional arrangements during the lockdown, are still under review and changes will be announced as necessary.

There’s not much time left for you to respond to the Ofcom EMF consultation, which is required by the 12th of June. The RSGB recommends you acknowledge the need for ICNIRP guidelines but to state that the proposals from Ofcom are not proportionate for amateur licensees. More details on the consultation and the guide to help you with your response can be found at www.rsgb.org/emf. The RSGB is finalising its detailed response. This includes arguments and evidence in support of our case, which is to stick with the current light-touch approach. It is important for all amateurs to make their own individual responses using their own words. The RSGB is also preparing training and advice leaflets to help you follow ICNIRP guidelines and any specific requirements that Ofcom may impose in the licence conditions after this consultation.

The RSGB would like to thank all those who read the news, in whatever medium, for their dedication to the radio amateur community. Their service is even more appreciated during these extraordinary times. All on-air GB2RS newsreaders should check the validity date on their NoV and reapply for renewal through www.rsgb.org/nov if necessary.

Due to the Covid-19 situation, the RSGB confirms that this year’s National Field Day event, planned for the 6th and 7th of June, has been cancelled.

The Royal Air Force Air Cadets is pleased to announce that the next Exercise Blue Ham will be held on the MoD 5MHz shared band over the weekend of the 6th and 7th of June. There are plenty of call signs available for amateurs to contact over the period of the exercise using both SSB voice and data modes. Details can be found at alphacharlie.org.uk/exercise-blue-ham.

The Finnish Amateur Radio League invites all radio amateurs around the world to join them in a global special event featuring their STAYHOME campaign. It will be held on the 6th and 7th of June. The United Nations Amateur Club callsign 4U1UN, as well as its sister stations operating as 4U9STAYHOME and 4U2STAYHOME will participate. The operators look forward to making contact with as many stations as possible during this special event. Details can be found at www.qrz.com/db/OH2STAYHOME.

The RSGB annual Islands on the Air Contest, scheduled to take place on the 25th and 26th of July, will be exclusively for Single Operators using their home stations. This is due to the Covid-19 restriction worldwide. Another rules amendment for 2020 is that the sending of a signal report in every QSO is mandatory,

The RSGB’s national ‘Get on the air to care’ campaign in partnership with the NHS has received more media coverage this week. This includes an interview with a member of Chippenham and District ARC on BBC Radio Wiltshire. We have also received another video of support from the NHS, which you can see on the RSGB YouTube channel. Thank you to everyone who is showing their support by getting on the air, caring for other radio amateurs and trying new aspects of amateur radio. More details about the campaign, media coverage and stories from clubs and radio amateurs can be seen on the RSGB website at www.rsgb.org/gota2c.

Now the special event news

Since the change of regulations applying to special event stations in the UK, many activations are now able to go ahead. UK amateurs would like to thank Ofcom for their help in making this happen.

Due to the coronavirus situation, the GB1SCW special event station will no longer be held at the National Coast Watch station in Shoreham by Sea on the 7th of June. To make a presence and celebrate the work of Coastal Communities, members of Worthing and District Amateur Radio Club can call from their own radio station locations.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the events for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. RSGB strongly advises obeying your own government’s advice first and foremost.

This weekend, the CQ World Wide WPX CW contest ends its 48 hours run at 2359UTC today, the 31st. Using the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

Today, the 31st, the UK Microwave group High Band Contest runs from 0600 to 1800UTC. Using all modes on the 5.7 to 10GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Monday the data leg of the 80m Club Championships takes place from 1900 to 2030UTC. The exchange is signal report and serial number.

On Tuesday the 144MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1800 to 1855UTC, followed by the all-mode 144MHz UK Activity Contest from 1900 to 2130UTC. The exchange for both is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Thursday the UK EI Contest Club Summer Series runs from 1800 to 1900 using CW on the 3.5MHz band. The exchange is your 6-character locator.

As mentioned earlier, next weekend, the 6th and 7th of June, is the traditional date for National Field Day. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the event has been cancelled for 2020.

The SEANET contest takes place for 24 hours starting at 1200UTC on the 6th. Using CW and SSB on the 3.5 to 28MHz bands the exchange is signal report and serial number.

The UK Microwave Group Low Band contest runs from 1000 to 1600UTC next Sunday, the 7th of June. Using all modes on the 1.3, 2.3 and 3.4GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The UK Six Metre Group’s Summer Marathon runs until the 2nd of August. Using all modes on the 50MHz band, the exchange is your 4-character locator.

And finally, join the fun of the next round of RSGB Hope QSO Party on weekdays. See www.rsgbcc.org/hf.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 29th of May.

This last week was dominated by a quiet Sun, but extensive Sporadic-E openings. We had a solar flux index hovering around 70 and zero sunspots, nevertheless we have had good F2-layer propagation on HF and multi-hop Sporadic-E bringing DX excitement.

Last weekend saw FT8 openings on 10 metres to the Caribbean and South America, even after sunset. Laurie, G3UML reports working KL7KK in Alaska and KH6YY in Hawaii on 20m SSB, which just goes to show that you shouldn’t write off HF just because of a low sunspot number! Laurie said: “There’s been quite a bit of Pacific activity on 20m in the mornings and lots of Gs working it. Jim, E51JD on the South Cook Islands was a readable five and five this morning.”

The Sun is showing some signs of life. An active region approaching the north-east limb just produced a minor solar flare that may be associated with a coronal mass ejection or CME. The minor event registered as a long duration B-class solar flare.

An image from the STEREO Ahead spacecraft reveals a wave spreading across the far side of the sun, which can be indicative of a CME. But because of its position, it should be directed completely away from Earth.

A small coronal hole was facing Earth on Thursday, which could mean a minor solar wind influence may be expected this weekend. A possible sunspot belonging to Cycle 25 may also begin to turn into view.

NOAA predicts the SFI will remain at or around 70 all week with a maximum Kp index of two. Sporadic-E conditions should continue, providing short-skip openings on the higher HF bands.

And now the VHF and up propagation news

The long period of high-pressure weather is going to hang on, with some good Tropo opportunities, just through this weekend. Apart from a small hint of an isolated shower over this weekend, most places will stay dry until the middle part of next week.

On Tuesday a weakness in the high will allow isolated, but potentially heavy showers to develop, with a chance of rain scatter. This shower risk then stays with us through the rest of the week, but always on the edge of high pressure to the east and west of Britain.

In the second half of the week, a cooler northerly flow will bring an increased shower risk, some heavy and thundery, but confined to the south by the following weekend.

The Sporadic-E prospects are usually at a peak around the early part of June, so expect to hear some of this fleeting, exotic propagation mode on the bands from 10m up to 2m. If the skip gets shorter, say strong DLs on 10m, then check 6m and so on up to 2m for a really good opening.

Lots of factors influence its likelihood, but the best practice is to listen late morning and late afternoon or early evening. Check the Propquest website for daily blogs on possible Sporadic-E hotspots.

Moon declination goes negative on Monday, but we are at perigee on Wednesday, so EME path losses are at their lowest. 144MHz sky noise is low until Friday and Saturday but as peak Moon elevation is low, ground noise will dominate.

June continues to be an active time for meteor scatter operations and the daytime Areitids shower peaks on the 7th.

And that’s all from the propagation team this week.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for May 24th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for May 24th 2020.

May 22, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 24th of May 2020

The news headlines:

  • YOTA Online programme launched

  • SARL celebrates 95 years

  • Change to the exam booking system

As all planned YOTA 2020 events have been cancelled until September, a new programme called YOTA Online has been developed. This will be a monthly Livestream gathering, free to all participants and available afterwards as a recorded version. In each meeting, the YOTA team will present different topics and answer questions from the YOTA community. There will also be opportunities to share stories of recent YOTA events. The first meeting will be on the 28th of May. Details of the Livestream link will be publicised on the YOTA website and social media channels the day before

Last Wednesday, the 20th, the South African Radio Relay League celebrated its 95th anniversary. It was formed on Wednesday the 20th of May 1925, just a month after the world’s radio amateurs met in Paris to form the world body, the International Amateur Radio Union. In 1947 the word Relay was dropped from the name. Their message is that amateur radio has withstood the test of time because it is based on three major guiding principles: communication between people, continuous technology development and self-education and training.

In response to the demand for remote invigilated exams, the RSGB is launching a new, automated booking system. It will make each part of the process smoother for applicants and HQ staff. As all 600 exam slots in June have now been filled, the new booking system will go live on 1 June in readiness for booking July exam slots. Over the next ten days, the Society will share more details about the system and how to use it. In the meantime, please note that the RSGB is not accepting any new bookings via the old application form.

The RSGB’s national ‘Get on the air to care’ campaign in partnership with the NHS has received more media coverage this week, including a BBC radio interview with 11-year-old Anne-Marie who was nominated by her primary school headteacher as the local hero of the week for the two weekly nets she has been running during the lockdown. Telford and District Amateur Radio Society were featured in their local paper and other radio amateurs have been sharing their stories with us. Thank you to everyone who is showing their support by getting on the air, caring for other radio amateurs and trying new aspects of amateur radio. More details about the campaign, media coverage and stories from clubs and radio amateurs can be seen on the RSGB website at www.rsgb.org/gota2c.

Users of the Islands on the Air programme may now obtain contact credits via the ARRL’s Logbook of The World. A similar arrangement is already in place with Club Log. To claim a new island group from matched Logbook of The World contacts, users should click on Retrieve QSOs from LoTW to retrieve matching records. Within 30 minutes, IOTA users will receive an email listing the matches added to a list of pending contacts.

Joe Taylor, K1JT reports what is possibly the first FT8 contact via Moonbounce that took place on the 21st of May between Paul, W2HRO and Peter, PA2V. They used WSJT-X 2.2.0-rc1, a beta-release candidate for version 2.2 of the program WSJT-X. Both stations have moderate 4-Yagi setups on 432MHz. Conditions were not particularly good, with degradation around 3dB and the Sun only 20 degrees from the Moon.

The Royal Air Force Air Cadets are pleased to announce that the next Exercise Blue Ham will be held on the MoD 5MHz shared band over the weekend of the 6th and 7th of June. There are plenty of call signs available for Cadets over the period of the exercise using both SSB voice and data modes. Details can be found at https://alphacharlie.org.uk/exercise-blue-ham

Now the special event news

Since the change of regulations applying to special event stations in the UK, many activations are now able to go ahead. UK amateurs would like to thank Ofcom for their help in making this happen.

The RAF Amateur Radio Society will be activating the special event GB75VED until the 28th of May. Operations will be from members’ homes. Details are at www.rafars.org/GB75VED and on QRZ.com.

Dragon Amateur Radio Club and North Wales Radio Society are operating GB0GIG throughout May, named after the National Health Service in the Welsh language. The station will be active on HF, VHF and UHF using as many modes as possible. An award certificate is available and full details can be found on QRZ.com.

Durham and District Amateur Radio Society is participating as one of the bonus stations in the popular 13 Colonies special event. The special callsign GB13COL has been issued for this event and will run from 1300 UTC on the 1st of July to 0400 UTC on the 8th. The primary focus of the event will be the HF bands, including VHF & UHF for QSOs using SSB, CW, FM and various digital modes.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the events for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. RSGB strongly advises obeying your own government’s advice first and foremost.

Today, the 24th, the third 70MHz Cumulative contest runs from 1400 to 1600UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Tuesday the SHF UK Activity Contest runs from 1800 to 2130UTC. Using all modes on the 2.3 to 10GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Thursday it’s the CW leg of the 80m Club Championships. Running from 1900 to 2030UTC, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

Next weekend is the CQ World Wide WPX CW contest. It runs for 48 hours from 0000UTC on the 30th to 2359UTC on the 31st. Using the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

Next Sunday, the 31st, the UK Microwave group High Band Contest runs from 0600 to 1800UTC. Using all modes on the 5.7 to 10GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The UK Six Metre Group’s Summer Marathon runs until the 2nd of August. Using all modes on the 50MHz band, the exchange is your 4-character locator.

And finally, join the fun of the next round of RSGB Hope QSO Party on weekdays. See www.rsgbcc.org/hf.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 22nd of May.

Last week was dominated by extensive Sporadic-E openings that made 10 metres sound like 20 metres on a good day. The openings were steady and stable, with lots of stations around Europe being very workable. These openings extended to multi-hop as well, with Chris, VO1CH being heard on 10m FT8 at 1240UTC on Monday the 18th for example. Low-power beacons have also been heard – the IW4EIR beacon, running just 1.5W, was heard on 28.195MHz at 1600UTC on Monday as well.

If you are interested in monitoring 10m beacons, Martin, G3USF has updated his 10 metre beacon list. It is available on the RSGB website under the Propagation section, using the link on the right-hand side, Propagation Beacons.

Hopefully, the Sporadic-E season will continue to improve over the next few weeks. Other than Sporadic-E, HF conditions have been average for this time of year. Late Spring and Summer are traditionally times when maximum usable frequencies decline during the day due to a change in ionospheric chemistry. However, the good news is that night-time MUFs are higher, with bands like 20 metres remaining open long after sunset if there is sufficient ionisation.

The Sun remains very quiet. Two lighter plage areas – bright regions in the Sun’s chromosphere – have moved into view, but are unlikely to turn into sunspots. As a result, NOAA predicts the solar flux index will remain around 70. It also predicts that the Sun will remain stable geomagnetically, bringing a maximum Kp index of two. So it looks like Sporadic-E will continue to provide the HF fun on the higher HF bands.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

Most of next week will be dominated by high pressure just south of the UK and hence Tropo will be a good mode to try. At this time of the year, the strong sunshine makes any nocturnal enhancement of conditions temporary and soon disappears after sunrise and the new thermals destroy the night-time cooling inversion.

However, the main high-pressure subsidence inversion is a different case and extends across the same region as the area of high pressure and will be present throughout. This will mean paths across the North Sea, English Channel or Bay of Biscay should do well. Unlike Sporadic-E, Tropo contacts need not be rushed.

A fairly strong Atlantic jet stream will push across the UK this weekend and when it reaches the near continent it will be in a good place for Sporadic-E in a broad direction range from Scandinavia round through the Balkans to Italy and Spain.

Meanwhile, the Atlantic will continue to provide jet stream segments for openings across the pond. The association of Sporadic-E with jet streams is useful since the charts show the meandering jet stream extending well east over Russia and could be used for paths to the Far East.

There is a hint that a region of showers may develop around the middle of next week to give an opportunity for some GHz rain scatter propagation.

The Moon’s reaches peak declination on Tuesday and path losses are falling all week. 144MHz sky noise is low.

A number of small showers keep May and June an active time for meteor scatter operations, so keep looking for early morning opportunities before the Sporadic-E.

And that’s all from the propagation team this week.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for May 17th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for May 17th 2020.

May 15, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 17th of May 2020

The news headlines:

  • More media coverage for #GOTA2C

  • 2nd Hope QSO Party starts tomorrow

  • New beta of WSJT-X updates FT4 & FT8

The RSGB’s national campaign ‘Get on the air to care’ in partnership with the NHS has received more media coverage this week, including two BBC radio interviews with local radio clubs and a video message from the NHS. Thank you to everyone who is showing their support by getting on the air, caring for other radio amateurs and trying new aspects of amateur radio. More details about the campaign, media coverage and stories from clubs and radio amateurs can be seen on the RSGB website at www.rsgb.org/gota2c.

The RSGB Contest Committee is running a second Hope QSO Party event, starting on Monday the 18th of May. The rules are at tinyurl.com/Hope-QSO – please note that there are two rule changes for this second event. The calendar is at www.rsgbcc.org/hf.

A new beta version of the WSJT-X software suite has been released. It includes the first updates since last autumn to the popular FT8 and FT4 protocols. Installation packages for Windows, Linux, and Macintosh are available on the WSJT-X Development Group web page. Scroll to Candidate Release WSJT-X 2.2.0-rc1. The WSJT-X Development Group request those using the new beta version to alert the developers and to report any bugs or improvements they have implemented, using instructions included in the User Guide.

The transponder on HuskySat-OSCAR 107 has been activated and is open for use and testing. It’s fairly sensitive, and 5 to 10W of uplink power is plenty most of the time. The linear transponder is inverting, with an uplink passband of 145.910 to 145.940MHz and a downlink passband of 435.810 to 435.840MHz. The 1200-baud BPSK telemetry beacon is at 435.800MHz.

The Air Defence Radar Museum at RAF Neatishead usually runs the permanent special event station GB2RAF. But, with the museum closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, G4PSH has obtained permission to operate the callsign from his home under a temporary licence. This will continue until the museum is able to open to the public again. QSL cards are available via the RSGB or RAFARS bureau, EQSL.com or direct to G4PSH with a SAE.

The Radio Amateur Society of Australia has conducted a 60 metre band monitoring program over the past few months to build a picture of 60m activity during daylight and evening hours. The information will be used in a response to the latest Australian radio authority’s paper that proposes various options for sharing of the band between amateur and commercial users.

Now the special event news

Since the change of regulations applying to special event stations in the UK, many activations are now able to go ahead. UK amateurs would like to thank Ofcom for their help in making this happen.

GB2SHS for STAY HOME SAFE will be on air until the 24th of May in support of the NHS and care workers. It will operate from the QTH of G4ISN, a member of Welland Valley ARS, on the HF bands. QSL via e-QSL.

The RAF Amateur Radio Society will be activating the special event GB75VED until the 28th May. Operations will be from members’ homes. Details are at www.rafars.org/GB75VED and on QRZ.com.

Dragon Amateur Radio Club and North Wales Radio Society are operating GB0GIG throughout May, named after the National Health Service in the Welsh language. The station will be active on HF, VHF and UHF using as many modes as possible. An award certificate is available and full details can be found on QRZ.com.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day and VJ Day, the RSGB has organised the VE/VJ Day amateur radio marathon on the HF bands and 6m using SSB, CW and digital modes. Three special UK callsigns, GB75PEACE, GB1945PE and GB1945PJ, will be on the air throughout May and again between the 1st and the 31st of August. If you wish to operate one of these stations, please email csc.chair@rsgb.org.uk. Full details are at www.rsgb.org/ve-vj-marathon.

Kent Active Radio Amateurs will run GB80MQ on the 22nd and 23rd of May. This station is usually run from the vessel Medway Queen, but will be operational from operator’s home addresses instead this time.

Durham and District Amateur Radio Society is participating as one of the bonus stations in the hugely popular 13 Colonies Special Event. The special callsign GB13COL has been issued for this event and will run from July 1, 2020 1300 UTC to July 8, 0400 UTC. The primary focus of the event will be the HF bands, including VHF & UHF for QSOs using SSB, CW, FM and various digital modes.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the events for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. RSGB strongly advises obeying your own government’s advice first and foremost.

This weekend, the 144MHz May Contest ends it 24 hour run at 1400UTC today, the 17th. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number, locator and postcode.

Today, the 17th, is the UK Microwave Group millimetre-wave contest, running from 0900 to 1700UTC. Using all modes on the 24 to 76GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Monday the fourth FT4 series contest runs from 1900 to 2030UTC on the 80m band. The exchange is your 4-character locator.

On Tuesday the 1.3GHz UK Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Thursday it’s the 70MHz UK Activity Contest from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Next Sunday, the 24th, the third 70MHz Cumulative contest runs from 1400 to 1600UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The UK Six Metre Group’s Summer Marathon runs until the 2nd of August. Using all modes on the 50MHz band, the exchange is you 4-character locator.

And finally, join the fun of the next round of RSGB Hope QSO Party on weekdays. See www.rsgbcc.org/hf.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 15th of May.

We had another week dominated by Sporadic-E openings. While the Sun remained quiet with zero sunspots, Sporadic-E proved to be the major mode of propagation. It offered both single and multi-hop openings, with 10m being open to Spain, Portugal and beyond on most days. Likely multi-hop paths have seen openings to Chad, Mauritania, St Lucia and further afield. On 20m and 15m there have been F2-layer openings to the Far East, Hawaii, Alaska and South America reported, although most of these have been on FT8 by well-equipped stations. An easier catch for Chris, G3SJJ was C31CT in Andorra who “popped out of the noise” on 17m. This shows the importance of monitoring the bands and watching the cluster for those elusive short HF openings.

Next week NOAA predicts that the Sun will likely remain spotless with a solar flux index of 68-70. On Thursday a polar coronal hole with a long finger pointing towards the solar equator was likely releasing a high-speed solar wind stream. This could result in unsettled geomagnetic conditions over the weekend. NOAA predicts the Kp index could rise to three on Monday the 18th.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

The weather models are showing a mainly high-pressure week and therefore there should be some good prospects for Tropo. Since the high does not have a great source of moist air underneath the inversion, the Tropo may be less than ideal. However, the position of the high over this weekend may allow better Tropo conditions across southern Britain and across the Channel into France. The north and west of the UK are going to be close to fronts on several occasions next week, and on Monday a weakness in the high may allow a few showers to develop and bring some rain scatter on the GHz bands. One of the models does break the high-pressure trend and bring a deepening low past northwest Britain in the second half of next week with further rain scatter possibilities.

We have seen a good number of Sporadic-E days in the last week, especially for digital modes, but CW and SSB have produced results too. The position of the jet streams suggests that Scandinavia, the Baltic and northern Europe may be the preferred regions of interest next week. Check the beacons and clusters for signs of activity, and keep QSOs short, since conditions can change suddenly from an easy 5/9 to lost in the noise.

We should see the start of the Arietids meteor shower this week lasting from the 22nd of May until the 2nd of July, peaking on the 7th of June. Moon declination is increasing again, going positive on Monday but this coincides with apogee, so path losses are at their highest. 144MHz sky noise is low apart from Friday afternoon where the Sun and Moon are close to eclipse.

And that’s all from the propagation team this week.

Play this podcast on Podbean App