GB2RS
RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for February 21st 2021.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for February 21st 2021.

February 19, 2021

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 21st of February 2021

The news headlines:

  • BBC reports Lincoln Short Wave Centenary

  • Tonight @ 8 looks at propagation tools

  • Film-maker seeks funding

Lincoln Short Wave Club celebrated its 100th birthday on Wednesday the 10th of February. Steve, G6TVP was interviewed on BBC Radio Lincoln’s Breakfast Show that morning and he chatted about the club and amateur radio. Go to rsgb.services/gb2rs/004 to find it. The interview begins at 1:17:49 and will be on the BBC website for a further 18 days.

The next RSGB Tonight @ 8 webinar takes place on Monday the 1st of March. RSGB Propagation Studies Committee Chair, Steve Nichols, G0KYA will look at “Using propagation prediction tools”. On the Society’s website, you can find out more about all the Tonight @ 8 webinars as well as links to further information, books and videos on the webinar topics at rsgb.org/webinars.

Through The Waves’ is looking to raise funding to film the untold story of Artie Moore. He was a young man from Pontllanfraith who, in 1912, received the distress call from the sinking Titanic. At over 3,000 miles, it was the furthest any radio signal in the world had been received. The filmmakers, directed by Ben Roberts, plan to tell the story in this 10-minute dramatisation. They’ve already signed BAFTA-Award Winning Jack Parry-Jones to play Arthur Moore, and Gareth John Bale to play Artie’s father, William Moore. The funding raised will go towards paying the professional crew and actors on board, and will allow the team to afford the authenticity involved in recreating his early 1900s attic. It’s from there Artie would often receive Morse Code messages from cargo ships off the coast of Newport. Go to indiegogo.com and search for Artie Moore Film, it’s the first entry.

The RSGB’s Examination Standards Committee has launched a consultation on a new, Direct to Full licence exam. It would run in parallel with the existing three-tier system. The Society is encouraging everyone to take part and give their views. The background to this consultation, as well as links to the proposed syllabus and the survey, are at rsgb.org/direct-to-full.

Spaceweather.com this week carried a report that amateur radio operators are hearing the transmissions coming from the spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet. Some were also hoping to detect NASA's Perseverance rover as it touched down earlier this week. Find out more at Spaceweather.com.

The first Full Licence course from the Bath-Based Distance Learning team is now closed for applications. Over 250 people have enquired about the training, including a number of amateurs from the USA, and one from France. The team received double the number of applications than the 100 planned spaces. They have expanded the numbers as far as they can but many will have to wait for the next course. The team are looking to rework their plans so they can run a second Full Licence course later in the year. An announcement will be made when that course is ready for any further applications. Please do not make enquiries before that announcement.

The next Youngsters On The Air talk will take place on the 25th of February at 1900UTC. In this newest episode the team will present the main topic, ‘Gone Exploring!’ They plan to discuss activities like Islands on the Air, Summits on the Air and World Wide Flora and Fauna in Amateur Radio. It will be followed by a Q&A session with the presenters. They will be streaming live again on YouTube, Facebook and Twitch channels. For YouTube go to youtube.com/hamyota.

QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo will be held on March the 13th and 14th. You will have a choice of 80 plus speakers to listen to. Your ticket will allow you to visit the event for the following thirty days Just search for QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo for all the details.

The January 2021 issue of 425DX News magazine is now available for download, go to 425dxn.org.

Now the DX news

Mireille, 3A/F4FRL and Patrice, 3A/F5RBB will be active from Monaco between the 24th of February and the 2nd of March. They will operate SSB and digital modes on the 40 to 20m bands. QSL via Logbook of The World and eQSL.

Gareth, M0MOL will be active as MM0MOL/P from the main island of Shetland, IOTA reference EU-012, in February and March. He will operate with what he refers to as a typical portable QRP set up and will be QRV mainly in the evenings after work.

Now the Special Event news

GB4VAX continues its public health message on FT8 only with members of Welland Valley ARS. See QRZ.com for details.

Coventry is The City of Culture in 2021. GB1COC is being operated until the 13th of March on behalf of Coventry ARS by Brian, G8GMU. He will be mainly on the 80m band using SSB, 2m FM and digital speech modes. See QRZ.com.

Hull & District ARS is continuing to celebrate 100 years of amateur radio clubs in the Hull area with its year-long special event station, GB1OOH. Details are on QRZ.com.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the contest for any new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your national and local government’s advice.

This weekend is the ARRL International DX Contest. It runs for 48 hours until 2359UTC today, the 21st. It’s CW only on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands. The exchange is signal report and transmitter power, with US stations sending their State and Canadians their Province.

On Tuesday the SHF UK Activity Contest runs from 1930UTC to 2230UTC, 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 runs from 2000 to 2100UTC on the 80m band. Using CW only, the exchange is your 6-character locator.

On Thursday the 80m Club Championship runs from 2000UTC to 2130UTC. Using CW only, the exchange is a signal report and serial number.

Next weekend the CQ 160m DX contest runs from 2200UTC on Friday to 2200UTC on the 28th. Using SSB only, the exchange is signal report and CQ Zone. American stations also exchange their State and Canadians their Province.

Next weekend the REF Contest runs from 0600UTC on the 27th to 1800UTC on the 28th. Using SSB only on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number. French stations also exchange their Department number or overseas prefix.

Next Sunday, the 28th, the First 70MHz Cumulative Contest runs from 1000 to 1200UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

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

Well, we’ve had another week with zero sunspots, but we did have a geomagnetic disturbance. This was caused by the frozen-in Bz magnetic field of the high-speed solar wind stream going very negative. This means it can couple more easily with the Earth’s magnetic field allowing plasma to flood in. At its peak, the stream’s speed was more than 450 kilometres per second and this pushed the Kp index to four on Tuesday the 16th.

Otherwise, the highlight of the week was probably the CQWW RTTY contest last weekend. Chris, G0DWV reports that conditions were not brilliant, but he did manage more than 1300 QSOs from his well-equipped station. Highlights included Wesley, N7US in Arizona on 80m at midnight and Peter, VK4ZP in Queensland, Australia on 20 metres at 1230hrs.

Winter Sporadic-E seems to be in decline now. We’ve only spotted Spain on 10 metres twice this week. So until the main 2021 Sporadic-E season starts again, in late April or early May, it looks like it will be F2 layer DX only on the upper HF bands.

Next week NOAA predicts the solar flux index will be in the range 71-76, so nothing to get too excited about. A recurrent, coronal hole high-speed stream with negative polarity is forecast for the 20th or 21st of February. This is from a large solar coronal hole on the Sun’s equator.

As the solar wind is predicted to have a south-facing Bz component we may expect the Kp index to react strongly. NOAA predicts the Kp index could rise to at least four, although on the coronal hole’s last rotation the Kp peaked at five on the 25th of January.

Look out for any potential pre-auroral opening on the higher HF bands as the solar wind speed increases. Otherwise, expect the maximum usable frequency to decrease as a geomagnetic storm commences.

At the time of writing the data feed from the Chilton ionosonde is not available on Propquest.co.uk, but just click to select data from the RAF Fairford or Dourbes Digisonde, refresh and all will be well.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

This is probably a good week to increase your satellite square count as the weather charts suggest that the unsettled pattern will continue. There’s just the slightest hint of a developing high over southern Britain at the end of next week. Rain will produce the opportunity for GHz Bands rain scatter at times, and there will be some heavier showers in the mix. It's possible there may be some hail and thunder in the heavier ones, which gives better quality for the scatter users. The Tropo prospects aren’t great, but at least there is a possibility at the end of next week into the near continent from southern areas.

As we said earlier, we are now in the dormant period for Sporadic-E, so unless it's a rare digital mode QSO, things will probably remain quiet until we are into April for CW and SSB contacts.

Moon declination reaches a maximum on Monday, so we have long moon visibility windows with high peak Moon elevation. Apogee was last week, so path losses continue to fall.

There are no major meteor showers until mid-March, so pre-dawn continues to be the best time for random meteor scatter contacts.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for February 14th 2021.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for February 14th 2021.

February 12, 2021

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 14th of February 2021

The news headlines:

  • Construction Competition winners

  • Next YOTA talk details

  • RSGB Election News

The RSGB’s ‘Get on the air to care’ construction competition has been judged. It was for projects made during the Autumn 2020 lockdown, the Christmas and New Year holiday period or the early 2021 lockdown. The Society was delighted to receive 27 entries from 15 entrants and the standard was very high. To reflect this, the judges awarded four prizes, rather than choose one winner as originally planned. The RSGB congratulates each of those four radio amateurs. You can read about their winning entries on the RSGB website at www.rsgb.services/gb2rs/002.

The next Youngsters On The Air talk will take place on the 25th of February at 1900UTC. In this newest episode, the team will present the main topic on Gone exploring! They plan to discuss activities like Islands on the Air, Summits on the Air and World Wide Flora and Fauna in Amateur Radio. It will be followed by a Q&A session with the presenters. They will be streaming live again on YouTube, Facebook and Twitch channels. For YouTube go to youtube.com/hamyota.

The RSGB elections nomination period closed on the 31st of January. You can find the names of those standing for election as RSGB President, Elected Board Director and Nominated Board Director at www.rsgb.services/gb2rs/003. Voting opens on the 17th of March and the results will be announced at the AGM on the 24th of April. Details about how to vote, together with the candidates’ CVs and personal statements, will be in the April RadCom and on the RSGB website from the 17th of March.

The IARU Region 1 has an interesting article by Tom, DF5JL on its website at iaru-r1.org. It is called How far you can turn the dial when transmitting in SSB voice mode? It’s only short but gives really clear advice.

The RSGB’s Planning Advisory Committee assists RSGB Members with planning applications, enforcement notices and planning appeals. Recently it appointed Leandro, M0XPO and Colin, GW1KGW to its Planning Panel. The general information on the Committee’s web pages has been updated and a new short video has been added to help explain the Committee’s services, see rsgb.org/pac.

Congratulations to South Kesteven ARS as they celebrate the club’s 10th anniversary in February. Club members will put the club callsign, M0SKR, on the air throughout the month on different bands and modes.

The Finnish Amateur Radio League, SRAL, was founded one hundred years ago in 1921 and today caters for around three and a half thousand members. It is the IARU affiliated society for Finland. To mark the 100th anniversary they are running the 100 Years Award. To qualify, you must work and confirm, either by QSL card or Logbook of the World, one hundred different stations from Finland during 2021. A special anniversary call sign OH100SRAL will be on the air throughout the year. See sral.fi for all the details.

Now the DX news

Gareth, M0MOL will be active as MM0MOL/P from the main island of Shetland, IOTA reference EU-012, in February and March. He will operate with what he refers to as a typical portable QRP setup and will be QRV mainly in the evenings after work.

3W9FAR is the callsign that Sebastian, SP5FAR will be using from Vietnam. He will be there until the 21st of March. In his spare time, he will operate SSB and digital on the 40, 20, 15 and 10m bands. QSL via eQSL.

Alain, F6BFH has moved permanently to Oleron Island, EU-032. IOTA chasers should be looking for him on Saturdays at 0900 and 1700UTC on 14.040MHz CW. On Sundays, at the same times, it’s 14.260MHz SSB.

Now the Special Event news

Coventry is The City of Culture in 2021. GB1COC is being operated on behalf of Coventry ARS by Brian, G8GMU. He will be mainly on the 80m band using SSB, 2m FM and digital speech modes. The operation will be between the 14th of February and the 13th of March. The club plans to renew the NoV throughout the year. See qrz.com.

Hull & District ARS is continuing to celebrate 100 years of amateur radio clubs in the Hull area with its year-long special event station, GB1OOH. The station operates most days on bands ranging from 160m to 70cm using different modes. Further details about the operation can be found on QRZ.com.

Girl Guides from Australia will be operating the ALARA Echolink conference station, node 286905, from 2200UTC to 2359UTC on Saturday the 20th of February for their International Thinking Day activities. Contacts from Girl Guides and Leaders would be appreciated.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the contest for any new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your national and local government’s advice.

This weekend the CQ World Wide WPX RTTY contest ends its 48 hour run at 2359UTC today, the 14th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

Also this weekend, but running for 24 hours, is the PACC Contest. It ends at 1200UTC today, the 14th. Using CW and SSB on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number. Note that PA stations also send their Province code.

On Monday, the first of the FT4 series of contests run from 2000 to 2130UTC. Using the 3.5MHz band only, the exchange is your 4-character locator.

On Tuesday it’s the 1.3GHz UK Activity Contest from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Thursday the 70MHz UK Activity Contest runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. All modes are allowed and the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Next weekend is the ARRL International DX Contest. It runs for 48 hours from 0000UTC on the 20th to 2359 on the 21st. It’s CW only on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands. The exchange is signal report and transmitter power, with US stations sending their State and Canadians their Province.

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

At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, last week’s HF propagation was characterised by zero sunspots and the geomagnetic effects of a coronal hole. The lack of sunspots is now getting a bit worrying, especially when you consider that traditionally the new cycle normally ramps up quite quickly. At least one joker has said that perhaps we had sunspot maximum for Solar Cycle 25 back in December 2020!

A high-speed stream from a pair of Earth-facing coronal holes pushed the Kp index up to five in the early hours of Sunday 7th February. This was back down to one by Monday, but conditions remained subdued for a time. With the solar flux now back at 74 and the Australian Space Weather Services T index at six, it doesn’t bode well for HF propagation right now. The T index is the sunspot number equivalent that best matches the observations made by ionosondes.

Next week, NOAA predicts the solar flux index will remain around 73. It also predicts the Kp index will be two. However, a large polar-connected coronal hole became Earth-facing on Thursday, which suggests we may get an elevated Kp index some time across the weekend. So look for a pre-auroral enhancement as the solar wind speed increases and check out 10 metres for any potential openings.

Daytime Maximum Usable Frequencies over a 3,000km path are currently exceeding 18MHz and often more than 21MHz at times. There is still evidence of mid-winter short-skip Sporadic-E paths occurring, with Scottish stations coming into England on 18MHz on Thursday.

The F2 region critical frequency, or f0F2, is still falling quite quickly after sunset. Eighty metres is largely closing to inter-UK near-vertical incidence sky-wave contacts by about 2000hrs, as contestants in last week’s 80m Club Championship found out. The only good news is that spring is coming and with it hopefully an upturn in HF propagation.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

Intense cold over a snowfield is again a theme for a while and although there is a slow trend for a gradual warm-up from the west, the high pressure over the North Sea and northern Europe will probably take a lot of shifting. This means that there continues to be a possibility of limited temperature inversions due to the high itself and over the snowy ground in eastern Britain and thus Tropo is a limited possibility. Weather fronts encroaching into western Britain may introduce limited precipitation scattering options.

The big question is whether the milder air actually gets in properly since highs like these are very stubborn and may hold fronts to the west of the UK. The models are suggesting that this time the colder air to the east may well be the winner here and might not give way or, if it does, should reassert itself next week. So keep your Tropo options open, especially over eastern areas.

Moon declination goes positive again on Monday so visibility windows and peak Moon elevations will increase. Apogee is on Thursday so path losses are at their highest. 144MHz sky noise is low but increasing to 500K next Sunday.

There are no significant meteor showers until mid-March, so stick to the pre-dawn period for the best random meteor scatter conditions.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for February 7th 2021.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for February 7th 2021.

February 5, 2021

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 7th of February 2021

The news headlines:

  • New GB2RS Newsreaders

  • hamradio.org URL donated to IARU

  • New short RSGB video

The RSGB is delighted to announce some enhancements to the GB2RS News service. Kelvan, M0KEL is now broadcasting the news via GB3IW on the Isle of Wight at 1015UTC each Sunday. The repeater is on 433.225MHz FM with a sub-audible access tone of 71.9Hz. The repeater has an impressive coverage on the south coast too, and our thanks go to the repeater-keeper Paul, G4IKI who has kindly granted permission for this broadcast. And a new digital amateur television broadcast is being made on 1308MHz at 1000UTC each Sunday via GB3EY, located in a commanding position near Hull 155 metres above sea level. The newsreader Clive, G3GJA also listens for reports on the ATV talkback frequency of 144.775MHz. The latest GB2RS Broadcast Schedule can be downloaded from rsgb.org/gb2rsschedule. We’re always looking for new readers to join the teams around the UK and Crown Dependencies. If you would like to find out more, and you are an RSGB member with a Full or Intermediate licence, please contact the GB2RS Manager via email to gb2rs.manager@rsgb.org.uk.

Andrew, KI7RYC has donated the hamradio.org domain to the International Amateur Radio Union for non-profit educational use to promote the amateur and amateur satellite services. In accepting the gift, IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH said, “The hamradio.org domain offers a unique opportunity for which we are deeply grateful to Andrew. It is our intention to develop a website that can serve as a focal point for anyone, anywhere, who may be seeking information on amateur radio.”

The RSGB represents UK radio amateurs both nationally and internationally. Strengthening this representation is part of the Society’s strategic goals. A short video explaining more about this has been added to the Spectrum Forum web page at rsgb.org/spectrum-forum.

Girl Guides from Australia will be operating the ALARA Echolink conference station, node 286905, from 2200UTC to 2359UTC on Saturday the 20th of February for their International Thinking Day activities. Contacts from Girl Guides and Leaders would be appreciated.

The preparatory work for WRC-23 has started across all regions in both the ITU R and the Regional Telecommunications Organisations. The IARU has representatives contributing to the studies and helping to develop the regional positions on all the WRC agenda items. The IARU Administrative Council has agreed the first preliminary positions covering the six most important agenda items for the amateur and amateur satellite services. Read more at iaru-r1.org.

The RSGB nominations process has closed for its forthcoming elections. Only the current co-opted Regional Representatives in Regions 6 and 12 were nominated in those areas, so they have been elected unopposed. We congratulate Liz Cabban, GW0ETU and David de la Haye, M0MDB who will continue in their roles. No nominations were received for the Regional Representative in Region 2, which covers Scotland North and the Northern Isles.

The UK and Ireland Contest Club has been assigned the historic callsign EI5G as its club call. Its previous holder was the late Pete Daly, who held the call from the early 1930s until 1961. He was a keen participant in field days and contests. Reviving the callsign honours the memory of its previous holder and, with its EI and G components, captures the ethos of the UK and EI Contest Club.

The WSJT Development Group has announced the general availability release of WSJT-X Version 2.3.0. A summary of new features can be found in the User Guide. The Release Notes offer additional information, including a list of important program changes since the WSJT-X 2.2. Upgrading from earlier versions of WSJT-X should be seamless and it’s not necessary to uninstall a previous version or move any files. Just search online for WSJT-X 2.3 User Guide.

Congratulations to Lincoln Short-Wave Club, whose 100th birthday is on Wednesday this week. Due to current Covid restrictions, the celebratory dinner will be delayed, but members will probably raise a glass at home.

Now the DX news

Gareth, M0MOL will be active as MM0MOL/P from the main island of Shetland, IOTA reference EU-012, in February and March. He will operate QRP with what he refers to as a typical portable setup and he will be QRV mainly in the evenings after work.

Kang, DS4DRE will be active as DS4DRE/4 from Komun Island, AS-060, until the 31st of January 2022. He plans to operate SSB and CW on the 80 to 10m bands. QSL via home call, direct or bureau.

Now the Special Event news

Hull & District ARS is continuing to celebrate 100 years of amateur radio clubs in the Hull area with its year-long special event station, GB1OOH. The station operates most days on bands ranging from 160m to 70cm using different modes. Further details about the operation can be found on QRZ.com.

IQ3DD will be active during the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Cortina, Italy from the 7th to the 28th of February. A special QSL card will be available. More information on qrz.com.

TM18AAW will be on air from the 14th to the 28th of February to celebrate the 18th Antarctic Activity Week. All information is on QRZ.com. The operation will be on the 10 to 40m bands.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the contest for any new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your national and local government’s advice.

Today, the 7th of February, the 432MHz AFS contest runs from 0900 to 1300UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The first European Union DX Contest ends its 24-hour run at 1800UTC today, the 7th. A variety of operating categories are offered, including SWL, and everybody works everybody. Just search for European Union DX Contest Club to obtain full details.

On Tuesday the 432MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 1955UTC. It is followed by the all-mode 432MHz UK Activity Contest from 2000 to 2230UTC. The exchange is the same for both, signal report, serial number and locator.

On Wednesday the data modes leg of the 80m Club Championships runs from 2000 to 2130UTC. The exchange is signal report and serial number.

On Thursday the 50MHz UK Activity contest runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Saturday the 13th, the 1st 1.8MHz contest runs from 1900 to 2300UTC. It’s CW only and the exchange is signal report, serial number and District code.

Next weekend the CQ World Wide WPX RTTY contest runs from 0000UTC on the 13th to 2359UTC on the 14th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

Also next weekend, but running for 24 hours, is the PACC Contest. It starts at 1200UTC on the 13th. Using CW and SSB on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number. Note that PA stations also send their Province code.

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

Last week was dominated by unsettled geomagnetic conditions. These were due to the effects of a high-speed stream from a solar coronal hole. The stream resulted in a co-rotating interaction region or CIR. CIRs are transition zones between slow- and fast-moving streams of solar wind. Solar wind plasma piles up in these regions, creating density gradients and shock waves that can affect Earth’s magnetic field much like a coronal mass ejection, or CME. The net result was a Kp index that hit four with widespread visible aurora in the early hours of February 2nd. Unsettled geomagnetic conditions continued until at least Thursday with the Kp index eventually settling back to two.

Propagation wise, Tuesday morning saw 10 metres alive with FT8 signals. There was short-skip to Scotland, Wales and Ireland as well as longer paths to Croatia and the Canary Islands. Wednesday saw 4X4DX in Israel coming through. Chris, G0DWV managed to work Namibia and South Africa on 10 metres from his well-equipped station. He then moved to 12 metres and bagged the Dominican Republic, Paraguay, Venezuela, Ecuador and numerous North American stations. And all this with virtually no sunspots!

Next week NOAA predicts the solar flux index will be in the range 72-76. But a high-speed stream from another solar coronal hole may impact the Earth this weekend, sending the Kp index up to four. It will be interesting to see if we have an enhancement to the upper HF bands again. Keep an eye on 10 and 12 metres and also for a rapid rise in the real-time solar wind speed at solarham.com.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

A disturbed end to this week with rain and snow giving us plenty to do without worrying about band conditions. There’s always GHz bands snow and rain scatter to try if you have the equipment. 10GHz rain scatter QSOs can be made over short ranges using high elevation, so put that tripod out in the back yard, chuck something waterproof over the equipment and make a sked!

On the Tropo front, there’s a hint of a temporary weak ridge down the spine of the country at the start of next week, and it may produce some sharp nocturnal temperature inversions over snow cover to bring up the odd distant repeater. Thereafter another low moves up the Channel with rain and snow for the south, while wintry showers affect northern areas. Later in the week a more vigorous Atlantic low pushes active fronts across the whole country. For VHF/UHF propagation this is not a good period, apart from some scattering on the GHz bands. February is the minimum month for Sporadic-E.

The Moon is at minimum declination on Monday, so visibility windows are at their shortest and peak Moon elevations are minimum. Perigee was last week so path losses are still low. 144MHz sky noise is high, over 2000K on Monday. On Thursday afternoon the Sun and Moon are within a few degrees of each other so Sun noise will dominate.

The Alpha Centaurids meteor shower peaks tomorrow, Monday, but with a zenithal hourly rate of just six, you’ll only see a slight enhancement on meteor scatter conditions.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for January 31st 2021.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for January 31st 2021.

January 29, 2021

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 31st of January 2021

The news headlines:

  • New video from Propagation Studies Committee

  • Bath Based Distance Learning announces Full licence course

  • New edition of RadCom Basics available

The RSGB’s Propagation Studies Committee has a number of online tools available to help you work out the best band and time to make a contact. A video explaining these propagation tools has been added to the propagation pages on the RSGB website, go to rsgb.org/propagation-tools.

The Bath Based Distance Learning team helped nearly 800 students to pass the Advanced exam under the old syllabus. After reworking their training material, the team are now planning their first course for the Full level exam syllabus. The course will run from March to June this year. Students will receive weekly work packages via a virtual classroom and will have access to weekly online tutorials. There will be no charge for the training, but applicants will need to work through a pre-course classroom and quiz to be eligible for a place. The deadline for course applications is Wednesday the 17th of February. To request full details and an application form, please e-mail Steve, G0FUW via g0fuw@tiscali.co.uk.

The January 2021 edition of RadCom Basics is now available on the RSGB website for Members to read. It is for new licensees or anyone who wants an introduction to a different part of amateur radio. This issue looks at antennas, setting up a radio bench, making a metal box and the value of listening as a radio amateur. Go to rsgb.org/radcom-basics.

A 2m beacon is operating on St Helena Island. The beacon frequencies are Channel 1 144.435MHz; Channel 2 144.325MHz; Channel 3 144.375MHz and Channel 4 144.385MHz.

The next RSGB Tonight @ 8 webinar is on Monday the 1st of February. Neil Underwood, G4LDR will give you all the information you need to become operational on the microwave bands. You can watch and ask questions live on the Society’s YouTube channel. For more information about this and the other webinars in the series, see the Society’s website at rsgb.org/webinars.

Leicestershire Foxes Contest Group is a new contest group. Geographically, the membership is derived from many different parts of the greater Leicestershire region. However, they also welcome operators from outside the county. If you are interested, email adyg6ad@gmail.com for more information.

The RSGB Exams and Syllabus Review Group (ESRG) has appointed a new member. Jonathan Groves, M0VRI passed all three exams during the lockdown and is a member of Bredhurst Receiving and Transmitting Society. He enjoys HF operating and trying to find trans-Atlantic QSOs from a noisy suburban QTH. Jonathan is also now an active Remote Invigilation volunteer.

Now the DX news

Takumi, JG3PLH is a member of the 62nd Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition team and will be stationed at Showa base on East Ongul Island, AN-015, Antarctica until January 2022. He will be active as 8J1RL starting in February. QSL via the bureau.

Now the Special Event news

To mark the 80th Anniversary of the Formation of the Air Training Corps on the 5th of February 1941, Ofcom has issued the callsign Golf Bravo Eight Zero Alpha Tango Charlie. The callsign is valid for use between 5th February 2021 and 4th February 2022. It will be managed by David, M0SKT and a team of serving Cadet Force Adult Volunteer staff who are UK Licence holders.

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Jutlandia, the hospital ship, Experimental Danish Radio Amateurs will activate OV0JUTLANDIA until the 31st of March at 2359UTC. They will be active on most amateur radio bands with CW, SSB and digital modes. All bands including WARC bands and all modes may be used. All two-way contacts and SWL reports will be valid for the special OV0JUTLANDIA award. Full details on qrz.com.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the contest for any new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your national and local government’s advice.

This weekend the CQ 160m DX contest ends its 48-hour run at 2200UTC today, the 31st. It’s CW only and the exchange is signal report and your CQ Zone. Please note that American stations also exchange their State and Canadians their Province.

On Monday the 80m Club Championship runs from 2000 to 2100UTC. Using SSB only, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

On Tuesday, the 144MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 1955UTC. It is followed by the all-mode 144MHz UK Activity Contest from 2000 to 2230UTC. The exchange is the same for both contests, signal report, serial number and locator.

The 144MHz FT8 Activity Contest takes place between 1900 and 2100UTC on Wednesday. The exchange is signal report and your 4-character locator.

Also on Wednesday is the UK EI Contest Club 80m Contest from 2000 to 2100UTC. Using SSB only the exchange is your 6-character locator.

Next Sunday, the 7th of February, the 432MHZ AFS contest runs from 0900 to 1300UTC. Using all modes the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

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

We are almost into February and still, the Sun is not playing ball in terms of sunspots. This week saw groups 2797, 2799 and 2800 rotate out of view, but all were minuscule and didn’t contribute much. The solar flux index was 76 on Thursday with a sunspot number of 26. There is a plage area, which can be a precursor to sunspots, at the same latitude as group 2800, but we will have to wait and see what develops.

The STEREO Ahead spacecraft view shows little of note other than a coronal hole that will eventually become Earth-facing.

There was a geomagnetic storm late on Monday and in the early hours of Tuesday, which was caused by a high-speed stream from a coronal hole that we warned you about last week.

This week’s highlights have been short FT8 openings on 10 metres, possibly due to mid-Winter Sporadic-E. The French Alps, Poland, Ireland and Spain have all been spotted, and short F2-layer openings to Mauritius in the morning and Paraguay in the afternoon kept interest levels up. These winter Es openings are becoming rarer and shorter, but it is still worth keeping an eye on 10m.

Otherwise, the lower bands have brought the most action with 40 and 80m still providing good activity after dark.

With little scope for sunspots, NOAA predicts the SFI will be in the mid-70s next week. Unsettled geomagnetic conditions are forecast for Sunday or Monday, due to yet another high-speed stream from a coronal hole, which became Earth facing on Friday. The Kp index could rise to three or four, but once it passes the Kp index may be down to two.

Daytime MUFs over a 3,000km path are currently exceeding 21MHz during the daytime. Night-time critical frequencies of around 2.9-3.5MHz mean that 80m is marginal for local contacts at night while remaining fairly solid for European paths and DX.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

It looks like satellites will offer the best chance of working VHF DX, with not many prospects for Tropo, as the unsettled theme continues to drive our weather over the next week or so. The south and west of the British Isles, along with the north-eastern areas, will have some temporary weak ridges ahead of slowly-advancing Atlantic systems.

Overall then, with some borderline snow events on the northern edge of the rain areas, there could be some winter scatter options for the microwave bands, but otherwise another thin week.

Some models do introduce a weak ridge of high pressure over the country at the very end of next week, but this is not to be relied upon this far out, and probably with dry cold air near the surface it is not such a good prospect for Tropo.

Moon declination goes negative on Tuesday so as the week progresses, Moon windows will shorten and peak Moon elevations will fall. Perigee is on Wednesday, so path losses are at their lowest this week. 144 MHz Sky noise is moderate but becomes high this coming weekend.

The Alpha Centaurids meteor shower is just over a week away so you may see some small improvement in meteor scatter conditions, but with a zenith hourly rate (ZHR) of just six, don't expect any fireworks.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for January 24th 2021.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for January 24th 2021.

January 22, 2021

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 24th of January 2021

The news headlines:

  • SSTV from the Space Station this week

  • Orlando Hamcation postponed

  • Enter Construction Competition

Russian cosmonauts on the International Space Station are planning to transmit slow-scan TV images on 145.800MHz FM using the SSTV mode PD-120. On the 28th of January, the transmissions will be between 1210UTC and 1715UTC. On the 29th they will broadcast between 1310UTC and 1805UTC. Please note that these times could vary depending on the activity onboard the ISS.

This year’s Orlando HamCation has been postponed. Usually held in February, there will instead be online events. Go to hamcation.com to check out all the events and webinars that will be happening. You must register for the webinars that you want to watch, but registration is free.

Have you entered the RSGB’s ‘Get on the air to care’ construction competition? The deadline is the 1st of February. Send a short description of your project to gm.dept@rsgb.org.uk and include a few photographs, a video if possible and any related circuit diagrams.

Nick Redmayne, G6PQW has written an engaging piece in The Telegraph about how the lockdown has reinvigorated a teenage interest in amateur radio. The piece includes a quote from RSGB General Manager, Steve Thomas, M1ACB. Well done Nick.

Filmmaker Luka Vukos released his short film ISS_Overs that is available for preview until the 29th of January on Vimeo, see tinyurl.com/ISSOvers. The film will be entered for several festivals this year, and its contents could be of interest to radio amateurs. A solitary radio amateur endures Covid-19 lockdown in mid-2020. Hearing the crew of the International Space Station talking to schoolchildren as it passes over his home, he dreams of escape. Appearing to be a fly-on-the-wall documentary, ISS_Overs is actually scripted, with only Paul Thompson, GM6MEN on the screen.

David, G8UOD recently contacted the RSGB about laptop donations to schools as he thought radio amateurs may have machines they no longer use. If you are interested in donating a laptop or similar to schools to aid with home-schooling, you can find many groups that will take them at the BBC website. Go to tinyurl.com/gb2rs001.

We’re into the final weeks of the nominations process for the RSGB elections, which will end at 2359UTC on the 31st of January. There are a number of vacancies so for more information visit rsgb.org/election. The results will be announced at the RSGB’s online AGM on Saturday the 24th of April.

Now the DX news

Michael, HB9WDF will be active holiday style as 8Q7AO from the Maldives, IOT reference AS-013, from the 25th of January to the 7th of February. Activity will be on QO-100 only. QSL via Logbook of The World, eQSL, Club Log and via the bureau to his home call.

Erling, LB2PG will be active again as JW/LB2PG from the weather station on Bear Island, Svalbard, EU-027 until late May. In his free time, he will operate SSB on the 80 to 20m bands. QSL via his home call.

Nils, SM3UQK has been based in Greenland, NA-018, since early January, and will remain there until the 28th. In his spare time, he is active as OX/SE3A, mainly on 20 metres. QSL via SM3UQK, direct or bureau.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the contest for any new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your national and local government’s advice.

The BARTG RTTY Sprint ends its 24-hour run at 1200UTC today, the 24th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is simply the serial number.

The UK EI Contest Club DX CW contest ends its 24-hour run at 1200UTC today, the 24th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and District Code.

On Tuesday the SHF UK Activity Contest runs from 1930 to 2230UTC. Using all modes on the 2.3 to 10GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Wednesday sees the UK EI Contest Club 80m contest running from 2000 to 2100UTC. Using CW only, the exchange is your six-character locator.

Next weekend the CQ 160m DX contest runs from 2200UTC on the 29th to 2200UTC on the 31st. It’s CW only and the exchange is signal report and your CQ Zone. Please note that American stations also exchange their State and Canadians their Province.

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

Last week was defined by a lack of sunspots, but otherwise reasonably settled geomagnetic conditions. However, towards the end of the week, the Sun woke up with regions 2797 and 2798 becoming active. The sunspot number rose to 25 on Thursday, although the solar flux index remained in the 70s, reaching 77 on Thursday. This is good news as the Sun had remained spotless for some time.

By this weekend the spots will have rotated to be more Earth-centric and we shall have to see what happens to the solar flux index. They may continue to grow or could diminish. Meanwhile, a large solar coronal hole near the Sun’s equator will also become geoeffective on Friday, which may result in an elevated Kp index at the beginning of next week. NOAA predicts the solar flux index will remain in the mid to high 70s next week and the Kp index will be in the range of two to three. This will rather depend on the interplanetary magnetic field of the solar wind, emanating from the coronal hole. If its Bz swings south we can expect it to couple more easily with the Earth’s magnetic field and the Kp index could rise further.

So, HF propagation may remain subdued with little of note. However, this is a good time of year for low-band operations, with top band and 80m coming into their own after sunset and around sunrise. Signals from stations to the west, such as from North America, can peak just before our sunrise and there is often SSB activity around 3.795MHz. Why not take a look?

Higher up the bands, daytime maximum usable frequencies over a 3,000km path are reaching and often exceeding 21MHz. Daytime critical frequencies are in the range 5-6MHz, which means 40m remains a band for longer-range contacts. 60 metres, or five Megahertz, would be a better HF choice for near-vertical incidence skywave, or NVIS, contacts around the UK.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

The current spell of unsettled weather seems likely to continue through the coming week. This means that other issues like rain, snow and strong winds are the themes we will have to adapt to. In amateur radio terms, it will be thin pickings, primarily rain scatter on the microwave bands as active fronts and showers pass by. That said, winter rain scatter is nothing like as intense as it is in the summer, so don’t expect too much. Keep an eye on your beacons and rainfall radar maps, and make a noise on reflectors and social media if you catch rain scatter propagation.

It’s hard to find any other benefits in the weather charts, and certainly no sign of high pressure and Tropo. We are also past the window of typical midwinter Sporadic-E, but that's not to say the odd path won’t appear for digital modes like FT8, since unsettled weather brings a good supply of jet streams.

Moon declination reaches maximum on Tuesday so we’ll have long Moon windows and high peak Moon elevations all week. As we are past apogee, path losses will be falling. 144MHz sky noise starts moderate but dips below 180 kelvin on Thursday.

There are no significant meteor showers again this week, so continue to check pre-dawn for the best random meteor contacts.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for January 17th 2021.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for January 17th 2021.

January 15, 2021

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 17th of January 2021

The news headlines:

  • RSGB publishes EMF Calculator

  • New AllStar Gateway in North Lancashire

  • Enter Construction Competitions!

As agreed with Ofcom last month, the RSGB’s EMC Committee has published its EMF calculator, which incorporates the Ofcom calculator but adds a front end specifically for radio amateurs. It is currently an evaluation version, so the EMCC welcomes feedback to help it move towards a final one. You can download the calculator from the EMF page at www.rsgb.org/emf.

Recently, the MB7IMB repeater came on the air in North Lancashire. It is a simplex AllStar gateway on 145.2375MHz narrow FM, with a CTCSS access tone of 110.9Hz. The North West AllStar Group has been formed, linking AllStar nodes and repeaters throughout north-west England. The group is encouraging the use of the repeater. All that’s needed is a standard 2m FM transceiver with CTCSS capabilities. If you have a node or gateway they welcome links to the system. The group has a Facebook page where you can find out more.

Have you entered the RSGB’s ‘Get on the air to care’ construction competition? The deadline is the 1st of February. Your project can be hardware, software or a system and may be based on a kit. If you made something during the autumn lockdowns, over the holiday season, or are in the middle of something during the current restrictions, you could win £100 if you enter the competition. Send a short description of your project to gm.dept@rsgb.org.uk and include a few photographs, a video if possible and any related circuit diagrams. Whether you’ve just got your licence or you’ve been a radio amateur for years, you’re encouraged to take part. If you enter this competition you can also resubmit the same project to the 2021 RSGB Annual Construction Competition.

Very low frequency enthusiast Joe, VO1NA reports that Stefan, DK7FC copied his 50-character EbNaut message transmitted from Newfoundland on 8.271kHz, with a radiated power of 10mW. We believe this is a new record for amateur transatlantic VLF. Joe’s tower supports a VLF rotated L, which is 10 metre average height and 100 metres long.

The RSGB is delighted that 4,000 people have taken amateur radio exams via remote invigilation. This number covers exams at all three licence levels. We know that all radio amateurs will be encouraging as people progress and enjoy the diversity of amateur radio.

Could you be the RSGB’s next President? Do you have the time and skills to serve on the Society’s Board of Directors? We’re into the final weeks of the nominations process for the RSGB elections, which will end at 2359UTC on the 31st of January. In addition to these two roles, there are three Regional Representative vacancies in Regions 2, 6 and 12. Each post-holder has indicated their willingness to stand for election but applications are also welcome from all RSGB Members living in these particular Regions. For more information visit www.rsgb.org/election. The results will be announced at the RSGB’s online AGM on Saturday the 24th of April.

The Dayton Hamvention will not take place for a second year. Sponsored by the Dayton Amateur Radio Association, it was set to take place between the 21st and 23rd of May in Ohio. The committee said the show would return in 2022 and hinted at a QSO party for Hamvention weekend.

The 80m RSGB National Radio Centre net continues to run each weekday at 10.30 am on 3.727MHz. The NRC volunteers have run 260 of these nets since March 2020 to support radio amateurs. They are keen for people to call in during the current lockdown. Get on the air and have a chat – they’d love to hear from you!  

South Dublin Radio Club hosted Michael O’Connell from the I87 Astroshot Observatory to the club’s first online live lecture of 2021, via Zoom. The lecture is titled Amateur Observations of Meteors and is now available to view on the club’s YouTube channel. Michael’s presentation covers Meteors, Meteor related radio phenomena and how radio techniques are used by amateurs to detect and track meteors.

Now the special event news

Hull and District Amateur Radio Society is celebrating 100 years of amateur radio clubs in the Hull area with a year-long special event station, callsign GB1OOH. The station will operate most days throughout 2021 on bands ranging from 160m to 70cm and using different modes. Further details about the station and QSL options can be found on QRZ.com.

During 2021, the British Railways ARS will be celebrating its 55th anniversary. They will be running the special event call GB0LMR, operated by BRARS member Mark, G1PIE from Preston in Lancashire. Bands of operation will be 40 to 10 metres using PSK-31, PSK-63 and SSB, plus VHF/UHF. Further information is on QRZ.com and www.brars.info.

Now the DX news

4L1PJ is the callsign issued to Peter, 4L/G4ENL. He expects to operate SSB on various HF bands for the next few years while on work assignment in Svaneti, Georgia. QSL via N4GNR.

Bo, OZ1DJJ will be active in his spare time as OX3LX from Tasiilaq Island, IOTA reference NA-151, until the 30th of January. QSL via Logbook of The World, Club Log’s OQRS or direct to OZ0J.

Garry, 2M1DHG is active as ZC4GR from the UK Sovereign Base Area of Dhekelia for the next two and a half years. He operates SSB and digital modes on the 40, 20 and 10m bands, typically between 1700 and 1900UTC a few nights a week. QSL via EB7DX.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the contest for any new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your national and local government’s advice.

On Tuesday the 1.3GHz UK Activity Contest runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Thursday it’s the all-mode 70MHz UK Activity Contest. Running between 2000 and 2230UTC, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Next weekend the BARTG RTTY Sprint runs from 1200UTC on the 23rd to 1200UTC on the 24th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is simply the serial number.

The UK EI Contest Club DX CW contest starts at 1200UTC on the 23rd and runs for 24 hours. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and District Code.

Don’t forget, the UK Six Metre Group Winter Marathon runs until the end of this month. Just exchange a signal report and locator.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA & G4BAO on Thursday the 14th of January.

Well, no one predicted last week’s geomagnetic disturbance. In case you missed it, the Kp index rose to four on Monday the 11th January. This was caused by the arrival of an interplanetary shock wave from a coronal mass ejection on the Sun, which occurred on Thursday the 7th. NOAA had been predicting a settled Sun, which shows just how unpredictable our nearest star can be.

The CME’s effects on the ionosphere were quite startling. The Chilton Digisonde data, as plotted at propquest.co.uk, shows that the predicted MUF over a 3,000km path dropped to below 14MHz by 1530UTC, although it did recover to more than 18MHz within an hour. That night there were widespread reports of visible aurora, but the ionosphere had recovered by Tuesday afternoon with the Kp index back to one by 1500UTC. Other than that element of ionospheric excitement there has been little to report, with the solar flux index down as low as 72 by Thursday the 14th with zero sunspots. The only other noteworthy event has been widespread winter Sporadic-E, which saw 12, 10 and six metres become wide open to Europe this the week.

Next week, NOAA predicts that the solar flux index will remain in the mid to high 70s. The STEREO spacecraft show a coronal hole is about to rotate into view around the Sun’s eastern limb. The high-speed solar wind from this, and other polar coronal holes, may cause the Kp index to rise to four by Sunday the 17th and we may not see a recovery back down to two until the 21st. So it looks like the latter half of the week may be best for HF DX.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

The current unsettled spell of weather should have taken a brief pause on Friday but may have returned this weekend, with an active front crossing the country, followed by a transient ridge in the second half of the weekend. These ridges are rarely good for widespread Tropo and the unsettled regime returns for the bulk of the coming week. Strangely enough, you can find temporary enhancements of Tropo conditions parallel to, and just ahead of, approaching weather fronts. It’s marginal but can make a difference to scores in the VHF/UHF UK Activity Contests. But GHz band rain scatter is probably a more reliable mode for the next week.

The unsettled story also implies some strong jet stream activity, so it’s still worth a look at the usual Sporadic-E bands of 10m and 6m for one more week, although this is probably our last chance before the mode returns in force in April.

Moon declination turns positive again on Tuesday, so we’ll have increasing Moon windows and peak Moon elevations this week. With apogee on Thursday though, path losses will be high. This trend of high declination and path loss only starts to reverse from May 2022, so get used to it! 144MHz sky noise is low.

There are no significant meteor showers this week so continue to check pre-dawn for the best random meteor contacts.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for January 10th 2021.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for January 10th 2021.

January 8, 2021

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 10th of January 2021

The news headlines:

  • Happy New Year from RSGB

  • Volunteers invited to stand for election

  • Celebrating 200 years of Greek independence

The news team and all the staff at RSGB HQ would like to wish our newsreaders, listeners and online readers a very Happy New Year. We would like to remind everyone that we always welcome your news, by email to radcom@rsgb.org.uk, and the deadline is 10 am sharp on Thursday mornings. The GB2RS script is uploaded to the RSGB website by 4.30 pm each Friday afternoon.

We’re into the final weeks of the nominations process for the RSGB elections, which will end at 2359UTC on the 31st of January. The Society is looking for its next President as Dave Wilson, M0OBW will retire at the AGM. There is also a place for one elected Board Director. In addition, there are three Regional Representative vacancies in Regions 2, 6 and 12 because the current post holders were co-opted into a vacancy after the last AGM. Each one has indicated their willingness to stand for election but applications are also welcome from all RSGB Members living in these particular Regions. For more information about any of these roles, how to nominate someone or for information about the election process, visit www.rsgb.org/election. The results will be announced at the RSGB’s online AGM on Saturday the 24th of April.

To commemorate the 200th anniversary, the Greek Independence Award will run throughout 2021. Anyone can take part and all mode and types of QSO are valid. The website https://sv2rck.gr/200YEARS lists a number of award stations.

Get on the air for Christmas finished yesterday, Saturday the 9th of January, but you still have time to enter the construction competition. Projects can be hardware, software or a system and may be based on a kit. There is a prize of £100 and the winning entry will be featured on the Society’s website and in RadCom. The deadline for entries is the 1st of February. See the details at www.rsgb.org/gota4c.

Elettra is the vessel on which Marconi conducted many experiments. The Elettra: the miracle ship award commemorates the centenary of the ship's official registration under the name of Elettra. The award period lasts the whole year and there will be a different special event callsign each month. Detail at www.arifidenza.it.

Were you one of the 19,000 people who enjoyed the RSGB’s Tonight @ 8 webinars last year? The 2021 series starts tomorrow, Monday the 11th of January, when Steve Hartley, G0FUW and Pete Juliano, N6QW will talk about amateur radio construction. Despite what many people think, building your own radio equipment is still a very popular aspect of amateur radio. This presentation will share some ideas on how to get started and provide some examples of homebrew gear, using hardware and software. Watch live and ask questions on the RSGB YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/theRSGB.

A QSO Party to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Marconi Club AR Loano will take place on the 16th of January. Running from 0800 to 2200UTC using the 20, 40 and 80m bands with CW only, you can find out the rules at www.ariloano.it/marconiclub.

Permission has been announced for Category 1 Uzbek licensees to operate in the new WRC-15 Amateur 60m Secondary Allocation of 5351.5 – 5366.5kHz with a maximum power of 100W.

Now the special event news

Hull and District Amateur Radio Society is celebrating 100 years of amateur radio clubs in the Hull area with a year-long special event station, callsign GB10OH. The station will operate most days throughout 2021 on bands ranging from 160m to 70cm and using different modes. Further details about the station and QSL options can be found on QRZ.com.

During 2021, the British Railways ARS will be celebrating its 55th anniversary. They will be running the special event call GB0LMR, operated by BRARS member Mark, G1PIE from Preston in Lancashire. Bands of operation will be 40 to 10 metres using PSK-31, PSK-63 and SSB, plus VHF/UHF. Further information is on QRZ.com and www.brars.info.

Now the DX news

Grant, VK5GR will be active as VK5KI from Kangaroo Island, OC-139, until the 22nd of January. He plans to operate holiday style on the 80 to 6m bands using CW, SSB and FT8, possibly with some RTTY and PSK. QSL via M0OXO's OQRS.

Seba, SQ1SGB and Will, M0ZXA expect to be active as VP8/SQ1SGB or VP8HAL and VP8DOI from Halley VI Research Station, Antarctica until the 4th of February. In their spare time, they will operate SSB and digital modes FT8 and JT65 on 40 and 20 metres.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the contest for any new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your national and local government’s advice.

Today, the 10th, the Datamodes AFS contest runs from 1300 to 1700UTC. The SSB AFS contest takes place on Saturday from 1300 to 1700UTC. Both use the 3.5 and 7MHz bands, and the exchange is signal report and serial number.

On Monday and Tuesday, the 2nd Christmas Hope QSO Party has two sessions. The first is 0930 to 1100UTC on the 11th using FT4 on the 3.5 to 28MHz bands, with an exchange of your 4-character locator. The second is 1100 to 1230UTC on the 12th using CW on the same bands with an exchange of signal report and serial number.

Tuesday sees the 432MHz FM Activity Contest run from 1900 to 1955UTC. It is followed by the All-Mode UKAC from 2000 to 2230UTC. The exchange for both is signal report, serial number and locator.

Wednesday and Thursday see two more sessions of the 2nd Christmas Hope QSO Party. The first is on the 13th from 1230 to 1400UTC using RTTY. The second session is on the 14th from 1400 to 1530UTC using SSB. The exchange is the same for both, signal report and serial number, as are the bands to be used, 3.5 to 28MHz.

On Thursday, the 50MHz UK Activity Contest runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Saturday, the Worked All Britain 1.8MHz Phone Contest runs from 1900 to 2300UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square.

Don’t forget, the UK Six Metre Group Winter Marathon runs until the end of January 2021. Just exchange a signal report and locator.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA & G4BAO on Thursday the 7th of January.

We start by welcoming in 2021, and here’s hoping that it proves to be more fruitful than 2020 in terms of HF propagation. We’ve started the New Year with zero sunspots and a solar flux index back in the mid-70s on Thursday the 7th. The STEREO Ahead spacecraft is not showing anything of note around the back of the Sun, but we know that spots can suddenly appear.

HF propagation has been relatively poor, but with seasonal ionospheric changes mainly being responsible for an uplift in daytime critical and maximum usable frequencies. Daytime critical frequencies have generally been in the range of 4.5 to 5.5MHz, falling to below 3.5MHz by 1930UTC on most evenings. This means that 80m is ceasing to be suitable for local NVIS contacts as the evening progresses, which is normal for this time of year.

Daytime maximum usable frequencies over a 3,000km path have exceeded 18 and even 21MHz on most days, with winter Sporadic-E being the main DX mode on the higher 12 and 10 metre bands. There has been the odd F2-layer opening on 28MHz, but we will need some more sunspot activity to make band openings more reliable.

NOAA predicts the solar flux index will remain in the high 70s at the beginning of next week, reflecting the lack of sunspot activity. The Kp index is predicted to reach a maximum of only two, due to a lack of coronal hole and coronal mass ejection activity. This means we may have a more settled ionosphere, which may be good for HF DX.

So in summary, it's more of the same in terms of HF propagation next week, with no real highlights. But don’t ignore the lower bands, such as 1.8, 3.5, and 7MHz, which can really come into their own in mid-winter.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

Despite no Tropo for a number of weeks, there has been high pressure to the west of Britain for some time. During the weekend and next week, it will become more dominant over much of the country, initially favouring Tropo for the south-western parts, but perhaps more generally later. This may be temporarily curtailed by frontal systems moving across the country around midweek and thus add some options for GHz rain scatter, but some models bring a ridge of high pressure back later in the week.

As hinted at in the last bulletin, a sudden stratospheric warming did indeed develop on the 4th of January 2021. As mentioned, it can have impacts on not just the stratospheric flow but can influence weather patterns nearer the surface about a couple of weeks later.

In a related note, it appears the models, after a milder next week, are hinting at a colder northerly spell again after the following weekend.

Staying with the stratospheric wind flow changes, these may have a possible link to winter Sporadic-E events and it’s worth monitoring 10m and 6m for activity in the next couple of weeks or so, especially FT8, but CW and SSB are not impossible.

After the excitement of the Quadrantids meteor shower we are now entering the annual quiet period in meteor activity with just two significant showers between now and the April Lyrids, so back to pre-dawn random meteors for the best chance of DX.

The Moon was at perigee yesterday, so path losses are at their lowest, but it’s at minimum declination on Tuesday meaning Moon windows are short and low elevation. The Moon only reaches 12 degrees elevation on Tuesday, meaning horizon noise will be an issue all week at VHF.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for January 3rd 2021.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for January 3rd 2021.

December 31, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 3rd of January 2021

The news headlines:

  • Get on the air for Christmas continues

  • Austrians get new bands

  • Tonight @ 8 spring programme

Get on the air for Christmas continues until the 9th of January and there are still many activities you can take part in. The special construction competition encourages hardware, software or kit-based entries and in particular simple projects that other radio amateurs could try. The Christmas Hope QSO Parties are also in full swing with different modes for each day. For more details about these and special holiday nets, at www.rsgb.org/gota4c.

Claus, OE6CLD, the HF Manager of the Austrian National Amateur Radio Society, informs us that the Austrian regulator has granted access to the 60m and 630m bands for all CEPT Class 1 licensees. The 60m, or 5MHz changes are in line with the WRC-15 Amateur Secondary Allocation of 5351.5 to 5366.5kHz at 15W EIRP. For the 630m band, it is the MF Secondary Allocation from the previous WRC-12 of 472 to 479kHz at 1W EIRP. The maximum bandwidth is per the provisions of the Austrian Amateur Licence. You can read more at www.oevsv.at/home.

The RSGB’s Tonight @ 8 Spring programme starts on Monday the 11th of January with a webinar on amateur radio construction. Steve Hartley, G0FUW and Pete Juliano, N6QW will talk about both hardware and software construction, giving ideas on what to do, how to do it and why you should try it. For further information see the Society’s website at www.rsgb.org/webinars.

RSGB HQ reopens tomorrow, at 8.30 am on the 4th of January. Staff will continue working from home. As always, information about amateur radio, exams or RadCom is on the RSGB website, www.rsgb.org. The RSGB’s National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park is currently closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now the special event news

From the 1st to the 28th of January, GB4BLC will be operational from the QTH of G8GMU. The operation will take place on most bands and will include digital modes. This station is promoting the work of Lions Clubs International and amateur radio.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the contest for any new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your national and local government’s advice.

Look out for the RSGB Hope QSO Parties. There are two series, which run until the 14th of January. You can find out details at https://tinyurl.com/RSGB-Christmas-Hope-QSO.

On Tuesday the 5th of January the 144MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 1955UTC. It is immediately followed by the all-mode 144MHz UK Activity Contest from 2000 to 2230UTC. The exchange is the same for both, that’s signal report, serial number and locator.

On Wednesday the 6th of January, the UK EI Contest Club 80m contest runs from 2000 to 2100UTC. Using SSB only on the 80m band, the exchange is your 4-character locator.

On Sunday the 10th, the Datamodes AFS runs from 1300 to 1700UTC. Using the 3.5 and 7MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

The Worked All Britain Christmas party runs until the 6th of January. Using all modes on the amateur contest bands, the exchange is the WAB book number.

The UK Six Metre Group Winter Marathon runs until the end of January 2021. Just exchange a signal report and locator.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for December 27th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for December 27th 2020.

December 23, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 27th of December 2020

The news headlines:

  • Thanks and seasonal greetings

  • Charity auction raises over £1000

  • New GB2RS News Manager appointed

This is the final GB2RS news reading for 2020 and we start with seasonal greetings to all newsreaders and listeners, both over the air and via the internet recordings, and not forgetting viewers of the ATV broadcast, which is available via several repeaters and kindly streamed via the BATC.TV website, as well as those that get this news via TX Factor or podcasts. We would like to take this opportunity to once again thank all those that read the news, in whatever format, for their tireless dedication to their fellow amateurs. There will be an abbreviated news reading available for the 3rd of January, although it’s voluntary as the RSGB realises not all newsreaders will be available. A full GB2RS service will resume on the 10th of January.

The RSGB is delighted that its charity auction for Get on the air for Christmas had a fantastic winning bid of £1,025.99. Ellie Orton, Chief Executive of NHS Charities Together said, “Thank you so much, Roy Bailey, for choosing to raise funds for NHS Charities Together in such a unique way. In addition, I’d like to say a huge thank you to the RSGB for kindly match-funding the winning bid. These funds mean we can continue to help NHS charities to support NHS staff, volunteers and patients at the centre of this crisis.” Get on the air for Christmas continues until the 9th of January and there are still many activities you can take part in. Go to the Society’s website at www.rsgb.org/gota4c.

The RSGB Board has appointed Steve Richards, G4HPE as the new GB2RS Manager. A long-time GB2RS newsreader himself, Steve has had a lifelong career in broadcasting. He will start his new role in the New Year and can be contacted via email at gb2rs.manager@rsgb.org.uk.

RAYNET groups in several coastal areas have been on active standby in the last few days. In the South East in particular, groups have been ready to act alongside Local Resilience Forums to help with the lorry chaos caused by the temporary closure of the French border. In areas where there are large ports, groups have been preparing to offer assistance with difficulties envisaged with Brexit. These include working with other voluntary agencies conducting welfare checks on lorry drivers who may be in long queues, plus helping to ensure the distribution of vital supplies including Covid-19 vaccines. Several groups have activated wide-area communications systems, including one where the local authority has installed a new PMR system that some feel may not be adequate to cope with extreme call volumes.

On the 2nd of January, the RSGB National Radio Centre plans to host the special event station GB2DAY, to help promote the well-established KW activity weekend. The NRC hopes to operate on both the 80 and 40m bands using its KW2000D – an incredibly rare prototype model that never made it into mainstream production at the KW Factory. The event will be held within appropriate Covid restrictions.

An ARISS Slow Scan TV event is scheduled from the International Space Station for late December. This will be a special SSTV event to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Amateur Radio on ISS. The event is scheduled to begin on the 24th of December and continue through until the 31st of December. Dates are subject to change due to ISS operational adjustments.

Listen out for Youngsters On The Air stations around the world. GB20YOTA will be operating until the end of December. The full calendar is shown on the GB20YOTA page on QRZ.com.

The latest ICQ Podcast contains an update on the RSGB’s Get on the air for Christmas campaign as well as a wider look at amateur radio construction. The chat with Board Director Stewart Bryant, G3YSX; Construction Competition Lockdown Category winner Roy Bailey, G0VFS; and RSGB Communications Manager Heather Parsons starts at 1:18:15 in the ICQ Podcast episode. See https://tinyurl.com/icq-gota4c-update.

RSGB HQ is closed for the Christmas and New Year until at 8.30 am on the 4th of January. During that time, if you need information about amateur radio, exams or RadCom you’ll find lots of information on the RSGB website, www.rsgb.org. The RSGB’s National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park is currently closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now the special event news

From the 1st to the 28th of January, GB4BLC will be operational from the QTH of G8GMU. Operation will take place on most bands and will include digital modes. This station is promoting the work of Lions Clubs International and amateur radio.

Members and supporters of Denby Dale ARS are running special event stations to welcome the New Year from the end of December. They will be using callsigns GB – number – HNY. For more details see the QRZ.com entry for GB9HNY.

Thurrock Acorns ARC members will be on the air as GB4XMS from the 20th of December to the 3rd of January.

During the month of December, Welland Valley ARS members will be running GB1XMS, GB2XMS, GB5XMS and GB9XMS from their home shacks. QSL via eQSL and Logbook of The World.

Now the DX news

Kenji, JA4GXS will be active as JA4GXS/4 from Otsu Island, IOTA reference AS-117, on the 25th and 26th of December. He will operate CW, SSB and FT8 on 40, 30 and 20m bands. QSL via home call.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the contest for any new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your national and local government’s advice.

As per tradition, December is a quiet month for traditional contests, with no RSGB HF contests, but do look out for the RSGB Hope QSO Parties. There are two series, which run from 21 December to 14 January, with a short break over Christmas. You can find out details at https://tinyurl.com/RSGB-Christmas-Hope-QSO.

On Tuesday, the 29th, the 50MHz Machine Generated Modes Contest and the 144MHz Machine-generated Modes contest both run from 2000 to 2130UTC. The exchange for both is signal report, serial number and locator.

On the 1st of January, the IRTS 80m Daytime Counties contest runs from 1700 to 1800UTC. Using SSB and CW, the exchange is signal report and serial number, with EI and GI stations, also sending their County.

On Saturday the 2nd, the CW AFS contest runs from 1300 to 1700UTC. Using the 3.5 and 7MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

The first session of the EUCW 160m CW Party is also on the 2nd from 2000 to 2300UTC, with the second session on the 3rd at 0400 to 0700UTC.

The ARRL RTTY Roundup runs from 1800UTC on the 2nd of January to 2359UTC on the 3rd. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number, with US stations sending their State and Canadians their Province too.

The Worked All Britain Christmas party runs until the 6th of January. Using all modes on the amateur contest bands, the exchange is the WAB book number.

The UK Six Metre Group Winter Marathon runs until the end of January 2021. Just exchange a signal report and locator.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA & G4BAO on Wednesday the 23rd of December.

HF conditions were not terribly good over the last week with maximum usable frequencies down in general. The best DX has been on 40m, especially around greyline times, although there has been a little winter Sporadic-E activity on 10 metres as well that has seen Italy and Spain appearing on FT8, as well as Brazil on 10m via the F2 layer. The lack of sunspots has seen the solar flux index move back down to the low 80s again.

Solar matter from a coronal hole pushed the Kp index up to four late on Monday evening as predicted and on Tuesday the Kp index was still pegged at three for most of the morning. NOAA predicts that the solar flux index will remain in the 80s for the Christmas period, with active region 2794 helping to push it towards 86 over Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Unfortunately, NOAA also predicts that a high-speed solar wind stream from a coronal hole may impact Earth over the Christmas period, so we may expect the Kp index to rise again to four or even five just before Christmas with detrimental effects on maximum usable frequencies. Look out for possible pre-auroral enhancements, although these are hard to predict.

This should start to settle by the 27th, with the Kp index predicted to go back down to two. So DX conditions may improve after that time.

There is little other festive cheer, with the SFI remaining in the low 80s for the rest of the month and into the New Year. Let’s hope 2021 sees the return of the upward trend of Solar Cycle 25 with an increase in sunspots and HF DX.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

It’s looking like a predominantly unsettled period of weather over the Christmas holidays, with a ridge of high pressure to the west of Britain soon declining to allow low pressure to move in and reside over the UK for the bulk of next week. This has a chance of providing some good rain scatter conditions on the GHz bands.

Sporadic-E has a habit of appearing at this time of year. There is some work that relates the chances of Sporadic-E to disturbances in the stratosphere when the winter polar vortex breaks down in a feature called a sudden stratospheric warming, where temperatures can increase by tens of degrees Celsius over 24 hours.

This disturbance in the stratosphere can produce conditions where Sporadic-E is more likely because of the changed flow pattern. Check the usual Sporadic-E bands like 10m and 6m for signs of activity, especially during the first two weeks of January, but it is probably better to focus on the period 9 am to 3 pm rather than the summer pattern of mid-morning and late afternoon.

The Quadrantids meteor shower peaks between late-night on the 2nd of January until dawn on the 3rd with, a huge ZHR of 110. It is known for bright fireball meteors causing big over-dense radio meteor bursts. You have to be ready at the right time though, as the peak is very short, lasting just a few hours. This is because the shower is a thin stream of particles and the Earth crosses the stream at a perpendicular angle.

The Moon reaches maximum declination this Tuesday so visibility windows are long. Today we are at apogee so losses are high but 144MHz sky noise is low, not reaching 500 kelvin until Tuesday.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for December 20th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for December 20th 2020.

December 18, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 20th of December 2020

The news headlines:

  • Only one more GB2RS this year

  • RadCom Plus out now

  • Short break for ETCC

Next Sunday, the 27th, will see the final GB2RS script for 2020. The deadline for news is 10 am on Tuesday the 22nd of December, instead of the usual Thursday. The news reading on the 27th is optional, as the RSGB appreciates that not all newsreaders will be available as normal, but the script will be on the RGSB website so all can see it. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the newsreaders who read the news on a variety of platforms for their service to their fellow amateurs throughout the year. We’d also like to remind amateurs that there has been a long-standing convention to keep 145.525MHz free of traffic at 10 am on Sundays, to allow the news reading to go ahead without interference. Thank you to all those who listen on Sunday mornings, and the other times that the news is read, to those who call in after to speak to the newsreaders, and to everyone who listens via various internet-based ways. There will be no script prepared for broadcast on Sunday the 3rd of January 2021 due to the RSGB HQ being closed. Newsreaders may, of course, choose to run a net at their normal transmission time, but under their own callsign only.

The newest edition of RadCom Plus is now available to RSGB Members for viewing or download. This edition contains over 40 pages of technical articles ranging from a Wide Dynamic Range Field Strength Meter to a Tracking Generator for the SA3000 homebrew spectrum analyser, which was itself described in an earlier issue. Go to www.rsgb.org/radcom-plus for more information. You can also sign up for an email alert when future editions of RadCom Plus are available at the same web address.

The RSGB’s Emerging Technology Coordination Committee will be having a break from processing and renewing repeater, gateway and beacon Notices of Variation from the 22nd of December to the 4th of January. It has had its busiest year ever, with three times the number of usual applications. The Committee would like to remind all NoV holders whose renewals fall due over the holiday period, to check the reminders that have been sent to them and get the renewals in straight away.

Throughout 2020 the IARU has been busily contributing to and participating in the work of CEPT Project Team SE40 concerning the 23cm band Galileo/GLONASS coexistence topic. The last SE40 meeting in 2020 was held from the 2nd to the 7th of December and the IARU Region 1 was represented by Barry Lewis, G4SJH who is the Region 1 SRLC chair. It can be expected that the technical studies will begin in earnest as we move forward into 2021. You can read more on the IARU Region 1 website, www.iaru-r1.org.

The RSGB Board has appointed Stephen Purser, GW4SHF to the role of Nominations Committee Chair. He will commence his duties immediately and plans, together with the rest of the Committee, to present two candidates to the AGM in April for endorsement as Nominated Directors. If you are interested in becoming an RSGB Board Director and feel you have the time, enthusiasm and skills for the role, contact Stephen via email to nominations.chair@rgb.org.uk.

Listen out for Youngsters On The Air stations around the world. GB20YOTA will be operating throughout December. Hilderstone Radio Society will operate part of today and tomorrow, Monday the 21st. On Wednesday, GM1DSK will supervise operator MM7DWK. M0NCG takes over on Thursday and GW0RVR has the call on Saturday, supervising 2W0PQU. The full calendar is shown on the GB20YOTA page on QRZ.com. The callsign EI0YOTA has been activated a number of times since the start of December. Between eight-year-old Ryan, EI8KW and eleven-year-old Siobhan, they have achieved over one thousand QSOs so far.

RSGB HQ will close for the Christmas and New Year period from 4.30 pm on the 23rd of December. It opens again at 8.30 am on the 4th of January. During that time, if you need information about amateur radio, exams or RadCom you’ll find lots of information on the RSGB website, www.rsgb.org. Last UK orders from the RSGB shop for delivery in time for Christmas is 10 am on Tuesday the 22nd of December.

The RSGB’s National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park is currently closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now the special event news

Members and supporters of Denby Dale ARS are running special event stations to welcome the New Year from the end of December. They will be using callsigns GB – number – HNY. For more details see the QRZ.com entry for GB9HNY.

Operators Ray, PA5DX and Wim, PD8DX will be activating three special event callsigns PA20XMAS, PD20SANTA and PD20ELF during the Christmas holiday season. There will be a special downloadable award for working at least two of the Christmas stations; see the QRZ.com entry for PA20XMAS.

Thurrock Acorns ARC members will be on the air as GB4XMS from the 20th of December to the 3rd of January.

During the month of December, Welland Valley ARS members will be running GB1XMS, GB2XMS, GB5XMS and GB9XMS from their home shacks. QSL via eQSL and Logbook of The World.

Now the DX news

Kenji, JA4GXS will be active as JA4GXS/4 from Otsu Island, IOTA reference AS-117, on the 25th and 26th of December. He will operate CW, SSB and FT8 on 40, 30 and 20m bands. QSL via home call.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the contest for any new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your national and local government’s advice.

As per tradition, December is a quiet month for traditional contests, with no RSGB HF contests, but do look out for the RSGB Hope QSO Parties. There are two series, which run from 21 December to 14 January, with a short break over Christmas. You can find out details at https://tinyurl.com/RSGB-Christmas-Hope-QSO.

On Saturday, the 26th, the DARC Christmas Contest runs from 0830 to 1100UTC. Using CW and SSB on the 3.5 and 7MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number. German stations will also exchange either DOK or NM.

The Christmas Cumulatives start at 1400UTC on the 26th and run until 1600UTC on the 29th. Using all modes in the 50 to 432MHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The Worked All Britain Christmas party takes place between the 26th of December and the 6th of January. Using all modes on the amateur contest bands, the exchange is the WAB book number.

The Stew Perry Top Band Challenge runs from 1500UTC on the 26th to 1500UTC on the 27th. It’s CW only on 160m and the exchange is your 4-character locator square.

The UK Six Metre Group Winter Marathon runs until the end of January 2021. Just exchange a signal report and locator.

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

We’ve had another week of lacklustre sunspot activity. The solar flux index has been pegged at around 82, caused by the two tiny sunspots in active region 2793. Having said that, a lack of coronal hole activity has meant that geomagnetic conditions have been settled, with a maximum Kp index of two, but more often than not it was actually at zero. This has meant that the daytime critical frequency over the UK has frequently been around 5.5MHz. This means a maximum usable frequency over a 3,000km path of around 21MHz, with very occasional openings on 28MHz.

Even 10m FT8 has been sounding quiet, with intra-UK signals being most prevalent. You can often see 10m FT8 ground-wave signals up to around 100 miles away being decoded.

We did have a C-class solar flare on Monday the 14th, but as it was in the afternoon with sunset only an hour or so away it didn’t do too much damage, with the ionosphere recovering very quickly.

Next week, NOAA predicts the SFI will be at 85 to 86. The effects of another coronal hole will likely be felt across this weekend, with the potential for the Kp index to rise to four. But after that subsides, geomagnetic conditions are likely to be more settled, with a maximum Kp index of two over the Christmas period.

Santa Claus is taking a rest this year at OF9X in Finland, but we do have some other Christmas DX for you to chase. The CQ Santa Net is held in the USA on 3.916MHz every day at 0115UTC. There is a chance you may hear it, depending upon who is operating, as December is generally a good month for transatlantic low-band propagation – just ask Guglielmo Marconi, who traversed the Atlantic on the 12th of December 1901!

Please note that amateurs in the UK cannot transmit on 3.916MHz as it is outside of the UK allocation, but you may be able to hear the net taking place.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

We continue through this first weekend with the unsettled theme to the weather giving wet and windy conditions at times so again it's a good period to test out some rain scatter paths on the GHz bands. A major change is shown in some models from midweek as high-pressure edges towards Ireland from the Atlantic and puts a colder northerly flow down across the British Isles from midweek. This will not be useful for Tropo, since the high remains well to the west, but it will allow some showers to affect many areas and it’s not totally out of the question that some could have a wintry flavour in the second half of the week.

At the end of next week the high moves in across the country, but it's still unlikely to be a strong Tropo player.

The Geminids meteor shower has peaked. Activity was high, with stations running just 50 watts and a small beam reporting good digimode meteor scatter QSOs. The Urisids shower peaks on Tuesday with a ZHR of 10 and there’s not long to wait until the next big one, the Quadrantids, in January. More about that shower in the next report.

Moon declination goes positive again on Tuesday so visibility windows are increasing all week. Losses are increasing as we move away from perigee, but 144MHz sky noise is low, not reaching 400 kelvin until next Sunday.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for December 13th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for December 13th 2020.

December 11, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 13th of December 2020

The news headlines:

  • New RadCom Basics released

  • Awards Manager appointed

  • Charity auction for special Morse key

 

The next edition of RadCom Basics is now available. Articles include Are you making full use of the RSGB? Antennas and planning matters, Metal bashing with basic workshop practices, the FT8 digital mode and Revisiting a Start Here article on How filters can help remove interference from outside the amateur bands. RSGB Members can read previous editions of RadCom Basics by going to www.rsgb.org/radcom-basics. You can register at the same address to receive notification of subsequent issues as they become available.

The RSGB Board has appointed a new Awards Manager, Lindsay Pennell, G8PMA. An avid award collector himself, Lindsay already volunteers as an RSGB QSL Bureau Sub-manager and has recently served on the Legacy Committee. He will start his new role next week. He can be contacted then via email to awards@rsgb.org.uk.

The RSGB and NHS Campaign ‘Get on the air for Christmas’ is off to a great start this week with the launch of a charity auction to raise money for NHS Charities Together. Roy Bailey, G0VFS created his beautifully-engineered VirusPerpleXed Bug CW Key during the first lockdown and has kindly donated it for the auction. You can bid for the item on eBay by going to https://tinyurl.com/RSGB-charity-auction before 7.30 pm on Saturday the 19th of December, which is when the auction ends. On Sunday the 20th of December, GB1NHS will be on the air from the RSGB National Radio Centre to raise awareness of ‘Get on the air for Christmas’ and to chat to as many radio amateurs as possible. Listen out for them and give them a call.

The world’s largest solar observatory, located on the island of Maui in Hawaii, has released its first image of a sunspot, which captures the phenomenon in striking detail. The image, taken last January, is among the first solar images of the new Solar Cycle 25 and can be seen at https://tinyurl.com/gb2rs-sunspot. The telescope’s 4m primary mirror will give the best views of the sun from Earth throughout the next solar cycle. Thanks to the National Solar Observatory for the story.

Gremlins got into the January 2021 edition of RadCom. A draft version of G4JNT’s Coherent ADC article was inadvertently printed, for which we apologise. A corrected version can be found on the RSGB website – go to www.rsgb.org/radcom and click on Supplementary material and errata.

Sadly, the Australian regulator, ACMA has decided against permitting that country’s amateurs a 5MHz/60m allocation. It says, in balancing defence’s existing use of the 5351.5–5366.5kHz band against the impacts of introducing use by the amateur service, the ACMA has decided not to support amateur use in the band. The ACMA recognises the high level of interest shown by the amateur community in adding this band and understands there will be disappointment. You can read the full document at https://tinyurl.com/gb2rs-acma.

The 80m RSGB National Radio Centre Net continues to run each weekday at 10.30 am on 3.727MHz. The NRC volunteers are keen for radio amateurs to call in. So get on the air and have a chat – they’d love to hear from you.

Would you like to volunteer for the RSGB? Its President Dave Wilson, M0OBW will retire at the AGM and the Society is looking for one elected Board Director. In addition, there are three Regional Representative vacancies in Regions 2, 6 and 12 because the current post holders were co-opted into a vacancy after the last AGM. Each one has indicated their willingness to stand for election but applications are also welcome from all RSGB Members living in these particular Regions. The nomination process must be completed by 2359 on 31 January 2021 and the results will be announced at the RSGB AGM, which will be held online on 24 April 2021. For more information about any of these roles, how to nominate someone or for information about the election process, visit the Society’s election web page, www.rsgb.org/election.

Listen out for Youngsters On The Air stations around the world. GB20YOTA will be operating throughout December. M0SDV will operate the station today, the 13th; then M0KDS takes over on Monday. Tuesday sees the callsign under G4DJX and GW1YQM’s guidance, with GW1YQM picking up the call on Friday. G7OHO will be operating on Saturday and Sunday and then it goes to M0NCG, also on Sunday. The calendar is shown on the GB20YOTA page on QRZ.com. To reserve an operating slot, contact Jamie, M0SDV via email to yota.month@rsgb.org.uk.

Now the special event news

Thurrock Acorns ARC members will be on the air as GB4XMS from the 20th of December to the 3rd of January.

During the month of December, Welland Valley ARS will be running GB1XMS, GB2XMS, GB5XMS and GB9XMS from the shacks of various members. QSL via eQSL and Logbook of The World.

Now the DX news

The 6V1A expedition to the island of Goree, IOTA reference AF-045, will be between the 18th and 20th of December. Activity will be on various bands SSB and CW. QSL via Logbook of The World.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the contest for any new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your national and local government’s advice.

As per tradition, December is a quiet month for traditional contests, with no RSGB HF contests, but look out for the RSGB Hope QSO Parties. There are two series, which run from 21 December to 14 January, with a short break over Christmas. You can find out details at https://tinyurl.com/RSGB-Christmas-Hope-QSO.

The Second Machine Generated Mode contest ends its 24-hour run at 1400UTC today, the 13th. Using any machine-generated mode on the 50 and 144MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and your 4-character locator.

The ARRL 10m Contest ends its 48-hour run at 2359UTC today, the 13th. The contest is CW and phone only. The exchange is signal report and serial number with US stations sending their State code and Canadians their Province code.

On Tuesday the 1.3GHz UK Activity Contest runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Thursday the 70MHz UK Activity Contest runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The UK Six Metre Group Winter Marathon runs until the end of January 2021. Just exchange a signal report and locator.

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

We said last week that it would be hard to predict what would happen over the next seven days – and that turned out to be true. The coronal hole we mentioned last week didn’t really amount to much, and sunspot region 2790 didn’t either. As a result, the solar flux index fell to 82 by Thursday, with region 2790 shrinking and with no other sunspots on the visible face of the Sun.

A B-class solar flare on the 7th of December resulted in a coronal mass ejection that impacted the Earth in the early hours of the 10th. This pushed the Kp index to four, but the effects were relatively short-lived and the index was back down to one by midday. Propquest’s ionosonde readings reflected the CME’s effects in the early hours but showed the MUF over a 3,000km path was back to 21-24MHz by mid-morning. There were other minor solar flare events during the week, but nothing as intense as the flare on the 7th.

There was DX around last week. Bob, VP8LP in the Falkland Islands and numerous Brazilian stations have been audible in the afternoon on 10m FT8. Australia and New Zealand have both been workable on 20m FT8 in the morning as well.

NOAA got its SFI prediction pretty much spot-on last week. It said we could expect to see it in the low 80s by the end of the week and so it was! Next week NOAA says it will be around 86, but we can expect poorer conditions around the 18th and 19th due to a geomagnetic disturbance. Region 2783 returns again this week, but the prediction is that is unlikely to be that active.

So this week, focus your DXing efforts at the beginning of the week as conditions may be worse by next weekend.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

It will be another quiet week for Tropo propagation, with the next few days looking to be once again dominated by unsettled weather. Low pressure mostly to the northwest of Britain will feed a succession of fronts and bands of rain across the country. This makes rain scatter a probable mode for the GHz bands, and not much chance to cheer up any Tropo operators. It may also be rather breezy in some areas and mostly milder again.

The Geminids meteor shower is well underway and peaks tomorrow on the 14th, so expect high activity on the digimode frequencies on all the VHF bands. If you have 100 watts and a beam on two or six metres, why not try an SSB sked at the peak? All that chanting of callsigns and “Roger, Roger” can be very therapeutic! The high ZHR of 150 means that this is quite possible. Also, look for signal bursts around 49.750MHz from the few remaining Eastern European TV carriers, and on 143.050MHz for the Graves bistatic radar from France.

The Moon is at minimum declination on Tuesday so there are short visibility windows all week. Losses are low with the Moon at perigee today. 144MHz sky noise is high and increasing and the Sun and Moon are very close tomorrow and low, not falling below 500 kelvin until Wednesday.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for December 6th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for December 6th 2020.

December 4, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 6th of December 2020

The news headlines:

  • Get on the Air to Care wins award

  • New IARU VHF handbook

  • RSGB mounts Christmas charity auction

We’re delighted that this year’s Amateur Radio Newsline’s ‘International Newsmaker of the Year Award’ has been presented to the ‘Get on the Air to Care’ project, operated jointly by the Radio Society of Great Britain and the UK's National Health Service. Conceived by Paul Devlin, G1SMP in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the campaign has decreased social isolation in the UK and around the world by encouraging amateurs to ‘Get on the air to care’. As well as enabling people to get involved in amateur radio for the first time and encouraging inactive amateurs to return, the campaign has accomplished something amateurs work so hard to achieve: placing amateur radio front and centre in mainstream media channels such as the BBC, ITV Wales and major newspapers. It has raised amateur radio's profile and attracted new licence-holders. Congratulations to Paul, the RSGB and the NHS. You can read more about the award on the Newsline website and can hear Paul Devlin chat to Newsline next week at www.arnewsline.org.

The new VHF Handbook, version 9.00, is available on the IARU Region 1 website. You can download it directly from https://tinyurl.com/gb2rs-vhfhandbook. It contains all decisions made during the last virtual General Conference.

The RSGB is running a charity auction as part of its 'Get on the air for Christmas' campaign with the NHS. Roy Bailey, G0VFS won the Lockdown Category in the RSGB's annual Construction Competition and has donated his beautifully-engineered VirusPerpleXed Bug CW Key to raise money for NHS Charities Together. The auction will run from 9-19 December, ending on the day that ‘Get on the air for Christmas’ begins. You will find further information, including how to take part, on the Society’s website at www.rsgb.org/gota4c.

Listen out for Youngsters On The Air stations around the world. GB20YOTA will be operating throughout December. G8IXK will operate the station today, the 6th; then M0WJE on Monday. Tuesday sees the callsign under G4DJX’s guidance with M0NCG taking over on Wednesday. M0MUX will be operating on Friday and then M0SDV takes over for the whole weekend. The calendar is shown on the GB20YOTA page on QRZ.com. To reserve an operating slot, contact Jamie, M0SDV via email to yota.month@rsgb.org.uk.

HamSCI is looking for amateur radio operators around the world to help collect propagation data during the December 14 eclipse across South America. Data collection requires an HF radio connected to a computer. The main data recording will run from December 9-16, to ensure an abundance of control data. Details of the experiment may be found at www.hamsci.org.

As a result of the prevailing Covid-19 restrictions, the traditional Christmas Eve transmission from SAQ on 17.2kHz is cancelled. Information on this historic transmitter can be found at https://alexander.n.se/?lang=en.

The next RSGB Tonight @ 8 webinar is on Monday the 7th of December and is called “What next?”. Jonathan Mitchener, G0DVJ will give a jargon-free, wide-ranging talk about where amateur radio can take you, whether you are new to the hobby or returning after a gap. For further information about this and previous webinars, see www.rsgb.org/webinars.

Having reported on the decommissioning of the Arecibo Observatory dish, the entire 900-ton instrument platform of the 305-metre radio telescope fell some 120 metres last Tuesday morning, crashing into the huge, already-damaged dish below. The platform collapsed due to the extra stress on the existing cables because of the main cable failure in November. The concrete cable support towers were also badly damaged. No injuries were reported.

Now the special event news

During the month of December, Welland Valley Amateur Radio Society will be running special callsigns GB1XMS, GB2XMS, GB5XMS and GB9XMS from the shacks of various members to celebrate Christmas and say farewell to 2020. QSL via eQSL and Logbook of The World.

Celebrating the Christmas holiday season, the Market Reef DX Association will be active on all bands and modes as OG1XMAS until the 26th of December. QSL via Logbook of The World and Club Log.

TM63SC, Santa Claus, will be operated by F8DZU until the 30th of December to celebrate this year's Christmas Holiday Season. QSL via home call, direct or bureau.

Celebrating Christmas and the New Year, TM20XMAS and TM21HNY will be active. QSL via eQSL.

Special callsigns PA20XMAS, PB20CLAUS and PD20SANTA will be active until the 31st of December. QSL cards will not be issued, but a certificate will be available for download, see QRZ.com for details.

Now the DX news

Lee, DS4NMJ was expected to reach the Jang Bogo Station in Terra Nova Bay, Antarctica around the 4th of December, and then King George Island, South Shetland, by mid-January 2021. Lee will be operating as DT8A through to the end of the year. QSL via DS5TOS. The log will be uploaded to Logbook of The World and Club Log.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the contest for any new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your national and local government’s advice.

As per tradition, December is a quiet month for contests, with no RSGB HF events at all.

This weekend, the ARRL 160m contest ends its 42-hour run at 1600UTC today, the 6th of December. It’s CW only and the exchange is signal report, with American and Canadian stations also sending their ARRL or RAC section abbreviation.

Today, the 6th of December, the 144MHz AFS contest runs from 1000 to 1600UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Tuesday the 432MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2000UTC. It is followed by the all-mode 432MHz Activity Contest from 2000 to 2230UTC. The exchange is the same for both contests, signal report, serial number and locator.

On Thursday the 50MHz UK Activity contest runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Next weekend the Second Machine Generated Mode contest runs from 1400UTC on the 12th to 1400UTC on the 13th. Using any machine-generated mode on the 50 and 144MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and your 4-character locator.

Also next weekend is the ARRL 10m Contest. Running for 48 hours from 0000UTC on the 12th to 2359UTC on the 13th, the contest is CW and phone only. The exchange is signal report and serial number with US stations sending their State code and Canadians their Province code.

The UK Six Metre Group Winter Marathon runs until the end of January 2021. Just exchange a signal report and locator.

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

What a great week it was for HF propagation. We started it off with the CQ Worldwide CW HF contest, which saw some DX openings up to 28MHz and solid DX being worked on 21MHz. The only downside was an M-class solar flare, which was launched off the Sun on Sunday. It was a big one, but luckily it didn’t affect the UK. The eruption in the sunspot occurred when the sunspot was not pointed toward Earth. This does, however, serve as a warning that we can expect more solar flares over the coming years as Solar Cycle 25 progresses.

The rest of last week saw the Solar Flux Index decline slightly to 105 by Thursday. Nevertheless, daytime maximum useable frequencies were generally above 21MHz for a lot of the time, with occasional openings on 28MHz.

Next week NOAA predicts that the solar flux index will decline to the 90s and then the low 80s as the week progress. However, active region 2790 has rotated to be Earth-facing and this may keep the SFI higher than predicted – only time will tell. On Thursday another potential active region was also coming into view. If it develops, we could see the SFI in the high 90s or even topping 100 once again.

The good news is the Kp index is predicted to remain low, reflecting the more settled geomagnetic conditions. A large coronal hole will become Earth-centric by the 5th, which could result in an elevated Kp index at the end of the weekend – although this will be dependent on how the Bz field of any solar wind is oriented. A south-facing Bz field more easily couples with the Earth’s magnetic field, letting solar particles enter the ionosphere. Only time will tell.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

Not much terrestrial VHF propagation to look forward to this week, with things looking cold and unsettled. A slack low-pressure system will occupy the British Isles for much of the next 10 days, so I wouldn’t build up any Tropo hopes. The general unsettled nature of the weather pattern means that rain scatter could be the mode of interest for the GHz bands. You might also find some snow static raises noise levels a bit in some parts of the country.

December is a hot month for meteor scatter. The Puppid-Velids, with a Zenighal Hourly Rate of 10, peaks tomorrow, and the Monocerotids with a Zenithal Hourly Rate of three peaks on Wednesday. These are just an hors d’oeuvre for the Geminids shower, just over a week from now, on the 14th. With ZHR of a whopping 150, the Geminids is usually the best one of the year. Even now the meteor rates will be climbing so if you have reasonable power and a beam for 2, 4 or 6m, get looking for JT mode DX.

It’s a good week for EME too with Moon declination high but declining. We still have long visibility windows all week, with falling path losses until perigee next Sunday. 144MHz sky noise is low at the moment, not reaching 500 kelvin until next Sunday.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for November 29th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for November 29th 2020.

November 27, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 29th of November 2020

The news headlines:

  • Get on the air for Christmas

  • 60th year for GB3VHF

  • TX Factor 27 out soon

The RSGB has announced its latest activity for the Get on the air for Christmas campaign with the NHS. The special construction competition has a prize of £100 and the winning entry will be featured on the Society’s website and in RadCom. If you’ve been making something during the autumn lockdowns or are preparing to be busy over the holiday season, why not plan to enter your project into this new competition. Projects can be hardware, software or a system and may be based on a kit. For further information see the Get on the air for Christmas at www.rsgb.org/gota4c.

The 2m beacon GB3VHF will start its 60th year of operation in December. Located at Fairseat on the North Downs in Kent, the beacon is on 144.430MHz at a height of 205m ASL. It provides a propagation monitoring source that can reach across several countries. Find out more at www.gb3vhf.co.uk.

Episode 27 TX Factor will soon be available. In this latest episode the RSGB’s General Manager Steve Thomas, M1ACB explains how the Society’s positive response to the spring and summer lockdown helped to boost awareness of amateur radio in the UK. Steve stresses the importance of the ongoing work needed to maintain the impetus. Bob, G0FGX and Mike, G1IAR get to grips with using an RF Shark openSPOT Hotspot for some mobile DMR action. Bob visits Don Field, G3XTT at his new QTH near Wells to see how the editor of Practical Wireless created some simple antennas to swiftly resume his on-air activities. TX Factor episode 27 is proudly sponsored by the Radio Society of Great Britain and can be viewed at www.txfactor.co.uk.

The RSGB is looking for an experienced volunteer to fill the role of Convention Chair for the Society’s 2021 event. You will need exceptional organisational skills, good interpersonal skills, wide awareness of all aspects of amateur radio and good knowledge of RSGB policies and procedures. For other information, including how to find out more and to apply, see the RSGB website: www.rsgb.org/volunteers.

Every year on 3rd of December the Information Programme for Disabled Radio Amateurs, which is part of the IARU, celebrates the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Some organisations put on special event stations with amateur radio activity, mostly with persons with disabilities participating using callsigns like HB9IPDA.

The next RSGB Tonight @ 8 webinar is on Monday the 7th of December and is called “What next?”. Jonathan Mitchener, G0DVJ will give a jargon-free, wide-ranging talk about where amateur radio can take you, whether you are new to the hobby or returning after a gap. For further information about this and previous webinars, see www.rsgb.org/webinars.

From the 1st of December, listen out for Youngsters On The Air stations around the world. Details on thirty-five of those stations can be found at https://events.ham-yota.com/. There are still some slots available to host the special callsign GB20YOTA during December if you have a youngster in your family or wider support bubble. You must be a Full licence holder and the calendar is shown on the GB20YOTA page on QRZ.com. To reserve an operating slot, contact Jamie, M0SDV via email to yota.month@rsgb.org.uk.

Now the special event news

Celebrating the Christmas Holiday Season, the Market Reef DX Association will be active on all bands and modes as OG1XMAS between the 29th of November and the 26th of December. QSL via Logbook of The World and Club Log.

Members of Club Radio Durnal are active as OP19MSF until the 13th of December "to put the spotlight on Médecins Sans Frontières for its active role during this period of the pandemic". QSL via the bureau or direct.

Now the DX news

Ali, EP3CQ will be active as 6O1OO from Somalia, until the 15th of January 2021.

Members of the Holy land DX Group will operate 4X7T from 0800UTC on the 25th and 1300UTC on the 26th of December. They will have three running stations on the 80 to 10m bands using CW, SSB and FT-8. The QSL Manager is Ros, 4Z5LA.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the contest for any new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your national and local government’s advice.

This weekend it’s the CQ World Wide DX CW contest. The 48 hours run ends at 2359UTC today, the 29th. Activity is on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands. The exchange is signal report and your CQ Zone; for the UK that is Zone 14.

As per tradition, December is a quiet month for contests, with no RSGB HF events at all.

On Tuesday the 144MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 1955UTC. It is followed by the all-mode 144MHz UK Activity Contest from 2000 to 2230UTC. Both have the exchange of signal report, serial number and locator.

Next weekend, the ARRL 160m contest runs from 2200UTC on the 4th to 1600UTC on the 6th of December. It’s CW only and the exchange is signal report, with American and Canadian stations also sending their ARRL or RAC section abbreviation.

Next Sunday, the 6th of December, the 144MHz AFS contest runs from 1000 to 1600UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The UK Six Metre Group Winter Marathon starts its two month run on the 1st of December. Just exchange a signal report and locator.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA & G4BAO on Friday the 27th of November.

Last week represented a good example of how solar cycle 25 is progressing. We started the week on the 22nd with a solar flux index, SFI, of 88 and a sunspot number of 35. Just to recap, that doesn’t mean there were 35 sunspots, as we count each sunspot group as 10 and each spot as one. But, by Thursday, the SFI was up to 104 with a sunspot number of 40, and there were three large groups visible on the Sun. As well as pushing up the SFI, the spots have been very active on the solar flare front, with daily B- and C-class flares being emitted, although their effects on the ionosphere have been minimal luckily.

With the CW Worldwide CW contest occurring this weekend, this SFI does bode well for HF propagation. With zero coronal holes appearing, at least on Thursday, and the possibility that the SFI could rise even further in the coming days, this looks like a good combination for one of the best CQWWs we’ve seen for a few years. An SFI of more than 100 virtually guarantees some F2-layer propagation on 10 metres. These openings may be short-lived as the MUF drops a little, but it is definitely worth keeping an eye on 28MHz at times, especially near noon on North-South paths.

If you are planning to take part, it is a good idea to plan your activities using a tool like predtest.uk. Typically, on the higher bands, such as 20, 15 and perhaps 10 metres, you will work stations to the east of the UK in the morning. As noon approaches, propagation will swing south. And the afternoon will be optimum for contacts with the USA. For 40 and 80 metres, the opposite is generally true, where you should be looking for a night-time path between you and the station you wish to work.

Even if you hear this broadcast on Sunday it isn’t too late to take part, as the contest runs until midnight. Do get on as there is usually a lot of activity and it is a great opportunity to increase your country score.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

The background weather pattern is again looking like high pressure will predominate, with a good prospect for Tropo. It will be a typical spell of November quiet weather with frost and fog overnight, perhaps lasting through the day in a few places.

This prevalence for cool moist air near the surface makes for good Tropo since you will often find the high pressure has produced a layer of warmer and drier air above the inversion. It's the contrast that changes the refractive index of the air and can create ducts for VHF/UHF DX propagation. We should point out that some models allow the high to collapse in the second half of next week, so it's worth following the daily forecasts as we go through the week.

Just one minor meteor shower this week. The Phoenicids peaks on the 2nd with a variable zenith hourly rate, but its radiant is not visible from the UK.

The Moon reaches maximum declination on Wednesday, so we have long visibility windows all week with falling path losses. 144MHz sky noise is moderate to low all week, but rising up to 500 kelvin on Tuesday.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for November 22nd 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for November 22nd 2020.

November 20, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 22nd of November 2020

The news headlines:

  • Spectrum Forum meeting details published

  • Help wanted for eclipse propagation tests

  • GB1NHS on the air over Christmas

The reports, presentations and minutes from the 2020 RSGB Spectrum Forum annual meeting are now available. The material provides a wide-ranging overview of topics across EMC, HF, VHF and microwaves; from both the Society and nationally affiliated Special Interest Groups. Presentations include updates on Ofcom’s EMF proposals, IARU 2021 Band Plans, VHF Innovation and WRC-23 pressure on 23cm band. Several reports include the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic driving on-air activity. The reports are online at https://rsgb.org/main/about-us/committees/spectrum-forum/meeting-minutes.

HamSCI is looking for amateur radio operators around the world to help collect propagation data during the 14th of December eclipse across South America. Data collection requires an HF radio connected to a computer. There will be a 24-hour practice run on the 5th of December. The main data recording will run from the 9th to the 16th, to ensure an abundance of control data. Details of the experiment are on the website www.hamsci.org, click on the Projects tab.

As part of the RSGB and NHS campaign ‘Get on the air for Christmas’ the NHS amateur radio station GB1NHS will be on the air on Sunday the 20th of December and Wednesday the 30th of December. It will be hosted at the RSGB’s National Radio Centre, so make a note to listen out for it on those days. Please note that the NRC is still closed to visitors and the operators will be following all national and local Covid-19 guidelines to ensure the safety of volunteers. The Society is also delighted that Ofcom is supporting the use of /NHS as a suffix to callsigns during the campaign, which runs from Saturday the 19th of December through to Saturday the 9th of January.

The RSGB’s GB2RS News Service is looking for a new volunteer manager. The position involves appointing and liaising with GB2RS newsreaders, managing schedules and notices of variation, as well as working closely with the editorial staff at HQ. For more information please contact the RSGB General Manager’s Department via email to gm.dept@rsgb.org.uk.

Bob, G3VCA reports that an Icom IC-7100 has gone missing from the RAF Waddington ARC station. Its serial number is 03001813. If you have any news of it, particularly if you see it offered for sale, please email G3VCA via robert@pyewipe.co.uk.

The damaged 305m radio telescope at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico will be decommissioned due to safety concerns. One of its support cables broke in August and, before repairs could be put in place, a second broke earlier in November. The decommissioning plan focuses only on the 305-meter telescope and is intended to safely preserve other parts of the observatory.

The VHF Contest Committee has a consultation open right now looking for feedback on some possible rule changes for 2021. The closing date has been extended to midnight on Sunday the 29th of November. If you haven’t already responded and you’re interested in VHF Contesting, we’d really appreciate a few minutes of your time. You’ll find it at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/VHFCC20.

South Dublin Radio Club has uploaded its latest video to the club's YouTube channel. It is called Signals from Outerspace! Make your own antenna to get images from Weather Satellites. It is designed as a beginner's radio project and instructs viewers on how to construct a very simple V-dipole for 137MHz, demonstrating how it can be utilised along with a basic software-defined receiver and computer in order to decode images from passing NOAA Weather satellites.

Now the special event news

Members of UBA Section KTK will be active as OP0PEACE until the 30th of November to commemorate the end of World War I. QSL via the operator's instructions and logsearch on Club Log.

4U2STAYHOME is the special callsign reactivated by the Vienna International Centre Amateur Radio Contest DX Club until the 31st of December. QSL via UA3DX, direct or via the bureau.

The Belgian regulator is again issuing special callsigns during its second nationwide lockdown. The callsigns are valid until at least the 13th of December. They include callsigns such as OO4UZLEUVEN, OO7STAYHOME, OQ20LIFE, OQ5BECLEVER and OR1LIFE. There are many more in the list. See the station’s entry on QRZ.com for details.

Now the DX news

Ali, EP3CQ will be back to Mogadishu, Somalia for two months. In his spare time he will operate mainly FT8 on various bands as 6O1OO. QSL direct as per the details on QRZ.com.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the contest for any 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.

On Tuesday the SHF UK Activity Contest runs from 1930 to 2230UTC. 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 80m contest runs from 2000 to 2100UTC. Using CW only, the exchange is your 6-character locator.

On Thursday it’s the Autumn Series contest from 2000 to 2130UTC. Using CW only on the 80m band, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

Next weekend it’s the CQ World Wide DX CW contest. Running for 48 hours from 0000UTC on the 28th to 2359UTC on the 29th on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and your CQ Zone. For the UK that is Zone 14.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA & G4BAO on Friday the 20th of November.

Last week was not bad for HF propagation, but probably not as good as the previous period. The solar flux index remained in the mid-to-high 70s, but the upside was that we had quiet geomagnetic conditions, which helped settle the ionosphere. The result was that maximum usable frequencies over 3,000km remained quite high, with 12 metres often being open. There was even the occasional long-distance opening on 10 metres, including SSB contacts with Australia, especially by better-equipped stations.

Next week may be better as sunspot group 2783 rotates into an Earth-facing position. NOAA predicts the SFI will remain in the range 70-75, but this could easily be exceeded if sunspot 2783 becomes more active. Unfortunately, geomagnetic conditions may not be as favourable next week due to a large coronal hole on the Sun’s surface.

NOAA predicts the Kp index could rise to four on Sunday the 22nd of November and again on the 24th and 25th. Things could then settle down with a maximum Kp index of two, just in time for the CQ Worldwide CW contest on the weekend of the 28th and 29th. So it looks like the latter half of the week will be better for HF propagation than the first half.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

This is often regarded as an unsettled time of year, but can occasionally bring quite settled weather, typical of high-pressure systems. Unfortunately, there is once again no real sign of any substantial high pressure, other than the occasional brief ridge between successive lows and their fronts. Like last week, any high pressure is likely to be closer to southern Britain and over the Continent, therefore favouring southern England to France and Biscay for the more optimistic operators. It's another week to look for GHz Bands rain scatter, with much variability expected in timing. It's best to follow events via the daily forecasts to find the most likely opportunities.

There have been a few out-of-season Sporadic-E events on 10m and 6m in the past week, so it's never safe to assume there is only a summer season for Sporadic-E. Admittedly it's not usually a great response in November, but it can and does happen!

Just one minor meteor shower this coming week. The November Orionids peaks on the 28th, with a zenithal hourly rate of just three. Moon declination goes positive again on Wednesday, so visibility windows will lengthen all week. With the Moon approaching apogee on Friday, path losses are at their highest. 144MHz sky noise is low all week, but rising above 300 Kelvin from Thursday.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for November 15th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for November 15th 2020.

November 13, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 15th of November 2020

The news headlines:

  • Hope QSO Parties over Christmas

  • RSGB responds to Ofcom’s second EMF consultation

  • RCF help is available

Following the successful Hope QSO Parties earlier in the year, the HF Contest Committee is launching two further short Christmas Hope Party series to run as part of the Society’s ‘Get on the air for Christmas’ campaign with the NHS. The first starts on Monday the 21st of December and the second on Monday the 4th of January. Each series has two phone, two CW, two RTTY and two FT4 events. For more information, including a link to the rules, see the RSGB website www.rsgb.org/gota4c.

RSGB has responded to Ofcom’s second consultation document on limiting Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields. Our response can be found on the RSGB website http://rsgb.org.uk/emf. Please remember the deadline is tight; all responses need to be in to Ofcom by 5pm on Monday the 16th of November. The RSGB would encourage you to respond yourself and thank all those who have done so already.

The Trustees of the Radio Communications Foundation have noted the surge in newcomers to amateur radio since lockdown. Newcomers may not be aware that RCF is a charity that is committed to supporting radio clubs in schools, colleges and universities. If any readers need help in establishing, resurrecting or improving a school, college or university amateur radio club they should contact the RCF. Details can be found at https://commsfoundation.org/contact-the-rcf/. The RCF continues to sponsor a number of Arkwright Engineering Scholarships and works with the UK Electronics Skills Federation.

The IARU Region 1 Political Relations Committee attended an European workshop that is drafting the next radio spectrum programme for the 2025 – 2030 period. Topics included strategic spectrum issues, climate change and EMF. The IARU was pleased to be able to submit a contribution that is now available with inputs from other stakeholders at www.iaru-r1.org/2020/rspg-workshop-on-rspp.

We received sad news this week. John Devoldere, ON4UN became a Silent Key on the 9th of November. Well-known as a lowband DXer, he had been in failing health for some time. In addition to his enthusiasm for operating, he may be best known as the author of Low-Band DXing and HF Ethics and Operating that was adopted by the IARU. Our thoughts are with his family and friends around the world.

Dave Johnson, G4DPZ gave an online satellite talk to Mid Ulster ARC and the video is now available on the club’s YouTube channel. He covered the many amateur satellites in Low Earth Orbit that operate in the 145.8-146MHz and 435-438MHz satellite bands, plus the QO-100 geostationary satellite that uses 2.4GHz and 10GHz. Another talk is an evening with Laurie Margolis, G3UML, the BBC journalist and News Editor who was the radio amateur that broke news of the Falkland Islands invasion in 1982. See www.youtube.com/MuarcMedia/videos.

The RSGB is taking part in December YOTA Month but the Covid-19 restrictions will make the event very different this year. If you are a parent with a newly-licensed youngster in your family, you can apply to host the callsign GB20YOTA safely from your own home. You must be a Full licence holder to apply for the callsign. You can book an appointment slot within a set calendar shown on the GB20YOTA page on QRZ.com. To register your interest, or to reserve an operating slot, contact RSGB YOTA Month Coordinator Jamie, M0SDV via email to yota.month@rsgb.org.uk.

Now the special event news

The 2nd of November marked the centennial of US radio station KDKA. The station originally began operations in 1916 as an amateur radio station, callsign 8XK. After WW1, the operators reorganised the station as a commercial AM radio station. To celebrate this historic milestone, Pittsburgh area amateur radio operators will take to the airwaves with a series of special event stations, K3A, K3D, K3K, and W8XK. These will be set up at several locations in Pennsylvania during November.

Members of UBA Section KTK will be active as OP0PEACE until the 30th of November to commemorate the end of World War I. QSL via the operator's instructions and logsearch on Club Log.

Now the DX news

Remo, HB9SHD plans to be active as 8Q7RM from Kandolhu Island, IOTA reference AS-013, until the 29th of November. Activity will be holiday-style on HF using CW, SSB and digital modes. QSL via HB9SHD.

Robert, S53R plans to continue working in his spare time as T6AA in the Afghan capital city of Kabul, until mid-December.

Giorgio, IU5HWS is stationed in Iraq with the Italian Army and expects to remain there until around the 20th of January. The Iraqi Amateur Radio Society has authorised him to operate as YI9/IU5HWS until his requested callsign of YI9WS is granted by the National Communications and Media Commission.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the contest for any 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.

The WAE DX RTTY contest ends its 48-hour run at 2359UTC today, the 15th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

Today, the 15th, the UK Microwave group’s Low Band contest runs from 1000 to 1400UTC. Using the 1.3 to 3.4GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Monday, the 9th FT4 series contest runs from 2000 to 2130UTC. Using the 3.5MHz band, the exchange is signal report and 4-character location.

On Tuesday the 1.3GHz UK Activity Contest runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Thursday sees the 70MHz UK Activity Contest running from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Next Saturday, the 21st, the Second 1.8MHz contest runs from 1900 to 2300UTC. It’s CW only and the exchange is signal report, serial number and District code.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA & G4BAO on Friday the 13th of November.

The Sun really shone last week, in more ways than one. Large sunspot group 2781 pushed the solar flux index to 91 with a sunspot number of 40 at the weekend, a figure that we haven’t seen for many years. This was coupled with quiet geomagnetic conditions with a maximum Kp index of two, but frequently it was at one or zero. These figures, coupled with a seasonal upturn in HF propagation, meant there was DX to be worked. 7Q7RU, the Russian Robinson Club DXpedition to Malawi, has been logged in the UK on many bands, including 15 metres. Australia has also put in an appearance on 10 metres, with VK6NC being worked on SSB with a 5 and 8 signal for Gary, G0FWX. New Zealand has also been workable on the short path with John, ZL2JBR being very loud on 20m SSB around 14.210 to 14.215MHz on many days around 0830 to 0930UTC.

There probably hasn’t been a better time for HF propagation for quite a few years. As this report was being written, new sunspot group 2782 was just showing around the edge of the Sun and this could develop as the weekend goes on. NOAA predicts the SFI will be in the range 78-80 next week, although this rather depends upon how region 2782 develops. Geomagnetic conditions are unlikely to be quite as quiet next week, with NOAA predicting a maximum Kp index of three, rising to five on Friday the 20th. The first part of the week might therefore be the best choice for HF DXing.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

The Leonids meteor shower reaches its peak in the hours before dawn on Tuesday, the 17th of November. So be ready for some good but short-lived meteor scatter conditions. The shower has a Zenithal Hourly Rate of 15, but it is known for producing meteor storms at various times in recent history. The last Leonid Storm was in 2001, but the first great meteor storm of modern times was the 1833 Leonids, kicking off the scientific study of meteors.

The current spell of changeable weather is likely to set the template for terrestrial propagation this coming week. That is to say, periods of wet and windy weather when active weather fronts cross the country interspersed by brighter showery interludes. All of these features are capable of providing some good rain scatter conditions on the GHz bands. Because of this unsettled pattern, high pressure is banished to the south of the UK, over France, so if there are any vestiges of Tropo it will be most likely from southern England across the Channel.

The Moon was at perigee yesterday, so path losses are still low, but with minimum declination on Wednesday, Moon visibility windows are short. 144MHz sky noise peaks at nearly 3300K on Tuesday but drops back to below 300K again by the end of next week.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for November 8th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for November 8th 2020.

November 6, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 8th of November 2020

The news headlines:

  • RSGB preps reply to 2nd EMF consultation

  • Convention: Learn More About… stream on YouTube

  • ARRL opposes new $50 licence fee

The RSGB is currently working on detailed comments and suggested amendments to the second Ofcom EMF consultation. The Society is also preparing guidance to help all UK radio amateurs to assess compliance and keep the necessary records. Go to https://rsgb.org/emf and click on the link for the latest update.

The keynote lecture and the presentations from the ‘Learn more about’ stream at the RSGB’s 2020 Convention Online are now on the Society’s YouTube channel. Catch up on what you missed or watch again. You can find them on www.youtube.com/theRSGB.

US amateurs have been exempt from application fees for several years. The ARRL will file comments in firm opposition to an FCC proposal to impose a $50 fee on amateur radio licence and application fees. Under the proposal, amateur radio licensees would pay a $50 fee for each amateur radio application. This would apply for new licenses, licence renewals, upgrades to existing licences, and to vanity callsign requests. The ARRL is encouraging members to file comments that stress amateur radio’s contributions to the country and communities. For more information, go to http://www.arrl.org/news.

The RSGB is taking part in December YOTA Month but the Covid-19 restrictions will make the event very different this year. If you are a parent with a newly-licensed youngster in your family, you can apply to host the callsign GB20YOTA safely from your own home. You must be a Full Licence holder to apply for the callsign. You can book an appointment slot within a set calendar shown on the GB20YOTA QRZ.com page. To register your interest, or to reserve an operating slot, contact RSGB YOTA Month Coordinator Jamie, M0SDV via email to yota.month@rsgb.org.uk.

If you are on the lookout for interesting lectures, then a talk given to South Dublin Radio Club could be for you. Joe Ryan, EI7GY gave a presentation on the radio experiments by Colonel Dennis, EI2B, from 1898 to the late 1930s. Find out more at https://southdublinradioclub.weebly.com.

The RSGB has made available the video of the Introduction to GNU Radio talk by Heather Lomond, M0HMO, which is one of Society's Tonight @ 8 Webinars. It joins all the previous Tonight@8 talks and the RSGB Convention Online talks, so there are many hours of interest for all radio amateurs. Go to www.youtube.com/theRSGB for all the videos.

The RSGB National Radio Centre 80m net continues to run Monday to Friday at 10.30 am around 3.727MHz. All NRC volunteers are welcome to join the net and they actively encourage other amateurs to call in as part of the RSGB’s Get on the air to care campaign. If you haven’t got an 80m station, why not listen in using one of the many webSDR sites?

Now the special event news

Thurrock Acorns Amateur Radio Club will be running GB2REM on Sunday the 8th and Wednesday the 11th of November for Remembrance Day. The club will be focusing on keeping the station active on these two days but may be heard from Saturday the 7th until Thursday the 12th. More details at https://taarc.co.uk.

Larry, G4HLN will be active as GB4CKS until the 14th of November. The station marks the 85th anniversary of the death of Australian record-setting aviator Sir Charles Kingsford Smith. He disappeared on the 8th of November 1935 off the coast of Myanmar, then known as Burma, whilst trying to break the England-Australia speed record. Larry will operate CW and some SSB on 40 to 10m. QSL via G4HLN, direct or via the bureau.

Special event station 4X0RMN will be active on the 13th and 14th of November from Ramon Crater, Israel's largest national park. QSL via 4X6ZM, Logbook of The World and eQSL.

Now the DX news

Remo, HB9SHD plans to be active as 8Q7RM from Kandolhu Island, IOTA reference AS-013, until the 29th of November. Activity will be holiday style on various HF bands using CW, SSB and digital modes. QSL via HB9SHD.

Robert, S53R plans to continue working in his spare time as T6AA in the Afghan capital city of Kabul, until mid-December.

Giorgio, IU5HWS has been stationed in Iraq with the Italian Army since September and expects to remain there until around the 20th of January. The Iraqi Amateur Radio Society has authorised him to operate as YI9/IU5HWS until his requested callsign of YI9WS is granted by the National Communications and Media Commission.

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.

This weekend, the Marconi CW contest ends its 24-hour run at 1400UTC today, the 8th. Using the 144MHz band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Tuesday the 432MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 1955UTC. It is followed by the all-mode 432MHz UK Activity Contest from 2000 to 2230UTC. The exchange is the same for both: signal report, serial number and locator.

On Wednesday the Autumn Series runs from 2000 to 2130UTC using SSB on the 3.5MHz band. The exchange is signal report and serial number.

Thursday sees the 50MHz UK Activity Contest taking place from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Saturday the 14th, the Club Calls contest runs from 2000 to 2300UTC. Using SSB and CW on the 1.8MHz band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and your club information.

Next weekend, the WAE DX RTTY contest runs from 0000UTC on the 14th to 2359UTC on the 15th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

On Sunday the 15th, the UK Microwave group’s Low Band contest runs from 1000 to 1400UTC. Using the 1.3 to 3.4GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 6th of November.

Sunspots are a bit like buses. You wait forever and three come along at once! Last week we had active regions 2778 and 2779, which pushed the solar flux index up to 88. This week we have sunspot region 2781, which is a monster. At the time of writing, this region had pushed the SFI to 88 again, but it has been active in terms of solar flares. These have been minor C-class events, so not too much to worry about. The good news is that geomagnetic conditions have been very settled over the past week, with the Kp index running between zero and two. This no doubt helped ionospheric propagation.

There was some good DX reported over the past seven days. TX0T, the DXpedition to Tatakoto Atoll, OC-298, in French Polynesia, has been worked by several stations in the UK. The Far East has also been workable, especially on FT8, where Indonesia, China and Japan have all been spotted.

Next week, NOAA predicts the SFI will be in the range 72-76. The good news is that geomagnetic conditions are predicted to be quiet with a maximum Kp index of two.

We may get some radio blackouts or sudden ionospheric disturbances as a result of M- or C-class solar flares from active region 2781, but these are difficult to predict. Radio blackouts occur when the strong, sudden burst of X-rays from a solar flare hits the Earth's atmosphere, blocking high-frequency radio signals in the D-region of the ionosphere. NOAA puts the probability of an R1/R2 radio blackout at 15%, and an R3 radio blackout at just 5%. Overall then, it looks like a good week for HF propagation.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

There was a brief return of Tropo at the end of the last week. The first of this autumn’s opportunities was complete with fog below the inversion layer. Unfortunately, the related high and its Tropo is not due to last and indeed will have probably moved away during the weekend. It does, though, show the capability of a good temperature inversion with foggy air trapped below it to produce good Tropo.

The last vestiges of it are now clearing away across the northern North Sea, but may still be just worth exploring for the 48th Marconi Memorial VHF CW Contest on Sunday. During the weekend, the weather pattern changes to a more unsettled type, which remains dominant through the coming week. This will bring GHz band rain scatter, but also some strong winds at times.

As we approach the Leonids meteor shower on the 17th we also have a smaller shower, the Northern Taurids, peaking this Thursday, so meteor scatter conditions should be above average. It is also worth the occasional check for Sporadic-E on FT8 on 10m and 6m.

The Moon’s declination is high but starting to fall, going negative on Thursday, so Moon visibility windows will shorten. The Moon is at perigee next Saturday so path losses are low. 144MHz sky noise is low for most of the week.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for November 1st 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for November 1st 2020.

October 30, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 1st of November 2020

The news headlines:

  • GNU Radio on Tonight@8

  • Introduction to presentations go online

  • Yahoo Groups closes soon

The next Tonight@8 is this Monday, the 2nd of November. Heather Lomond, M0HMO will give a beginners’ introduction to using GNU Radio to create simple amateur radio projects. Starting from the beginning, Heather will introduce the GNU Radio programming environment, develop a little of the theory needed to understand SDRs, and then go on to use some simple GNU Radio blocks to build a receiver based on one of the super-cheap SDRs. Finally, she will show how to build more complex radio systems and where to go to take things to the next level. Do encourage people to listen to this webinar, particularly if they are a new or returning licensee. More information is on our website at www.rsgb.org/webinars.

The individual presentations from the “Introduction to…” stream at the RSGB Convention Online that took place on the 10th of October are now available to watch. You can catch up on ones you missed or take the opportunity to see again the ones you enjoyed most. Find them at www.youtube.com/theRSGB.

Just a reminder for listeners who use or who have subscribed to a Yahoo group. On the 15th of December, groups.yahoo.com, or Yahoo Groups, and its list service will shut down. Many amateurs are still using Yahoo groups and not groups.io. If you want more information, go to https://help.yahoo.com/kb/groups/SLN35505.html.

The RSGB sometimes receives complaints regarding incidences of deliberate jamming and foul or inappropriate language on the air and is trying to quantify the size of the problem. A Freedom of Information request to Ofcom showed only three identifiable reports submitted between the 1st of January 2015 and the 31st of December 2019. The RSGB would like to hear from radio amateurs who have reported similar problems directly to Ofcom, not the RSGB, during this period, and after following the Operating Advisory Service’s advice. For further information, including how to submit your reports to the Society, please see the RSGB website via tinyurl.com/rsgb-oas-reports.

Results of the IRTS 80 metre Counties Contest held on 6th October have now been published. Band conditions were good for this contest, which kept local and overseas stations busy for the hour. 35 logs were submitted, showing participation from 22 EI and GI counties, as well as 12 overseas DXCC entities. See www.irts.ie/results for full details.

The RSGB will once again be participating in the annual YOTA Month activities in December. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we will not be encouraging large group events and all participants should remain within national and local guidelines. GB20YOTA is available for Full licence holders to book an appointment slot within a set calendar shown on the GB20YOTA QRZ.com page. All operations should be focused with the intention to get young people on the air. To register your interest, or to reserve an operating slot, contact Jamie, M0SDV, via email to yota.month@rsgb.org.uk.

The proceedings from the 19th of September RSGB Board meeting are now online. Of particular note is that media and public interest in amateur radio continues, RSGB Membership numbers are still rising and examination numbers are still buoyant with an increasing number of candidates progressing to the next licence level. See https://tinyurl.com/gb2rs-board.

Now the special event news

Members of the HCDX Group will be active as HD1X from a remaining tropical rainforest in Ecuador, grid reference FI09IV. Active until the 3rd of November at 1700UTC they will use various HF bands including 30, 17 and 12m, using SSB, SSTV and FT4/FT8.

Larry, G4HLN will be active as GB4CKS between the 1st and the 14th of November. He will operate CW and some SSB on 40 to 10m, marking the 85th anniversary of the death of Australian record-setting aviator Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, who disappeared on the 8th of November 1935 off the coast of Myanmar, then known as Burma, whilst trying to break the England-Australia speed record. QSL via G4HLN, direct or via the bureau.

Pittsburgh radio station KDKA will celebrate 100 years of radio broadcasting in November, and Pennsylvania radio amateurs will run a multi-station special event. Special event stations K3K, K3D, K3A and W8XK will set up and operate at several locations in Pennsylvania during November. Stations will determine their own modes and schedules. Visit the W8XK profile on QRZ.com for information on certificates and QSLs.

Now the DX news

Remo, HB9SHD plans to be active as 8Q7RM from Kandolhu Island, IOTA reference AS-013, from the 2nd to the 29th of November. Activity will be holiday style on various HF bands using CW, SSB and digital modes. QSL via HB9SHD.

Bob, W0YBS will be active as V31CO from Cay Caulker in Belize until the 13th of November. Activity will be on the 80 to 10m bands including 30, 17 and 12m, using CW, SSB, FT8 and RTTY. QSL via W0YBS and Logbook of The World.

Robert, S53R plans to remain in the Afghan capital city working in his spare time as T6AA until mid-December.

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 UK EI Contest Club DX Contest ends its 24-hour run at 1200UTC today, the 1st of November. This is SSB only and also has a 12-hour option. UK and EI area codes are multipliers for DX stations and all QSOs made by UK or EI stations between the hours of 0100 and 0500UTC are worth double points. For the rules and other information, follow the links from www.ukeicc.com.

On Monday the Autumn Series contest runs from 2000 to 2130UTC. It’s data only on the 3.5MHz band, with the exchange being signal report and serial number.

On Tuesday the 144MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 1955UTC. It is followed by the all-mode 144MHz UK Activity Contest from 2000 to 2230UTC. 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 the 3.5MHz band only, the exchange is your 6-character locator square.

Next weekend, the Marconi CW contest runs from 1400UTC on the 7th to 1400UTC on the 8th. Using the 144MHz band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 30th of October.

Last week saw more evidence that Solar Cycle 25 is definitely underway. Large sunspot group 2778 caused the solar flux index to rise to 82. And it then got even better when it was joined by active region 2779, which pushed the SFI up further to 88 on Thursday. This is the first time we’ve seen the SFI in the 80s for some time and a clear indication that things are changing for the better.

Both regions were responsible for B and C-class solar flares, but nothing that impacted the ionosphere too much. In addition to the sunspots, we did have the lingering effects of a high-speed solar wind stream from a coronal hole, which saw the Kp index rise to four across the weekend.

This corresponded with the SSB leg of the CQWW contest and did have an adverse impact on propagation.

The elevated Kp index continued until late in the week and was still at three on Thursday, preventing the ionosphere from completely recovering. Nevertheless, Propquest.co.uk shows that over a 3,000km path maximum usable frequencies often exceeded 24 and were even 28MHz at times. Ten metre FT8 proved popular with the eastern states of the USA, Mexico, South America, Cuba, Malawi, Kenya, South Africa, as well as India, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea all of these being logged on Thursday.

As for next week, the STEREO ahead spacecraft shows a couple of sunspots returning to the Earth-facing solar disk. Regions 2775 and 2777 are coming back, but it is difficult to know how active they will be.

So as we enter November, NOAA predicts the SFI will be roughly 74-75 with quite calm geomagnetic conditions. The Kp index is predicted to be two by Monday, which bodes well for HF.

With the seasonal improvement in ionospheric conditions, a quiet geomagnetic field and possible sunspot activity, the next seven days could be quite good for HF propagation.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

We ended the previous week with very unsettled conditions bringing rain and strong winds at times. This pattern will continue into the first half of next week, so once again we expect GHz bands rain scatter to be on the propagation guest list.

There is a suggestion that a ridge of high pressure will move into Scotland midweek, gradually extending its influence southwards to make Tropo a consideration. That said, the ridge may get overwhelmed by returning low-pressure next weekend.

Recent unsettled weather, which is usually driven by strong jet streams, would be perfect for summer Sporadic-E, and it's worth saying that even out of the traditional Sporadic-E season, FT8 may bring the occasional surprise. Definitely worth a periodic check on 10m and up.

The Moon’s declination is still rising, reaching maximum late on Thursday, so Moon visibility windows continue to be long. The Moon is just past apogee so path losses are still high. 144MHz sky noise peaks at 500K on Wednesday.

Continue to keep an eye out for low-VHF auroral propagation and remember, we are just over two weeks from the peak of the big Leonids meteor shower.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for October 25th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for October 25th 2020.

October 23, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 25th of October 2020

The news headlines:

  • Back to GMT today

  • New Zealand loses 5MHz

  • New RSGB Convention talks on YouTube

Don’t forget, in the UK, the clocks went back one hour at 2 am today Sunday the 25th of October. We will then we back to Greenwich Mean Time, or UTC until the clocks change again in March 2021.

The New Zealand national amateur society NZART reports that, unfortunately, the New Zealand Defence Force has advised they are not willing to approve another renewal of their 5MHz trial allocation and licence. As a result, all use by New Zealand amateurs of the two trial frequencies, 5353 and 5362kHz, cease from midnight on Saturday the 24th of October 2020. Although the trial is over, NZART will continue to work with the regulator to see if there are other ways of providing New Zealand amateurs with access to 5MHz frequencies.

The individual presentations from the Introduction To... stream at the successful RSGB 2020 Convention Online are now available on the Society’s YouTube channel. You can catch up on ones you missed, or take the opportunity to watch again the ones you enjoyed most. The keynote presentation and the individual talks in the Learn More About… stream will be released next week. Find them at www.youtube.com/theRSGB.

The German town of Bad Bentheim is taking nominations for the Golden Antenna Award. For 50 years, the town has hosted German-Dutch Amateur Radio Days, during which the town stresses the importance of amateur radio as a public service. A committee headed by the mayor of Bad Bentheim will choose the winner. The recipient will be invited to receive the award on the 28th of August 2021. They would favour candidates who did something special related to the Covid-19 pandemic, but other candidates are welcome. Send nominations via email to juerriens@stadt-badbentheim.de.

The new IARU Monitoring Service Region 1 Coordinator Gaspar, EA6AMM has appointed Peter, HB9CET, as Vice-Coordinator. Both have been working together in IARUMS for more than a year. More on the work of the Monitoring Service can be found at www.iaru-r1.org.

The RSGB will once again be participating in the annual YOTA Month activities in December. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we will not be encouraging large group events. We do hope that smaller groups will be able to participate in the event, whilst remaining within national and local guidelines. GB20YOTA will be available for Full licence holders to book an appointment slot within a set calendar. This calendar will be available on the GB20YOTA QRZ.com page for you to choose when you want to operate. All operations should be focused with the intention to get young people on the air. To register your interest, or to reserve an operating slot, contact Jamie, M0SDV, via email to yota.month@rsgb.org.uk.

Now the special event news

As a tribute to Eddie Van Halen passing on the 6th of October, PA5150EVH will be on air from the 28th of October until at least the 31st of January. It will be operated by Van Halen fan Frank, PF1SCT.

URE San Fernando, EA7URF, is participating in the official celebrations for the 500th anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the Earth. AM500ETS will be active from the 31st of October to the 8th of November.

During fighting around Ypres in WWI, much of Sanctuary Wood, Hill 62, Armagh Wood and Mount Sorrel was taken at the expense of many casualties. The Great Reconstruction in the Westhoek is commemorated during November with the callsign OP20FENIKS. The station is located in the immediate vicinity of the memorial of Hill 62, and will be on HF and VHF using SSB, CW and some data modes. Full details are on QRZ.com

Larry, G4HLN will be active as GB4CKS between the 1st and the 14th of November. He will operate CW and some SSB on 40 to 10m, marking the 85th anniversary of the death of Australian record-setting aviator Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, who disappeared on the 8th of November 1935 off the coast of Myanmar, then known as Burma, whilst trying to break the England-Australia speed record. QSL via G4HLN, direct or via the bureau.

Now the DX news

Cezar, VE3LYC will be active as TX0T from one of the new IOTAs in French Polynesia, Tatakoto Atoll, OC-298, between the 29th of October and the 5th of November. He will be primarily on 40, 30, 20 and 17 metres CW and SSB. QSL via Club Log’s OQRS, or via VE3LYC.

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 CQWW DX SSB contest ends its 48 hour runs at 2359 today, the 25th. It’s SSB-only on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands. The exchange is signal report and Zone, which is 14 for the UK.

On Tuesday the SHF UK Activity Contest takes place between 1830 and 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 80m contest runs from 2000 to 2130UTC. Using CW only, the exchange is your 6 digit locator.

On Thursday the 80m Autumn Series runs from 2000 to 2130UTC. Using SSB only, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

The UK EI Contest Club DX Contest takes place for 24 hours beginning at 1200UTC on Saturday the 31st of October. This is SSB only and also has a 12-hour option. UK and EI area codes are multipliers for DX stations and all QSOs made by UK or EI stations between the hours of 0100 and 0500UTC are worth double points. For the rules and other information, follow the links from www.ukeicc.com.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 23rd of October.

The last week was dominated by sunspot region 2776, which pushed the solar flux index to 75. Geomagnetically, it was a mixed bag though, with the Kp index peaking at four on Wednesday, but otherwise being relatively quiet and showing zero on Tuesday. The sunspots, plus the October seasonal enhancement, meant that the HF bands were quite active. There were reports of Australia being worked from the UK on 10m FT8. Alek VK6APK was worked at 0920UTC by Tony, G4HZW. Mario, FR4QT on Reunion Island was also worked on 28.380MHz SSB by Gary, G0FWX, according to the 10m UK Net Facebook group. If you like 10 metre operation the group is definitely worth signing up to. These 10-metre contacts bode well for the future and we look forward to other reports of VK/ZL as the solar cycle progresses.

Next week, NOAA predicts the solar flux index will be the range 72-74. Sunspot region 2776 will have almost rotated off the visible disk by the time this report is published and there are no other spots at the moment. However, it does look like we are in for a disturbed weekend with poor geomagnetic conditions. This is due to a large polar coronal hole on the solar surface that has returned after a 27-day rotation and which could cause the Kp index to rise to five. The solar wind will likely increase in speed and density, resulting in an adverse effect on the ionosphere after a potential pre-auroral enhancement.

Expect maximum usable frequencies to decline and conditions to be poor this weekend. Do look out for potential 10 metre auroral contacts though.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

We are about to enter a phase of very disturbed weather with a series of deep lows dominating the charts, especially in the nearby Atlantic. Their influence will bring strong winds and periods of heavy rain or showers. At long range it’s pointless to try to time such events precisely, but nonetheless the general characteristics suggest that Tropo will again be a rare feature in the coming week other than transient weak ridges between successive fronts or lows. On the upside, rain scatter could do rather well for the GHz bands.

The Moon’s declination is rising and goes positive on Thursday so Moon visibility windows will lengthen. The Moon reaches apogee on Friday where path losses are at maximum. 144MHz sky noise is low all week.

With the Kp index set to rise to five thanks to the returning coronal hole, it might be worth keeping an eye out for low-VHF auroral propagation again.

There are no significant meteor showers this week but get ready for the Leonids, peaking on 16th and 17th of November.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for October 18th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for October 18th 2020.

October 16, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 18th of October 2020

The news headlines:

  • Behind the scenes of RSGB Convention

  • Bath Distance Learning places available

  • 146MHz experiment to continue

The RSGB Online Convention took place last week and was a huge success, with top-notch talks by many of the world’s leading amateurs. The two simultaneous live lecture streams were viewed by people in 24 countries. Over the coming weeks, the RSGB will release the individual presentations via its YouTube channel, so you can catch up on any you missed. In the meantime, you can see a video that shows just how much work the technical team were doing in the background to make the streams go smoothly. That video is at www.rsgb.org/convention and you can find all of the RSGB YouTube videos via www.youtube.com/theRSGB.

We recently announced that the Bath Distance Learning Team was resuming its work. There are still a very few places available on the Intermediate course that will run from November this year to March 2021. To open availability as widely as possible the deadline for applications has been extended until this Friday, the 23rd of October. Students receive weekly work packages via a virtual classroom and have access to weekly tutorials and revision quizzes. They also have a remote tutor who provides feedback and additional guidance when required. The course is free, though a refundable £30 deposit is required to secure a place. For full details, and an application form, contact the team leader Steve, G0FUW, via email to g0fuw@tiscali.co.uk. This is a great opportunity for Foundation holders to upgrade their knowledge and licence.

All Notices of Variation for the temporary 146 to 147MHz band expire on the 31st of October. Ofcom have agreed to make the frequencies available for a further year. To take advantage of this band, you will need to apply online for a new Notice of Variation even if you have held one before. Go to www.rsgb.org/nov and select the 146 and 147MHz NoV link. The NoV is issued free and is available to all UK Full licence holders. As a reminder, the band is intended for technical and experimental work. It should not be used for modes or operations that normally take place in the 144 to 146MHz band.

The IARU Region 1 Virtual General Conference concluded on Friday. The plenary saw numerous recommendations across a wide range of General, HF, VHF, UHF, microwave and EMC matters, including Youth and Spectrum issues. The RSGB was a leading contributor and was pleased with the success of its proposals. Barry Lewis, G4SJH was elected as the new Chair for IARU Region 1 Spectrum Affairs, succeeding David Court, EI3IO. Overall, the online format enabled a great team effort across all our volunteers. A fuller report will be available in due course via the IARU Region 1 website.

The British Amateur Television Club is holding its virtual Convention next Saturday, the 24th of October. Known as CAT 20, proceedings start at 10 am and will incorporate a series of talks. These will include details of the hugely popular BATC Portsdown digital ATV transmitter and its accompanying receiver, the Ryde. Whether you are a beginner or seasoned ATVer there will be something for everyone in this fascinating exciting part of the hobby. You can watch the action free via the live stream at https://batc.org.uk/live/cat20

The UNESCO International Day of Persons with Disabilities takes place on the 3rd of December. If you are planning any amateur radio activity in support of the Day, IARU would like to hear from you so they can publish details on the IARU Region 1 website. The co-ordinator is Thomas, HB9FXU and further information will appear at www.iaru-r1.org/about-us/committees-and-working-groups/ipha/ 

The RSGB will once again be participating in the annual YOTA Month activities in December. Normally we would encourage large youth groups, schools, Scouting associations and amateur radio clubs to participate. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we will not be encouraging large group events. We do hope that smaller groups will be able to participate in the event, whilst remaining within national and local guidelines. GB20YOTA will be available for Full licence holders to book an appointment slot within a set calendar. This calendar will be available on the GB20YOTA QRZ.com page for you to choose when you want to operate. All operations should be focused with the intention to get young people on the air. To register your interest or to reserve an operating slot contact Jamie, M0SDV, via email to yota.month@rsgb.org.uk.

Now the special event news

Marking the design project for the next 50 years for the United Arab Emirates, members of the Emirates Amateur Radio Society will activate the special callsigns A6050Y from their club station in Sharjah and A6050Y/1-9 from nine different members’ stations until the end of October.

Now the DX news

John, W2GD will be active as P40W from Aruba Island, IOTA SA-036, from the 20th to the 27th of October. He will operate on 160 to 10m, including activity in CQ WW DX SSB Contest. QSL via N2MM direct, or Logbook of The World.

Jeff, VP9/N1SNB will be active from Bermuda, NA-005, from the 21st to the 26th of October. He will operate on HF and take part in the CQ WW DX SSB Contest, in the Single Operator All Band Low Power Category. QSL via his home call.

Wolf, DM2AUJ, Guenter, DL2AWG, Peter, DL3APO, Rainer, DL2AMD, Werner, DJ9KH and Franz, DL9GFB are QRV as Z66DX until the 28th of October. Activity will be with three stations active on the 160 to 10m bands using CW, SSB and FT8. QSL via DL2AWG.

Philippe, F1DUZ is active from Guadeloupe as FG4KH from the shack of FG5FI until the 5th of November. QSL via home call.

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 Worked All Germany contest ends its 24-hour run at 1500UTC today, Sunday. Using CW and SSB on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number, with German stations sending DOK.

The 50MHz AFS contest runs from 0900 to 1300UTC today. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Also today, the second RoLo contest runs from 1900 to 2030UTC. This is CW only on the 80m band and the exchange is signal report and a rolling locator.

Today also sees the UK Microwave group’s 24-76GHz contest runs from 0900 to 1700UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Monday sees the RSGB FT4 series continue. Running from 1900 to 2030UTC on the 80m band in FT4 mode only, the exchange is your locator, using NA VHF Contest format.

On Tuesday the 1.3GHz UKAC takes place from 1900 to 2030UTC. Using all modes on the 23cm band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Next weekend it’s the CQWW DX SSB contest. Running from 0000UTC on the 24th to 2359 on the 25th, it’s SSB-only on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands. The exchange is signal report and Zone, which is 14 for the UK.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 16th of October.

We had a little flurry of solar activity last week, but it didn’t amount to much. Region 2775 decayed to a spotless plage and didn’t contribute at all after Tuesday the 13th. A new region began forming while on the far side of the Sun and has turned into view off the east limb. The new region has been assigned active region 2776 and, while a few spots are currently visible, so far only minor B-class solar flares have been detected.

Geomagnetic conditions were quiet, with the Kp index fluctuating between zero and one. This was due to a lack of coronal hole activity, which meant the solar wind was subdued, generally keeping below 300km/s. As a result, HF conditions have been quite good, with lots of DX being reported by CDXC members. Patrice, FK8HA in New Caledonia has been reported on 15m SSB, as has Mike, 5H3EE in Tanzania on 15m CW.

October can also be a good month for 40m contacts into Australia and New Zealand. A number of contacts have been logged and Predtest.uk shows that 0600-0700hrs is probably best for a long-path contact; 1300-1600hrs might favour a short-path one.

Next week NOAA predicts the solar flux index will remain around 70, but the Kp index may rise, probably due to a returning coronal hole. It predicts a Kp index of four on the 20th and unsettled geomagnetic conditions which may peak around the 25th-26th with a Kp index of six. So the conclusion is, make the most of the HF this weekend as the predicted conditions are likely to be poor for the rest of next week. Otherwise, look for auroral contacts on 10m next weekend.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

This is a tricky week to predict, but hopefully with some chance of Tropo. The VHF highlight though is the peak of the Orionids meteor shower on the morning of the 21st. With a ZHR of 20, it’s one of the larger ones of the year. The shower is already underway and runs from about October 2 to November 7. It’s caused by the stream of debris left behind by Comet Halley.

On the Tropo front, we ended last week with high pressure occupying much of the country and offering a chance of paths primarily between the UK and France plus across the North Sea to southern Scandinavia and Baltic. Early next week a low tracks south-east from Iceland towards Denmark and introduces colder showery weather and a good prospect for rain scatter with heavy showers over the adjoining coastal waters. After mid-week, a new high builds in from the west and leaves us in high-pressure Tropo weather to finish the week.

The Moon’s declination is negative all week reaching a minimum on Wednesday, so Moon visibility windows are short. The maximum Moon elevation in South-East England is just 12 degrees and, as we passed perigee last Friday night, path losses will increase. The 144MHz sky noise is high until the end of this week, above 2600 kelvin on Wednesday, so, all in all, it is a poor week for EME.

Finally, keep an eye out for auroral propagation due to the predicted disturbed Sun.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for October 11th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for October 11th 2020.

October 9, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 11th of October 2020

The news headlines:

  • New field strength licence condition proposed by Ofcom

  • RSGB YouTube Convention catch-up

  • Jamboree on the Air to go ahead

Ofcom received 400 responses to their EMF consultation, 255 of which were from radio amateurs. Ofcom has addressed some respondent’s concerns, revised their proposals and requested feedback. The RSGB will reply to Ofcom’s revised proposals and keep you updated via www.rsgb.org/emf. Ofcom intends to add a condition to all licences that allow more than 10W EIRP, requiring compliance with the ICNIRP general public limits on EMF exposure. Ofcom has provided a basic EMF calculator that will provide a conservative estimate of the required separation distances between the radio equipment and the public. RSGB and ARRL experts are working on detailed modelling of near-field EMF levels to demonstrate compliance where the Ofcom calculator is too conservative. Our aim is that Ofcom will approve such an approach. The RSGB is continuing discussions with Ofcom about the new condition, including what amateurs will actually be expected to do to operate safely within ICNIRP reference levels, and any need for extra advice and training.

Following on from the online RSGB Convention for 2020 that took place yesterday, the 10th of October, the AMSAT-UK Colloquium 2020 is online today, the 11th. There will be a lecture stream from 11 am to 4 pm. You can find out more at www.amsat-uk.org/colloquium. You may be interested to know that the two live streams from the RSGB Convention online will be available to watch again on the RSGB YouTube channel from today, the 11th. The results of the annual RSGB Construction Competition were announced during the online Convention and will be on the RSGB website from today, the 11th, at www.rsgb.org/construction-compeition.

The IARU Region 1 General Conference, originally scheduled to take place in Serbia, is taking place online, starting today, the 11th. Taking advantage of online access, well over 200 delegates and observers have registered from nearly 50 national societies. Nearly 90 papers are scheduled for discussion, several from the RSGB. The conference will be formally opened by IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH. A day-by-day report of the proceedings at the Conference will be published throughout the coming week on the IARU Region 1 website, www.iaru-r1.org, beginning Sunday evening.

Jamboree On The Air, the world’s largest and radio Scout event promoting friendship and global citizenship takes place over the weekend of the 16th to the 18th of October. There are of course a few difficulties this year due to the pandemic. However, the event is going ahead – often with creative ways of operating. Please listen out for the JOTA stations and do give them a call.

On United Nations Day, the 24th of October, the SAQ Very Low Frequency transmitter in Grimeton, Sweden, will again send out a message. Startup and tuning of the Alexanderson Alternator will be from 1430UTC. The message will be transmitted from SAQ on 17.2kHz CW at 1500UTC. Live streaming can be seen at www.youtube.com/c/AlexanderSAQ/videos.

The RSGB will once again be participating in the annual YOTA Month activities in December. Normally we would encourage large youth groups, schools, Scouting associations and amateur radio clubs to participate. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we will not be encouraging large group events. We do hope that smaller groups will be able to participate in the event, whilst remaining within national and local guidelines. GB20YOTA will be available for Full licence holders to book an appointment slot within a set calendar. This calendar will be available on the GB20YOTA QRZ.com page for you to choose when you want to operate. All operations should be focused with the intention to get young people on the air. To register your interest or to reserve an operating slot contact Jamie, M0SDV, via email to yota.month@rsgb.org.uk.

According to a Spaceweather.com report on the 6th of October, Canadian amateur Scott Tilley, VE7TIL received a signal from the NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter as it flew just 274km above the Red Planet’s surface. The signal was an X-band carrier containing no data or telemetry. Such detection is possible because, right now, Mars is unusually close to Earth. Visit www.Spaceweather.com and look at the archive for the 6th of October for more information.

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 will be active during October to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Bonaire becoming a Special Municipality of the Netherlands and a new DXCC entity. 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.

Now the DX news

Jerry, F4HJO will be active as F4HJO/p from Brehat Island, IOTA reference EU-074, between the 17th and 24th of October. He will operate mainly SSB on the 80, 40, 20 and 17m bands. QSL via Club Log’s OQRS, Logbook of The World or via his home call, either direct or via the bureau.

Take, JG8NQJ will be back to the weather station on Minami Torishima, OC-073, from the 14th of October until mid-January 2021, his QSL manager reports. Take will operate CW as JG8NQJ/JD1 in his spare time. QSL via JA8CJY direct or JG8NQJ via the bureau.

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 Oceania DX CW contest ends its 24-hour run at 0800UTC today, the 11th. Using the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

Today, the 11th, the IRTS 40m Counties contest runs from 1200 to 1400UTC. Using CW and SSB, the exchange is signal report and serial number, with GI and EI stations, also sending their County.

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

On Wednesday the 80m Autumn Series runs from 1900 to 2030UTC. Using data only, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

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

Next weekend, from 1500UTC on the 17th to 1500UTC on the 18th, it’s the Worked All Germany Contest. Using CW and SSB on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number, with German stations sending DOK.

Next Sunday, the 18th, the 50MHz AFS contest runs from 0900 to 1300UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Also next Sunday, the 18th, the second RoLo contest runs from 1900 to 2030UTC. This is CW only on the 80m band and the exchange is signal report and a rolling locator.

Next Sunday, the 18th, the UK Microwave group’s 24-76GHz contest runs from 0900 to 1700UTC. 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 9th of October.

We had another week without a single sunspot appearing on the solar surface. The only upside was that the solar wind was largely calm, which resulted in a settled ionosphere. The solar flux index remained pegged at 71 or 72, reminding us that although NASA says that solar cycle 25 has started, we are still a long way from the glory days of solar maximum. Having said that, on Thursday morning there were signs of some activity on the Sun’s south-eastern limb that may or may not result in a spot forming in due course.

There were numerous warnings this week for spacecraft operators about high levels of the 2MeV electron integral flux. This can result in charging occurring on satellite solar panels and other electronics. It can also have a detrimental impact on HF radio in the polar regions, while North-South paths remain relatively unaffected. However, after a brief geomagnetic disturbance when the Kp index rose to four on Monday the 5th, conditions remained settled, with the Kp index mainly being one throughout the week. This no doubt helped the ionosphere, with numerous reports of 15 and even 10 metres opening up. This time of year usually supports North-South paths as witnessed by Adrian, G0KOM logging on 15m Cyril, FR4NT on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean. An F2-layer opening also brought in Carlos, CX7CO in Uruguay on 28MHz CW, who was logged by Chris, G3SJJ.

An unseasonal Sporadic-E opening saw France and Italy being worked on 10 and 12 metres on Tuesday. So it is rather good news for HF at the moment, despite the lack of sunspots.

NOAA predicts more of the same next week with the solar flux index predicted to remain around 70. Geomagnetic conditions are also expected to remain settled with the Kp index at two or three.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

Last Tuesday saw a surprise widespread Sporadic-E opening on 50MHz, with stations working into Italy and Spain. This was quite possibly a direct result of the current spate of meteor showers. We should always be alert to the unexpected, especially during very unsettled weather with strong jet streams and meteor showers in attendance. These are though, truly rare events.

It looks very much like another “bust” for the autumn season Tropo mode this week. Low pressure will predominate and give another week of options to the microwave operators using rain scatter. A brief period with a ridge nearby is a slight possibility in the second half of the week, but not looking too strong at this range.

Next Sunday sees the peak of the Epsilon Geminids meteor shower. Not to be confused with the much bigger Geminids shower in mid-December, this one has a zenithal hourly rate of just three. Keep looking around local dawn for the best random meteors.

The Moon is at positive declination until Friday this week and path losses are falling as we approach perigee on Friday night. 144MHz sky noise is low this week until the Sun and Moon appear close in the sky on Friday lunchtime. As mentioned before, we are now well and truly into the period where perigee and lowest EME path losses begin to coincide with low declination and subsequent low peak moon elevation. This trend will not start to reverse until July 2022.

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

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