Sunday the 16th of January 2022
The news headlines:
SpaceX launches amateur satellites
NASA recognises ARISS in pictures
CW expert on BBC radio
SpaceX Falcon 9 Transporter-3 mission launched on Thursday carrying 105 satellites including several amateur radio payloads. The Tevel mission comprises eight satellites, each with an FM transponder with an uplink on 145.970MHz and downlink plus beacon transmissions on 436.400MHz. The EASAT-2 and Hades CubeSats also have 2m to 70cm transponders, with Hades also carrying a camera module that downlinks pictures in Robot 36 format. More details can be found on the AMSAT-UK.org website.
NASA has recognised Amateur Radio on the International Space Station as a science education and research programme. Two images of ARISS activity are among those singled out by the space agency as some of the Best Space Station Science Pictures of 2021. ARRL Representative to ARISS International Rosalie White, K1STO, said the recognition is significant because it shows that NASA considers what ARISS does to be within the realm of science education and research. You can see the photos at thersgb.org/gb2rs/015
RSGB GB2CW Coordinator Roger Cooke, G3LDI of Norfolk ARC was interviewed on BBC Radio Norfolk this week to talk about Morse code in celebration of Learn your name in Morse Code day. Roger has also written a book about Morse Code which you can get from the RSGB Shop. You can listen to his interview at thersgb.org/gb2rs/014 where it begins at 1:54:27 It will be available for a further three weeks.
Recent changes in the Regional Team and RSGB Board have brought new members to the RSGB Nominations Committee. Tony Miles, MM0TMZ joins the Committee as the Regional Forum Nominee and David Hills, G6PYF is the Nominated Director representative. We’d like to welcome them to their new roles.
If you couldn’t join the RSGB’s Tonight@8 webinar on amateur radio software construction this week, you can catch up on the RSGB YouTube channel. Heather Lomond’s talk has inspired people to try something new, so take a look and perhaps make something yourself for the RSGB Construction Competition. There are four entry categories – Beginners, Construction Excellence, Innovation, and Software – and there is a monetary prize for the winner of each section. Full details are on the RSGB website at rsgb.org/construction-competition and the closing date is the 1st of March.
Due to the recent resignation of Andy Mace as an RSGB Board Director, there are now two elected Board Director vacancies as well as eight Regional Representative roles to be filled. The online nomination process is still open and completed papers, with supporting nominations, must be received by 2359UTC on 31 January 2022.
Although the Bletchley Park museum is open, the RSGB National Radio Centre remains closed for the time being. It is hoped to re-open the NRC in the near future and we will make further announcements on GB2RS and via social media.
And now for details of rallies and events
The next rally we have on our calendar is the Red Rose Rally on the 6th of February.
Lincoln Short Wave Club has announced that they are postponing the Wragby Rally until March or April due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation.
Also responding to concern over the upsurge in COVID-19 cases, organisers of the International DX Convention in Visalia, California have called off this year’s event that was due to take place in April.
Now is the perfect time to let us know your group’s rally or event plans for 2022. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with details and we’ll publicise your event for free in RadCom, on GB2RS, and online. There are already over twenty rallies on the calendar for 2022.
Now the DX news
As previously announced, the planned D6 Comoros DXpedition has been postponed due to the pandemic. Also, the HD8M DXpedition team has cancelled its trip to the Galapagos Islands that was scheduled for March.
Alex, UG1A will be active in his spare time from Vostok Base in Antarctica as RI1ANC until the beginning of February. Activity will be mostly CW. QSL via RN1ON, CL OQRS, direct, or via the bureau.
Ferdy, HB9DSP is operating his first DXpedition as 5Z4/HB9DSP from Malindi, Kenya until the 27th. Operations are on 20, 15 and 10 metres using mainly SSB with some FT8.
Jacques, F6HMJ is QRV in Senegal as 6W7/F6HMJ until the 22nd of February. Activity is from 40 to 10 metres using CW and SSB. QSL via home call.
Mario, IK1MYT is on the air from Lusaka, Zambia as 9J2MYT until June. Activity is on 40, 20, 17, 15 and 10 metres using SSB. QSL via IZ3KVD, or Club Log OQRS.
Now the Special Event news
GB1900HA and GB1900HW will run throughout 2022 to commemorate 1900 years since the building of Hadrian’s Wall, the Northern frontier of the mighty Roman Empire. Austin, M0MNE and Roy, M0TKF will be operating the stations from near Hadrian’s Wall on HF and VHF in voice, CW and digital modes. QSL Via Logbook of the World and Club Log OQRS. See QRZ.com for more info
Now the contest news
When operating in any contests, please keep yourself and fellow amateurs safe by following all relevant pandemic-related government rules.
The RSGB AFS Datamodes contest takes place today, the 16th, from 1300 to 1700UTC. It uses the 3.5 and 7MHz bands, and the exchange is signal report and serial number.
On Tuesday it’s the 1.3GHz UKAC, which takes place from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Thursday sees the all-mode 70MHz UKAC from 2000 to 2230UTC. The signal report, serial number and locator form the exchange.
Next Saturday it’s the AFS 80 and 40m SSB contest, which runs from 1300 to 1700UTC. The exchange is signal report and serial number.
Also, next Saturday is the Marconi QSO Party Day, organised by The Marconi Club ARI Loano. Running from 0900 to 1800UTC on the 80, 40 and 20m bands, CW only, entrants should call CQ MCD and exchange signal report and serial number.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA, and G4BAO on Friday the 14th of January
We had a week of relatively low, but stable, sunspot numbers, which affected the maximum usable frequencies available. Having said that, the SFI was above 100 all week, but we didn’t get the surge in numbers that we really needed for good reliable ionospheric propagation. MUFs over a 3,000km path often exceeded 28MHz, but this mainly occurred over the lunchtime period. And critical frequencies often exceeded 7MHz, again mainly over lunchtime, which makes 40 metres a good inter-G band when this occurs. So if you have got used to ignoring 7MHz for around-the-UK contacts, you could be in for a nice surprise. Forty-metre skip often starts long but gets progressively shorter as the critical frequency increases. Keep an eye on Propquest.co.uk for a graph of how propagation during the day develops.
If NOAA’s predictions are to be believed we could soon get that much-needed surge in activity. From 17 January the SFI is predicted to go up to 120 for around eight days. This may give a much-needed uplift in HF propagation. However, it does also bring the risk of solar flares, coronal mass ejections and geomagnetic disturbances. A large coronal hole is also threatening to cause a disturbance this weekend with a Kp index of five. If that happens expect degraded MUFs and poor DX, especially on northerly paths for the following two to three days.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
It’s been a while since there was a long-lasting region of high pressure over the country and this current period of high pressure seems likely to hang around for the whole of the coming week and produce some good prospects for Tropo. This will either be due to an elevated temperature inversion due to the high, and extending over long distances for Tropo DX, or due to regional surface night-time inversions when night frost and fog forms and can produce local and somewhat temporary tropo enhancements.
These things are not that simple in reality, since the high centre tends to drift around; this alters the flow over the British Isles from a moist southwesterly, which is good for Tropo, to a colder north-westerly, which is bad for Tropo, when the high is displaced a little west. This may happen in the second half of next week.
We are just leaving the midwinter window for Sporadic-E, so all that remains are some chance auroras and random meteor scatter to play with during the coming week. The Moon is at maximum declination today, but path losses are still high and falling after Friday’s apogee. 144MHz sky noise is low all week.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.