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RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for March 29th 2020.

March 27th, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 29th of March 2020

 

The news headlines:

  • RSGB responds to Covid-19

  • Farewell GMT, hello BST

  • Contest updates

 

Dave Wilson, M0OBW, RSGB President, and Ian Shepherd, G4EVK, RSGB Board Chair have a message to radio amateurs. “We hope that you all understand the very serious nature of the current health crisis. As you are now aware, the situation has dramatically worsened and we have all been ordered to stay at home unless travelling for a specific and unavoidable reason. As radio amateurs, we are in the fortunate position of being able to talk to other amateurs and chat to those who are finding it tough going. Ian and I are asking you, as radio amateurs, to please do one thing for us: search out local amateurs and arrange a sked, not necessarily on air: there are many alternatives we can all use such as video calls, or even a simple phone call. Pay particular attention to those who you know or learn to be alone or who are vulnerable for whatever reason. We are all in this together! Keep safe.”

As the UK the clocks went forward 1 hour at 1 am this morning, the 29th of March, this means we will be on British Summer Time. Please note that many contests and other events often state the timings in UTC or GMT, which is one hour behind the local clock time here in the UK.

As a result of the Government’s updated position on people’s movements, the VHF and HF Contest Committees has taken the decision that, until further notice, they can no longer allow any entries from stations operating from portable or alternative addresses or from multi-operator stations. Single operator entries from shared stations will also not be accepted unless the station is being shared by family members living at the same postal address.

We have reached a point with Covid-19 that it is inappropriate for the RSGB to run the IOTA Contest in July 2020 in its usual format. We cannot encourage our participants to operate in multi-operator groups nor to travel to island locations where visitors are not currently welcome. We would like your opinion on whether we should cancel outright or should retain a contest this year for single operator, home stations only. We are also conscious that a large number of our Members are going to be spending more time at home than normal. Unable to enjoy many of our favourite outdoor contests we are proposing a series of home-based day-time contests to entertain and support one another. Both of these issues are detailed in a survey which we invite you to complete. This is at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/RSGB_HFCC_2020. The survey is open until Friday the 3rd of April, after which the outcomes will be made public.

Whilst the National Radio Centre itself is currently closed, as is the Bletchley Park museum, the NRC volunteer team have taken the opportunity to run some nets to keep in touch with each other. We are acutely aware that whilst in self-isolation, it is more important than ever to stay in communication, so what better way than using amateur radio? The NRC volunteers are running an 80m net on 3.730MHz most mornings at 10.30 am and a 2m net on 144.330MHz most afternoons at 2.30 pm. The NRC team have been enjoying an increasing number of stations calling in – and not just volunteers who work at the National Radio Centre. They have been joined by amateurs who had previously enjoyed a visit to the NRC or had planned to do so, all are welcome. Even if you can’t join the 80m net, remember that the Hack Green webSDR site provides an excellent monitoring resource. They look forward to greeting more amateurs and listeners in the weeks to come.

Planning continues for the 2020 RSGB Convention, which is being held at Kents Hill Park Conference Centre from Friday the 9th until Sunday the 11th of October. As in previous years, our convention is being held in conjunction with the AMSAT UK Colloquium. The lectures are split into HF, VHF, Technical and General streams and there is, of course, the separate AMSAT stream which all of those at the convention are welcome to attend. It’s not too late to request a talk on a particular subject or to volunteer to give a talk yourself on a subject that you feel would be of interest. Please send an email to convention@rsgb.org.uk with your suggestions or comments. Bookings will be opening shortly via the RSGB website. As details of the lectures and other activities become available you will find them at www.rsgb.org/convention

Radio amateurs will share the concerns of everyone about the seriousness of the Covid-19 outbreak. Governments all over the world are advising ‘social distancing’ to slow the spread of the virus and to give health services the chance to cope. Field days bring radio amateurs together and therefore represent an environment where social distancing is difficult to achieve. The IARU will not sponsor the Region 1 HF-CW Field Day in June. Single operator contests, however, remain a great way for those forced to stay at home to enjoy the magic of amateur radio.

The DATV beacon on the QO-100 satellite has changed frequency and symbol rate to allow more space on the transponder for other users. The new transmission is on 10491.5MHz with a symbol rate of 1500kS, DVB-S2, FEC 4/5. A new band plan is being developed and will be published on the Wideband Spectrum Monitor https://eshail.batc.org.uk/wb/ as soon as it is finalised.

The RSGB has just launched a new award designed for those aged under 26. The Youth Award encourages young people to build their on-air experience through a range of activities from listening on SDR, talking in contests to building antennas for specific bands or modes such as satellites. The award has four levels (Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum) and each level requires a minimum number of modes to make a minimum number of contacts. For further information see the Society’s website, www.rsgb.org/youth-award.

The Cornish Radio Amateur Club organise International Marconi Day every year. This year it was due to be held on the 25th of April, Marconi’s actual birthday. Regrettably, due to Covid-19, this worldwide event has now been cancelled. So far 57 stations worldwide had registered and if you have any queries please contact crac.imd@gmail.com.

Denby Dale and District ARS has announced the Mills on the Air special event has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. They are starting planning for 2021 now and hope to have a bumper event next year. The organisers say thank you to all who intended to join in this year, stay in and keep well.

Pubs & Clubs on the Air 2020 will not go ahead on the 15th and 17th of May. The organisers suggest that amateurs could still get on the air from home that weekend; you may make some new local friends.

The RSGB has a Coronavirus Updates page that brings together some of these great ideas as well as its important announcements. Take a look at www.rsgb.org/coronavirus-updates

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

Due to the Covid-19 virus, all events in the forthcoming weeks are cancelled or postponed in line with Government advice. We will keep the Rallies page on the RSGB website as up to date as we can. Please send updates of your rally and event plans as soon as possible to radcom@rsgb.org.uk.

Now the contest news

Please note that most contest organisers are not accepting entries from multi-operator groups or from portable entries. Check the rules before taking part.

This weekend the CQ World Wide WPX SSB contest ends its 48 hour run at 2359UTC today, the 29th. It’s SSB only on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, with the exchange of signal report and serial number.

On Tuesday, the 50MHz MGM Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2130UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Also on Tuesday, the 144MHz MGM Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2130UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Wednesday, the UK and Ireland Contest Club 80m contest runs from 1900 to 2000UTC. Using SSB only, the exchange is your 4-character locator.

On Sunday the first RoLo, Rolling Locator, contest runs from 1900 to 2030UTC. Using SSB, the exchange is signal report and the locator received.

Also on Sunday, the First 70MHz contest runs from 0900 to 1200UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The UK Microwave Group second contest runs on Sunday from 1000 to 1600UTC. Using 1.3 to 3.4GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Next weekend, the SP DX contest runs from 1500UTC on the 4th to 1500UTC on the 5th. Using CW and SSB on the 1.8 to 28MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number, with SP stations sending their Province code.

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

With the solar flux index remaining at 70-71 all week, conditions were pretty predictable. The Kp index rose to two or three at times, but on the whole geomagnetic conditions were stable. There was a large coronal mass ejection off the Sun on March 20, but it wasn’t Earth directed and didn’t affect us.

It is at times like this when the slightest HF enhancement stands out. At 1030UTC on Wednesday the 25th the critical frequency as measured by the Chilton Digisonde rose to 5.675MHz, which meant a maximum usable frequency of more than 21MHz over a 3,000km path. But why did it rise?

NOAA issued a warning that the greater than 2 MeV electron flux reached high levels on Wednesday, with a peak flux value of 1,398 particle flux units. At about this time the GOES-16 satellite showed a fall in the X-ray flux coming off the Sun. Solar X-rays from the Sun penetrate to the bottom of the ionosphere to around 80km and create an enhancement of the D layer. So, it could be that the lower X-ray flux meant less D-layer absorption and, coupled with the increased electron flux, HF signals were able to more easily reach the now-enhanced F2 layer.

The moral of this story is that HF propagation isn’t all about sunspots! If anyone did work any interesting DX on the higher bands around 1030UTC on Wednesday, please email the details to psc.chairman@rsgb.org.uk.

Next week, NOAA predicts the solar flux index will remain at around 70. Geomagnetic conditions are predicted to be settled with a Kp index around two. This weekend may have unsettled HF conditions due to a large solar coronal hole, which became Earth facing on Thursday the 26th. Things should be more settled by Monday.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

The recent high pressure has certainly looked promising on the weather maps, but as hinted last week, the air near the surface is very dry and since good Tropo needs moist air near the surface, overlain by warmer dry air above, we have not seen the bands live up to expectations based on the ‘hall barometer' alone.

This high is being nudged west over the Atlantic, which will allow a cold northerly flow down across the country with a few wintry showers in the east at first, but maintain dry, high-pressure weather for most of the week. This means that there is a continuing chance of Tropo, but don’t expect too much of it!

There has been some Sporadic-E on 10m and 6m. The primary driver of this appears to be related to an east-north easterly jet stream over the continent at just the right distance from the UK to support paths to SE Europe and round to Italy and Spain. This favourable jet stream will decline by this weekend, but next week a further northerly jet stream may offer some chances, this time towards Scandinavia and eastern Europe.

The spring aurora period is upon us, so it is always worth checking for activity if the Kp index shows a disturbed magnetic field. The Moon reaches maximum declination on Wednesday and with just over a week to go to perigee, path losses will fall all week. 144MHz sky noise is at its lowest next weekend.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for March 22nd 2020.

March 20th, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 22nd of March 2020

 

The news headlines:

  • Coronavirus affects amateur radio events worldwide

  • RSGB Board changes AGM arrangements

  • BATC offers free streaming & chat service

 

There is no doubt that these are challenging times. However, licensed radio amateurs have a great way of keeping in touch with one another across the world. Clubs and groups are launching virtual meetings to make sure no-one feels isolated in the coming weeks. We have also seen radio amateurs step up with extra nets and repeater check-ins to provide welfare checks on all local amateurs. The RSGB has launched a new Coronavirus Updates page that brings together some of these great ideas as well as its important announcements. Take a look at www.rsgb.org/coronavirus-updates. RSGB General Manager, Steve Thomas, M1ACB explains more about how the RSGB is adapting to the fast-moving situation: “We took the decision to close the RSGB National Radio Centre earlier this week to help protect our staff, volunteers and visitors. You will also have seen announcements about changes to our AGM, exams and contests over recent days. During this difficult time, we have also been focused on protecting the welfare of our volunteer teams and the staff at RSGB HQ in Bedford. The majority of the sixteen RSGB staff are now working remotely but we will maintain a skeleton staff at the office, to receive deliveries, for as long as we can. Our staff have a very positive team spirit as they adjust to new working environments while we strive to maintain the usual services. We are still supporting Members and volunteers through the usual telephone and online services, so do continue to contact RSGB HQ in the usual way. Thank you for your support as we face these challenges together.”

In response to the government’s latest Covid-19 recommendations, the RSGB Board has changed the arrangements for the Society’s AGM due to take place on the 25th of April. The physical meeting in Birmingham will not take place, and the information that would have been made available at the AGM will now be made available online. The Resolutions to be voted on are on our website at www.rsgb.org/agm2020 where you will also find links to the Board candidate statements and to cast your vote. You should continue to vote online as normal. The accounts will be published on the 1st of April on the AGM web page. As you will not be able to vote in person at the AGM, please remember to vote online by 9 am on Thursday the 23rd of April. If you do not have the facility to vote online, you can request a postal vote by contacting RSGB HQ. Postal votes must be returned to Civica Election Services, in the envelope provided, to arrive there no later than 9 am on Thursday the 23rd of April. Please bear in mind that postal services may well be delayed so leave plenty of time if you need to vote in this way. Results of the voting will be published on the RSGB website and social media channels on Saturday the 25th of April. Trophy winners will be announced on the RSGB website and social media channels on Saturday the 25th of April. Arrangements to present the trophies in person will be made later. We appreciate that the AGM is an important date in the RSGB calendar and some Members have attended it regularly for many years. But the Board cannot ignore the current health climate and put Members, staff and volunteers at risk by continuing with the AGM as intended. Every effort will be made to hold the AGM as usual in 2021.

In order to support the worldwide amateur radio community during the Covid-19 virus pandemic, BATC is offering free use of the BATC Video Streaming Service and chat facility to any radio club or group of radio amateurs. This will enable clubs to hold virtual meetings with HD video and audio streaming and a chat window for real-time feedback and discussion. To enable this, the BATC is offering free one-year cyber membership to any radio club or group of radio amateurs. For details of how to apply, please go to the BATC website, https://batc.org.uk.

Following on from the exam announcement earlier this week, it has been decided that with immediate effect and until further notice, the RSGB Exam Department will not be accepting or processing any new exam bookings. If you have already carried out a practical assessment for a Foundation or Intermediate exam and it is still valid, the period of validity – normally one year – will be automatically extended by the length of time that we are not offering exams. Exams already booked can, of course, go ahead at the discretion of the club, or can be postponed until a future date. The RSGB recommends that all clubs carrying out exams, training and practical assessments should carry out a risk assessment to ensure they are not putting themselves or candidates at risk.

It is with regret that the HF and VHF Contest Committees have decided that, with immediate effect and until the end of June 2020, they will no longer accept multi-operator contest entries for any RSGB Contest. Single operator entries from shared stations will also not be accepted unless the station is being shared by family members living at the same postal address. The RSGB HF CW NFD Contest scheduled in June is cancelled for this year. They have decided not to ban portable operation by single operators because of the potential mental health benefits associated with engaging in hobbies as well as the lack of person-to-person contact in normal single operator contesting. However, they encourage everyone to follow the government guidelines regarding social distancing and unnecessary travel. They will review these rule changes regularly in line with the most recent government advice to determine if they need to extend or modify the restrictions. In early June they will decide if the VHF NFD, the IOTA Contest and SSB NFD can go ahead as planned.

The RSGB band plans are now available in a number of formats online at www.rsgb.org/bandplans. The page also includes a background article that was published in RadCom earlier this year. If you have any questions, please follow the web links to the RSGB Spectrum Managers, who can help.

Some advice from the Intruder Watch Co-ordinator next as the bands get busier. If you hear an HF intruder, please just note the date, time and exact frequency and report it to Intruder Watch, via email to iw@rsgb.org.uk. Amateurs should never transmit over intruding signals in an attempt to disrupt them, no matter how frustrating their presence may be. This can hamper regulators throughout Region 1, not just Ofcom, in gaining concise and accurate evidence.

Finally, don’t forget, in the UK the clocks go forward 1 hour at 1am on the 29th of March, next Sunday. This means we will be on British Summer Time.

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

Due to concerns raised over the Covoid-19 virus, many events in the forthcoming weeks are being cancelled or postponed. We will, of course, keep you posted as we learn of any updates during this rapidly-changing situation, and we will keep the Rallies page on the RSGB website as up to date as we can. Please check carefully before travelling to any event. So far we have heard that the following rallies have definitely been cancelled or postponed.

March and April events that are cancelled include the Callington Radio Rally, the Yeovil QRP Convention, the MFARS Surplus Sale and Radio Meet and the Andover Radio Club Spring Boot Sale.

March and April events that have been postponed are the CW Boot Camp at Stirling, the 23rd annual GMDX Convention, the Dover ARC Hamzilla Radio Fest and Electronics Fair and the Kempton Rally.

Rearranged dates can be found on the RSGB website, at least for those that we get told about. Please send updates of your rally and event plans as soon as possible to radcom@rsgb.org.uk.

And now the DX news

Due to travel restrictions around the world-changing daily, we have decided not to include any DXpedition and similar news until the situation changes.

Now the special event news

Covid–19 is affecting special event stations too. GB1SCW was due to take place on the 7th of June from the National Coastwatch Institution facilities at Shoreham. However, the NCI has closed their watch stations until further notice. When there is more information, any updates will be shown closer to the event on QRZ.com.

Now the contest news

Running for 48 hours until 0200UTC on the 23rd, the BARTG HF RTTY contest takes place using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands. The exchange is signal report, serial number and time.

Running for 24 hours until 1200UTC today, the 22nd, the Russian DX Contest uses CW and SSB on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands. The exchange is signal report and serial number, with Russian stations also sending their Oblast 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.

Also on Tuesday, the IRTS 80m Evening Counties contest runs from 2000 to 2100UTC. Using CW and SSB, the exchange is signal report, serial number and County code.

On Wednesday the UK and Ireland Contest Club 80m contest runs from 2000 to 2100UTC. Using CW only, the exchange is your four-character locator.

Next weekend the CQ World Wide SSB contest runs from 0000UTC on the 28th to 2359UTC on the 29th. It’s SSB only on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, with the exchange of signal report and serial number.

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

Last week saw a continuation of the zero sunspot regime we’ve been seeing for the past few months. The solar flux index remained in the range 70-72, with settled geomagnetic conditions and with the Kp index remaining in the range of one to two. Thursday the 19th was the exception when the Kp index rose to four between midnight and 0300. This was undoubtedly due to a high-speed stream from a returning solar coronal hole, but it was relatively short-lived. The critical frequency graphs at Propquest.co.uk show that this had minimal adverse effects.

This weekend marks the spring equinox, which is normally a good time for HF conditions. With equal illumination on both hemispheres, it is a good time for north-south paths such as the UK to South Africa, and the UK to South America. Predtest.uk shows that you probably have a 30-40% chance of making an FT8 contact with South Africa on 14MHz, perhaps even 18MHz, around 1600UTC this month. The path to Buenos Aires on 14MHz is similar, being optimum around 1900- 2000UTC.

Next week NOAA predicts more of the same, with the solar flux index remaining around 70. Geomagnetic conditions should remain settled, other than on Friday the 27th when the Kp index is predicted to rise to four.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

The coming week appears to be dominated by high pressure, so this will bring a chance of Tropo to many parts of the country, although it's not a very favourable-looking feature in a Tropo sense. There are three phases to this period. First, this weekend we are in the easterly flow, probably fairly dry air so not necessarily a good Tropo spell, especially with the brisk southeasterly winds.

Secondly, into next week a cold front moves into northwest Britain and drifts southeast, disrupting the high pressure and any potential Tropo.

The third phase, from midweek, sees the cold front weaken and high-pressure build again as a weak ridge across the country, which remains into next weekend. This may be a better prospect for Tropo, but still not a strong steer.

As for the other exotic modes, Sporadic-E seems a relatively low probability and rain scatter in high pressure also tends to be rare. That just leaves the spring preference for aurora to keep us hopeful.

We have a daytime Moon all week, with declination going positive again on Tuesday. Peak Moon elevations will continue to increase, but with apogee also on Tuesday, path losses are at their highest for the Lunar Month. 144MHz sky noise is low all week.

With no major meteor showers due until the Lyrids at the end of April now, just keep looking for random meteor scatter QSOs around dawn.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for March 15th 2020.

March 13th, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 15th of March 2020

The news headlines:

  • Voting for the RSGB elections is now open

  • NASA Mars rover has a name

  • Coronavirus affects amateur radio events around the world

Voting for the RSGB elections is now open. The special web pages at www.rsgb.org/agm have details of the Calling Notice, Resolutions, candidate statements and information about how to vote. Internet voting ends at 9am on Thursday the 23rd of April. RSGB Members can find their Membership number on the wrapper of the latest RadCom so use it to vote before you compost the wrapper.

The NASA Mars 2020 rover has a new name that captures the spirit of exploration, Perseverance submitted by a 13-year-old student from Virginia. Targeted for launch this July, this rover will search for signs of past microbial life on Mars. After landing in February 2021, it also will collect samples of Martian rocks and dust for a future Mars Sample Return mission to Earth.

The RSGB is, like all responsible organisations, following government advice about the Covid-19 virus. The Society is still planning to hold its AGM in Birmingham but is ready to change these plans as necessary if advice about public meetings is upgraded. We will, of course, keep Members informed so please do check our website and social media channels for updates.
The RSGB’s National Radio Centre welcomes individuals and large groups of people from across the world every week. With the increase in cases of coronavirus in the UK and other countries, the RSGB has taken the difficult decision to close the NRC temporarily from Wednesday 18 March. It will open as normal this weekend to run the ‘Build a radio’ events which are sold out, and the NRC will be open but without public access to the Radio Room on Monday and Tuesday. Whilst there aren’t any known cases of the virus at Bletchley Park or amongst the NRC staff and volunteers at this time, even with extra precautions it is no longer possible to guarantee the safety of NRC volunteers and visitors. We are very sorry for any inconvenience this may cause those who have planned visits but we hope people will understand the decision in the current fast-moving situation.
Concerns over coronavirus and various advisories regarding travel and large group gatherings has prompted the cancellation of a popular international amateur meeting. The Visalia International DX Convention in California due to take place over the 12th to the 14th of April will no longer take place, see http://www.dxconvention.org/ for the latest news.

Planning is underway for this year’s RSGB Convention that will take place from Friday the 9th to Sunday the 11th of October at Kents Hill Park Training and Conference Centre in Milton Keynes. The organising committee would like to receive your suggestions for this year’s lectures and workshops. Please feel free to email conference@rsgb.org.uk with your thoughts and ideas. If you are able to suggest a presenter, or a subject, for a lecture or workshop then so much the better. The RSGB Convention is generously sponsored by Martin Lynch & Sons.

Dayton Hamvention has named the recipients of its 2020 awards. Steve Franke, K9AN, Bill Somerville, G4WJS and Nobel Laureate Joe Taylor, K1JT have been awarded the Technical Achievement Award.

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station is celebrating the successful launch and docking of the SpaceX-20 commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station. One payload on the flight is the ARISS Interoperable Radio System, which ARISS calls “the foundational element of the ARISS next-generation radio system” on the space station.

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

Due to concerns raised over the Covoid-19 virus, many events in the forthcoming weeks are being cancelled or postponed. Please check before travelling to any event. We will keep you up to date with news on events as and when we receive details.

The committee of Wythall Radio Club have decided to cancel this year’s Wythall Hamfest, originally planned for today, the 15th of March.

The Dover ARC Hamzilla Radio Fest and Electronics Fair due to take place on the 29th of March has been postponed.

The CW Boot Camp at GM6NX Stirling due to take place on the 22nd of March and the 23rd annual GMDX Convention due to take place on the 4th of April have been postponed. New dates later in 2020 will be announced as the situation becomes clearer.

The Kempton Rally due to take place on the 19th of April is postponed until the 15th of November.

Please send details of your rally and event plans as soon as possible to radcom@rsgb.org.uk – we give you valuable publicity online, in RadCom and on GB2RS, all for free.

And now the DX news from 425 DX News and other sources

Nigel, G3TXF will be in Mauritius until the 27th of March using the callsign 3B8XF. He will take part in the Commonwealth Contest this weekend and will concentrate on 80 and 160m during the remainder of his visit. QSLs go via Club Log OQRS and logs will be uploaded to Logbook of The World.

Mike, VE7ACN will be active as CE0Y/VE7ACN from Easter Island, SA-001) between the 19th and the 30th of March. He will operate mainly CW on the 80 to 10m bands, plus 160 metres if local conditions allow. QSL via Club Log's OQRS, Logbook of The World or via VE7ACN.

A large team will be active on all bands and modes as DA0HEL from Helgoland Island, EU-127 between the 19th and 29th of March. In addition, they will also operate as DL0IH from nearby Helgoland Duene, where access is possible only between 0800 and 1500UTC. QSLs via DF6QC, direct or bureau.

Taka, JA8COE will be active as JA8COE/0 from Sado Island, AS-206 between the 19th and 23rd of March. He will operate mainly FT8 and CW. QSL via Club Log's OQRS, or via JA8COE either direct or bureau.

Andy, DK5ON will be active again as PJ2/DK5ON from Curacao, SA-099, from the 15th to the 31st of March. He will operate CW, SSB, RTTY and FT8/FT4 on the 80 to 6m bands. QSL via Logbook of The World, Club Log's OQRS, or via home call either direct or bureau.

Now the special event news

GB0SPD, GB2SPD and GB4SPD are three special callsigns that will celebrate St Patrick's Day. The St Patrick's Day On The Air event will run from 1200UTC on the 16th of March until 1200UTC on the 18th of March. See http://stpatrickaward.webs.com/ for details.

It is 700 years since the first written mention of Dobruška, so the radio club in Dobruska plans to activate three occasional callsigns OL700DKA, OL700CO and OL700LTV to celebrate this event from March to December. There will be an award scheme in association with this event. More information at www.ok1kqi.com. Please use ClubLog OQRS to get QSL for connection with OL700xxx stations.

The Maine Bicentennial Special Event celebrates the 200th anniversary of Maine statehood between the 16th and the 22nd of March. Twelve special event callsigns will be active, plus three special locations that have historical significance. There will be an award scheme in association with this event see https://maine200specialevent.com/ for more information.

Please send special event details to radcom@rsgb.org.uk as early as possible to get your event publicised here on GB2RS, in RadCom, and online.

Now the contest news

The longest running RSGB contest of them all is the Commonwealth Contest, formerly known as BERU. It ends its 24 hours run at 1000UTC today, the 15th. It’s CW only on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands and the exchange is signal report and serial number.

Today, the 15th, the 2nd 70MHz Cumulative contest runs from 1000 to 1200UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Monday the second FT4 series contest will run from 2000 to 2130UTC. Using just the 3.5MHz band the exchange is your 4-character locator.

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

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

Next weekend from 0200UTC on the 21st to 0200UTC on the 23rd, the BARTG HF RTTY contest takes place using the 3.5 to 28MHz bands. The exchange is signal report, serial number and time.

From 1200UTC on the 21st to 1200UTC on the 22nd, the Russian DX contest uses CW and SSB on the 1.8 to 28MHz bands. The exchange is signal report and serial number with Russian stations sending their Oblast code too.

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

A new sunspot group, numbered AR 2758 and from upcoming Solar Cycle 25, appeared this week. The region was located in the Sun’s southeast quadrant, but had faded away by Thursday the 12th. This was the first numbered sunspot region to appear in over a month as solar activity continues on at very low levels.

Overall, the solar flux index remained at 70-71 with the geomagnetic Kp index being in the range zero to two, reflecting calm conditions.

Wednesday’s RSGB 80m CW Club Championship contest proved just how inactive the Sun is at the moment. The contest started quite well, but soon everyone was struggling to make contacts as the critical frequency dropped below 3MHz as measured by the Chilton ionosonde.

As a result, many contesters had to make do with QSOs with the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany as their higher-angle skip for local contacts failed to return to Earth.

Daytime critical frequencies have often struggled to exceed 5MHz in the morning and 5.5MHz in the afternoon, meaning 40m remains unsuitable for NVIS-type communications.

On DX, maximum usable frequencies over a 3,000km path have occasionally exceeded 21MHz in the daytime, but 18MHz has been more reliable.

Next week, NOAA has the solar flux index pegged at 70-72 with quiet geomagnetic conditions, apart from March 19 when the Kp index is forecast to rise to four, possibly due to a high-speed solar wind stream from a returning coronal hole.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

At last there is a signal in the forecast models for the return of some high pressure weather. After a prolonged period of windy and unsettled conditions, the first signs of a building high will come after this weekend as a ridge builds towards the southern UK from the Azores region.

Eventually a new high, building in colder air over northern Britain, will probably take over in the second half of the week. Either way, it's time to consider the chance of some Tropo conditions later in the week, which will make a welcome change.

It’s worth noting that the spring equinox is prime time for the possibility of aurora, so keep an eye out for high K indices as a ‘heads up’ for possible DX on the VHF bands.

The Moon’s declination is at its most negative on Tuesday, so the Moon only reaches 13 degrees above the horizon. This means that ground noise is in the antenna lobes for much of the Moon window.

Path losses are increasing throughout the week and 144MHz sky noise is very high for the next few days, so a poor week for EME.

With no major meteor showers due until the Lyrids at the end of April now, just keep looking for random meteor scatter QSOs around dawn.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for March 8th 2020.

March 6th, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 8th of March 2020

The news headlines:

  • RAYNET helps in flooding emergency

  • Blue Ham this weekend

  • 6,873 February visitors to NRC

 

North Humber RAYNET were recently activated during the widespread flooding that occurred on the 27th of February in Snaith, East Yorkshire. A temporary control station was first established at the ‘washlands’ near the village of the East Cowick during the afternoon of the 26th, with thirteen members attending the developing situation over three days. Members were positioned at Vehicle Check Points, flooded roads and worked alongside Yorkshire 4x4 Response vehicles as well as being co-located in the local Town Council emergency control centre and Bronze Command. Most of the radio traffic was carried over 144MHz, with some on 70MHz. A VHF/UHF talk-through was located in a vehicle outside Snaith Fire Station to provide local access and an increased range as the 4G mobile phone coverage was patchy in some areas and there were issues with access at times. The group were finally stood down late in the evening of Saturday the 29th of February as the flooding and the situation stabilised.

The RAFAC tell us that the next Blue Ham Radio Communications Exercise will be this weekend, the 7th and 8th of March, using the 5MHz band. Details of the exchange of information to count as a QSO is at https://alphacharlie.org.uk/exercise-blue-ham. A Blue Ham Certificate is available if you contact 10 or more special MRE callsigns during the exercise with the Cadets.

No fewer than 6,873 visitors were welcomed to the RSGB National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park during February. As part of the on-going recruitment campaign, two new volunteers joined the NRC team: Mike, G0RBB and Nick, M0NPH. The RSGB would like to thank them and the other NRC volunteers for their time.

Yves F5PRU / 6W1TA in Senegal has been informed by the Senegalese Telecom Regulatory Authority that the new WRC-15 Amateur Secondary Allocation 5351.5 – 5366.5kHz is now allowed in the country. The IARU Region 1 band plan should be used with a maximum power limit available of 15W EIRP. Yves has been living in Senegal for 18 months. He is mainly on the air around 5354kHz on CW and sometimes on 5357kHz FT8.

Venues and dates for the 2020 series of Train the Trainers courses can be found on the RSGB website at www.rsgb.org/train-the-trainers. In order for the organisers to ensure that courses are run as cost-effectively as possible, between 20 and 25 candidates are required for each venue. To reserve a place on any course please email trainthetrainers@rsgb.org.uk with your name and telephone number. The first course to run will be held in Telford on the 21st of March; it now only has two places available. Following Telford will be Cardiff on the 18th of April. This course needs more candidates, so if you want to attend this event please book as soon as possible. Details of other courses available are on the website.

The RSGB is delighted to announce that Tony Jones, G7ETW has been appointed as Amateur Radio Development Chair and Chris Colclough, G1VDP has been appointed to the role of Beyond Exams Coordinator. Both were licensed in the 1980s, have been active in a range of amateur radio activities and are looking forward to being part of these initiatives.

The first lecture as part of the Marconi Centenary 2020 has been announced by the Chelmsford Civic Society. Professor Danielle George has kindly agreed to speak at Anglia Ruskin University, Bishop Hall Lane, Chelmsford, CM1 1SQ on Tuesday the 31st of March at 2 pm. The lecture is free to everyone but must be pre-booked. Go to https://tinyurl.com/eventbrite-marconi.

The RSGB has created a new policies page where you will find all the Society’s main policies in one place: www.rsgb.org/policies. Where relevant you can also still find them on the appropriate sections of its website. The policy documents have been updated into the RSGB’s current branding so please make sure you refer to the most recent versions.

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

The Pencoed ARC Table-Top Sale scheduled to take place on the 8th of March has been cancelled.

Due to concerns raised over the Covoid-19 virus, the committee of Wythall Radio Club have decided to cancel this year’s Wythall Hamfest, originally planned for next Sunday the 15th of March. They would like to thank the traders for their support for this year’s event and hope to see everyone next year.

On the 22nd of March, Stirling & District ARS is holding a CW Boot Camp in conjunction with GMDX. Further information is at www.gmdx.org.uk/cwbootcamp

Please send details of your rally and event plans as soon as possible to radcom@rsgb.org.uk – we give you valuable publicity online, in RadCom and on GB2RS, all for free.

And now the DX news from 425 DX News and other sources

David, F8AAN will be active holiday style as 3B9AN from Rodrigues Island, IOTA reference AF-017, between the 10th and 19th of March. He will operate CW on the 80 to 17m bands. QSL via Club Log's OQRS, or direct to his home call.

Richard, G3RWL will be active as 8P6DR from Barbados, NA-021, from the 8th of March to the 9th of April. He will operate CW and possibly some RTTY on the 80 to 10m bands. QSL via Club Log's OQRS, Logbook of The World or via his home call, either direct or via the bureau.

Noel, F6BGC will be active as 8Q7NC from the Maldives, AS-013, between the 12th and the 21st of March. He will be operating holiday-style on the 80 to10m bands using SSB, CW and digital modes. QSL via Logbook of The World, or direct to his home call.

9K2HQ and other members of the Kuwait ARS will be active as 9K2F from Faylakah Island, AS-118, between the 11th and the 15th of March. They will operate SSB, CW and FT8 on the 80 to 10m bands. QSL via 9K2RA and Logbook of The World.

Thierry, F6CUK will be active as TM8C from the lighthouse on Cordouan Island, EU-159, between the 13th and the 15th of March. He will operate CW and SSB on the 40 and 20m bands. QSL via his home call.

Now the special event news

On the weekend of the 14th and 15th of March, the Shepparton & District ARC will connect amateur transceivers to the curtain array and rhombic antennas at the Broadcast Australia site in Shepparton, which is located in North Central Victoria, Australia. This site was previously a short wave Radio Australia location. VI3RA will be on the air from 2300UTC on Saturday the 14th of March until 2300UTC on the 16th using the 7, 10, 14, 18 and 21MHz bands.

The Maine Bicentennial Special Event celebrates the 200th anniversary of Maine statehood between the 16th and the 22nd of March. Twelve special event callsigns will be active, each representing one of Maine’s nine original counties, plus three special locations that have historical significance, including K1B, K1J, K1P, W1C, W1H and W1Y amongst others. Certificates will be awarded to those who contact special event stations, with endorsements available for bands, modes, and a clean sweep for contacts with each of the Maine 200 Special Event call signs. See https://maine200specialevent.com/ for more information.

Please send special event details to radcom@rsgb.org.uk as early as possible to get your event publicised here on GB2RS, in RadCom, and online.

Now the contest news

The ARRL International DX contest ends its 48 hour run at 2359UTC today, the 8th. Using the 1.8 to 28MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and transmitter power. US stations also send their State and Canadians their Province.

The 144/432MHz contest ends its 24 hour run at 1400UTC today, the 8th. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The UK Microwave Group’s Low Band Contest takes place today, the 8th, from 1000 to 1600UTC. Using all modes on the 1.3 to 3.4GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The Worked All Britain 3.5MHz contest also takes place today, the 8th of March, from 1800 to 2200UTC. Entries need to be with the contest manager by the 18th of March. The exchange will be RS plus serial number plus WAB square. Full details of the rules and methods of entry may be obtained from the WAB website, www.worked-all-britain.org.uk.

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

On Wednesday the 80m Club Championships CW leg 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.

The longest-running RSGB contest of them all is the Commonwealth Contest, formerly known as BERU. It runs for 24 hours over the weekend of the 14th and 15th. There are always some travellers who fly off to activate Commonwealth countries that are not heard every day and they will all be pleased to work anyone in the UK, contester or not. The contest runs from 1000 to 1000UTC, it’s CW only on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bans and the exchange is signal report and serial number.

Next Sunday, the 15th, the 2nd 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 and G4BAO on Friday the 6th of March.

The VP8PJ DXpedition to the South Orkney Islands has now finished, with the last active day on the 5th of March. The DXpedition resulted in many UK stations putting South Orkney into their log, on all bands and modes from 160 to 15 metres, with a few reports even of 10m contacts.

This was a good example of how ionospheric propagation can be hard to predict as some of the paths looked very difficult if not impossible. But over a week-long period, there were times when signals were able to get through, if only for short periods. It also showed how localised HF propagation can be, with some stations in the UK hearing them, while 100 miles away there was nothing.

Solar figures wise, the week ended pretty much as it started with zero sunspots and a solar flux index of 69 to 70.

The week was mainly settled geomagnetically, apart from the night of Saturday, February the 29th and Sunday the 1st of March when the Kp index rose to four. This was due to a solar wind stream from a coronal hole on the Sun, which we predicted last week. Luckily, this was pretty short-lived and after it struck the Kp index fell back again to one or two representing more settled geomagnetic conditions.

NOAA predicts that next week will be pretty similar to last with zero sunspots and a solar flux index around 70 to 71. The US Air Force predicts fairly quiet geomagnetic conditions with a Kp index around one or two.

At the time of writing a small coronal hole has appeared on the Sun’s equator, which should become geoeffective this weekend. Another polar coronal hole is also growing towards the solar equator. This means that any solar matter from these holes could impact the Earth sometime over the weekend or early next week. If it does, expect a possible short-lived pre-auroral enhancement followed by a general reduction in the MUF as the Kp index rises.

Don’t forget that next weekend is the Commonwealth Contest with CW HF stations on from Australia, New Zealand and Canada, as well as exotic locations such as Mauritius, the Cayman Islands, Belize and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

March is usually a month of typical spring gales and storms with the main Atlantic jet stream across the British Isles. Next week’s forecast is therefore not unexpected, and the main theme is a very changeable one with quite strong winds at times and periods of rain. No surprise then, that there is little prospect of high pressure and Tropo for the VHF/UHF bands.

What's left is a challenge for microwave operators to seek out some rain scatter from fast-moving scatter points in this train of lows and fronts crossing the country.

Also, if you have heavy local rain between you and the QO-100 satellite, look out for a reduction in signal strength from the transponders. This is due to the scattering effect of the water droplets causing a blockage at the GHz band downlink frequency.

The strong jet stream will also produce some small opportunity for out-of-season Sporadic-E, probably towards the south into Spain or Italy.

Moon declination goes negative on Wednesday so the best peak Moon elevation will be in the early half of the week. Tuesday is perigee so, with path losses at their lowest, it’s still a good week for EME. 144MHz sky noise is low for the early part of the week but climbs slowly, reaching 750K a week today.

The small Gamma-Normids meteor shower peaks next Saturday, but with a zenithal hourly rate of just six, it’s nothing to get excited about, so keep looking for random meteor scatter QSOs around dawn.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for March 1st 2020.

February 28th, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 1st of March 2020

The news headlines:

  • Guidance for limiting exposure to EMF

  • US amateurs respond to 3.4GHz threat

  • Ofcom’s policy on two-letter callsigns

Following last week’s launch of an Ofcom Consultation on EM Field exposure, the RSGB has released a briefing paper for all UK amateurs. This gives more details as the proposals involve a change to licence conditions for any station operating with greater than 10W EIRP. The Society has formed a team to prepare a considered response to Ofcom’s Consultation and will be offering further guidance ahead of the 15th of May deadline. The briefing paper is available at www.rsgb.org/emc-papers.

A proposal by the FCC in the USA to remove the entire amateur 3.4GHz allocation without compensation has seen strong opposition as ARRL, AMSAT and hundreds of individual amateurs have filed comments in response to a current consultation. The ARRL highlighted decades of active usage and experimentation including mesh networks, amateur television, weak signal long-distance communication, Earth-Moon-Earth or moonbounce communication, propagation research and emerging amateur satellite developments. In its comments, ARRL argued that it would therefore be premature to remove the current secondary amateur radio allocation. The FCC is also inviting comments on changes to the 5.9GHz band that has an amateur allocation in the USA.

Ofcom has recently updated its website to clarify its policy relating to the issuing of callsigns with two-letter suffixes. The notes can be found at tinyurl.com/gb2rs-ofcomcall and selecting Amateur Radio Callsign Allocation.

The first lecture as part of the Marconi Centenary 2020 has been announced by the Chelmsford Civic Society. Professor Danielle George has kindly agreed to speak at Anglia Ruskin University, Bishop Hall Lane, Chelmsford, CM1 1SQ on Tuesday the 31st of March at 2pm. The lecture is free to everyone but must be pre-booked. Go to https://tinyurl.com/eventbrite-marconi.

The coronavirus has impacted a couple of DXpeditions due to a requirement to spend 14 days in quarantine in Hawaii or Guam before entering some of the smaller Pacific island nations. Swains Island, OC-200, and T30ET from Tarawa Atoll, OC-017, are postponed until the autumn, and planning for Pulap, OC-155, and Satawal, OC-299, both new Islands in Micronesia is on hold.

The next section in the 2020 SOTA Challenge is the Digital Voice and will take place in the first week of March. All SOTA QSOs completed on DMR, C4FM, D-Star or FreeDV will automatically attract scoring credit in the Challenge. As repeaters and gateways are not valid for SOTA contacts, all QSOs will need to be simplex. There is substantial C4FM activity planned in the Shropshire Hills today, the 1st of March, and in the Clywydian Hills on Saturday the 7th of March. On the evening of Monday the 2nd of March, there is a SOTA DV activity night. Several activators will be out on the summits with DV modes and will be supported by Stockport RS and Macclesfield & District RS, chiefly on C4FM mode on the 2m band. On the evening of the 4th of March, another SOTA DV activity night takes place, this time supported by the Lancashire-based North West Fusion Group. This will be mainly on 70cm C4FM. For more information about Summits on the Air please visit www.sota.org.uk.

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

Today, the 1st of March, the Exeter Radio & Electronics Rally will be held in America Hall, De la Rue Way, Pinhoe, Exeter EX4 8PW. Doors open at 10.30am, 10.15am for disabled visitors, and admission £2 with under 16s free. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy and catering is available on site. Details from Pete, G3ZVI on 0771 419 8374 or by email to g3zvi@yahoo.co.uk.

The Pencoed ARC Table-Top Sale scheduled to take place on the 8th of March has been cancelled.

The next rally in the diary is the 35th Wythall Radio Club Hamfest on the 15th of March.

Please send details of your rally and event plans as soon as possible to radcom@rsgb.org.uk – we give you valuable publicity online, in RadCom and on GB2RS, all for free.

And now the DX news from 425 DX News and other sources

Rudi, DK7PE will be active as CP6/DK7PE from Santa Cruz, Bolivia until the 6th of March. He will operate CW with a focus on the low bands. QSL via his home call, direct or via the bureau.

Yuri, R2DY, Pavel, R2DX and Eugene, RW3FB will be active as EX0QR from the southern shore of Lake Issyk-Kul in Kyrgyzstan between the 6th and 17th of March. They will operate CW, SSB and digital modes on the 160 to 10m bands. QSL via Club Log's OQRS, or via R2DX either direct or via the bureau.

Hans, DK8RE, Wolf, DL1CC and Wies, SP1EG will be active as MH0ESP from Jersey, EU-013, between the 7th and 16th of March. QSL via SP1EG.

HP1DAV, HP3AK, G4BVY, G4CLA and GD4XUM will be active as H33K from Volcan in Panama between the 2nd and the 13th of March. They will operate CW, SSB and FT8 on various HF bands. QSL direct to HP1DAV; the log will be uploaded to Logbook of The World and Club Log.

Phil, N2HX will be active holiday style as PJ4/N2HX from Bonaire, SA-006, between the 1st and the 15th of March. He will operate SSB, RTTY and FT8. QSL via his home call.

Now the special event news

We have received no details of special event stations operating this week.

Please send special event details to radcom@rsgb.org.uk as early as possible to get your event publicised here on GB2RS, in RadCom, and online.

Now the contest news

On Monday, the 80 Club Championships take place between 2000 and 2130UTC using datamodes only. The exchange is signal report and serial number.

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

The UK and Ireland Contest Club 80m contest runs from 2000 to 2100UTC. This is the SSB leg and the exchange is your 4-character locator.

Next weekend the ARRL International DX contest runs for 48 Hours from 0000UTC on the 7th to 2359UTC on the 8th. Using the 1.8 to 28MHz bands the exchange is signal report and transmitter power. US stations also send their State and Canadians their Province.

The 144/432MHz contest takes place between 1400UTC on the 7th and 1400UTC on the 8th. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The UK Microwave Group’s Low Band Contest takes place next Sunday, the 8th, from 1000 to 1600UTC. Using all modes on the 1.3 to 3.4GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The Worked All Britain 3.5MHz contest takes place next Sunday, the 8th of March, from 1800 to 2200UTC. Entries need to be with the contest manager by the 18th of March. The exchange will be RS plus serial number plus WAB square. Full details of the rules and methods of entry may be obtained from the WAB website www.worked-all-britain.org.uk.

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

Interest in the VP8PJ DXpedition to the South Orkney Islands remains high. The team has now been on the island for one week and many UK amateurs have worked them. At the moment, it looks like beams and linears are the norm for a reliable contact, although they have been heard in the UK on 17 and 20 metres FT8 at -10dB SNR in the afternoon using just loft-mounted dipoles. As they work their way through the pile ups more opportunities to work them may become available. They are currently due to remain on the island until the 5th of March.

As always, the point-to-point facility at rsgb.org/predtest will give you an indication of the best times to work VP8PJ from the UK.

Conditions have been quite settled with the Kp index moving between one and zero. The Sun continues to remain spotless with a solar flux index of 71. As this report is being prepared there are two small coronal holes on the Sun that are rotating into an Earth-facing position. If these develop, they could cause the Kp index to rise this weekend due to their associated high-speed solar wind streams. This may result in a pre-auroral HF enhancement.

Otherwise, NOAA predicts the Kp index may rise again to four on March the 4th and 5th, presumably due to a returning coronal hole.

We are now heading towards the Spring equinox, which is a good time for north-south HF contacts.

With the Commonwealth Contest on Saturday the 14th of March this may be a good time to try as you won’t have any competition from continental contesters.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

It feels like 'groundhog day' for the VHF/UHF propagation prospects with another week of unsettled weather on the way. There are likely to be several occasions when low pressure systems pass by northern Britain, thus bringing strong winds to Scotland again, but with some windier spells in the south too, though mostly not as strong.

The principal outcome of this weather pattern is that it leaves no room for high pressure to develop over the UK and therefore no chance of Tropo for yet another week.

As before, that means that potential exists for some rain scatter activity on the GHz bands using the heavy rain, hail and snow as good scatter points. Sometimes individually from fast-moving small shower clouds, but also from larger areas like active weather fronts making it easier to latch onto the scattering area.

The upper air patterns continue to show strong ‘winter’ jet streams nearby or over the country, so this leads to the slim chance of ‘out-of-season’ sporadic E on 10m and 6m, especially if using the digital modes and, if forced to pick a favoured direction, it would probably be south towards EA and CT.

Moon declination reaches maximum mid-week and path losses are falling with perigee a week on Tuesday, so a good week for EME. 144 MHz sky noise reaches 500K on Tuesday but is generally low for most of the rest of the week.

There are no meteor showers peaking in the coming week, so keep looking for random meteor scatter QSOs around dawn.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for February 23rd 2020.

February 21st, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 23rd of February 2020

The news headlines:

  • New distance record on the 122GHz band

  • Repeater, Gateway and Beacon NoV renewals

  • Ofcom consults on EMF exposure

Using low power silicon chips with barely a milliwatt, an astonishing new world record of 139km has been achieved on the 122GHz millimetre wave amateur band. The distance record set in the California mountains is particularly notable as this frequency suffers from severe atmospheric losses due to an oxygen molecular resonance that add to significant conventional free-space path losses. More info and video at tinyurl.com/gb2rs-122ghz

The RSGB would like to remind all holders of Notices of Variation for Repeaters, Gateways and Beacons to ensure their contact details are up to date. The three-year renewal season is under way and there are a number of Keepers who have changed their email address etc and are not getting the reminders. It is illegal to operate any such service without a currently valid NoV and they should be closed down if it expires. You can apply for an access code to change your details via tinyurl.com/rsgb-etcc-nov Please note that renewals also require sight of your personal licence document, renewed within the last five years, to demonstrate you are still eligible to hold an NoV. You must renew with Ofcom at least every five years and ETCC need proof that you have done so. Currently, the Ofcom system will only change the issue date on the licence if you amend some detail. A simple solution to this is to add a space at the end of the first line of your address. This will generate a licence with a new issue date.

Ofcom has published a consultation document called “Proposed measures to require compliance with international guidelines for limiting exposure to electromagnetic fields” which can be read at tinyurl.com/gb2rs-ofcomemf The RSGB is reviewing the document and will respond to the consultation in due course.

This weekend members of Girlguiding will have been participating in Thinking Day on the Air. This event is an opportunity for the youngest Rainbow to the oldest Trefoil Guild member to talk to other members of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts all over the world via amateur radio. A list of known stations due to be on the air can be seen on the Station List on the event website: www.guides-on-the-air.co.uk

Some advance news now. The RAFAC are pleased to announce that due to popular demand for the Blue Ham Radio Communications Exercises they have been able to programme in three exercises for 2020. The first exercise will be during the weekend of the 7th and 8th of March. The organisers hope that many radio amateurs will join in. Details of the exchange of information to count as a QSO will be published on the Exercise Blue Ham website at alphacharlie.org.uk/exercise-blue-ham Participants can claim a Blue Ham certificate if they contact 10 or more special MRE callsigns during the exercise, details on the website.

Venues and dates for the 2020 series of RSGB Train the Trainers courses can be found on the RSGB website at rsgb.org/train-the-trainers In order for the organisers to ensure that courses are run as cost-effectively as possible they require between twenty and twenty-five candidates to attend each venue. To reserve a place on any of the courses please email trainthetrainers@rsgb.org.uk with your name and telephone number. The first course to run will be held in Telford on the 21st March; it currently has only two places left. Following Telford will be Cardiff on the 18th of April. This course currently only has five candidates registered, so if you want to attend this event please book as soon as possible. Details of other courses available are on the website.

The MV Braveheart is at sea again, this time transporting the VP8PJ South Orkney DXpedition team to Signy Island. You can follow the vessel’s progress on the VP8PJ website sorkney.com Team members have been operating as ZL1NA/MM during their voyage, generating heavy pileups. VP8PJ is expected to commence operation on the 21st of February and continue until the 5th of March. Operation will be on CW, SSB, RTTY, and FT8 fox/hound mode except on 60m.

The 5MHz beacon, GB3WES, in Westmorland, IO84QN, on 5.290MHz will close down on the 11th of March when its NoV expires. The beacon began service on the 30th of October 2004. At the time, it was one of a chain of three UK 5MHz propagation research beacons; the others were GB3RAL in Oxfordshire, already shut down, and GB3ORK in Orkney, which will be the sole remaining beacon after GB3WES shuts down.

AMSAT reports that the pioneering AMSAT-OSCAR 85 CubeSat, also known as Fox-1A, has gone silent. Having not been heard throughout the most recent period of full illumination, it is reasonable to believe the batteries have deteriorated to the point of no longer being able to power the transmitter. AO-85 was conceived as the first AMSAT CubeSat and was launched on the 8th of October 2015.

Provisional results of the IARU R1 UHF/microwave Contest and the Marconi Memorial VHF CW Contest are available on the IARU Region 1 website at www.iaru-r1.org. Congratulations to G3CKR/P in IO93AD, M2A in JO02ST, G4RGK in IO91ON, G5RS/A in IO91RH, G3XDY in JO02OB, G3TCU in IO91QE and GM4DIJ/P in IO74MU who were the highest placed UK stations in these contests.

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

Today, the 23rd, the Rainham Radio Rally takes place at The Victory Academy, Magpie Hall Road, Chatham, Kent ME4 5JB. Doors open from 10am to 4pm and admission is £3 with children attending free of charge. Talk in will be on 145.550MHz using GB4RRR. Local and national traders will be in attendance. The BRATS Interactive Zone for Kids will be available as will the BRATS Junk stand. Refreshments from the BRATS Kitchen. Contact 0782 583 8877 if you need more information.

Also today, the 23rd, is the Red Rose Winter Rally at St Joseph’s Hall, Chapel Street, Leigh WN7 2PQ. Doors open at 11am. There will be trade, individual and Club stands as well as a Bring & Buy. Details at www.wmrc.co.uk

Next Sunday, the 1st of March, the Exeter Radio & Electronics Rally will be held in America Hall, De la Rue Way, Pinhoe, Exeter EX4 8PW. Doors open at 10.30am, 10.15am for disabled visitors, and admission £2 with under 16s free. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy and catering is available on site. Details from Pete, G3ZVI on 0771 419 8374 or by email to g3zvi@yahoo.co.uk

Please send details of your rally and event plans as soon as possible to radcom@rsgb.org.uk – we give you valuable publicity online, in RadCom and on GB2RS, all for free.

And now the DX news from 425 DX News and other sources

The W8S DXpedition to Swains Island in the Pacific, set to take place in mid-March, has been postponed until the Autumn as a result of travel restrictions imposed on individuals entering American Samoa, stemming from the recent coronavirus outbreak. The Department of Health allows non-residents to enter American Samoa only via Hawaii after a 14-day mandatory quarantine in Hawaii, and the DXpedition was unable to accommodate that requirement.

Charles, NK8O and Fred, N8AX will be in Tanzania from the 24th of February until the 21st of March using the callsigns 5H3DX and 5H3AX. They will be mainly on CW with possibly some FT8 and PSK-31 on the 160 to 10m bands. QSLs go via NK8O.

Tom, AA9A will be active as PJ7AA from Sint Maarten, NA-105, from the 29t of February to the 28th of March. He will operate CW, FT8 and SSB on the 80 to 10m bands. QSL via Club Log's OQRS, Logbook of The World or direct to AA9A.

W1JXN/4 will be active holiday style from Gasparilla Island, NA-069, from the 25th of February to the 4th of March. He will operate mainly CW on the 40, 30 and 20m bands.

YB8RW, YE8XBN, YE8XW and YF8XAT will be active as 7I8X from the Widi Islands, OC-145, and Mayu Island, OC-145 between the 21st and 29th of February. QSL via Club Log's OQRS, or direct to YB8RW.

Gildas, FG/F6HMQ and Michel, FG/F6GWV will be active as TO3Z from Guadeloupe, NA-102, until the 8th of March. QSL via F6HMQ.

Now the special event news

Many Greenland and Denmark radio amateur stations will be celebrating the 80th birthday of Her Majesty The Queen of Denmark in these two DXCC entities. Look for special event stations OX80HM and OZ80HM to be active on all bands until the 16th of April. QSL via OZ1ACB OQRS. A special royal award will be available, see qrz.com for more information.

IO3RT and IO3AF are two special callsigns for ARI Thiene to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Arturo Ferrarin's epic flight from Rome to Tokyo. Look for activity on the 80 to 6m bands using SSB, CW and digital modes until the 31st of May. QSL via IQ3BM

4UNR is the special callsign for the VIC Amateur Radio Contest DX Club to celebrate World Radio Day until the 29th of February. This activity counts as Austria for DXCC, and for the Vienna International Centre for the CQ DX Marathon. QSL via UA3DX, direct or via the bureau.

Please send special event details to radcom@rsgb.org.uk as early as possible to get your event publicised here on GB2RS, in RadCom, and online.

Now the contest news

The CQ 160m DX contest ends its 48-hour run at 2200UTC today, the 23rd. Using SSB only the exchange is signal report and CQ Zone with American stations also sending their State and Canadians their Province.

The REF Contest is SSB only on the 3.5 to 28MHz bands and ends its 36 hour run at 1800UTC today, the 23rd. The exchange is signal report and serial number with French stations sending their Department number or overseas prefix.

Ending its 24-hours run at 1200UTC today, the 23rd, the UK EI Contest Club DX contest is CW only on the 3.5 to 28MHz bands. The exchange is signal report and District Code.

On Tuesday the SHF UK Activity Contest runs from 1930 to 2230UTC. Using 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 4-character locator.

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

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

The week got off to a good start with the ARRL International DX CW contest. Contacts into the western US States from the UK, including California, Washington and Colorado, were all possible on 20 metres.

On Tuesday the Earth was hit by a high-speed solar wind stream from a coronal hole, which sent the Kp index to four. The unsettled conditions continued before the Kp index hit a hefty five in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

There were reports of auroral contacts on the higher bands. Luckily, the disturbance tailed off on Thursday with the Kp index finally returning to settled levels.

The solar flux index remained at 71 during this time, reflecting a lack of sunspots.

Next week NOAA predicts the Sun will continue with a solar flux index of 71 with zero sunspots, although new regions can occur at any time. The Kp index is predicted to remain around two to three, but with a rise to four around the 26th and 27th due to a returning coronal hole.

Interest in the VP8PJ DXpedition to South Orkney is beginning to rise. At the time of writing the “Braveheart” ship had just arrived and the station may be on the air some time this weekend.

This may be a difficult path, but rsgb.org/predtest suggests that the best time for a short-path contact may be through the night on 40m, with a peak around 6am. There may also be a long-path opening around 8am-noon on 20 or 30 metres.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

I’m sure there were wires and beam elements flapping about in the winds last week, so now that we’re all used to this, you should be able to cope with the coming week too!

It's looking very much like the unsettled weather continues with low-pressure systems tracking across the far north of Britain producing generally windy weather throughout, and at times very windy weather with gales again likely over the north.

The upshot of all this leaves no sign of high pressure Tropo propagation to speak of. It is again a case of rain scatter for the GHz bands as the active rain-bearing weather fronts or squally showers pass by, with little else to offer as a variation.

The Sun and the Moon are close to eclipse today, so sky noise will be very high. Once today’s event is over, it’s quite low for the rest of the week. Moon declination is rising and goes positive again on Wednesday, meaning lengthening Moon windows with the Moon up during the day. This coincides with apogee so path losses will be at their highest.

Aside from EME and satellite operation, keep looking for random meteor scatter QSOs around dawn, when the Earth is rotating towards the main meteor flux, to keep the VHF DX coming.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for February 16th 2020.

February 14th, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 16th of February 2020

 

The news headlines:

  • Storm Ciara prevents 40m GB2RS news reading
  • Get involved in British Science Week
  • Second mock Full licence exam available

 

Due to the awful weather conditions last weekend during Strom Ciara, Gunter, DJ2XB and Colin DJ0OK were unable to read the GB2RS news on 40m. Both readers had to take their antennas down for safety. They hope to resume a normal service today, the 16th, weather permitting.

If you or your radio club want to get involved in British Science Week, which takes place between the 6th and the 15th of March, activity packs are now available to download from https://tinyurl.com/qvyqnr8  The pack contains tips on how to run British Science Week in school or at home, easy-to-run activities, and details of the annual poster competition. Whilst there’s no details of radio activities, there's a lot to get you started on this excellent initiative and can be adapted for amateur radio use.

The RSGB has published a second mock exam paper for the Full licence this week so there are now two for each licence level. You can see all the mock exam papers on the Society’s website at www.rsgb.org/mock-exams

Amateurs in all French territories now have access to the 60m 5351.5 to 5366.5kHz WRC allocation at a maximum power of 15WERP following the publication in the French official journal. The French national society, REF, advocates the use of the IARU 60m band plan.

Mitsuo, JA1WQF successfully decoded a 47GHz signal bounced off the moon from Al, W5LUA on the 10th of February. Al posted news of the achievement on the Moon-Net email reflector saying these were only one-way tests that started out with sending single tones that were copied well. Then Al sent several sequences of calls and grid that Mitsuo was able to decode at 1146 and 1234UTC. Signal levels were -23 and -25dB. More tests are planned.

The Leicester Mercury has a story on the top-secret wartime listening station Beaumanor Hall’s crucial role in the Second World War. It was a Y station and you can read the full story at https://tinyurl.com/rhtb8tl

The IARU Monitoring System Region 1 Newsletter January 2020 is now available at www.iaru-r1.org. Richard, G4DYA is the Intruder Watch Coordinator runs the RSGB Monitoring System, part of the IARU Monitoring System. His report contains several instances of the Container over-the-horizon radar.

The RSGB Build a Radio workshop at the National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park on the 14th of March is now sold out. Details of the next event will be in a forthcoming GB2RS.

 

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

Today, the 16th, the RadioActive Rally will be held at Nantwich Civic Hall, Cheshire, CW5 5DG. There is free car parking and doors open at 10.30am. There will be a Bring & Buy, as well as traders and an RSGB book stall. A single raffle ticket is included with the entrance programme; additional tickets available. Catering is provided on site. Contact Stuart Jackson on 0788 073 2534.

Also today, the 16th, the Lomond Radio Club Bring & Buy event takes place at John Connolly Centre, Main Street, Renton G82 4LY. Doors open at 10am. There will be a Bring & Buy, traders and refreshments will be available. Contact Bill at mm0elf@blueyonder.co.uk

Next Sunday, the 23rd, the Rainham Radio Rally takes place at The Victory Academy, Magpie Hall Road, Chatham, Kent ME4 5JB. Doors open from 10am to 4pm and admission is £3 with children attending free of charge. Talk in will be on 145.550MHz using GB4RRR. Local and national traders will be in attendance. The BRATS Interactive Zone for Kids will be available as will the BRATS Junk stand. Refreshments from the BRATS Kitchen. Contact 0782 583 8877 if you need more information.

Also next Sunday, the 23rd, is the Red Rose Winter Rally at St Joseph’s Hall, Chapel Street, Leigh WN7 2PQ. Doors open at 11am. There will be trade, individual and Club stands as well as a Bring & Buy. Details at www.wmrc.co.uk

Please send details of your rally and event plans as soon as possible to radcom@rsgb.org.uk – we give you valuable publicity online, in RadCom and on GB2RS, all for free.

 

And now the DX news from 425 DX News and other sources

Chas, NK8O will be active as 5H3DX from Zinga in Tanzania between the 16th of February and 16th of March. In his spare time, he will operate CW, PSK31, FT8 and possibly SSB on the 40 to 10m bands. QSL via NK8O direct only, see qrz.com for instructions, Logbook of The World and eQSL.

Hiro, JG1SXP will be active as 8Q7HK from the Maldives, AS-013, between the 19th and 24th of February. He will operate FT8, CW and some SSB on the 80 to15m bands, possibly also on 160m depending on local conditions. QSL via Logbook of The World, Club Log's OQRS, or direct to home call.

Brian, ND3F will be active as KP2/ND3F from St. Croix in the Virgin Islands, NA-106, until the18th of February. QSL via EA5GL.

Mike, TI5/W1USN and Bob, TI5/AA1M will be active from Costa Rica from the 20th of February to the 4th of March. They will operate CW, SSB and FT8 on the 160 to 10m bands. QSLs via Logbook of The World, or via their home calls either direct or via the bureau.

Rick, N1DC is active holiday style as N1DC/4 from Hutchinson Island, NA-141, until the 25th of February. He operates CW, FT8 and SSB on the 40, 30 and 20m bands. QSL direct to his home call and Logbook of The World.

Wolfgang, DL5MAE will be paying another visit to Laos until the 20th of February. In his spare time, he will reactivate his 3W2MAE callsign. He suffers from heavy local QRM and requests that callers bear this in mind when trying to contact him. His preferred QSL route is via the German QSL bureau.

 

Now the special event news

Members of the Bruneck section of the ARI, the Italian national society, will be using II3BIA until the 23rd of February to celebrate the Biathlon World Championships in Italy. Operations will be on all bands between 160 and 10m as well as 2m and 70cm using CW, SSB, digital modes and QO-100 satellite. QSL via IN3ZWF, by the Bureau, direct, eQSL or OQRS.

Please send special event details to radcom@rsgb.org.uk as early as possible to get your event publicised here on GB2RS, in RadCom, and online.

 

Now the contest news

This weekend the ARRL International DX Contest ends its 48-hour run at 2359UTC today, the 16th. Using CW only on the 1.8 to 28MHz bands the exchange is signal report and transmit power, with US stations also sending their State and Canadians their Province.

On Monday the first FT4 contest runs from 2000 to 230UTC on the 80m band. The exchange is your 4-character locator.

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 also runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Next Sunday, the 23rd, is the first 70MHz Cumulative Contest. Running from 1000 to 1200UTC and using all modes the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

For 48 hours next weekend the CQ 160m DX contest take place. Starting at 2200UTC on the 21st, it ends at the same time on the 23rd. Using SSB only the exchange is signal report and CQ Zone with American stations also sending their State and Canadians their Province.

From 0600UTC on the 22nd to 1800UTC on the 23rd, the REF Contest is SSB only on the 3.5 to 28MHz bands. The exchange is signal report and serial number with French stations sending their Department number or overseas prefix.

For 24 hours from 1200UTC on the 22nd, the UK EI Contest Club DX contest is CW only on the 3.5 to 28MHz bands. The exchange is signal report and District Code.

 

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

Last week saw reasonably-settled HF conditions after the effects of a geomagnetic disturbance passed. But the Sun remained spotless again with a solar flux index of about 70-72 all week.

Wednesday’s 80m Club Championship contest left many amateurs feeling disappointed and with fairly empty logs after the critical frequency let them down.

At the start of the contest the f0F2 as measured at RAL in Chilton was 3.5MHz, but it then declined before finishing at 3.45MHz at 21:30hrs. As a result, long skip was the order of the day with the highest scorers being in Scotland, the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden.

With a few exceptions, there were few inter-G contacts as the high-angle signals were just not being returned by the ionosphere. Hopefully, this will improve over the next few months as the series continues and the evening critical frequency or f0F2 rises.

Barring any dramatic changes, NOAA has the solar flux index at 71 this coming week. A large coronal hole should become Earth-facing on Friday the 14th, which means we may see its associated high speed solar wind impact the Earth around Sunday or Monday the 16th/17th. This could see the Kp index rise to four with characteristic disturbed conditions after a potential initial positive phase.

There are some DX nuggets to be had this week. Mike TI7/G3WPH and John TI7/G4IRN are both active in Costa Rica until 17th February. They have already been spotted on 160m and 40m, and should be taking part in this weekend’s ARRL International DX Contest. See www.rsgb.org/predtest for prediction details to Costa Rica

 

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

 

Next week’s weather is likely to continue the unsettled theme, so more strong winds at times and little real chance of significant Tropo paying a visit. There may just be a brief weak ridge close to southern England midweek, but not looking too useful for developing the inversions needed for Tropo.

In propagation terms, that leaves us with some potential for rain scatter as active fronts and showers bring useful scatter points regions for the GHz fraternity.

The shower examples may be quite a challenge since the rate of movement can be quite high in such windy weather; imagine trying to follow a target moving at 40mph! Radar displays are your friend here and can make a big difference to the outcomes.

Moon declination reaches its minimum for the lunar month on Wednesday, with the Moon appearing above the horizon for seven hours and reaching just 13 degrees elevation. Path losses are rising all week and 144 MHz sky noise is very high, peaking at around 3000 Kelvin on Tuesday.

Keep looking for random meteor scatter QSOs around dawn when the Earth is rotating towards the main meteor flux to keep the VHF DX coming.

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

 

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for February 9th 2020.

February 7th, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 9th of February 2020

 

The news headlines:

  • Build a radio at Bletchley Park
  • Voting for RSGB AGM opens in around 4 weeks
  • GB3GV ATV repeater back to full power

 

The RSGB invites young people, and an accompanying adult if the child is under 16 years, to join them at the National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park for a fun and hands-on workshop where they can learn more about radio and electronics on the 14th of March. The workshop offers a short introduction to wireless communications, radio propagation and electronic construction, before moving on to the construction of a medium wave radio receiver provided free of charge for each registered student by the Radio Communications Foundation. Attendees will also be able to visit Bletchley Park, including the National Radio Centre. Places are limited to eight young persons, tickets cost £7 and accompanying adults if child is under 16 £8. The ticket includes access to Bletchley Park for the purposes of this workshop on the specified date only. Bookings are available via the Bletchley Park website at www.bletchleypark.org.uk/ under the what’s on tab.

Thank you to everyone who has volunteered for the RSGB Board Director and Regional Representative roles as part of the forthcoming elections. The nomination period has now ended. Voting will begin on the 11th of March and will end on the 23rd of April. All the information on candidates and how to vote will appear in the April edition of RadCom.

GB3GV, the Leicestershire Repeater Group 23cm ATV repeater, has now been restored to full ERP following a site visit on the 1st of February. Further info from www.leicestershirerepeatergroup.org.uk.

Venues and dates for the 2020 series of Train the Trainers courses can be found on the RSGB website at www.rsgb.org/train-the-trainers. In order to ensure that courses are run as cost-effectively as possible between twenty and twenty-five candidates are needed for each course. To reserve a place on any of the courses please email trainthetrainers@rsgb.org.uk with your name and telephone number. The first course to run will be held in Telford on the 21st of March; it currently has eight places available. Following Telford will be Cardiff on the 18th of April. This course currently still has space so please book as soon as possible. Details of other courses available are on the website.

The RSGB’s Examinations and Syllabus Review Group is delighted to announce the appointment of Greg Fenton, M0ODZ to the group. Greg has had a life-long interest in amateur radio and in more recent years he also became involved with Makerspace in Newcastle. After gaining his Full licence he started to take part in amateur radio teaching, including to his youngest daughter who is now also a licensed radio amateur. Like Tony, G7ETW who also joined the group recently, Greg has already brought fresh enthusiasm and ideas to the group and the RSGB looks forward to his continued participation.

Due to essential maintenance, the Radio Room at the RSGB National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park will be closed to visitors on Tuesday the 11th of February. Whilst the NRC itself will remain open to visitors, it means that the station GB3RS will be ‘off-air’ and hence will be unavailable for any visiting radio amateurs to operate. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. The work should be completed by mid-afternoon and hence GB3RS may be on-air later in the day but, by closing for the day, we are allowing for any over-run needed to complete the work.

Provisional results for the last IARU R1 VHF Contest are available on IARU Region 1 website www.iaru-r1.org. Congratulations to GM4ZUK/P who was the highest placed UK station in the single operation 145MHz section and G8P who were the highest placed team in the multi operatior 145MHz section. G3XDY was the highest placed UK station in the 6 hour 145MHz section

 

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

Today, the 9th of February the Harwell Radio and Electronics Rally will be held at Didcot Leisure Centre, Mereland Road, Didcot, Oxon, OX11 8AY, that’s about 3 miles from the A34 Milton Interchange. Doors open 10am to 3pm and admittance is £3 with under 12s free. Talk in will be on 145.550MHz, using G3PIA and there is free car parking. Local and national traders as well as Special Interest Groups and an RSGB Bookstand will be in attendance. Home-made refreshments are available all day. Details from rally@g3pia.net or 01235 816379.

Next Saturday, the 15th the Ballymena ARC Rally will be held in Ahoghill Community Centre, 80 Cullybackey Road, Ahoghill BT42 1LA. Doors open at 10.30am and admission is £3. There is free parking on site. There will be traders, a Bring & Buy and a prize draw will operate. Light refreshments will be available. Tables are free but must be pre-booked by email to HKernohan@aol.com. More details from Hugh, GI0JEV on 0282 587 1481.

Next Sunday, the 16th, the RadioActive Rally will be held at Nantwich Civic Hall, Cheshire, CW5 5DG. There is free car parking and doors open at 10.30am. There will be a Bring & Buy, as well as traders and an RSGB book stall. A single raffle ticket is included with the entrance programme; additional tickets available. Catering is provided on site. Contact Stuart Jackson on 0788 073 2534.

Also, next Sunday, the 16th, the Lomond Radio Club Bring & Buy event takes place at John Connolly Centre, Main Street, Renton G82 4LY. Doors open at 10am. There will be a Bring & Buy, traders and refreshments will be available. Contact Bill at mm0elf@blueyonder.co.uk.

Please send details of your rally and event plans as soon as possible to radcom@rsgb.org.uk – we give you valuable publicity online, in RadCom and on GB2RS, all for free.

 

And now the DX news from 425 DX News and other sources

Andre, PP6ZZ will be active as PY0FF from Fernando de Noronha, SA-003, until the 18th of February. He plans to operate all modes, including FT8 and FT4, in his spare time. QSL via Logbook of The World, or via W9VA.

RI1ANC, the club station at Vostok Station in Antarctica, is active. Look for activity on the HF bands, mainly FT8 with some CW and SSB. QSL via RN1ON.

Ed, K1EP will be active as VP2MEP from Montserrat, NA-103, between the 11th and 17th of February. He will operate CW, SSB and some FT8. QSL via Logbook of The World or direct to K1EP.

Rob, G4WXJ will be active as ZC4RH from the UK Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus until the 13th of February. He expects to operate SSB, CW and FT8 on the 40, 30, 20, 15 and 10m bands. QSL via his home call, direct or via the bureau. He does not use Logbook of The World or Club Log.

Dave, VE3VSM will be active as VE3VSM/HR9 from Roatan Island, NA-057, between the 11th and 23rd of February. He will be operating on the 20 and 15m bands using CW in his spare time and during some contests. QSL via Logbook of The World, or direct.

 

Now the special event news

Heiko, DK3DM and others are active as DL2020R until the end of the year to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the German reunification process. QSL via Club Log's OQRS or direct only to M0SDV.

DL250BEETH is another special callsign commemorating Ludwig van Beethoven's 250th anniversary. It will be used by the Kerpen local branch of DARC until the end of the year. QSL via DJ6SI.

Please send special event details to radcom@rsgb.org.uk as early as possible to get your event publicised here on GB2RS, in RadCom, and online.

 

Now the contest news

The CQ WW WPX Party ends its 48-hour run at 2359UTC today, the 9th. It’s RTTY only on the 3.8 to 28MHz bands. The exchange is signal report and serial number.

The PACC Contest ends its 24-hour run at 1200UTC today, the 9th. Using CW and SSB on the 1.8 to 28MHz bands the exchange is signal report serial number with PA stations also sending their Province.

On Tuesday the 432MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 1955UTC. The 432MHz UK Activity Contest follows at 2000 to 2230UTC using all modes. The exchange is the same for both, signal report serial number and locator.

On Wednesday the 80m Club Championships holds a datamodes leg 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.

Next weekend the ARRL International DX Contest runs from 0000UTC on the 15th to 2359UTC on the 16th. Using CW only on the 1.8 to 28MHz bands the exchange is signal report and transmit power, with US stations also sending their State and Canadians their Province.

 

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

After sunspot group 2757 rotated out of view the Sun remained spotless with a solar flux index around 70. We had periods of geomagnetic disruption thanks to the effects of coronal holes, the worst seeing the Kp index hit four on Thursday morning. These storms resulted in visible aurora being reported at higher latitudes.

Monday saw the first of the RSGB’s 80m Club Championship events with an SSB contest. Participants complained about the poor propagation, with continental stations being stronger than locals. This was reflected in the ionosonde data at propquest.co.uk, that showed the f0F2 critical frequency, as measured at RAF Fairford, as 2.875MHz at the start of the contest and only 3.175MHz at the end. Meanwhile, Chilton recorded 3.7MHz at the start of the contest and 3.5MHz at the end.

So, you can see that short-range propagation on 80m was marginal and favoured different parts of the country. Next week, there is the possibility that strong jet streams may provide some low-band Sporadic-E enhancement for evening nets when the foF2 has deserted us.

Thursday saw an HF enhancement, possibly linked to the raised Kp index, with maximum usable frequencies creeping above 21MHz and 15m FT8 openings into the Canary Islands, the Azores, Greece and European Russia. There were also 15m FT8 openings to South America later in the afternoon.

CDXC members have also reported contacts last week with TI9A, Cocos Island, off Costa Rica, and HU1DL in El Salvador. Excitement is also building for the VP8PJ South Orkney DXpedition that should start later this month.

Next week, NOAA predicts the solar flux index will remain around 70 with more settled geomagnetic conditions after the effects of the current high-speed solar wind diminish.

 

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

 

After a brief period of Tropo in the second half of last week, we are now about to enter a period of very unsettled weather with deep lows passing by the far north of Britain. This means that Tropo will not be a feature this coming week and time may be better spent making sure the antenna ropes are secure and towers lowered if the forecast looks severe.

At present, the strongest winds are likely in northern and western areas, but with such a strong Atlantic jet stream there is a huge amount of energy available to spin up very deep lows in less than 24 hours. The message therefore is to keep up to date with the latest forecasts, because the track of such lows can change markedly over a few hours.

There is one propagation silver lining to this type of weather, which is possible microwave rain scatter as squally fronts or showers pass by.

One of the models does build a high over the continent at the end of next week with a possibility of some Tropo into France, but only from the southeastern corner of the country.

Moon declination goes negative on Wednesday, but with perigee on Monday, it's still a good week for EME. Path losses are at their lowest and 144 MHz sky noise is low all week.

There are no major meteor showers this week, and we are now well into the Winter minimum for random meteors. The best time for random meteor scatter QSOs is always around dawn when the Earth is rotating towards the main meteor flux.

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

 

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for February 2nd 2020.

January 31st, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 2nd February 2020

The news headlines:

  • New IARU Region 1 website live

  • RSGB Operating Awards QSL Checking Service

  • GB3RS at the NRC due for maintenance on the 11th

Earlier this week the new IARU website went live with new material added. Also live is the new IARU Region 1 website at its normal address of iaru-r1.org. Please take a moment to explore the new Region 1 site and also remember that if you link to that site from your own website, you will need to update the hyperlinks to reflect the new page addresses. Don, G3BJ, IARU Region 1 President, said, “Thanks go to the many content owners in Region 1 who have reviewed and updated their content as part of the process and to Marko, 9A8MM, the webmaster”.

The RSGB is now offering a QSL card checking service for RSGB award applicants. When submitting your award application, you will have the option to request a QSL card check. The RSGB Awards Manager will arrange for your cards to be checked in person, please do not send cards to RSGB HQ. Did you know that clubs can apply for the RSGB HF and VHF/UHF awards? Your club may apply under its club callsign for any award for which it has met the criteria. For more information, see www.rsgb.org/awards

Due to essential maintenance, the Radio Room at the RSGB National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park will be closed to visitors on Tuesday the 11th of February. Whilst the NRC itself will remain open to visitors, it means that the station GB3RS will be ‘off-air’ and hence will be unavailable for any visiting radio amateurs to operate. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. The work should be completed by mid-afternoon and hence GB3RS may be on-air later in the day but, by closing for the day, we are allowing for any over-run needed to complete the work.

On the 30th of January at 1400UTC, AMSAT Argentina deployed a WSPR / APRS drifting Buoy on the South Atlantic Seas. The WSPR beacon will run 900mW on 14095.6kHz with the callsign LU7AA. The APRS beacon, callsign LU7AA-11, will initially be on Argentina's APRS frequency of 144.930MHz but will change frequency to 145.825MHz so that it can be digipeated by the amateur packet radio satellites. The release was 100km offshore Mar del Plata coast, seeking east aiming currents and winds. The objective is to track Sea currents and conduct HF, VHF and satellite ultra-QRP propagation tests. AMSAT Argentina, LU7AA, would appreciate WSPR stations receiving and reporting of the 20m beacon. Further information and pictures at http://amsat.org.ar?f=buoy

The RSGB has released another selection of lectures from the 2019 RSGB Convention for Members to enjoy. Ian White, GM3SEK revisits and updates his popular 2015 Convention lecture Clean up your shack; Richard Banester, G4CDN looks at 2m weak signal ionosphere scatter and Tony Canning, G2NF asks Urban QRM; What can I do? Head to www.rsgb.org/videos to view them.

During the month of February, the Polish national society PZK will have 14 different special event stations on the air to mark the 90th anniversary of PZK and the 95th anniversary of the International Amateur Radio Union. Six of the stations will have 90PZK in their callsigns, two stations will have 2020PZK and six stations will have 95IARU in their callsigns. Prefixes will be 3Z, HF, SN, SP, SQ and SO. A free downloadable award will be available to European station who make seven QSOs on either phone, CW or digital modes. Full details available on 90.pzk.org.pl

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

Today, Sunday the 2nd of February, the 36th Canvey Radio & Electronics Rally will take place at Cornelius Vermuyden School, Dinant Avenue, Canvey Island, Essex SS8 9QS. Talk in will be on 145.550MHz. There is free car parking and easy level ground floor access to two large halls. Doors open at 10 am, or 9.45 am for disabled visitors. Admission is £3, with children under 10 free. Tea, coffee and soft drinks will be available, as well as bacon butties. There will be radio, computing and electronics traders. More details from Tony, G0JYI, via email to tony@tonystreet.net.

If you happen to be holidaying in Florida soon you may be interested in the 74th Orlando Hamcation on the 7th to the 9th of February. Held at the Central Florida Fairgrounds and Expo Park, in Orlando, there will be trade stands, a flea market, a swapmeet, US Licence exams & more. Go to www.hamcation.com for details.

Next Sunday, the 9th of February the Harwell Radio and Electronics Rally will be held at Didcot Leisure Centre, Mereland Road, Didcot, Oxon, OX11 8AY, that’s about 3 miles from the A34 Milton Interchange. Doors open 10 am to 3 pm and admittance is £3 with under 12s free. Talk in will be on 145.550MHz, using G3PIA and there is free car parking. Local and national traders, as well as Special Interest Groups and an RSGB Bookstand, will be in attendance. Home-made refreshments are available all day. Details from rally@g3pia.net or 01235 816379.

Please send details of your rally and event plans as soon as possible to radcom@rsgb.org.uk – we give you valuable publicity online, in RadCom and on GB2RS, all for free.

And now the DX news from 425 DX News and other sources

Nando, IT9YRE and Mike, K9AJ will be on the air as CB0Z from the 3rd to the 5th of February to activate the new IOTA reference Alejandro Selkirk Island, IOTA SA-101. Activity will be on the 40, 30, 20, 17 and 15m bands using CW, SSB and possibly FT8. QSL via IT9YRE.

A DXpedition to Cocos Island will take place until the 9th of February using the callsign TI9C. The operators will be Mark, XE1B and Frank, HK5OKY and they plan to be on all bands from 160 to 6m on SSB and FT8. QSL via Club Log OQRS.

A large group of operators will be operating as 5I5TT from Zanzibar Island, IOTA AF-032, from the 4th to the 18th of February. Activity will be on the HF bands using CW, SSB and RTTY with four stations active. QSL via I2YSB.

A German DXpedition team will be on the air from El Salvador until the 13th of February. They will be using the callsign HU1DL. The usual prefix for El Salvador is YS so the HU prefix will attract added attention to the expedition. They will be active on all bands from 160 to 6m on CW, SSB, RTTY and FT8. QSL via Club Log OQRS.

Matteo, IZ4YGS will be operating as 9G5GS from Sanzule in Ghana from the 1st to the 26th of February. Activity will be on the 160 to 20m bands using FT8 and SSB. He also plans some activity on QO-100. QSL direct to home call.

Russell, G5XW will be operating holiday-style as C5XW in the Gambia until the 7th of February. Activity will be mainly SSB on the 40 to 17m bands and possibly some CW. QSLs go via the RSGB bureau

Now the special event news

On Wednesday the 5th of February GB0GLS will be on the air from Gilnahirk Listening Station, BT5 7SL. Operations run from 10 am to 6 pm. There is no parking on Gilnahirk Road, but the organisers plan to have a field available for parking. Details on qrz.com

Members of the Kuwait Amateur Radio Society are operating as 9K59NLD during February to mark Kuwait's National and Liberation Day. QSL via 9K2RA.

Please send special event details to radcom@rsgb.org.uk as early as possible to get your event publicised here on GB2RS, in RadCom, and online.

Now the contest news

Today, Sunday, the 2nd of February, the 432MHz AFS contest runs from 0900 to 1300UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Monday the 80m Club Championships runs from 2000 to 2130UTC. 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 from 2000 to 2230 by the 144MHz UK Activity Contest where all modes may be used. The exchange for both contests is signal report, serial number and locator.

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

Next weekend the CQ WW WPX Party runs from 0000UTC on the 8th to 2359UTC on the 9th. It’s RTTY only on the 3.8 to 28MHz bands. The exchange is signal report and serial number.

The PACC Contest runs from 1200UTC on the 8th to 1200UTC on the 9th. Using CW and SSB on the 1.8 to 28MHz bands the exchange is signal report serial number with PA stations also sending their Province.

On Saturday the 8th the 1st 1.8MHz contest of the year runs from 1900 to 2300UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and District.

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

We had a new sunspot group last week, but don’t get too excited – region 2757 was from the old Cycle 24. We know this because it was close to the Sun’s equator and had the older magnetic configuration. As you read or hear this, the spot will be rotating out of view off of the Sun’s eastern limb. A new plage region belonging to upcoming Cycle 25 also appeared high in latitude on the southwest limb but didn’t amount to anything.

The Kp index peaked at three last week, possibly due to a minor geomagnetic storm triggered by a coronal mass ejection from sunspot group 2757. But otherwise, with the solar flux at 74, it was business as usual!

There was DX to be had. Andy, M0NKR reports working 7Z Saudi Arabia, 9W West Malaysia, HS0 Thailand and 4S7 Sri Lanka on 40 metres. He also reports working 8P Barbados, SO Western Sahara and FJ Saint Barthelemy on 17 metres.

SO1WS at the Sahrawi Amateur Radio Club has been very active on 17m, so keep an eye on the cluster for their current operating frequency.

Next week NOAA predicts that the solar flux index will be around 74, declining to 71 as sunspot 2757 disappears from the Earth-facing solar surface.

Geomagnetic conditions will be mainly settled with a maximum Kp index of three.

Expect to see openings up to the 18MHz band, with the 14MHz band being more reliable. The 21MHz band and higher are still not really playing ball, other than for FT8 contacts with Germany being spotted on 10 metres on Thursday.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

The coming week’s weather has a continuing unsettled flavour, especially in the north, but with a hint of a brief ridge of high pressure passing across southern areas around mid-week. This means that it's mostly GHz Bands rain scatter on offer this weekend and into the beginning of next week, but again this appears to be mostly for northern parts of the country.

As the high builds later on Tuesday and through Wednesday we could see some Tropo conditions extending to the south into the continent and across Biscay towards Spain, perhaps. This is a relatively brief period of high pressure and may not have enough time to build a strong inversion with moisture trapped beneath the inversion as required for a good lift.

The upper air charts for the coming week provide a significant chance of a strong jet stream in the upper atmosphere over or near the UK. This is the sort of pattern that can produce Sporadic-E in the summer season and may just tip the balance in winter if it goes in our favour. Take a look for digital mode activity on 10m for a “heads up.”

With Moon declination still rising, reaching maximum on Thursday, it's a good week for EME. With just over a week to perigee, path losses are falling. 144MHz sky noise is highest on Wednesday, falling to its lowest on Saturday.

There’s a small meteor shower in progress, the Alpha-Centaurids, reaching its peak on Saturday. Due to the southern declination of its radiant, the best time is before dawn when the radiant lies highest above the horizon.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for January 26th 2020.

January 24th, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 26th January 2020

 

The news headlines:

  • RSGB Board application deadline looms

  • British Science Week info available now

  • Why GB3GV is QRP

 

The deadline for applications for the two elected RSGB Board Director positions is Friday the 31st of January. This is your opportunity to take an important and interesting role in leading the Society into the next decade. You'll find guidance and candidate forms on the RSGB elections web page, but if you’d like an informal chat to find out more, contact the Board Chair, Ian Shepherd, G4EVK, via email to g4evk@rsgb.org.uk.

If you or your radio club want to get involved in British Science Week, which takes place between the 6th and the 15th of March, activity packs are now available to download from https://tinyurl.com/qvyqnr8. The pack contains tips on how to run British Science Week in school or at home, easy-to-run activities, and details of the annual poster competition. There's a lot to get you started on this excellent initiative.

Leicestershire digital ATV repeater GB3GV has been significantly down on power for the last couple of weeks. Due to failure of one of the transmitter stages it has only been running about 1W to the antenna. Repairs will hopefully be carried out soon, which will bring the signal back to full strength. Further info is online at www.leicestershirerepeatergroup.org.uk.

Regulators in Spain are allowing radio amateurs there to exchange their current longer-format callsigns for permanent 2 x 1 callsigns. To be eligible, applicants must have held a licence issued by Spanish authorities without any sanctions and have at least 15 years of experience in international amateur radio.

Germany is again permitting amateurs to use the 70.150-70.200MHz segment of the 4m band until the end of 2020. All conditions are the same as last year.

If you would like to support the RSGB at a senior level but are unable to commit to a full three years as a Board Director, please contact the Nominations Committee with an outline of your skills. This Committee can suggest Members for co-option to the RSGB Board or to act as a Board adviser for a certain period and for specific projects. If this fits your skills and time, please email the Company Secretary, who is also the Nominations Committee Chair, via company.secretary@rsgb.org.uk.

In New Zealand, the trial licence scheme for the 5MHz band has been extended for a further six months. It will now continue until 24 July, during which time the authorities hope to work out a more permanent solution. Conditions of use remain unchanged from earlier in the trial.

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

On Saturday the 1st of February, the Barry ARS Table Top Rally takes place at The Wilton Lounge, Sully Sports & Leisure Club, South Road, Sully CF64 5SP. Doors open from 10am and entry is £2, with under 18s free. There is ample parking. Items on offer will include new and second-hand radio, computer and electronics. Catering and a bar will be available. More details from Nigel, GW1CUQ, via gw1cuq@gmail.com.

On Sunday the 2nd of February, the 36th Canvey Radio & Electronics Rally will take place at Cornelius Vermuyden School, Dinant Avenue, Canvey Island, Essex SS8 9QS. Talk in will be on 145.550MHz. There is free car parking and easy level ground floor access to two large halls. Doors open at 10am, or 9.45am for disabled visitors. Admission is £3, with children under 10 free. Tea, coffee and soft drinks will be available, as well as bacon butties. There will be radio, computing and electronics traders. More details from Tony, G0JYI, via email to tony@tonystreet.net.

Please send details of your rally and event plans as soon as possible to radcom@rsgb.org.uk – we give you valuable publicity online, in RadCom and on GB2RS, all for free.

And now the DX news from 425 DX News and other sources

Dirk, WA4DT will operate until the 2nd of February as HR9/WA4DT from Roatan Island, off the coast of Honduras, IOTA reference NA-057. He will be on CW and FT8.

Melvin, W8MV will be active from the Caribbean island of Montserrat, NA-103, from the 26th January to the 2nd of February. He will be using CW on the HF bands using the callsign VP2MCV. Logs will be uploaded to Logbook of The World.

Russell, G5XW will be on the air holiday-style as C5XW in The Gambia from the 28th of January to the 7th of February. Activity will be mainly SSB and possibly some CW on 40 to 17m. QSL via the RSGB bureau.

Matteo, IZ4YGS will be active as 9G5GS from Sanzule, Ghana from the 1st to the 26th of February. In his spare time he will operate FT8 and SSB on the 160 to 20m bands. He also plans some USB activity on the QO-100 satellite. QSL via Logbook of The World, eQSL or direct to his home call.

Nando, IT9YRE and Mike, K9AJ will be active as CB0Z from Selkirk Island, SA-101, between the 3rd and the 5th of February. They will operate SSB and CW on the 40, 30, 20, 17 and 15m bands, using vertical antennas and two stations. QSL via Club Log’s OQRS, or via IT9YRE.

Don, VE7DS will be active as E51DDG from Rarotonga in the South Cook Islands, OC-013, between the 2nd and the 14th of February. He will operate CW only on the 40, 30, 20 and 17m bands. QSL via Logbook of The World, or via his home call.

Now the special event news

We’ve received no news of special event stations taking place this week.

Please send special event details to radcom@rsgb.org.uk as early as possible to get your event publicised here on GB2RS, in RadCom, and online.

Now the contest news

The CQ 160m DX contest ends its 48 hour run at 2200UTC today, the 26th. It’s CW only on the 1.8MHz band, and the exchange is signal report and CQ Zone. Note that US stations also send their State, and Canadians send their Province.

The BARTG RTTY Sprint contest ends its 24 hour run at 1200UTC today, the 26th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is simple the serial number of the contact.

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 4-character locator.

Next Sunday, the 2nd of February, the 432MHz AFS contest runs from 0900 to 1300UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Don’t forget that the UK Six Metre Group’s Winter Marathon runs until the end of January, so you have a few days left. There are no specific operating modes or periods. Just work as many locator squares as you can on the 50MHz band.

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

This week saw a decline in Sporadic-E conditions on 10m. This may be due to a repositioning of the jet stream or just the end of the winter Sporadic-E season, but more of that in the VHF section.

On the face of it, last week saw the Sun behaving itself, with zero sunspots. But look a little closer and it has actually been quite active. Two solar events were launched off the Sun’s surface, one on Sunday the 19th, which was preceded by an X-ray solar flare, the other from a coronal hole on Monday the 21st. There was a slight increase in the solar wind at times this week due to the coronal hole’s solar wind stream. This pushed the Kp index to three.

Next week, NOAA predicts the solar flux index will remain around 72, with mainly settled geomagnetic conditions. The Kp index is predicted to remain around two, at least until the first of February when an unsettled region of the Sun rotates back into view.

The most interesting propagation this week has been on the low bands, notably Top Band and 80 metres. Derek, G3RAU reports on the CDXC reflector that he worked Mexico on 80m at 0900UTC, while Chris, G3SJJ worked NA5G in Louisiana on 160m at 0745UTC. Victor, G3JNB reports working JT5DX in Mongolia on 80m in the late evening. The JT5 station has also been active on 160 metres.

This really is an optimum time of year for low band DXing, so keep an eye on 160, 80 and 40 metres, especially around dawn for DX from the west. The DX net around 3.795MHz every morning is always a good test of your station’s 80m DX capabilities.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

It’s goodbye to the high pressure as we go through this weekend and the Atlantic weather systems start to move in from the west. This will set up a very unsettled period of weather again during most of the week with strong winds, especially in the north, but also in southern areas at times.

As for propagation, there should be some GHz bands rain scatter options as squally fronts cross the country, and from scattered showers in the unstable westerly flow which follows the cold fronts.

Although high pressure remains over the southern half of the continent, it will be well out of reach from most of the UK and Tropo is unlikely to be a feature of propagation this week.

It’s always just possible for out of season Sporadic-E, and the jet stream over the UK is likely to strengthen again next week. If this were high summer it would be a very positive steer, but in mid-winter it’s not a good prospect, except perhaps for paths to Scandinavia and the Baltic if you are really lucky.

Moon declination is rising this week, going positive on Thursday. Apogee is on Thursday, so it is not a great week for EME due to high path losses. 144MHz sky noise is low.

There are no major meteor showers this week so continue to look for random QSOs in the early morning around dawn.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for January 19th 2020.

January 17th, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 19th January 2020

 

The news headlines:

  • Volunteer as a Regional Representative

  • New member of Exam & Syllabus Review Group

  • Teams section launched on RSGB website

 

Are you an RSGB Member living in Regions 2, 5, 7, 11, 12 or 13? If you want to make a difference in your Region and volunteer as a Regional Representative, remember that you need to submit your application before the 31st of January. This applies to those who are standing for re-election as well as Members who want to apply for the first time. Further information about all roles in the RSGB elections can be found on the Society’s website at www.rsgb.org/election.

At the end of last year, the RSGB announced the formation of the new Examination and Syllabus Review Group, the ESRG, and three vacancies within that Group. The Society is now pleased to announce that Tony Jones, G7ETW, has joined the group. Tony is an experienced tutor and will also be known to readers of Practical Wireless as a regular contributor to training-related articles. There are still two vacancies to fill; you can find out more from the RSGB website ESRG pages or the volunteers page, www.rsgb.org/volunteers

In the October 2019 RadCom, Board Director Philip Willis, M0PHI explained how the RSGB was updating the way in which staff members and volunteers work together to carry out the activities of the Society and to achieve its Strategy 2022 priorities. The Society has grouped these activities and specialist volunteers into five new teams and has launched a new section on its website for them: Innovation, Operating, Learning, Representation and Support. Go to www.rsgb.org/teams to find the right people to contact for help and advice.

An AM QSO Party takes place between 0600UTC on the 25th and 1200UTC on the 26th of January. This is not a 5/9 contest and aims to encourage QSOs and conversation, however points can be gained and certificates awarded. Full details of the AM QSO Party can be found at https://amqsoparty.wixsite.com/mysite

Key messages from the RSGB Volunteer Leadership Team meeting on the 16th of November are now online at tinyurl.com/GB2RS-1901A

Following updates to the Amateur Radio Regulations in the Falkland Islands, there is a need to revalidate all Falkland Island amateur radio callsigns. In order to do that, all users will be required to reapply for authority to use Falkland Island callsigns.

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

We have no details of rallies in January. The first couple of the year will be the Barry ARS Table Top Sale on the 1st of February and the South Essex ARS Canvey Rally on the 2nd of February.

Please send details of your rally and event plans as soon as possible to radcom@rsgb.org.uk – we give you valuable publicity online, in RadCom and on GB2RS, all for free.

And now the DX news from 425 DX News and other sources

Roland, F8EN will be active as FR/F8EN from Reunion Island, IOTA reference AF-016, from the 23rd of January to the 18th of February. He will operate CW only on the HF bands. QSL via F6AJA either direct or via the bureau.

Janusz, SP9FIH will be active from Norfolk Island, OC-005 until the 12th of April. He will use the callsign VK9NK on SSB, RTTY and FT8. QSLs go via Club Log OQRS.

Jean-Pierre, F6ITD will be active as FG/F6ITD and TO7D from La Desirade, Guadeloupe, NA-102, until the 9th of March. He plans to operate SSB and digital modes on all bands. QSLs are preferred via Logbook of The World.

Dirk, WA4DT will be active as WA4DT/HR9 from Roatan Island, NA-057, until the 2nd of February. He will operate CW and FT8 on the 40 and 30m bands. QSL direct to his home call.

Slovenian operators S50X, S51V, S52P, S54W, S56DX, S56N, S57DX and S59A will be active on all bands and modes as IG9/homecall from Lampedusa Island, AF-019, between the 21st and 27th of January. QSL via home calls.

Rich, W4GKR will be active holiday style as TI5/W4GKR from Costa Rica until the 4th of February. He will operate digital modes and possibly slow CW on the 160 to 6m bands. QSL via his home call.

Now the special event news

Members of the Russian Robinson Club will operate the special event station R200ANT to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the discovery of Antarctica. The station will be on the air until the 31st of March. Listeners are asked to note that the event station is located in Russia and not Antarctica.

Please send special event details to radcom@rsgb.org.uk as early as possible. We have not received special event station info from Ofcom in recent months so you MUST let us know to get your event publicised here on GB2RS, in RadCom, and online.

Now the contest news

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.

Next weekend, the CQ 160m DX contest runs from 2200UTC on the 24th to 2200UTC on the 26th. It’s CW only on the 1.8MHz band and the exchange is signal report and CQ Zone. Note that US stations also send their State and Canadians send their Province.

The BARTG RTTY Sprint contest runs from 1200UTC on the 25th to 1200UTC on the 26th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands the exchange is simply the serial number of the contact.

Don’t forget that the UK Six Metre Group’s Winter Marathon runs until the end of January. There are no specific operating modes or periods. Just work as many locator squares as you can on the 50MHz band.

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

We had another pretty uneventful week with zero sunspots, but no major geomagnetic disturbances. The K index rose to three on Thursday morning due to the effects of the solar wind, but the ionosphere was otherwise calm geomagnetically.

We said last week that there had been some winter Sporadic-E, which had livened up 10 metres. We also said there had been no SSB activity of note on the band and was promptly corrected by Tony, M0IQD who sent a copy of his log. This showed that he made more than 15 SSB contacts on the 8th of January, including Norway, Sweden, Poland, Germany and even VO1FOG in Newfoundland. Keep an eye open around 28.450 to 28.495MHz for SSB openings. He also suggested that the Facebook group 10 Metre UK Net was a useful tool for 10m operators. We’re only too happy to pass that information on.

Next week NOAA predicts the solar flux index will be in the range 70-72, reflecting the current state of the solar cycle. It also predicts quiet geomagnetic conditions all week, so the ionosphere should be settled and showing seasonal norms in terms of propagation.

According to Propquest, daytime critical frequencies as measured by the Chilton digisonde are generally in the range 4.1 to 5.3MHz. This suggests that 80m remains best for inter-G contacts, with 40m being restricted to longer paths such as G to GM. Night-time critical frequencies are generally around 3.1 to 3.6 MHz, so 80m propagation may be marginal over shorter distances, but better over 500km or more.

Daytime F2 layer openings are generally up to 18MHz, with the 20-metre band being more reliable.

Weather charts show that the jet stream will remain strong over the UK and Europe next week, which may be an indicator for winter Sporadic-E, although the season may be ending – more of this in the VHF section.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

High pressure has started to reassert itself over southern Britain and improved Tropo conditions will probably kick in from today into early next week. Paths into the continent and south past Portugal towards the Canaries might be worth a look, in view of recent performances. This positive Tropo pattern could hold into midweek, but thereafter the models show a collapse of the high back towards the Azores, allowing room for a colder north-westerly to bring stronger winds and a risk of some wintry weather across eastern areas. But other models confine the cold outbreak to the northern half of the UK only.

There is always scope for some winter Sporadic-E and the jet stream pattern may favour paths into Western Europe and the western Mediterranean, particularly for digital modes like FT8, but it could also be worth checking for CW and SSB on 10m too.

The cold northwesterly with its wintry showers may excite the GHz fraternity towards the latter part of next week as heavy showers move down the North Sea and the Irish Sea, bringing some rain scatter propagation. The good thing about winter rain scatter is that the showers are not diurnal like in summer and usually maintain activity throughout the day and night.

Moon declination is negative and reaching a minimum on Thursday. Path losses continue to rise all week, and the very high 144MHz sky noise midweek means it’s a poor week for EME.

There are no major meteor showers this week, so continue to look for random QSOs in the early morning around dawn.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for January 12th 2020.

January 10th, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 12th January 2020

 

The news headlines:

  • First Tunisian licences in 6 decades

  • Intruder Watcher DK2OM retires

  • IET Wiring Reg changes affect Syllabus

 

The IARU reports that the first three Authorisations to Operate have been issued to three Tunisian amateurs. These are the first amateur permits issued since 1956. 3V8HB, 3V8MN and 3V1MB will soon be on the air from their homes, rather than being restricted to operating from a club station. Issuing individual authorisations to operate is a new process in Tunisia and involves a number of stages, including equipment conformity checks. This is great news for Tunisians that the process now exists so that radio amateurs can practice their hobby from homes in full compliance with the Tunisian Laws. The IARU Member Society ARAT extends its thanks to the National Agency of Frequencies, the Ministry of Telecommunications and all involved parties for making this happen.

After many years involvement in monitoring intruders on the amateur bands, Wolf Hadel, DK2OM, has decided to retire at the end of 2019. His work stretching back over 30 years first with DARC and, since 2005, for IARU Region 1, has been recognised with an IARU Diamond Award. Region 1 Vice-Coordinator Peter, HB9CET will take up the role on an interim basis until the Region 1 Conference in October.

Changes to The IET Wiring Regulations, BS7671, which are now at the 18th edition, affect syllabus item 8A2 in the Safety section of the amateur radio examination syllabus. There is a notice at www.rsgb.org/electricalsafety that explains more – and it’s relevant to all three exam levels.

Last week we told you about Ian, GM3SEK setting a new 70cm world record distance of 4,565km on tropo on the 28th of December. The record didn’t stand for long as Nick, G4KUX worked D21CV using FT8, establishing a new world record of 4644km. Congratulations to him. You will be able to read more about the excellent VHF conditions in the February edition of RadCom in the VHF UHF column. Any reports you may have for the column can be sent to radcom@rsgb.org.uk.

The RSGB is looking for people to step forward for election at the RSGB AGM. There are vacancies for two elected Board Directors and six Regional Representatives. Full details of the nominations process can be found at www.rsgb.org/election. The deadline for your nomination is the 31st of January.

To mark the 60th anniversary of the Republic of Cyprus members of the Cyprus Amateur Radio Society may use the prefix 5B60 during 2020 instead of the usual 5B4 prefix.

The latest IARU Monitoring System newsletter for Region 1 is now available from www.iaru-r1.org. It contains detailed reports from the national coordinators within IARU Region, including the UK report compiled by Richard, G4DYA. In his report you can see where the Russian Kontayner Over The Horizon radar is appearing on the 40m band and the occasional broadcast station that appeared on the wrong part of the band.

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

We have no details of rallies in January. The first couple of the year will be the Barry ARS Table Top Sale on the 1st of February and the South Essex ARS Canvey Rally on the 2nd of February.

Please send details of your rally and event plans as soon as possible to radcom@rsgb.org.uk – we give you valuable publicity online, in RadCom and on GB2RS, all for free.

And now the DX news from 425 DX News and other sources

Sergey, RX3AMY will be active as 8Q7MA from the Maldives until the 23rd of January. This is a holiday-style operation and he will be mainly on 40 and 20m SSB.

Jean, FG8NY, will be active with the special callsign TO10CWO from Saint Claude, Basse Terre Island in Guadeloupe, IOTA reference NA-102, between the 17th and the 31st of January. Activity is to celebrate 10th anniversary of CW Ops Club. Operations will be on various HF bands on CW. QSL via FG8NY.

PP2OK, PY6ZK, PU6JEL and PY6TV will be active as ZW6C from Tinhare Island, SA-080, between the 16th and 19th of January. Activity will be on the 40, 20 and 10m bands using CW and SSB.

Janusz, SP9FIH will be active as VK9NK from Norfolk Island, OC-005, between the 12th of January and the 12th of April. He will operate SSB, RTTY and FT8 in Fox & Hound mode on the 160 to 10m bands. QSL via Club Log’s OQRS or via SP9FIH.

Now the special event news

John, M0XIG will operate GB200FN until the 3rd of February to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale. QSL direct to M0XIG.

The British Amateur Radio Teledata Group is celebrating its diamond anniversary. Members of the Group will be active as GB60ATG until June 2020. More information can be found at bartg.org.uk.

Please send special event details to radcom@rsgb.org.uk as early as possible. We have not received special event station info from Ofcom in recent months so you MUST let us know to get your event publicised here on GB2RS, in RadCom, and online.

Now the contest news

Today, the 12th, the Datamodes AFS takes place from 1300 to 1700UTC. Using the 3.5 and 7MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

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

On Tuesday the 70MHz UK Activity Contest runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

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

Also on Saturday the SSB AFS contest runs from 1300 to 1700UTC. Using SSB only on the 3.5 and 7MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

Don’t forget that the UK Six Metre Group’s Winter Marathon and runs until the end of January. There are no specific operating modes or periods. Just work as many locator squares as you can on the 50MHz band.

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

Having predicted in last week’s broadcast that there would be no geomagnetic disturbances, we did in fact have two periods with an elevated Kp index this week. The first occurred on the 5th January, when the Kp index hit four. This was due to the impact of the solar wind. The Kp index rose again to four on Thursday the 9th, again due to the effects of a high-speed solar wind stream from a large geo-effective coronal hole.

On Thursday a new spot was seen forming in the Sun’s north-east quadrant. This event, coupled with other recent reports of new solar cycle 25 sunspots, suggest that the cycle is starting to get under way. The next few months should give us a better idea of how it is progressing. Andy, M0NKR reports that he has now worked more than 100 countries since January 1, so there is DX to be had on HF!

Meanwhile, ten metres was alive this week due to winter Sporadic-E. An opening at lunchtime on the 8th saw short-skip path openings on FT8 to Germany, Slovenia, Croatia, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Finland and others. More on this in the VHF report. Interestingly, there were no CW or SSB signals on the band at this time. This just goes to show that you shouldn’t write 10m off at this time of year.

Next week NOAA predicts the solar flux index will remain around 70, with mainly quiet geomagnetic conditions. We may have a geomagnetic disturbance on the 14th and 15th which could see the Kp index rise to four again. As always, look out for a pre-auroral enhancement at the beginning of the disturbance, but as it progresses expect to see lowered maximum usable frequencies and noisy bands.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

As we recover from the excesses of Christmas Tropo and start a New Year, the weather continues to provide some interest. Firstly, the northern half of the country will be dominated by deep Atlantic lows, which will mean strong winds at times with rain or snow in the north and a good chance of further episodes of scatter paths on the microwave bands. The south will, for the most part, be on the edge of the main low track and there may just be a chance to link into the high pressure via Tropo, but this doesn’t look like a good option.

Believe it or not, there is still one more roll of the dice for upper HF and VHF propagation and that may indirectly be the result of all this disturbed weather. The jet stream has been very strong, which is typical of winter months and, lying across the UK and northern Europe into Scandinavia, has produced some out-of-season Sporadic-E on 10m and 6m. Always worth a check, but the position of the jet stream and its strength may not be as favourable later in the week.

Moon declination is still positive but declining, going negative again on Thursday. Path losses are at their lowest at perigee on Monday. This and the low 144MHz sky noise means a good week for EME.

We are now entering the winter minimum of meteor activity, with just two more showers before the Lyrids at the end of April. Best opportunities for random QSOs will continue to be in the early morning around dawn.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for January 5th 2020.

January 3rd, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 5th January 2020

 

 

The news headlines:

  • Happy New Year

  • GB3EG now on-air in Wigan

  • New Tropo records on 2m and 70cm

 

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.

The GB3EG repeater, located in Wigan, is now on the air. It is an analogue repeater with no internet connection activity. The location is at the QTH of 2E0SAF, approximately 200ft above sea level, with a mast 11.5m above ground level. Its RF output is a 7dBW, that’s about five watts but has had some good reports from further afield. It is accessed by 82.5Hz CTCSS tone only, and the operating frequencies are 430.9125MHz and 438.5125MHz with narrow deviation.

Congratulations to Ian, GM3SEK who set a new 70cm world record distance on tropo on the 28th of December by working D41CV at a distance of 4,565km. That put him in the unique position of holding both EME and tropo records on that band as, back on the 12th of March 1989, he worked ZL3AAD at 18,970km. On the 1st of January, Callum, GM0EWX on the Isle of Skye managed to work D41CV on 2m FT8. This now extends the 144MHz IARU Region 1 tropo record to 4,776km.

The new EI1KNH 5 metre beacon is now operational from its site near Enniskerry in County Wicklow. The transmit frequency is 60.013MHz. It shares the site with 70MHz beacon EI4RF and the 50MHz EI0SIX. For additional information please visit the QRZ.com entries.

All amateurs are required to revalidate their licence with Ofcom at least every five years. If it has been a while since you did that, go to www.ofcom.org.uk/manage-your-licence or email spectrum.licensing@ofcom.org.uk. The process doesn’t take very long.

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

We have no details of rallies in January. The first couple of the year will be the Barry ARS Table Top Sale on the 1st of February and the South Essex ARS Canvey Rally on the 2nd of February.

Please send details of your rally and event plans as soon as possible to radcom@rsgb.org.uk – we give you valuable publicity online, in RadCom and on GB2RS, all for free.

And now the DX news from 425 DX News and other sources

Sergey, RX3AMY will be active holiday style as 8Q7BS from the Maldives, IOTA reference AS-013, until the 23rd of January. He will operate SSB and some CW on the 40 and 20m bands. QSL via his home call.

SP3PS will be active as C5SP from The Gambia until the 17th of January. He will operate SSB and FT8/FT4. QSL via his home call and Logbook of The World.

Jon, EA1VE will be active as HC2JKT from Puna Island, SA-034, in Ecuador from the 10th to the 30th of January. He will operate SSB on the 40 to 6m bands. QSL via his home call.

Now the special event news

From Monday until next Sunday, Hilderstone Radio Society will be operating GB1RNLI from the RNLI lifeboat station in Margate.

TM70TAAF will be activated by François, F8DVD from the 12th to the 26th of January. The special callsign commemorates the 70th anniversary of the first amateur radio contacts with French Southern and Austral Territories that took place in January 1950. TM70TAAF will be operated from Mâcon, 60km north of Lyon in France. QSL via the bureau, direct with SASE and Logbook of The World. More information is on QRZ.com.

ARI Fidenza will use a series of special callsigns throughout 2020 to commemorate twelve major events and achievements in Marconi’s life. In January, the callsign will be II4BRN to commemorate his birth in 1874.

Please send special event details to radcom@rsgb.org.uk as early as possible. We have not received special event station info from Ofcom in recent months so you MUST let us know to get your event publicised here on GB2RS, in RadCom, and online.

Now the contest news

The ARRL RTTY Roundup ends its 30-hour run at 2359UTC today, the 5th of January. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands the exchange is signal report and serial number, with US stations sending their State and Canadian stations their Province.

The second session of the EUCW 160m CW Party runs from 0400 to 0700UTC today, the 5th. The exchange depends on whether you are a member of various CW clubs. Details are at www.eucw.org.

On Tuesday the 144MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 1955UTC, using FM only, with the exchange of signal report, serial number and locator. It runs simultaneously with the 144MHz Machine Generated Modes contest, where the exchange is signal report and 4-character locator. This is immediately followed by the all-mode 144MHz UK Activity Contest, which runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. The exchange for this one is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Thursday the 50MHz Machine Generated Mode contest runs from 1900 to 1955UTC. The exchange is signal report and 4-character locator. It is immediately followed by the all-mode 50MHz UK Activity Contest from 2000 to 2230UTC. The exchange for this contest is signal report, serial number and locator.

Next Sunday, the 12th, the Datamodes AFS takes place from 1300 to 1700UTC. Using the 3.5 and 7MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

Don’t forget that the UK Six Metre Group’s Winter Marathon and runs until the end of January. There are no specific operating modes or periods. Just work as many locator squares as you can on the 50MHz band.

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

After the two new Solar Cycle 24 sunspots that appeared last week, we now have another spot developing in the Sun’s south-west quadrant. Don’t get too excited though, as the last two spots soon disappeared and this one might not amount to much either. It is, however, a positive sign that the next cycle is coming, albeit slowly.

Conditions have been settled geomagnetically, which has been good for the ionosphere. Maximum usable frequencies have reached 18MHz at times, although 7 and 14MHz have been more reliable during the day. There have been more interesting signals on the lower bands – 160, 80 and 40m – after dark. January is a good month for propagation on these bands, with the long periods of darkness meaning no D-layer absorption. DX can start to appear on 40m during the late afternoon and may continue throughout the night if the MUF stays high enough. Propquest.co.uk, which shows the results from the Chilton ionosonde, suggests this may be possible at times. Otherwise, NOAA predicts that the solar flux index will remain in the range 70-72 this week, with the Kp index hitting a maximum of two, thanks to a lack of coronal hole activity. This means conditions should remain roughly similar to last week.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

Tropo records tumbled last week with the D41CV team on Cape Verde working British Isles stations on 144 and 432MHz via FT8. On the 31st of December they had a world record 432MHz QSO with GM3SEK at 4621km, then on New Year’s Day worked GM0EWX at 4776km on 144MHz FT8 to break the 144MHz record. Irish Sea tropo coupled into the Azores high tropo region to make the contacts possible. Love it or loathe it, FT8, combined with social media posting of activity has really made these super-tropo paths visible by making people more aware that something is happening.

This exceptional tropo weather has just taken a pause for now, but with high pressure remaining over the continent for much of the coming week, tropo should still be a feature although probably not of the scale of last weekend. The preferred directions will be from southern Britain into northern Europe and again across Biscay to northern Spain. The northern parts of the UK will be rather windy at times as low pressure drives a series of fronts across northern areas and occasionally down into southern Britain. This could provide some rain scatter on the microwave bands.

Moon declination is positive and reaches a peak on Friday so good Moon availability all week. Path losses are falling so EME conditions will improve throughout the week.

The peak of the Quadrantids shower is over but meteor activity will still be above normal, so keep looking for meteor scatter contacts on the VHF bands.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for December 22nd 2019.

December 20th, 2019

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 22nd December 2019

The news headlines:

  • Final GB2RS of the year

  • Last chances to work GB18YOTA

  • RSGB Christmas and New Year opening times

 

This is the final GB2RS news reading for 2019 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 no formal news reading on the 29th of December, although Newsreaders may choose to read the local news for that week. An abbreviated broadcast will resume on Sunday the 5th of January and a full GB2RS service on the 12th.

YOTA Month is gathering pace and the two-day event at the RSGB’s National Radio Centre last weekend was a great success. Today, the 22nd, the Royal Signals Amateur Radio Society at Blandford Camp will operate from 1200 to 1800UTC at the Headquarters Station. There is still time to apply to host the callsign between Christmas and the New Year so email gb19yota@rsgb.org.uk if you would like to take part.

RSGB HQ will close for the Christmas and New Year period from 12 noon on the 24th of December. It opens again at 8.30 am on the 2nd 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 will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Visitors should also note that the NRC will close early, at 3 pm, on New Year’s Eve.

Sweden’s Alexanderson alternator station SAQ has planned a Christmas Eve transmission on 17.2kHz. The transmitter will be tuned up starting at around 0730UTC and a message will be transmitted at 0800UTC. Guests are welcome to attend the transmission at the radio station in Grimeton from 8 am. The Alexander association will arrange Coffee and Christmas cookies, free of charge, and there is no entrance fee. Amateur radio station SK6SAQ will be active on the 24th on 7.035 and 14.035MHz on CW, and 3.755MHz SSB. Two stations will be on the air most of the time.

The TX Factor team is celebrating an important milestone with the release of the 25th Episode of the only TV show dedicated to amateur radio. Bob, G0FGX talks to Eric Swartz, WA6HHQ about the new Elecraft K4 transceiver and Mike, G1IAR finds out about the WQ Weather Radar by Weatherquest. Mike and Bob took a trip to Southampton and Portsmouth to meet a team of radio amateurs who are working with their local emergency planning officer to make their repeaters resilient by using point to point RF links utilising off the shelf kit; there is also some information on the recent ITU World Radiocommunication Conference held in Egypt. Look out for the RSGB explanation on how it represents radio amateurs both nationally and internationally at around 28 minutes into the show. TX Factor is sponsored by the RSGB and Martin Lynch & Sons. Episode 25 is viewable in HD on all devices from smartphones to smart TVs and is available at www.txfactor.co.uk, where you will find all the previous episodes too.

Now for a licence revalidation reminder. All amateurs are required to revalidate their licence with Ofcom at least every five years. If it has been a while since you did that, go to www.ofcom.org.uk/manage-your-licence or email spectrum.licensing@ofcom.org.uk. The process doesn’t take very long.

The GB2RS 5MHz Team has a need for readers on the rota of its Sunday afternoon national broadcast at 1500UTC on 5398.5kHz USB. We would welcome applicants, who should contact the RSGB’s GB2RS Manager via email to gb2rs.manager@rsgb.org.uk. Note that 5MHz readers need to possess a Full UK amateur radio licence and be RSGB Members.

The RSGB has released a bumper crop of lectures from the 2019 Convention for members to enjoy over the Christmas break. Chris Duckling, G3SVL speaks about Lessons from the 6Gs VK9XG DXpedition including logistics, 160m & FT8 Fox and Hounds mode; Roger Balister, G3KMA and Igor Znamenskiy, UA9KDF talk about the Arctic Legends DXpedition by RI0B to the Russian Polar Arctic; Chris Whitmarsh, G0FDZ talks about 122GHz and up and Elaine Richards, G4LFM explains about Writing for all variants of RadCom. Head to www.rsgb.org/videos to view these and many more.

You may like to take part in Worked All Postcodes, sponsored by Moonraker and assisted by several other dealers. The idea is simple – work as many different postcode areas as you can on 4m, 2m, 70cm and 23cm. The award website is www.amateur-radio.co.uk.

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

On the 29th of December, the Yeovil ARC Christmas Rally will be held in Davis Hall, West Camel, Yeovil, Somerset, BA22 7QX. Doors open from 10 am and 2 pm. There are light refreshments available and plenty of free parking. The event has been sponsored by Lindars Radio. More from Bob Harris on 01963 440 167 or by email towjh069@gmail.com.

Please send details of your 2020 rally and event plans as soon as possible to radcom@rsgb.org.uk.

And now the DX news from 425 DX News and other sources

Kasimir, DL2SBY will be active as HB0/DL2SBY from Liechtenstein until the 28th of December. He will operate SSB, CW and digital modes on the 80 to 10m bands. QSL via his home call direct only. The log will be uploaded to Logbook of The World and Club Log.

Several operators from the Holy Land DX Group will be active as 4X9R from the UNESCO World Heritage site of Beit Shearim on the 27th and 28th of December. They will operate CW and SSB, with two stations on the 80 to10m bands. QSL via 4Z5LA

Oleh, KD7WPJ will be active as CE0Y/UR5BCP from Easter Island, IOTA reference SA-001, from the 26th to the 31st of December. He will operate SSB, CW, FT8 & FT4 on the 60 to 6m bands. QSL via KD7WPJ, either direct or via the bureau; his digital QSOs will be uploaded to Logbook of The World.

Antonio, EA5RM will use HC3AGT while in Loja, Ecuador until the 5th of January 2020. In his spare time, he operates SSB and digital modes on the 40 to 10m bands. QSL via his home call.

Col, MM0NDX operating as TF/OJ0Y and Jonathan, MM0OKG operating as TF/MM0OKG will be active from Iceland, EU-021 from the 31st of December to the 2nd of January. They will operate CW, SSB and FT8 on the 80 to 20m bands, and possibly on 160m. QSL via Logbook of the World for both and additionally via EB7DX for Col.

Now the special event news

Royal Signals ARS are pleased to host GB19YOTA at their Headquarters Station G4RS in Blandford Camp, Blandford, Dorset on today, the 22nd of December. Activity will be from 12 noon to 6 pm and HF and VHF operation on SSB, CW and FT8 is planned. Visitors are welcome but please note, as it is located on the Royal Signals Camp a photo ID such as a passport or driving licence is required for all adults visiting the station.

Please send special event details to radcom@rsgb.org.uk as early as possible. We have not received special event station info from Ofcom in recent months so you MUST let us know to get your event publicised here on GB2RS, in RadCom, and online.

Now the contest news

The Christmas Cumulatives take place from 1400UTC on the 26th to 1600UTC on the 29th of December. Using all modes on the 50 to 432MHz bands, the exchange is a signal report, serial number and locator.

The Worked All Britain Christmas Party runs from the 26th of December to the 6th of January. Using all modes on all contest bands, the exchange is just your WAB book number.

On The 26th, the DARC Christmas Party runs from 0830 to 1100UTC. Using CW and SSB on the 3.5 to 7MHz contest bands, the exchange is a signal report and serial number. German stations also send DOK or NM.

The Stew Perry Topband Challenge runs from 1500UTC on the 28th to 1500UTC on the 29th of December. It’s CW only and the exchange is your 4-character Locator square.

On the 1st of January, the IRTS 80m Counties Contest runs from 1500 to 1700UTC. Using SSB and CW, the exchange is a signal report and serial number. EI and GI stations also send their County.

Also on the 1st, but from 2000 to 2100UTC, the UK EI Contest Club Contest is SSB-only on the 80m band. The exchange is your 4-character locator.

The ARRL RTTY Roundup takes place from 1800UTC on the 4th to 2359UTC on the 5th of January. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands the exchange is a signal report and serial number, with US stations sending their State and Canadian stations their Province.

Finally, in this bumper session, the EUCW 160m CW Party takes place from 2000 to 2230UTC on the 4th of January.

Don’t forget that the UK Six Metre Group’s Winter Marathon and runs until the end of January. There are no specific operating modes or periods. Just work as many locator squares as you can on the 50MHz band.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 20th of December 2019.

We have a slightly different twist on the HF propagation report this week. At Christmas, we usually help you work the Father Christmas special event station in Lapland, but we are not sure if it is active this year. Instead, there are seven special Christmas stations operating in Spain until the 6th of January 2020. These are AO1XMA, AO2XMA, AO3XMA, AO4XMA, AO5XMA, AO7XMA, and AO8XMA. These are all a fairly easy one-hop distance away from the UK. During daylight hours rsgb.org.uk/predtest forecasts that 7MHz and 10MHz may be the best bands for a contact. Twenty metres, or the 14MHz band, may also offer opportunities around the middle of the day. After sunset the MUF on this path drops to around 5-5.5MHz, so 80m or the 3.5MHz band may provide the best chance.

At the time this report was prepared, we were not too sure exactly where the stations are located. All are listed as being organised by Federacion Digital EA in Barcelona. As Spain is quite large, it could be that propagation on the higher bands favours any station located in the south of Spain.

NOAA predicts a solar flux index of 70 for the next two weeks and reasonably-settled geomagnetic conditions with a Kp index of two. The disruption seen on Thursday 19th should quieten as Earth leaves the high-speed solar wind stream from a coronal hole.

There is the potential for a new sunspot that has been seen forming in the north-west quadrant on the Sun. But this may have completely disappeared by the time this report is being read out, so don’t get your hopes up!

And now the VHF and up propagation news

The weather models diverge markedly by the middle of next week. Starting with the period that remains in-step, which takes us through this weekend and up to Christmas, we have low pressure in the vicinity of northern Britain eventually drifting into the North Sea by Christmas. This will mean rain or showers and perhaps some rain scatter on the microwave bands, but little sign of tropo.

However, one of the models produces a reasonable high over the country by Christmas Day, which tries to hang on nearby the UK to the end of the week. This could bring some slightly enhanced tropo, although it’s forming in cold air and may only provide limited lift conditions, but at least it’s a chance.

The other model evolution retains the low-pressure story, so no tropo and a dominant low over the nearby Atlantic keeping the weather breezy and with rain in the west and north, so the rain scatter theme persists.

There are continuing signs of a quite strong jet stream activity over southern Britain and the near continent, which in the summer is usually a shoo-in for Sporadic-E. In the winter it’s much less common, but not entirely without hope, especially for digital modes on 10m and perhaps up to 6m if we’re really lucky.

Moon declination is negative and falling further this week so Moon availability will reduce. Perigee was last week so path losses will continue to rise. The 144MHz sky temperature will be high, leading to Thursday morning which sees the Moon and Sun very close.

There is just the small Ursids meteor shower peaking tomorrow, but the massive Quadrantids shower gets underway on Friday leading up to its 110 zenithal hourly rate peak over the third and fourth of January.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for December 15th 2019.

December 13th, 2019

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 15th December 2019

 

The news headlines:

  • RSGB Christmas opening times

  • RadCom Basics out now

  • Happy birthday GB3BS

 

RSGB HQ will close for the Christmas and New Year period from 12 noon on the 24th of December. It opens again at 8.30am on the 2nd 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 10am on Friday the 20th of December. The deadline for overseas orders has passed. Don’t forget to use your RSGB Members voucher against any purchase. The RSGB’s National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Visitors should also note that the NRC will close early, at 3pm, on New Year’s Eve.

A new edition of RadCom Basics is now out. RSGB Members can read it today by going to www.rsgb.org/radcom-basics, where you can also register to receive notification of subsequent issues as they become available.

Repeater GB3BS is celebrating its 10th year at the Lansdown site, IO81TK. After more than 30 years of continuous operation at Cossham Hospital, it was moved on the 19th of December 2009 to make way for a multi-million-pound refurbishment of the Grade 2 listed hospital building that had been its home for so long. GB3BS is also celebrating its 43rd year of operation serving Bristol and surrounding area. The GB3BS repeater group believe it was ether the second or third UHF repeater to be licensed in the UK, so happy birthday GB3BS!

YOTA Month is in full swing and thanks to local clubs, schools and Scout groups it has already introduced large numbers of youngsters to amateur radio. Flight Refuelling ARS in Wimborne had seven young people involved in their activation. Two were already licenced and they hope at least two of the visitors will be future Foundation candidates. This weekend, the 14th and 15th of December, the RSGB’s National Radio Centre is hosting the callsign. Do take young family or club members to take part in this event. RSGB Members can download their free Bletchley Park entrance voucher from www.rsgb.org/bpvoucher. On Tuesday and Thursday, M0WHP will operate from 1800 to 2359UTC and G0MFR will do the same on Wednesday. On Friday and Saturday, a multi young operator activity, supervised by M0SDV, will take place over 48 hours. Next Sunday, the 22nd, the Royal School of Signals will operate from 1200 to 1800UTC.

The reports, presentations and minutes from the recent 2019 RSGB Spectrum Forum annual meeting are now available. The material provides a unique overview on a wide range of topics from EMC, HF to VHF and microwaves from both the Society and Nationally Affiliated Groups. This year’s meeting included an overview of the results of the 2019 World Radio Conference and recent changes and concerns regarding callsigns and licence revalidation. The reports are online at www.rsgb.org/sfmeeting2019.

There will be no GB2RS news script for Sunday the 29th of December. Newsreaders are of course free to run a net under their own callsign on their normal transmission slot. An abbreviated script will be prepared for Sunday the 5th of January for those newsreaders who are able to read on that day. Normal service will resume on the 12th of January. The RSGB would like to take the opportunity to thank all the GB2RS news reading volunteers for their service to the amateur community throughout the year.

Two more videos from the 2019 RSGB Convention will shortly be released to Members. First is a recording of Dean Pesnell speaking via Skype about the Solar Dynamics Observatory, SDO, the Sun and the Ionosphere. The second video is RSGB EMC Committee members John Rogers, M0JAV and David Lauder, G0SNO delivering an EMC workshop. Both will be available at rsgb.org/videos, where you will already find many more from this and previous RSGB Conventions.

Over the Christmas period there are fewer contests than usual so you may like to take part in Worked All Postcodes, sponsored by Moonraker and assisted by several other dealers. The idea is simple – work as many different postcode areas as you can on 4m, 2m, 70cm and 23cm. Activity nights are on Wednesdays but contacts on any day are valid. The award website is www.amateur-radio.co.uk.

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

We have no more rallies or events listed for 2019. Please send details of your 2020 rally and event plans as soon as possible to radcom@rsgb.org.uk.

And now the DX news from 425 DX News and other sources

Tony, 3D2AG expects to be active as 3D2AG/p from Rotuma, IOTA reference OC-060, starting around the 17th of December and continuing until mid-January 2020. He plans to operate CW, RTTY, FT8 and SSB on the 160 to 6m bands. He will have no internet access while on the island. QSL direct to 3D2AG or Club Log’s OQRS for FT8 only.

Rudi, DB1RUL will be active holiday style as FK/DB1RUL from Ouvea Island, OC-033, in New Caledonia from the 18th to 21st of December, and from Ile des Pins, OC-032, from the 23 to the 27th of December. QSL via home call, either direct or bureau and Logbook of The World.

Joshua, W9HT will be active as HC5JLT from Ecuador between the 15th and the 21st of December. He will operate SSB, CW and digital modes on the HF bands and 6m. QSL via home call.

Ron, PP2RON will be active holiday style as PY6/PP2RON from Itaparica Island, SA-023, from the 20th of December to the 1st of January. He will operate SSB, CW and maybe FT8 on the 80 to 6m bands. QSL via his home call.

Seba, SQ1SGB expects to be active as VP8HAL from the Halley VI Research Station, Antarctica until the 8th of February 2020. In his spare time he will operate SSB plus FT8 and JT65 on the 40 and 20m bands. QSL via EB7DX.

Now the special event news

CN19JIM will be active on the 21st and 22nd of December from Imlil in the High Atlas mountain range of Morocco. The callsign’s suffix translates to International Mountain Day. QSL via RW6HS.

DL250BTHVN will be active from Bonn on the 16th and 17th of December 2020, helping mark Beethoven Anniversary Year.

Please send special event details to radcom@rsgb.org.uk as early as possible. We have not received special event station info from Ofcom in recent months so you MUST let us know to get your event publicised here on GB2RS, in RadCom, and online.

Now the contest news

The 2nd Machine Generated Mode contest ends its 24 hours at 1400UTC today, the 15th. Using 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 15th. The exchange is signal report and serial number, with USA 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 it’s the turn of the 70MHz UK Activity Contest, also from 2000 to 2230UTC. It’s also all modes with the exchange signal report, serial number and locator.

The UK Six Metre Group’s Winter Marathon and runs until the end of January. There are no specific operating modes or periods. Just work as many locator squares as you can on the 50MHz band.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 13th of December 2019.

This week NOAA and NASA produced their latest forecast for the upcoming solar cycle. It predicts that we will be at solar minimum in April 2020, plus or minus six months. We should therefore begin to see a slow rise in new cycle sunspots towards the end of 2020. It says the next cycle is likely to be similar to the last one and will peak in July 2025, plus or minus eight months, with a smoothed sunspot number of 115. This is not exactly exciting, but is roughly line with how solar cycle 24 performed. Cycle 24 peaked in April 2014 with an average sunspot number of 82. More importantly it says there is no indication of an approaching Maunder-type minimum.

This last week was characterised by quiet geomagnetic conditions with a maximum Kp index of three. There were no sunspots and the solar flux index hovered between 70 and 72. Next week NOAA predicts unsettled geomagnetic conditions between the 18th and the 21st due to coronal hole activity. Needless to say the solar flux index will remain around 70, reflecting a lack of sunspots.

Daytime critical frequencies as measured by the Chilton Digisonde are currently in the range of 4.8-6.1MHz, which makes 40m difficult for short skip. Maximum usable frequencies over a 3,000km path are reaching 18MHz at times, with occasional openings up to 21MHz. But you may find the 14MHz band more reliable.

Eighty metres should remain open to both short-skip and DX during the night, after a short dip just after sunset. By 1830 UTC the F layer should stabilise and the band may become more usable, especially for paths over 100km.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

The coming week shows that we once again have predominantly low-pressure systems over the UK, mostly centred over the north of Britain or even further to the north. This will mean several occasions when there could be some rain scatter on the microwave bands to chase down.

For completeness we need to consider Tropo, but with a total absence of high-pressure areas, it is unlikely to feature much during the next week.

Something of a wild card next. Winter Sporadic-E is not unknown, and with a strong set of jet streams over the country during the first part of the week, it is just possible that a check on the clusters may reveal some unseasonal Sporadic-E on bands like 10m and 6m, particularly on the digital modes like FT8. It may also lead to some good days on the HF bands for short-skip paths on, say 20m, and perhaps give some boosted local net propagation on LF bands like 80m, long after the foF2 has dipped below 3.5MHz.

We are now just past the peak of the Geminids meteor shower on Saturday night, but there may still be some activity for the meteor scatter folk into the coming week as the shower tails off. That is until the Ursids shower starts to become dominant from around the middle of the week, peaking on the Sunday through Monday. Although not a large shower, there have been occasional meteor numbers beyond that normally expected, so it might be worth waiting up for.

Now to EME. The moon will be waning throughout this week. As the moon also moves closer to perigee by mid-week, its closest point to the Earth, this will mean low path loss. Sky noise also reaches its lowest at mid-week, so with low libration, the overall prospects for EME operation look very good.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for December 8th 2019.

December 6th, 2019

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 8th December 2019

 

The news headlines:

  • GB2RS Christmas schedule

  • YOTA month news

  • Sweden discontinuing 2.3 & 3.4GHz permits

 

Due to the way Christmas and New Year falls there will be no GB2RS News script for Sunday the 29th of December. An abbreviated script will be prepared for Sunday the 5th of January for those newsreaders who are able to read that day. Normal service will resume on the 12th of January. The RSGB would like to take the opportunity to thank all the GB2RS news reading volunteers for their service to the amateur community throughout the year.

YOTA Month is in full swing and thanks to local clubs, schools and Scout groups it has already introduced large numbers of youngsters to amateur radio. Hilderstone Radio Society used GB19YOTA to give 40 children aged 7 to 8 the chance to speak to Santa and chat to him about what they would like for Christmas. This weekend an event hosted by Nick, G4FAL will bring together youngsters to get on the air for YOTA Month. Next weekend, the 14th to 15th of December, the RSGB’s National Radio Centre will host the callsign. The Society’s Youth Champion and members of the RSGB Youth Team will be there to welcome any young people who want to find out more about amateur radio, pass greetings messages on the air and try their hand at Morse code. Do take your young family or club members along to take part in this event. RSGB Members can download their free Bletchley Park entrance voucher from www.rsgb.org/bpvoucher.

Amateurs in Sweden have been able to apply for Temporary Permits to allow operation in 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz bands. Their regulator, the PTS, has announced these Temporary Permits will no longer be issued from the 1st of January 2020. The reason is 5G. Swedish amateurs are presently permitted by their regulations to run a maximum of 100mW output in the 2400-2450MHz band.

Following a tutors’ Syllabus 2019 presentation on software-defined radio earlier in the year, the RSGB has now been able to publish three short videos to help tutors teach this aspect of the new Syllabus. The presentations were videoed by members of the exam team to accompany the PowerPoint slides that have been available on the Society’s website for several months. The RSGB hopes that the expert explanations and commentary by Alan Betts, G0HIQ will be of great value to club tutors. The videos can be found at www.rsgb.org/syllabus2019-updates.

The UK and other member states have made investments that mean the European Space Agency has re-confirmed that all astronauts from the class of 2009, including Tim Peake, will return to the International Space Station before 2024. The timings will be confirmed by ESA in due course.

There’s still time to book onto the Introduction to Amateur Radio workshop, which will take place on Saturday the 14th of December at Bletchley Park. Open to anyone aged 17 or over, it will provide an insight into the world of amateur radio through talks, videos and demonstrations. Go to www.bletchleypark.org.uk/whats-on for more information and to book.

For a bit of fun as we approach the festive season, you can use sightings of The International Space Station as it orbits the Earth to impress friends and family. And if you want to pretend its Santa’s sleigh practising before the big day, and then again out delivering presents on Christmas Eve, then you should be able to if it isn’t cloudy. You can use an ISS tracker app on your phone or go to https://spotthestation.nasa.gov/ and sign up for email alerts or text messages when the ISS is going to fly overhead.

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

We have no more rallies or events listed for 2019. Please send details of your 2020 rally and event plans as soon as possible to radcom@rsgb.org.uk.

And now the DX news from 425 DX News and other sources

Tev, TA1HZ will be active as 4L/TA1HZ from Georgia between the 13th and the 20th of December. He will operate from 4L6QC's QTH, with main activity on the lower bands using FT8 and FT4. QSL via Logbook of The World, or direct to TA1HZ.

Matt, IZ4YGS will be operating from Sanzule in Ghana until the 28th of December. He is using the callsign 9G5GS on all bands from 160 to 15m using FT8 and SSB. QSL to his home call.

John, W5JON will return to his home on St Kitts island, OPTA reference NA-104, for a few days between the 10th and the 19th of December. He plans to be on the air as V47JA. QSL direct and QSOs are uploaded regularly to Logbook of The World.

The annual 6V1A expedition to the island of Goree, AF-045, will take place between the 13th and the 15th of December. Activity will be on various bands using SSB and CW. QSL via Logbook of The World.

Now the special event news

On Monday and Tuesday, from 1200 to 1800UTC, GB19YOTA will be operated by M0XDX and M0NCG, and Wednesday sees Flight Refuelling ARS operating from 1800 to 2359UTC. On Thursday and Friday, the callsign moves to Wales under the supervision on GW1YQM from 1800 to 2359UTC each day. Next weekend, the 14th and 15th, sees the callsign operating from the RSGB National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park from 0930 to 1600UTC. A full list of those participating throughout the month is on the GB19YOTA page on QRZ.com.

Please send special event details to radcom@rsgb.org.uk as early as possible. We have not received special event station info from Ofcom in recent months so you MUST let us know to get your event publicised on GB2RS, in RadCom and online.

Now the contest news

The ARRL 160m contest ends its 42-hour run at 1600UTC today, the 8th. It’s CW-only and the exchange is your signal report, with US and Canadian stations also sending their ARRL or RAC section number.

Today, the 8th, the 144MHz AFS contest runs from 1000 to 1600UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

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

On Thursday the 50MHz Machine Generated Mode Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2000UTC with an exchange of a signal report and your 4-character locator. It is immediately followed by the all-mode 50MHz UK Activity Contest from 2000 to 2230UTC. The exchange for this contest is signal report, serial number and locator.

Next weekend the 2nd Machine Generated Mode contest runs for 24 hours from 1400UTC on the 14th to 1400UTC on the 15th. Using the 50 and 144MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and your 4-character locator.

Also next weekend, but running for 48 hours, the ARRL 10m contest runs from 0000UTC on the 14th to 2359UTC on the 15th. The exchange is signal report and serial number, with USA stations sending their State code and Canadians their Province code.

The UK Six Metre Group’s Winter Marathon and runs until the end of January. There are no specific operating modes or periods. Just work as many locator squares as you can on the 50MHz band.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 6th of December 2019.

We had very settled geomagnetic conditions last week with the Kp index not rising above two and often sitting at zero. The solar flux index sat at 70/71, reflecting zero sunspots and a blank Sun.

As we approach mid-Winter it is a good time to concentrate on the lower bands, with both 80 and 160 metres showing good DX potential throughout the night. For short wave listeners, mediumwave also comes alive with the possibility of DX stations from the USA coming in during the early hours. As a start, try listening for station WBBR in New York on 1130khz. This is usually one of the loudest transatlantic stations to be heard.

And don't forget to look out for DX on forty metres, especially around sunset and sunrise.

Next week should see more of the same with NOAA predicting a solar flux index of 70, zero sunspots, but a settled geomagnetic Kp index of two all week. The critical frequency graphs at Propquest.co.uk suggest that 20m will be the main daytime DX band next week, with occasional openings on 17 metres.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

Next Saturday sees the peak of the biggest meteor shower of the year, the Geminids. The shower is already underway and is expected to reach peak activity at around 1900UTC on the 14th of December. With a peak Zenithal Hourly Rate of 120, it promises to produce some excellent meteor scatter QSOs.

Last week saw some good Tropo paths, but the high pressure declined mid-week. The forecast charts show no indication of a return of a high, so Tropo cannot be promised, other than a brief return of a ridge across southern areas at the end of the coming week.

The rest of the country will be predominantly driven by low pressure crossing northern areas from west to east and at times leaving us with a cold northwesterly down the North Sea. At this time of the year, this means that strong convection bringing showers is likely as the cold air flows south across the relatively warm sea. These may be good for rain scatter, so plenty of opportunities for GHz bands operators.

Last week saw a few reports of Sporadic-E, chiefly on digital modes, but also a few paths on the more traditional CW or SSB. This is a good reminder that there is no month with a zero chance of Sporadic-E. In this case, conditions were probably enhanced by strong meteor activity. Meteors provide the ionisation as they burn up entering the upper atmosphere and this can combine with stronger jet streams in the winter months.

The Moon reaches maximum declination on Friday and path losses will fall all week. Combined with a generally low 144MHz sky temperature, it’s a good week for EME.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for December 1st 2019.

November 29th, 2019

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 1st December 2019

 

The news headlines:

  • Falklands get 60m

  • EMC Committee Chair vacancy

  • WSJT-X 2.1.1 released

 

Major changes to the Falklands Islands Communications Laws have been announced by the Falklands Islands Communications Regulator. They were published in the official Falklands Islands Gazette on the 11th of November and came into force on the 15th. One of these changes has resulted in the 60m Secondary allocation becoming available to Falkland Islands radio amateurs. The allocation is 5351.5 to 5366.5kHz, with a maximum power of 25W EIRP.

Dr Martin Sach is standing down as Chair of the RSGB’s EMC Committee at the end of the year. The RSGB is very grateful for all he has done as Chair and for his considerable expertise. This expertise will continue to be available to the Society, as not only will Dr Sach remain a member of the committee but he will also be an EMC Expert Consultant supporting the IARU in its international representation. RSGB Members interested in the vacancy for EMC Chair position will find the Role Description and further information on the Society’s website at www.rsgb.org/volunteers.

The WSJT Development Group has announced the release of WSJT-X version 2.1.1. This is the free software suite that includes the FT4 and FT8 protocols. Version 2.1.1 is a bug-fix release, according to the authors.

Over the entire month of December, many youngsters will become active with YOTA as the suffix in their callsign. The idea for this is to encourage youngsters to be active on amateur radio. GB19YOTA is one of the many stations participating in this initiative. Today, the 1st, the callsign will be operated by M0SDV until 0800UTC, Cambridge University Wireless Society from then to 1600UTC and G0MFR until 2359UTC. On the 2nd Sandringham School Radio Club will operate from 0800 to 1800UTC and M0SDV will take over for the rest of the day. Hilderstone Radio Society will operate from 1200 to 1800UTC on the 3rd and the RNARS station at HMS Collingwood will finish out the day. Hilderstone RS operate again on the 4th from 1200 to 1800UTC followed by Wythall Radio Club. M0XDX and M0NCG take over from 1200 to 1800UTC on the 5th. Then Cambridge University Wireless Society operates from 1200 to 2359UTC on the 6th. Next weekend, for the whole of the 7th and 8th, operating is under the supervision of G4FAL. A full list of those participating throughout the month is on the GB19YOTA page on QRZ.com

There’s still time to book onto the Introduction to Amateur Radio workshop, which will take place on Saturday 14 December at Bletchley Park. Open to anyone aged 17 or over, it will provide an insight into the world of amateur radio through talks, videos and demonstrations. Attendees will gain knowledge on short wave communications including voice, Morse code and digital signal transmissions, and learn how to track satellites and the International Space Station. Pre-booking is essential. Go to www.bletchleypark.org.uk/whats-on for more information and to book.

Are you enthusiastic about promoting and developing the growth of amateur radio? The RSGB Board has split its Training and Education Committee into two parts, one of which is Amateur Radio Development. The ARD activities cover Schools Link, Train the Trainers, the Morse Competency Scheme and Beyond Exams. The RSGB is looking for an enthusiastic volunteer to lead these activities and to play a key role in contributing towards meeting the RSGB’s Strategy 2022 priorities, especially Growth, Participation and Diversity. Further information and the full role description are on the RSGB’s website at www.rsgb.org/volunteers.

The RSGB’s National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Visitors should also note that the NRC will close early, at 3 pm, on New Year’s Eve.

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

We have no more rallies or events listed for 2019. Please send details of your 2020 rally and event plans as soon as possible to radcom@rsgb.org.uk.

And now the DX news from 425 DX News and other sources

Nobu, JA0JHQ will be active as T88PB from Koror in Palau, IOTA reference OC-009, from the 6th to the 8th of December. He will concentrate on 160m CW and FT8. QSL via Logbook of The World or direct to JA0JHQ.

Antonio, EA5RM will be in Ecuador from the 2nd of December to the 5th of January. He plans to operate in his spare time as HC3/EA5RM from Loja, and perhaps also as HC2/EA5RM from Guayaquil. He will operate SSB and digital modes on the 40 to 10m bands.

John, K9EL, Paul, K9NU, Gary, N9AOL and John, W9ILY will be active as TO9W from Saint Martin, NA-105, between the 4th and the 13th of December, including entering the ARRL 160m Contest. They will operate CW and FT8 using Fox & Hound, plus some SSB and RTTY with three stations. QSL TO9W via Logbook of The World, Club Log’s OQRS or via W9ILY either direct or via the bureau.

Steve, G0UIH will be active as VK2IAY/4 from Heron Island, OC-142, between the 2nd and the 9th of December. Main activity will be on or around 14260kHz SSB. QSL via G0UIH, either direct or via the bureau.

Harald, DF2WO will be active as XT2AW from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso between the 2nd and the 20th of December, with a focus on the 160, 80 and 60m bands. QSL via M0OXO’s OQRS and Logbook of The World.

Bruce, 3W3B will be active as XW4XR from Laos on between the 4th and the 16th of December. He will operate CW, FT8 and FT4 on the 60 to 6m bands. QSL via Logbook of The World or via E21EIC.

Now the special event news

We have no details of any special event stations this week. Please send special event details to radcom@rsgb.org.uk as early as possible. We have not received special event station info from Ofcom in recent months so you MUST let us know to get your event publicised on GB2RS, in RadCom and online.

Now the contest news

The UK Six Metre Group’s Winter Marathon begins on Sunday the 1st of December and runs until the end of January. There are no specific operating modes or periods. Just work as many locator squares as you can on the 50MHz band.

On Tuesday the 144MHz Machine Generated Mode Contest runs from 1900 to 1955UTC with the exchange of signal report and 4-character locator. Simultaneously, the 144MHz FM Activity Contest runs with the exchange of signal report, serial number and locator. It is immediately followed by the all-mode 144MHz UK Activity Contest from 2000 to 2230UTC. The exchange for this contest is also signal report, serial number and locator.

Next weekend, the ARRL 160m contest runs from 2200UTC on the 6th to 1600UTC on the 8th. It’s CW only and the exchange is your signal report, with US and Canadian stations also sending their ARRL or RAC section number.

Next Sunday, the 8th, the 144MHz AFS contest runs from 1000 to 1600UTC. Using all modes the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 29th of November 2019.

Last week’s CQ Worldwide CW event proved that a contest can really generate activity on the HF bands, despite poor propagation. Despite lukewarm predictions during this period near sunspot minimum, there was plenty of DX to be had, despite a solar flux index of only around 70 and zero sunspots. HF bands as high as 15 metres were open, with the occasional station calling CQ on 10 metres as well. Contesters report that 40m and 20m provided a lot of fun with 7MHz providing night-time openings to the US for many. Tom, GM4FDM also reports working 47 countries on 80m during CQ Worldwide, including V47T, which was St Kitts and Nevis and A44A, Oman.

Next week, as we enter December, NOAA has the solar flux index at 69 all week with a Kp index of two. This represents the fact that the Sun’s surface is clear of major coronal holes at this time.

December is really a month for the low bands, with amateurs’ attention often switching to 80m and even Top Band. 160m is always a tough band to work, mainly due to the large amounts of space needed to install efficient antennas. But this month is probably the best for working transatlantic Top Band contacts in the early hours. 80m may also bring some surprises, with regular contacts into the USA being possible, especially around sunrise. Why not check out the DX nets that occur on or around 3.795 MHz?

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

It looks like high pressure is coming back, at least for a while in the first part of the coming week, so it’s time to get ready for some Tropo activity on the VHF and UHF bands with those multimode rigs. The present unsettled weather will lead into a new high developing to the northwest of Britain, which will then begin to drift south across western Britain, before being pushed aside into the Atlantic towards Biscay around mid-week.

The developing temperature inversion should provide multiple paths across the UK by early next week, especially over western and southern areas. This is great timing for 144MHz contests on Tuesday the 3rd of December.

Unfortunately, this is not going to last, as the high drifts away midweek. This will allow a new, stronger flow across the north of Britain as lows move southeast down the North Sea. There will be cold northwesterly winds and some possible rain scatter options over the North Sea by the end of the week.

Moon declination is rising again this week but doesn’t go positive until Friday. This means the peak Moon elevation will also increase as the week progresses. With apogee on Thursday, path losses will be at their highest, but 144MHz sky temperature is low all week.

There are two small meteor showers to look out for this week. The Phoenecids are on Monday and the Puppid-Velids next Saturday.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for November 24th 2019.

November 22nd, 2019

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 24th November 2019

The news headlines:

  • Big news for 6m band

  • RSGB Board responsibilities change

  • Five Train the Trainers courses next year

 

The World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 has concluded in Egypt. The 3,300 delegates have considered many aspects of radio including several that will affect our hobby. Perhaps the biggest news is that the conference has approved an allocation in the 50MHz band for amateurs in Region 1. The Amateur Service now has a baseline Secondary allocation of 50-52MHz in the main ITU Allocation Table for Region 1. A total of 44 named Region 1 countries will now have a Primary allocation in all or part of the 50-54MHz band. You can find full details on this and all of the WRC-19 outcomes that affect amateur radio at www.rsgb.org/wrc-19 and on the RSGB social media channels. The RSGB gratefully acknowledges the work done by our volunteers and all of the IARU team, and thanks everyone involved for an outstanding effort over the last four years.

Recent appointments to the Board have given the RSGB an opportunity to redistribute responsibilities and activities. These are now grouped across four teams, assisted by a support team. Each team comprises several Committees, Honorary Officers and other groups with a related purpose. For further information about the teams see the RSGB Board web page at www.rsgb.org/board

The RSGB would like to thank all the clubs that have offered to host a Train the Trainers course in their area during 2020. Five courses have now been confirmed. These are Telford on the 21st of March, Cardiff on the 18th of April, Stockport on the 30th of May, Abergele on the 20th of June and Margate on the 11th of July. If you would like to attend a Train the Trainers course, then you can register by contacting the Train the Trainers Administrator by email to trainthetrainers@rsgb.org.uk indicating which course you would like to attend.

We have released two more videos from the RSGB Convention to Members. In the first, Sam Jewell, G4DDK explores the Icom IC-9700 and looks at how it measures up as a VHF DX transceiver. In the second video Neil Smith, G4DBN looks at the ins and outs of digimodes in I can hear it, why won't it decode? Both of these videos can be found at www.rsgb.org/video and he accompanying slides for Neil’s talk are at www.g4dbn.uk.

Are you signed up to the RSGB Members’ email alert service for vouchers and offers? Black Friday is coming up this week, so make sure you hear about everything the RSGB will be doing to coincide with this event. Signing up is very easy – RSGB Members just need to go to their online Membership Portal at www.rsgb.org/login. That’s also the place to manage your RSGB Membership account. 

You could still host the callsign GB19YOTA for this year’s Youngsters on the Air Month in December. It is a great opportunity to encourage youngsters to get on the air and to learn more about the practical side of the hobby. The RSGB is keen for people to take part across the UK and is particularly looking for groups in Scotland and anywhere in Ireland. Operations can be any mode on HF, VHF or UHF. Certificates and awards are given out by the IARU for participating in the event. To find out more go to www.rsgb.org/yota-month.

There’s still time to book onto our Introduction to Amateur Radio workshop, which will take place on Saturday 14 December at Bletchley Park. Open to anyone aged 17 or over, it will provide an insight into the world of amateur radio through talks, videos and demonstrations. Attendees will gain knowledge on short wave communications including voice, Morse code and digital signal transmissions, and learn how to track satellites and the International Space Station. Pre-booking is essential. Go to www.bletchleypark.org.uk/whats-on for more information and to book.

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

The 42nd CATS Radio & Electronics Bazaar takes place today, the 24th of November. The venue is Oasis Academy Coulsdon, Homefield Road, Old Coulsdon CR5 1ES. Doors open from 10am until 2pm and the £1.50 entry fee includes a free tea or coffee. There will be second-hand equipment, flea market tables, traders, a Bring and Buy stand and an RSGB bookstall. Refreshments are available on site. Contact Andy, G0KZT on 0772 986 6600 or see www.catsradio.org.

Also today, the 24th, is the Bishop Auckland Radio Amateurs Club rally. It takes place at Spennymoor Leisure Centre, 32 High Street, Spennymoor, County Durham, DL16 6DB. The venue has good parking and access to the large ground floor hall. There will be the usual radio, computer, electronics, and Bring & Buy stalls as well as catering and bar. Doors open at 10.30am, with disabled visitors gaining access at 10.15. Admission is £2, with accompanied under-14s free of charge. More details from John, G4LRG on 0777 569 6568.

The annual Hog Roast at Martin Lynch & Sons will take place on the 30th of November at their premises in Staines, TW18 2AP. Doors open from 8am. Lecture streams will take place in the ML&S Training Academy in the morning by SDRplay and Steve Venner giving an insight into running the ML&S radio workshop. This year’s event is kindly sponsored by Icom UK, JVC-Kenwood and Yaesu Japan.

We have no more rallies or events listed for 2019. Please send details of your 2020 rally and event plans as soon as possible to radcom@rsgb.org.uk.

And now the DX news from 425 DX News and other sources

The Radio Club of Sevran will be active as 6W7PCT from Senegal until the 25th of November. A team of four will operate CW, SSB and digital modes with three stations, including activity during the CW WW DX CW Contest. QSL for this is via Club Log's OQRS, or via the bureau to F5KKD, or direct to F8GGV.

A team will be active as OC3CS from the archaeological site of Cerro Sechin in northern Peru on the 29th and 30th of November. Two stations will operate SSB and digital modes on the HF bands. QSL via OA4O either direct or via the bureau and Logbook of The World.

Alex, KU1CW will be active as P4/KU1CW from Aruba, IOTA reference SA-036, until the 26th of November, and as P40C during the CQ WW DX CW Contest. QSL via Logbook of The World.

Members of the Slovenia Contest Club are operating as 9G5W until the 27th of November. Activity is on the 160 to 10m bands using CW, SSB, RTTY and other digital modes. This includes being an entry in the CQ World Wide DX CW contest. QSL via Logbook of The World.

Masa, JA0RQV will be operating as A35JP from Tongatapu Island, OC-049, while involved in an international project. Activity will be on the 160 to 6m bands using CW, SSB and FT8. He also plans to activate IOTA references OC-191, OC-123, OC-064 and OC-169 during his stay. QSL to his home call.

Eric, OE4AAC is on the air as D4CC from Sal Island, AF-086, until the 30th of November. Activity is on the 40 to 10m bands using CW and some FT8. This includes being an entry in the CQ World Wide DX CW contest. QSL to home call.

Now the special event news

We have no details of any special event stations this week. Please send special event details to radcom@rsgb.org.uk as early as possible. We have not received special event station info from Ofcom in recent months so you MUST let us know to get your event publicised on GB2RS, in RadCom and online.

Now the contest news

The CQWW DX CW ends its 48 hours run at 2359 today, the 24th. This CW-only event uses all the contest bands from 1.8 to 28MHz. The exchange is signal report and Zone, which is 14 for the UK.

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 it’s the UK EI Contest Club 80m contest, running from 2000 to 2100UTC. Using CW only, the exchange is your 4-character locator square.

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

The UK Six Metre Group’s Winter Marathon begins on Sunday the 1st of December and runs until the end of January. There are no specific operating modes or periods. Just work as many locator squares as you can on the 50MHz band.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 22nd of November 2019.

The predicted poor geomagnetic conditions forecast for late on the 16th didn’t amount to much. In the event, the Kp index rose to three before settling back down again quite quickly. The Sun remained spotless all week again as we get close to the minimum. As such, HF propagation was relatively poor all week.

Daytime critical frequencies have mostly been in the range 4.5 to 5MHz, which really prevents short-range propagation on 40m. Thursday 21st was the exception when the Chilton Ionosonde recorded a critical frequency of 5.925MHz at 1130UTC, which equates to a maximum usable frequency of more than 24MHz over a 3,000km path. This may have been due to a short-lived ionospheric enhancement caused by a coronal hole solar wind stream, which saw the speed increase to more than 500Km per second.

Next week NOAA predicts the solar flux index will remain at 69-70. Geomagnetic conditions will likely be poor but recovering this weekend after a predicted Kp index rise to five on the 21st or 22nd. Once the coronal hole has moved and is out of the Earth’s strike zone, the ionosphere should settle for the rest of the week.

Meanwhile, Chris, GM3WOJ and Keith, GM4YXI are still active as VK9CZ on Cocos Keeling Island, OC-003. The best time for propagation from the UK can be checked at vk9cz2019.com. It’s a long way to the Indian Ocean, but a contact is achievable with the right mode and at the right time.

Don’t forget that it’s CQWW CW this weekend, which always guarantees HF activity.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

This week seems to be a good week to try satellites if you’re not active on the microwave bands! There seems to be a majority view amongst the weather models that this will be another low-pressure week. It means further periods of rain and showers, with a chance of rain scatter on the GHz bands again. This unsettled weather type with a strong jet stream over the country can lead to the rapid development of lows and potentially very strong winds. Not identifiable beyond a day or two, but well worth checking the daily forecasts, particularly the wind speeds.

Of course, the opposite side of the coin is high pressure, and it looks to be completely off the playlist during the coming week, which takes Tropo off the agenda.

Moon declination is negative again this week, reaching a minimum on Friday. Moon windows and maximum Moon elevation will fall accordingly. The Moon reached perigee yesterday, its closest approach to the Earth of the lunar month at 366,709km, so losses are low but will increase throughout the week.

The Sun and Moon are very close on Tuesday and generally, 144MHz sky temperature will also be high, reaching a peak of over 3,000 Kelvin on Thursday.

There is one small meteor shower on Thursday, the November Orionids, but nothing to get excited about because they have a zenithal hourly rate of just three.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for November 17th 2019.

November 15th, 2019

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 17th November 2019

The news headlines:

  • RSGB Board co-opts assistance

  • Nominate for the CWops Award

  • Radio events at Bletchley Park

 

Two experienced RSGB Members have been co-opted to assist the Board. Dr John Rogers, M0JAV becomes a Board Director. Dr Stewart Bryant, G3YSX will advise the Board on RSGB publications activities and support the Contest Committee. Dr Rogers and Dr Bryant will remain co-opted until the 2020 RSGB AGM. They will then either step down or stand for election to the Board in the normal way.

The CW Operators Club, CWops, is now accepting nominations for this year’s Award for Advancing the Art of CW. Individuals, groups and organisations are all equally eligible, and the award is not limited to amateur radio operators or their organisations. Nominations may be made by anybody, not just CWops members, and should be emailed to awards@cwops.org with a copy to secretary@cwops.org. The closing date for nominations is the 18th of March 2020 and the presentation will be made at Dayton Hamvention. Further details, including criteria for nomination, can be found at www.cwops.org.

Following on from the success of previous radio workshops at Bletchley Park, we’ll be running two more events this December. On Saturday the 14th of December the Introduction to Amateur Radio workshop is open to anyone aged 17 and over. It consists of talks, videos and demonstrations, and gives attendees an insight into the world of amateur radio. The following day, Sunday the 15th December, the hands-on Build a Radio Receiver workshop is aimed at 10 to 18-year-olds. Attendees will have a short introduction to the history of radio communications, propagation and electronic construction, before moving on to building a medium wave radio receiver, which they will be able to take away with them. We thank the Radio Communications Foundation for supporting this event. Pre-booking is essential. Go to www.bletchleypark.org.uk/whats-on for more information and to book.

The World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 continues in Egypt, considering many aspects of radio including several that will affect our hobby. The ITU Media Team has a TV studio for interviews and they recently spoke to Tim Ellam, VE6SH, President of the International Amateur Radio Union. You can find that interview, plus all the latest news at www.rsgb.org/wrc-19 and on the RSGB social media channels.

Well over 80,000 people have visited the RSGB National Radio Centre so far this year. In order to provide even better engagement with our guests, we are looking to recruit more volunteers to join the NRC team. If you are an RSGB Member with a Full licence, like meeting people, enjoy explaining and demonstrating our hobby, you could be ideal. NRC volunteers enjoy numerous benefits associated with volunteering at Bletchley Park and full training will be given. You’ll need to be available for one, or preferably two days a month and should live within a sensible travelling distance of Bletchley Park. Reasonable travel costs are refunded. Please email nrc.support@rsgb.org.uk for further information.

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

Nevada Radio has its open day in their Portsmouth premises today, Sunday the 17th. RSGB representatives will be in attendance.

The Mid Cornwall Beacon and Repeater Group AGM is on Saturday the 23rd of November. It takes place at Lanivet Village Hall, Lanivet, Cornwall PL30 5HG. Doors open at 1pm and proceedings commence at 2pm. Full details are at www.gb3nc.org.uk.

The 42nd CATS Radio & Electronics Bazaar takes place next Sunday, the 24th of November. The venue is Oasis Academy Coulsdon, Homefield Road, Old Coulsdon CR5 1ES. Doors open from 10am until 2pm and the £1.50 entry fee includes a free tea or coffee. There will be second hand equipment, flea market tables, traders, a Bring and Buy stand and an RSGB bookstall. Refreshments are available on site. Contact Andy, G0KZT on 0772 986 6600 or see www.catsradio.org.

Next Sunday also sees the Bishop Auckland Radio Amateurs Club rally. It takes place at Spennymoor Leisure Centre, 32 High Street, Spennymoor, County Durham, DL16 6DB. The venue has good parking and access to the large ground floor hall. There will be the usual radio, computer, electronics, and Bring & Buy stalls as well as catering and bar. Doors open at 10.30am, with disabled visitors gaining access at 10.15. Admission is £2, with under 14s free of charge with an adult. More details from John, G4LRG on 0777 569 6568.

We have no more rallies listed for 2019. Please send details of your 2020 rally and event plans as soon as possible to radcom@rsgb.org.uk.

And now the DX news from 425 DX News and other sources

Al, K7AR will be active as V63AR from Pohnpei, OC-010, from the 18th to the 26th of November. Using the HF bands with CW, SSB and FT8, he will also enter the CQ World Wide DX CW contest. QSL to home call.

Bud, AA3B will be on the air as V26K from Antigua, NA-100, until the 26th of November. He’ll be on HF with an emphasis on CW. He will take part in the CQ World Wide DX CW contest. QSL direct to home call.

Dan, N6MJ will be in the Cayman Islands as ZF2MJ from the 19th to the 25th of November. During the CQ World Wide DX CW contest, he will sign ZF1A. QSL ZF2MJ to home call and ZF1A via K6AM.

Didier, F6BCW will be QRV as FO/F6BCW from Hiva Oa Island, IOTA reference OC-027, from the 19th to the 25th of November. Activity will be on 40 and 20m. QSL direct to home call.

Mats, SM6LRR will be on the air in Vietnam as XV9D from today until the 30th of November. Look for him on 40 and 20m. He’ll also be on 40m in the CQ World Wide DX CW contest. QSL direct to EA5GL.

Members of the Radio Club QRM Belgrano are QRV as LU4AAO until the 18th of November to celebrate Argentine Traditions Day. Activity is on the HF bands using CW, SSB and FT8. QSL direct to LU4AAO.

Members of the Slovenia Contest Club will be in Ghana operating as 9G5W until the 27th of November. Activity will be on 160 to 10m using CW, SSB, RTTY and other digital modes. They will enter the CQ World Wide DX CW contest. QSL via Logbook of the World.

Now the special event news

Throughout November W9CAP will be on the air from Chicago, celebrating the role of the US Civil Air Patrol in Illinois. Operations are planned in the 7, 14, 18 and 28MHz bands. A special QSL card will be available.

OL75CARBON will be on the air until the end of November from the Czech Republic. The station celebrates the 75th anniversary of WWII Operation Carbon, which dropped British-trained Czech paratroopers in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Station details and a wealth of fascinating detail on Operation Carbon can be found on the QRZ.com page for OL75CARBON.

Cape Fear Amateur Radio Society is Celebrating its 50th anniversary by operating K4MN from the 18th to the 24th of November. Details, including planned frequencies, are at https://cfarsnc.org/

Please send special event details to radcom@rsgb.org.uk as early as possible. We have not received special event station notifications from Ofcom in recent months so you MUST let us know to get your event publicised on GB2RS, in RadCom and online.

Now the contest news

Today sees the UK Microwave Group Low Band contest. Running from 1000 to 1400UTC, all modes can be used on the 1.3 to 3.4GHz bands. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Tuesday the 1.3GHz Activity Contest runs from 2000 to 2300UTC. Using all modes on the 23cm band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

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

Thursday sees the 70MHz UKAC, which runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes on the 4m band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The biggest contest this month is CQWW DX CW, which runs for 48 hours over the weekend of 23rd to the 24th. Starting at 0000UTC on Saturday and ending at 2359 on Sunday, this CW-only event uses all the contest bands from 1.8 to 28MHz. 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 15th of November 2019.

Last week was pretty good in terms of HF propagation. Other than a slight blip in the Kp index on Monday the 11th, when it rose to three due to a weak coronal hole stream, geomagnetic conditions remained settled.

The Sun remained spot-free all week, although a new region was noted on the 13th. Region 2752 rotated into view on the southwestern edge of the Sun’s disk, but we will have to wait and see how it develops. The magnetic layout and high latitude location of this region associates it with the new Solar Cycle 25. This is the second such region in the past few weeks, but don’t get too excited as going by previous experience it may disappear within a couple of days.

Maximum usable frequencies were often above 21MHz at times, according to Propquest.co.uk, which had more to do with better autumnal seasonal ionospheric conditions than increased solar activity.

Next week NOAA has the solar flux index pinned at 70 or 71 all week, with unsettled geomagnetic conditions from the 20th to the 24th.

At the time of writing a large coronal hole was just turning to be Earth-facing, which could lead to disrupted geomagnetic conditions, perhaps beginning late on the 16th. As always check for a pre-auroral enhancement as the solar wind first hits the Earth and then expect conditions to decline with reduced MUFs and noisy bands as any potential geomagnetic storm develops.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

This coming week is a continuation of the long run of unsettled wet weather. Microwave band stations will be the main beneficiaries of this rain as it should bring some good rain scatter. The rain is likely to be in the form of heavy showers, which at this time of the year are mostly around the coasts and a short distance inland.

The many radar displays online will give you plenty of help tracking down the stronger radar echoes, which might give some useful scatter points. More widespread frontal activity will also be present at times, so giving more rain scatter path options to explore.

It is hard to find any strong highs on the charts for next week, so Tropo will not be a big player, although there are times, in between the areas of low pressure, when a weak ridge may give a temporary but slight enhancement.

The Leonids meteor shower is at its maximum today so look out for the better meteor scatter conditions to peak overnight and extend into next week.

It’s a good EME weekend, and the final ARRL VHF/UHF contest is underway. Moon declination is at its highest, so we have long Moon windows and high Moon elevation, but as we are still a week from perigee – the point of the Moon’s closest approach – losses are still quite high. 144MHz sky temperature is low for most of the week.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for November 10th 2019.

November 8th, 2019

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday 10th November 2019

The news headlines:

  • Volunteer as GB2RS Manager

  • News from WRC-19

  • Train the Trainers in July

 

The GB2RS News Service is looking for a new volunteer Manager following the sad passing of Ken Hatton, G3VBA, earlier this year. The position involves appointing and liaising with GB2RS Newsreaders, managing schedules and Notices of Variation, and working closely with the editorial staff at HQ. For more information please contact the RSGB General Manager Steve Thomas, M1ACB, via email to gm.dept@rsgb.org.uk.

The World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 opened in Egypt on the 28th of October. Daily reports of proceedings can be found on the RSGB’s social media and special focus page at www.rsgb.org/wrc-19. These reports are prepared by the RSGB volunteers attending the Conference. WRC-19 has a wide-ranging agenda, of which the amateur issues are but a small part. IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH is also tweeting photos and notes from the meetings and you can find his feed at https://twitter.com/IARU_President.

Advance notice now that Hilderstone Radio Society will host an RSGB Train the Trainers event on Saturday the 11th of July 2020. This free event takes place in Margate and is open to all amateurs interested in helping new amateurs acquire or progress to a higher licence. It is essential you pre-book. For more information, or to register your interest, email secretary@g0hrs.org,

The 2019 YOTA winter camp is taking place in the Netherlands from 12 to 15 December 2019. You can meet the RSGB team who will be taking part at www.rsgb.org/yota.

The RAIBC has an Audio Library that includes manuals for all three licence levels. Updated versions for Syllabus 2019 are available on audio disk, but not for download. See the RSGB’s Audio and Braille resources web page for further details about these and other useful resources, at www.rsgb.org/audio-braille-resources

Nevada Radio is holding an Open Day at their Portsmouth premises on Sunday the 17th of November. RSGB representatives will be in attendance.

Martyn Lynch & Sons is holding a Hog Roast at their showroom in Staines on Saturday the 30th of November. The date shown on page 12 of the November RadCom is incorrect, for which we apologise.

The latest edition of the 5MHz Newsletter is now available for free pdf download from the RSGB 5MHz page, www.rsgb.org/5mhz. This edition includes 5MHz news from nine countries, features the World of 5MHz 2019 and a report on Exercise Blue Ham.

And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week

The Rochdale & District ARS Winter Rally takes place on Saturday the 16th of November at St Vincent de Paul’s, Caldershaw Road, off Edenfield Road, Norden, Rochdale, OL12 7QR. Doors open to the public at 10.15am, with disabled visitors gaining access 15 minutes earlier. Admission is £2.50, with those under 12 free. Pitches are £5 if you have your own table or £10 with a table provided. Guest speaker Keiran Wilkinson, IT Director at Hack:Oldham, will speak at 11am and noon on Make It, Don’t Buy It, an explanation of how you can use computer aided design, 3D printing and laser cutting to create project enclosures and casings. Refreshments are available including bacon and sausage butties. Further details from Robert, M0NVQ, on 0777 811 3333.

Please send details of your 2020 rally and event plans as soon as possible to radcom@rsgb.org.uk.

And now the DX news from 425 DX News and other sources

Alan, G3XAQ and Don, G3XTT will be active from The Gambia from the 12th to the 26th of November as C56XA and C56DF respectively. Main activity will be during the CQ WW DX CW Contest, with casual operating outside the contest. QSL C56XA via LoTW or G3SWH’s OQRS, QSL C56DF via LoTW, Club Log’s OQRS, or via G3XTT.

HA7RY, HA8KW, KN4EEI and AA7JV will be active as C6AGU from Wood Cay in the Bahamas, IOTA reference NA-001, starting around 15 November and running until the 9th of December. They will be testing some new DXpedition equipment, with a focus on 160 and 80 metres. They will also participate in the CQ WW DX CW Contest and the ARRL 160 Meter Contest. QSL via HA7RY.

Keith, GM4YXI and Chris, GM3WOJ will again be active as VK9CZ from Cocos Keeling island, OC-003, from the 12th until the 29th of November. Activity will be on all bands 160 to 10m, except 60m, on SSB, CW and FT8. VK9CZ will try to work as many UK stations as possible. Activity will also include a Multi-Two entry in the CQ WW CW contest on the 23rd and 24th of November. QSOs will be uploaded, daily if possible, to LoTW and ClubLog. Paper QSLs can be requested via the QSL Manager Steve, N3SL after the DXpedition. More details are at www.vk9cz2019.com.

Mats, RM2D / SM6LRR will be active again as XV9D from Vietnam on the 17th to the 30th of November. This year he will concentrate on 160-40 metres; he will also participate in the CQ WW DX CW Contest. QSL via LoTW, preferred, or direct to EA5GL.

Pierre, HB9AMO will be active again as 5U9AMO from Niger on the 15th to the 25th of November. He will operate CW on 160 to 10 metres, including participation in the CQ WW DX CW Contest. QSL via M0URX’s OQRS and LoTW. More info at www.hb9amo.net.

Tommy, DL8KX will be active holiday style, hopefully as 8Q7KX, from the Maldives, AS-013, from the 10th to the 17th of November. He will operate CW only on 40, 30, 20, 15 and 10 metres. QSL preferably via Club Log’s OQRS or via home call, direct or bureau.

Now the special event news

Coventry Amateur Radio Society is putting GB1BNF on the air today and on Monday in Bedworth for Remembrance Sunday.

The Royal Air Force Amateur Radio Society has announced that its permanent special event callsign GB2RAF will be off the air until May 2020. This is due to the winter recess at the museum in RAF Neatishead, Norfolk, which hosts the station.

Please send special event details to radcom@rsgb.org.uk as early as possible so we can give you free publicity. It is a licensing condition that stations using a UK special event callsign must be open to the public.

Now the contest news

The WAE DX RTTY contest runs for 48 hours this weekend, ending at 2359UTC on the 10th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is just your signal report and serial number.

On Monday the 80m Autumn Series Data contest takes place from 2000 to 2130UTC. Using data modes only on the 3.5MHz band, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

On Tuesday the 432MHz FM Activity Contest takes place from 1900 to 1955UTC, with the exchange of signal report, serial number and 6-digit locator. It is immediately followed by the all-mode 432MHz UK Activity Contest from 2000 to 2230UTC. The exchange for this contest is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Thursday the 50MHz Machine Generated Mode Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2000UTC. The exchange is signal report and your 4-character locator. It is immediately followed by the 50MHz UKAC, which runs from 2000 to 2230 UTC. Using all modes on the 6m band, the exchange for this one is signal report, serial number and locator.

Saturday sees the Second 1.8MHz CW contest, running from 1900 to 2300 UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and District code.

Finally for this week next Sunday sees the UK Microwave Group Low Band contest. Running from 1000 to 1400UTC, all modes can be used on 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 & G4BAO on Friday the 8th of November.

We had a more settled week, geomagnetically speaking. The Sun was a lot calmer, with a lack of coronal holes and fast solar wind to disrupt the ionosphere. We also had a sign again that Solar Cycle 25 is on its way. A tiny sunspot, numbered 2750 and belonging to Cycle 25, appeared in the Sun’s south-east quadrant. It didn’t last long before vanishing, but it is a sign that the minimum may be coming to an end. Another tiny spot also appeared, this time belonging to outgoing Cycle 24, but it too was short lived. Solar activity should remain at very low levels in the short term.

The solar flux index was in the range 69-71, but there was HF activity to be had if you searched hard enough. VP6R, on Pitcairn Island, D68CCC on Comoros and VK9NG on Norfolk Island were all active, and Guam, Oman, Mauritania, The Philippines and Japan were all spotted on 20m FT8.

Propquest.co.uk showed that the maximum useable frequency often exceeded 21MHz over a 3,000km path during daylight hours, often getting close to 24MHz.

Next week NOAA predicts the solar flux will continue to be around 67. Geomagnetic conditions are predicted to remain settled with a maximum Kp index of two. Quiet conditions should continue until the 20th of November, when a fast solar wind from a returning coronal hole should push the Kp index to a maximum of five.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

It’s another unsettled look to the charts for the coming week, with a general low pressure feel to things. This means that rain scatter should be on the list for those on the GHz bands.

High pressure is very hard to pin down next week with a large high near the Azores, so according to the present charts Tropo won’t be much in evidence. Sometimes these unsettled patterns can produce very rapid development of lows and one such model run does indeed show the potential for a deep low over the country at the end of next week from Thursday night into Saturday. If this remains the plan as we get nearer, then it's worth keeping up to date with the forecasts from midweek, especially regarding wind speed.

There are two meteor showers to look out for this week. The Northern Taurids tomorrow, then one of the major meteor showers of the year, the Leonids, peaking overnight from the 17th to the 18th. The Leonids is well known for producing meteor storms, the last one being in 2001. These storms are best seen when the parent object, comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle, is near perihelion, its closest approach to the sun. Unfortunately it appears that the Earth will not encounter any dense clouds of debris until 2099 so don’t expect fireworks!

Visible peaks of around 15 meteors per hour can be expected and there will be much improved meteor scatter conditions.

Moon declination is increasing, reaching maximum a week today, so there’s plenty of EME time this week. The Moon is not long past apogee so losses will be high but falling. 144 MHz sky temperature reaches a peak of 500K on Friday.

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