GB2RS
RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for May 16th 2021.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for May 16th 2021.

May 14, 2021

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 16th of May 2021

The news headlines:

  • Add your voice to the amateur radio survey

  • The new YOTA contest begins next weekend

  • RadCom news

As part of a wider IARU workshop, the RSGB is running a short survey about amateur radio in the UK. Nearly 550 people have responded so far and given their views. The survey takes just a few minutes to complete. We’d love to have good representation from across the whole of the UK so make sure you take part and represent your area. Whether you’re licensed or just interested in amateur radio we’d welcome your views. You can find more information and the survey link on the RSGB website at rsgb.org/survey.

The Youngsters On The Air team has been working on a new YOTA Contest. The first of three sessions will be on the 22nd of May from 0800 to 1959UTC. There are eight different categories which also include special ones for youngsters under 25 years old. Covering the 80m, 40m, 20m, 15m and 10m bands, the competition will take place in CW and SSB modes. See ham-yota.com/contest for the full rules.

The latest issue of RadCom Plus will be available to RSGB Members on Wednesday. It will be followed later in the week by the newest RadCom Basics. RadCom Plus is the RSGB’s digital technical supplement and is edited by Peter, G3XJE. This issue includes driving relays over a network, an automation system for the WSPRLite, an article on Sporadic-E, a transceiver control system and a Wireless Temperature Sensor. You can subscribe to receive email alerts for future issues of RadCom Plus at rsgb.org/radcom-plus. RSGB Members can read previous editions of RadCom Basics by going to rsgb.org/radcom-basics. You can register to receive notification of subsequent issues as they become available at the same address.

The RSGB launched the Friendship on the Air Award last month as a new way of getting on the air, representing your club and having a proper chat with radio amateurs on the airwaves. There are monthly and annual awards for individuals, clubs and the highest-scoring club in each region. If you’ve taken part already, don’t forget to upload your logs. If you’d like to get involved for the first time this month, then visit rsgb.org/friendship-award.

Although the face-to-face Dayton Hamvention has been cancelled, online events will be taking place. There are virtual forums on Friday the 21st of May, and a QSO Party on Saturday the 22nd of May. The details are at hamvention.org.

Bletchley Park plans to re-open on Monday the 17th of May. Entry is only by pre-booked ticket, available via their website. The RSGB National Radio Centre remains closed for the time being. Please monitor the RSGB news feed and social media for any announcements regarding reopening.

The 50MHz beacon operated by VE2TKH in locator square FO60 has changed callsign to VE2CSI/B. It operates on 50.077MHz CW.

Don’t forget the next Tonight @ 8 live webinar this Monday, the 17th of May. Bob, G3ORY will help you to Discover more about Amateur Radio Direction Finding. This webinar will include contributions from Kim Taylor, who gives the perspective of a regular Club member being talked into trying ARDF. You will also hear from 14-year-old Flora Jolly who was persuaded to go out and try ARDF with her Dad, David. With Covid restrictions lifting this is a great time to get out and enjoy ARDF. For more information about this and other webinars, see rsgb.org/webinars.

The national society in New Zealand has announced that negotiations with the regulator have been successful in allowing all New Zealand amateurs to use the 5MHz band using the WRC-15 allocation. The maximum allowable power is 15W EIRP. Thanks are due to Bob, ZL2CA who was heavily involved in the negotiations. New Zealand amateurs are secondary users in this band.

Now the DX news

DD1GG will be operating as SV9/DD1GG from the island of Crete until the 24th of May. Activity will be holiday style on the 40 to 10m bands using SSB and FT8. QSL to his home call.

Ian, ZS6JSI is operating as TY5AB from Benin. Activity has been on the 20m band using FT8. QSL to his home call.

Now the Special Event news

North West Group ARC is commemorating the 89th anniversary of the first woman flying solo across the Atlantic on Friday the 21st of May. Using GB0AEL, they will be active on the 80m to 10m bands using CW, SSB, data modes and DMR. GB0AEL will be active from the 15th of May. See QRZ.com.

On the 22nd and 23rd of May, Worthing & District ARC will operate GB1SCW as part of SOS radio week. The station will be on HF, VHF and UHF bands using various modes. Details are on QRZ.com.

Now the contest news

With different parts of the UK having different lockdown restrictions, please make sure you follow the appropriate regulations. Several contests now accept portable entries, so please check the contest rules. Above all, please follow relevant national and local restrictions.

This weekend, the 144MHz May Contest ends its 24 hour run at 1400UTC today, the 16th. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number, locator and postcode.

Today, the 16th sees the First 144MHz Backpackers contest from 1100 to 1500UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number, locator and postcode.

Also today, the 16th, the UK Microwave Group Millimetre Wave Contest runs from 0900 to 1700UTC. Using all modes on the 24 to 76GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

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

The data leg of the 80m Club Championships is on Wednesday from 1900 to 2030UTC. The exchange is signal report and serial number.

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

Next Sunday, the 23rd, the third 70MHz Cumulative contest runs from 1400 to 1600UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The UK Six Metre Group Summer Marathon runs until the 1st of August. Exchange your 4-character locator.

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

Last week was a real roller coaster ride in terms of HF propagation. While the solar flux index remained in the 70s, we have had C-class solar flares and a coronal mass ejection that hit the Earth on the 12th of May. This ultimately pushed the Kp index to seven. It was largely as a result of the Bz component of the interplanetary magnetic field going sharply South, meaning the solar matter more easily coupled with the Earth’s magnetic field.

F2-layer maximum useable frequencies were impacted with the MUF over a 3,000km path falling to just over 14MHz for a time and there were widespread reports of visible aurora.

The good news is that Sporadic-E has been this week’s saviour, bringing lots of openings on 10 metres. As well as openings to Scandinavia and Europe, plus short-skip to Scotland, there were reports of openings to the Caribbean as well. It is hard to say whether this was multi-hop Sporadic-E, or an enhancement brought about by the geomagnetic disturbance.

And it wasn’t all FT8 for a change. Gary, G0FWX reported working Puerto Rico, Canada, the USA, Paraguay, Western Sahara, Gibraltar, and Saudi Arabia on 10m SSB. This goes to show how 10 metres may be the band to be on this month.

Next week NOAA predicts the solar flux index will be in the range 70-84. Sunspot regions 2818 and 2821 will rotate into view next week, which may give the SFI a helping hand.

Geomagnetic conditions may be unsettled this weekend, with NOAA predicting a Kp index of five on the 16th. We may then have a few quieter days before it goes up again, due to coronal hole activity.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

We had some very welcome Sporadic-E last week and, after the high activity closer to the peak of the Eta Aquarids meteor shower and recent lull early this week, Wednesday was boosted by an aurora. Contacts were reported to GM and GD on 6m in the afternoon and widespread Sporadic-E later in the day.

The overall weather contribution seems to suggest a repeat of the showery theme through to the end of next week. So once again good for GHz bands rain scatter. An obvious result of the low pressure and showery weather is a lack of Tropo conditions with no significant areas of high pressure on the current runs of the models.

Sporadic-E becomes more commonplace as we go through May and the usual advice is to check regularly throughout the day, but if time is limited, go for mid-morning and late afternoon/early evening. The stronger events could reach 4m and perhaps even 2m, particularly for FT8, but it is worth checking the other modes from now onwards. Since the position of jet streams in the weather part of the atmosphere can be good indicators of where Sporadic-E might occur, the prospects are looking good with a strong Atlantic jet stream across Spain and southern Europe, which means beaming to the south or southeast for best results. For the bigger stations, it's also worth trying paths to the Caribbean and the north of South America on 6m in the evenings, since later in the summer the jet streams are not so well placed for this path.

With the Moon at peak declination this weekend, we’ll have long visibility windows and high peak Moon elevations. Path losses are falling as we are past apogee for the month.

No significant meteor showers this week so be active around dawn for the best random meteors.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for May 9th 2021.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for May 9th 2021.

May 13, 2021

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 9th of May 2021

The news headlines:

  • Amateur radio: what next?

  • Free webinar on RF exposure

  • Updates to Full mock exam papers

Last year, through the RSGB and NHS ‘Get on the air to care’ media campaign, it is likely that over 35 million people heard news and stories about amateur radio. You now have a chance to tell the RSGB what you think should happen next. As part of a wider IARU workshop, the Society is conducting a short survey of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that apply to amateur radio in the UK. Whether you are a radio amateur or not yet licensed, do take few minutes to fill in the survey and be part of the discussions. You can find it at rsgb.org/survey and the deadline for responses is the 23rd of May.

The ARRL is reporting that the IEEE Committee on Man and Radiation has issued an invitation to its free webinar, RF Exposure in the Time of Conspiracies. The 1-hour event is set to get underway at 1800UTC on Wednesday the 12th of May. The committee is a group of experts on health and safety issues related to electromagnetic fields, from power line through microwave frequency ranges. Its primary focus is on the biological effects of non-ionising electromagnetic radiation. Webex, the platform on which the webinar will be held, imposes a limit of 1,000 simultaneous connections. Those interested may check-in at 1730UTC. Links can be found on the ARRL news pages at arrl.org/news.

The RSGB’s Examinations and Syllabus Review Group has just updated the two Full licence mock exam papers. In addition, there are now worked answer PDFs for these papers so you can see the correct answer for each question and the reasoning behind it. These mock papers are provided as a training aid and aren’t the exact questions included in a Full licence exam. Foundation and Intermediate mock exam papers will have worked answers added in due course. You can find all the mock exam papers at rsgb.org/mock-exams.

SOS Radio Week is an annual event that sees many amateur radio stations get on the air throughout the month of May. The aim is to raise awareness of the voluntary work of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and National Coastwatch Institution. For further details of the event, visit sosradioweek.org.uk.

The RSGB’s Tonight @ 8 webinar series continues on Monday the 17th of May. Bob Titterington, G3ORY will help you to Discover more about Amateur Radio Direction Finding. This webinar will include contributions from Kim, who gives the perspective of a regular club member being talked into trying ARDF. You will also hear from Flora, who was persuaded to go out and try ARDF with her dad. For more information about this and other webinars, see rsgb.org/webinars.

The second mission of European Space Agency astronaut Thomas, KG5FYG and FX0ISS on the International Space Station began on the 23rd of April. Members of Radio Club F4KLR will operate special event callsign TM0ISS on all bands and modes. The activity will run at various times until October to match the duration of the mission.

The Society has launched a new video, 2020 – a year like no other, that looks back at the many fantastic activities and resources that helped to support radio amateurs through these difficult times. It also shows how existing radio amateurs ‘got on the air to care’ across the UK and thousands of people of all ages got involved in amateur radio for the first time. Take a look at youtube.com/theRSGB.

The Dayton Hamvention has been cancelled for 2021, but Contest University 2021 will still take place on the 20th of May. It will be held online free of charge via Zoom, starting at 1300UTC. Registration is now open on the CTU website at contestuniversity.com.

Now the DX news

Adrien, F4IHM will be active again as 5UAIHM between the 10th of May and the 15th of June from Niamey, Niger. He will operate CW on the 40 and 20m bands. QSL via F4IHM, direct or bureau.

This year’s International DX Convention will be a virtual two-day meeting to be held on the 15th and 16th of May, with eight DX-related and eight exhibitor Zoom webinars respectively. Free pre-registration is required and is now open. See dxconvention.com for more information, including the programme details.

Now the Special Event news

Special event station GB0ME is still being operated by George, MM0JNL from his home in the Scottish Borders. It aims to increase awareness of the debilitating condition of ME. Depending on propagation, he will be working any HF or VHF band using SSB or FM when practicable. Further details available on QRZ.com.

In 2021, the British Railways ARS will be celebrating its 55th anniversary. GB0LMR will be on the air throughout the year. The station will be operated by Mark, G1PIE from Preston in Lancashire. Bands of operation will be 40 to 10m using SSB, PSK-31 and PSK-63. QSL cards are available via the RSGB bureau or direct with an SAE to Pam, 2E1HQY. More on QRZ.com.

Guernsey Amateur Radio Society will be using GB5LIB for the 76th anniversary of the Liberation of the islands. The call will be activated by club members from 0001UTC on the 8th to 2359UTC on the 14th of May. All bands and modes from 160m to 10m will be used and maybe 4 and 6m, if conditions allow. See QRZ.com for details.

Now the contest news

With different parts of the UK having different lockdown restrictions, please make sure you follow the appropriate regulations. Several contests now accept portable entries, so please check the contest rules. Above all, please follow relevant national and local restrictions.

Today, the 9th, the 70MHz CW contest runs from 0900 to 1200UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number, locator and postcode.

The Worked All Britain 40m Phone and CW contest runs for 1000 to 1400UTC today, the 9th. Using SSB and CW, the exchange is signal report, serial number and the WAB area.

Also on today, the 9th is the IRTS 40m Daytime Counties Contest, which runs from 1200 to 1300UTC. Using SSB and CW, the exchange is signal report and serial number. EI and GI stations also exchange their County.

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

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

The 50MHz UK Activity Contest takes place on Thursday from 1900 to 2130UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Next weekend, the 144MHz May Contest runs for 24 hours from 1400UTC on the 15th. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number, locator and postcode.

Sunday the 16th sees the First 144MHz Backpackers contest from 1100 to 1500UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number, locator and postcode.

Also next Sunday, the 16th, the UK Microwave Group Millimetre Wave Contest runs from 0900 to 1700UTC. Using all modes on the 24 to 76GHz bands the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The UK Six Metre Group Summer Marathon runs until the 1st of August. Exchange your 4-character locator.

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

The Sun was devoid of sunspots last week, which saw the solar flux index plummet to 70 – pretty much what it is around sunspot minimum. The good news is that an active region is rotating into view. Region 2817 is currently just on the Sun’s eastern limb as this report is being prepared and should be visible by the time the weekend is here. On its last rotation, the region was quite active and pushed the SFI up to 86, so the hope is that we get a similar surge when it reappears.

Geomagnetically, the Sun has been quite quiet with the Kp index at either one or zero last week. This has been boosted by a lack of coronal hole activity. HF-wise, it has been fair but not outstanding, which is in line with what you would expect with an SFI of 70.

Most of the chat has been about the beginning of the Sporadic-E season, which has seen a few openings to Spain and Italy. The 10 metre beacons IZ1EPM on 28.173MHz near Turin, Italy and ED4YAK on 28.251MHz in Henares, Spain were heard on Wednesday. For a complete list of low power 10m beacons please see G3USF’s list via the Propagation pages on RSGB.org.

Tony, G4CJC’s 10 metre report says Joe, G3ZDF worked KP4JRS, HC2TIC, CT1BFP and heard PJ2BR, KG4IYS and CO3JR on FT8 after 11pm. This was probably via multi-hop Sporadic-E rather than F-layer propagation. There have also been one or two reports of long-distance FT8 contacts on 10m from the Far East, which may be due to short-path Summer Solstice Propagation.

As the Sporadic-E season progresses we can expect to see a lot more activity on 10 metres.

Next week NOAA predicts the solar flux index will climb to the high 70s, no doubt boosted by region 2817. Geomagnetic activity is predicted to be quiet for the first half of the week, but could turn unsettled on the 11th with the potential for the Kp index to reach five or six by the 14th with the return of a large solar coronal hole. Expect subdued MUFs until the Kp index recovers.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

There is a predominance of low pressure on the charts for much of the next week and more active systems will mean some heavy rain and strong winds for some areas. The models diverge towards the end of next week, with one version showing high pressure over northern areas by the end of the week, while the other option shows a continuation of low pressure.

The outcome of this is a mainly rain-scatter week for the GHz bands and at this time of year showers are often heavy and thunderous, which can be very good scatter sources. The option of high pressure at the end of next week may herald some Tropo in the north.

Sporadic-E is building nicely and most days will offer the prospects of some Sporadic-E, especially on the digital modes or 10m. There will be some well-placed jet streams in attendance next week, so keep an ear on the bands and beacons.

With positive Moon declination, we’ll see lengthening Moon visibility windows and peak Moon elevations as the week goes on. The Sun and the Moon will be at apogee and close to eclipse on Tuesday, meaning highest path losses and very high noise levels after lunchtime.

There are no significant meteor showers this week but we will still be in the tail end of last week’s Eta-Aquarids so look out for continuing random activity.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for May 2nd 2021.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for May 2nd 2021.

April 30, 2021

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 2nd of May 2021

The news headlines:

  • RSGB AGM appointments

  • Club, Beacon and Repeater insurance renewed

  • Help survey amateur radio

At the RSGB AGM on the 24th of April, it was announced that Stewart Bryant, G3YSX has been elected as President of the Society and will serve until the 2023 AGM. We congratulate him and welcome him as RSGB President. Dave Wilson, M0OBW was elected as a Director of the Society and will serve until the 2024 AGM. Congratulations to him and many thanks to those Directors who have served during the year. Paul Devlin, G1SMP and David Hills, G6PYF were endorsed as nominated Directors of the Society and will serve until the 2024 AGM. Congratulations to them both.

RSGB Club Insurance and Beacon and Repeater Insurance has now been renewed for the year to April 2022. Club Insurance Certificates can be downloaded from the RSGB website; please use your Membership Services login to obtain a copy of your Certificate. To ensure that your beacon or repeater is covered under the insurance, a £10 admin fee is required and you may renew this online at the RSGB shop. Please allow a couple of days after renewal for your certificate to be dispatched.

The IARU Region 1 is running a strategic workshop on the future of amateur radio. Each of the national societies in the region has been asked to contribute information about amateur radio in their country. In preparation, the RSGB is conducting a short survey of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that apply to amateur radio in the UK. The Society would like to hear the views of all UK radio amateurs so please take a few minutes to fill in the survey at www.rsgb.org/survey. The deadline for responses is the 23rd of May.

There are three new ways to listen to GB2RS news. John, G4TRN and Sean, G7NJX have been providing a regular UHF service via GB3ZB in Bristol for some time. Now, this repeater is interlinked to GB3FI in Cheddar to give extended coverage on both sides of the Mendips. The broadcast is at 9.30 am. Another new transmission comes from Richard, G0NAD near Clacton-on-Sea in Essex, serving the Tendring area on 433.525MHz FM at 11 am. GB2RS can now also be heard via the QO-100 amateur radio satellite. The transmission is provided by Keith, GU6EFB at 0800UTC, using upper sideband on 10489.900MHz, which is in the mixed-mode section of the narrowband transponder. QO-100 is a geostationary satellite with a footprint that covers Europe, Africa and India, so this news bulletin is a specially adapted international version. The RSGB would like to thank AMSAT-DL for their kind cooperation in making this broadcast possible. If you don’t have any 10GHz equipment but would still like to monitor the broadcast, there is a dedicated webSDR at batc.org.uk that requires no radio equipment. Just click on the ‘online’ tab.

SOS Radio Week is an annual event that sees many amateur radio stations get on the air throughout the month of May. The aim is to raise awareness of the voluntary work of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and National Coastwatch Institution. The event coincides with the RNLI’s own Mayday fundraising month. For further details of the event, visit sosradioweek.org.uk.

Earlier this month Mike, G4GUG was interviewed on the University of the Third Age, or U3A, podcast. Mike is the amateur radio subject adviser at U3A. He shared his personal experience of enjoying amateur radio throughout his life and also highlighted the influx of new licensees over the last year. You can hear the podcast on the U3A YouTube channel; search for Episode 7. Mike’s interview starts about nine-and-a-half minutes into the podcast.

Sixteen awards were given at this year’s AGM. This included the prestigious RSGB award of Life Vice President, which was bestowed on Dave Wilson, M0OBW. This rarely-given award was for his tireless devotion over many years to all aspects of amateur radio and the Society. Congratulations to everyone who received an award. You can see the trophies, the winners and read the full citations at rsgb.services/gb2rs/010.

Now the DX news

This year’s International DX Convention will be a virtual two-day meeting to be held on the 15th and 16th of May, with eight DX-related and eight exhibitor Zoom webinars respectively. Free pre-registration is required and is now open. See dxconvention.com for more information, including the programme details.

Matthew, M0ZMS will be seconded to the RAF station at Mount Pleasant, Falkland Islands, IOTA reference SA-002, from late April to late August. He will be active as VP8ZMS, hopefully using the Royal Air Force ARS club station shack. He operates digital modes, CW and some SSB. QSL via home call and Logbook of The World; logsearch on Club Log.

Lee, HL1IWD will be active holiday style as HL1IWD/4 from the Kogunsan Islands, AS-148, until the 3rd of May. He will operate CW and some FT8 on 40-20 metres. On his way back he will make a short stopover on Anmyon Island, AS-080, and will try to operate as HL1IWD/3. QSLs via EA5GL.

Now the Special Event news

GB0ME will be on the air until the 16th of May to highlight awareness of the medical condition ME. The official awareness day is the 12th of May. The schedule of calling is to be confirmed but, until the 16th, George, MM0JNL will be operating as GB0ME when working from home to get the callsign out there.

On the 8th and 9th of May, GB2SXC and GB0SCW will be on air for the Stone Cross Windmill near Eastbourne. The stations are part of the Mills on the Air event. For further details email canavp@gmail.com.

Guernsey Amateur Radio Society will be using GB5LIB for the 76th anniversary of the Liberation of the islands. The call will be activated by club members from 0001UTC on the 8th to 2359UTC on the 14th of May. All bands and modes from 160m to 10m will be used and maybe 4 and 6m, if conditions allow. See QRZ.com for details.

Paul, G1OVK will be operating GB0SOS throughout May for SOS Radio week. Using HF, 2m and 70cm, he will operate SSB and digital. QSL via the bureau.

GB2HLS will be operated by Wirral ARS from Hoylake Lifeboat station throughout May. This is part of the SOS Radio Week activities.

On the 8th and 9th of May, Chesham & District ARS will operate GB0BWN at Brill Windmill as part of the Mills on the Air weekend. They will be using the 80m, 40m and 2m bands.

Now the contest news

With different parts of the UK having different lockdown restrictions, please make sure you follow the appropriate regulations. Several contests now accept portable entries, so please check the contest rules. Above all, please follow relevant national and local restrictions.

This weekend, the 432MHz to 245GHz Trophy ends its 24-hour run at 1400UTC today, the 2nd of May. Using all modes on those bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Today, the 2nd, the 10GHz Trophy runs from 0800 to 1400UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The ARI International DX contest ends its 24-hour run at 1200UTC today, the 2nd. Using CW, Phone and RTTY on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number. Italian stations also give their Province code.

Today, the 2nd, the UK Microwave group Low Band Contest runs from 1000 to 1600UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

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

On Wednesday the 144MHz FT8 Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2100UTC. The exchange is your signal report and 4-character locator.

The fourth FT4 Series contest also takes place on Wednesday from 1900 to 2030UTC. Using the 3.5 to 14MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and your 4-character locator.

Next Sunday, the 9th, the 70MHz CW contest runs from 0900 to 1200UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number, locator and postcode.

The Worked All Britain 40m Phone and CW contest runs for 1000 to 1400UTC next Sunday, the 9th. Using SSB and CW, the exchange is signal report, serial number and the WAB area.

Also on the 9th, the IRTS 40m Daytime Counties Contest runs from 1200 to 1300UTC. Using SSB and CW, the exchange is signal report and serial number. EI and GI stations also exchange their County.

The UK Six Metre Group Summer Marathon runs until the 1st of August. Exchange your 4-character locator.

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

Last week was characterised by relatively low sunspot numbers but reasonably settled geomagnetic conditions. The solar flux index never rose above 80 all week, despite a large cluster of sunspots. This cluster, composed of regions 2818, 2820 and 2821, were responsible for some C-class solar flare activity, but never really grew into anything. By the time you read or hear this, they will have rotated out of view.

The Kp index started the week at five, thanks to the effects of a high-speed solar wind stream from a coronal mass ejection. This was relatively short-lived and the rest of the week saw more settled conditions with a maximum Kp index of three and often zero.

HF conditions have been variable. There has been DX workable, as Norfolk ARC showed during last Saturday’s International Marconi Day. GB0CMS made more than 900 contacts on HF, including contacting the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, Ecuador, Panama, the Falkland Islands, Australia and Indonesia. SSB activity on 10 metres has been reported as being relatively quiet, with the odd Sporadic-E contact into Europe. FT8 has thrown up a few contacts into South America during the late afternoon and early evening.

Next week, NOAA predicts the SFI may dip again, perhaps down to 72-73. This weekend may see unsettled geomagnetic conditions with the potential for the Kp index to rise to four or five due to coronal hole activity. However, once this clears we may expect a more settled Kp of two as the week progresses. Propquest shows that, according to the Chilton digisonde data, daytime MUFs over a 3,000km path are generally reaching the 18MHz band and occasionally 21MHz.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

Next week it will probably be very difficult to time the weather changes correctly. It will be a mix of classic April showers – in May! – and some longer periods of rain, but also weak ridges of high pressure or, more accurately, ‘cols’, between highs and lows. These are very rarely useful for Tropo but may facilitate temporary lifts in the early mornings. The trend towards a showery weather pattern is likely to be good news for the rain scatter operators on the GHz bands.

With the arrival of May, expectations for Sporadic-E grow stronger. The daily blogs will begin this month on the Propquest.co.uk website where a commentary about the location of jet streams and potential for Sporadic-E will be discussed along with a chance to evaluate the new Sporadic-E Probability Index, or EPI, shown on the same website. Beams certainly help with weak Sporadic-E or multi-hop paths, but a strong opening will be found with even a colinear, so it’s not just for super-stations. If you’ve never worked Sporadic-E before, doing just one thing, checking 10m and 6m at teatime, will guarantee you the best chance of breaking your duck.

Last week we had a Supermoon. No reason to get excited, this is simply a full Moon occurring within 10% of perigee. Perigee was last Tuesday so EME path losses will slowly rise all week. Moon declination is negative until Saturday so we’ll see lengthening Moon visibility windows and peak Moon elevations as the week goes on.

Two meteor showers to look out for this week. The Eta-Aquarids has a broad peak around the 6th of May with a good Zenithal Hourly Rate or ZHR of 50, then the much smaller Eta Lyrids on the 8th.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for April 25th 2021.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for April 25th 2021.

April 23, 2021

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 25th of April 2021

The news headlines:

  • 400 lockdown nets for Hambleton

  • Martin, G3YJO on Radio Four

  • Free Contest University online

 

On the 22nd of April, Hambleton ARS passed the 400th consecutive day of a net on 2m FM. It was started during the Covid-19 lockdown to keep members and amateurs in the area in touch and able to summon help or assistance if required. The net starts at 11 am on the calling frequency and usually moves to S18 if clear. All amateurs are invited to join in and, so far, over 70 different stations have been logged. The net controller is usually Tony, G3MAE, who has ‘missed’ less than five days of operating during that time. A Cabin Fever award is available for any station taking part, issued by Tim, G0TYM via email, see QRZ.com.

This week, Radio 4’s programme, The Life Scientific, featured Professor Sir Martin Sweeting, G3YJO. He is the pioneer of microsatellites. He talked about his progress from UOSAT 1 via Cubesats to the Surrey Satellite Technology sale to Airbus. You can hear the interview online via BBC Sounds.

The Dayton Hamvention may have been cancelled for 2021, but the Contest University will still take place on the 20th of May. It will be held online, free of charge, via Zoom, starting at 1300UTC. Registration is open at contestuniversity.com.

There is an IET webinar about amateur radio on the 12th of May starting at 7.30 pm. You might be interested to see how the presenter, Phil Gould, presents the hobby to the audience. It is a free lecture, entitled To the other side of the world and beyond: An appreciation of amateur radio. Go to events.theiet.org and scroll through until you reach the 12th of May. You can register via the button there.

The Radio Club of Haiti’s 10m FM repeater project is now live. It operates with its transmitter on 29.620MHz and its receiver on 29.520MHz. The tone is 103.5Hz. At the moment the callsign is HH70X/R but that will be changing to HH2BM/R in honour of Bernard, HH2BM who sadly didn’t see the project go live before becoming silent key.

The Youngsters On The Air Summer Camp due to be held in Croatia has been postponed until 2022 due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. News on the rearranged camp will be available nearer the new date.

SOS Radio Week is an annual event that sees many amateur radio stations get on the air. The aim is to raise awareness of the voluntary work of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and National Coastwatch Institution. The event starts at 0000UTC on the 1st of May and coincides with the RNLI’s own Mayday fundraising month. For further details of the event please visit sosradioweek.org.uk.

The Hungarian Amateur Radio Society will commemorate the 230th anniversary of the birth of Samuel Morse with nine special callsigns. Look for activity on CW and SSB until the 27th of April. See MRASZ.org and click on S Morse Award 2021 for all the details.

Now the DX news

Joe, 9H5JO will be on the air at weekends during April from Malta. Between 1200 and 1300UTC each Saturday and Sunday, he will listen specifically for Foundation licensees on, or very near to, 14.268MHz. This could be a really good opportunity to get Malta in your logbook.

Matthew, M0ZMS will be seconded to the RAF station at Mount Pleasant, Falkland Islands, SA-002, from late April to late August. He will be active as VP8ZMS, hopefully using the Royal Air Force ARS club station shack. He operates digital modes, CW and some SSB. QSL via home call and Logbook of The World; logsearch on Club Log.

Ali, EP3CQ will be back in Mogadishu, Somalia from the 25th of April for two months. In his spare time, he will operate mainly FT8 on various bands as 6O1OO. QSL direct to details on qrz.com.

Take, JI3DST will be active as JI3DST/5 from Shodo Island, AS-200, from the 29th of April to the 5th of May. He will operate SSB, CW and FT8 on the 40 to 6m bands, and will also be on the air as JR8YLY/5. QSL via Club Log’s OQRS.

Now the Special Event news

8N1MORSE is a special callsign celebrating the 230th anniversary of the birth of Samuel Morse and other significant landmarks in the history of CW. It will be on the air until the 28th of February 2022. A website is under construction at 8n1morse.org.

Now the contest news

With different parts of the UK having different lockdown restrictions, please make sure you follow the appropriate rules. Several contests now accept portable entries, so please check the contest rules. Above all, please follow relevant national and local restrictions.

This weekend the SP DX RTTY contest ends its 24-hour run at 1200UTC today, the 25th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number. SP stations also exchange their Province code.

Today, the 25th, the BARTG Sprint 75 contest runs from 1700 to 2100UTC. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is just the serial number.

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

Wednesday sees the UK EI Contest Club 80m contest run from 1900 to 2000UTC. It’s CW only and the exchange is your locator reference.

On Thursday the 80m Club Championships runs from 1900 to 2030UTC. Using RTTY and PSK only, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

Next weekend, the 432MHz to 245GHz Trophy runs for 24 hours from 1400UTC on the 1st of May. Using all modes on those bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Saturday the 1st of May sees the 432MHz trophy contest run from 1400 to 2000UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Next Sunday, the 2nd, the 10GHz Trophy runs from 0800 to 1400UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Next weekend, the ARI International DX contest runs for 24 hours starting at 1200 on the 1st. Using CW, Phone and RTTY on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number. Italian stations also give their Province code.

Next Sunday, the 2nd, the UK Microwave group Low Band Contest runs from 1000 to 1600UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The UK Six Metre Group Summer Marathon runs from the 1st of May to the 1st of August. Just exchange your 4-character locator.

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

Last week was marked by solar flares, perhaps giving us a taste of things to come as the solar cycle progresses. The Kp index hit four on Monday after the weekend’s high of five. But luckily things then calmed down and we have been seeing the Kp index down to two overall. There was even one three-hour period where it was zero.

We have had more sunspots this week, which are always welcome. Region 2817 has now rotated off the Sun’s visible disk, but regions 2816 and 2818 have been very active. They pushed the solar flux index to 86 on Monday, but it was back down to 78 by Thursday.

The first M-class solar flare since the 29th of November 2020 was observed around region 2816 in the Sun’s southeast quadrant at 2342UTC on the 19th of April. Luckily, this occurred at night so had zero effect on the ionosphere over the UK. A coronal mass ejection, or CME, associated with this flare has been assessed as passing just behind Earth, but the Met Office’s space weather team said there was a slight chance of a glancing blow in the coming days.

A long-duration C-class flare around the same region occurred at approximately 0415UTC on the 22nd and looks to have produced a possible Earth-directed CME. If this is the case, we may expect the Kp index to rise, perhaps early in the weekend, resulting in reduced maximum usable frequencies.

HF conditions have been relatively lacklustre this week, although there has been some activity on 10m FT8. EA has been copied, perhaps via early-season Sporadic-E, and Bob, VP8LP on the Falkland Islands has put in an appearance during the late afternoon, as have numerous South American stations.

Daytime MUFs over a 3,000km path have generally struggled to exceed 18MHz at times, although there have been the odd DX openings on 21, 24 and even 28MHz.

Next week NOAA predicts the SFI will remain low, perhaps even dropping into the high 60s. Geomagnetic conditions are predicted to be generally quiet with a maximum Kp index of three. But do look out for further solar flares, which could cause short-lived disturbances on HF and the strong possibility of coronal mass ejections that could impact the Earth one or two days later, depending on the solar wind speed.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

Conditions are starting out with a Tropo frame of mind into this weekend, but there are hints of a small low tracking south across Scotland at the end of this weekend, and probably across the North Sea to establish low pressure to the east of the UK after midweek. This will probably mean that the Tropo period is weakened gradually and with further lows near southern Britain at the end of the week, there is likely to be a subtle shift to rain scatter propagation for the GHz bands.

We keep flagging up the forthcoming Sporadic-E season and clusters show it's just getting underway in an FT8 sense. It will no doubt start to show up with 10m or 6m beacons soon, so worth checking your favourite beacon list regularly.

If you haven’t got one yet, this would be a very good time to save a list of half a dozen frequencies for each band in the rig memories to make sure you can check for openings easily. From a jet stream perspective, initially, paths to Scandinavia look promising and by midweek probably more towards southeastern Europe and Ukraine.

Moon declination went negative today, so Moon windows are short and the Moon is at low elevation. The upside is that we have low path losses with perigee tomorrow (Monday).

The April Lyrids meteor shower produced some good meteor scatter QSOs last week and with the Eta-Aquarids set to peak on the 5th of May, the new meteor scatter season is well underway. Look at the usual frequencies for the mainly digimode activity.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for April 18th 2021.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for April 18th 2021.

April 16, 2021

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 18th of April 2021

The news headlines:

  • Vote now in RSGB elections

  • New 122GHz DX record

  • Video explains EMF Calculator

 

Voting in the RSGB elections closes at 0900 on Thursday the 22nd of April. Don’t miss your opportunity to decide who you would like to represent you as RSGB President and on the RSGB Board of Directors. You can find voting guidance and read statements from all the candidates on the RSGB website. RSGB Members can submit written questions in advance for Board Directors. Please note that the form will only be available until voting ends. The AGM takes place on the 24th. After the formal business ends there will be a presentation by John Rogers, M0JAV on the new EMF licence regulations. For all information, including how to watch the AGM live, go to rsgb.org/agm.

UK amateurs continue to create new DX records on the 122GHz millimetre-wave band. On the 7th of April, using barely one milliwatt, a new all-time UK record was set. The contact was between Roger, G8CUB and Chris, G0FDZ, from Danbury Hill in Essex to the Isle of Sheppey, a distance of nearly 36km. This is all the more remarkable given the very low powers and high atmospheric loss due to an oxygen resonance that affects this particular microwave band.

RSGB Board Director and EMC Chair, John Rogers, M0JAV, has created a helpful video to demonstrate how to use the RSGB/Ofcom EMF calculator. The calculator itself has also been updated on the RSGB website. You can find links to the video and the calculator at rsgb.org/emf.

The RSGB’s new Friendship on the Air Award links in with the chosen theme of Home But Never Alone for World Amateur Radio Day today, the 18th of April. It is a chance to get on the air, represent your club and have a proper chat with radio amateurs across the airwaves. There are monthly and annual awards for individuals, clubs and the highest-scoring club in each region. To find out how to take part, visit rsgb.org/friendship-award.

Belgian individual operators and radio clubs are authorised to replace their ON prefix with OS between the 18th of April and the 12th of December. This is to celebrate World Amateur Radio Day on the 18th of April and the 120th anniversary of Marconi's first reception of transatlantic radio signals on the 12th of December 1901.

The RSGB remote invigilation exams have been very successful during the Covid-19 lockdown. Last week, the remote invigilation exam team saw the 1000th Intermediate candidate pass their exam. Congratulations to all the students. Over 3,100 candidates have made the first step into the hobby by obtaining a Foundation pass and over 330 to the Full licence. Thanks go to the team of volunteers who run the programme. We are very grateful for their effort during these difficult times.

The latest GB2RS Broadcast Schedule can be downloaded from rsgb.org/gb2rsschedule. We’re always looking for new readers to join the teams around the UK and Crown Dependencies. If you would like to find out more, and you are an RSGB Member with a Full or Intermediate licence, please contact the GB2RS Manager via email to gb2rs.manager@rsgb.org.uk.

Eugene Marlow is in the very late stages of producing a documentary about China starting in the 1920s. He is looking for high-resolution photos of the use of radio in the 1920s in China to incorporate into the documentary. If you think you have photos that could be used, contact Eugene via email to meiienterprises@aol.com.

Now the DX news

Joe, 9H5JO will be on the air at weekends during April from Malta. Between 1200 and 1300UTC each Saturday and Sunday, he will listen specifically for Foundation licensees on, or very near to, 14.268MHz. This could be a really good opportunity to get Malta in your logbook.

Mark, W5MED is stationed at McMurdo Station on Ross Island in Antarctica, AN-011, until October. He will operate as KC4USV on the 18th of April at 0600 to 0800UTC and from 2100UTC until midnight. Look for him on 14243kHz SSB and 14070 kHz FT8. QSL direct to K7MT and Logbook of The World.

JW1I is the club callsign for the Meteorological Station on Bear Island, EU-027, Svalbard. The operator is Erling, JW/LB2PG, who is expected to stay there until the 15th of May. QSL via the bureau.

Now the Special Event news

Today, the 18th of April, is World Amateur Radio Day, with the theme Home But Never Alone. The South African Radio League is holding a WARD QSO Party from 0600 to 1800UTC on all bands and modes. Participants must contact various stations to obtain points adding up to 96 because the IARU and the SARL are both celebrating their 96th anniversary in 2021. Special certificates are available. For full details, search online for SARL WARD QSO Party.

GB1PF will be on the air from the 23rd to the 26th of April, operated by members of Fort Purbrook ARC. Activity will be from members’ homes, with activity planned on HF using CW, SSB and data and VHF/UHF using SSB and FM.

GB1PPP has been issued to G0CCT until the 30th of April to commemorate the life of Prince Philip, who passed away on the 9th of April.

Now the contest news

With different parts of the UK having different lockdown restrictions, please make sure you follow the appropriate rules. Several contests now accept portable entries, so please check the contest rules. Above all, please follow relevant national and local restrictions.

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

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

Next weekend the SP DX RTTY contest runs for 24 hours from 1200UTC on the 24th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number. SP stations also exchange their Province code.

Next Sunday, the 25th, the BARTG Sprint 75 contest runs from 1700 to 2100UTC. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is just the serial number.

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

The Sun continued to remain quiet last week with a maximum solar flux index of 75.3 on the twelfth and a maximum sunspot number of 17. Sunspot region 2814, whose physical width was equivalent to four Earth diameters, spawned a few B-class solar flares but showed little sign of growth and as you read or hear this report will be rotating out of view on the Sun's limb.

The STEREO Ahead spacecraft is showing some future potential spots, with two areas exhibiting magnetic activity, but it is too early to say whether these will amount to actual spots when they rotate onto the visible solar disk.

What is more obvious is a large coronal hole that will be Earth-facing by Friday and promising a high-speed solar wind that will hit us by late Saturday or Sunday. This is predicted to make the Kp index rise to an estimated five, although, rather like the rise in the Kp Index on Thursday the 15th, it will likely be short-lived. As the Kp Index rises expect a decrease in maximum usable frequencies until the ionosphere recovers.

NOAA predicts the SFI will be in the range 72-75 next week with relatively calm geomagnetic conditions once we get past the Kp increase this weekend.

We are now probably just a couple of weeks away from the start of the Sporadic-E season, and as the weather forecast for this next week is quite good, it may be an ideal opportunity to check your 10m antennas.

One upcoming highlight is International Marconi Day on Saturday the 24th of April when special event stations in locations with significance to Marconi's work will operate around the world. For more details, just search online for GB4IMD.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

With another week of high pressure on the charts, it will be a Tropo theme for propagation. Although for some of the time the surface air, which ideally should be cool and moist, looks likely to be cold and dry, so Tropo may not be as strong as it could be. Sometimes the presence of misty low cloud or fog in the morning will put things right temporarily, but conditions will fade thereafter as the fog or cloud clears.

Northwestern parts of the British Isles will have some spells of frontal rain and a chance of some rain scatter, but even here the high will become more dominant later. That leaves us with the approaching Sporadic-E season to consider. It's coming, but these early season opportunities tend to be fleeting and more likely on the lower bands like 10m and 6m using digital modes.

With the Moon at maximum positive declination today and falling path losses, towards perigee a week on Monday, it’s a good week for EME. There will be long Moon windows and high peak elevations.

Thursday the 22nd sees the peak of the April Lyrids meteor shower and on Friday the smaller Pi-Puppids. These showers signal the end of the annual meteor activity minimum and already there are signs of more meteor reflections being reported, so get looking at the usual frequencies for the mainly digimode activity.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for April 11th 2021.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for April 11th 2021.

April 9, 2021

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 11th of April 2021

The news headlines:

  • RSGB Patron, Silent Key

  • Friendship on the Air

  • RSGB online AGM

It is with great sadness that we heard that the Radio Society of Great Britain’s Patron, His Royal Highness, The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, KG, KT, died on Friday the 9th of April.

He was the RSGB’s Patron from 1952 and joined the Society on several occasions. These included special event stations, anniversary events and exhibitions. In 1988, he attended the 75th Anniversary Convention at the NEC. After touring the display of amateur equipment through the ages, he exchanged a short greetings message with Windsor Castle. His opening address was included in a special edition of GB2RS that was carried live from the NEC.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s continuing commitment to help young people to develop new skills were demonstrated through the message he sent on the occasion of YOTA 2017: “I am delighted to have this opportunity to welcome everyone who is participating in The Radio Society of Great Britain’s youth event ‘Youngsters on the Air 2017’. The skills involved in amateur radio are a valuable foundation for careers in science, technology, engineering and maths. I hope that all those taking part in this event will gain valuable experience for their chosen career. I wish all participants a very enjoyable week, and trust that the friendships formed will last long after the conclusion of the camp.”

Our thoughts are with Her Majesty The Queen and the whole Royal family at this sad time.

The RSGB has launched the Friendship on the Air Award to support the radio amateur community as restrictions lift over the coming months. There will be monthly and annual awards for individuals, clubs and the highest-scoring club in each region. The points system is simply an encouragement to get on the air, represent your club and have a proper chat with radio amateurs across the airwaves. The award is part of the RSGB and NHS ‘Get on the air to care’ campaign, and links with the chosen theme of ‘Home but never alone’ for this year’s World Amateur Radio Day. To find out how to take part, visit rsgb.org/friendship-award.

The RSGB is holding its AGM online this year on Saturday the 24th of April. The event will include both the formal AGM business and a presentation by John Rogers, M0JAV on the new EMF licence regulations. If you are an RSGB Member you can submit written questions for Board Directors in advance through a form on the AGM web pages at rsgb.org/agm.

We are saying farewell to a couple of our long-standing newsreaders. Tony, G1JPV has decided to stand down and we would like to thank him for his dedication to GB2RS. We’re also saying goodbye to Colin, G3ISB/DJ0OK, a stalwart of the 40m broadcasts from Germany alongside Günter, M0DXM/DJ2XB. Thank you Colin for your work on behalf of other amateurs. We wish both Tony and Colin well for the future.

Two new GB2RS news broadcasts begin this weekend. Mick, MI0HOZ will transmit over the Brandmeister DMR network using talk group TG2354, time slot 2, at 12 noon each Sunday. The transmission is being made via five interlinked DMR repeaters in Northern Ireland. Thank you to the repeater keepers who have kindly granted permission for this. George, MM0JNL is starting a new service for the Scottish Borders and north Northumberland, from his station near Berwick-upon-Tweed. The broadcast starts at 12 noon using FM on 145.525MHz.

A reminder that Tonight @ 8 will be at 8 pm this Monday, the 12th of April. Alan, W2AEW will give an introduction to VNAs and the NanoVNA. You can watch and ask questions live on the RSGB YouTube channel. For more information about all the Tonight@8 webinars see rsgb.org/webinars.

The MicroHAMS Digital conference 2021 will be held on Saturday the 24th of April. There are plans for a section on FreeDV by Walter Holmes, K5WH. Please check microhams.com for updates on the programme and how to join.

World Amateur Radio Day is on the 18th of April and EDR, Denmark’s National Society is sponsoring the 5P0WARD Award. Stations in Europe qualify for a gold award by contacting 12 different 5P0WARD/xx stations on at least four different bands. The xx denotes a different extended suffix to the main callsign. For silver, it is 10 different 5P0WARD/xx stations on at least three bands, and for bronze, contact six different 5P0WARD/xx stations on at least three different bands. You have until the end of the year to apply. More at QRZ.com under 5P0WARD.

Now the DX news

Joe, 9H5JO will be on the air at weekends during April from Malta. Between 1200 and 1300UTC each weekend he will listen specifically for Foundation licensees on, or very near to, 14.268MHz. This could be a really good opportunity to get Malta in your logbook.

Ruud, PG1R will be active as PG96WARD until the 30th of April to celebrate World Amateur Radio Day. He operates RTTY, PSK and SSB. QSL via PG1R either direct or via the bureau and Logbook of The World or logsearch on Club Log.

Members of Radio Club Henares will be active as EH4WRD between the 12th and the 18th of April to celebrate World Amateur Radio Day. QSL via EA4RCH.

JW1I is the club callsign for the Meteorological Station on Bear Island, EU-027, Svalbard. The operator is Erling, JW/LB2PG, who is expected to stay there until the 15th of May. QSL via the bureau.

Now the Special Event news

Celebrating the 83rd birthday of Antonio, CU8AS, special callsign CQ83AS will be aired between the 13th and 19th of April from Flores Island, EU-089, in the Azores. QSL via HB9CRV.

Between 0600UTC on the 14th and 2200UTC on the 17th of April, two special call signs will be operating in Israel. 4X73xx and 4Z73xx will be on the air, where xx will include the two last letters of the callsign for each operator. QSL cards will be uploaded to Logbook of The World.

Now the contest news

With different parts of the UK having different lockdown restrictions, please make sure you follow the appropriate rules. Several contests now accept portable entries, so please check the contest rules. Above all, please follow relevant national and local restrictions.

Today, Sunday the 11th is a busy day for contests. The First 50MHz contest runs from 0900 to 1200UTC and uses all modes. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

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

Running from 1000 to 2100UTC, the Worked All Britain Data Contest uses the 3.5 to 14MHz contest bands. The exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square. Note this contest has two sessions.

Also today, the first RoLo Contest runs from 1900 to 2030UTC using SSB only on the 80m band. The exchange is the signal report and the locator received.

On Monday, the CW leg of the 80m Club Championships takes place between 1900 and 2030UTC. The exchange is signal report and serial number.

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

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

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA & G4BAO on Friday the 9th of April.

We had yet another week with poor sunspot numbers. Although we started the week with a sunspot number of 11, representing one spot in one group, it didn’t take long for this to decline and we were back to zero spots again and a solar flux index of 76.

What we did have, however, were the effects of a high-speed stream from a coronal hole, which sent the Kp index up to five during the afternoon of Wednesday the seventh. This was relatively short-lived though and the Kp index was back to one by Thursday morning.

A pre-auroral event enhancement saw MUFs climb above 21MHz on Wednesday, which saw some DX being worked via FT8 on 15 metres.

Otherwise, the DX attention has been on the Russian C92RU DXpedition to Mozambique. This has been worked by UK amateurs on all bands from 160m to 15m and the propagation prediction engine at predtest.uk shows that your best chance of working them is from 1600 to 1800UTC on 30 metres, 20 metres and 17 metres. They have also been worked on the low bands in the late evening and early hours. They are currently due to dismantle their station on Tuesday the 13th of April so don’t delay if you want C92 in the log.

Next week NOAA predicts the solar flux index will remain around 70-72, with a maximum Kp index of two. As of Thursday, there were no obvious coronal holes rotating into view, which bodes well for HF propagation over the next few days. Let’s hope it continues until the end of next week.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

This weekend we start the period with a wintry theme to the weather, especially in the north, and a longer period of rain sleet or snow over the Downs in the south. This means it's a rain scatter story for the GHz bands again. The models diverge after midweek, when one evolution brings an area of high pressure in from the west, while others stick with the unsettled showery theme. This means that the coming week is largely a rain scatter option, with an outside chance of a new high in the second half of the week for a hint of Tropo.

The tropo.F5LEN.org maps show no tropo over the UK until this coming Friday when conditions look promising over the sea path from the North of Scotland up to the Faroe Islands.

As mentioned last week we are getting closer to the next Sporadic-E season, so as usual the message is to check 10m and 6m for signs of activity, especially on the digital modes.

Moon declination is positive again so peak Moon elevations and visibility windows will increase as the week progresses. The Moon reaches apogee on Wednesday so path losses will begin to fall from then.

We are slowly coming out of the annual meteor activity minimum, with the April Lyrids starting to ramp up to their peak on the 22nd. Already there are signs of more meteor reflections being reported.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for April 4th 2021.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for April 4th 2021.

April 1, 2021

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 4th of April 2021

The news headlines:

  • Tonight@8 on 12th April

  • Vote in RSGB Elections

  • Free Emergency Comms Training

Tonight @ 8 in April has moved back a week and will be at 8 pm on Monday the 12th of April. Alan, W2AEW will give an introduction to VNAs and the NanoVNA. You can watch and ask questions live on the RSGB YouTube channel. For more information about all the Tonight@8 webinars see the Society’s website at rsgb.org/webinars.

Have you voted yet in the RSGB elections? You can find voting guidance and read statements from all the candidates on the RSGB website at rsgb.org/agm. Both candidates for RSGB President have also been part of an interview with Callum, M0MCX on YouTube at youtube.com/dxcommander.

A Radio Emergency Communications Training Event will take place on the 10th and 11th of April between 1600 and 2359UTC each day. Previously an in-person event in Seattle, this year it will be virtual. The event’s theme is Disasters Here, There, and Everywhere – Are We Prepared? The two days of training, talks and information on emergency communications and amateur radio are free to attend, register at commacademy.org.

The latest episode of ICQ Podcast features an in-depth interview with three senior RSGB representatives. They are Board Director John, M0JAV; Exam Standards Committee Chair Tony, G8PBH; and General Manager Steve, M1ACB. Listen to an explanation about the new EMF regulations, an update on exams, an overview of the RSGB in 2020 and a look forward to 2021. Go to rsgb.services/gb2rs/008 and the RSGB piece starts at 1 hour and 2 minutes.

Chelmsford Civic Society has a Zoom talk by Chris Neale of the Chelmsford Science and Engineering Society on Wednesday the 14th of April at 7.30 pm. Entitled RDF to RADAR, my parent's contribution to Hitler’s downfall and how I came to be! it is a free event to attend. This talk highlights the roles played by two of the many hundreds of RAF personnel who helped deliver this initially primitive radar capability to a level that ensured that a German invasion was thwarted. To book a place, search for Chelmsford Civic Society and click on the Events tab.

SOS Radio Week starts at 0000UTC on the 1st of May and runs until the 31st to coincide with the RNLI’s own Mayday fundraising month. Stations are encouraged to register to become an official station. For further details of the event please visit sosradioweek.org.uk.

Now the DX news

Toni, EA5RM is in Bolivia working on a non-governmental organisation’s project until the 27th of April. In his spare time, he will operate SSB and digital modes as CP1XRM. QSL via EA5RM and Logbook of The World.

Stationed at Casey Station in Antarctica until at least November, Paul, VK2PAD is active as VK0PD in his spare time. Currently, he has a 20/40m dipole 10m above ground level and so far he has some contacts on 20m. QSL via EB7DX.

Now the Special Event news

Celebrating World Amateur Radio Day, DA21WARD will operate from the 1st of April until June. QSL via the bureau, or direct to DK5ON.

John, MW1CFN will be active as GB1004FTS from Anglesey, IOTA reference EU-005, until the 8th of April. He will operate SSB and digital modes on the HF bands, 6 and 2m. QSL via Logbook of The World or direct.

The Wireless Institute of Australia is celebrating the centenary of the Royal Australian Air Force with two callsigns. VI100AF will operate until the 29th of May. It will be used by radio amateurs that are either current or veteran military personnel; some activities may be from military bases. VK100AF will be active until the 31st of August. Full details are on QRZ.com.

Now the contest news

With different part of the UK having different lockdown restrictions, please make sure you follow the appropriate rules. Several contests now accept portable entries, so please check the contest rules. Above all, please follow relevant national and local restrictions.

The SP DX contest runs for 24 hours until 1500UTC today, the 4th. Using CW and SSB on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number. SP stations will also exchange their Province code.

Today, the 4th of April the First 70MHz contest runs from 0900 to 1200UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Monday the IRTS 70cm Counties Contest runs from 1300 to 1330UTC. It is followed by the IRTS 2m Counties Contest from 1330 to 1500UTC. Both contests are FM and SSB and the exchange is signal report and serial number. Irish stations also give their county.

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

On Wednesday, the third FT4 series contest runs from 1900 to 2030UTC. Using the 3.5 to 14MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and your 4-character locator.

The 144MHz FT8 Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2100UTC on Wednesday. The exchange is signal report and your 4-character locator.

The UK EI Contest Club 80m contest runs from 1900 to 2000UTC on Wednesday. Using SSB only the exchange is your locator.

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

Next Sunday, the 11th, is a busy day for contests. The First 50MHz contest runs from 0900 to 1200UTC and uses all modes. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

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

Running from 1000 to 2100UTC, the Worked All Britain Data Contest uses the 3.5 to 14MHz contest bands. The exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square. Note this contest has two sessions.

The first RoLo Contest runs from 1900 to 2030UTC using SSB only on the 80m band. The exchange is the signal report and the locator received.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA & G4BAO on Thursday the 1st of April.

This last week has certainly been quieter from a geomagnetic disturbance point of view. We have seen the Kp index at one for much of the time, and it even hit zero in the early hours of Tuesday the 30th. We have not been quite so lucky on the sunspot front, with zero spots being recorded on Wednesday.

Nevertheless, 17 metres has provided some good DX paths, especially via FT8, and even 21MHz has opened up at times. The Far East and the Caribbean have been favourites on 17 metres, but a quick scan through 15 metres showed nothing, except for a spike at 21.074MHz where a good sprinkling of European stations, plus Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Israel could be copied.

There have been some North-South paths worked on 10 metres via Trans-Equatorial Propagation or TEP, but these have mainly favoured stations located south of the UK. Coming down to 40 metres, there is always fun to be had contacting Summits on the Air operators, who are always keen to make contacts. SOTA ops in Switzerland, Austria and Germany can usually be worked on CW around 7.032MHz, even with QRP power, no doubt due to their very low noise levels on mountain tops.

Next week NOAA predicts that the solar flux index will remain in the low 70s, with quiet geomagnetic conditions for the first half of the week. From the eighth to the tenth we may expect more disturbed conditions due to the return of another coronal hole. There is also the slim chance of the odd Sporadic-E opening, particularly on 10 metres, but more of that in the next section.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

Conditions in the warm air part of the high pressure have been good with some strong Tropo, especially over England and Wales. The fronts over Scotland and Ireland have prevented any Tropo there but will weaken by this weekend when we will find the main high centre to the north and west of Britain introducing some chance of temporary Tropo here also. The big change is the development of a dominant low over Scandinavia during this weekend and this will bring strong northerly winds and a return of very cold air with a chance of wintry showers moving south today, Easter Sunday, and Monday. This will potentially be a good time for some rain scatter on the GHz bands. These springtime showers can be sources of hail and thunderstorms, so be ready to track them on the many online radar sites. Conditions remain cold and unsettled for much of the next week.

For Sporadic-E enthusiasts, we are entering the period when the first fleeting openings may make a surprise appearance even for the traditional modes like SSB and CW, so perhaps give 10m a look now and again and possibly 6m too. Obviously, digital modes will potentially be a good early warning sign of activity, or at least the directions of interest.

Moon declination is at minimum today, so peak Moon elevations are at their lowest but will increase as the week progresses. We are past perigee so losses will also increase.

With no significant meteor showers this week, the best time for meteor scatter contacts is the pre-dawn random meteor enhancement.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for March 28th 2021.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for March 28th 2021.

March 26, 2021

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 28th of March 2021

The news headlines:

  • Ham Radio Friedrichshafen cancelled

  • In-person exams to resume

  • 18th April is World Amateur Radio Day

The in-person Ham Radio international amateur radio exhibition held in Friedrichshafen, Germany, has once again been cancelled. With the Covid-19 pandemic maintaining a firm grip on world events, the venue has been forced to postpone the event until 2022. The dates for 2022 will be the 24th to 26th of June. Details of any online activities in place of this year’s event will be released nearer the time.

The RSGB remote invigilation exams have been a great success during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Society can now plan to resume exams for candidates who prefer to sit them in a club setting with in-person invigilation. The RSGB will start accepting bookings from club Examination Secretaries from the date when the Government lifts all Covid-19 restrictions in their part of the UK. The Society will release further details shortly. The online remote invigilation exams will continue in parallel. Mandatory practical assessments at Foundation level will remain suspended pending an ESC/ESRG-led review and consultation on their long-term future.

The 18th of April will be World Amateur Radio Day. It was on this day in 1925 that the International Amateur Radio Union was formed in Paris. The theme for 2021 will be ‘Home but never alone’. Due to Covid-19, many gatherings and amateur radio events have been cancelled, however, amateur radio kept us connected. Listen out for special event stations around the world that will be on the air that day.

The RSGB is holding its AGM online this year on Saturday the 24th of April and will live-stream the event. You can submit written questions for Board Directors in advance through a form on the Society’s website at rsgb.services/gb2rs/007. After the formal business part of the meeting, EMC Chair John Rogers, M0JAV will give an update on Ofcom’s new EMF regulations.

In the UK, the clocks went forward one hour at 1 am today, the 28th of March. This means we are on British Summer Time. Please note that many contests and other events often state the timings in UTC or GMT, which will be one hour behind the local clock time here in the UK.

The next edition of RadCom Basics is now available. It includes articles on Using a Multimeter – both digital and analogue, tracking down sources of interference and part two of Making Small Metal Boxes. RSGB Members can read previous editions of RadCom Basics by going to rsgb.org/radcom-basics. You can also register to receive notification of subsequent issues as they become available at the same address.

At the request of the European Commission, the IARU met with representatives of the automotive industry, standards bodies and the Commission on the 25th of March. It was to review the current position on the development of an emission standard for Wireless Power Transfer for Electric Vehicles. There was a frank exchange of views and the Commission determined that further joint tests should be arranged. The IARU confirmed it was content to participate and welcomed the initiative. A further meeting will take place once the relevant tests have been completed, with a view to making progress towards an emission standard. Read the full news item at iaru-r1.org.

There is an IET webinar about Amateur Radio on the 12th of May starting at 7.30 pm. Phil Gould will give you an appreciation of amateur radio, a hobby that puts science and technology into action. You can register on the IET website at theiet.org, then go to the events tab. Registration is open to non-members as well as members of the IET.

Lee, M0RLE started a net at the beginning of the first lockdown. It is every Monday evening on GB3RF and GB3PF and usually attracts over 20 people. He has been working most of the lockdown but has kept the net going including contacting people if they miss the net to check that all is well. Well done Lee.

The short film ISS_Overs won the Best Dramatic Short at the Quarantini Monthly Film Festival. It has also been selected as a finalist in the Awards Sections of the WeMakeFilms International Film Festival. It is about an elderly amateur radio operator who catches a signal from the International Space Station while in lockdown.

Now the DX news

Lee, HL1IWD will be active holiday style as HL1IWD/5 from Koje Island, IOTA reference AS-081, between the 2nd and 4th of April. He will operate CW and some FT8 on the 40 to 20m bands. QSL via the bureau, or direct to EA5GL.

Keith, KL2JE will remain operating from Dutch Harbor, Unalaska Island, NA-059, until the 10th of April. In his spare time, he is on 20 metres using FT8.

Mats, SM6LRR, will be active as 8Q7MS from the Maldives between the 28th of March and the 10th of April. He is operating holiday-style on mainly the 40 to 15m bands using CW, but he will also use SSB.

Now the Special Event news

For the annual RAFARS Airfields on the Air activity, GB0WYT – standing for RAF Wyton, Cambridgeshire – will be operational on the 3rd and 4th of April. This is the ninth year of operation. Due to the current restrictions, the callsign will be operated by RAFAC Radio Staff and members of Huntingdonshire ARS who live locally to RAF Wyton. Subject to conditions, they will be operating on the HF bands using CW, voice and RTTY, PSK31, FT8; they will also be on 2m FM and SSB.

John, MW1CFN will be active as GB1004FTS from Anglesey, EU-005, between the 25th of March and the 8th of April. He will operate SSB and digital modes on the HF bands, 6 and 2m. QSL via Logbook of The World or direct. The special callsign celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force’s No 4 Flying Training School, which opened on the 1st of April 1921.

Now the contest news

The RSGB VHF Contest Committee will once again accept portable entries from stations within some areas of the UK from the 29th of March. Different parts of the UK have different regulations, so please ensure you obey your national and local government’s advice. Details are in the RSGB Contest Committee Newsletter and you can subscribe at rsgbcc.org.

The CQ World Wide WPX SSB contest ends its 48 hours run at 2359UTC today, the 28th. Please check the rules as there is a new multi-station category. Using the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

On Wednesday the UK EI Contest Club 80m contest runs from 2000 to 2100UTC. Using CW only, the exchange is your 6-character locator.

Next weekend the SP DX contest runs from 1500UTC on the 3rd to 1500UTC on the 4th. Using CW and SSB on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number. SP stations will also exchange their Province code.

On Sunday the 4th of April the First 70MHz contest runs from 0900 to 1200UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

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

What a mixed week we had, with large geomagnetic storms interspersed with quiet periods. The first storm occurred last weekend when the Kp index hit six on Saturday and then five on Sunday. This wasn’t unexpected and we did warn that it might happen in the last GB2RS broadcast.

A second storm occurred when a weak shock passage was detected at around 1920UTC on Wednesday evening. This was likely related to a coronal mass ejection coming off the Sun’s eastern limb, which was observed on the 20th of March. The solar wind increased from 375km/s to around 440km/s and the Bz Interplanetary Magnetic Field component tipped south.

Otherwise, it was relatively quiet on the sunspot front with the solar flux index climbing from 77 on Sunday to 84 on Thursday, reflecting the increased UV due to groups 2811 and 2812. Conditions have been a little lacklustre, with daytime maximum usable frequencies over a 3,000km path struggling to climb over 18MHz at times.

Next week NOAA has the solar flux index prediction at 78 all week. It also predicts unsettled geomagnetic conditions on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, with the Kp index set to rise to five thanks to a high-speed stream from a coronal hole. Expect depressed critical frequencies and MUFs until this clears later in the week and the Kp index returns to more normal values.

This might be a good time to check your antennas so that you are ready for the 10 metre Sporadic-E season in a few weeks!

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

After some welcome Tropo down to Atlantic France and Northern Spain early last week, we are in the midst of a very disturbed period of weather and this will continue into early next week.

Perhaps contrary to expectations there could be some more Tropo on the southern warm air side of a waving front over southern Britain. These will most likely be west-east paths from southern Britain into northern Europe. Otherwise, we can hope the frontal rain band may provide limited rain scatter options on the GHz bands.

From about Tuesday, a new high will establish a dominant position over the UK and this could make Tropo more likely again, but this will be a cold air high and usually, these are not the best providers of good Tropo.

As we enter April in the coming week, it's worth dusting down the Sporadic-E equipment and consider looking at 10m or 6m digital modes for early signs of life. If the locational trigger is jet streams, in this case, it would favour Scandinavia and the Baltic region.

For EME enthusiasts, declination goes negative today, so peak Moon elevation will fall as the week progresses and Moon windows will shorten. Path losses are at their lowest with perigee coming up on Tuesday.

The Lyrids meteor shower will start to ramp up in about two weeks’ time, peaking on the 22nd of April, but until then, the best time for meteor scatter contacts is the pre-dawn random meteor enhancement.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for March 21st 2021.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for March 21st 2021.

March 19, 2021

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 21st of March 2021

The news headlines:

  • Get ready for Summer time

  • RSGB Youth Award

  • Blue Ham this weekend

In the UK, the clocks go forward one hour at 1 am next Sunday, the 28th 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 will be one hour behind the local clock time here in the UK.

The RSGB Youth team has created a new award, aimed at younger people but it is also open for anyone to try. Called the Radio Surfer Award, it encourages experimentation with all types of radio communications. There is a list of possible activities, each with a points value. All you have to do is get the same number of points as your age. You don’t have to be licensed to take part although having a licence will give you more options. For more information about this and the RSGB Youth Award, see rsgb.org/youth-award.

The Royal Air Force Air Cadets Exercise Blue Ham 21-1 is on the MoD 5MHz shared band this weekend. RAFAC and other MoD Cadet formations will be on air over the period of operation using SSB and data modes. The Exercise Blue Ham website is at alphacharlie.org.uk.

Voting for the RSGB elections is now open. The Calling Notice, Resolutions, candidate statements and voting process are on the Society’s website at www.rsgb.org/agm. Voting ends at 9 am on Thursday the 22nd of April. The RSGB will be holding its AGM online this year, on Saturday the 24th of April, and will live-stream the event. RSGB Members will be able to submit written questions for Board Directors in advance through a form on the AGM web pages. The election details are also in the April RadCom, which RSGB Members will have started to receive in the last few days.

The RSGB has published an update to the RSGB EMF calculator on the website at www.rsgb.org.uk/emf. This version has had the front sheet changed in response to comments and suggestions from people who have tried using it. We are grateful for all the helpful suggestions received. Further work is needed to update the frequency dependant antenna data and would appreciate volunteers to help with this exercise. It has also been updated to use the Ofcom calculator v0.1.2 published on their website. This does produce separations for frequencies less than 10MHz. We continue to work on the calculator including producing a version that works with the newer ICNIRP2020 limits.

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station is once again operational, following a spacewalk on the 13th that worked on the Columbus module cabling. The Columbus amateur station, which typically uses the callsign NA1SS, is the primary ARISS amateur radio station used for school contacts and other activities.

Trowbridge & District ARC and Leyland & District Amateur Radio have shared their stories of running nets during the pandemic to support their members. You can read about them on the RSGB’s ‘Get on the air to care’ clubs and groups web page, rsgb.services/gb2rs/006

Now the DX news

Mats, RM2D will be active holiday style as 8Q7MS from the Maldives, IOTA reference AS-013, from the 28th of March to the 10th of April. He will operate CW with some SSB, mainly on the 40 to 15m bands. QSL via Logbook of The World, or EA5GL.

Barring Covid-related restrictions, Janusz, SP9FIH will be active as TO1K from Saint Martin, NA-105, between the 22nd of March and the 5th of April. QSL via Club Log’s OQRS, or via his home call.

Now the Special Event news

John, MW1CFN will be active as GB1004FTS from Anglesey, EU-005, between the 25th of March and the 8th of April. He will operate SSB and digital modes on the HF bands, 6 and 2m. QSL via Logbook of The World or direct. The special callsign celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force’s No 4 Flying Training School, which opened on the 1st of April 1921.

GB2VAX will be operational from the QTH of Andy, G4ISN of Welland Valley ARS, until the 28th.

Now the contest news

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

The Russian DX Contest ends its 24-hour run at 1200UTC today, the 21st. Using CW and SSB on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number. Russian stations will also exchange their Oblast 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.

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

On Thursday it’s the 80m Club Championships from 2000 to 2130UTC. Using SSB only, the exchange is a signal report and serial number.

Next weekend it’s the CW World Wide WPX SSB contest. It runs for 48 hours from 0000UTC on the 27th to 2359UTC on the 28th. Please check the rules as there is a new multi-station category. Using the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is a signal report and serial number.

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

We had a week of settled geomagnetic conditions, following a mixed weekend. The consensus on the Commonwealth Contest was that conditions were not too good, although plenty of amateurs managed to put VK in their logs, despite the Kp index hitting four during the event. The Sun remained fairly quiet, with a solar flux index of 81 on Saturday and 78 on Sunday.

Otherwise, the DX interest has been focused on the Russian DXpedition A25RU to Botswana. They are there until the 26th of March and will be operating all modes, including CW, SSB and FT8. March is a good month for these North-South paths and Predtest.uk predictions show that 1600-1800UTC is probably the best time for a contact with Botswana on 30 to 17 metres.

Next week NOAA predicts the solar flux index will remain in the mid-80s, although this weekend is likely to see unsettled geomagnetic conditions again thanks to a high-speed solar wind emanating from an Earth-facing coronal hole. Expect maximum usable frequencies to decline, after the potential for pre-auroral enhancement as the plasma hits.

We expect to see the Kp index rise to four on Saturday and Sunday, although this will improve as the week goes on, bringing a more settled ionosphere and a predicted Kp index of two.

Meanwhile, ionospheric conditions remain subdued due to a lack of real sunspots. Spring remains a good time for North-South paths, and we also have the Sporadic-E season to look forward to in a couple of months.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

The coming week is again suggesting that high pressure will feature on the weather charts for much of the period, at least in the south and east. This gives a possibility of further Tropo opportunities for most parts of the country, at least at first.

The trend thereafter is for Atlantic fronts to reach the west and north of Britain by mid-week, bringing unsettled weather conditions and putting an end to any Tropo there. But to compensate a little, it could introduce some rain scatter for the GHz bands.

There are always hopes that some out-of-season Sporadic-E could crop up, and there were weak 50MHz openings for digimodes last week, but ideally, we need to be a bit further on into April before getting too excited.

Moon declination is at maximum on Monday, so peak Moon elevation gets to 62 degrees in the UK and the Moon is above the horizon for more than 16 hours. As we passed apogee in the middle of last week, path losses will continue to fall as the week progresses.

Meteor scatter enthusiasts will have to be content with the pre-dawn random meteor enhancement until the Lyrids meteor shower, which is still a month away.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for March 14th 2021.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for March 14th 2021.

March 12, 2021

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 14th of March 2021

The news headlines:

  • New Ofcom EMF guidance

  • Direct to Full – respond NOW

  • Blue Ham next weekend

Ofcom has just published specific advice to amateurs about the new EMF Licence condition. It is based around an FAQ type of document. It attempts to address common questions that Ofcom and the RSGB have been asked since the original announcement on the 1st of March. It contains some worked examples to help to understand. Go to ofcom.org.uk/emf. The RSGB will continue to publish advice through the EMF pages at rsgb.org/emf.

You have just a few hours left to share your views in the RSGB’s Direct Entry to Full licence consultation. The background, draft syllabus and the link to the survey are on the Society’s website at rsgb.org/direct-to-full. The survey closes at midnight tonight, the 14th.

The Royal Air Force Air Cadets will conduct Exercise Blue Ham 21-1 on the MoD 5MHz shared band over the weekend of the 20th and 21st of March. RAFAC and other MoD Cadet formations will be on air over the period of operation using SSB and data modes. The Exercise Blue Ham website can be found at alphacharlie.org.uk.

CQ magazine has introduced a contest category to enable a multi-operator team entry during the Covid-19 pandemic. This new category will be permanent, not just for the duration of the pandemic. Basically, the Multi-Distributed category allows up to six single operators, each in a different location within the same country, to form a team. Each station uses the same callsign but must operate on different bands. Scores are added together. Ofcom has confirmed that operating a club station in different locations using the same callsign simultaneously by club members is permissible. Only club members who hold a Full Licence in their own right may operate the club stations. Please read the rules at CQWPX.com. The next such contest is the CQ World Wide SSB contest on the 27th and 28th of March.

Although 2020 brought devastation across the world, the RSGB rose to the challenge of supporting radio amateurs both in the UK and around the world. It also provided new ways for people to get started in, or come back to, amateur radio. The March RadCom included an article that looked back at this great amateur radio success story. You can read the feature and see the striking infographic on the RSGB website at https://rsgb.org/main/blog/news/rsgb-notices/2021/03/07/2020-a-year-in-numbers/

As part of the RSGB’s continuing Get on the air to care campaign with the NHS, and to link with British Science Week, the Society has launched a series of videos. Whether you’re a new Foundation, Intermediate or Full licence holder, the six videos will introduce you to some useful practical skills to help you make the most of your licence. Take a look at rsgb.org/practical-skills.

Amateur radio operators are invited to take part in a free emergency communications training weekend. Taking place on the 10th and 11th of April, this virtual event will involve video presentations, including Q&A sessions, by communications and emergency response experts. To find out more, go to commacademy.org.

The RSGB is delighted that more than 3,000 people have now passed their Foundation licence via the remote invigilation exam process. Congratulations to them – and welcome to everyone who has become a radio amateur over the last year. The RSGB provides a range of resources to support new licensees, so take a look at rsgb.org/beyond-exams.

Now the DX news

Bodo, HB9EWU expects to be active as 9J2BG while spending one year on a humanitarian mission at the St Paul's Mission General Hospital in Kashikishi, northern Zambia. QSL via his home call either direct or via the bureau. Please note that requests will be processed in 2022 when he is back home.

Philippe, F1DUZ will be active as FG4KH from Guadeloupe, IOTA reference NA-102, from the 16th of March to the 1st of April. QSL via Logbook of The World, eQSL, or direct to F1DUZ.

Rick, NE8Z is active as HC1MD/2 from the Santa Elena province of Ecuador until the 15th of May. He will operate CW, SSB, FT8 and FT4 on the 40 to 6m bands. QSL via K8LJG and Logbook of The World.

Now the Special Event news

Celebrating Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, Welland Valley ARS will be active as GB0SP between the 16th and 18th of March. QSL via G4XEX, Logbook of The World and eQSL.

GB2VAX will be operational from the QTH of Andy, G4ISN of Welland Valley ARS, until the 28th.

Now the contest news

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

This weekend the longest-running RSGB contest takes place. The Commonwealth Contest runs for 24 hours until 1000UTC today, the 14th. It’s CW only and runs on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands. The exchange is signal report and serial number. HQ stations around the world will also send the letters HQ.

Today, Sunday the 14th, the second 70MHz Cumulative Contest runs from 1000UTC to 1200UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Monday, the second FT4 series contest runs from 2000 to 2130UTC. Using the 80m band only, the exchange is your 4-character locator.

On Tuesday the 1.3GHz UK Activity Contest runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. The 70MHz UK Activity Contest is on Thursday also from 2000 to 2230UTC. Both are all modes and the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The BARTG HF RTTY Contest runs from 0200UTC on the 20th to 0200UTC on the 22nd. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and time.

Also next weekend, the Russian DX Contest runs for 24 hours from 1200UTC on the 20th to 1200UTC on the 21st. Using CW and SSB on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number. Russian stations will also exchange their Oblast code.

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

The bulk of last week saw settled geomagnetic conditions. Wednesday saw the Kp index at zero for much of the day, which is unusual. This was mainly due to a lack of disruptive coronal holes on the Sun’s surface, so the solar wind speed was mainly below 400 kilometres per second. The Sun was relatively spotless and at the time this report was being prepared, region 2807 was disappearing around the Sun’s edge, while region 2808 was appearing around the North-Eastern limb. Another tiny spot has appeared around the middle of the visible disk, but it doesn’t appear threatening and is likely adding very little to the solar flux index.

The highlight of the week was probably the ARRL DX SSB contest last weekend, which saw plenty of stateside stations being worked. Chris, G0DWV said he worked California on 20 and 40m, plus Washington and Oregon. In fact, the only two states he didn’t work on 20 metres were New Mexico and Utah.

A slender coronal hole, reaching up to the solar equator, looks like it could cause some disruption this weekend with the Kp index predicted to rise to four. NOAA predicts the solar flux index will rise from 70 on the 14th to 76 on the 21st. Don’t expect the quieter geomagnetic conditions to continue though. It will probably be a roller coaster ride next week, with the Kp index predicted to climb to five on the 18th and 19th.

We said that it would be nice to have some more sunspots for this weekend’s 84th annual Commonwealth Contest, but it looks like we could be disappointed. But don’t despair, it is not unusual for stations from around the world to make an appearance, including many from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the Caribbean, and more. The bonus is that there is no competition from DX hounds in non-Commonwealth countries.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

A stormy end to this week, but signs of another spell of high-pressure next week. Stormy weather with its rain and blustery showers could be useful for some rain scatter on the GHz bands. The intensifying high should bring Tropo back on the menu as the week progresses and will also mean some quieter weather to repair any antennas that have suffered in the recent gales. This particular spell of high-pressure weather extends from the south-west, so it probably has moist air trapped under the inversion compared to a cold air high from the north and this could produce better Tropo conditions.

We are still in the doldrums regarding Sporadic-E, but we are moving towards the spring months and April, and especially May, can bring some early Sporadic-E events, especially for those using digital modes.

Moon declination goes positive tomorrow so Moon visibility windows and peak Moon elevations will increase as the week progresses. As we approach apogee on Thursday, path losses will reach a maximum then start to fall again. There are no significant meteor showers until the Lyrids, which peaks on the 22nd of April, so pre-dawn continues to be the best time for random meteor scatter contacts.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for March 7th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for March 7th 2020.

March 5, 2021

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 7th of March 2021

The news headlines:

  • 350 days of Covid-19 net

  • Ofcom EMF Notification news

  • NHS lauds Get on the air to care

 

On Thursday the 4th of March, Hambleton ARS passed the 350th consecutive day of a daily net on 2m. It started on day one of the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown. Its aim was to keep members and amateurs in the area in touch and able to summon help or assistance if required. The net starts at 11 am on the calling frequency and usually moves to S18 if clear. The net is now looking forward to a full year of operating, which occurs on the 18th of March. All amateurs are invited to join and topics are wide and varied. So far, over 70 different stations have called in. A Cabin Fever award is available for any station taking part. It’s issued by Tim, G0TYM via email, see QRZ.com for details.

On the 1st of March, Ofcom published a General Notification on their website that proposes to vary all amateur radio licences. It requires licensees to comply with the ICNIRP general public limits of EMF. Licensees have until the 18th of April to make any representations to Ofcom. They have also informed us that they are contacting all licensees, either via email or letter, to make them aware of this process. More information on the variation process and EMF conditions can be found on both the Ofcom website at ofcom.org.uk/emf, or the RSGB website at rsgb.org/emf.

A report about the hugely successful RSGB and NHS 'Get on the air to care' campaign has been publicised in a blog on the NHS Networks website this week. The RSGB has committed to keeping 'Get on the air to care' running as long as the restrictions exist. The aim is to support radio amateurs and to share the benefits of amateur radio with the general public. The Society is about to launch several new initiatives and resources as part of the campaign. Look out for announcements shortly. To read the NHS Networks blog, use the link from the RSGB website at rsgb.services/gb2rs/005.

Have you given your views in the RSGB’s consultation on a proposed new, Direct to Full licence exam? Over 1,000 people have responded already so make sure your voice is heard by completing the Society’s survey. The consultation closes on Sunday the 14th of March. The background to this consultation as well as links to the proposed syllabus and the survey are on the RSGB website at rsgb.org/direct-to-full.

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa is inviting eight members of the public to join him on a trip around the Moon. The journey, planned for 2023, will be the first civilian mission to the Moon, not to mention the first human visit for over 50 years. According to his website, dearmoon.earth, anyone can apply, and the trip will be financed entirely by Maezawa. There is no word about whether amateur radio operation will be possible on the flight, but it is an interesting possibility.

Sadly, another rally has been cancelled as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Dartmoor Radio Rally, planned for Monday the 3rd of May Bank Holiday, will not take place this year.

US Army researchers have built a so-called quantum sensor. It can analyse the full RF spectrum and real-world signals, a report on Physics.org says. The quantum sensor can sample the RF spectrum from 0 to 20GHz and is able to detect AM and FM radio signals, as well as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and other RF communication protocols. The peer-reviewed Physical Review Applied published the researchers’ findings.

Now the DX news

Bill, K9HZ Dan, W0CN and Kyle, WA4PGM will be active from St Lucia operating as J68HZ, CN and PG respectively. They will be there until the 11th of March. QSL via Logbook of The World or direct to home callsigns.

Andy, DK5ON is in Curaçao until the 23rd of March. He plans to operate SSB, CW and digital modes on the 80 to 6m bands as PJ2/DK5ON. QSL via Logbook of The World, Club Log's OQRS, or via his home call either direct or via the bureau.

Now the Special Event news

Chris, GM3WOJ will be active as GB2CR until the 18th of March. He will operate SSB and some CW on the 80 to 10m bands using vintage valve radio equipment manufactured by the Collins Radio Company. QSL via Logbook of The World. Paper QSLs will not be available.

GB2VAX will be operational from the QTH of Andy, G4ISN of the Welland Valley ARS, from the 1st to the 28th of March. Modes will be SSB / FT4 / FT8 on HF bands.

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

Now the contest news

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

This weekend it’s the ARRL International DX Contest. It runs for 48 hours until 2359UTC today, the 7th. Using SSB on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and transmit power. American stations will also exchange their State, and Canadian stations their Province.

The 144/432MHz contest also takes place this weekend. Its 24-hour run ends at 1400UTC today, the 7th. All modes are permitted. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Today, Sunday the 7th, the UK Microwave Group Low Band Contest runs from 1000 to 1600UTC. Using the 1.3 to 3.4GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The Worked All Britain 3.5MHz phone contest takes place today, the 7th from 1800 to 2200UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square. Entries should be with the QSL manager by the 17th of March. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, there will be no mobile or portable categories, and entries will not be accepted from mobile or portable stations. However, there will be a club category, with members operating from their home QTH.

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

On Wednesday it’s the CW leg of the 80m Club Championships from 2000 to 2130UTC. The exchange is signal report and serial number.

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

Next weekend the longest-running RSGB contest takes place. The Commonwealth Contest runs from 1000UTC on the 13th to 1000UTC on the 14th. It’s CW only and runs on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands. The exchange is signal report and serial number. HQ stations around the world will also send the letters HQ.

Next Sunday, the 14th, the second 70MHz Cumulative Contest runs from 1000UTC to 1200UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

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

We had another week of geomagnetic disturbances due to high-speed solar wind streams. Although the week started well, with a Kp index of zero to three on Sunday, it went rapidly downhill. Monday saw the Kp index hit six and Tuesday evening saw it hit five after the solar wind speed exceeded 600km per second. The strongly-negative Bz field of the solar wind meant it coupled more easily with the Earth’s magnetic field – and plasma flooded in.

It was not all bad news for HF propagation though. Earlier on Tuesday, the 17m band was open simultaneously to the Far East and the Caribbean via FT8. You were able to work both South Korea and Saint Lucia at the same time, which felt novel. This may have been a pre-auroral enhancement. But by Wednesday, with the Kp index at five, conditions had taken a hit. Maximum usable frequencies were struggling to get up above 14MHz, at least in the morning.

There has been little to talk about regarding sunspots. We’ve had two groups, 2806 and 2807, but they have been relatively small, generating a solar flux index of 74 and a sunspot number of 30 on Thursday. As such, HF propagation has generally been a little lacklustre, other than the event noted earlier.

Next week NOAA predicts the solar flux index will be in the range 70-76. We should start the week with a relatively quiet geomagnetic field and a maximum Kp index of two. But by Friday the 12th, the Kp index is predicted to rise to four due to returning coronal hole activity.

As we head towards the Spring equinox we may expect geomagnetic disturbances to increase, due to the Russell-McPherron effect. The tilt of the Earth’s axis means the Sun and Earth’s geomagnetic field and solar winds all come into alignment and therefore encourage an enhanced chance of the particles emitted from the Sun entering our atmosphere.

Fingers crossed that we have better HF conditions for the Commonwealth Contest, which takes place across next weekend, the 13th and 14th.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

Good to see the return of some tropospheric propagation last week. It certainly perked up the 144MHz UK Activity Contest last Tuesday evening. All is set to change in the coming week though, so make the most of any lingering Tropo this weekend. The high will decline early next week, and thereafter, the week offers a succession of fast-moving weather systems crossing the country, bringing rain and, at times, strong southwesterly winds.

At the end of the week, the unsettled weather comes more from the northwest, and it will turn colder again and perhaps wintry in the north. Either way, the main terrestrial mode of interest next week to VHF/UHF operators is likely to be predominantly GHz bands rain scatter.

We are in an extended period where the lowest EME path losses coincide with low Moon declination. Declination is minimum today and tomorrow so moon visibility windows and peak Moon elevations will be at a minimum. As we passed perigee last Tuesday, path losses will still be low but increasing.

The Gamma Normids meteor shower is just starting, peaking on Sunday the 14th of March with a Zenithal Hourly Rate of six and lasting until the 23rd. Nothing special, so pre-dawn continues to be the best time for random meteor scatter contacts.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for February 28th 2021.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for February 28th 2021.

February 26, 2021

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 28th of February 2021

The news headlines:

  • A landmark for Stay Safe net

  • Share your views on the Direct to Full Licence exam

  • Tonight @ 8 looks at propagation tools

 

Last Thursday evening, Lowestoft District and Pye Amateur Radio Club held its 100th Stay Safe net hosted on GB3YL. The net has been running on Monday and Thursday nights since the first lockdown with James, M1TES, helped by some other local amateurs. Each week the number of participants has increased and has even included amateurs from Holland joining in when conditions have allowed it. This is quite an achievement and has brought local amateurs together.

Have you given your views in the RSGB’s consultation on a new, Direct to Full licence exam? Nearly 800 people have responded already, so make sure your voice is heard by completing the Society’s survey. The background to this consultation, as well as links to the proposed syllabus and the survey, are on the RSGB website at rsgb.org/direct-to-full.

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

From modest beginnings on the 31st of March 1921, the men and women of the Royal Australian Air Force have served Australia’s national interest. To mark this Centenary, the Wireless Institute of Australia will be celebrating with two call signs. VI100AF will operate from the 1st of March to the 29th of May. It will be used by radio amateurs that are either current or veteran military personnel; some activities may be from military bases. VK100AF will be active from the 1st of March to the 31st of August. This callsign will be used by a team of over 40 radio amateurs across the bands around Australia. Full QSL information and detail on operations can be found on QRZ.com.

The RSGB has launched a new page on its website that includes a video outlining the benefits of Membership. To watch the video and find out more go to rsgb.org/membership.

Radio amateurs serving in the Finnish military will be using the prefix OI on Friday the 5th of March. There are only about 35 stations with an OI callsign, so it’s a rare prefix. There is an award available, just search online for OI Award Finland.

Now the DX news

Tom, NL7RR, is active as KH9/NL7RR from Wake Island, IOTA reference OC-053, for about 6 weeks. He hopes to be on the 40 and 20m bands, as time permits, using SSB.

5V7DE is the newly issued callsign for Daniel, HB9EHD, who is in Kara, Togo. He will operate on QO-100 SSB during his evenings and on the 40 and 20m bands FT8. QSL via Logbook of The World and eQSL, or direct to his home call.

Now the Special Event news

Saint David is the patron saint of Wales. Saint David’s Day is celebrated by the Welsh around the world every 1st of March. Simon, GW0NVN will be operating GB0SDD on HF and 2m from 0000 to 2359UTC on the first of March. Club Log, Logbook of The World and eQSL will be used.

GB2VAX will be operational from the QTH of Andy, G4ISN of the Welland Valley ARS from the 1st to the 28th of March. Modes will be SSB / FT4 / FT8 on HF bands.

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

Now the contest news

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

This weekend the CQ 160m DX contest ends its 48-hour run at 2200UTC today, the 28th. Using SSB only, the exchange is signal report and CQ Zone. American stations also exchange their State and Canadians their Province.

The REF Contest runs for 36 hours, ending at 1800UTC today, the 28th. Using SSB only on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number. French stations also exchange their Department number or overseas prefix.

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

On Monday the data leg of the 80m Club Championships will run from 2000 to 2130UTC. The exchange is signal report and serial number.

On Tuesday the 144MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 1955UTC. It is followed by the all-mode UK 2m Activity Contest from 2000 to 2230UTC. The exchange for both is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Wednesday the 144MHz FT8 Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2100UTC. The exchange is signal report and your 4-character locator.

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

Next weekend it’s the ARRL International DX Contest. It runs for 48 hours from 0000UTC on the 6th to 2359UTC on the 7th. Using SSB on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and transmit power. American stations will also exchange their State, and Canadian stations, their Province.

The 144/432MHz contest also takes place next weekend. Running from 1400UTC on the 6th to 1400UTC on the 7th, all modes are permitted. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Sunday the 7th, the UK Microwave Group Low Band Contest runs from 1000 to 1600UTC. Using the 1.3 to 3.4GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The Worked All Britain 3.5MHz phone contest will take place next Sunday, the 7th from 1800 to 2200UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square. Entries should be with the QSL manager by the 17th of March. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, there will be no mobile or portable categories, and entries will not be accepted from mobile or portable stations. However, there will be a club category, with members operating from their home QTH.

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

We had a slightly better week in terms of solar activity, but the consensus is that HF propagation is still in the doldrums. Two sunspot groups made an appearance last week, although by now they may have vanished around the Sun’s edge again. Groups 2804 and 2805 pushed the solar flux index to 81 by Thursday, with a sunspot number of 33. Although group 2804 was quite large and also responsible for several low-level B-class solar flares, 2805 never really managed to appear as much more than a pinprick on the solar surface.

Last week was dominated by geomagnetic disturbances, with the Kp index staying at four for a lot of the time. This was mainly caused by the arrival of matter from a coronal mass ejection that was launched from the Sun on the 20th of February, and ongoing high-speed solar wind streams from coronal holes. The solar wind speed has been dropping, which suggests a return to more settled geomagnetic conditions this weekend. The US Air Force predicts the solar flux index will start at 82 on Sunday, but then decline to 74 as the week progresses. This reflects the lack of future sunspot activity currently being seen on the STEREO Ahead spacecraft.

Geomagnetic conditions are likely to start settled but become unsettled on the first, second and sixth of March, with a potential Kp index of five. This is due to matter arriving from a very large coronal hole on the solar surface. So it looks like a reasonable weekend for HF, but conditions and MUFs may decline early next week.

And note that we are now entering March. Spring is typically a time when HF favours North-South paths, such as the UK to South Africa and South America. Make the most of the next couple of months, before we enter the Summer season, which is characterised by lower F2-layer maximum usable frequencies. However, the bands will stay open longer, perhaps even 24 hours on 20 metres by mid Summer.

Short-skip Sporadic-E on 7 to 28MHz can make up for decreasing F2-layer propagation and activity, but we are still a couple of months away from the start of the Sporadic-E season.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

As we ended the week, an area of high pressure extended towards southern Britain from the southwest. It should have become firmly established over the country by now and should produce a welcome return of Tropo conditions for the VHF and UHF bands.

This should dominate into next week, but during Tuesday a more summer-like area of low pressure drifts north from Biscay and may produce some heavy spring showers over southern England, so possible rain scatter conditions coming up for midweek.

The high doesn’t go away and should bring further Tropo after this showery interlude, but eventually, an Atlantic cold front will move into north-west Britain at the end of the week, starting a spell of unsettled, windy weather there, but leaving southern Britain under the Tropo ridge for another day or so.

We are now in an extended period where the lowest EME path losses coincide with low Moon declination and hence short Moon visibility windows. This week, declination goes negative on Monday so Moon visibility windows and peak Moon elevations will reduce. Path losses continue to fall this week as we get to the Moon’s closest approach to Earth, called perigee, on Tuesday.

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

That’s all from the propagation team this week.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for February 21st 2021.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for February 21st 2021.

February 19, 2021

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 21st of February 2021

The news headlines:

  • BBC reports Lincoln Short Wave Centenary

  • Tonight @ 8 looks at propagation tools

  • Film-maker seeks funding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now the DX news

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

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

Now the Special Event news

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

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

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

Now the contest news

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

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

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

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

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

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for February 14th 2021.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for February 14th 2021.

February 12, 2021

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 14th of February 2021

The news headlines:

  • Construction Competition winners

  • Next YOTA talk details

  • RSGB Election News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now the DX news

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

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

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

Now the Special Event news

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

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

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

Now the contest news

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

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

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

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

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

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for February 7th 2021.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for February 7th 2021.

February 5, 2021

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 7th of February 2021

The news headlines:

  • New GB2RS Newsreaders

  • hamradio.org URL donated to IARU

  • New short RSGB video

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now the DX news

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

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

Now the Special Event news

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

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

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

Now the contest news

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

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

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

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

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

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for January 31st 2021.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for January 31st 2021.

January 29, 2021

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 31st of January 2021

The news headlines:

  • New video from Propagation Studies Committee

  • Bath Based Distance Learning announces Full licence course

  • New edition of RadCom Basics available

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now the DX news

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

Now the Special Event news

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

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

Now the contest news

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

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

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

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

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

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

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for January 24th 2021.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for January 24th 2021.

January 22, 2021

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 24th of January 2021

The news headlines:

  • SSTV from the Space Station this week

  • Orlando Hamcation postponed

  • Enter Construction Competition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now the DX news

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

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

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

Now the contest news

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

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

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

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

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

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for January 17th 2021.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for January 17th 2021.

January 15, 2021

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 17th of January 2021

The news headlines:

  • RSGB publishes EMF Calculator

  • New AllStar Gateway in North Lancashire

  • Enter Construction Competitions!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now the special event news

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

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

Now the DX news

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

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

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

Now the contest news

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

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

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

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

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

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for January 10th 2021.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for January 10th 2021.

January 8, 2021

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 10th of January 2021

The news headlines:

  • Happy New Year from RSGB

  • Volunteers invited to stand for election

  • Celebrating 200 years of Greek independence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now the special event news

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

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

Now the DX news

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

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

Now the contest news

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for January 3rd 2021.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for January 3rd 2021.

December 31, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 3rd of January 2021

The news headlines:

  • Get on the air for Christmas continues

  • Austrians get new bands

  • Tonight @ 8 spring programme

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

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

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

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

Now the special event news

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

Now the contest news

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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