Sunday the 12th of July 2020
The news headlines:
RSGB online Convention streams announced
Latest news on ‘Get on the air to care’
RSGB expands Remote Invigilation to Intermediate exams
The RSGB online Convention will consist of two streams. The first is called “An introduction to…” and will include a wide range of topics to support new and returning radio amateurs as well as existing amateurs who’d like to try something new. The second is “Learn more about…”, where speakers will dig deeper into the details of the subjects. We’re also pleased to announce that Eric Swartz, WA6HHQ, who is the co-founder of Elecraft, will be our keynote speaker. We’ll be releasing more details of the presentations over the next few weeks.
The RSGB and NHS ‘Get on the air to care’ campaign continues to gain coverage in the national and amateur radio media as well as being supported by clubs and radio amateurs. There are some great stories to read on the Society’s website that feature clubs like Denby Dale ARS, individuals such as remote exam invigilator Donna, M7DON and publications ranging from the Emergency Services Times to ‘Third Age Matters’, which is the magazine of U3A. Go to www.rsgb.org/gota2c to find out more.
Following on from the success of remote invigilation of Foundation exams, the RSGB is pleased to expand that to include Intermediate exams. From this Monday, the 13th of July, the automated exam booking system will accept bookings for both Foundation and Intermediate level exams. Please note that the earliest available bookings for exams at either level are during the second week in August. The requirement for Intermediate practical assessments is waived until further notice, but this will be reviewed at a later stage.
An article has just been published in Nature about the first amateur radio communication system in lunar orbit, Longjiang-2, also known as Lunar-OSCAR 94 or LO-94. It was built by students at the Harbin Institute of Technology. Read the Nature article at www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-17272-8. Thanks to the Spectrum Forum for this information.
Despite the closure of many amateur radio events, you can still visit the online QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo on the 8th and 9th of August. Attendance is free and registration is now open. There will be around 70 speakers over the weekend including Ward Silver, N0AX speaking on Grounding and Bonding; Glen Johnson, W0GJ talking DXpeditions and John Portune, W6NBC on building slot antennas. Go to www.qsotodayhamexpo.com to learn more and register.
John Armstrong, GW3EJR will be celebrating his 100th birthday on the 18th of July. He told us that, “It has been a long journey since 1920, although a rather shorter one from when I got my callsign, G3EJR, in 1948. I am still active, using a very ancient Icom IC-706, with a full size G5RV on HF and a Yagi on the 2m band. When I go out and about, I go on 2m with a Baofeng UV-5R5.” Many happy returns John.
Ofcom have advised the RSGB that their online portal was due to be down between 4.30am and 11.30am on Saturday the 11th of July.
Mid Ulster ARC have been holding online talks during the Covid-19 pandemic. These talks are available for everyone to view on the club’s YouTube channel. Last week RSGB Region 8 representative Philip Hosey, MI0MSO made a presentation, which was followed by a Q&A session with RSGB General Manager Steve Thomas, M1ACB. They have also had talks by Dom, M0BLF on QO-100, George, GI4SJQ on coaxial cable and connectors and Tony, G2NF speaking about urban QRM, amongst several others. The MUARC YouTube channel is at https://tinyurl.com/GB2RS-07-12.
Now the special event news
Since the change of regulations applying to special event stations in the UK, many activations are now able to go ahead. UK amateurs would like to thank Ofcom for their help in making this happen.
To commemorate the 3rd anniversary of the FT8 Digital Mode Club, special event stations will be on air during the FT8DMC Activity Days until the 31st of July. All stations will bear the FTDMC or FTDM suffix. An FTDMC Anniversary Award can be earned by working the FTDMC and FTDM stations and collecting points applicable for various award classes. See www.ft8dmc.eu for more details.
9A164T is the special callsign to commemorate the birth of Nikola Tesla, who was born on 10 July 1856. QSL via the bureau and eQSL.
VC3STYWELL is the third Covid-19 special callsign to be operated by The Seven Thirty Social Distancing Nets in Ontario. It is on the air until the 19th of July. QSLs via VE3ES.
Now the contest news
Please remember to check before the events for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your own government’s advice first and foremost.
The IARU HF Championship runs for 24 hours until 1200UTC today, the 12th. Using SSB only on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and ITU Zone, which is 27 for the UK.
On Tuesday the 432MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1800 to 1855UTC. Then from 1900 to 2130UTC it’s the all-mode 432MHz UK Activity Contest. The exchange for both is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Wednesday it is the SSB leg of the 80m Club Championships, running from 1900 to 2030UTC. The exchange is signal report and serial number.
The 70MHz UK Activity contest takes place on Thursday from 1900 to 2130UTC. It’s all mode and the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Next Sunday, the 19th, the Low Power Contest runs from 0900 to 1600UTC. This is CW only on the 3.5 to 14MHz contest bands, with an exchange of signal report, serial number and power. This is the only RSGB contest with a lunch break, so please check the rules.
The 70MHz Trophy contest also takes place on Sunday the 19th. It runs from 1000 to 1600UTC. It’s all mode and the exchange is signal report, serial number, locator and postcode.
The UK Six Metre Group’s Summer Marathon runs until the 2nd of August. Using all modes on the 50MHz band, the exchange is your 4-character locator.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 10th of July.
An elevated solar wind stream moved past Earth late on the 4th of July and early on the 5th, sending the Kp index to three. This was the most significant solar event of the last week as otherwise the Sun remained calm. The Kp index remained at one or zero for the rest of the week, which no doubt helped boost propagation. There were no sunspots this week after the minor group, region 2766, which pushed the sunspot number to 12, vanished on Monday. Note that the number 12 represents two sunspots (2) in one group (+10), so it wasn’t quite as exciting as it sounds. Otherwise there was little to write home about. Sporadic-E continues to be the major mode of propagation, although there were days when it was more sporadic than the previous week! We have probably seen the best of the Sporadic-E season now although it should keep running until late August, albeit at lower levels. If previous experience is anything to go by, we can expect a few bigger openings yet so please don’t write off 10 metres completely.
The NOAA space weather prediction for next week doesn’t exactly inspire either. It has the solar flux index pegged at 68-69, with a maximum planetary Kp index of two. The STEREO Ahead spacecraft view shows very little in the way of forthcoming activity, other than a few bright spots in the extreme ultraviolet view that may or may not come to something as the Sun rotates.
Looking for some good news, according to the Chilton ionosonde data, 20 metres is generally staying open on 3,000km paths until around midnight on most nights, although you may find 30 metres more reliable.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
It’s looking like another week of changes with last week’s unsettled weather making way for a new ridge of high pressure over this weekend. This means that, after a period of potential GHz bands rain scatter, we are now heading into some Tropo prospects, especially in the south for paths into France and across Biscay to Spain. But low pressure is never far away to the north, particularly after mid-week when a low passes close to Scotland and showery fronts are driven across the country to give a few rain scatter options again.
The Sporadic-E season is still out there and as usual the best advice is to check the bands and clusters for activity mid-morning and again late afternoon and early evening.
Moon declination goes positive today and 144MHz sky noise is low but rising as the week progresses. Apogee is tonight so path losses will be falling throughout the week. Peak Moon declination is just a week away, meaning longer Moon windows – time to get that EME system up and running again.
There are no major meteor showers this week, so continue to operate around local dawn for the best chance of random meteor scatter contacts.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.