GB2RS
RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for July 12th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for July 12th 2020.

July 10, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

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.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for July 5th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for July 5th 2020.

July 3, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 5th of July 2020

The news headlines:

Celebrate the NHS with Get on the air to care

Contest Committee to relax Covid-19 rules

IARU appoints new EMC Coordinator

The RSGB’s ‘Get on the air to care’ campaign with the NHS is celebrating the NHS’ 72nd birthday today, Sunday the 5th of July. The Society is encouraging all radio amateurs to 'Get on the air to care' to mark the celebration and to use /NHS after their callsign. Share photos on the RSGB Facebook or Twitter accounts and make sure you add #GOTA2C to your message. You can also email photos to comms@rsgb.org.uk. For more info about the NHS birthday see the NHS website, www.england.nhs.uk/nhsbirthday/about-the-nhs-birthday.

As we’re all aware, the changes to Covid-19 restrictions have been coming thick and fast recently, but they have also remained inconsistent across the different parts of the UK. The Contest Committee is preparing to allow Single Operator Portable entries to RSGB contests again from Tuesday the 7th of July. This is in time for the 2m UK Activity Contest and FM Activity Contest as well as the HF Low Power contest on the 19th of July. All activities must be properly socially distanced. All station activity, including station assembly, must be carried out by the operator, or only with support from people who are living at the same household. The RSGB is not opening up normal multi-operator contesting as in section ‘O’ entries at this time. Any local Covid-19 restrictions, such as any limitation on access to particular public locations, must be strictly observed. Please keep a close eye on the Contest Committee website www.rsgbcc.org for the latest updates.

The IARU Administrative Council has appointed Martin Sach, G8KDF, as global Electromagnetic Compatibility Coordinator, succeeding Tore Worren, LA9QL. The EMC Coordinator’s mission is to ensure that the concerns and needs of radio amateurs are effectively addressed in international standards bodies, particularly CISPR and the ITU, as well as in regional telecommunication organisations and at national levels through IARU member societies. Assisting in the effort is a network of volunteers with expertise in the field of EMC. Martin is also the RSGB IARU EMC Liaison.

RSGB General Manager Steve Thomas, M1ACB joined the Denby Dale ARC online meeting to hear Dan, KB6NU speak on Having Fun with Morse Code. After Dan’s talk and the question and answer session, the club asked Steve to do a Q&A session. There were a wide range of questions on current topics. Dan’s talk and both Q&A sessions are on YouTube at https://youtu.be/noC1pxTswg4.

In the light of the Covid-19 restrictions, the IARU Region 1 Executive Committee has split the 2020 General Conference into two parts. The first part in October will be a virtual conference and the second, in-person part will be in 2021. The IARU and its Member Societies face some very significant challenges for the future to ensure that growth into amateur radio is further stimulated and that Member Societies and the IARU continue to be seen as relevant and supportive by new entrants. The 2021 part of the Conference will be run in ‘workshop’ format with active participation from all Member Societies present.

Dave Wilson, M0OBW, RSGB President and Exams Quality Assurance Manager, has announced that the 1000th online invigilated exam took place on the 1st of July. He anticipated that the 1000th successful candidate will pass the exam sometime this coming week. The RSGB would like to thank all involved in this remote invigilation exam process, including Ofcom, the RSGB exams department and all those invigilating. It’s a great example of amateur radio coming together.

Please note that all news items for both RadCom and GB2RS should be sent to radcom@rsgb.org.uk and to that email address only. Sending to multiple addresses just slows the process down and some old addresses, such as gb2rs@rsgb.org.uk will be closed in the near future. The deadline for GB2RS is 10am on the Thursday before transmission and the deadlines for RadCom are shown in the Around Your Region section or on the RSGB website under the Publications tab.

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 their 3rd anniversary, 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, referring to the third anniversary of the FT8 Digital Mode Club. 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.

Durham and District Amateur Radio Society is participating as one of the bonus stations in the 13 Colonies Special Event. GB13COL will run until 0400UTC on 8 July. The primary focus of the event will be the HF bands using SSB, CW, FM and various digital modes, but VHF and UHF will also be in use. This year’s QSL cards for GB13COL has been kindly sponsored by Martin Lynch at ML&S.

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.

On Monday the 80m Club Championships will runs from 1900 to 2030UTC. Using CW only, 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 144MHz UK Activity Contest from 1900 to 2130UTC. The exchange for both is signal report, serial number and 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 weekend the IARU HF Championship runs from 1200UTC on the 11th to 1200UTC on 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.

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 3rd of July.

This week saw the beginning of a new month and continued Sporadic-E openings. Traditionally we see a slow down in the number of Sporadic-E openings in July, but while we are seeing a few periods on 10m when there are no openings, they inevitably reappear.

An HF F2-layer opening to Angola occurred on Wednesday, allowing amateurs to bag Gabriel, D2EB on both 17 and 12 metres CW. Paul, G0KPH also spotted Gabriel on 40 metres CW in the evening.

As we said a couple of weeks ago, the HF bands are staying open later, which is a summer phenomenon. Darren, G0TSM has found 17m FT8 to be open to Japan, the West Coast of the USA, Alaska and Hawaii until around 0200UTC. Mike, G4FHQ said 80m has been good overnight too, after he heard a string of W2s and VE3s working the Canada Day contest at 0330UTC at 57/8 on SSB.

The Sun, however, remained very quiet with zero sunspots, which means our predictions are beginning to sound like a stuck record! The Kp index ranged from zero to three thanks to a high-speed solar wind stream. Next week NOAA predicts a solar flux index of 68 and a Kp index of two to three. There are no sunspots predicted, just a few bright spots on the STEREO Ahead spacecraft’s extreme ultraviolet view, which may or may not develop into spots. Mid-latitude coronal hole activity has declined recently and it does look like we are now truly at sunspot minimum.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

There is a change in the weather coming along and Sunday should see a ridge of high pressure building across the south of the country, bringing Tropo back into the options. This could be particularly good for paths to the south across the Channel and Biscay as well as across the southern North Sea. This ridge gets a bit of knock-back after mid-week as a small low tracks across the north of the country. In some models this is also followed by a further weak ridge for the next weekend, so Tropo will continue to feature.

The Sporadic-E season is less prolific in July, but it’s still a key month for the mode. The weather is always busy generating atmospheric gravity waves that can propagate upwards to affect the E region and trigger Sporadic-E, so hopefully some parts of the country may find the geometry is right for some VHF DX paths via Sporadic-E. These high summer weeks are often good for Sporadic-E ultra DX paths to the Far East, mostly in the early morning and on FT8, so it's well worth checking the clusters from 0600-0800UTC.

With low Moon declination and no major meteor showers this week, it’s a good week to increase your square count via the satellites. QO100 and the low-Earth orbiters are always there to work the DX if the bands are flat.

Finally, a thought. While we’re definitely not advocating “don’t call CQ”, you’ll increase your chances of making non-contest QSOs hugely, especially on the GHz Bands, if you announce your planned activity in advance. Use email reflectors, social media and the ON4KST microwave chat to let people know when you’re QRV.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for June 28th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for June 28th 2020.

June 26, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 28th of June 2020

The news headlines:

  • Online remote invigilation expanding

  • Tonight @ 8: Antennas for small gardens

  • New Propagation Studies video released

The online remote invigilation of the UK Foundation amateur radio exam continues to be extremely popular, with over 800 successful candidates so far, and more than 650 already booked for future Foundation exams. The RSGB is now contacting candidates and Exam Secretaries who had previously booked for Intermediate exams before social distancing caused their postponement. Candidates will be offered online remote invigilation exam slots. It is hoped that bookings can also be opened to new Intermediate candidates in the near future, once existing bookings are cleared. Full exams will follow on in a similar manner in due course. The FAQ’s on the RSGB website, under the Training tab, will be updated shortly.

The next RSGB Tonight @ 8 webinar is on the 29th of June and is a presentation on Antennas for small gardens by Steve Nichols, G0KYA. You can watch the live stream and ask questions on either the RSGB YouTube channel or the special Tonight @ 8 channel on the BATC website, https://batc.org.uk/live/RSGB. You can find out more about all the webinars at www.rsgb.org/webinars and you can also watch previous talks in the series at the same site.

The RSGB has released a new VHF propagation video, created by the Society’s Propagation Studies Committee. You can watch this interesting presentation on the Society’s YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/theRSGB.

The annual transmission by the 17.2kHz VLF Alexanderson Alternator will take place, as usual, this year on Alexanderson Day, Sunday the 5th of July. As usual, it will use the callsign SAQ. Startup and tuning begins at 0830 and 1130UTC, with the transmission of a message at 0900 and 1200UTC. You can watch both events live on their YouTube channel and, of course, listen out if you have VLF capability.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, no RSGB awards information will be published between now and 22 July. If you have submitted your data for an award and have not yet received a reply, you will be contacted after that date. The Society would encourage you to keep working towards awards in the meantime – it is a great way to gain experience, especially if you’re new to amateur radio. You can find more details of the RSGB awards on the Society’s website, www.rsgb.org/awards.

We understand that Bletchley Park plans to re-open on 4 July and have further details on their website, bletchleypark.org.uk. The RSGB National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park will remain closed, for the time being, but this will continue to be regularly reviewed.

Due to uncertainty about large gatherings being allowed, and in recognition that many radio amateurs may not want to attend physical meetings for some time, the G-QRP Club took the unwelcome decision to cancel their Conventions for 2020. However, following a very successful survey of members, a meeting of the Standing Committee this week confirmed definitely that the G-QRP Convention for 2020 will take place as a virtual event, over the weekend of the 5th and 6th of September. There will be a series of webinars and possibly a virtual Buildathon. A small working group are now developing the detail and a number of key speakers have already volunteered. Full details will be shared as soon as they are known.

Apologies to Tony, VK5ZAI for the error in his callsign last week. Tony received the Order of Australia in the Queen’s birthday honours list for significant service to amateur radio, particularly to satellite and space communication.

The RSGB/NHS ‘Get on the air to care’ campaign continues to feature in the media across the world. Recently there were articles in the ARRL’s QST magazine and in the Emergency Services Times publication. You can see both on the Society’s media campaign web pages, www.rsgb.org/gota2c-media.

The latest Something for the Weekend video goes out today on YouTube. ML&S looks back at the 1970s and the beginning of Amateur Radio Exchange with Bernie, G4AOG. Fund raising for Alzheimer’s Disease is part of the video. Go to https://youtu.be/fICqJM_BIfw.

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.

Today, the 28th, is the Centenary of the Royal Corps of Signals. The Royal Signals Museum has a permanent special event callsign, GB100RSM, but due to the Covid-19 restrictions, they cannot run the station from the museum. The station will instead run from the home QTH of G3WZP in IO90BR. Activity will be until the end of June on the 40, 20 and 17m bands, using SSB and CW. Skeds are welcome.

Another Royal Corps of Signals centenary station is GB100RS Royal Signals, operating from Bishop Auckland. It will start operating today, the 28th. Full details of the centenary stations and their operations can be found at https://rsars.org.uk/rsars-corps-celebrations-2020/.

To commemorate their 3rd anniversary, special event stations will be on air during the FT8DMC Activity Days from the 1st to the 31st of July. All stations will bear the FTDMC or FTDM suffix, referring to the third anniversary of the FT8 Digital Mode Club. 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.

Durham and District Amateur Radio Society is participating as one of the bonus stations in the 13 Colonies Special Event. GB13COL will run from 1300UTC on 1 July to 0400UTC on 8 July. The primary focus of the event will be the HF bands using SSB, CW, FM and various digital modes, but VHF and UHF will also be in use. This year’s QSL cards for GB13COL has been kindly sponsored by Martin Lynch at ML&S.

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. RSGB strongly advises obeying your own government’s advice first and foremost.

The UK Microwave Group’s 5.7 and 10GHz bands contest runs from 0600 to 1800 today, the 28th. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

Also today, the 28th, the 50MHz CW contest runs from 0900 to 1200UTC. It’s CW only and the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The 7MHz Cumulative contest runs from 1400 to 1600UTC today, the 28th. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The 3rd 144MHz Backpackers contest is cancelled and there is a different format contest to replace VHF NFD, for 2020 only, called ‘lockdown VHF NFD’. Only single operator fixed stations may enter this contest. The rules are available at www.rsgbcc.org/vhf/rules/2020/VHFNFD.shtml. The rules are loosely based around the UKAC and VHF AFS rules and include a team element.

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 26th of June.

After the recent excitement of a new Solar Cycle 25 sunspot, it seems the Sun has decided to go back to sleep. We have had zero sunspots since the 16th of June and the STEREO spacecraft Ahead view shows just one small bright area on the Sun, which might result in a spot in due course. Luckily, geomagnetic conditions remained quiet throughout the week, with a maximum Kp index of two.

The bands were a little lacklustre, other than the continued Sporadic-E openings, which have brought almost daily fun on 28MHz.

There were F-layer openings to be found on 14MHz, but these were mainly enjoyed by well-equipped stations. Ed, WA6QDQ/KH6 in Hawaii was audible at 0652TUTC on Tuesday the 23rd at G3UML’s Hendon QTH. As was William, AL7KC in North Pole, Alaska, who had a big pile up on 14.224MHz.

Early morning does seem to be the best time to get on 14MHz, with Jim, E51JD on the South Cook Islands being reported again as well. But as the day goes on D-layer absorption grows and 14MHz doesn’t sound very lively at all. Fifteen metres was open to Brazil and Paraguay on Thursday afternoon, although this was mostly FT8. Otherwise, it was 10 metres and Sporadic-E contacts that continued to provide excitement, with one or two North American, South American and Caribbean openings occurring.

Next week NOAA predicts more of the same, with a solar flux index hovering around 68-70 and a maximum Kp index of two.

A weak solar wind stream flowing from a narrow coronal hole could reach Earth beginning on the 27th of June. A minor geomagnetic disturbance at higher latitudes may be expected.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

The heatwave of midweek should be over by today, so any enhanced sea path Tropo will have weakened too. Coasts can be productive for ducts across the North Sea or the English Channel and Biscay in any quieter settled window during the week.

Overall, Tropo is probably not a mode to rely upon this week, since much of the time we will have low pressure either over the UK or very close by. This will bring periods of rain or showers, many of which could have a chance of thunder and hail. This implies large convective clouds and potentially good GHz bands rain scatter.

That leaves Sporadic-E, and we are still within the main part of the season, so keep up the usual procedure of checking mid-morning and late afternoon/early evening. Sporadic-E is a mode ideally suited for weak signals and digital modes can give good clues as to which directions may open later for CW and SSB as the opening develops. Make use of the good map-based clusters to see if you are close enough to where the paths cross. Ideally, the hot spot should be between about 600km and 1400km away from your station.

Moon declination goes negative today but as perigee is on Monday, path losses will be at their lowest of the lunar month. 144MHz sky temperatures are low today but increasing to a peak of 2700K around midnight next Saturday. Compare this to the usual 300K cold sky temperature at 144MHz, do the maths and, you’ll see that your low noise preamps are not going to help you at this sky temperature!

The June Bootids meteor shower peaked yesterday but continue looking for the best meteor scatter conditions around local dawn.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for June 21st 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for June 21st 2020.

June 19, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 21st of June 2020

The news headlines:

  • Important RSGB Convention announcement

  • Tonight @ 8: Antennas for small gardens

  • Amateur awarded Order of Australia

In response to the UK’s continuing social distancing regulations, the RSGB Convention Committee has changed the arrangements for the RSGB Convention on the 9th to the 11th October. Instead of the physical Convention in Milton Keynes, the RSGB is instead holding an Online Convention on Saturday the 10th of October. Whether you’re a new licensee or have been enjoying amateur radio for many years, there will be a range of topics from expert speakers that you can enjoy free throughout the day. The RSGB will announce further details of the presentations and how to take part over the coming weeks.

Don’t forget the RSGB’s new series of webinars that began on the 15th of June. The next “Tonight @ 8” is on the 29th of June and is a presentation on Antennas for small gardens by Steve Nichols, G0KYA. You can watch the live stream and ask questions on either the RSGB YouTube channel or the special Tonight @ 8 channel on the BATC website, https://batc.org.uk/live/RSGB. You can find out more about all the webinars at www.rsgb.org/webinars and you can also watch previous talks in the series at the same site.

Tony Hutchison, VK5ZAI has received the Order of Australia in the Queen’s birthday honours list for significant service to amateur radio, particularly to satellite and space communication. Amongst his many roles, he is the National Coordinator and one of 10 official ARISS VHF/UHF telebridge stations to the International Space Station and a HamTV ground station. Congratulations Tony.

Following the election of Len Paget, GM0ONX as a Board Director at the recent AGM, the RSGB Board has asked the General Manager, Steve Thomas, M1ACB to take on the additional role of Company Secretary. The Board would like to record its thanks to Len for the time he has given as Company Secretary over the last year.

The RSGB and NHS ‘Get on the air to care’ campaign was the focus of a webinar for healthcare professionals this week. Roy Lilley, Director of the Academy of Fabulous Stuff and the Institute of Healthcare Management interviewed RSGB General Manager, Steve Thomas and Paul Devlin who is part of the NHS England Emergency Care Improvement Support Team and also an RSGB District Representative. The webinar was a wide-ranging discussion of the origins of GB1NHS, the scope of the ‘Get on the air to care’ campaign as well as the benefits of amateur radio for health and wellbeing and for reaching global communities who do not have internet connections. You can watch the webinar on the Society’s YouTube channel www.youtube.com/theRSGB.

The Software Defined Radio Academy, supported by the German National Society, is taking place as an online conference on the 26th and 27th of June. The talks are pre-recorded, but the speakers will be available via the video conferencing system to respond to questions. See https://youtube.sdra.io.

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.

The 28th of June is the Centenary of the Royal Corps of Signals. The Royal Signals Museum has a permanent special event callsign, GB100RSM, but due to the Covid-19 restrictions they cannot run the station from the museum. The station will instead run from the home QTH of G3WZP in IO90BR. Activity will be until the end of June on the 40, 20 and 17m bands, using SSB and CW. Skeds are welcome.

Another Royal Corps of Signals centenary station is GB100RS Royal Signals, operating from Bishop Auckland. It will start operating on the 28th of June. Full details of the centenary stations and their operations can be found at https://rsars.org.uk/rsars-corps-celebrations-2020/.

On the 26th of June GB1GSW will be on the air to commemorate the railway pioneer George Stevenson. See QRZ.com for the latest information.

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. RSGB strongly advises obeying your own government’s advice first and foremost.

The 50MHz Trophy contest ends its 24-hour run at 1400UTC today, the 21st. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The All Asian DX contest ends its 48-hour run at 2359UTC today the 21st. It’s CW only on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, with the exchange being signal report and your age.

The Worked All Britain 50MHz phone contest takes place today, the 21st of June, from 0800 to 1400UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square for UK stations. Details are at www.worked-all-britain.org.uk.

Today, the 21st, the UK Microwave Group contest takes place on the 24 to 248GHz bands. Running from 0900 to 1700UTC, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Tuesday the SHF UK Activity Contest runs from 1830 to 2130UTC. Using all modes on the 2.3 to 10GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Wednesday the UK EI Contest Club Summer Series runs from 1800 to 1900UTC. It’s CW only on the 3.5MHz band, with the exchange being you 6-character locator.

The 80m Club Championships SSB leg takes place between 1900 and 2030UTC on Thursday. The exchange is signal report and serial number.

Next weekend, the UK Microwave Group’s 5.7 and 10GHz bands contest runs from 0600 to 1800 on the 28th. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

Also next Sunday, the 28th, the 50MHz CW contest runs from 0900 to 1200UTC. It’s CW only and the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The 7MHz Cumulative contest runs from 1400 to 1600UTC on the 28th. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

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 19th of June.

We had another week dominated by Sporadic-E HF contacts. Ten metres has been open daily to Europe and often until very late at night. There have been reports of USA and Japanese FT8 contacts from the UK during the day, continuing almost to midnight. By Thursday signal levels appeared to be dropping off at first but, by 1100UTC, Canada and the USA was rolling in via multi-hop Sporadic-E.

Many people have been heard saying that HF propagation is taking off and that the Sun has woken up again. The truth is that Sporadic-E is not due to sunspots, and as we head towards July and August we can expect the Sporadic-E openings to become less frequent. On this subject, the Sun has been very quiet with zero spots and an SFI of below 70. There has been an absence of coronal holes, other than at the Sun’s poles, which has helped keep the Kp index down to two and below.

F2 layer propagation is suffering from the summer doldrums, although there have been virtually daily reports of Jim, E51JD on South Cook Islands being worked on 20m SSB.

Daytime critical frequencies remain in the range of 4 to 5MHz but are tending to be slightly higher just after sunset. This means that 20 metres may be remaining open to DX until nearly midnight local time. And it does suggest that 30 metres might remain open to DX all night. This is not unusual, as it is due to a change in ionospheric chemistry in the summer, with higher MUFs at night, but lower MUFs during the day compared with winter.

This weekend marks the Summer Solstice, traditionally a time when F2-layer DX is harder to come by. But with the Sporadic-E season well underway there is still plenty to keep HF enthusiasts happy.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

As we said in the HF section, we are still firmly in the midst of the Sporadic-E season and the savvy operators will be keeping a constant watch for Sporadic-E, starting on 10m and working up to 2m as an event develops. To save spending a whole day on it, we would also suggest looking mid-morning and again late afternoon or early evening. In most years, openings can still occur into the first week of September, but from now onwards the openings become less frequent, hence the need to develop your own early warning routines to make sure none are missed. Check the www.propquest.co.uk daily blogs to get some hints.

It is likely to be a mixed spell of weather throughout the coming week with elements of high pressure at times giving occasional Tropo, especially across the North Sea and south across Biscay. Remember Tropo paths are usually quite long-lasting, so there’s no need to rush as you do with Sporadic-E.

The other half of the mixed weather types involve heavy showers, sometimes thunderous with hail too. This is all good news for the microwave operators, giving a chance of some rain scatter propagation. The only way to work this on a day-by-day basis is to have some idea of where the showers are; there are many good online radar displays to help you with that.

Moon declination reaches a maximum on Monday and is positive all week. Path losses are falling and 144MHz sky temperatures are low from tomorrow.

Continue looking for the best meteor scatter conditions around local dawn and take advantage of the continuing high activity levels due to many people still home working.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for June 14th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for June 14th 2020.

June 12, 2020

RSGB NEWS

Sunday the 14th of June 2020

The news headlines:

  • Join Tonight @ 8 on Monday

  • Lockdown VHF NFD rules announced

  • Listen to ARISS contact on Tuesday

Don’t forget the RSGB’s new series of webinars begins on Monday the 15th of June. The first “Tonight @ 8” features a presentation on the Raspberry Pi by Mike Richards, G4WNC. You can watch the live stream on the RSGB YouTube channel or you can watch and ask questions via the special Tonight @ 8 channel on the BATC website, https://batc.org.uk/live/RSGB. You can find out more about all the webinars at www.rsgb.org/webinars.

VHF NFD is the next big event on the RSGB contest calendar, scheduled for the 4th and 5th of July. It can’t be run in its normal multi-operator format, so the RSGB Contest Committee has designed an interesting alternative for single operator stations. The rules have been set for fixed stations only. If within 2 weeks of the event the Government guidance changes sufficiently, the rules to allow portable operation may be changed. The format of the Lockdown VHF NFD is a five-band club-based event, loosely based around the AFS rules and UK Activity Contest sections. Each band has its own two or three-hour operating slot during the weekend, with time between them to allow for equipment changes to take place. Full rules are at www.rsgbcc.org/vhf/rules/20rules/ldvhfnfd.shtml.

An ARISS educational school contact is planned between Chris, KF5KDR and students in Spain. The students will be talking with the ISS from their homes over phone lines. The link to the ISS will be operated by the amateur radio ground station ON4ISS, located in Belgium. The contact is scheduled on the 16th of June at approximately 1225UTC. Downlink signals will be audible over Western Europe on 145.800MHz narrowband FM.

The RSGB has released two more 2019 Convention lecture videos to its YouTube channel www.youtube.com/theRSGB. Chris Duckling, G3SVL talks about Lessons from the 6Gs VK9XG DXpedition whilst Tony Canning, G2NF discusses Urban QRM; What can I do?

Region 1 of the IARU attended the virtual meeting of one of the high-level CEPT Frequency Management Working Groups in the past week. Amongst the topics discussed were Ukraine joining the T/R-61-02 HAREC reciprocal licensing scheme, as well as the next steps for updating the European Common Allocation table and Wireless Power regulatory framework. More information is on the Region 1 website at www.iaru-r1.org.

The Software Defined Radio Academy, supported by the German National Society, is taking place as an online conference spanning two days, the 26th and 27th of June. The stream is starting in the afternoon. The talks are pre-recorded, but the speakers will be available via the video conferencing system with time for the speakers to respond to questions. The organisers look forward to welcoming amateurs at https://youtube.sdra.io.

The IARU Monitoring System Region 1 monthly newsletter is now available. It includes reports from RSGB Intruder Watch Coordinator, Richard Lamont, G4DYA, on pages 6, 7 and 8. The newsletter summarises that May 2020 was similar to the previous months, but now also in the higher bands, some intruders were observed due to the somewhat better conditions at times. Most of the coordinators reported intruders predominantly in the 20m and 40m band. Read more at www.iaru-r1.org.

It is great to see amateur radio still being profiled on the wider media as the momentum of our ‘Get on the air to care’ campaign with the NHS continues to grow. Thank you to everyone who is showing their support by getting on the air, caring for other radio amateurs and trying new aspects of amateur radio. More details can be seen at www.rsgb.org/gota2c.

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.

GB100MZX will be operated by Chelmsford ARS to celebrate the landmark broadcast made by Dame Nellie Melba on the 15th of June 1920 and will be on air until the 20th of June. MZX was the callsign of the 1920 15kW transmitter at Marconi New Street Works in Chelmsford, Essex where it happened.

The 28th of June is the Centenary of the Royal Corps of Signals. The Royal Signals Museum has a permanent special event callsign, GB100RSM, but due to the Covid-19 restrictions, they cannot run the station from the museum. The station will instead run from the home QTH of G3WZP in IO90BR. Activity will be until the end of June on the 40, 20 and 17m bands, using SSB and CW. Skeds are welcome.

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. RSGB strongly advises obeying your own government’s advice first and foremost.

The 144MHz Backpackers contest scheduled for today, the 14th, is cancelled.

The IARU ATV contest ends its 30-hour run at 1800UTC today. Activity is on the 432MHz and up bands. The exchange is a picture report, serial number, your four-digit code and locator.

The World Wide South America Contest ends its 24 hour run at 1500UTC today, the 14th. It’s CW only on the 80 to 10m contest bands. Full rules are at http://contest.com.ar/gacw-wwsa

The Practical Wireless 2m QRP contest runs from 0900 to 1600UTC today, the 14th. It’s phone only on the 2m band, with an exchange of signal report, serial number and locator.

On Monday the fifth FT4 contest runs from 1900 to 2030UTC on the 3.5MHz band. The exchange is your 4-character locator.

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

The UK EI Contest Club Summer Series runs from 1800 to 1900UTC on Wednesday. Using SSB only on the 3.5MHz band, the exchange is your 6-character 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.

Next weekend the 50MHz Trophy contest runs from 1400UTC on the 20th to 1400UTC on the 21st. Using all modes the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The All Asian DX contest runs from 0000UTC on the 20th to 2359UTC on the 21st. It’s CW only on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, with the exchange being signal report and your age.

The Worked All Britain 50MHz phone contest takes place next Sunday, the 21st of June, from 0800 to 1400UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square for UK stations. Entries need to be with the contest manager by the 1st of July. Full details at www.worked-all-britain.org.uk. Please note that due to Covid-19 there will be no mobile or portable categories in this contest and entries cannot be accepted from portable or mobile stations.

Next Sunday, the 21st, the UK Microwave Group contest takes place on the 24 to 248GHz bands. Running from 0900 to 1700UTC, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

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.

And finally, join the fun of the next round of RSGB Hope QSO Party on weekdays. See www.rsgbcc.org/hf.

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

Well, we’ve finally got a good Solar Cycle 25 sunspot to talk about! Region 2765 was a big one with a number of spots appearing, taking the sunspot number to 17 at one point. But by the time it had rotated into the centre of the Sun, the spot had started to decline a little. While the sunspot had little effect on HF propagation, it is a good sign that we are moving in the right direction.

Meanwhile, HF propagation continued to be dominated by Sporadic-E, often with good multi-hop paths bringing in DX. J69DS and J68HZ in St Lucia were both on 10m FT8 at 1430UTC on Tuesday the 9th, and other Caribbean contacts were also reported. An elevated solar wind stream helped to disturb our geomagnetic field with the Kp index rising to three at times. Next week NOAA predicts that the solar flux index will remain around 70, with geomagnetic conditions remaining calm. The Kp index is predicted as being around two all week. Finally, do make the most of the Sporadic-E season as conditions are likely to decline a little once we leave June.

And now the VHF and up propagation news

The weekend’s unsettled weather should be followed briefly by a weak high from Sunday to Tuesday, then back to largely unsettled weather for the rest of the week. This means only a brief period of Tropo is possible early next week, particularly for paths across the North Sea and the Channel into Biscay. Otherwise, the weather patterns suggest that rain scatter will feature strongly and hopefully produce some good conditions on the microwave bands.

The ‘go-to’ mode is, of course, Sporadic-E at this time of year. This has been good at times, but mostly for digital modes where the bulk of the activity now lies. Let’s hope that in this peak part of the Sporadic-E season we can get some good openings to encourage CW and SSB operation. Certainly the jet stream pattern looks favourable as we ended this week, but it is not clear if it lasts into next week. Regardless, remember to check mid-morning and late afternoon/early evening for signs of activity.

Moon declination goes positive again tomorrow, the 15th, but with apogee on the same day, path losses are at their highest. 144MHz sky temperatures are low, so combined with lengthening Moon windows, EME conditions will improve as the week progresses.

June continues to be an active time for meteor scatter operations. The high on-air activity levels due to lockdowns mean that meteor scatter QSOs have been plenty, despite no major showers until the June Bootids on the 27th.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for June 7th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for June 7th 2020.

June 5, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 7th of June 2020

The news headlines:

  • Join Tonight @ 8 on Monday

  • Respond to Ofcom EMF consultation

  • IARU paper on digital device noise

As another part of its national ‘Get on the air to care’ campaign with the NHS, the RSGB is launching a new series of bi-weekly live webinars. The series is called Tonight @ 8 and will start on Monday the 15th of June. The webinars will be live-streamed each week, allowing you to watch the presentations and ask questions online. They will cover a range of topics so whether you’ve just gained your Foundation licence, are looking for something new to try, or simply want to be up to date with the latest amateur radio ideas and technology, there will be something for everyone. The Society will release the live-stream details next week but in the meantime, you can find out more about the first four webinars on the special Tonight @ 8 web page, www.rsgb.org/webinars.

Now is the last chance to submit your response to the Ofcom consultation on Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields, or EMF, to meet the closing date of the 12th of June. The RSGB’s own response to the Ofcom Consultation has been added ahead of this deadline to the EMF page at rsgb.org.uk/emf. In summary, the RSGB appreciates the need for the ICNIRP guidelines but cannot support the proposals from Ofcom that are onerous. It is felt that the proposals could result in double regulation and are not proportionate to the risk. Instead, the RSGB recommends a more appropriate change to the existing amateur licence conditions referencing the 2020 ICNIRP Guidelines. The RSGB will also prepare its own guidance and training to help amateurs follow these ICNIRP guidelines.

IARU EMC specialists Tore Worren, LA9QL and Martin Sach, G8KDF have submitted a paper to CISPR concerning the increasing impact of multiple digital devices on the noise levels in the radio spectrum. The paper was considered at the CISPR Steering Committee in late May, and adopted for circulation to CISPR National Committee for comment as a Committee Draft, with a view to it becoming a CISPR Report. The IARU hopes that the result of this will be amendments to the way in which standards are developed, to recognise the need to properly consider the cumulative impact of multiple devices.

It is great to see amateur radio still being profiled on the wider media as the momentum of our ‘Get on the air to care’ campaign with the NHS continues to grow. This week RSGB Board Director Mike Bruce; Region 11 Representative Dean Brice; and Warrington Amateur Radio Club were all featured – go to the RSGB’s media coverage web page to find the links: www.rsgb.org/gota2c-media. Thank you to everyone who is showing their support by getting on the air, caring for other radio amateurs and trying new aspects of amateur radio. More details about the campaign and stories from clubs and radio amateurs can be seen on the RSGB website at www.rsgb.org/gota2c.

One from the history books now. On the 14th of June 1959 Leon Ward, G5NF made an AM contact with I1KDB in Naples using the 144MHz band. Leon was based in Fareham, Surrey, at IO91OF. At that time, it was a new World Record for that band, at 1084 miles. In January 2020, the record was set at 2963 miles in a contact between D41CV and GM0EWX.

The first Youngsters On The Air online session took place on the 28th of May. The successful session gathered more than 500 viewers from almost all of the continent. If you didn’t have the chance to join the live event or just want to see all of it again, you can watch the recording of the event on the YouTube channel https://youtu.be/6xKnd2UN9z0.

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.

The Royal Air Force Air Cadets is pleased to announce that the next Exercise Blue Ham will be held on the MoD 5MHz shared band over the weekend of the 6th and 7th of June. There are plenty of callsigns available for amateurs to contact over the period of the exercise using both SSB voice and data modes. Details can be found at alphacharlie.org.uk/exercise-blue-ham.

Due to the coronavirus situation, the GB1SCW special event station will no longer be held at the National Coast Watch station in Shoreham by Sea on the 7th of June. To make a presence and celebrate the work of Coastal Communities, members of Worthing and District Amateur Radio Club can call from their own station locations.

GB100MZX will be operated by Chelmsford ARS to celebrate the landmark broadcast made by Dame Nellie Melba on the 15th of June 1920 and will be on air between the 13th and 20th of June. MZX was the callsign of the 1920 15kW Marconi transmitter at Marconi New Street Works in Chelmsford, Essex where it happened.

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. RSGB strongly advises obeying your own government’s advice first and foremost.

As previously announced, the RSGB confirms that this weekend’s National Field Day event has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 situation. The 144MHz Backpackers contest scheduled for next Sunday, the 14th is also cancelled.

The SEANET contest ends its 24 hours run at 1200UTC on the 7th. Using CW and SSB on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

The UK Microwave Group Low Band contest runs from 1000 to 1600UTC today, the 7th of June. Using all modes on the 1.3, 2.3 and 3.4GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Tuesday the 432MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1800 to 1955UTC. It is followed by the all-mode 432MHz UK Activity Contest. The exchange for both is signal report, serial number and locator.

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

Also on Wednesday is the UK EI Contest Club Summer Series, running from 1800 to 1900UTC. Using FT4 only on the 80m band, the exchange is your 6-character 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 weekend from 1200 UTC on the 13th to 1800UTC on the 14th, the IARU ATV contest is on the 432MHz and up bands. The exchange is a picture report, serial number, your four-digit code and locator.

The World Wide South America Contest runs from Saturday 1500UTC on the 13th to 1500UTC on the 14th. It’s CW only on the 80 to 10m contest bands, with full rules at http://contest.com.ar/gacw-wwsa

The Practical Wireless 2m QRP contest runs from 0900 to 1600UTC next Sunday, the 14th. It’s phone only on the 2m band, with an exchange of signal report, serial number and locator.

EIDXG is running a Summer Challenge as a fun event from the 1st of June to the 30th of August. Simply work as many unique DXCCs, CQ Worked all Zones, participating EIDXG members and 32 Irish counties as possible. Full information at www.eidxg.com/sc2020

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.

And finally, join the fun of the next round of RSGB Hope QSO Party on weekdays. See www.rsgbcc.org/hf.

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

Well, the excitement of Sporadic-E propagation continued last week. There were extensive openings on 20 to 10 metres, which resulted in very short-skip openings at times. Paul, GM4ULS in Perth reports working lots of G stations on the South Coast of England on 20 metres on Wednesday and the skip ran as short as a QSO into Northampton. He said, “At about 1320UTC the short skip lengthened slightly, and I began to attract stations in France and Belgium.” This just goes to show that Sporadic-E can affect all the higher HF bands. It is often seen on ionogram plots as flat reflections from the E layer about 95-100km, and a critical frequency of more than 10MHz. It often blocks signals from reaching the F2 layer, leaving gaps in the critical frequency plots on Propquest.co.uk.

There has also been some F2-layer propagation around. Paul, GM4ULS also worked Jim, E51JD in the South Pacific on 20 metres on Thursday at 0634UTC. Jim featured in last week's report as well.

The promised active sunspot region that was supposed to rotate into Earth’s view last week didn’t amount to much, but another sunspot group numbered 2765, has subsequently appeared. It is a sign that sunspot cycle 25 is starting to crank up. The solar X-Rays from this Cycle 25 spot appeared to be fairly stable on Thursday, but that could change.

Next week NOAA predicts the solar flux index will remain around 70. The Sun may also remain quite quiet geomagnetically due to a lack of coronal holes and NOAA has the Kp index pegged at two all week. Hopefully, the Sporadic-E season will continue giving plenty of short-skip and multi-hop activity on HF.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

The present shift of focus to unsettled weather has now taken place and from now through next week, the general theme is for this showery weather type to remain with us. This will mean that rain scatter is a good mode of choice for the microwave bands. Make use of the various radar displays to see where the nearest reflecting storms might be.

Tropo will be a rarity during this period, although there are signs of high pressure to the northwest of Britain later next week and one model even suggests a new high forming over the country next weekend, but it's at a long lead time and much could change before then.

Now onto Sporadic-E, which has produced stunning results recently. Although it's taken a step back, as I write this on Wednesday, I’m sure other good days are out there for us during the next week, and there will be plenty of jet streams on the charts to provide the triggers. Check the bands mid-morning and late afternoon or early evening for signs of activity and you should catch most of the openings.

The Moon is at minimum declination today, the 7th, and the consequent Moon peak elevation is accompanied by very high 144MHz sky temperatures. Unfortunately, we are now entering a period of the lunar cycle where low path losses start to coincide with low declination. This continues to get worse until July 2022, when apogee, that’s highest loss, coincides with maximum declination. Perigee and highest declination don’t coincide again until May 2026.

June continues to be an active time for meteor scatter operations, and the daytime Areitids shower peaks today.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for May 31st 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for May 31st 2020.

May 29, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 31st of May 2020

The news headlines:

  • Exam bookings resume on Monday

  • Respond NOW to Ofcom EMF consultation

  • GB2RS Newsreaders shine in a crisis

Following the Society’s announcement about the introduction of a new booking system for online remote invigilation Foundation exams, bookings will resume on Monday the 1st of June. Exam bookings can only be made via the online booking form at www.rsgb.org/exampay. The next available examination sessions are from 8 am on Wednesday the 1st of July. You can choose your preferred date and time from those shown on the booking form as being available. You will need to pay for the exam when you make the booking. This temporary booking arrangement is only for use during the Covid-19 lockdown. The Society is hoping to introduce online remote invigilation exams for the Intermediate and Full licences in the course of the coming weeks. Practical assessments, and other transitional arrangements during the lockdown, are still under review and changes will be announced as necessary.

There’s not much time left for you to respond to the Ofcom EMF consultation, which is required by the 12th of June. The RSGB recommends you acknowledge the need for ICNIRP guidelines but to state that the proposals from Ofcom are not proportionate for amateur licensees. More details on the consultation and the guide to help you with your response can be found at www.rsgb.org/emf. The RSGB is finalising its detailed response. This includes arguments and evidence in support of our case, which is to stick with the current light-touch approach. It is important for all amateurs to make their own individual responses using their own words. The RSGB is also preparing training and advice leaflets to help you follow ICNIRP guidelines and any specific requirements that Ofcom may impose in the licence conditions after this consultation.

The RSGB would like to thank all those who read the news, in whatever medium, for their dedication to the radio amateur community. Their service is even more appreciated during these extraordinary times. All on-air GB2RS newsreaders should check the validity date on their NoV and reapply for renewal through www.rsgb.org/nov if necessary.

Due to the Covid-19 situation, the RSGB confirms that this year’s National Field Day event, planned for the 6th and 7th of June, has been cancelled.

The Royal Air Force Air Cadets is pleased to announce that the next Exercise Blue Ham will be held on the MoD 5MHz shared band over the weekend of the 6th and 7th of June. There are plenty of call signs available for amateurs to contact over the period of the exercise using both SSB voice and data modes. Details can be found at alphacharlie.org.uk/exercise-blue-ham.

The Finnish Amateur Radio League invites all radio amateurs around the world to join them in a global special event featuring their STAYHOME campaign. It will be held on the 6th and 7th of June. The United Nations Amateur Club callsign 4U1UN, as well as its sister stations operating as 4U9STAYHOME and 4U2STAYHOME will participate. The operators look forward to making contact with as many stations as possible during this special event. Details can be found at www.qrz.com/db/OH2STAYHOME.

The RSGB annual Islands on the Air Contest, scheduled to take place on the 25th and 26th of July, will be exclusively for Single Operators using their home stations. This is due to the Covid-19 restriction worldwide. Another rules amendment for 2020 is that the sending of a signal report in every QSO is mandatory,

The RSGB’s national ‘Get on the air to care’ campaign in partnership with the NHS has received more media coverage this week. This includes an interview with a member of Chippenham and District ARC on BBC Radio Wiltshire. We have also received another video of support from the NHS, which you can see on the RSGB YouTube channel. Thank you to everyone who is showing their support by getting on the air, caring for other radio amateurs and trying new aspects of amateur radio. More details about the campaign, media coverage and stories from clubs and radio amateurs can be seen on the RSGB website at www.rsgb.org/gota2c.

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.

Due to the coronavirus situation, the GB1SCW special event station will no longer be held at the National Coast Watch station in Shoreham by Sea on the 7th of June. To make a presence and celebrate the work of Coastal Communities, members of Worthing and District Amateur Radio Club can call from their own radio station locations.

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. RSGB strongly advises obeying your own government’s advice first and foremost.

This weekend, the CQ World Wide WPX CW contest ends its 48 hours run at 2359UTC today, the 31st. Using the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

Today, the 31st, the UK Microwave group High Band Contest runs from 0600 to 1800UTC. Using all modes on the 5.7 to 10GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

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

On Tuesday the 144MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1800 to 1855UTC, 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 Thursday the UK EI Contest Club Summer Series runs from 1800 to 1900 using CW on the 3.5MHz band. The exchange is your 6-character locator.

As mentioned earlier, next weekend, the 6th and 7th of June, is the traditional date for National Field Day. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the event has been cancelled for 2020.

The SEANET contest takes place for 24 hours starting at 1200UTC on the 6th. Using CW and SSB on the 3.5 to 28MHz bands the exchange is signal report and serial number.

The UK Microwave Group Low Band contest runs from 1000 to 1600UTC next Sunday, the 7th of June. Using all modes on the 1.3, 2.3 and 3.4GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

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.

And finally, join the fun of the next round of RSGB Hope QSO Party on weekdays. See www.rsgbcc.org/hf.

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

This last week was dominated by a quiet Sun, but extensive Sporadic-E openings. We had a solar flux index hovering around 70 and zero sunspots, nevertheless we have had good F2-layer propagation on HF and multi-hop Sporadic-E bringing DX excitement.

Last weekend saw FT8 openings on 10 metres to the Caribbean and South America, even after sunset. Laurie, G3UML reports working KL7KK in Alaska and KH6YY in Hawaii on 20m SSB, which just goes to show that you shouldn’t write off HF just because of a low sunspot number! Laurie said: “There’s been quite a bit of Pacific activity on 20m in the mornings and lots of Gs working it. Jim, E51JD on the South Cook Islands was a readable five and five this morning.”

The Sun is showing some signs of life. An active region approaching the north-east limb just produced a minor solar flare that may be associated with a coronal mass ejection or CME. The minor event registered as a long duration B-class solar flare.

An image from the STEREO Ahead spacecraft reveals a wave spreading across the far side of the sun, which can be indicative of a CME. But because of its position, it should be directed completely away from Earth.

A small coronal hole was facing Earth on Thursday, which could mean a minor solar wind influence may be expected this weekend. A possible sunspot belonging to Cycle 25 may also begin to turn into view.

NOAA predicts the SFI will remain at or around 70 all week with a maximum Kp index of two. Sporadic-E conditions should continue, providing short-skip openings on the higher HF bands.

And now the VHF and up propagation news

The long period of high-pressure weather is going to hang on, with some good Tropo opportunities, just through this weekend. Apart from a small hint of an isolated shower over this weekend, most places will stay dry until the middle part of next week.

On Tuesday a weakness in the high will allow isolated, but potentially heavy showers to develop, with a chance of rain scatter. This shower risk then stays with us through the rest of the week, but always on the edge of high pressure to the east and west of Britain.

In the second half of the week, a cooler northerly flow will bring an increased shower risk, some heavy and thundery, but confined to the south by the following weekend.

The Sporadic-E prospects are usually at a peak around the early part of June, so expect to hear some of this fleeting, exotic propagation mode on the bands from 10m up to 2m. If the skip gets shorter, say strong DLs on 10m, then check 6m and so on up to 2m for a really good opening.

Lots of factors influence its likelihood, but the best practice is to listen late morning and late afternoon or early evening. Check the Propquest website for daily blogs on possible Sporadic-E hotspots.

Moon declination goes negative on Monday, but we are at perigee on Wednesday, so EME path losses are at their lowest. 144MHz sky noise is low until Friday and Saturday but as peak Moon elevation is low, ground noise will dominate.

June continues to be an active time for meteor scatter operations and the daytime Areitids shower peaks on the 7th.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for May 24th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for May 24th 2020.

May 22, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 24th of May 2020

The news headlines:

  • YOTA Online programme launched

  • SARL celebrates 95 years

  • Change to the exam booking system

As all planned YOTA 2020 events have been cancelled until September, a new programme called YOTA Online has been developed. This will be a monthly Livestream gathering, free to all participants and available afterwards as a recorded version. In each meeting, the YOTA team will present different topics and answer questions from the YOTA community. There will also be opportunities to share stories of recent YOTA events. The first meeting will be on the 28th of May. Details of the Livestream link will be publicised on the YOTA website and social media channels the day before

Last Wednesday, the 20th, the South African Radio Relay League celebrated its 95th anniversary. It was formed on Wednesday the 20th of May 1925, just a month after the world’s radio amateurs met in Paris to form the world body, the International Amateur Radio Union. In 1947 the word Relay was dropped from the name. Their message is that amateur radio has withstood the test of time because it is based on three major guiding principles: communication between people, continuous technology development and self-education and training.

In response to the demand for remote invigilated exams, the RSGB is launching a new, automated booking system. It will make each part of the process smoother for applicants and HQ staff. As all 600 exam slots in June have now been filled, the new booking system will go live on 1 June in readiness for booking July exam slots. Over the next ten days, the Society will share more details about the system and how to use it. In the meantime, please note that the RSGB is not accepting any new bookings via the old application form.

The RSGB’s national ‘Get on the air to care’ campaign in partnership with the NHS has received more media coverage this week, including a BBC radio interview with 11-year-old Anne-Marie who was nominated by her primary school headteacher as the local hero of the week for the two weekly nets she has been running during the lockdown. Telford and District Amateur Radio Society were featured in their local paper and other radio amateurs have been sharing their stories with us. Thank you to everyone who is showing their support by getting on the air, caring for other radio amateurs and trying new aspects of amateur radio. More details about the campaign, media coverage and stories from clubs and radio amateurs can be seen on the RSGB website at www.rsgb.org/gota2c.

Users of the Islands on the Air programme may now obtain contact credits via the ARRL’s Logbook of The World. A similar arrangement is already in place with Club Log. To claim a new island group from matched Logbook of The World contacts, users should click on Retrieve QSOs from LoTW to retrieve matching records. Within 30 minutes, IOTA users will receive an email listing the matches added to a list of pending contacts.

Joe Taylor, K1JT reports what is possibly the first FT8 contact via Moonbounce that took place on the 21st of May between Paul, W2HRO and Peter, PA2V. They used WSJT-X 2.2.0-rc1, a beta-release candidate for version 2.2 of the program WSJT-X. Both stations have moderate 4-Yagi setups on 432MHz. Conditions were not particularly good, with degradation around 3dB and the Sun only 20 degrees from the Moon.

The Royal Air Force Air Cadets are pleased to announce that the next Exercise Blue Ham will be held on the MoD 5MHz shared band over the weekend of the 6th and 7th of June. There are plenty of call signs available for Cadets over the period of the exercise using both SSB voice and data modes. Details can be found at https://alphacharlie.org.uk/exercise-blue-ham

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.

The RAF Amateur Radio Society will be activating the special event GB75VED until the 28th of May. Operations will be from members’ homes. Details are at www.rafars.org/GB75VED and on QRZ.com.

Dragon Amateur Radio Club and North Wales Radio Society are operating GB0GIG throughout May, named after the National Health Service in the Welsh language. The station will be active on HF, VHF and UHF using as many modes as possible. An award certificate is available and full details can be found on QRZ.com.

Durham and District Amateur Radio Society is participating as one of the bonus stations in the popular 13 Colonies special event. The special callsign GB13COL has been issued for this event and will run from 1300 UTC on the 1st of July to 0400 UTC on the 8th. The primary focus of the event will be the HF bands, including VHF & UHF for QSOs using SSB, CW, FM and various digital modes.

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. RSGB strongly advises obeying your own government’s advice first and foremost.

Today, the 24th, the third 70MHz Cumulative contest runs from 1400 to 1600UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Tuesday the SHF UK Activity Contest runs from 1800 to 2130UTC. Using all modes on the 2.3 to 10GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Thursday it’s the CW leg of the 80m Club Championships. Running from 1900 to 2030UTC, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

Next weekend is the CQ World Wide WPX CW contest. It runs for 48 hours from 0000UTC on the 30th to 2359UTC on the 31st. Using the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

Next Sunday, the 31st, the UK Microwave group High Band Contest runs from 0600 to 1800UTC. Using all modes on the 5.7 to 10GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

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.

And finally, join the fun of the next round of RSGB Hope QSO Party on weekdays. See www.rsgbcc.org/hf.

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

Last week was dominated by extensive Sporadic-E openings that made 10 metres sound like 20 metres on a good day. The openings were steady and stable, with lots of stations around Europe being very workable. These openings extended to multi-hop as well, with Chris, VO1CH being heard on 10m FT8 at 1240UTC on Monday the 18th for example. Low-power beacons have also been heard – the IW4EIR beacon, running just 1.5W, was heard on 28.195MHz at 1600UTC on Monday as well.

If you are interested in monitoring 10m beacons, Martin, G3USF has updated his 10 metre beacon list. It is available on the RSGB website under the Propagation section, using the link on the right-hand side, Propagation Beacons.

Hopefully, the Sporadic-E season will continue to improve over the next few weeks. Other than Sporadic-E, HF conditions have been average for this time of year. Late Spring and Summer are traditionally times when maximum usable frequencies decline during the day due to a change in ionospheric chemistry. However, the good news is that night-time MUFs are higher, with bands like 20 metres remaining open long after sunset if there is sufficient ionisation.

The Sun remains very quiet. Two lighter plage areas – bright regions in the Sun’s chromosphere – have moved into view, but are unlikely to turn into sunspots. As a result, NOAA predicts the solar flux index will remain around 70. It also predicts that the Sun will remain stable geomagnetically, bringing a maximum Kp index of two. So it looks like Sporadic-E will continue to provide the HF fun on the higher HF bands.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

Most of next week will be dominated by high pressure just south of the UK and hence Tropo will be a good mode to try. At this time of the year, the strong sunshine makes any nocturnal enhancement of conditions temporary and soon disappears after sunrise and the new thermals destroy the night-time cooling inversion.

However, the main high-pressure subsidence inversion is a different case and extends across the same region as the area of high pressure and will be present throughout. This will mean paths across the North Sea, English Channel or Bay of Biscay should do well. Unlike Sporadic-E, Tropo contacts need not be rushed.

A fairly strong Atlantic jet stream will push across the UK this weekend and when it reaches the near continent it will be in a good place for Sporadic-E in a broad direction range from Scandinavia round through the Balkans to Italy and Spain.

Meanwhile, the Atlantic will continue to provide jet stream segments for openings across the pond. The association of Sporadic-E with jet streams is useful since the charts show the meandering jet stream extending well east over Russia and could be used for paths to the Far East.

There is a hint that a region of showers may develop around the middle of next week to give an opportunity for some GHz rain scatter propagation.

The Moon’s reaches peak declination on Tuesday and path losses are falling all week. 144MHz sky noise is low.

A number of small showers keep May and June an active time for meteor scatter operations, so keep looking for early morning opportunities before the Sporadic-E.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for May 17th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for May 17th 2020.

May 15, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 17th of May 2020

The news headlines:

  • More media coverage for #GOTA2C

  • 2nd Hope QSO Party starts tomorrow

  • New beta of WSJT-X updates FT4 & FT8

The RSGB’s national campaign ‘Get on the air to care’ in partnership with the NHS has received more media coverage this week, including two BBC radio interviews with local radio clubs and a video message from the NHS. Thank you to everyone who is showing their support by getting on the air, caring for other radio amateurs and trying new aspects of amateur radio. More details about the campaign, media coverage and stories from clubs and radio amateurs can be seen on the RSGB website at www.rsgb.org/gota2c.

The RSGB Contest Committee is running a second Hope QSO Party event, starting on Monday the 18th of May. The rules are at tinyurl.com/Hope-QSO – please note that there are two rule changes for this second event. The calendar is at www.rsgbcc.org/hf.

A new beta version of the WSJT-X software suite has been released. It includes the first updates since last autumn to the popular FT8 and FT4 protocols. Installation packages for Windows, Linux, and Macintosh are available on the WSJT-X Development Group web page. Scroll to Candidate Release WSJT-X 2.2.0-rc1. The WSJT-X Development Group request those using the new beta version to alert the developers and to report any bugs or improvements they have implemented, using instructions included in the User Guide.

The transponder on HuskySat-OSCAR 107 has been activated and is open for use and testing. It’s fairly sensitive, and 5 to 10W of uplink power is plenty most of the time. The linear transponder is inverting, with an uplink passband of 145.910 to 145.940MHz and a downlink passband of 435.810 to 435.840MHz. The 1200-baud BPSK telemetry beacon is at 435.800MHz.

The Air Defence Radar Museum at RAF Neatishead usually runs the permanent special event station GB2RAF. But, with the museum closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, G4PSH has obtained permission to operate the callsign from his home under a temporary licence. This will continue until the museum is able to open to the public again. QSL cards are available via the RSGB or RAFARS bureau, EQSL.com or direct to G4PSH with a SAE.

The Radio Amateur Society of Australia has conducted a 60 metre band monitoring program over the past few months to build a picture of 60m activity during daylight and evening hours. The information will be used in a response to the latest Australian radio authority’s paper that proposes various options for sharing of the band between amateur and commercial users.

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.

GB2SHS for STAY HOME SAFE will be on air until the 24th of May in support of the NHS and care workers. It will operate from the QTH of G4ISN, a member of Welland Valley ARS, on the HF bands. QSL via e-QSL.

The RAF Amateur Radio Society will be activating the special event GB75VED until the 28th May. Operations will be from members’ homes. Details are at www.rafars.org/GB75VED and on QRZ.com.

Dragon Amateur Radio Club and North Wales Radio Society are operating GB0GIG throughout May, named after the National Health Service in the Welsh language. The station will be active on HF, VHF and UHF using as many modes as possible. An award certificate is available and full details can be found on QRZ.com.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day and VJ Day, the RSGB has organised the VE/VJ Day amateur radio marathon on the HF bands and 6m using SSB, CW and digital modes. Three special UK callsigns, GB75PEACE, GB1945PE and GB1945PJ, will be on the air throughout May and again between the 1st and the 31st of August. If you wish to operate one of these stations, please email csc.chair@rsgb.org.uk. Full details are at www.rsgb.org/ve-vj-marathon.

Kent Active Radio Amateurs will run GB80MQ on the 22nd and 23rd of May. This station is usually run from the vessel Medway Queen, but will be operational from operator’s home addresses instead this time.

Durham and District Amateur Radio Society is participating as one of the bonus stations in the hugely popular 13 Colonies Special Event. The special callsign GB13COL has been issued for this event and will run from July 1, 2020 1300 UTC to July 8, 0400 UTC. The primary focus of the event will be the HF bands, including VHF & UHF for QSOs using SSB, CW, FM and various digital modes.

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. RSGB strongly advises obeying your own government’s advice first and foremost.

This weekend, the 144MHz May Contest ends it 24 hour run at 1400UTC today, the 17th. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number, locator and postcode.

Today, the 17th, is the UK Microwave Group millimetre-wave contest, running from 0900 to 1700UTC. Using all modes on the 24 to 76GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Monday the fourth FT4 series contest runs from 1900 to 2030UTC on the 80m band. The exchange is your 4-character 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.

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

Next Sunday, the 24th, 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’s Summer Marathon runs until the 2nd of August. Using all modes on the 50MHz band, the exchange is you 4-character locator.

And finally, join the fun of the next round of RSGB Hope QSO Party on weekdays. See www.rsgbcc.org/hf.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 15th of May.

We had another week dominated by Sporadic-E openings. While the Sun remained quiet with zero sunspots, Sporadic-E proved to be the major mode of propagation. It offered both single and multi-hop openings, with 10m being open to Spain, Portugal and beyond on most days. Likely multi-hop paths have seen openings to Chad, Mauritania, St Lucia and further afield. On 20m and 15m there have been F2-layer openings to the Far East, Hawaii, Alaska and South America reported, although most of these have been on FT8 by well-equipped stations. An easier catch for Chris, G3SJJ was C31CT in Andorra who “popped out of the noise” on 17m. This shows the importance of monitoring the bands and watching the cluster for those elusive short HF openings.

Next week NOAA predicts that the Sun will likely remain spotless with a solar flux index of 68-70. On Thursday a polar coronal hole with a long finger pointing towards the solar equator was likely releasing a high-speed solar wind stream. This could result in unsettled geomagnetic conditions over the weekend. NOAA predicts the Kp index could rise to three on Monday the 18th.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

The weather models are showing a mainly high-pressure week and therefore there should be some good prospects for Tropo. Since the high does not have a great source of moist air underneath the inversion, the Tropo may be less than ideal. However, the position of the high over this weekend may allow better Tropo conditions across southern Britain and across the Channel into France. The north and west of the UK are going to be close to fronts on several occasions next week, and on Monday a weakness in the high may allow a few showers to develop and bring some rain scatter on the GHz bands. One of the models does break the high-pressure trend and bring a deepening low past northwest Britain in the second half of next week with further rain scatter possibilities.

We have seen a good number of Sporadic-E days in the last week, especially for digital modes, but CW and SSB have produced results too. The position of the jet streams suggests that Scandinavia, the Baltic and northern Europe may be the preferred regions of interest next week. Check the beacons and clusters for signs of activity, and keep QSOs short, since conditions can change suddenly from an easy 5/9 to lost in the noise.

We should see the start of the Arietids meteor shower this week lasting from the 22nd of May until the 2nd of July, peaking on the 7th of June. Moon declination is increasing again, going positive on Monday but this coincides with apogee, so path losses are at their highest. 144MHz sky noise is low apart from Friday afternoon where the Sun and Moon are close to eclipse.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for May 10th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for May 10th 2020.

May 7, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 10th of May 2020

The news headlines:

  • BBC features RSGB Get on the air to care campaign

  • VDSL call to action in new online RadCom

  • RCF Arkwright Scholar 3D prints PPE

The RSGB’s national campaign ‘Get on the air to care’ in partnership with the NHS has received widespread media coverage this week, including a prominent feature on BBC online news, an interview on the British Forces Broadcasting Service and mentions on radio stations, newspapers and blogs across the UK and, indeed, the world. Thank you to everyone who is showing their support by getting on the air, caring for other radio amateurs and trying new aspects of amateur radio. More details about the campaign, media coverage and stories from clubs and radio amateurs can be seen on the RSGB website at www.rsgb.org/gota2c

The May RadCom carried a call to action from the RSGB President, asking everyone who is suffering from HF interference due to broadband VDSL to submit a complaint to Ofcom. This edition of RadCom is now on the RSGB website as a sample issue for all radio amateurs. Find it at www.rsgb.org/sampleradcom. We urge all who are suffering from VDSL interference to submit complaints to Ofcom. Details of how to report interference can be found in the May edition of RadCom and on the RSGB website at www.rsgb.org/vdsl-reporting. Many amateurs have already submitted complaints to Ofcom and we would like to thank those for doing so. But we would like yet more people to submit complaints. We have to persuade Ofcom to take action against this threat to our hobby.

Jake Howarth, M0JKE, is doing his bit to help out the NHS in lockdown. The RCF Trustees were delighted to hear that the 3D printer he purchased using his Arkwright Engineering Scholarship funds has been put to great use. Not only has it helped him in pursuing his own projects, but it is also enabling him to contribute to society by producing personal protective equipment as part of the 3D-Crowd initiative. The RCF sponsors two or three Arkwright Scholars each year and many have taken up amateur radio as a result. Jake was already licensed when he was selected and he was a UK representative at the 2019 IARU YOTA event.

The RSGB Contest Committee is running a second Hope QSO Party event, starting on Monday the 18th of May. The format will be the same as the first, with ten phone, ten CW, five RTTY and five FT4 events. All of these are 90-minute contests, and they start at different times each weekday. The rules are at tinyurl.com/Hope-QSO – please note that there are are two rule changes for this second event. The calendar is at www.rsgbcc.org/hf, where new series is shown in orange and the first series in yellow. Over 400 UK and non-UK stations have entered the first series so far.

Following the success of WRC-19, the German regulator has expanded the frequency band and power available to their amateurs. The full 50 to 52MHz band is now available to all German amateurs on a secondary basis. Up to 750W is permitted in the 50.0 to 50.4MHz narrowband DX segment. Contest operation is now also permitted.

As part of its Get on the air to care initiative, the RSGB would like to remind clubs that their nets form a valuable part of ensuring that radio amateurs don’t feel so isolated at this time. Ideas such as creating and distributing, via email, a calendar invitation to local amateurs provides a helpful reminder that these nets are taking place. Local nets are also a great way to check on the health or other needs of local amateurs.

In the USA, the ARRL has a Stay Safe and Stay On The Air initiative running during the Covid-19 pandemic. Beginning with a message shared with its members in March, the ARRL has encouraged radio amateurs who are healthy and safe at home to get or stay, on the air. The message is that as online fatigue and a feeling of isolation will inevitably creep into our ‘new normal’, being on-air will introduce variety into our communication practices. Read more at www.arrl.org/read-a-message-for-member-volunteers

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day and VJ Day, the RSGB has organised the VE/VJ Day amateur radio marathon on the HF bands and 6m using SSB, CW and digital modes. Three special UK callsigns, GB75PEACE, GB1945PE and GB1945PJ, will be on the air throughout May and again between the 1st and the 31st of August. If you wish to operate one of these stations, please email csc.chair@rsgb.org.uk. Full details are at www.rsgb.org/ve-vj-marathon.

The Dayton Hamvention for 2020 has been cancelled. The Hamvention QSO Party a 12-hour fun event on Saturday the 16th of May to celebrate the Dayton Hamvention. Work as many amateur stations as possible between 1200 to 2359UTC on the 16th on the 160 to 10m bands using CW and SSB. You can work the same station once per band mode, that’s 12 QSOs possible with the same station. Exchange signal report and the first year you attended Hamvention, or 2020 if you have never attended. Only single operator entries are allowed. There are three power categories. QRP is for no more than 5 watts. Low Power is up to 100 watts, and the High Power section allows up to 1500 watts, or your licence maximum if that’s lower than 1500W. Special bonus points are available for working W8BI, the club call of the Dayton Amateur Radio Association. Scoring is simply the number of QSOs plus bonus points. There are no multipliers. Go to wwrof.org for full rules and details of the awards available.

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.

GB2SHS for STAY HOME SAFE will be on air until the 24th of May in support of the NHS and care workers. It will operate from the QTH of G4ISN, a member of Welland Valley ARS, on the HF bands. QSL via e-QSL.

Thurrock Acorns Amateur Radio Club will be operating GB6VED for the 75th anniversary of VE Day until the 11th of May. The members will operate on various HF and VHF bands from their homes around Essex. For further information, email acorns@taarc.co.uk

Three members of Macclesfield ARS are doing their bit in supporting key workers in the UK. Greg, M0TXX will be transmitting until mid-May using GB5KW, as will Adie as GB9KW and Chris as GB4KW. They will be transmitting on all modes HF, 2m and FT8. All details can be found on QRZ.com.

Fort Purbrook Amateur Radio Club is activating GB1VE over this weekend, ending today, the 10th of May. Activity is from six different members’ homes. Two are on HF voice, always on different bands, another on HF CW, one on HF data modes, one on 6m or 2m or 70cm and, finally, one on 4m and Oscar-100. Full details are on QRZ.com.

GB75BVE is being hosted from homes in and around Bournemouth until today, the 10th of May. Operators will be G3YUZ, G3XBZ, G4XEE and G3WZP, using all modes and the 160 through to 2m bands. They hope to share the VE Day commemorations on the air.

The RAF Amateur Radio Society will be activating the special event GB75VED until the 28th of May. Operations will be from members’ homes. Details are at www.rafars.org/GB75VED and on QRZ.com.

Dragon Amateur Radio Club and North Wales Radio Society are operating GB0GIG throughout May, named after the National Health Service in the Welsh language. The station will be active on HF, VHF and UHF using as many modes as possible. An award certificate is available and full details can be found on QRZ.com.

Although the Mills On The Air event has been cancelled, Chesham and District Amateur Radio Society will be operating GB0BWM for Brill Windmill from members’ homes over the weekend, ending today, the 10th of May. The operation will be on 3.5, 7, 14, 50 and 144MHz, mainly SSB, but with some CW and FM.

GU75LIB will operate at varying times until the 13th of May, to commemorate Liberation Day on the 9th of May. They will be operating from home, each taking turns on band and mode.

Braintree & District ARS is operating GB5VED from several members home stations, ending today, the 10th of May, commemorating the 75th Anniversary of VE Day. Operators will include some of the senior club members who were present at the original celebrations. Contacts will be sought on HF, VHF, UHF.

Listen out on HF for GB4 V V V, the distinctive dit-dit-dit-DAH of wartime broadcasting, sent by the special event station managed by Andy, G0SFJ, until the 11th of May. He prefers eQSL; SWL reports are welcome.

Now the contest news

This weekend is busy for contests, but please remember to check before the events for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. RSGB strongly advises obeying your own government’s advice first and foremost.

Today, the 10th sees the 70MHz CW contest run from 0900 to 1200UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number, locator and postcode.

Also today, the 10th is the IRTS 40m Counties Contest from 1200 to 1400UTC. Using SSB and CW, the exchange is signal report and serial number, with EI, GI, 2I and MI stations also sending their County.

The Worked All Britain 70MHz contest takes place today, the 10th, from 1000 to 1400UTC. Entries need to be with the contest manager by the 20th of May. The exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square. Full details of the rules and entry methods are at www.worked-all-britain.org.uk. Please note that no club or multiple operator entries will be accepted from mobile or portable stations.

On Tuesday the 432MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1800 to 1855UTC, using FM only. It is immediately 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.

On Wednesday the 80m Club Championships takes place from 1900 to 2030UTC, using data only. The exchange is signal report and serial number.

On Thursday, the 50MHz UK Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes on the 6m band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Next weekend, the 144MHz May Contest will run from 1400UTC on the 16th to 1400UTC on the 17th. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number, locator and postcode.

Next Sunday, the 17th, is the UK Microwave Group millimetre-wave contest, running 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’s Summer Marathon runs until the 2nd of August. Using all modes on the 50MHz band, the exchange is your 4-character locator.

And finally, don’t forget the next round of RSGB Hope QSO Party on weekdays, see www.rsgbcc.org/hf for further details. Hundreds of participants have taken part, and for some, it has been their first attempt at an HF contest. One participant told us that it was their first-ever attempt at CW in 36 years! Come and join in the fun.

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

It was a case of more of the same HF-wise last week. Zero sunspots and no geomagnetic disturbances meant that conditions were average for this point in late spring. The good news is that the Sporadic-E season has now officially started, and it is living up to its name. That is, it is sporadic! Either there is either good propagation or nothing! Openings on 10 metres have included multi-hop to the Caribbean, with Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago being workable on FT8. Other more general Sporadic-E openings have favoured Spain and Portugal one day, and Bulgaria, Romania and Algeria on another.

Some amateurs have been heard to comment that the openings must mean that the new sunspot cycle has started. But this is not so. Sporadic-E is a seasonal phenomenon not related to sunspots and when this season finishes in late August or early September, we can probably expect the 10 metre band to go back to sleep. So the message is to get on 10 metres right now and work whatever you can while the Sporadic-E lasts!

Other than 10 metres, 40 metres continues to be a very workable band, with openings occurring during the day and into the evening. As we head towards Summer, we can also expect 20m to stay open later, and even after sunset, due to the changing chemical make-up of the ionosphere.

Next week, NOAA is predicting more of the same, with a solar flux index of around 70 all week and settled geomagnetic conditions, with an average Kp index of two. But, as we know, conditions can change quite quickly and there is always the chance of a disturbed ionosphere due to an enhanced solar wind from coronal holes.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

We have a high-pressure week coming up, but getting there involves some low pressure and unsettled weather for some areas. The present high that is over, and just to the east, of the country will decline and drift away, so any Tropo will not last long. In addition to the showery weather over the south, a very marked cold front will move south across the country over this weekend, giving further opportunities for rain scatter.

Any following showers will not last long as a new high builds in cold air to the northwest of the country. This drifts southeast to be over the UK by Tuesday and edges east during the second half of the week. All this means that Tropo should be the dominant mode, although it will take a while to develop a decent inversion, so it may be rather patchy in quality.

The Sporadic-E season is having the odd flicker of enthusiasm but is obviously much better for digital modes than CW or SSB. Their time will come as the season builds. At the moment we seem to be transitioning from a broader period around the middle of the day to the more familiar two peaked distribution of late morning and late afternoon/early evening; it's well worth keeping a check on the 10m and 6m beacons.

There are no significant meteor showers this week, so stick to the early mornings for the best random meteor scatter.

The Moon is at minimum declination tomorrow so will be low in the sky. With increasing path losses and high 144MHz sky noise until Friday it’s a poor week for EME.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for May 3rd 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for May 3rd 2020.

May 1, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 3rd of May 2020

The news headlines:

  • Get on the air to care campaign succeeding

  • May RadCom made available to all online

  • Repeater and Beacon insurance renewed

The RSGB is delighted with the support from radio amateurs and clubs for its ‘Get on the air to care’ campaign with the NHS. You can find out more at www.rsgb.org/gota2c. There we will also be highlighting stories and photos from clubs and individuals. If you have a story to tell about how you are getting on the air to care during these times of social isolation, please send it to comms@rsgb.org.uk.

As another part of the RSGB Get on the air to care campaign, the May edition of RadCom has been made available to radio amateurs around the world to read online as a sample edition. A number of IARU national societies have taken a similar step and the RSGB is happy to join those societies in supporting the worldwide amateur radio community during these difficult times. You can find it at www.rsgb.org/sampleradcom.

RSGB Club Insurance and Beacon and Repeater Insurance has now been renewed for the year to April 2021. 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 and repeater is covered under our Insurance we require a £10 admin fee and you may renew this on the RSGB shop at www.rsgb.org/repeaterinsurance. Please allow a couple of days after renewal for your certificate to be dispatched.

The latest figures for the RSGB’s remote invigilation of amateur radio exams shows that 116 exams have been run as of Friday the 1st of May. Of these, 109 candidates have passed and a total of 997 different questions have been asked. There are currently 80 exams booked and ready to be taken up until the 8th of May. A total of 300 more are scheduled to take place in May, with a further 187 so far scheduled to take place in June and there are more in the pipeline. The RSGB is grateful to all those working to make this possible during the Covid-19 pandemic.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day and VJ Day, the RSGB has organised the VE/VJ Day amateur radio marathon on the HF bands and 6m using SSB, CW and digital modes. Three special UK callsigns GB75PEACE, GB1945PE, GB1945PJ will be on the air from the 1st to the 31st of May and again between the 1st and the 31st of August. The special stations have their own QRZ.com pages that give details of the activation schedule. If you wish to participate and transmit using a VE/VJ Day radio marathon callsign, please contact Ian, G0FCT via email to csc.chair@rsgb.org.uk. Full details of radio marathon and the five awards are on the Society’s radio marathon web page www.rsgb.org/ve-vj-marathon.

As part of its Strategy 2022, the RSGB has just launched Beyond Exams, which is a group of resources to encourage participation and highlight the diversity of amateur radio. Beyond Exams includes awards and schemes to help amateur radio licence holders and clubs get the most from the hobby. During these challenging times of the global pandemic, Beyond Exams is an important part of the Society’s ‘Get on the air to care’ campaign in partnership with the NHS. Through Beyond Exams you can get on the air for the first time or try something new, a contest or CW, for example. Some of the activities won’t be available for radio amateurs to try due to the current social distancing regulations but there are plenty of others that can be done from the safety of your own home. For more information about how you can get involved in the scheme as a radio amateur or a club, see the RSGB website www.rsgb.org/beyond-exams.

The 93rd Annual General Meeting of the Radio Society of Great Britain due to be held on the 25th of April in Birmingham was cancelled because of government restrictions on travel and public meetings due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Board convened an online meeting to receive the results of the votes submitted by the Society’s Members on the resolutions and elections they were asked to consider in the Calling Notice. Members of the Board, other RSGB officials, those standing for election and senior members of RSGB staff were online to follow proceedings. At the close of the meeting the results on the various Resolutions and annual trophy winners were announced online. As a result of voting by the Society’s Members, Dr Stewart Bryant, G3YSX was endorsed as a Nominated Director. Andy Mace, M0MUX and Len Paget, GM0ONX were elected as Board Directors. During the first meeting of the new Board, Ian Shepherd, G4EVK was elected as the Board Chair until the AGM in 2021. Following the AGM, the Nominations Committee met and John Rogers, M0JAV, John Spurgeon, G4LKD and Philip Willis, M0PHI were co-opted to join the Board of Directors until the 2021 AGM. To read more about the areas of responsibility for all of Board members, go to wwww.rsgb.org/board.

Contest University, a staple of Dayton Hamvention, will take place online this year through the Zoom video platform, and all sessions will be free. You can register at www.contestuniversity.com. Live Contest University sessions via Zoom will get under way on the 14th of May at 1245UTC; these will be recorded and archived.

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.

Fort Purbrook Amateur Radio Club will be activating GB1VE on the 8th, 9th and 10th of May from six different members’ homes. Two members on HF voice, always on different bands, another on HF CW, one on HF data modes, one on 6m or 2m or 70cm and, finally, one on 4m and Oscar-100. Full details are on QRZ.com.

GB75BVE is now being hosted from homes in and around Bournemouth until the 10th of May. Operators will be G3YUZ, G3XBZ, G4XEE and G3WZP, using all modes and the 160 through to 2m bands. They hope to share the VE Day commemorations on the air.

The RAF Amateur Radio Society will be activating the special event GB75VED from the 1st to the 28th May from members’ homes. Details are at www.rafars.org/GB75VED and QRZ.com.

Dragon Amateur Radio Club and North Wales Radio Society are operating GB0GIG, named after the National Health Service in the Welsh language, throughout May. The station will be active on HF, VHF and UHF using as many modes as possible. Award certificate is available and full details can be found on QRZ.com.

Kent Active Radio Amateurs will be running GB0HVE on the 8th of May as part of the anniversary of VE day. All operations will be from members’ homes.

Tokyo-based 7-CALL Amateur Radio Club will operate 8J17CALL for a year to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Japanese 7-series callsigns, for example 7K1AAA.

Although the Mills On The Air event has been cancelled, Chesham and District Amateur Radio Society will be operating GB0BWM for Brill Windmill from members’ homes on 9th and 10th of May. The idea is to celebrate the hope for the event next year and to give publicity to the windmill that will need to attract visitors once restrictions permit. Operation will be on 3.5, 7, 14, 50 and 144MHz, mainly SSB but with some CW and FM. It is expected that stations will be on the air from around 10am on Saturday, but a schedule of times and frequencies will be available online.

XN1BOA is on the air until the 15th of May commemorating the end of the Battle of the Atlantic. This event is being run by the Grass Roots Ham Radio Club, whose operators will be active from their homes. Details are on QRZ.com.

GU75LIB will operate at varying time between the 6th and 13th of May, to commemorate Liberation Day on the 9th of May. They will be operating from home, each taking turns on band and mode.

Braintree & District ARS will operate GB5VED with several club members using their home stations. These will be active over the weekend of the 7th to the 10th of May to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of VE Day. Operators will include some of the senior club members who were present at the original celebrations. Contacts will be sought on HF, VHF, UHF.

Listen out on HF for GB4 V V V, the distinctive dit-dit-dit-DAH of wartime broadcasting, sent by the special event station managed by Andy, G0SFJ, until the 11th of May. He would prefer eQSL; SWL reports are very welcome.

Now the contest news

This weekend is busy for contests, but please remember to check before the events for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. RSGB strongly advises obeying your own government’s advice first and foremost.

The 432MHz to 248MHz Trophy contest ends its 24-hour run at 1400UTC today, the 3rd. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Another 24-hour contest is the ARL International DX event that ends at 1200UTC today, the 3rd. Using phone and RTTY on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number, with Italian stations also giving their Province code.

Today, the 3rd of May, the UK Microwave Group Low Band Contest runs from 0800 to 1400UTC. Using all modes on the 1.3 to 3.4GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

A one-off independent 2m contest is being held on the 4th of May, to promote 2m usage during the COVID-19 lockdown. From 2pm to 3pm there will be an FM contest, where operators should exchange signal reports, serial number and 4-character grid squares. From 3pm to 4pm there will be an FT8 contest using the standard FT8 messages to exchange signal reports and grid squares. The contests are open to all licensed amateur radio operators and short wave listeners but due to the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions no portable or mobile operation is permitted. Further details can be found at www.vhflockdown.fun.

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

Next Sunday, the 10th, sees the 70MHz CW contest run from 0900 to 1200UTX. The exchange is signal report, serial number, locator and postcode.

Also next Sunday is the IRTS 40m Counties Contest from 1200 to 1400UTC. Using SSB and CW, the exchange is signal report and serial number, with EI, GI, 2I and MI stations also sending their County.

The Worked All Britain 70MHz contest takes place next Sunday, the 10th, from 1000 to 1400UTC. Entries need to be with the contest manager by the 20th of May. The exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square. Full details of the rules and methods of entry may be obtained from the WAB website www.worked-all-britain.org.uk. Please note that no club or multiple operator entries will be accepted from mobile or portable stations.

The UK Six Metre Group’s Summer Marathon runs from the 2nd of May to the 2nd of August. Using all modes in the 50MHz band, the exchange is you 4-character locator.

And finally, don’t forget the RSGB Hope QSO Party on weekdays, see www.rsgbcc.org/hf for further details. So far around 300 UK and non-UK participants have taken part, and for some it has been their first attempt at an HF contest. One participant told us that it was their first ever attempt at CW in 36 years. Come and join in the fun.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 1st of May.

Sunspots are like buses – you wait all month and two turn up at once! Even more interesting is that the sunspot groups are from two different cycles. The first group, AR2760, was from the outgoing Solar Cycle 24 and the second sunspot, AR2762, is from the new Solar Cycle 25. We know this due to their magnetic signatures and the relative location of the spots on the Sun’s surface. AR2762 was a high-latitude spot, while AR2760 was almost on the solar equator. In any event, both spots were very minor and had little or no effect on the solar flux index, which hovered around 69-71. Geomagnetic conditions were more settled, with the Kp index remaining at zero or one towards the end of the week.

The highlight for the week was the 2020 Summer Sporadic-E season on 10m, which is growing in strength. Stations in Gibraltar, Spain, Romania, Finland, Norway and others were all workable on 10m FT8 on Thursday morning, although it would have been nice to see a little more activity on CW and SSB, but more on that later.

We expect solar activity to remain at very low levels in the short term, with the Solar Flux Index remaining at around 68-70. Geomagnetic conditions are likely to remain settled, other than this weekend when SWPC predicts the impact of particles from a solar coronal hole. NOAA disagrees and predicts that geomagnetic field activity is expected to reach active levels on Tuesday 5th May in response to a high-speed solar wind stream. It will be interesting to see who is correct.

And now the VHF and up propagation news

A small high crosses the country today and pauses over the North Sea on Monday, giving a Tropo option for most areas. This is soon followed by a further spell of unsettled weather with a good potential for rain scatter in the south over the middle of the week. Other weather models retain the high pressure, and even the unsettled model relents and brings another high to the northwest of Scotland, which will start to build across the country from the west to bring a fine, Tropo end to the week.

As for Sporadic-E prospects, the next week does have some useful jet streams in good positions for paths from the UK. Early in the season paths can be fleeting, but keep a watch on 10m activity and then follow the opening higher in frequency as it develops on 6m, 4m and eventually 2m if we are very lucky.

There is a big difference between FT8 and CW/SSB performance, but follow the many wonderful clusters and logging sites to see where the openings are. Try the daily Sporadic-E blog on www.propquest.co.uk to get an idea of the significant jet streams. It will have changes to the charts and a trial of the Sporadic-E Probability Index, or EPI. There is plenty to investigate in the 2020 Sporadic-E season.

There are two meteor showers upcoming this week. The larger eta-Aquarids is on Tuesday and the eta-Lyrids occur on Thursday.

Moon declination goes negative on Tuesday followed by perigee on Wednesday with lowest EME path losses. 144 MHz sky noise is very high today and for the early part of next week.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for April 26th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for April 26th 2020.

April 24, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 26th of April 2020

The news headlines:

  • First, remotely-invigilated exam callsigns issued

  • Download latest 5MHz Newsletter

  • Japanese amateurs get new privileges

The RSGB is pleased to announce that the first successful candidates in the online, remotely invigilated amateur radio exams have now received their callsigns. At the close of play on the 24th of April, 29 remotely invigilated exams had taken place. Around 10 candidates per day are scheduled, with the aim to increase this number as more invigilators join the team. Dave Wilson, M0OBW, the RSGB President and Exam Quality Manager, has expressed his thanks to the invigilators that are making this work and the HQ exams staff who are doing an outstanding job under very difficult circumstances. We look forward to hearing the new amateurs on the bands.

The latest edition of The 5MHz Newsletter is now available for free pdf download from the RSGB 5MHz page at http://rsgb.org/main/operating/band-plans/hf/5mhz/. This edition includes 5MHz news from seven countries, the GB3WES beacon closedown, a 5MHz controlled feeder radiation dipole, plus features the latest World of 5MHz map and an article on two Blue Ham Exercises.

Japanese radio amateurs now have new privileges on the 160 and 80m bands. The new allocations are 1800 – 1810, 1825 – 1875, 3575 – 3580 and 3662 – 3680kHz. The new regime allows Japanese radio amateurs to operate FT8 on the 160m and 80m bands, as well as WSPR on 1836.6kHz. Additional details are on the Japan Amateur Radio League website, www.jarl.org

Tim Duffy, K3LR has announced that Contest University USA 2020, usually held at the Dayton Hamvention, will be held online via Zoom on Thursday the 14th of May, starting at 1245UTC. CTU 2020 is free. The CTU course outline has been posted online. Connection details to the CTU Zoom bridge will be posted on the Contest University site one week prior to the event. Sessions will be recorded for viewing any time after the 14th of May. Slides will be posted on the CTU website as well. At the end of CTU 2020, Dave Siddall, K3ZJ, will present the 2020 CQ Contest Hall of Fame awards.

RSGB President Dave Wilson, M0OBW, was interviewed recently on NARC Live! where he talked about the Society’s introduction of remote invigilation for Foundation exams. This new initiative is enabling people to join amateur radio during these times of social isolation. Dave’s piece starts at 27:50 and you see it on the Norfolk Amateur Radio Club Facebook page, which can be accessed via tinyurl.com/y7kslekf

The November and December 2019 RSGB Board Proceedings have been published on the RSGB website today and can be found at tinyurl.com/RSGB-boardproc-2019

The RSGB’s campaign in partnership with the NHS – Get on the air to care – has been publicised across the world over the last week, both on the airwaves and through the UK media. The Society even received a video message of support from Tony Hadley, lead singer of 1980s group Spandau Ballet! To see this coverage, head over to www.rsgb.org/gota2c and click on the media coverage link at the bottom of the page. The RSGB is grateful to all radio amateurs who are taking to the airwaves to support other radio amateurs during these times of social isolation. If you use social media, add the hashtag #GOTA2C and send any photos or video clips of you on the air to comms@rsgb.org.uk

Peter Valentine, a 96-year-old radio amateur from Eastbourne, is celebrating his birthday by aiming to contact 96 amateurs over the airwaves and walk 96 miles over the coming weeks. As thanks to the NHS which has given him good care recently, he is using the special call sign GB0EDH to represent Eastbourne District General Hospital. He is active on D-Star, 2m, 4m and 80m, so listen out for him on the air and help him to achieve his target!

The RSGB has been adding updates to the ‘Sharing ideas’ section of its Coronavirus updates page, which you can find at www.rsgb.org/coronavirus-updates There are reports from Colchester Radio Amateurs amongst other clubs and Lockdown Morse to learn something new during this lockdown. Find out what others are doing, be inspired and then email comms@rsgb.org.uk to share how your club is adapting to the current challenges.

Now the special event news

Peter, G4XEX will be active as GB4SAH for Stay At Home until the 30th of April to help amateurs pass the time during the lockdown.

Euan, MM0VIK is active as GB1COR from his home QTH in the Shetland Islands, EU-012, until the end of April in recognition and support for the health professionals and essential key workers during the coronavirus emergency. QSL cards will not be available for this special callsign.

The RAF Amateur Radio Society will be activating the special event GB75VED from the 1st to the 28th May from members’ homes. On the 2nd of May, Reg, G8VHI will operate mostly on 6 and 2m as well as 70cm from Nuneaton using FM, SSB and maybe digital modes. Details are at www.rafars.org/GB75VED/ and QRZ.com

SOS Radio Week will go ahead from 0000UTC on the 1st of May and concludes at 2359UTC on the 31st May. During that period participants should make as many contacts as possible with stations at home and around the world. For further details, and to register, please visit www.sosradioweek.org.uk.

The Hungarian amateur radio society, MRASZ, will hold a special radio activity for the period during the Covid-19 virus threat. Their aim is to raise awareness of the threat of the epidemic and to promote the importance of staying at home. Look for the following 5 stations, of which the last two letters add up the words STAY AT HOME: HG20ST, HG20AY, HG20AT, HG20HO and HG20ME. Each station must be contacted in two different modes on any band to qualify for a downloadable commemorative award. The activity ends on the 15th of May at 2359UTC. Details are at www.mrasz.org.

Several Brazilian amateurs are using the special event callsign ZW8THANKS as a tribute to health care professionals fighting Covid-19. Activity will be on all bands and modes including the satellites. QSL direct, eQSL or Logbook of The World.

The Tokyo-based 7-CALL Amateur Radio Club will operate 8J17CALL for a year to celebrate the club’s 30th anniversary.

Now the contest news

Due to social distancing and movement precautions around the world, most contest organisers are not accepting entries from multi-operator groups or from portable stations. Check the rules before taking part.

The SP DX RTTY contest ends it 24-hour run at 1200UTC today, the 26th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands the exchange is signal report and serial number, with SP stations also sending their Province code.

Today, the 26th, the BARTG Sprint 75 contest runs from 1700 to 2100UTC. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is your serial number only.

On Monday the third FT4 series contest will run from 1900 to 2030UTC using the 3.5MHz band. The exchange is your 4-character locator.

Tuesday sees 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.

The UK and Ireland Contest Club 80m CW contest runs for an hour on Wednesday between 1900 and 2000UTC. The exchange is your 4-character locator.

Next weekend is busy for contests, but please remember to check before the events for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. RSGB strongly advises obeying your own government’s advice first and foremost.

The 432MHz Trophy contest and the 10GHz Trophy contest are both on Saturday between 1400 and 2200UTC. Using all modes in the respective bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The 432MHz to 248MHz Trophy contest runs for 24 hours over next weekend from 1400 on the 2nd to 1400UTC on the 3rd. Using all modes the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Another 24-hour contest is the ARL International DX event from 1200UTC on the 2nd to 1200UTC on the 3rd. Using phone and RTTY on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number, with Italian stations also giving their Province code.

Next Sunday, the 3rd of May, the UK Microwave Group Low Band Contest runs from 0800 to 1400UTC. Using all modes on the 1.3 to 3.4GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The UK Six Metre Group’s Summer Marathon runs from the 2nd of May to the 2nd of August. Using all modes in the 50MHz band, the exchange is your 4-character locator.

A one-off independent 2m contest is being held on Bank holiday Monday, the 4th of May, to promote 2m usage during the COVID-19 lockdown. From 2 pm to 3 pm, there will be an FM contest, where operators should exchange signal reports, serial number and 4 character Grid Squares. From 3 pm to 4 pm, there will be an FT8 contest using the standard FT8 messages to exchange signal reports and grid squares. The contests are open to all licensed amateur radio operators and short wave listeners but due to the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, no portable or mobile operation is permitted. Further details can be found at www.vhflockdown.fun.

And finally, don’t forget the RSGB Hope QSO Party on weekdays, see www.rsgbcc.org/hf for further details. So far around 300 UK and non-UK participants have taken part, and for some, it has been their first attempt at an HF contest. One participant told us that it was their first-ever attempt at CW in 36 years. Come and join in the fun.

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

Last week showed how difficult it can be to prepare HF propagation predictions. We said that we expected the Sun to remain settled throughout the week. But on Wednesday the 15th there was a stealthy slow-moving coronal mass ejection off the Sun that barely appeared in the SOHO spacecraft imagery. However, this CME was Earth-directed and around midday on Monday the 20th it hit. The net result was the Kp index rose to five and MUFs were adversely affected, after an initial positive phase that saw MUFs over a 3,000km path rise above 18MHz. HF conditions were still down on Tuesday, with bands above 20 metres pretty much closed. But luckily, by Wednesday things were pretty much back to normal.

The highlight of the week has been a gradual increase in Sporadic-E on 10 metres. There have been numerous openings, mainly into Spain and the Canary Islands, with other fleeting openings into Sweden and Germany. While signal strengths haven’t been too strong so far, it bodes well for the Sporadic-E season, which is likely to ramp up over the next week or so. The message is - keep an eye on 10 metres.

Next week NOAA predicts a continued quiet Sun with a solar flux index around 69. With zero sunspots predicted again it does begin to look like we are close to the sun spot minimum.

Geomagnetic conditions are predicted to be settled, with a Kp index of around two to three, other than on Monday the 27th when it could rise to four.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

We have a hybrid of weather types during the coming week, with the last of any Tropo fading as this bulletin goes out. Thereafter, it looks more unsettled with a chance of showery rain, initially in the southwest, but more generally as we run into next week. This is because an Atlantic low should develop south of Iceland and a cold front becomes slow-moving over western Britain at the end of next week. In this latter part of the week, high pressure builds from Biscay across northern France.

So, expect some Tropo at first, but ending this weekend and perhaps in south-eastern areas late next week. Rain scatter looks more favourable again with several areas of showery rain or fronts involved from this weekend onwards.

In view of the approaching start of the Sporadic-E season we would expect to find some openings, but as we said earlier any have been brief so far. It would seem that nobody has told the jet streams to get into line! I cannot say that this looks like a strong lead this week.

The peak of the ongoing Lyrids meteor shower is over, so expect declining meteor scatter activity this week.

Moon declination is positive all week and reaches its maximum on Tuesday. We are past apogee, so EME path losses will continue to fall. 144MHz sky noise is low all week.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for April 19th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for April 19th 2020.

April 17, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 19th of April 2020

The news headlines:

  • Get on the air to care

  • Cast your RSGB election vote

  • SOS Radio Week to go-ahead

The Radio Society of Great Britain, working in partnership with the NHS, has launched a campaign called “Get on the air to care” to support the emotional health and wellbeing of 75,000 licensed UK radio amateurs – just some of the 3,000,000 worldwide. It linked with World Amateur Radio Day yesterday, Saturday 18 April, which also celebrates this innovative, global community. Steve Thomas, M1ACB, General Manager of the RSGB explains: “Please help to increase amateur radio activity through club and repeater group nets, chatting with your friends or just by calling CQ. If you’d like to show your support for the NHS at the same time, Ofcom is happy for radio amateurs to add “/NHS” to the end of their callsigns.” GB1NHS, the UK’s National Health Service radio communications station will be on the air as part of this campaign so listen out for it! The Society’s new “Get on the air to care” web page includes the launch video, so go to www.rsgb.org/gota2c and take a look.

Are you an RSGB Member? Have you used your vote yet? Don’t forget that voting for the RSGB elections is still open, although it closes at 9am on Thursday the 23rd of April. This is your opportunity to choose who you want to be part of the RSGB Board and help lead the Society over the next few years. The special web pages at www.rsgb.org/agm have details of the Calling Notice, Resolutions, candidate statements and information about how to vote. The voting results and trophy winners will be announced on the RSGB website on the 25th of April, when the AGM was due to be held.

SOS Radio Week will go ahead, with all participants able to operate from home using either a special event callsign issued by Ofcom, a club callsign, or an individual’s own personal callsign. The event starts at 0000UTC on the 1st of May and concludes at 2359UTC on the 31st of May. During that period, participants should make as many contacts as possible with stations at home and around the world. For further details, and to register, please visit www.sosradioweek.org.uk.

In many areas of the UK, all the HF amateur bands up to and including 20m are being blighted by interference from VDSL. This is the most widespread means of providing residential broadband internet services in the UK. Ofcom, which is responsible for investigating radio interference, says that it receives, on average, only six complaints per year on the topic and won’t take any significant action. The RSGB President has written a letter in the May edition of RadCom asking every radio amateur who suffers from VDSL interference to submit a complaint to Ofcom so that we can demonstrate the size of the problem. Please read the full RadCom feature and then look at the Society’s special web page, which outlines the process for reporting VDSL interference and offers you guidance and software to help you: it’s at www.rsgb.org/vdsl-reporting

CQ-Serenade is a weekly programme for Northern European radio amateurs transmitted in the short wave AM broadcast bands. From the UK it is recommended to listen on 6160kHz during the daytime and 3975kHz at night. The weekly English language amateur radio programme has a new summer schedule and the program is transmitted at the times listed at tinyurl.com/CQ-Serenade. If you want to get your story or information on the air there, send your submissions to studio@shortwaveradio.de.

ARISS has postponed school/group contacts in the USA as well as in South Africa and Romania. At least one contact in the UK has been cancelled altogether. In the short term, ARISS mentors will work with each school or organisation in the amateur radio contact queue to determine the way forward. It would rely on local government COVID-19 policy for guidance in deciding whether to cancel or postpone a contact or to modify the contact schedule. Several initiatives are in the works over the longer term to transform how they interact with students and host educational institutions in light of COVID-19 by engaging virtually with students and educational institutions. ARISS also is planning several slow-scan television sessions, during which images from the ISS would be transmitted to at-home students.

Some sad news now. Marc Litchman, G0TOC passed away on the 29th of March. He had been in poor health for several months. He was a well-known RSGB volunteer who had supported the Society for a number of years. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. Bob King, G3ASE has also become a Silent Key. In 1941, Bob was recruited as a Voluntary Interceptor at the age of 16, followed by four and half years in the Radio Security Service stationed at Box 25, Arkley View, Barnet. There he examined logs from our intercept stations to determine which transmissions were German Abwehr and thus wanted. His work amongst the surviving VIs is legendary, including the annual reunions at Bletchley Park. Condolences to his family at this difficult time. Another Silent Key, Henry Pinchin, G3VPE, was the RSGB Regional Representative for Region 3 from July 1975 to December 1981. He served on the RSGB council from January 1982 to December 1987. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family. Obituaries for these well-known and admired amateurs appear on the RSGB website at.

The RSGB has been adding updates to the ‘Sharing ideas’ section of its Coronavirus updates page, which you can find at www.rsgb.org/coronavirus-updates There are reports from Denby Dale ARC, Spalding ARC and Norfolk ARC, as well as news of two new technical videos on ATV and Microwave operations that the Society has added to its website. Find out what others are doing, be inspired and then email comms@rsgb.org.uk to share how your club is adapting to the current challenges.

Now the special event news

Peter, G4XEX will be active as GB4SAH for Stay At Home until the 30th of April to help amateurs pass the time during the lockdown.

Euan, MM0VIK is active as GB1COR from his home QTH in the Shetland Islands, EU-012, until the end of April in recognition and support for the health professionals and essential key workers during the coronavirus emergency. QSL cards will not be available for this special callsign.

Ten OH0 to OH9 special callsigns with the suffix PYSYKOTONA, which is Finnish for stay at home, are active until the 3rd of July. They’re to raise awareness for social distancing and remaining at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. QSL via Logbook of The World, eQSL, or via OH3AC.

The RAF Amateur Radio Society will be activating the special event GB75VED from the 1st to the 28th May from members’ homes.

Now the contest news

Due to social distancing and movement precautions around the world, most contest organisers are not accepting entries from multi-operator groups or from portable stations. Check the rules before taking part.

The First Machine Generated Modes contest ends its 24-hour run at 1400UTC today, the 19th. Using the 50 and 144MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and your four-character locator.

The YU DX contest ends its 24-hour run at 0659UTC today the 19th. More information can be found at http://yudx.yu1srs.org.rs/2020.

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

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

Next weekend the SP DX RTTY contest runs from 1200UTC on the 25th to 1200UTC on the 26th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands the exchange is signal report and serial number, with SP stations also sending their Province code.

Next Sunday, the 26th, the BARTG Sprint 75 contest runs from 1700 to 2100UTC. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is your serial number only.

And finally, don’t forget the RSGB Hope QSO Party on weekdays, see www.rsgbcc.org/hf for further details.

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

Last week we said that we expected the Kp index to rise over the weekend due to incoming solar particles from an Earth-facing coronal hole. But we did warn that it was impossible to tell how severe it might be. In the end, it didn’t amount to much, as although the stream was travelling at up to 450km per second, its density was actually quite low and the Kp index topped out at a fairly low three.

The Sun remained spotless all week and the solar flux index remained pegged below 70. The only good news was that we have begun to see signs of the impending Sporadic-E season, with one or two days showing short-skip openings on 10 metres into Germany and Spain, and a probable F2 layer or multi-hop Sporadic-E opening into Paraguay and Brazil on Thursday. We expect these to increase as we head towards May, so do keep an eye on 28MHz. The FT8 frequency of 28.074MHz will likely be the first to show signs of activity but don’t rule out the CW and SSB parts of the band.

Next week NOAA has the solar flux index at or about 68-70. Conditions should remain settled until the 26th when the Kp index is predicted to rise to four, due to the return of a solar coronal hole.

Propquest.co.uk shows that the daytime critical frequency (F0F2) is often exceeding 4MHz, so 80m and perhaps 60m are still best for inter-UK contacts. Twenty metres still remains the optimum DX band during daylight, with occasional openings on 17 and even 15 metres at times. Ten-metre propagation, when it occurs, is still likely to be via short-skip Sporadic-E, with very rare F2 openings bringing DX.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

As high pressure tends to favour cooler areas at this time the year, it’s common to find highs over Scandinavia. Conversely, as the continent slowly warms, there is a tendency for low pressure to form, say, over France or Biscay. That is pretty much the typical pattern we find through next week. What this means for propagation is that the southern half of the country starts with showery rain or thunderstorms and the prospect of some rain scatter. This rain scatter option appears to last until about Tuesday.

Northern areas nearer the high over Shetland and Norway could see some Tropo. This is because another typical feature of spring is that the North Sea is often covered by a layer of misty low cloud, and that makes good conditions for Tropo. So, look for paths along the east coast from East Anglia to northeast Scotland or across the North Sea to Denmark and Germany. Most areas see some Tropo benefit in the second half of the week.

We are heading rapidly towards May, the nominal start of the Sporadic-E season. The position of the jet stream’s upper air patterns suggests that paths towards Spain and Portugal are more favoured, especially at first, with the second option of paths towards Scandinavia.

Wednesday sees the peak of the ongoing Lyrids meteor so look out for increased meteor scatter activity this week. Moon declination goes positive on Tuesday but with apogee on Tuesday, EME path losses are at their highest this week. 144MHz sky noise is low.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for April 12th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for April 12th 2020.

April 9, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 12th of April 2020

 

The news headlines:

  • IARU turns 95

  • EMC help is on hand

  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission at NRC

Saturday the 18th of April is World Amateur Radio Day, this year marking the 95th anniversary of the International Amateur Radio Union. Around the world, amateur radio special event stations will mark the event on the air, starting on the 18th at 0000UTC and continuing until the 19th at 2359. The theme this year is Celebrating Amateur Radio’s Contribution to Society and the COVID-19 pandemic casts the event in a different light than in years past. IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH/G4HUA, says “A few short weeks ago, many of us could not imagine the levels of isolation that we are now dealing with and the sacrifices of many on the front lines of the pandemic. As we have done in past challenges to our society, amateur radio will play a key part in keeping people connected and assisting those who need support.”

Looking for help with an EMC problem? The RSGB’s EMC web page has a range of resources that will help including guidance on several EMC issues and helpful leaflets to download from www.rsgb.org/emc. The RSGB’s YouTube channel also has the RFI Clinic 2019 Convention lecture by the EMC Committee’s John Rogers, M0JAV and David Lauder, G0SNO. Take a look at the 2019 Convention playlist on www.youtube.com/theRSGB.

A few weeks ago, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission visited the RSGB National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park to make a film about the B2 Mk III Spy set on display in the foyer. The video features RSGB member John Ellerton, G3NCN and can be viewed on YouTube. Go to https://youtu.be/U3ZZUJmItSU

From the 13th of April, Matt, M0PTO will be uploading videos to YouTube for a new course called Lockdown Morse. The YouTube channel is at https://youtu.be/RWDqg8bCSqM. He has also created a Facebook page for the course at www.facebook.com/lockdownmorse.

The RSGB has released onto its YouTube Channel a video by the Society’s Propagation Studies Committee entitled Understanding HF Propagation. It looks at sunspots, ionospheric layers, critical frequencies, solar flares and much more. You can see it at www.youtube.com/theRSGB

Nordics on the Air was scheduled to be held this weekend. It has postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. On the youth NOTA camp, there would have been two HF stations with the callsign LA1YOTA spreading the voice of youth all around the world. Even though the camp is not going to happen there will be NOTA activation skeds from the 10th onwards. Look out for SK8YOTA on the 12th and TF3YOTA on the 13th.

The RSGB HF Contest Committee has just completed a survey, which was open to all, to help determine its strategy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Questions focused on two issues. Firstly, how best to proceed with its flagship IOTA Contest in 2020. Secondly, whether or not there was a mandate for introducing a temporary HF contest series to provide some entertainment and support to RSGB Members and others who are currently staying at home. The committee had 656 survey respondents, of whom just less than half are regular RSGB HF contest participants. You can read the results at https://tinyurl.com/HFCC-survey-results.

The RSGB has decided to postpone all Train the Trainers courses for this year. They had been planned to run up until July, so the team will start rescheduling them when the pandemic situation improves and full travel is restored.

Icom has announced that delivery of the new IC-705 HF to 430MHz all-mode 10W transceiver, which was scheduled to be released in March, has been pushed back to later this year because the coronavirus pandemic has delayed the delivery of some components. More information will be posted on their website and via social media in due course.

A long-silent repeater in Birmingham has successfully reactivated. GB3BM is on 145.7125MHz with 67Hz CTCSS tone. In the current situation of everyone being at home a great deal more than usual, this will no doubt be welcome news to amateurs in the area.

Don’t forget that voting for the RSGB elections is still open. If you’ve struggled to find your Membership number, the Society has made it easier for you by adding it to the righthand sidebar of your Members’ page when you log into the website. This is your opportunity to choose who you want to be part of the RSGB Board and help lead the Society over the next few years. The special web pages at www.rsgb.org/agm have details of the Calling Notice, Resolutions, candidate statements and information about how to vote. Internet voting closes at 9am on Thursday the 23rd of April.

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

Now the contest news

Due to social distancing and movement precautions around the world, most contest organisers are not accepting entries from multi-operator groups or from portable stations. Check the rules before taking part.

Today, the 12th, the First 50MHz contest takes place from 0900 to 1200UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number, locator and postcode.

The Worked All Britain Data contest takes place from 1000 to 1400 and 1700 to 2100UTC today, the 12th of April. All data modes except machine-generated CW may be used, but it is expected that most contacts will be by RTTY, PSK or FT8. The exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square. Entries need to be with the contest manager by the 22nd of April. See www.worked-all-britain.org.uk.

On Monday the Irish 70cm Counties Contest will run from 1300 to 1330UTC using FM and SSB. It is immediately followed by the 2m Counties Contest from 1330 to 1500UTC. This is SSB only. The exchange for both contests is signal report and serial number with EI and GI stations also exchanging their county.

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 is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Wednesday, the 80m Club Championships runs from 1900 to 2030UTC using SSB only. The exchange is signal report and serial number.

On Thursday it is the 70MHz UK Activity Contest from 1900 to 2130UTC, using SSB only. The exchange is signal report and serial number.

Next weekend, the First Machine Generated Modes contest runs from 1400UTC on the 18th to 1400UTC on the 19th using the 50 and 144MHz bands. The exchange is signal report and your four-character locator.

The YU DX contest runs from 0700UTC on the 18th to 0659UTC on the 19th. More information can be found at http://yudx.yu1srs.org.rs/2020.

And finally, don’t forget the RSGB Hope QSO Party on weekdays, see www.rsgbcc.org/hf for further details.

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

Sunspot group 2759, as reported last week, never really amounted to much and vanished before it got to the solar disk’s edge. The matter from a solar coronal hole did hit the Earth last weekend as we predicted, sending the Kp index to four in the early hours of Saturday morning. Even though we don’t have any sunspots, we are now benefiting from seasonal changes in the ionosphere and longer days.

Monday’s 80m CW Club Championship contest saw the critical frequency stay comfortably above 4MHz, which guaranteed a lively event with high scores all round. Stations in the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Sweden and France joined in, which made for some head-scratching for amateurs expecting to hear mostly UK-based callsigns.

But daytime on HF is still a little lacklustre as we continue towards sunspot minimum. Next week, NOAA predicts more of the same with the solar flux index pegged at 68 and zero sunspots. The Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft showed a large coronal hole was Earth facing on Thursday, which suggests we might get disrupted conditions over the weekend.

Although we don’t know the solar matter’s expected Bz signature, if its locked-in magnetic field shows a strong south-facing Bz component we can expect it to couple strongly to the Earth’s magnetic field, resulting in a raised Kp index. So lookout for the possibility of a pre-auroral enhancement at first and then auroral conditions on 10m as it progresses.

Meanwhile, there are signs that this year’s Sporadic-E season could soon warm up. Some Spanish low-power beacons have been spotted on 10 metres, but they are currently quite weak. We expect Es conditions to improve towards the end of April/early May with daily short-skip openings out to around 1,500 miles. So it is a good time to make sure your 10m antennas are working properly before the Es season starts.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

In a general sense, this period of weather is essentially high-pressure driven except for a couple of brief incursions from low-pressure systems. Easter weekend sees the first visit by a low drifting from the north with April showers and some rain scatter potential. This is followed by a high moving from northwest Scotland southeast into Germany and again producing some good Tropo potential, which may well coincide with the 70cm UKAC on Tuesday evening, so a good result.

The second half of the week models show a low moving from the south and affecting the southern half of the UK bringing some showery rain, perhaps thundery, so again some more rain scatter on the microwave frequencies.

Lastly, the following weekend sees high pressure returning to Scotland and later the North Sea with further Tropo options.

As we are pushing well into April we can expect to see the new Sporadic-E season developing in the next couple of weeks and the Easter Sunday 50MHz contest could well flush out any early stirrings!

While we are still close to Lunar perigee, losses are low, but Moon declination is minimum on Tuesday. Moon visibility windows are just a few hours at low elevation, making EME difficult due to ground noise. Added to this is high 144MHz sky noise in the first part of the week, making it a poor week for EME.

This Thursday sees the start of the Lyrids meteor shower, so we are coming out of the period of low meteor activity. Keep checking around dawn for the best random meteor contacts.

Overall it’s a good week for activity on the VHF/UHF bands.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for April 5th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for April 5th 2020.

April 3, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 5th of April 2020

 

The news headlines:

  • G2HCG becomes centenarian this week

  • Remember to vote in RSGB elections

  • Foundation exams online during the pandemic

A good news story to start this week’s news. The RSGB would like to wish Bill Sykes, G2HCG a happy 100th birthday for Wednesday, the 8th of April. Bill is well-known for his involvement with JBeam aerials and for his in-depth knowledge of aerials in general. He is still active, mostly on 80m slow-scan television.

Don’t forget that voting for the RSGB elections is still open. If you’ve struggled to find your Membership number, the Society has made it easier for you by adding it to the righthand sidebar of your Members’ page when you log into the website. This is your opportunity to choose who you want to be part of the RSGB Board and help lead the Society over the next few years. The special web pages at www.rsgb.org/agm have details of the Calling Notice, Resolutions, candidate statements and information about how to vote. Internet voting closes at 9am on Thursday the 23rd of April.

On the 20th of March, the RSGB stopped accepting new exam bookings as part of its response to the government’s guidance concerning Coronavirus. Since then, it has been exploring ways in which it can use the online exams platform to enable new people to access amateur radio and obtain their licence. Following rigorous tests, the RSGB is now able to offer remote invigilation for online Foundation examinations. The Exams Department will be ready to receive online bookings from Monday the 6th of April. Further information, including an update on practical assessments, is at www.rsgb.org/syllabus-updates. The RSGB has also published a FAQ about the new process for candidates and tutors, which is at www.rsgb.org/exam-faq.

To help and support radio amateurs who are isolated at home and would appreciate contact with other people, the RSGB Contest Committees are launching a new six-week initiative: the Hope QSO Party. Starting on the 6th of April and open to every radio amateur, not just RSGB Members, this contest will also welcome international participation. Scoring is on an Anyone works Anyone basis. The format is a series of 90-minute weekday events for single operators. It commences on Mondays at 0830UTC, starting 90 minutes later each day to begin on Fridays at 1430UTC. A single-mode will be used each day, repeating over a 6-day cycle. The series will use defined frequency ranges; QSOs are encouraged before and after the contest periods. The series rules are at tinyurl.com/rsgb-hope.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, with European national societies working remotely, several have said that their outgoing and in-coming QSL bureau can no longer provide services. Amongst those countries that have requested no QSLs be sent are Italy, Spain and Greece.

The RSGB has released to its YouTube channel three more presentations from its 2019 Annual Convention. Board Director Kamal Singh, M0IOV explores The future and growth of Amateur Radio; Derek Kozel, MW0LNA talks about Digital Homebrewing and the Schematics of SDR; whilst Roger Balister, G3KMA and Igor, UA9KDF report on the Arctic Legends expedition by RI0B to the Russian Polar Arctic. Each of these presentations are not only interesting to watch on your own but could also form the basis for lively on-air club night chats during this time of virtual club meetings.

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

Now the contest news

Due to social distancing and movement precautions around the world, most contest organisers are not accepting entries from multi-operator groups or from portable stations. Check the rules before taking part.

The First 70MHz contest runs from 0900 to 1200UTC today, the 5th. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The UK Microwave Group second contest runs today, the 5th, from 1000 to 1600UTC. Using 1.3 to 3.4GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Also today, the 5th, the first RoLo, Rolling Locator, contest runs from 1900 to 2030UTC. Using SSB, the exchange is signal report and the locator received.

The SP DX contest ends its 24-hour run at 1500UTC today, the 5th. Using CW and SSB on the 1.8 to 28MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number, with SP stations sending their Province code.

On Monday the 80m Club Championship CW contest runs from 1900 to 2030UTC. The exchange is signal report and serial number.

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 is the same for both, comprising signal report, serial number and locator.

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

Next Sunday, the 12th, the First 50MHz contest takes place from 0900 to 1200UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number, locator and postcode.

The Worked All Britain Data contest takes place from 1000 to 1400 and 1700 to 2100UTC on Sunday the 12th of April. All data modes except machine-generated CW may be used, but it is expected that most contacts will be by RTTY, PSK or FT8. The exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square. Entries need to be with the contest manager by the 22nd of April. See www.worked-all-britain.org.uk.

And finally, don’t forget the RSGB Hope QSO Party on weekdays, as mentioned earlier in this bulletin.

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

The high-speed stream of solar particles from a coronal hole on the Sun last week wasn’t moving as fast as we initially thought. As a result, its impact on Earth, and the subsequent rise in the Kp index to four, happened in the early hours of Tuesday morning and not the weekend as we predicted. The impact though was relatively short-lived and by late Tuesday the Kp index was back down to two.

The bands were affected though, with the critical frequency as measured at Chilton struggling to reach 5MHz until midday Tuesday. The predicted MUF over a 3,000km path, according to Propquest.co.uk, looked like a roller coaster ride, often exceeding 18MHz, but then crashing down to below 14MHz. A smaller coronal hole is now facing Earth, which could mean a higher Kp index over the weekend, although NOAA isn’t indicating this.

There is some good news though. A small sunspot group numbered 2759, appeared on the Sun’s surface, pushing the sunspot number to 12. This represents two sunspots, which accounts for the 2, in one group, which accounts for the 10. The spot’s high latitude suggests it is from the upcoming Solar Cycle 25. But on Thursday the SFI was still at a modest 69.

NOAA predicts that next week the solar flux index will remain at about 68-70 and geomagnetically the Kp index will remain at about two. The good news is there are signs that the higher HF bands are remaining open longer. As the season progresses this should improve, with 30m and even 20m eventually remaining open until very late. We are also heading towards the 2020 Sporadic-E season, which should bring strong short-skip signals on 10m, but more of that in the VHF section.

And now the VHF propagation news.

The weather produced some half-hearted attempts at Tropo in the past week and even some weak Sporadic-E opportunities appeared on 10m and 6m.

This week looks to be rather mixed in a weather sense. The high will weaken and drift east allowing low pressure to move towards northwest Britain from the Atlantic with a series of fronts crossing the country next week. This will offer the chance of April shower rain scatter at times and then, by next weekend, there may be a rebuilding of high pressure to the east with a hint of Tropo and warmth to end the week.

The month of April is traditionally the start of early Sporadic-E on 10m and 6m via traditional modes like CW and SSB. For example, a weak jet stream over the Pyrenees mid-week could favour paths to IS0, EA6, EA5 etc. Remember that springtime is also a good chance to get some auroral activity, so check those Kp values: anything above four or five is interesting.

Moon declination is positive until Tuesday, as is the perigee, so losses will be at their lowest. Moon windows will shorten as the week goes on. 144MHz sky noise is low, so in all, it’s a good week for EME. We are still in the annual low activity period for shower meteors until the Lyrids, which should start on the 16th of this month. Keep checking around dawn for the best random meteor contacts.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for March 29th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for March 29th 2020.

March 27, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 29th of March 2020

 

The news headlines:

  • RSGB responds to Covid-19

  • Farewell GMT, hello BST

  • Contest updates

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now the contest news

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

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

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

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

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

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for March 22nd 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for March 22nd 2020.

March 20, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 22nd of March 2020

 

The news headlines:

  • Coronavirus affects amateur radio events worldwide

  • RSGB Board changes AGM arrangements

  • BATC offers free streaming & chat service

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now the DX news

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

Now the special event news

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

Now the contest news

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for March 15th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for March 15th 2020.

March 13, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 15th of March 2020

The news headlines:

  • Voting for the RSGB elections is now open

  • NASA Mars rover has a name

  • Coronavirus affects amateur radio events around the world

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now the special event news

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

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

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

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

Now the contest news

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for March 8th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for March 8th 2020.

March 6, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 8th of March 2020

The news headlines:

  • RAYNET helps in flooding emergency

  • Blue Ham this weekend

  • 6,873 February visitors to NRC

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now the special event news

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

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

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

Now the contest news

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for March 1st 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for March 1st 2020.

February 28, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 1st of March 2020

The news headlines:

  • Guidance for limiting exposure to EMF

  • US amateurs respond to 3.4GHz threat

  • Ofcom’s policy on two-letter callsigns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now the special event news

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

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

Now the contest news

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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