GB2RS
RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for November 29th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for November 29th 2020.

November 27, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 29th of November 2020

The news headlines:

  • Get on the air for Christmas

  • 60th year for GB3VHF

  • TX Factor 27 out soon

The RSGB has announced its latest activity for the Get on the air for Christmas campaign with the NHS. The special construction competition has a prize of £100 and the winning entry will be featured on the Society’s website and in RadCom. If you’ve been making something during the autumn lockdowns or are preparing to be busy over the holiday season, why not plan to enter your project into this new competition. Projects can be hardware, software or a system and may be based on a kit. For further information see the Get on the air for Christmas at www.rsgb.org/gota4c.

The 2m beacon GB3VHF will start its 60th year of operation in December. Located at Fairseat on the North Downs in Kent, the beacon is on 144.430MHz at a height of 205m ASL. It provides a propagation monitoring source that can reach across several countries. Find out more at www.gb3vhf.co.uk.

Episode 27 TX Factor will soon be available. In this latest episode the RSGB’s General Manager Steve Thomas, M1ACB explains how the Society’s positive response to the spring and summer lockdown helped to boost awareness of amateur radio in the UK. Steve stresses the importance of the ongoing work needed to maintain the impetus. Bob, G0FGX and Mike, G1IAR get to grips with using an RF Shark openSPOT Hotspot for some mobile DMR action. Bob visits Don Field, G3XTT at his new QTH near Wells to see how the editor of Practical Wireless created some simple antennas to swiftly resume his on-air activities. TX Factor episode 27 is proudly sponsored by the Radio Society of Great Britain and can be viewed at www.txfactor.co.uk.

The RSGB is looking for an experienced volunteer to fill the role of Convention Chair for the Society’s 2021 event. You will need exceptional organisational skills, good interpersonal skills, wide awareness of all aspects of amateur radio and good knowledge of RSGB policies and procedures. For other information, including how to find out more and to apply, see the RSGB website: www.rsgb.org/volunteers.

Every year on 3rd of December the Information Programme for Disabled Radio Amateurs, which is part of the IARU, celebrates the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Some organisations put on special event stations with amateur radio activity, mostly with persons with disabilities participating using callsigns like HB9IPDA.

The next RSGB Tonight @ 8 webinar is on Monday the 7th of December and is called “What next?”. Jonathan Mitchener, G0DVJ will give a jargon-free, wide-ranging talk about where amateur radio can take you, whether you are new to the hobby or returning after a gap. For further information about this and previous webinars, see www.rsgb.org/webinars.

From the 1st of December, listen out for Youngsters On The Air stations around the world. Details on thirty-five of those stations can be found at https://events.ham-yota.com/. There are still some slots available to host the special callsign GB20YOTA during December if you have a youngster in your family or wider support bubble. You must be a Full licence holder and the calendar is shown on the GB20YOTA page on QRZ.com. To reserve an operating slot, contact Jamie, M0SDV via email to yota.month@rsgb.org.uk.

Now the special event news

Celebrating the Christmas Holiday Season, the Market Reef DX Association will be active on all bands and modes as OG1XMAS between the 29th of November and the 26th of December. QSL via Logbook of The World and Club Log.

Members of Club Radio Durnal are active as OP19MSF until the 13th of December "to put the spotlight on Médecins Sans Frontières for its active role during this period of the pandemic". QSL via the bureau or direct.

Now the DX news

Ali, EP3CQ will be active as 6O1OO from Somalia, until the 15th of January 2021.

Members of the Holy land DX Group will operate 4X7T from 0800UTC on the 25th and 1300UTC on the 26th of December. They will have three running stations on the 80 to 10m bands using CW, SSB and FT-8. The QSL Manager is Ros, 4Z5LA.

Now the contest news

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

This weekend it’s the CQ World Wide DX CW contest. The 48 hours run ends at 2359UTC today, the 29th. Activity is on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands. The exchange is signal report and your CQ Zone; for the UK that is Zone 14.

As per tradition, December is a quiet month for contests, with no RSGB HF events at all.

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

Next weekend, the ARRL 160m contest runs from 2200UTC on the 4th to 1600UTC on the 6th of December. It’s CW only and the exchange is signal report, with American and Canadian stations also sending their ARRL or RAC section abbreviation.

Next Sunday, the 6th of December, the 144MHz AFS contest runs from 1000 to 1600UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The UK Six Metre Group Winter Marathon starts its two month run on the 1st of December. Just exchange a signal report and locator.

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

Last week represented a good example of how solar cycle 25 is progressing. We started the week on the 22nd with a solar flux index, SFI, of 88 and a sunspot number of 35. Just to recap, that doesn’t mean there were 35 sunspots, as we count each sunspot group as 10 and each spot as one. But, by Thursday, the SFI was up to 104 with a sunspot number of 40, and there were three large groups visible on the Sun. As well as pushing up the SFI, the spots have been very active on the solar flare front, with daily B- and C-class flares being emitted, although their effects on the ionosphere have been minimal luckily.

With the CW Worldwide CW contest occurring this weekend, this SFI does bode well for HF propagation. With zero coronal holes appearing, at least on Thursday, and the possibility that the SFI could rise even further in the coming days, this looks like a good combination for one of the best CQWWs we’ve seen for a few years. An SFI of more than 100 virtually guarantees some F2-layer propagation on 10 metres. These openings may be short-lived as the MUF drops a little, but it is definitely worth keeping an eye on 28MHz at times, especially near noon on North-South paths.

If you are planning to take part, it is a good idea to plan your activities using a tool like predtest.uk. Typically, on the higher bands, such as 20, 15 and perhaps 10 metres, you will work stations to the east of the UK in the morning. As noon approaches, propagation will swing south. And the afternoon will be optimum for contacts with the USA. For 40 and 80 metres, the opposite is generally true, where you should be looking for a night-time path between you and the station you wish to work.

Even if you hear this broadcast on Sunday it isn’t too late to take part, as the contest runs until midnight. Do get on as there is usually a lot of activity and it is a great opportunity to increase your country score.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

The background weather pattern is again looking like high pressure will predominate, with a good prospect for Tropo. It will be a typical spell of November quiet weather with frost and fog overnight, perhaps lasting through the day in a few places.

This prevalence for cool moist air near the surface makes for good Tropo since you will often find the high pressure has produced a layer of warmer and drier air above the inversion. It's the contrast that changes the refractive index of the air and can create ducts for VHF/UHF DX propagation. We should point out that some models allow the high to collapse in the second half of next week, so it's worth following the daily forecasts as we go through the week.

Just one minor meteor shower this week. The Phoenicids peaks on the 2nd with a variable zenith hourly rate, but its radiant is not visible from the UK.

The Moon reaches maximum declination on Wednesday, so we have long visibility windows all week with falling path losses. 144MHz sky noise is moderate to low all week, but rising up to 500 kelvin on Tuesday.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for November 22nd 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for November 22nd 2020.

November 20, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 22nd of November 2020

The news headlines:

  • Spectrum Forum meeting details published

  • Help wanted for eclipse propagation tests

  • GB1NHS on the air over Christmas

The reports, presentations and minutes from the 2020 RSGB Spectrum Forum annual meeting are now available. The material provides a wide-ranging overview of topics across EMC, HF, VHF and microwaves; from both the Society and nationally affiliated Special Interest Groups. Presentations include updates on Ofcom’s EMF proposals, IARU 2021 Band Plans, VHF Innovation and WRC-23 pressure on 23cm band. Several reports include the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic driving on-air activity. The reports are online at https://rsgb.org/main/about-us/committees/spectrum-forum/meeting-minutes.

HamSCI is looking for amateur radio operators around the world to help collect propagation data during the 14th of December eclipse across South America. Data collection requires an HF radio connected to a computer. There will be a 24-hour practice run on the 5th of December. The main data recording will run from the 9th to the 16th, to ensure an abundance of control data. Details of the experiment are on the website www.hamsci.org, click on the Projects tab.

As part of the RSGB and NHS campaign ‘Get on the air for Christmas’ the NHS amateur radio station GB1NHS will be on the air on Sunday the 20th of December and Wednesday the 30th of December. It will be hosted at the RSGB’s National Radio Centre, so make a note to listen out for it on those days. Please note that the NRC is still closed to visitors and the operators will be following all national and local Covid-19 guidelines to ensure the safety of volunteers. The Society is also delighted that Ofcom is supporting the use of /NHS as a suffix to callsigns during the campaign, which runs from Saturday the 19th of December through to Saturday the 9th of January.

The RSGB’s GB2RS News Service is looking for a new volunteer manager. The position involves appointing and liaising with GB2RS newsreaders, managing schedules and notices of variation, as well as working closely with the editorial staff at HQ. For more information please contact the RSGB General Manager’s Department via email to gm.dept@rsgb.org.uk.

Bob, G3VCA reports that an Icom IC-7100 has gone missing from the RAF Waddington ARC station. Its serial number is 03001813. If you have any news of it, particularly if you see it offered for sale, please email G3VCA via robert@pyewipe.co.uk.

The damaged 305m radio telescope at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico will be decommissioned due to safety concerns. One of its support cables broke in August and, before repairs could be put in place, a second broke earlier in November. The decommissioning plan focuses only on the 305-meter telescope and is intended to safely preserve other parts of the observatory.

The VHF Contest Committee has a consultation open right now looking for feedback on some possible rule changes for 2021. The closing date has been extended to midnight on Sunday the 29th of November. If you haven’t already responded and you’re interested in VHF Contesting, we’d really appreciate a few minutes of your time. You’ll find it at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/VHFCC20.

South Dublin Radio Club has uploaded its latest video to the club's YouTube channel. It is called Signals from Outerspace! Make your own antenna to get images from Weather Satellites. It is designed as a beginner's radio project and instructs viewers on how to construct a very simple V-dipole for 137MHz, demonstrating how it can be utilised along with a basic software-defined receiver and computer in order to decode images from passing NOAA Weather satellites.

Now the special event news

Members of UBA Section KTK will be active as OP0PEACE until the 30th of November to commemorate the end of World War I. QSL via the operator's instructions and logsearch on Club Log.

4U2STAYHOME is the special callsign reactivated by the Vienna International Centre Amateur Radio Contest DX Club until the 31st of December. QSL via UA3DX, direct or via the bureau.

The Belgian regulator is again issuing special callsigns during its second nationwide lockdown. The callsigns are valid until at least the 13th of December. They include callsigns such as OO4UZLEUVEN, OO7STAYHOME, OQ20LIFE, OQ5BECLEVER and OR1LIFE. There are many more in the list. See the station’s entry on QRZ.com for details.

Now the DX news

Ali, EP3CQ will be back to Mogadishu, Somalia for two months. In his spare time he will operate mainly FT8 on various bands as 6O1OO. QSL direct as per the details on QRZ.com.

Now the contest news

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

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

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

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

Next weekend it’s the CQ World Wide DX CW contest. Running for 48 hours from 0000UTC on the 28th to 2359UTC on the 29th on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and your CQ Zone. For the UK that is Zone 14.

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

Last week was not bad for HF propagation, but probably not as good as the previous period. The solar flux index remained in the mid-to-high 70s, but the upside was that we had quiet geomagnetic conditions, which helped settle the ionosphere. The result was that maximum usable frequencies over 3,000km remained quite high, with 12 metres often being open. There was even the occasional long-distance opening on 10 metres, including SSB contacts with Australia, especially by better-equipped stations.

Next week may be better as sunspot group 2783 rotates into an Earth-facing position. NOAA predicts the SFI will remain in the range 70-75, but this could easily be exceeded if sunspot 2783 becomes more active. Unfortunately, geomagnetic conditions may not be as favourable next week due to a large coronal hole on the Sun’s surface.

NOAA predicts the Kp index could rise to four on Sunday the 22nd of November and again on the 24th and 25th. Things could then settle down with a maximum Kp index of two, just in time for the CQ Worldwide CW contest on the weekend of the 28th and 29th. So it looks like the latter half of the week will be better for HF propagation than the first half.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

This is often regarded as an unsettled time of year, but can occasionally bring quite settled weather, typical of high-pressure systems. Unfortunately, there is once again no real sign of any substantial high pressure, other than the occasional brief ridge between successive lows and their fronts. Like last week, any high pressure is likely to be closer to southern Britain and over the Continent, therefore favouring southern England to France and Biscay for the more optimistic operators. It's another week to look for GHz Bands rain scatter, with much variability expected in timing. It's best to follow events via the daily forecasts to find the most likely opportunities.

There have been a few out-of-season Sporadic-E events on 10m and 6m in the past week, so it's never safe to assume there is only a summer season for Sporadic-E. Admittedly it's not usually a great response in November, but it can and does happen!

Just one minor meteor shower this coming week. The November Orionids peaks on the 28th, with a zenithal hourly rate of just three. Moon declination goes positive again on Wednesday, so visibility windows will lengthen all week. With the Moon approaching apogee on Friday, path losses are at their highest. 144MHz sky noise is low all week, but rising above 300 Kelvin from Thursday.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for November 15th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for November 15th 2020.

November 13, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 15th of November 2020

The news headlines:

  • Hope QSO Parties over Christmas

  • RSGB responds to Ofcom’s second EMF consultation

  • RCF help is available

Following the successful Hope QSO Parties earlier in the year, the HF Contest Committee is launching two further short Christmas Hope Party series to run as part of the Society’s ‘Get on the air for Christmas’ campaign with the NHS. The first starts on Monday the 21st of December and the second on Monday the 4th of January. Each series has two phone, two CW, two RTTY and two FT4 events. For more information, including a link to the rules, see the RSGB website www.rsgb.org/gota4c.

RSGB has responded to Ofcom’s second consultation document on limiting Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields. Our response can be found on the RSGB website http://rsgb.org.uk/emf. Please remember the deadline is tight; all responses need to be in to Ofcom by 5pm on Monday the 16th of November. The RSGB would encourage you to respond yourself and thank all those who have done so already.

The Trustees of the Radio Communications Foundation have noted the surge in newcomers to amateur radio since lockdown. Newcomers may not be aware that RCF is a charity that is committed to supporting radio clubs in schools, colleges and universities. If any readers need help in establishing, resurrecting or improving a school, college or university amateur radio club they should contact the RCF. Details can be found at https://commsfoundation.org/contact-the-rcf/. The RCF continues to sponsor a number of Arkwright Engineering Scholarships and works with the UK Electronics Skills Federation.

The IARU Region 1 Political Relations Committee attended an European workshop that is drafting the next radio spectrum programme for the 2025 – 2030 period. Topics included strategic spectrum issues, climate change and EMF. The IARU was pleased to be able to submit a contribution that is now available with inputs from other stakeholders at www.iaru-r1.org/2020/rspg-workshop-on-rspp.

We received sad news this week. John Devoldere, ON4UN became a Silent Key on the 9th of November. Well-known as a lowband DXer, he had been in failing health for some time. In addition to his enthusiasm for operating, he may be best known as the author of Low-Band DXing and HF Ethics and Operating that was adopted by the IARU. Our thoughts are with his family and friends around the world.

Dave Johnson, G4DPZ gave an online satellite talk to Mid Ulster ARC and the video is now available on the club’s YouTube channel. He covered the many amateur satellites in Low Earth Orbit that operate in the 145.8-146MHz and 435-438MHz satellite bands, plus the QO-100 geostationary satellite that uses 2.4GHz and 10GHz. Another talk is an evening with Laurie Margolis, G3UML, the BBC journalist and News Editor who was the radio amateur that broke news of the Falkland Islands invasion in 1982. See www.youtube.com/MuarcMedia/videos.

The RSGB is taking part in December YOTA Month but the Covid-19 restrictions will make the event very different this year. If you are a parent with a newly-licensed youngster in your family, you can apply to host the callsign GB20YOTA safely from your own home. You must be a Full licence holder to apply for the callsign. You can book an appointment slot within a set calendar shown on the GB20YOTA page on QRZ.com. To register your interest, or to reserve an operating slot, contact RSGB YOTA Month Coordinator Jamie, M0SDV via email to yota.month@rsgb.org.uk.

Now the special event news

The 2nd of November marked the centennial of US radio station KDKA. The station originally began operations in 1916 as an amateur radio station, callsign 8XK. After WW1, the operators reorganised the station as a commercial AM radio station. To celebrate this historic milestone, Pittsburgh area amateur radio operators will take to the airwaves with a series of special event stations, K3A, K3D, K3K, and W8XK. These will be set up at several locations in Pennsylvania during November.

Members of UBA Section KTK will be active as OP0PEACE until the 30th of November to commemorate the end of World War I. QSL via the operator's instructions and logsearch on Club Log.

Now the DX news

Remo, HB9SHD plans to be active as 8Q7RM from Kandolhu Island, IOTA reference AS-013, until the 29th of November. Activity will be holiday-style on HF using CW, SSB and digital modes. QSL via HB9SHD.

Robert, S53R plans to continue working in his spare time as T6AA in the Afghan capital city of Kabul, until mid-December.

Giorgio, IU5HWS is stationed in Iraq with the Italian Army and expects to remain there until around the 20th of January. The Iraqi Amateur Radio Society has authorised him to operate as YI9/IU5HWS until his requested callsign of YI9WS is granted by the National Communications and Media Commission.

Now the contest news

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

The WAE DX RTTY contest ends its 48-hour run at 2359UTC today, the 15th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

Today, the 15th, the UK Microwave group’s Low Band contest runs from 1000 to 1400UTC. Using the 1.3 to 3.4GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Monday, the 9th FT4 series contest runs from 2000 to 2130UTC. Using the 3.5MHz band, the exchange is signal report and 4-character location.

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

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

Next Saturday, the 21st, the Second 1.8MHz contest runs from 1900 to 2300UTC. It’s CW only and the exchange is signal report, serial number and District code.

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

The Sun really shone last week, in more ways than one. Large sunspot group 2781 pushed the solar flux index to 91 with a sunspot number of 40 at the weekend, a figure that we haven’t seen for many years. This was coupled with quiet geomagnetic conditions with a maximum Kp index of two, but frequently it was at one or zero. These figures, coupled with a seasonal upturn in HF propagation, meant there was DX to be worked. 7Q7RU, the Russian Robinson Club DXpedition to Malawi, has been logged in the UK on many bands, including 15 metres. Australia has also put in an appearance on 10 metres, with VK6NC being worked on SSB with a 5 and 8 signal for Gary, G0FWX. New Zealand has also been workable on the short path with John, ZL2JBR being very loud on 20m SSB around 14.210 to 14.215MHz on many days around 0830 to 0930UTC.

There probably hasn’t been a better time for HF propagation for quite a few years. As this report was being written, new sunspot group 2782 was just showing around the edge of the Sun and this could develop as the weekend goes on. NOAA predicts the SFI will be in the range 78-80 next week, although this rather depends upon how region 2782 develops. Geomagnetic conditions are unlikely to be quite as quiet next week, with NOAA predicting a maximum Kp index of three, rising to five on Friday the 20th. The first part of the week might therefore be the best choice for HF DXing.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

The Leonids meteor shower reaches its peak in the hours before dawn on Tuesday, the 17th of November. So be ready for some good but short-lived meteor scatter conditions. The shower has a Zenithal Hourly Rate of 15, but it is known for producing meteor storms at various times in recent history. The last Leonid Storm was in 2001, but the first great meteor storm of modern times was the 1833 Leonids, kicking off the scientific study of meteors.

The current spell of changeable weather is likely to set the template for terrestrial propagation this coming week. That is to say, periods of wet and windy weather when active weather fronts cross the country interspersed by brighter showery interludes. All of these features are capable of providing some good rain scatter conditions on the GHz bands. Because of this unsettled pattern, high pressure is banished to the south of the UK, over France, so if there are any vestiges of Tropo it will be most likely from southern England across the Channel.

The Moon was at perigee yesterday, so path losses are still low, but with minimum declination on Wednesday, Moon visibility windows are short. 144MHz sky noise peaks at nearly 3300K on Tuesday but drops back to below 300K again by the end of next week.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for November 8th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for November 8th 2020.

November 6, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 8th of November 2020

The news headlines:

  • RSGB preps reply to 2nd EMF consultation

  • Convention: Learn More About… stream on YouTube

  • ARRL opposes new $50 licence fee

The RSGB is currently working on detailed comments and suggested amendments to the second Ofcom EMF consultation. The Society is also preparing guidance to help all UK radio amateurs to assess compliance and keep the necessary records. Go to https://rsgb.org/emf and click on the link for the latest update.

The keynote lecture and the presentations from the ‘Learn more about’ stream at the RSGB’s 2020 Convention Online are now on the Society’s YouTube channel. Catch up on what you missed or watch again. You can find them on www.youtube.com/theRSGB.

US amateurs have been exempt from application fees for several years. The ARRL will file comments in firm opposition to an FCC proposal to impose a $50 fee on amateur radio licence and application fees. Under the proposal, amateur radio licensees would pay a $50 fee for each amateur radio application. This would apply for new licenses, licence renewals, upgrades to existing licences, and to vanity callsign requests. The ARRL is encouraging members to file comments that stress amateur radio’s contributions to the country and communities. For more information, go to http://www.arrl.org/news.

The RSGB is taking part in December YOTA Month but the Covid-19 restrictions will make the event very different this year. If you are a parent with a newly-licensed youngster in your family, you can apply to host the callsign GB20YOTA safely from your own home. You must be a Full Licence holder to apply for the callsign. You can book an appointment slot within a set calendar shown on the GB20YOTA QRZ.com page. To register your interest, or to reserve an operating slot, contact RSGB YOTA Month Coordinator Jamie, M0SDV via email to yota.month@rsgb.org.uk.

If you are on the lookout for interesting lectures, then a talk given to South Dublin Radio Club could be for you. Joe Ryan, EI7GY gave a presentation on the radio experiments by Colonel Dennis, EI2B, from 1898 to the late 1930s. Find out more at https://southdublinradioclub.weebly.com.

The RSGB has made available the video of the Introduction to GNU Radio talk by Heather Lomond, M0HMO, which is one of Society's Tonight @ 8 Webinars. It joins all the previous Tonight@8 talks and the RSGB Convention Online talks, so there are many hours of interest for all radio amateurs. Go to www.youtube.com/theRSGB for all the videos.

The RSGB National Radio Centre 80m net continues to run Monday to Friday at 10.30 am around 3.727MHz. All NRC volunteers are welcome to join the net and they actively encourage other amateurs to call in as part of the RSGB’s Get on the air to care campaign. If you haven’t got an 80m station, why not listen in using one of the many webSDR sites?

Now the special event news

Thurrock Acorns Amateur Radio Club will be running GB2REM on Sunday the 8th and Wednesday the 11th of November for Remembrance Day. The club will be focusing on keeping the station active on these two days but may be heard from Saturday the 7th until Thursday the 12th. More details at https://taarc.co.uk.

Larry, G4HLN will be active as GB4CKS until the 14th of November. The station marks the 85th anniversary of the death of Australian record-setting aviator Sir Charles Kingsford Smith. He disappeared on the 8th of November 1935 off the coast of Myanmar, then known as Burma, whilst trying to break the England-Australia speed record. Larry will operate CW and some SSB on 40 to 10m. QSL via G4HLN, direct or via the bureau.

Special event station 4X0RMN will be active on the 13th and 14th of November from Ramon Crater, Israel's largest national park. QSL via 4X6ZM, Logbook of The World and eQSL.

Now the DX news

Remo, HB9SHD plans to be active as 8Q7RM from Kandolhu Island, IOTA reference AS-013, until the 29th of November. Activity will be holiday style on various HF bands using CW, SSB and digital modes. QSL via HB9SHD.

Robert, S53R plans to continue working in his spare time as T6AA in the Afghan capital city of Kabul, until mid-December.

Giorgio, IU5HWS has been stationed in Iraq with the Italian Army since September and expects to remain there until around the 20th of January. The Iraqi Amateur Radio Society has authorised him to operate as YI9/IU5HWS until his requested callsign of YI9WS is granted by the National Communications and Media Commission.

Now the contest news

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

This weekend, the Marconi CW contest ends its 24-hour run at 1400UTC today, the 8th. Using the 144MHz band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

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

On Wednesday the Autumn Series runs from 2000 to 2130UTC using SSB on the 3.5MHz band. The exchange is signal report and serial number.

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

On Saturday the 14th, the Club Calls contest runs from 2000 to 2300UTC. Using SSB and CW on the 1.8MHz band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and your club information.

Next weekend, the WAE DX RTTY contest runs from 0000UTC on the 14th to 2359UTC on the 15th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

On Sunday the 15th, the UK Microwave group’s Low Band contest runs from 1000 to 1400UTC. Using the 1.3 to 3.4GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

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

Sunspots are a bit like buses. You wait forever and three come along at once! Last week we had active regions 2778 and 2779, which pushed the solar flux index up to 88. This week we have sunspot region 2781, which is a monster. At the time of writing, this region had pushed the SFI to 88 again, but it has been active in terms of solar flares. These have been minor C-class events, so not too much to worry about. The good news is that geomagnetic conditions have been very settled over the past week, with the Kp index running between zero and two. This no doubt helped ionospheric propagation.

There was some good DX reported over the past seven days. TX0T, the DXpedition to Tatakoto Atoll, OC-298, in French Polynesia, has been worked by several stations in the UK. The Far East has also been workable, especially on FT8, where Indonesia, China and Japan have all been spotted.

Next week, NOAA predicts the SFI will be in the range 72-76. The good news is that geomagnetic conditions are predicted to be quiet with a maximum Kp index of two.

We may get some radio blackouts or sudden ionospheric disturbances as a result of M- or C-class solar flares from active region 2781, but these are difficult to predict. Radio blackouts occur when the strong, sudden burst of X-rays from a solar flare hits the Earth's atmosphere, blocking high-frequency radio signals in the D-region of the ionosphere. NOAA puts the probability of an R1/R2 radio blackout at 15%, and an R3 radio blackout at just 5%. Overall then, it looks like a good week for HF propagation.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

There was a brief return of Tropo at the end of the last week. The first of this autumn’s opportunities was complete with fog below the inversion layer. Unfortunately, the related high and its Tropo is not due to last and indeed will have probably moved away during the weekend. It does, though, show the capability of a good temperature inversion with foggy air trapped below it to produce good Tropo.

The last vestiges of it are now clearing away across the northern North Sea, but may still be just worth exploring for the 48th Marconi Memorial VHF CW Contest on Sunday. During the weekend, the weather pattern changes to a more unsettled type, which remains dominant through the coming week. This will bring GHz band rain scatter, but also some strong winds at times.

As we approach the Leonids meteor shower on the 17th we also have a smaller shower, the Northern Taurids, peaking this Thursday, so meteor scatter conditions should be above average. It is also worth the occasional check for Sporadic-E on FT8 on 10m and 6m.

The Moon’s declination is high but starting to fall, going negative on Thursday, so Moon visibility windows will shorten. The Moon is at perigee next Saturday so path losses are low. 144MHz sky noise is low for most of the week.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for November 1st 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for November 1st 2020.

October 30, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 1st of November 2020

The news headlines:

  • GNU Radio on Tonight@8

  • Introduction to presentations go online

  • Yahoo Groups closes soon

The next Tonight@8 is this Monday, the 2nd of November. Heather Lomond, M0HMO will give a beginners’ introduction to using GNU Radio to create simple amateur radio projects. Starting from the beginning, Heather will introduce the GNU Radio programming environment, develop a little of the theory needed to understand SDRs, and then go on to use some simple GNU Radio blocks to build a receiver based on one of the super-cheap SDRs. Finally, she will show how to build more complex radio systems and where to go to take things to the next level. Do encourage people to listen to this webinar, particularly if they are a new or returning licensee. More information is on our website at www.rsgb.org/webinars.

The individual presentations from the “Introduction to…” stream at the RSGB Convention Online that took place on the 10th of October are now available to watch. You can catch up on ones you missed or take the opportunity to see again the ones you enjoyed most. Find them at www.youtube.com/theRSGB.

Just a reminder for listeners who use or who have subscribed to a Yahoo group. On the 15th of December, groups.yahoo.com, or Yahoo Groups, and its list service will shut down. Many amateurs are still using Yahoo groups and not groups.io. If you want more information, go to https://help.yahoo.com/kb/groups/SLN35505.html.

The RSGB sometimes receives complaints regarding incidences of deliberate jamming and foul or inappropriate language on the air and is trying to quantify the size of the problem. A Freedom of Information request to Ofcom showed only three identifiable reports submitted between the 1st of January 2015 and the 31st of December 2019. The RSGB would like to hear from radio amateurs who have reported similar problems directly to Ofcom, not the RSGB, during this period, and after following the Operating Advisory Service’s advice. For further information, including how to submit your reports to the Society, please see the RSGB website via tinyurl.com/rsgb-oas-reports.

Results of the IRTS 80 metre Counties Contest held on 6th October have now been published. Band conditions were good for this contest, which kept local and overseas stations busy for the hour. 35 logs were submitted, showing participation from 22 EI and GI counties, as well as 12 overseas DXCC entities. See www.irts.ie/results for full details.

The RSGB will once again be participating in the annual YOTA Month activities in December. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we will not be encouraging large group events and all participants should remain within national and local guidelines. GB20YOTA is available for Full licence holders to book an appointment slot within a set calendar shown on the GB20YOTA QRZ.com page. All operations should be focused with the intention to get young people on the air. To register your interest, or to reserve an operating slot, contact Jamie, M0SDV, via email to yota.month@rsgb.org.uk.

The proceedings from the 19th of September RSGB Board meeting are now online. Of particular note is that media and public interest in amateur radio continues, RSGB Membership numbers are still rising and examination numbers are still buoyant with an increasing number of candidates progressing to the next licence level. See https://tinyurl.com/gb2rs-board.

Now the special event news

Members of the HCDX Group will be active as HD1X from a remaining tropical rainforest in Ecuador, grid reference FI09IV. Active until the 3rd of November at 1700UTC they will use various HF bands including 30, 17 and 12m, using SSB, SSTV and FT4/FT8.

Larry, G4HLN will be active as GB4CKS between the 1st and the 14th of November. He will operate CW and some SSB on 40 to 10m, marking the 85th anniversary of the death of Australian record-setting aviator Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, who disappeared on the 8th of November 1935 off the coast of Myanmar, then known as Burma, whilst trying to break the England-Australia speed record. QSL via G4HLN, direct or via the bureau.

Pittsburgh radio station KDKA will celebrate 100 years of radio broadcasting in November, and Pennsylvania radio amateurs will run a multi-station special event. Special event stations K3K, K3D, K3A and W8XK will set up and operate at several locations in Pennsylvania during November. Stations will determine their own modes and schedules. Visit the W8XK profile on QRZ.com for information on certificates and QSLs.

Now the DX news

Remo, HB9SHD plans to be active as 8Q7RM from Kandolhu Island, IOTA reference AS-013, from the 2nd to the 29th of November. Activity will be holiday style on various HF bands using CW, SSB and digital modes. QSL via HB9SHD.

Bob, W0YBS will be active as V31CO from Cay Caulker in Belize until the 13th of November. Activity will be on the 80 to 10m bands including 30, 17 and 12m, using CW, SSB, FT8 and RTTY. QSL via W0YBS and Logbook of The World.

Robert, S53R plans to remain in the Afghan capital city working in his spare time as T6AA until mid-December.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the contest for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your own national and local government’s advice first and foremost, especially in the instance of local lockdowns.

The UK EI Contest Club DX Contest ends its 24-hour run at 1200UTC today, the 1st of November. This is SSB only and also has a 12-hour option. UK and EI area codes are multipliers for DX stations and all QSOs made by UK or EI stations between the hours of 0100 and 0500UTC are worth double points. For the rules and other information, follow the links from www.ukeicc.com.

On Monday the Autumn Series contest runs from 2000 to 2130UTC. It’s data only on the 3.5MHz band, with the exchange being signal report and serial number.

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

On Wednesday the UK EI Contest Club contest runs from 2000 to 2100UTC. Using the 3.5MHz band only, the exchange is your 6-character locator square.

Next weekend, the Marconi CW contest runs from 1400UTC on the 7th to 1400UTC on the 8th. Using the 144MHz band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

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

Last week saw more evidence that Solar Cycle 25 is definitely underway. Large sunspot group 2778 caused the solar flux index to rise to 82. And it then got even better when it was joined by active region 2779, which pushed the SFI up further to 88 on Thursday. This is the first time we’ve seen the SFI in the 80s for some time and a clear indication that things are changing for the better.

Both regions were responsible for B and C-class solar flares, but nothing that impacted the ionosphere too much. In addition to the sunspots, we did have the lingering effects of a high-speed solar wind stream from a coronal hole, which saw the Kp index rise to four across the weekend.

This corresponded with the SSB leg of the CQWW contest and did have an adverse impact on propagation.

The elevated Kp index continued until late in the week and was still at three on Thursday, preventing the ionosphere from completely recovering. Nevertheless, Propquest.co.uk shows that over a 3,000km path maximum usable frequencies often exceeded 24 and were even 28MHz at times. Ten metre FT8 proved popular with the eastern states of the USA, Mexico, South America, Cuba, Malawi, Kenya, South Africa, as well as India, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea all of these being logged on Thursday.

As for next week, the STEREO ahead spacecraft shows a couple of sunspots returning to the Earth-facing solar disk. Regions 2775 and 2777 are coming back, but it is difficult to know how active they will be.

So as we enter November, NOAA predicts the SFI will be roughly 74-75 with quite calm geomagnetic conditions. The Kp index is predicted to be two by Monday, which bodes well for HF.

With the seasonal improvement in ionospheric conditions, a quiet geomagnetic field and possible sunspot activity, the next seven days could be quite good for HF propagation.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

We ended the previous week with very unsettled conditions bringing rain and strong winds at times. This pattern will continue into the first half of next week, so once again we expect GHz bands rain scatter to be on the propagation guest list.

There is a suggestion that a ridge of high pressure will move into Scotland midweek, gradually extending its influence southwards to make Tropo a consideration. That said, the ridge may get overwhelmed by returning low-pressure next weekend.

Recent unsettled weather, which is usually driven by strong jet streams, would be perfect for summer Sporadic-E, and it's worth saying that even out of the traditional Sporadic-E season, FT8 may bring the occasional surprise. Definitely worth a periodic check on 10m and up.

The Moon’s declination is still rising, reaching maximum late on Thursday, so Moon visibility windows continue to be long. The Moon is just past apogee so path losses are still high. 144MHz sky noise peaks at 500K on Wednesday.

Continue to keep an eye out for low-VHF auroral propagation and remember, we are just over two weeks from the peak of the big Leonids meteor shower.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for October 25th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for October 25th 2020.

October 23, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 25th of October 2020

The news headlines:

  • Back to GMT today

  • New Zealand loses 5MHz

  • New RSGB Convention talks on YouTube

Don’t forget, in the UK, the clocks went back one hour at 2 am today Sunday the 25th of October. We will then we back to Greenwich Mean Time, or UTC until the clocks change again in March 2021.

The New Zealand national amateur society NZART reports that, unfortunately, the New Zealand Defence Force has advised they are not willing to approve another renewal of their 5MHz trial allocation and licence. As a result, all use by New Zealand amateurs of the two trial frequencies, 5353 and 5362kHz, cease from midnight on Saturday the 24th of October 2020. Although the trial is over, NZART will continue to work with the regulator to see if there are other ways of providing New Zealand amateurs with access to 5MHz frequencies.

The individual presentations from the Introduction To... stream at the successful RSGB 2020 Convention Online are now available on the Society’s YouTube channel. You can catch up on ones you missed, or take the opportunity to watch again the ones you enjoyed most. The keynote presentation and the individual talks in the Learn More About… stream will be released next week. Find them at www.youtube.com/theRSGB.

The German town of Bad Bentheim is taking nominations for the Golden Antenna Award. For 50 years, the town has hosted German-Dutch Amateur Radio Days, during which the town stresses the importance of amateur radio as a public service. A committee headed by the mayor of Bad Bentheim will choose the winner. The recipient will be invited to receive the award on the 28th of August 2021. They would favour candidates who did something special related to the Covid-19 pandemic, but other candidates are welcome. Send nominations via email to juerriens@stadt-badbentheim.de.

The new IARU Monitoring Service Region 1 Coordinator Gaspar, EA6AMM has appointed Peter, HB9CET, as Vice-Coordinator. Both have been working together in IARUMS for more than a year. More on the work of the Monitoring Service can be found at www.iaru-r1.org.

The RSGB will once again be participating in the annual YOTA Month activities in December. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we will not be encouraging large group events. We do hope that smaller groups will be able to participate in the event, whilst remaining within national and local guidelines. GB20YOTA will be available for Full licence holders to book an appointment slot within a set calendar. This calendar will be available on the GB20YOTA QRZ.com page for you to choose when you want to operate. All operations should be focused with the intention to get young people on the air. To register your interest, or to reserve an operating slot, contact Jamie, M0SDV, via email to yota.month@rsgb.org.uk.

Now the special event news

As a tribute to Eddie Van Halen passing on the 6th of October, PA5150EVH will be on air from the 28th of October until at least the 31st of January. It will be operated by Van Halen fan Frank, PF1SCT.

URE San Fernando, EA7URF, is participating in the official celebrations for the 500th anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the Earth. AM500ETS will be active from the 31st of October to the 8th of November.

During fighting around Ypres in WWI, much of Sanctuary Wood, Hill 62, Armagh Wood and Mount Sorrel was taken at the expense of many casualties. The Great Reconstruction in the Westhoek is commemorated during November with the callsign OP20FENIKS. The station is located in the immediate vicinity of the memorial of Hill 62, and will be on HF and VHF using SSB, CW and some data modes. Full details are on QRZ.com

Larry, G4HLN will be active as GB4CKS between the 1st and the 14th of November. He will operate CW and some SSB on 40 to 10m, marking the 85th anniversary of the death of Australian record-setting aviator Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, who disappeared on the 8th of November 1935 off the coast of Myanmar, then known as Burma, whilst trying to break the England-Australia speed record. QSL via G4HLN, direct or via the bureau.

Now the DX news

Cezar, VE3LYC will be active as TX0T from one of the new IOTAs in French Polynesia, Tatakoto Atoll, OC-298, between the 29th of October and the 5th of November. He will be primarily on 40, 30, 20 and 17 metres CW and SSB. QSL via Club Log’s OQRS, or via VE3LYC.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the contest for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your own national and local government’s advice first and foremost, especially in the instance of local lockdowns.

The CQWW DX SSB contest ends its 48 hour runs at 2359 today, the 25th. It’s SSB-only on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands. The exchange is signal report and Zone, which is 14 for the UK.

On Tuesday the SHF UK Activity Contest takes place between 1830 and 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 80m contest runs from 2000 to 2130UTC. Using CW only, the exchange is your 6 digit locator.

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

The UK EI Contest Club DX Contest takes place for 24 hours beginning at 1200UTC on Saturday the 31st of October. This is SSB only and also has a 12-hour option. UK and EI area codes are multipliers for DX stations and all QSOs made by UK or EI stations between the hours of 0100 and 0500UTC are worth double points. For the rules and other information, follow the links from www.ukeicc.com.

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

The last week was dominated by sunspot region 2776, which pushed the solar flux index to 75. Geomagnetically, it was a mixed bag though, with the Kp index peaking at four on Wednesday, but otherwise being relatively quiet and showing zero on Tuesday. The sunspots, plus the October seasonal enhancement, meant that the HF bands were quite active. There were reports of Australia being worked from the UK on 10m FT8. Alek VK6APK was worked at 0920UTC by Tony, G4HZW. Mario, FR4QT on Reunion Island was also worked on 28.380MHz SSB by Gary, G0FWX, according to the 10m UK Net Facebook group. If you like 10 metre operation the group is definitely worth signing up to. These 10-metre contacts bode well for the future and we look forward to other reports of VK/ZL as the solar cycle progresses.

Next week, NOAA predicts the solar flux index will be the range 72-74. Sunspot region 2776 will have almost rotated off the visible disk by the time this report is published and there are no other spots at the moment. However, it does look like we are in for a disturbed weekend with poor geomagnetic conditions. This is due to a large polar coronal hole on the solar surface that has returned after a 27-day rotation and which could cause the Kp index to rise to five. The solar wind will likely increase in speed and density, resulting in an adverse effect on the ionosphere after a potential pre-auroral enhancement.

Expect maximum usable frequencies to decline and conditions to be poor this weekend. Do look out for potential 10 metre auroral contacts though.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

We are about to enter a phase of very disturbed weather with a series of deep lows dominating the charts, especially in the nearby Atlantic. Their influence will bring strong winds and periods of heavy rain or showers. At long range it’s pointless to try to time such events precisely, but nonetheless the general characteristics suggest that Tropo will again be a rare feature in the coming week other than transient weak ridges between successive fronts or lows. On the upside, rain scatter could do rather well for the GHz bands.

The Moon’s declination is rising and goes positive on Thursday so Moon visibility windows will lengthen. The Moon reaches apogee on Friday where path losses are at maximum. 144MHz sky noise is low all week.

With the Kp index set to rise to five thanks to the returning coronal hole, it might be worth keeping an eye out for low-VHF auroral propagation again.

There are no significant meteor showers this week but get ready for the Leonids, peaking on 16th and 17th of November.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for October 18th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for October 18th 2020.

October 16, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 18th of October 2020

The news headlines:

  • Behind the scenes of RSGB Convention

  • Bath Distance Learning places available

  • 146MHz experiment to continue

The RSGB Online Convention took place last week and was a huge success, with top-notch talks by many of the world’s leading amateurs. The two simultaneous live lecture streams were viewed by people in 24 countries. Over the coming weeks, the RSGB will release the individual presentations via its YouTube channel, so you can catch up on any you missed. In the meantime, you can see a video that shows just how much work the technical team were doing in the background to make the streams go smoothly. That video is at www.rsgb.org/convention and you can find all of the RSGB YouTube videos via www.youtube.com/theRSGB.

We recently announced that the Bath Distance Learning Team was resuming its work. There are still a very few places available on the Intermediate course that will run from November this year to March 2021. To open availability as widely as possible the deadline for applications has been extended until this Friday, the 23rd of October. Students receive weekly work packages via a virtual classroom and have access to weekly tutorials and revision quizzes. They also have a remote tutor who provides feedback and additional guidance when required. The course is free, though a refundable £30 deposit is required to secure a place. For full details, and an application form, contact the team leader Steve, G0FUW, via email to g0fuw@tiscali.co.uk. This is a great opportunity for Foundation holders to upgrade their knowledge and licence.

All Notices of Variation for the temporary 146 to 147MHz band expire on the 31st of October. Ofcom have agreed to make the frequencies available for a further year. To take advantage of this band, you will need to apply online for a new Notice of Variation even if you have held one before. Go to www.rsgb.org/nov and select the 146 and 147MHz NoV link. The NoV is issued free and is available to all UK Full licence holders. As a reminder, the band is intended for technical and experimental work. It should not be used for modes or operations that normally take place in the 144 to 146MHz band.

The IARU Region 1 Virtual General Conference concluded on Friday. The plenary saw numerous recommendations across a wide range of General, HF, VHF, UHF, microwave and EMC matters, including Youth and Spectrum issues. The RSGB was a leading contributor and was pleased with the success of its proposals. Barry Lewis, G4SJH was elected as the new Chair for IARU Region 1 Spectrum Affairs, succeeding David Court, EI3IO. Overall, the online format enabled a great team effort across all our volunteers. A fuller report will be available in due course via the IARU Region 1 website.

The British Amateur Television Club is holding its virtual Convention next Saturday, the 24th of October. Known as CAT 20, proceedings start at 10 am and will incorporate a series of talks. These will include details of the hugely popular BATC Portsdown digital ATV transmitter and its accompanying receiver, the Ryde. Whether you are a beginner or seasoned ATVer there will be something for everyone in this fascinating exciting part of the hobby. You can watch the action free via the live stream at https://batc.org.uk/live/cat20

The UNESCO International Day of Persons with Disabilities takes place on the 3rd of December. If you are planning any amateur radio activity in support of the Day, IARU would like to hear from you so they can publish details on the IARU Region 1 website. The co-ordinator is Thomas, HB9FXU and further information will appear at www.iaru-r1.org/about-us/committees-and-working-groups/ipha/ 

The RSGB will once again be participating in the annual YOTA Month activities in December. Normally we would encourage large youth groups, schools, Scouting associations and amateur radio clubs to participate. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we will not be encouraging large group events. We do hope that smaller groups will be able to participate in the event, whilst remaining within national and local guidelines. GB20YOTA will be available for Full licence holders to book an appointment slot within a set calendar. This calendar will be available on the GB20YOTA QRZ.com page for you to choose when you want to operate. All operations should be focused with the intention to get young people on the air. To register your interest or to reserve an operating slot contact Jamie, M0SDV, via email to yota.month@rsgb.org.uk.

Now the special event news

Marking the design project for the next 50 years for the United Arab Emirates, members of the Emirates Amateur Radio Society will activate the special callsigns A6050Y from their club station in Sharjah and A6050Y/1-9 from nine different members’ stations until the end of October.

Now the DX news

John, W2GD will be active as P40W from Aruba Island, IOTA SA-036, from the 20th to the 27th of October. He will operate on 160 to 10m, including activity in CQ WW DX SSB Contest. QSL via N2MM direct, or Logbook of The World.

Jeff, VP9/N1SNB will be active from Bermuda, NA-005, from the 21st to the 26th of October. He will operate on HF and take part in the CQ WW DX SSB Contest, in the Single Operator All Band Low Power Category. QSL via his home call.

Wolf, DM2AUJ, Guenter, DL2AWG, Peter, DL3APO, Rainer, DL2AMD, Werner, DJ9KH and Franz, DL9GFB are QRV as Z66DX until the 28th of October. Activity will be with three stations active on the 160 to 10m bands using CW, SSB and FT8. QSL via DL2AWG.

Philippe, F1DUZ is active from Guadeloupe as FG4KH from the shack of FG5FI until the 5th of November. QSL via home call.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the contest for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your own national and local government’s advice first and foremost, especially in the instance of local lockdowns.

The Worked All Germany contest ends its 24-hour run at 1500UTC today, Sunday. Using CW and SSB on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number, with German stations sending DOK.

The 50MHz AFS contest runs from 0900 to 1300UTC today. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Also today, the second RoLo contest runs from 1900 to 2030UTC. This is CW only on the 80m band and the exchange is signal report and a rolling locator.

Today also sees the UK Microwave group’s 24-76GHz contest runs from 0900 to 1700UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Monday sees the RSGB FT4 series continue. Running from 1900 to 2030UTC on the 80m band in FT4 mode only, the exchange is your locator, using NA VHF Contest format.

On Tuesday the 1.3GHz UKAC takes place from 1900 to 2030UTC. Using all modes on the 23cm band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Next weekend it’s the CQWW DX SSB contest. Running from 0000UTC on the 24th to 2359 on the 25th, it’s SSB-only on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands. The exchange is signal report and Zone, which is 14 for the UK.

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

We had a little flurry of solar activity last week, but it didn’t amount to much. Region 2775 decayed to a spotless plage and didn’t contribute at all after Tuesday the 13th. A new region began forming while on the far side of the Sun and has turned into view off the east limb. The new region has been assigned active region 2776 and, while a few spots are currently visible, so far only minor B-class solar flares have been detected.

Geomagnetic conditions were quiet, with the Kp index fluctuating between zero and one. This was due to a lack of coronal hole activity, which meant the solar wind was subdued, generally keeping below 300km/s. As a result, HF conditions have been quite good, with lots of DX being reported by CDXC members. Patrice, FK8HA in New Caledonia has been reported on 15m SSB, as has Mike, 5H3EE in Tanzania on 15m CW.

October can also be a good month for 40m contacts into Australia and New Zealand. A number of contacts have been logged and Predtest.uk shows that 0600-0700hrs is probably best for a long-path contact; 1300-1600hrs might favour a short-path one.

Next week NOAA predicts the solar flux index will remain around 70, but the Kp index may rise, probably due to a returning coronal hole. It predicts a Kp index of four on the 20th and unsettled geomagnetic conditions which may peak around the 25th-26th with a Kp index of six. So the conclusion is, make the most of the HF this weekend as the predicted conditions are likely to be poor for the rest of next week. Otherwise, look for auroral contacts on 10m next weekend.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

This is a tricky week to predict, but hopefully with some chance of Tropo. The VHF highlight though is the peak of the Orionids meteor shower on the morning of the 21st. With a ZHR of 20, it’s one of the larger ones of the year. The shower is already underway and runs from about October 2 to November 7. It’s caused by the stream of debris left behind by Comet Halley.

On the Tropo front, we ended last week with high pressure occupying much of the country and offering a chance of paths primarily between the UK and France plus across the North Sea to southern Scandinavia and Baltic. Early next week a low tracks south-east from Iceland towards Denmark and introduces colder showery weather and a good prospect for rain scatter with heavy showers over the adjoining coastal waters. After mid-week, a new high builds in from the west and leaves us in high-pressure Tropo weather to finish the week.

The Moon’s declination is negative all week reaching a minimum on Wednesday, so Moon visibility windows are short. The maximum Moon elevation in South-East England is just 12 degrees and, as we passed perigee last Friday night, path losses will increase. The 144MHz sky noise is high until the end of this week, above 2600 kelvin on Wednesday, so, all in all, it is a poor week for EME.

Finally, keep an eye out for auroral propagation due to the predicted disturbed Sun.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for October 11th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for October 11th 2020.

October 9, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 11th of October 2020

The news headlines:

  • New field strength licence condition proposed by Ofcom

  • RSGB YouTube Convention catch-up

  • Jamboree on the Air to go ahead

Ofcom received 400 responses to their EMF consultation, 255 of which were from radio amateurs. Ofcom has addressed some respondent’s concerns, revised their proposals and requested feedback. The RSGB will reply to Ofcom’s revised proposals and keep you updated via www.rsgb.org/emf. Ofcom intends to add a condition to all licences that allow more than 10W EIRP, requiring compliance with the ICNIRP general public limits on EMF exposure. Ofcom has provided a basic EMF calculator that will provide a conservative estimate of the required separation distances between the radio equipment and the public. RSGB and ARRL experts are working on detailed modelling of near-field EMF levels to demonstrate compliance where the Ofcom calculator is too conservative. Our aim is that Ofcom will approve such an approach. The RSGB is continuing discussions with Ofcom about the new condition, including what amateurs will actually be expected to do to operate safely within ICNIRP reference levels, and any need for extra advice and training.

Following on from the online RSGB Convention for 2020 that took place yesterday, the 10th of October, the AMSAT-UK Colloquium 2020 is online today, the 11th. There will be a lecture stream from 11 am to 4 pm. You can find out more at www.amsat-uk.org/colloquium. You may be interested to know that the two live streams from the RSGB Convention online will be available to watch again on the RSGB YouTube channel from today, the 11th. The results of the annual RSGB Construction Competition were announced during the online Convention and will be on the RSGB website from today, the 11th, at www.rsgb.org/construction-compeition.

The IARU Region 1 General Conference, originally scheduled to take place in Serbia, is taking place online, starting today, the 11th. Taking advantage of online access, well over 200 delegates and observers have registered from nearly 50 national societies. Nearly 90 papers are scheduled for discussion, several from the RSGB. The conference will be formally opened by IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH. A day-by-day report of the proceedings at the Conference will be published throughout the coming week on the IARU Region 1 website, www.iaru-r1.org, beginning Sunday evening.

Jamboree On The Air, the world’s largest and radio Scout event promoting friendship and global citizenship takes place over the weekend of the 16th to the 18th of October. There are of course a few difficulties this year due to the pandemic. However, the event is going ahead – often with creative ways of operating. Please listen out for the JOTA stations and do give them a call.

On United Nations Day, the 24th of October, the SAQ Very Low Frequency transmitter in Grimeton, Sweden, will again send out a message. Startup and tuning of the Alexanderson Alternator will be from 1430UTC. The message will be transmitted from SAQ on 17.2kHz CW at 1500UTC. Live streaming can be seen at www.youtube.com/c/AlexanderSAQ/videos.

The RSGB will once again be participating in the annual YOTA Month activities in December. Normally we would encourage large youth groups, schools, Scouting associations and amateur radio clubs to participate. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we will not be encouraging large group events. We do hope that smaller groups will be able to participate in the event, whilst remaining within national and local guidelines. GB20YOTA will be available for Full licence holders to book an appointment slot within a set calendar. This calendar will be available on the GB20YOTA QRZ.com page for you to choose when you want to operate. All operations should be focused with the intention to get young people on the air. To register your interest or to reserve an operating slot contact Jamie, M0SDV, via email to yota.month@rsgb.org.uk.

According to a Spaceweather.com report on the 6th of October, Canadian amateur Scott Tilley, VE7TIL received a signal from the NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter as it flew just 274km above the Red Planet’s surface. The signal was an X-band carrier containing no data or telemetry. Such detection is possible because, right now, Mars is unusually close to Earth. Visit www.Spaceweather.com and look at the archive for the 6th of October for more information.

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.

PJ4TEN will be active during October to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Bonaire becoming a Special Municipality of the Netherlands and a new DXCC entity. The rules for the award can be found on the PJ4TEN QRZ.com page.

Hannes, OE1SGU will be active as OE1990SGU between the 1st and the 31st of October to celebrate his 30th anniversary in amateur radio. QSL via LoTW, eQSL, or via OE1SGU either direct or via the bureau.

Now the DX news

Jerry, F4HJO will be active as F4HJO/p from Brehat Island, IOTA reference EU-074, between the 17th and 24th of October. He will operate mainly SSB on the 80, 40, 20 and 17m bands. QSL via Club Log’s OQRS, Logbook of The World or via his home call, either direct or via the bureau.

Take, JG8NQJ will be back to the weather station on Minami Torishima, OC-073, from the 14th of October until mid-January 2021, his QSL manager reports. Take will operate CW as JG8NQJ/JD1 in his spare time. QSL via JA8CJY direct or JG8NQJ via the bureau.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the contest for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your own national and local government’s advice first and foremost, especially in the instance of local lockdowns.

The Oceania DX CW contest ends its 24-hour run at 0800UTC today, the 11th. Using the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

Today, the 11th, the IRTS 40m Counties contest runs from 1200 to 1400UTC. Using CW and SSB, the exchange is signal report and serial number, with GI and EI stations, also sending their County.

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

On Wednesday the 80m Autumn Series runs from 1900 to 2030UTC. Using data only, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

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

Next weekend, from 1500UTC on the 17th to 1500UTC on the 18th, it’s the Worked All Germany Contest. Using CW and SSB on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number, with German stations sending DOK.

Next Sunday, the 18th, the 50MHz AFS contest runs from 0900 to 1300UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Also next Sunday, the 18th, the second RoLo contest runs from 1900 to 2030UTC. This is CW only on the 80m band and the exchange is signal report and a rolling locator.

Next Sunday, the 18th, the UK Microwave group’s 24-76GHz contest runs from 0900 to 1700UTC. 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 9th of October.

We had another week without a single sunspot appearing on the solar surface. The only upside was that the solar wind was largely calm, which resulted in a settled ionosphere. The solar flux index remained pegged at 71 or 72, reminding us that although NASA says that solar cycle 25 has started, we are still a long way from the glory days of solar maximum. Having said that, on Thursday morning there were signs of some activity on the Sun’s south-eastern limb that may or may not result in a spot forming in due course.

There were numerous warnings this week for spacecraft operators about high levels of the 2MeV electron integral flux. This can result in charging occurring on satellite solar panels and other electronics. It can also have a detrimental impact on HF radio in the polar regions, while North-South paths remain relatively unaffected. However, after a brief geomagnetic disturbance when the Kp index rose to four on Monday the 5th, conditions remained settled, with the Kp index mainly being one throughout the week. This no doubt helped the ionosphere, with numerous reports of 15 and even 10 metres opening up. This time of year usually supports North-South paths as witnessed by Adrian, G0KOM logging on 15m Cyril, FR4NT on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean. An F2-layer opening also brought in Carlos, CX7CO in Uruguay on 28MHz CW, who was logged by Chris, G3SJJ.

An unseasonal Sporadic-E opening saw France and Italy being worked on 10 and 12 metres on Tuesday. So it is rather good news for HF at the moment, despite the lack of sunspots.

NOAA predicts more of the same next week with the solar flux index predicted to remain around 70. Geomagnetic conditions are also expected to remain settled with the Kp index at two or three.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

Last Tuesday saw a surprise widespread Sporadic-E opening on 50MHz, with stations working into Italy and Spain. This was quite possibly a direct result of the current spate of meteor showers. We should always be alert to the unexpected, especially during very unsettled weather with strong jet streams and meteor showers in attendance. These are though, truly rare events.

It looks very much like another “bust” for the autumn season Tropo mode this week. Low pressure will predominate and give another week of options to the microwave operators using rain scatter. A brief period with a ridge nearby is a slight possibility in the second half of the week, but not looking too strong at this range.

Next Sunday sees the peak of the Epsilon Geminids meteor shower. Not to be confused with the much bigger Geminids shower in mid-December, this one has a zenithal hourly rate of just three. Keep looking around local dawn for the best random meteors.

The Moon is at positive declination until Friday this week and path losses are falling as we approach perigee on Friday night. 144MHz sky noise is low this week until the Sun and Moon appear close in the sky on Friday lunchtime. As mentioned before, we are now well and truly into the period where perigee and lowest EME path losses begin to coincide with low declination and subsequent low peak moon elevation. This trend will not start to reverse until July 2022.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for October 4th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for October 4th 2020.

October 2, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 4th of October 2020

The news headlines:

  • RSGB releases video series

  • Latest Online Convention & Colloquium news

  • Exercise Blue Ham cancelled

 

The RSGB has just launched a series of videos to help the thousands of people who have taken their Foundation exam via remote invigilation whilst being unable to take the practical assessments. The full 30-minute video highlights six practical skills and each segment stands alone rather than being part of a single ‘story’ through the video. As well as this whole video, the Society has published the different segments as separate short videos to make it easier to go back to just one or two parts again. The RSGB is grateful to the clubs and individual radio amateurs who have created other available online training resources. With the launch of these videos, the Society is now pleased to add to the resources that new licensees have available to them. The RSGB would also like to thank Bob and Nick from TX Factor who worked with the Society on these videos. You can watch the videos on the Society’s website at www.rsgb.org/foundation-practicals.

During the online RSGB Convention for 2020, you will be able to enjoy some excellent lectures. On Saturday the 10th of October, the RSGB will be presenting two online streams for everyone to enjoy. Whether you are new to the hobby, just returning or experienced there will be something to interest you. We start the day with a message from the RSGB President, Dave Wilson, M0OBW, followed by a talk from Eric Swartz, WA6HHQ from Elecraft before splitting into two streams, An introduction to… and Learn more about…. There’s the opportunity to ask questions and details of how to do this is on the website. You can find out more about the whole day of lectures at www.rsgb.org.uk/convention. We look forward to seeing you next Saturday, the 10th, whether you can join us for the whole day or just parts of it.

Like the RSGB Convention, the AMSAT-UK Colloquium 2020 will also be online this year. Taking place on Sunday the 11th of October, there will be a lecture stream from 11 am to 4 pm. You can find out more at www.amsat-uk.org/colloquium. The registration URL is https://tinyurl.com/amsatukreg2020.

In line with the latest government guidelines and to protect the health of the Cadets and adult volunteers, all Cadet face-to-face activity is still currently suspended, therefore the organisers have had to make the decision to cancel Exercise Blue Ham-3 that was programmed for mid-October. They appreciate the effort and support that all the amateurs give the exercise and say that as soon as they can return to some form of face to face activity, they will organise another Blue Ham.

The Bath Based Distance Learning team are restarting their courses. The first new BBDL course will be for the Intermediate level, running from November 2020 to March 2021. To register your interest, contact the Team Leader, Steve, G0FUW, via email to g0fuw@tiscali.co.uk. The new BBDL Full level course will follow on from the Intermediate course running from March to July. A further announcement will be made in the New Year when that course is ready for enrolment.

Chippenham & District ARC is now running an online Foundation course. Since the Covid-19 outbreak, they have switched to online training via live hosted training sessions. If you are interested in future courses, you can contact the club via their website at www.chippenhamradio.club.

The W4CHA/B beacon in locator square EL88 is active again and on 50.0796MHz. The beacon outputs 2W to a dipole 53 metres above sea level.

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.

PJ4TEN will be active during October to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Bonaire becoming a special municipality of the Netherlands and a new DXCC entity. The rules for the award can be found on the PJ4TEN QRZ.com page.

Hannes, OE1SGU will be active as OE1990SGU between the 1st and the 31st of October to celebrate his 30th anniversary in amateur radio. QSL via LoTW, eQSL, or via OE1SGU either direct or via the bureau.

Now the DX news

A team will be active as JW4O from the JW5E club station in Svalbard, EU-026, from the 8th to the 12th of October. The main goal of the operators is to participate in the SSB leg of the Scandinavian Activity Contest on the 10th and 11th of October.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the contest for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your own national and local government’s advice first and foremost, especially in the instance of local lockdowns.

This weekend the IARU 432-245GHz contest ends its 24-hour run at 1400UTC today, the 4th of October. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The Oceania DX SSB contest ends its 24-hour run at 0800UTC today, the 4th of October. Using the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

The Worked All Britain DX Contest takes place today, the 4th of October, from 0500 to 2300UTC. Using SSB only on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB area.

The DX Contest takes place today, the 4th, from 0500 to 2300UTC. Using CW and SSB on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

The Portable Operations Challenge ends at 2359UTC today, the 4th of October. Participants choose their own 8-hour window within the 48-hour weekend. Details can be found at foxmikehotel.com/challenge.

On Monday, the 80m Autumn Series runs from 1900 to 2030UTC. It’s CW only and 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 Wednesday, the UK EI Contest Club 80m contest runs from 2000 to 2100UTC. It’s SSB only and the exchange is your 6-character locator.

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

The Oceania DX CW contest runs for 24 hours next weekend from 0800UTC on the 10th to 0800UTC on the 11th. Using the 1.8 to 28MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

Next Sunday, the 11th, the IRTS 40m Counties contest runs from 1200 to 1400UTC. Using CW and SSB the exchange is signal report and serial number, with GI and EI stations, also sending their County.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 2nd of October.

We had yet another week with zero sunspots and poor conditions. Matter from a solar coronal hole pushed the Kp index to six late on Sunday the 27th with corresponding detrimental effects on the ionosphere. The solar wind stream climbed to above 600km/s with the Bz component of the interplanetary magnetic field periodically pointing south. This meant that the solar wind could more easily couple with the Earth’s magnetic field, allowing matter to enter the ionosphere.

Maximum useable frequencies struggled to get past 14MHz on Monday while the geomagnetic storm continued. In fact, it took until Thursday for conditions to subside and even then the Kp index fluctuated between two and three.

But there was DX to be had, especially for paths that didn’t pass through the poles. Laurie, G3UML reported working Kamil, S79KW and Ravi, S79VU in the Seychelles on 20m SSB on Tuesday afternoon. And Carl, HS0ZOA in Thailand was also heard on 20m around the same time. This bodes well for HF over the coming month, which should see HF conditions improve thanks to a change in the ionospheric chemistry as we move from summer to autumn.

Next week NOAA predicts a solar flux index of 70, representing zero sunspots. There is always a chance that something could appear over the next seven days, but activity still remains quiet.

Geomagnetic conditions are predicted to be quiet, with very little coronal hole activity. A maximum Kp index of two is indicated, at least until Sunday the 11th when it could climb to three.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

We have another week of predominantly unsettled and, at times, wet and windy weather coming up, so Tropo will be hard to find. The weekend offers a slow-moving area of low pressure over the country and although it eventually edges away to the east by midweek, it could give some very windy weather and certainly periods of heavy rain. So rain scatter on the GHz bands is the mode of choice once again.

A brief ridge of high pressure may transit the country on Wednesday and Thursday for a touch of Tropo, but will soon be replaced by another slow-moving low over the country by the end of the week and a return of rain scatter conditions.

Time to fire up the EME kit again as we have positive Moon declination peaking on Friday giving long Moon visibility windows. Path losses are high and we are more than a week from perigee, but 144MHz sky temperatures are low to moderate all week.

October is a busy month for meteor scatter enthusiasts, with three meteor showers this week alone. The largest, the Draconids with a zenithal hourly rate of 10 on Thursday, the Southern Taurids with a ZHR of five on Saturday and the Delta Aurigids with a ZHR of two next Sunday. For more details of these showers, and other VHF related information look at the excellent Make more miles on VHF website, www.mmmonvhf.de.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for September 27th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for September 27th 2020.

September 25, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 27th of September 2020

The news headlines:

  • RSGB introducing Full exam remote invigilation

  • Solar Cycle 25 is officially here

  • Latest Online Convention news

 

Following on from the success of the remote invigilation exams for the Foundation and Intermediate licence, the RSGB is now expanding that to include Full licence exams. The automated booking system is now accepting exam bookings for all three licence levels. Please note that the earliest date available for exam bookings at any level is Wednesday the 21st of October. It is important to read the Candidate Instructions before booking an exam. You can find a link to these and the calendar to book your exam on the Society’s website at www.rsgb.org/exampay.

The Solar Cycle 25 Prediction Panel, an international group of experts co-sponsored by NASA and NOAA, announced that the solar minimum occurred in December 2019, marking the start of a new solar cycle. Because our Sun is so variable, it can take months after the fact to declare this event. Scientists use sunspots to track solar cycle progress; the dark blotches on the Sun are associated with solar activity, often as the origins for giant explosions, such as solar flares or coronal mass ejections, which can spew light, energy, and solar material into space. This and more has been explained in a video on the NASA website. Go to https://tinyurl.com/gb2rs-nasa.

During the online RSGB Convention for 2020, you will be able to enjoy some excellent lectures. On Saturday the 10th of October, the RSGB will be presenting two online streams for everyone to enjoy. In An introduction to… we will have Getting Started on Low Earth Orbit Satellites by Peter Goodhall, 2M0SQL. He will look at using low earth orbit satellites, what they are, how to use them and what equipment is required both from low-cost system using a handheld and a Yagi to automated tracked systems. In the Learn more about… stream, Bruce Pea, N9WKE will explain how to Take your CW to the next level. Happily, a lot of people are learning the code, getting on the air, and having fun with CW. This presentation explores methods and options for improving your CW, head copy skills, and increasing your speed. Bruce is the founder and host of Dit Dit FM, the podcast celebrating Morse code, the CW operating mode and amateur radio. You can find out more about the whole day of lectures at www.rsgb.org.uk/convention.

Like the RSGB Convention, the AMSAT-UK Colloquium 2020 will also be online this year. Taking place on Sunday 11th of October, there will be a lecture stream from 11am to 4pm. Amongst the lectures on the day, Daniel Estévez, EA4GPZ will look at Decoding Mars spacecraft and explain the bit and pieces you can learn from spacecraft telemetry. Phil Ashby, M6IPX will talk about the FUNcube and creating an open platform in space. You can find out more at www.amsat-uk.org/colloquium. The registration URL is https://tinyurl.com/amsatukreg2020.

The RSGB’s next Tonight@8 webinar on Monday the 28th of September is a bumper edition! RSGB Convention Chair David Bondy, G4NRT will give a short pre-recorded interview about this year's online Convention. After that, Tim Kirby, GW4VXE will give a usual Tonight@8 live presentation on My world of VHF. You can watch and ask questions on the Society’s YouTube or BATC channels. For more details see our website at www.rsgb.org/webinars.

In the lead-up to this year’s online Convention, the RSGB has just published two more 2019 Convention presentations. In the first, Alwyn Seeds, G8DOH talks about Coax and connectors, the forgotten ingredient of high performance VHF/UHF stations. Whilst focused on VHF/UHF, this talk should be of interest to all radio amateurs. The second presentation features Chris Deacon, G4IFX talking about More on the polarisation of 50MHz signals via Sporadic-E. He looks at results from previous years and from newer experiments using more comprehensive measurement techniques, which are beginning to help answer key questions about the true nature of Sporadic-E propagation. Both can be found on the Society’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/theRSGB.

The RSGB’s Examinations Standards Committee has published its 2020 report that looks back on activities during 2019 – you can read it and previous reports on the RSGB website via tinyurl.com/esc-reports.

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.

PJ4TEN is a special event station that will be active during October 2020 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 10th of October 2010. On that date the former country of the Netherlands Antilles was dissolved and Bonaire became a special municipality of the Netherlands. As a result, Bonaire became a new DXCC entity on that date. Bonaire's radio amateurs are organising a month-long operating event. The rules for the award can be found on the PJ4TEN QRZ.com page.

Hannes, OE1SGU will be active as OE1990SGU between the 1st and the 31st of October to celebrate his 30th anniversary in amateur radio. QSL via LoTW, eQSL, or via OE1SGU either direct or via the bureau.

K1A will be operated as a special event station for the Amateur Radio Software Award until the 4th of October. Look for activity on 20 and 40 metres SSB. QSL direct to Claus H Niesen, PO Box 126, Ames IA 50010, USA.

Now the DX news

David, M0VDL will be active from Lundy Island, IOTA reference EU-120, between the 26th of September and the 1st of October. He plans to operate SSB and FT8 on 20, 40 and maybe 80 metres, primarily in the local morning and evening hours.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the contest for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your own national and local government’s advice first and foremost, especially in the instance of local lockdowns.

This weekend, the CQ World Wide DX RTTY contest ends its 48 hour run at 2359UTC today, the 27th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and Zone, which is 14 for the UK.

Today, the 27th, the UK Microwave group contest runs from 0600 to 1800UTC on the 5.7 and 10GHz bands. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Also today, the 27th, the PW 70MHz contest runs from 1200 to 1600UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Monday, the seventh FT4 Series contest runs from 1900 to 2030UTC. Using the 80m band, the exchange is your 4-character locator.

On Tuesday the 50MHz Machine Generated Mode Activity Contest and the 144MHz MGM AC run from 1900 to 2130UTC. The exchange is the same for both contests, signal report, serial number and locator.

On Wednesday the UK EI Contest Club 80m contest runs from 2000 to 2100UTC. It’s CW only and the exchange is your 4-character locator.

Next weekend the IARU 432-245GHz contest runs for 24 hours from 1400UTC on the 3rd to 1400UTC on the 4th of October. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Saturday the 3rd of October, the 1.2GHz and 2.3GHz Trophy contests runs from 1400 to 2000UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is the same for both contests, signal report, serial number and locator.

The Oceania DX SSB contest runs for 24 hours next weekend from 0800UTC on the 3rd to 0800UTC on the 4th of October. Using the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

The Worked All Britain DX Contest takes place on the 4th of October from 0500 to 2300UTC. Using SSB only on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB area.

The DX Contest takes place next Sunday from 0500 to 2300UTC on the 4th of October. Using CW and SSB on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

The Portable Operations Challenge a new kind of HF contest, which takes place on the 3rd and 4th of October. The aim of the challenge is to create a level playing field for small portable stations against the large contest stations by using handicapping algorithms similar to the one used in golf. Open to all, participants choose their own 8 hour contiguous time window within the 48 hour weekend. Operating portable, contact distance, power level and mode affect the final score. Details can be found at foxmikehotel.com/challenge.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 25th of September.

We finally broke our long-running record of zero sunspots last week thanks to active region 2773. This new solar cycle 25 spot appeared over the Sun’s limb and pushed the solar flux index to 73. The end of the week also saw unsettled conditions due to a high-speed stream from a coronal hole. The hole in the Sun’s North-Eastern quadrant pushed the Kp index to four on Wednesday evening and five by Thursday morning. A pre-auroral enhancement on Wednesday saw MUFs rise to nearly 21MHz over a 3,000km path, but by Thursday morning they were struggling to reach 14MHz.

As the month has moved on we have started to see an improvement in HF conditions generally. Laurie, G3UML reported working ZL4RMF in New Zealand on 40m SSB at 0645UTC on Tuesday and Andy, G3SVD worked FK8IK New Caledonia at 1006UTC on 20m CW. If you are looking for South Pacific contacts, Rob, F5VHN reports that Jim, E51JD on the South Cook Islands is often on around 14.225MHz SSB most mornings.

Next week NOAA predicts the solar flux index will be around 70 again. The week may start unsettled thanks to a coronal hole, but the Kp index should improve as the week goes on. We expect HF DX conditions to improve as we move towards October and hopefully, we can expect to see some more sunspots from the new Solar Cycle 25 as well.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

The weather patterns at this time of the year can be very fickle as the major driving jet streams can be seriously distorted by former-hurricanes from the USA side of the Atlantic. The predicted return of Tropo after midweek in the week just gone, was a bust for that reason. Other major distortions of the driving jet stream pattern are likely in the coming week, so the story is one of unsettled, changeable weather with periods of rain or heavy showers. That should mean another good week for rain scatter on the GHz bands, but tropo will not get much chance during this period.

Moon declination is rising this week, going positive late on Thursday night, so we’ll see longer Moon visibility windows as the week progresses, reaching a minimum on Thursday. Path losses are still increasing until we reach apogee on Saturday. 144MHz sky temperatures are low all week, but low peak Moon elevations early in the week won’t help.

The daytime Sextantids meteor shower peaked today but should still be active until the 9th of October. Continue to check around local dawn for the best random meteors, ie meteors that aren’t associated with any particular shower.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for September 20th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for September 20th 2020.

September 18, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 20th of September 2020

The news headlines:

  • Mainstream media features amateur radio

  • Antenna modelling and ionoscatter at Convention

  • 2020 Radio Regulations now available

As part of its continuing Get on the air to care campaign with the NHS, the RSGB has been working with the BBC recently to highlight amateur radio in a number of ways. BBC Radio Surrey and Sussex ran an interview with RSGB Board Director Stewart Bryant, G3YSX last week; BBC Radio Somerset aired an interview that included RSGB General Manager Steve Thomas, M1ACB this week; and BBC TV Points West shared the story of ten-year-old Caitlin, M6XTT who passed her Foundation exam via remote invigilation recently after being tutored by her grandfather Don, G3XTT during the lockdown. You can find out more and listen to each of the interviews on the Society’s media pages at www.rsgb.org/gota2c-media.

During the online RSGB Convention for 2020, you will be able to enjoy some excellent lectures. On Saturday the 10th of October, the RSGB will be presenting two online streams for everyone to enjoy. In An introduction to… we will have Antenna modelling with MMANA-GAL with Steve Nichols, G0KYA. He will look at the free MMANA-GAL package and give hints and tips on how to use it, complete with some examples. In the Learn, more about… stream, Palle, OZ1RH will look at Ionoscatter on 50 and 144MHz. In this lecture, ionoscatter is examined more closely to evaluate its possibilities for QSOs on 50 and 144MHz. You can find out more at www.rsgb.org.uk/convention.

The 2020 edition of the 2020 Radio Regulations, which will come into force on the 1st of January 2021, is now available as a free download. Go to https://tinyurl.com/GB2RS-0920A to get your copy.

Like the RSGB Convention, the AMSAT-UK Colloquium 2020 will also be online this year. Taking place on Sunday the 11th of October, there will be a lecture stream from 11 am to 4 pm. You can find out more at www.amsat-uk.org/colloquium. The registration URL is https://tinyurl.com/amsatukreg2020.

The UK Six Metre Group AGM takes place at 1700UTC on the 27th of September, via videoconference. It’s followed by a talk by Peter Lund, JW7QIA on of recent 50MHz and 70MHz operations from Svalbard. More at www.uksmg.org.

Mike Meadows, G4GUG has a passion for amateur radio that has led to a new University of the Third Age, or U3A, online group being set up. You must be a U3A member to take part. The RSGB is working with U3A to help support this special amateur radio interest group. For more details, email janine.aldridge@u3a.org.uk

The RSGB 2020 Construction Competition is open for entries. There are four categories, including one specifically for people who are new to amateur radio. But hurry, the deadline for entries is the 25th of September. For more details, including how to enter, see www.rsgb.org/construction-competition.

Are you heading for university this year? Several students who passed their remote-invigilation amateur radio exams are off to university in the next few weeks. If you would like to let others know which Uni you are attending, perhaps with the aim of setting up an amateur radio club, send your name, email and university to radcom@rsgb.org.uk and we’ll print the list in RadCom. UK University Amateur Radio also aims to help co-ordinate university clubs, see ukuar.org.

A new attended propagation beacon has gone on the air. Operating on 3.510, 7.015, 14.015 and 10.110MHz, the power will be 20 or 25 watts. There is no timetable for transmissions and further information is on the QRZ.com page of M1EDF, including details of details the unusual construction.

The RSGB Examinations Standards Committee has published its 2020 report that looks back on activities during 2019. You can read it on the ESC page on the Society’s website: https://tinyurl.com/esc-reports

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.

Members of the Royal Air Force ARS will be operating GB80BOB until the 28th of September to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Details are at www.rafars.org/GB80BOB/ and on QRZ.com.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the contest for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your own national and local government’s advice first and foremost, especially in the instance of local lockdowns.

Today, the 20th, the 70MHz AFS Contest runs from 0900 to 1200UTC. Using all modes on the 4m band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The BARTG Sprint 75 contest takes place today, the 20th, from 1700 to 2100UTC. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is the serial number.

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

On Thursday it’s the data leg of the 80m Autumn Series, running from 1900 to 2130UTC. The exchange is signal report and serial number.

Next weekend, the CQ World Wide DX RTTY contest runs for 48 hours from 0000UTC on the 26th to 2359 on the 27th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and Zone, which is 14 for the UK.

On Sunday the 27th, the UK Microwave group contest runs from 0600 to 1800UTC on the 5.7 and 10GHz bands. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Also next Sunday, the 27th, the PW 70MHz contest runs from 1200 to 1600UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 18th of September.

We had another uninspiring week with zero sunspots. However, there was DX to be had, with many Chiltern DX Club members reporting openings on 17 and 15 metres for well-equipped stations. Clive, GM3POI reported hearing India, Japan, Lebanon and South Africa on 17 metres and South Africa, Kenya, Oman and Kuwait on 15 metres. This was no doubt due to seasonal changes in the ionosphere and a very low Kp index, reflecting settled conditions.

The Sporadic-E season in the Northern Hemisphere has now finished so 10 metre openings are now few and far between. Tony, G4CJC in his 10 metre band report said that it was an “appalling week” on 28MHz.

The good news is that NASA and NOAA reported that Solar Cycle 25 has begun. During a media teleconference on the 15th of September, an international panel of experts found that the sunspot number hit rock bottom in December 2019. Since then, it said sunspot counts have been “slowly increasing”, with the solar maximum expected in 2025. Nevertheless, NOAA predicts that the solar flux index will remain pegged at 70 next week, with quiet geomagnetic conditions and a maximum Kp index of two. However, things become more unsettled next weekend when the Kp index may rise to four or five due to the return of a coronal hole and its associated high-speed solar wind stream.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

It seems that we are continuing to show a strong hand for Tropo since high pressure remains close by for much of the time until the end of the coming week. A small blemish this first weekend is the risk of some isolated showers over southern England with possible GHz bands rain scatter options. With similar results, we also have a weak cold front moving south midweek. Otherwise, it’s high pressure predominating in the second half of the week and offering further Tropo opportunities.

With negative Moon declination, visibility windows will shorten as the week progresses, reaching a minimum on Thursday. Last Friday’s perigee means that path losses will steadily climb throughout the week. 144MHz sky temperatures are close to 3,000K on Wednesday and combined with the low Moon, EME conditions will be poor midweek. However, it’s a good week to increase your satellite DXCC and square counts between the Tropo events. There are plenty of LEO sats to choose from plus, of course, QO-100 available 24/7.

There is one meteor shower this week – the daytime Sextantitds. It has a radiant in the constellation of Sextans and is active until the 9th of October with the peak occurring on the 27th of September. The source of the meteor shower is asteroid 2005 UD.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for September 13th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for September 13th 2020.

September 11, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 13th of September 2020

The news headlines:

  • RSGB Online Convention announces two more great talks

  • AMSAT-UK Colloquium news

  • Six Metre Group AGM goes online

During the online RSGB Convention for 2020, you will be able to enjoy some excellent lectures. On Saturday the 10th of October, the RSGB will be putting on two streams online for everyone to enjoy. In An introduction to… we will have a pictorial introduction to data modes by Mike Richards, G4WNC. He will guide viewers through the basics of data modes operation, explaining the commonly used terms and the development of the modes in general use today. In the Learn more about… stream, Alwyn Seeds, G8DOH will look at VHF/UHF radios for contesting and DXing. The talk will discuss the important specifications for high-performance VHF and UHF radios and how these can most easily be achieved. For transmitters, the importance of achieving low radiated noise will be explained. The talk will be illustrated with measurements for a variety of radios based on both conventional and software-defined radio design approaches. You can find out more at www.rsgb.org.uk/convention.

The AMSAT-UK Colloquium 2020 will also be online this year. Taking place on Sunday the 11th of October, there will be one lecture stream from 11 am to 4 pm. You can find out more at www.amsat-uk.org/colloquium. The registration URL is https://tinyurl.com/amsatukreg2020.

The UK Six Metre Group will hold its Annual General Meeting by videoconference on Sunday the 27th of September at 1700UTC, that’s 6 pm UK time. The brief formal part of the meeting will be followed by a talk from Peter Lund, JW7QIA on his recent 50 and 70MHz operations from Svalbard, which is the northernmost year-round settlement on Earth and only 1000km from the North Pole. Non-members of the Group will be welcome to join the call, but will not be able to vote. Connection instructions will be issued the week before the meeting via the group website, www.uksmg.org.

The RSGB administers a number of award programmes for HF and VHF, including the enhanced special awards for Foundation and Intermediate licence holders. A vacancy has arisen for a volunteer to promote and manage these programmes. For further information about the role, including how to apply, visit the Society’s volunteer web page at www.rsgb.org/volunteers.

The IARU R1 has just published a further news release following the online CEPT-PTC and CEPT-PTA meetings for WRC-23 prep. The RSGB Spectrum Forum Chair and the RSGB Microwave Manager have been closely engaged at these meetings. Details at www.iaru-r1.org.

Details of the Portable Operations Challenge given in last week’s news should have read the 3rd and 4th October. Find out all you need to know at foxmikehotel.com/challenge.

The RSGB 2020 Construction Competition is open for entries. There are four categories, including one specifically for people who are new to amateur radio. The deadline for entries is the 25th of September. For more details, including how to enter, see www.rsgb.org/construction-competition.

Mark, G0KZZ, has started a new internet forum for CW enthusiasts. It is wide-ranging, covering amateur CW operating to radiotelegraphy history and key collecting to internet-based CW contacts.

In the UK, the 5MHz, or 60m band, has been available to Full UK licensees since August 2002. This we owe to the initiative of the late Gordon Adams, G3LEQ, who at the time was Spectrum Director of the Radio Society of Great Britain. He was central to negotiations with the Regulator and the UK Ministry of Defence, the Primary User of the band. One of the elements of Gordon’s proposals was a country-wide news reading of the GB2RS. This has taken place regularly on a Sunday since the band’s inception by a team of newsreaders. Gordon became a Silent Key in February 2018 and the GB2RS 5MHz newsreading team, as The 5MHz Pioneers Group, applied for and received the call G5MHZ. The call will be on the air in recognition and remembrance of the work done by Gordon at 5MHz for UK radio amateurs.

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.

Members of the Royal Air Force ARS will be operating GB80BOB from the 1st to the 28th of September to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Due to Covid-19, Ofcom are allowing this call to be operated from homes. A list of operators and postcode locations will be displayed on the RAFARS website. A special QSL card is available. Details are at www.rafars.org/GB80BOB/ and QRZ.com.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the contest for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your own national and local government’s advice first and foremost, especially in the instance of local lockdowns.

The WAE DX SSB contest runs for 48 hours ending 2359UTC today, the 13th. Using SSB on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number. Note the EU stations only work non-EU stations.

The UK Microwave Group contest runs from 0900 to 1700UTC today, the 13th. Using all modes on the 24 to 248GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Also today, the 13th, the IRTS 70cm Counties contest runs from 1300 to 1330UTC. This is followed by the IRTS 2m Counties contest from 1330 to 1500UTC. Both use SSB and FM only and the exchange is signal report and serial number, with EI and GI stations also giving their county.

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

On Wednesday the CW leg of the 80m Autumn Series runs from 1900 to 2130UTC. The exchange is signal report and serial number.

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

Next Sunday, the 20th, the 70MHz AFS Contest runs from 0900 to 1200UTC. Using all modes on the 4m band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The BARTG Sprint 75 contest takes place next Sunday, the 20th, from 1700 to 2100UTC. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is serial number.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 11th of September.

It was another week with zero sunspots, but the upside was that we had settled geomagnetic conditions. The maximum Kp index of two, but more often than not just one, was brought about by an absence of coronal holes last week. This meant that the ionosphere was pretty stable, with Maximum Useable Frequencies over a 3,000km path heading towards 18MHz at times.

Next week, NOAA predicts the solar flux index to be 70 and the largest Kp index to be two, so expect similar conditions. NOAA also predicts the Kp index could rise to a maximum of three on the 18th and 19th, due to a high-speed stream from a returning coronal hole.

Due to seasonal changes we do expect ionospheric conditions to improve slightly as we head towards the end of the month. We also expect to see transatlantic paths and openings to South Africa and South America improving around the time of the Autumnal equinox. There will also be a gradual improvement in daytime maximum useable frequencies as we head towards Autumn, but night-time MUFs will decline. Expect October to probably be the best month all round for HF propagation.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

It seems like the main Sporadic-E season is over for the summer. With even FT8 paths hard to spot on the DX clusters. So, unless something exceptional turns up you’ll have to wait at least until the small secondary December Sporadic-E peak for that DX mode again.

The basic weather pattern to end the current week and take us into early next week has high pressure over southern areas of the UK and cloudy unsettled weather over the north-western areas with wind and rain. This means that there is likely to be Tropo on offer over the next few days, with paths to the south across Biscay initially and later biased more towards northern Europe.

There could be an unsettled showery period of weather in the south as the high weakens by midweek and, typically after a few hot days, there may be thundery showers, which is great news for the GHz rain scatter operators.

A temporary return of high pressure later will probably put Tropo back into play again, but with a further return of unsettled weather after a day or two.

Expect a good week for EME, with the Moon at maximum declination this weekend followed by shortening Moon windows as the week progresses. Declination goes negative on Friday and this coincides with perigee where losses are at their lowest. 144MHz sky temperatures are low apart from next Thursday morning when the Sun and Moon are very close in the sky.

No meteor showers this week, so look for the best random meteors around local dawn while the Earth is rotating towards the orbital random meteor flux.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for September 6th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for September 6th 2020.

September 4, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 6th of September 2020

The news headlines:

Latest RSGB Convention information

Anyone lost a trailer mast?

GB2RS Newsreader stands down after 40 years

During the online RSGB Convention for 2020, you will be able to enjoy some excellent lectures. On Saturday the 10th of October, the RSGB will be putting on two streams online for everyone to enjoy. In An introduction to… we will have How to get the most out of your dealer for your part-exchange with Martin Lynch, G4HKS. After over 42 years in the amateur radio business, Martin knows a thing or two about trade-in values for equipment and accessories and he’ll explain the best method of achieving the most for your part exchange or outright sale. In the Learn more about… stream, William Eustace, M0WJE will look at DSP: Underlying Concepts. Digital signal processing is built into most new radios for the amateur market, while tools like GNURadio have enabled amateurs to assemble signal processing systems with little or no code and William plans to give an easily-understood explanation. You can find out more at www.rsgb.org.uk/convention.

We received news from the Warwickshire Police Rural Crime Team regarding a trailer-mounted Strumech mast they believe may be stolen property. If you think you know where this tower belongs and can identify the mast, please contact PC Craig Purcell either by text, call or WhatsApp on 0779 059 7820.

After more than forty years as a GB2RS newsreader for the northeast, Martin, G3USF has decided to retire. The RSGB would like to thank him for his many years of service to the amateur radio community. Eddie, G0VVT is standing in to keep the news readings going in the future.

The RSGB’s autumn Tonight @ 8 webinar series starts this Monday, the 7th of September with Portable adventures with Summits on the Air by James, M0JCQ. Join live and ask questions on the Society’s YouTube channel or via the special BATC channel. On the RSGB website, you can find further information about the webinar series, presenters and resources to help you explore each topic more fully at www.rsgb.org/webinars.

The popular event Churches and Chapels On The Air will still take place this year, despite Covid-19 restrictions. On Saturday the 12th of September, operators will be a mix of individual activities nears churches as well as operating from home. Activity is usually 10 am to 4 pm and mainly on the 80, 40 and 20m bands using SSB. Contact John, G3XYF via jhwresdell@gmail for more details.

The RSGB has updated some of its web pages to reflect online remote invigilation exams and online training processes whilst physical meetings are still restricted. The Student Information section on the Society’s website has full Candidate Instructions for the remote invigilation exams, information about how to book your exams as well as a new page listing the online training providers that we are aware of. If your club is providing online training at any licence level and is not listed, please send full details to exams@rsgb.org.uk and the RSGB will add you to the new web list. For details of all the licence levels visit the Student Information web page at https://tinyurl.com/rsgb-student-information.

The Portable Operations Challenge is a new kind of HF contest. It will take place on the weekend of the 3rd and 4th of October. The aim of the challenge is to create a level playing field for small portable stations against the large contest stations by using handicapping algorithms similar to that used in golf. Participants choose their own 8-hour contiguous time window within the 48-hour weekend. Find out all you need to know at foxmikehotel.com/challenge.

ARISS has announced the activation of an FM cross-band repeater on the International Space Station. It has a downlink frequency of 437.800MHz. This followed the successful installation of the first element of the ARISS Interoperable Radio System. It enables new, exciting capabilities for amateur radio operators, students and the general public including a higher power radio, voice repeater, APRS capabilities and an SSTV system. Further details are at https://amsat-uk.org.

In the news item about the GB2RS Podcast last week there was an error. It’s not approaching twenty thousand downloads, it’s actually approaching two hundred thousand downloads. Our apologies to all those involved in this highly successful method of distributing GB2RS.

The RSGB Morse Proficiency testing service continues to operate during this time of limitations on face-to-face meetings. Many of the scheme's Assessors are experienced in offering online testing. This means there's always an opportunity for anyone to obtain a Certificate of Competency, without leaving their home, by using an online sound and video program such as Skype. Full details of the Scheme can be found in the RSGB Yearbook or on the Operating section of the RSGB website. If you want more information or to submit a Test application this can be done using email to morse.tests@rsgb.org.uk.

Don’t forget any nomination for the G5RP Trophy needs to be in by 25th September. If you are an established HF DXer and want to recommend someone, send your nominations to Ian Greenshields, G4FSU by email to hf.manager@rsgb.org.uk.

The RSGB 2020 Construction Competition is also open for entries. There are four categories, including one specifically for people who are new to amateur radio. The deadline for entries is the 25th of September. For more details, including how to enter, see www.rsgb.org/construction-competition.

OE SOTA Day is a popular annual Summits on the Air event, organised by the Austrian SOTA Association and will still take place on Saturday 19 September, but with no social meeting. It will be a festival of SOTA activations to mark the end of summer in Europe. The day should offer a very good opportunity for chasers to amass a large number of points and unique summits worked. For more information about the SOTA scheme, please visit www.sota.org.uk.

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.

Members of the Royal Air Force ARS will be operating GB80BOB from the 1st to the 28th of September to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Due to Covid-19, Ofcom are allowing this call to be operated from homes. A list of operators and postcode locations will be displayed on the RAFARS website. A special QSL card is available. Details are at www.rafars.org/GB80BOB/ and QRZ.com.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the contest for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your own national and local government’s advice first and foremost, especially in the instance of local lockdowns.

Three RSGB contests take place over this weekend, the 5th and 6th September. SSB Field Day runs for 24 hours until 1300UTC today, the 6th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number. The 144MHz Trophy is also 24 hours but ends at 1400UTC today, the 6th. Its exchange is signal report, serial number and locator. The 5th 144MHz Backpacker contest runs from 1100 to 1500UTC today, the 6th. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator. Sadly, the HF and VHF Contest Committees have come to the conclusion that the Government guidance on Covid-19 does not yet allow the restart of multi-operator sections in RSGB contests. The rules for all RSGB Contests can be found at www.rsgbcc.org.

The All-Asian DX Contest ends its 48 hour runs at 2359UTC today, the 6th. Using SSB on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and age, with YLs sending 00.

The IARU Region 1 Field Day ends its 24 hour run today, the 6th. Using SSB on the 3.5 to 28MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

The Worked All Britain 144MHz QRO Contest is today, the 6th, from 1000 to 1400UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square. The contest runs concurrently with part of the RSGB contest, and RSGB serial numbers will be accepted. Due to Covid-19, no multi-operator entries are allowed. See http://wab.intermip.net/default.php for details.

It’s time to decide if you or your club would like to take part in the Autumn Series of 80m Contests, which start with an SSB event on Monday the 7th September. These are 90-minute contests that have boosted scores for Foundation and Intermediate entrants and rules designed to encourage newcomers. Running from 1900 to 2130UTC, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

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

On Thursday the 50MHz UK Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2100UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The WAE DX SSB contest runs for 48 hours next weekend from 0000UTC on the 12th to 2359UTC on the 13th. Using SSB on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number. Note the EU stations only work non-EU stations.

The UK Microwave Group contest runs from 0900 to 1700UTC on the 13th. Using all modes on the 24 to 248GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Also on the 13th, the IRTS 70cm Counties contest runs from 1300 to 1330UTC. This is followed by the IRTS 2m Counties contest from 1330 to 1500UTC. Both use SSB and FM only and the exchange is signal report and serial number with EI and GI stations also giving their county.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 4th of September.

This last week was characterised by unsettled geomagnetic conditions caused by an incoming high-speed stream for a solar coronal hole. We warned of this in last week’s report, but in view of the small size of the coronal hole, we didn’t really expect its effects to be quite so severe.

The solar material impacted the Earth on Friday the 28th of August, pushing the Kp index to five. Unsettled conditions then persisted through until at least Wednesday, with the Kp index peaking at four on Tuesday the 4th. Ionospheric HF conditions were adversely affected, with maximum usable frequencies over a 3,000km path struggling to get much above 14MHz at times. But by Thursday the Kp index was down to one and the ionosphere was recovering. At the time of writing, there are large coronal holes at the Sun’s poles, but any solar material may not be Earth-directed.

NOAA predicts the Sun will remain spotless next week, with a maximum solar flux index of 70. The good news is it has the Kp index at two, which could bode well for better HF conditions over the next seven days.

On another note, the website Propquest.co.uk has a new NVIS tab on the foF2 graphs tab for a closer look at the prospects for inter-G nets on the lower HF bands.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

This will probably be the final mention of Sporadic-E in the bulletin for this summer season. The coming week might offer some good opportunities from the jet streams, the main source of the turbulence that produces atmospheric gravity waves, so don’t rule Sporadic-E out just because it’s September.

With a low Kp index you might be able to get the odd FT8 path out of it, and even a chance of CW or SSB if you’re really lucky. Propquest.co.uk shows the daily jet stream maps and now we also have the Sporadic-E Probability Index, a single graphic to look at for hints of where the paths may occur.

We had some decent Tropo over the last week, but it has temporarily suspended for now. Towards the end of Sunday a new high will build in from the Atlantic and, for much of the coming week, there should be some Tropo chances as high pressure dominates. It’s looking like reverting to low pressure and wet weather by next weekend. The models are showing some heavy rain in some areas, so there is a potential for strong GHz bands rain scatter events.

Finally, autumn usually produces better chances of auroral propagation, and with the recently disturbed conditions, keep a check on the Kp index. Anything above four should attract attention. Aurora produces a very garbled distorted sound to SSB, so CW is best but wide-tone digimodes such as JT4G should work well. Beam north-east to the north-northwest and you could work stations via backscatter on 6m or 2m.

Moon declination is positive again, meaning longer Moon windows. Today, Sunday the 6th, the Moon is at apogee so EME path losses are at their highest. 144MHz sky temperatures are moderate all week.

Just one small meteor shower this week, peaking on Wednesday, the September Epsilon-Perseids with a Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR) of just five.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for August 30th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for August 30th 2020.

August 28, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 30th of August 2020

The news headlines:

Could you join the RSGB Board?

Latest Online RSGB Convention news

200,000 downloads for GB2RS Podcast

Following recent changes to the RSGB Board of Directors and the continuing effects of the ongoing pandemic, the RSGB is looking for Members to be considered for possible appointment to the Board. For more details about the Board, the essential personal attributes needed to be a Board Director and how to apply, see the RSGB website at www.rsgb.org/volunteers.

During the online RSGB Convention for 2020, you will be able to enjoy some excellent lectures. On Saturday the 10th of October, the RSGB will be putting on two streams online for everyone to enjoy. In An introduction to… we will have the magic of six metres by Chris Deacon, G4IFX. Join him to learn what makes the 6m band so special, how to get started – and how to get the best out of it. In the Learn more about… stream, Olof Lundberg, G0CKV will speak about having fun with HF contesting. There are so many factors that influence contest results – contesting rarely takes place on an even playing field. The fairest competition might well be with yourself and Olaf will go through some ways to improve your scores and enjoy your contesting experience. You can find out more at www.rsgb.org.uk/convention.

As the GB2RS Podcast approaches two hundred thousand downloads, two additional ways to receive the podcast have been added. Amazon Podcasts and Audible will carry the RSGB broadcast each week in addition to Apple, Blubrry, Stitcher and others who have been carrying the program for some time. A podcast is a short audio program that can be heard on a PC, smartphone or home audio device. It provides a way to publicise UK amateur radio even when listeners are out of range of the HF & VHF newsreaders. The GB2RS Podcast has been read by Jeremy, G4NJH for over 12 years. See https://rsgb.org/main/gb2rs/gb2rs-podcast for details.

Fred, M3CTW will celebrate his 100th birthday on the 1st of September and we wish him many happy returns. He is still active on the air and a recent contact told us that Fred speaks with the fluency of a much younger person and operates his radio in an excellent manner.

The media is still interested in the continuing growth of amateur radio and the RSGB is enjoying sharing stories with them, such as the interview with ten-year-old William, M7WHB that was featured in the i newspaper. The Society has also collected some great descriptions from new licensees who tell us why they are interested in amateur radio and what they’re keen to discover within the hobby. You can read all of these in the different parts of the Get on the air to care section of our website at www.rsgb.org/gota2c.

The G5RP Trophy is an annual award to encourage any RSGB Member who has recently discovered and made significant progress in HF DXing. If you are an established HF DXer and want to recommend someone to be awarded the G5RP Trophy for 2020, send your nominations to Ian Greenshields, G4FSU by email to hf.manager@rsgb.org.uk to arrive no later than the 25th of September.

The G-QRP club has released a detailed agenda for its Online Convention 2020, which takes place on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th September. Details of the agenda and how to sign up can be found at www.gqrp.com/convention.htm.

The RSGB 2020 Construction Competition is open for entries. There are four categories, including one specifically for people who are new to amateur radio. The deadline for entries is the 25th of September. For more details, including how to enter, see www.rsgb.org/construction-competition.

International Air Ambulance Week will take place between the 5th and the 13th of September. It covers two weekends, giving amateurs a great chance to get involved and support the event. A free series of Awards will be available for those who support the event. Go to www.radio-amateur-events.org/IAW/Registration.htm.

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.

Members of the Royal Air Force ARS will be operating GB80BOB from the 1st to the 28th of September to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Due to Covid-19, Ofcom are allowing this call to be operated from homes. A list of operators and postcode locations will be displayed on the RAFARS website. A special QSL card is available. Details are at www.rafars.org/GB80BOB/ and QRZ.com.

Now the contest news

Please remember to check before the contest for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your own national and local government’s advice first and foremost, especially in the instance of local lockdowns.

Today, the 30th, The UK Microwave group’s 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 Tuesday the 144MHZ FM Activity Contest runs from 1800 to 1855UTC. It is followed by the all-mode 144MHz UK Activity Contest at 1900 to 2130UTC. The exchange is the same for both: signal report, serial number and locator.

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

Three RSGB contests take place over next weekend, the 5th and 6th September. SSB Field Day runs for 24 hours from 1300UTC on Saturday the 5th until 1300UTC on Sunday the 6th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number. The 144MHz Trophy is also 24 hours but ends at 1400UTC on the 6th. Its exchange is signal report, serial number and locator. The 5th 144MHz Backpacker runs from 1100 to 1500UTC on the 6th. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator. Sadly, the HF and VHF Contest Committees have come to the conclusion that the Government guidance on Covid-19 does not yet allow the restart of multi-operator sections in RSGB contests. The rules for all RSGB Contests can be found at www.rsgbcc.org.

The CW Open for 2020 takes place on the 5th of September. There are three sessions: from 0000 – 0359, 1200 – 1559 and 2000 – 2359UTC. The exchange is signal report and your name.

The All Asian DX contest runs from 0000UTC on the 5th to 2359UTC on the 6th. Using SSB on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and age, with YLs sending 00.

The IARU Region 1 Field Day runs from 1300UTC on the 5th to 1300UTC on the 6th. Using SSB on the 3.5 to 28MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.

The Worked All Britain 144MHz QRO Contest is on Sunday the 6th from 1000 to 1400UTC. The exchange is the report, serial number and WAB square. The contest runs concurrently with part of the RSGB contest and RSGB serial numbers will be accepted. Due to Covid-19, no multi-operator entries are allowed. See http://wab.intermip.net/default.php for details.

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

It was a quiet week, with zero sunspots and relatively quiet geomagnetic conditions and a maximum Kp index of three. After the new sunspots appeared over the past few weeks it did look like Solar Cycle 25 was getting underway. But it now looks like we may have to wait a little longer, languishing at solar minimum for the next couple of months.

It was not all bad news though. Laurie, G3UML reports good conditions on 20m SSB. He worked A25 Botswana and ZS3 South Africa, plus Ross, ZL1WN in New Zealand via the long path. Laurie said signals from the Middle East were also strong.

A series of narrow coronal holes are now beginning to partially face Earth. An elevated coronal hole stream should begin to move past Earth by Saturday 29th August, which could lead to an elevated Kp index and visible aurora at higher latitudes.

Other than that there is little to see on the STEREO Ahead spacecraft imagery. Barring surprises, this suggests the Sun will remain quiet from Monday.

NOAA has the solar flux index at 70-71 for the next seven days. The elevated Kp index over the weekend may cause MUFs to decline, but next week should see the ionosphere settle back down to a Kp maximum of two and normal HF conditions.

Maximum usable frequencies over a 3,000km path should remain similar to previous weeks. Expect 20 metres to be the DX band of choice, with some openings on 17m at times. There is always the chance of DX appearing on 15, 12 and even 10 metres, but these openings are likely to be short-lived and infrequent.

The good news is that next week we move into September, which should see a return to higher MUFs and better DX as the month progresses. This will also be a good time to work North-South paths, such as the UK to South Africa and South America.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

This period of more changeable weather is going to be hard to break and it looks like any weak ridges between the lows will be transient affairs. They are therefore unlikely to feature highly as Tropo events, although the odd temporary lift is possible. The nature of unsettled weather, like the spell we’re in now, is such that the late summer sunshine can easily produce showers or even thunderstorms. These are very good for rain scatter and for most of the period from this weekend to next, a weather front or heavy showers may not be far away. So we’re entering another potentially productive period for the GHz rain scatter enthusiasts.

We are running out of time to mention Sporadic-E, so this may be the penultimate week. Clutching at straws perhaps, but there are some good jet streams in periods of unsettled weather and the next week will continue to look promising from a weather perspective, even though events are likely to be thin on the ground.

Moon declination is at a minimum today, but goes positive again on Friday, meaning Moon windows are getting longer. EME path losses are still rising, with apogee a week today. 144MHz sky temperatures are low all week, but the low Moon elevations mean that the noisy horizon will be in antenna beamwidths for the first part of the week.

Just one small meteor shower this week, the Aurigids, peaking on Monday with a Zenith Hourly Rate of six.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for August 23rd 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for August 23rd 2020.

August 21, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 23rd of August 2020

The news headlines:

Nominate a new DXer for G5RP Trophy

Latest Online RSGB Convention news

Vacancies on important RSGB committees

The G5RP Trophy is an annual award to encourage newcomers to HF DXing. The award is not limited to youngsters or the newly-licensed; it is open to anyone who has recently discovered and made significant progress in HF DXing. If you are an established HF DXer and want to recommend someone to be awarded the G5RP Trophy for 2020, now is the time to send in your nomination. Your nominee should be an up-and-coming HF DXer who has made rapid progress in the last year and has some real achievements to show, for example, a good total of new countries worked or some serious HF DXpedition activity. Please send your nominations to Ian Greenshields, G4FSU by email to hf.manager@rsgb.org.uk to arrive no later than the 25th of September.

During the online RSGB Convention for 2020, you will be able to enjoy some excellent lectures. On Saturday the 10th of October, the RSGB will be putting on two streams online for everyone to enjoy. In An introduction to… we will have Kevin, G0PEK and Lauren, 2E0HLR talk about youngsters using amateur radio and combining it with other activities such as cycling, hiking, canoeing and kayaking. In the Learn more about.... stream, the popular RSGB Convention lecturer Jim Bacon, G3YLA will talk about VHF propagation and weather. Jim will describe the processes behind compiling the GB2RS propagation bulletin. He’ll look at weather forecasting, tropospheric propagation, rain scatter and how to identify suitable candidates from forecast charts as well as Sporadic-E and its relationship to weather. We’ll highlight more lectures in the coming weeks, but you can find out more at www.rsgb.org.uk/convention.

The RSGB is looking for two people to fill the important volunteer roles of Legacy Committee Chair and Nominations Committee Chair. Full details of the roles and the committees can be found on the Society’s website at www.rsgb.org/volunteers.

The CW Open for 2020 takes place over the first weekend of September and is sponsored by The CW Operators’ Club. The three sessions are all on the 5th of September, from 0000 to 0359UTC, then 1200 to 1559UTC and finally 2000 to 2359UTC. See https://cwops.org/cwops-tests/cw-open/ for full details.

Tim, G4YBU and Richard, G8ITB have planned a Summits on the Air activity weekend ending today, the 23rd. The objective is to activate as many of the 15 summits in the Southern SOTA region of England. The event is for everyone and it is suggested that the popular 2m and 40m bands are used, on FM and SSB. For a detailed summit list see www.sotadata.org.uk.

International Lighthouses and Lightships Weekend is still going ahead this weekend. Participation will depend on local circumstances and government rulings regarding Covid-19 restrictions, see https://illw.net. Wirral ARS will be operating using GB2BHL from the club premises. Moray Firth ARS will be using GB0CSL from individual club members homes.

The RSGB has released two more 2019 Convention presentations to its YouTube channel. In the first one, Don Field, G3XTT talks about the fun and experience you can have by ‘Guest Operating’ as part of a multi-operator contest or DXpedition. In the second presentation, Nobby Styles, G0VJG builds on that by giving details of the DXpedition to Wallis Island. You can watch both on the RSGB YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/theRSGB

The Grid and Prefix Award Program has announced a comprehensive Digital Awards Program. Awards are available for radio amateurs and short wave listeners for confirmed grids and prefixes worked or heard using digital modes. Contacts made under any callsign you may have used in the past are valid for confirmations; there is no start time, so all confirmed digital contacts are acceptable. The program accepts electronic confirmations. See www.gapawards.com.

The RSGB 2020 Construction Competition is open for entries. There are four categories, including one specifically for people who are new to amateur radio. Deadline for entries is the 25th of September. For more details, including how to enter, see www.rsgb.org/construction-competition.

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 75th anniversary of VJ Day, the RSGB has organised a 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 until the 31st of August. See www.rsgb.org/ve-vj-marathon.

August sees two GB80 special event stations on the air, marking the critical role that radar played in the Battle of Britain 80 years ago. GB80BRS will be operated to commemorate Bawdsey Radar Station in Suffolk, where radar was developed in the late 1930s. This was the location of the world’s first operational radar station. Activity will be on 80 to 10m using SSB, CW and FT8. GB80CH, Chain Home, will be operated from Chelmsford in Essex.

And now the DX news

Many stations will be on the air this weekend from lighthouses around Europe and beyond. Listen out for T45FM, CQ0ODX/P, TM2LW, GB9UL and OV1LH amongst many others. A full list can be found at https://illw.net.

Giorgio, YI/IU5HWS is with the military in Iraq and will be operating on 40, 20 and 10 metres until the end of November.

Now the contest news

There are no RSGB HF contests this month, as August is the month of the traditional summer holiday. Please remember to check before the contest for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your own national and local government’s advice first and foremost, especially in the instance of local lockdowns.

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.

Next Sunday, the 30th, The UK Microwave group’s 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.

Over the weekend of the 5th and 6th September, three RSGB contests occur. On Saturday the 5th, there is SSB Field Day that starts at 1300UTC and the 144MHz Trophy Contest that starts at 1400UTC. On Sunday the 6th, there is the fifth 144MHz Backpackers Contest, which starts at 1100UTC.

Sadly, the HF and VHF Contest Committees have come to the conclusion that the Government guidance on Covid-19 does not yet allow the restart multi-operator sections in RSGB contests. As a result, the multi-operator sections in the 144MHz Trophy Contest have been removed. The single operator sections will continue as normal. For the 5th 144MHz Backpackers Contest and SSB Field Day, all sections are being restricted to single-operator entries only. The committees realise this announcement will disappoint some people, but they do hope that many will be able to enter the contests as single operators, whether from home or as portable stations. These contests normally bring exciting DX and weekend contest activity levels have been high this year, so please do come on and have some fun. The rules for all RSGB Contests are at www.rsgbcc.org.

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

Sunspot region 2772 was rotating off the Sun’s limb at the end of the week. As a result, the solar flux index declined from 74 down to 71 as the Sun’s surface cleared. There was some activity though. A solar storm cloud was hurled into space on the 16th of August by a slow-motion solar flare in the Sun’s southern hemisphere. The coronal mass ejection was due to sweep past Earth on the 20th. A group of three smaller coronal holes passed the Sun’s central meridian on Wednesday and Thursday, which could spell unsettled conditions at the weekend due to the solar wind emanating from them. NOAA predicts that the Kp index will rise to three until the threat passes. This is not really high enough to cause big problems, but keep an eye on the Kp index at solarham.com as a guide.

Next week, NOAA has the SFI pegged at 71 to 72 reflecting a lack of sunspots. The Kp index should also be pegged at two, at least until Sunday the 30th of August when it could climb to four. Look out for a potential positive pre-auroral phase enhancement, followed by a decline in maximum usable frequencies as any potential geomagnetic storm progresses.

Current daytime MUFs over a 3,000km path are still in the 14-18MHz range, with night-time MUFs covering 10-14MHz according to Propquest.co.uk.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

A deep low and gales over the northern and western part of the British Isles is not ideal summer holiday weather and not good for antennas either. In fact, this unsettled pattern will stay with us through to Thursday, when some models show temporary high pressure over the country to end the week.

It’s fair to say that not all models do this and instead of a high, it’s no more than a one-day weak ridge before further lows arrive. In terms of propagation, it’s looking like another period of weather more suitable for GHz bands rain scatter.

Tropo may put in an appearance later in the week, but it might only be a brief visit and perhaps not with a well-developed inversion if it’s a temporary visit. As an aside, it’s a particularly good period of summer Tropo over the Mediterranean at the moment, with potential for east to west paths, say from EA to IT9 or IT9 to SV or 5B4.

The Sporadic-E season is hanging on, particularly for digital modes, and next week should continue to offer several nicely placed jet streams for paths into Europe.

Note that the propquest.co.uk website, which contains a daily blog on where the weather triggers may be more active, now contains a single Sporadic-E probability index, EPI. This combines many of the contributory factors into one experimental index on a map showing where the chance of Sporadic-E is highest. Click on the map or enter your locator to overlay the ideal distance rings for Sporadic-E from your QTH.

Moon declination is now negative and falling all week, and, as perigee was Friday, EME path losses are low but rising. Moon windows will shorten as the week progresses. 144MHz sky temperatures are rising, peaking at over 3000K on Thursday, so your masthead preamps won’t help you! Read G4BAO’s GHz bands column from the April 2020 RadCom for an explanation of why.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for August 16th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for August 16th 2020.

August 14, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 16th of August 2020

The news headlines:

Thanks for massive lockdown efforts

Latest RSGB Convention Online info

TX Factor 26 is bumper episode

In this month’s RadCom, RSGB General Manager Steve Thomas, M1ACB thanks all the staff and volunteers who have pulled together to cope with the challenges of the last four months. He highlights the successes we should celebrate – such as helping 1,500 people take their first steps into amateur radio in just four months via remote invigilation Foundation exams – as well as the opportunities we all have to develop amateur radio in the future. You can also read the editorial online at https://tinyurl.com/rsgb-success-story. Practical Wireless this month features a look at how the RSGB is supporting new and returning radio amateurs. From the Beyond Exams range of resources through to the Tonight @ 8 webinars and a new Facebook group, there is a lot on offer. You can read the article on the RSGB website too.

With the Covid-19 pandemic changing the face of rallies and conventions around the world, the RSGB Convention 2020 is going online. You will be able to enjoy some excellent lectures. On Saturday the 10th of October, the RSGB will be putting on two streams online for everyone to enjoy. The first stream is An introduction to… and the second stream is Learn more about.... You can find more information at www.rsgb.org.uk/convention. The first two lectures are The Small Station by Joe Chester, M1MWD and QRO Magnetic Loop Antennas with Rael Paster, M0RTP. In the small station, Joe M1MWD says that most of us don’t have the good fortune to own several acres of land on which to erect tall towers for beam antennas and have just one or two transceivers and an ATU on the corner of a table. But there is lots of fun to be had operating even the most modest radio station and he’ll look at how to get the best from limited equipment, or space. In his talk, Rael, M0RTP says that a transmitting magnetic loop antenna offers the amateur a compelling option for getting on the air and having access to all the HF bands when restricted for size and height of the antenna system at your QTH. He will cover DIY construction tips, tricks and traps for QRO operation and will provide an overview on how to remotely tune a magnetic loop. Find out more at www.rsgb.org.uk/convention.

Running slightly behind schedule, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a bumper Summer edition of TX Factor is now available. Episode 26 is packed full of pre-lockdown features including a very relaxed tea and biscuits interview with Tim Kirby, GW4VXE as he speaks of his big passion for VHF and UHF operating. Bob, G0FGX and Mike, G1IAR take the lid off Bob’s Icom IC-7300 and fit a Radio Analog PTRX-7300 RF interface module. Coupled with an inexpensive SDR receiver like the SDR Play RSP1A and your computer, this board gives you a proper panadapter display so you can use your mouse to click and pounce on the signals you want to hear. Bob also gets his hands on one of the very first Icom IC-705 all-mode QRP SDR transceivers to arrive in the UK and gives a comprehensive review of all its wonderous capabilities. TX Factor is viewable on all devices from smartphones to smart TVs and is available at www.txfactor.co.uk, or search for TX Factor on YouTube. TX Factor is sponsored by the RSGB and Martin Lynch and Sons.

Tim, G4YBU and Richard, G8ITB have planned a Summits on the Air Activity Weekend to be held on the 22nd and 23rd of August. The objective is to activate as many of the 15 summits in the Southern SOTA region of England. The event is for everyone. Bands and modes are down to the equipment that any particular operator owns, but it is suggested that 2 metres and 40 metres are very popular both on FM and SSB. Most of the summits in the Southern SOTA region are within easy driving distance of major towns and are a short walk to the summit itself; some actually have a car park within the activation area. For a detailed summit list see the SOTA website, www.sotadata.org.uk.

International Lighthouses and Lightships Weekend is still going ahead this year on the 22nd and 23rd of August. Participation will dependent on local circumstances and government rulings regarding border and national parks closures, social contact and so on. Wirral ARS will be operating using GB2BHL but operation will be from the club premises. Moray Firth ARS will also be taking part, using the callsign GB0CSL for Covesea Skerries Lighthouse. The station will be run from individual club members homes. Details of this are at www.mfars.club.

The GQRP club has released a detailed agenda for its Online Convention 2020, taking place on the 5th and 6th of September. The online event, which replaces the club’s annual GQRP convention, is open to existing members. There is a special rate for non-members that will include GQRP Club membership until January 2022. The two-day event comprises a series of online presentations and knowledge-sharing meetings where people can share ideas. For more information, and to view the full event schedule, see www.gqrp.com/convention.htm

The Netherlands IARU member society, VERON, is encouraging amateurs to use digital amateur television, DATV, in the 2m band on the 22nd of August between 1200 and 1600UTC. Using either 144.600 or 145.300MHz, signals should be DVB-S or DVB-S2 and have a Symbol rate 125k. Details are at www.veron.nl/nieuws/datv-experiment-2-meter/.

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 ARC will put GB1PF on the air from member’s homes until the 17th of August. They will operate using CW, SSB and data across the HF/VHF/UHF bands. More information is on QRZ.com.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, the RSGB has organised a 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 until the 31st of August. See www.rsgb.org/ve-vj-marathon.

August sees two GB80 Special Event Stations on the air, marking the critical role that radar played in the Battle of Britain 80 years ago. GB80BRS will be operated to commemorate Bawdsey Radar Station in Suffolk, where radar was developed in the late 1930s. This was the location of the world’s first operational radar station. Activity will be on 80 to 10m using SSB, CW and FT8. GB80CH, Chain Home, will be operated from Chelmsford in Essex.

And now the DX news

Commemorating the 105th anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli during World War I, special event stations TC3GP and TC3GS will be active until the 23rd of August. QSLs via YM3KCN.

Giorgio, YI/IU5HWS is with the military in Iraq and will be operating on 40, 20 and 10 metres until the end of November.

Now the contest news

There are no RSGB HF contests this month, as August is the month of the traditional summer holiday. That said, there is some doubt about going anywhere on holiday at present thanks to the current Covid-19 precautions! Please remember to check before the contest for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your own national and local government’s advice first and foremost, especially in the instance of local lockdowns.

RTTY operators can participate in the Scandinavian Amateur Radio Teleprinter Group contest. The first sessions were on Saturday but today, the 16th, it runs between 0800 and 1600UTC. The exchange is RST and serial number. Multipliers are DXCC entities and call areas in VK, VE, JA and W. See sartg.com/contest/wwrules.htm for full information.

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

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

Sunspot region 2770 will have just about rotated out of view by the time you hear or read this. After a promising start it quickly faded away, but there is more hope as active region AR2771, belonging to Cycle 25, is forming in the Sun’s southeast quadrant. A secondary bright plage region is also now turning into view off the southeast limb, although it appears to be spotless for now. This is very encouraging as we think it shows that Sunspot Cycle 25 is ready to get under way. On Thursday the solar flux index was 74 with a sunspot number of 24.

Please note that on Propquest.co.uk, the feed from the Chilton ionosonde has been down for a few days, but if you switch to FF051 Fairford you’ll find that feed is working.

Daytime critical frequencies have generally been in the range 4 to 5.3MHz, which means that 40m remains unsuitable for close-in NVIS contacts around the UK. You may find 60m or 5MHz more reliable for inter-UK working. But critical frequencies are generally staying higher just after sunset, which can be good news for stations chasing DX. The charts suggest that 14MHz is remaining open to contacts over 3,000km until nearly local midnight.

Next week NOAA predicts the solar flux index will remain at around 72, with the largest Kp index being two. This reflects the fact that there are no Earth-facing coronal holes at present, although this can change without much notice. Active region 2771 could develop further, as could the plage area in the southeast quadrant. But it really is guesswork at this point.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

The weather pattern is changing into something much more unsettled generally, and not just in isolated instances of severe thunderstorms as we’ve seen recently. Tropo conditions were good in some parts as last week came to an end. It's easy to get Tropo over sea paths at this time of the year and, whilst there could still be some opportunities across the North Sea early next week, most areas will be in the realm of low pressure, so no more Tropo.

The Sporadic-E season has had a little boost by the recent meteor input from the Perseids so it's still worth looking at the usual times, mid-morning and late afternoon to early evening. The season can last into early September, so there’s still time.

Rain scatter should be the mode of choice this coming week, with a slow-moving area of low pressure over the country bringing thundery showers and spells of heavy rain to many places. It’s a good time to use one of the many radar displays available online to track the heavy rain cells and try some GHz band rain scatter.

Mid-August is a good time for meteor scatter, so keep that on the list as the Perseids meteor shower declines. Opinion was that this year was not a vintage one, with many reporting poorer performance than last year. That said, the meteorscan.com website showed hourly rates at over 100 around 0600 on the 12th and 13th.

The Moon was at peak declination yesterday and path losses are falling as we approach perigee on Friday, so it’s a good week for EME. 144MHz sky temperatures are low.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for August 9th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for August 9th 2020.

August 7, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 9th of August 2020

The news headlines:

Remote invigilation helps hundreds

Check RSGB news online

Could you write for children?

The RSGB remote invigilation exams continue to help hundreds of people join the world of amateur radio and progress to the Intermediate licence level. From youngsters who have decided to learn a new skill whilst being off school during lockdown to older people who have overcome their fear of exams, they have wanted to share their stories in the hope of inspiring others to take the plunge! You can read some of these on the RSGB’s website at www.rsgb.org/gota2c-licensee-stories.

This is a really busy time for amateur radio and the Radio Society of Great Britain is supporting members and non-members alike during these changing times. Remember that you can see the RSGB’s main news on its website, and its RSGB Notices page in particular. Check there for updates to the Board, Volunteer Leadership Team and Regional Team as well as news about ‘Get on the air to care’, new initiatives and activities, exams and the syllabus, support and general services. It’s all at www.rsgb.org.

Have you ever written a book for children in the 11-13 age range? The RSGB is looking for an author of a book aimed at Key Stage 3 school children. This is intended to be an appropriately illustrated technical book, so experience of working with an illustrator will be very useful. We already have a suitable manuscript for the topic but it needs to be re-written for the intended audience. If you have relevant experience writing for young people we’d like to hear from you. Send details of yourself and your experience to authors@rsgb.org.uk.

The RSGB has released two more 2019 Convention presentations to its YouTube channel. In I can hear it, why won’t it decode?, Neil Smith, G4DBN explains choosing the best digital mode for Tropo DX at VHF and above. He also investigates multipath, scintillation, scatter modes and radio characteristics on signal coherence and decodability. In the second presentation, 122GHz and up, well-known microwaver Chris Whitmarsh, G0FDZ covers the challenges and equipment used on the 122, 134, 241GHz and higher bands. To see both of these presentations go to the RSGB YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/theRSGB.

The vintage SAQ Alexanderson alternator in Grimeton, Sweden, conducted its transmissions on 17.2kHz on the 5th of July as part of SAQ Alexanderson Day. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the transmitter hall was empty except for the five members of the Alexander Association who would make the transmissions. Visitors were directed towards the Visitor Centre. The planned two transmissions took place at 0900UTC and at 1200UTC and were livestreamed to their YouTube channel. They have received 630 unique listener reports from all over the world – a new record for SAQ Anderson Day. For QSL information, see www.alexander.n.se.

The Youth Working Group within the IARU Region 1 created a new programme called YOTA Online. In these monthly gatherings a team of active youngsters have presented different topics, while answering questions from the youth community. You can see the previous broadcasts at www.youtube.com/hamyota.

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 Palmerston ARC will put GB1PF on the air from member’s homes between the 14th and 17th of August. They will operate using CW, SSB and data across the HF/VHF/UHF bands. More information on QRZ.com.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, the RSGB has organised a 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 August. The special stations have their own QRZ.com pages with details of the activation schedule. Full details of the radio marathon and the five awards are on the Society’s radio marathon web page, www.rsgb.org/ve-vj-marathon.

August sees two GB80 Special Event Stations on the air to mark the critical role that radar played in the Battle of Britain 80 years ago. GB80BRS will be operated to commemorate Bawdsey Radar Station in Suffolk, where radar was developed in the late 1930s and was the location of the world’s first operational radar station. Activity will be on 80 to 10m using SSB, CW and FT8. GB80CH will be operated from Chelmsford in Essex, which has the most complete surviving radar tower from the Battle of Britain. The BAE Systems Great Baddow Amateur Radio, club with amateur colleagues in local clubs, will be operating across the HF and 6m bands.

And now the DX news

Celebrating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Korea on the 15th of August 1945, members of the Korean Amateur Radio League will be active as HL75V until the end of August. QSL via 6K0MF.

Commemorating the 105th anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli during World War I, special event stations TC3GP and TC3GS will be active until the 23rd of August. QSLs via YM3KCN.

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 WAE DX CW contest ends its 48 hour run at 2359UTC today, the 9th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, European stations work non-Europeans only. The exchange is signal report and serial number.

Today, the 9th, it’s the 5th 70MHz Cumulative contest from 1400 to 1600UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

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 is the same from both contests, signal report, serial number and locator.

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

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

The week started with a geomagnetic disturbance caused by a high-speed stream from a coronal hole, which moved past the Earth at a speed in excess of 500 kilometres per second. This was not predicted by NOAA, but it was from a long coronal hole limb that stretched towards the solar equator. It pushed the Kp index to four in the early hours of Monday, causing a depletion of the F2 layer that impacted HF for much of the morning. MUFs over a 3,000km path struggled to get up to 14MHz until 0930hrs. Meanwhile, we are seeing some more activity on the sunspot front. A new Cycle 25 region numbered 2770 rotated into view, pushing the sunspot number to 13 and the solar flux index to 73. While this isn’t too exciting, it is another step in the right direction. This sunspot region has been emitting a lot of B-class solar flares and we expect that to continue. Next week, NOAA predicts that the solar flux index will return to 69-71 with a maximum Kp index of two. At the time of writing, there were no coronal holes looking to threaten Earth.

The Sporadic-E season is now well past its peak, but there is always hope for openings on 10m, especially with high-efficiency modes like FT8. We expect daytime F2-layer MUFs to peak above 14MHz, with occasional openings on 18MHz. Night-time MUFS over a 3,000km path should remain above 10MHz after paths on 20m close at around 2200hrs.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

The VHF highlight next week is the annual Perseids meteor shower, peaking on the 12th with a huge ZHR of 100. This is the big opportunity to try meteor scatter on digimodes, with a very good chance of results. Read up on the procedures, bands and modes before you dive in, to avoid disappointment.

It's a mixed selection of propagation weather this week. The south and east had some Tropo options last week and will do again into early next week, with a particularly strong indication from northern Britain across the North Sea at the end of this weekend. It also looks likely that a developing ridge from high pressure over the Atlantic will give a return of Tropo potential at the end of the week, especially in the north and west. In between these two Tropo periods, the weather is essentially unsettled, with a tendency to produce slow-moving areas of showers. It’s quite likely that some will be heavy and thundery. This bodes well for GHz rain scatter opportunities, especially from the heavier showers.

It’s still worth a shout out for Sporadic-E, which is not over yet, although events are harder to find using CW or SSB. It's not looking like a good set of jet stream charts, so as we said earlier FT8 is a good first place to look.

Moon declination is positive and rising this week so peak Moon elevations and visibility windows will follow suit. Combined with falling path losses, it’s an improving week for EME. 144MHz sky noise is low, peaking on Friday at 500K.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for August 2nd 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for August 2nd 2020.

July 31, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 2nd of August 2020

The news headlines:

Intermediate Exam practical assessment abolished

RSGB creates Facebook group for new licensees

Australia increases amateur licence flexibility

The Examination Standards Committee is pleased to announce the latest syllabus revision for the amateur radio licence examinations. Following the valuable feedback from the tutor community, certain points have been clarified. There are no new learning points with this revision, version 1.4, but one very significant change is that the Intermediate practical assessment is to be discontinued with immediate effect. Some of the feedback has indicated a further syllabus revision that will involve new learning points. Further consultations will commence regarding this in the autumn with an expected publication date of January 2021, and the content examinable from July 2021. All the documents are on the Society’s website at www.rsgb.org/syllabus2019

As part of its continuing Get on the air to care initiative, the RSGB has created a Facebook group to support new Foundation licensees who have taken their exam this year via remote invigilation, plus those returning to amateur radio after a number of years. For details on how to join the group, see www.rsgb.org/beyond-exams.

The Australian comms regulator ACMA has announced a series of changes to give Australian amateurs more options and flexibility. Digital modes and shorter three-letter callsigns will now be available to Australian Foundation Licensees. In addition, regional identifiers that indicate which State any amateur is located no longer need be changed when travelling across the country. Further details are available from the Wireless Institute of Australia at https://tinyurl.com/gb2rs-au.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, the RSGB has organised a 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 August. The special stations have their own QRZ.com pages with details of the activation schedule. If you wish to participate and transmit using a VJ Day radio marathon callsign, contact Ian, G0FCT via email to csc.chair@rsgb.org.uk. Full details of the radio marathon and the five awards are on the Society’s radio marathon web page, www.rsgb.org/ve-vj-marathon.

Around 80 papers are now available online for the IARU Region 1 Virtual General Conference that will be held in October. Several inputs on a variety of topics are by a team of RSGB volunteers, covering HF-UHF Modernisation, support for innovation and the WRC-23 challenge in the 23cm band. The RSGB band plans may also be updated to take account of the outcome in January 2021. Full information can be found at https://rsgb.org/main/rsgb-consultations/iaru-consultations.

A Facebook group promoting Special Event Stations within the UK now has over 1000 members. Any radio amateur or SWL with an interest in organising, operating or working special event stations is welcome. The group is run by Mark, G1PIE, Martyn, MM0XXW and Pam, 2E1HQY. See www.facebook.com/groups/SESUk.

Milton Keynes ARS tells us that their training team has been part of the remote invigilating of exams. Over 300 candidates have been invigilated by Francis, M0UKF and Nigel, M0NYG since the online scheme started in April. The club thanks them for their efforts. Francis is taking a well-earned break to focus on other projects.

The objective of the AMSAT-UK OSCAR Satellite QSO Party is to encourage all radio amateurs to make contacts via satellites during northern hemisphere summer. The event runs until 2359UTC on the 22nd of September. Prizes will be awarded to the leading entries. Full details are at https://amsat-uk.org.

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.

August sees two GB80 Special Event Stations on the air to mark the critical role that radar played in the Battle of Britain 80 years ago. GB80BRS will be operated to commemorate Bawdsey Radar Station in Suffolk, which was where radar was developed in the late 1930s and was the location of the world’s first operational radar station. Activity will be on 80m to 10m bands using SSB, CW and FT8. GB80CH will be operated from Chelmsford in Essex, which has the most complete surviving radar tower from the Battle of Britain. The BAE Systems Great Baddow Amateur Radio, club with amateur colleagues in local clubs, will be operating across the HF and 6m bands.

And now the DX news

Tony, OH1TD is active again from his summer QTH on Korpo Island, IOTA reference EU-096, until September. QSL via his home callsign, either direct or via the bureau.

Mike, XW2DX is currently active as XW2DX from Vientiane and will be staying in Laos for the next few years. He is allowed to operate on the 20, 15 and 10m bands. QSL via RM0L.

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.

Today, the 2nd, the 432MHz Low Power Contest is single operator only from 0800 to 1200UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number, locator and first two letters of your postcode.

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

Next weekend is the WAE DX CW contest from 0000UTC on the 8th to 2359UTC on the 9th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, European stations work non-Europeans only. The exchange is signal report and serial number.

Next Sunday, the 9th, it’s the 5th 70MHz Cumulative contest from 1400 to 1600UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

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

The Sun showed signs of coming back to life this week with not one but two sunspot groups. The sunspot number climbed to 22, representing two spots in two separate groups, and the solar flux index rose to 73. This wasn’t really enough to make much of a difference to HF propagation though, but it is a step in the right direction. The Kp index was pegged pretty much at one or two due to a lack of coronal hole activity.

Propagation-wise, we continued to have a good run of Sporadic-E, with openings to the USA and Canada on 10m SSB and FT8, and China was reported on SSB in last weekend’s IOTA contest. Even Nand, VU2NKS in India has been reported in the UK via 10m FT8. Next week NOAA predicts that the solar flux index will decline from 72 down to 68 as the two sunspots rotate out of view. The Kp index should remain low all week as well due to a lack of coronal hole activity. Propagation will remain at seasonal lows as we enter August, with daytime F2 maximum usable frequencies grazing 17-18MHz, with Sporadic-E bringing openings up to 30MHz and beyond. Night-time maximum usable frequencies are likely to exceed 10MHz over 3,000km paths, but keep an eye on Propquest.co.uk for the odd surprise. We can’t really expect F2 layer openings to improve until September, so make the most of the Sporadic-E openings for now.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

The next week or so looks to be a mix of brief spells when high pressure might present us with some Tropo, as seen just recently at the end of the last week, due to a temporary high over the near continent. The longer-range part of the forecast also picks up another high at the end of the coming week, although for both these highs, the main areas of enhanced Tropo are for central and southern Britain across the Channel and North Sea into the continent and Baltic region.

The period in between the two high-pressure ‘bookends’ is occupied by low-pressure systems with fronts and showery troughs adding a good chance of rain scatter again on the GHz bands. The summer months are particularly good for strong thundery shower-cloud development with plenty of high-intensity rainfall or hail.

Sporadic-E has performed fairly well in the last week, particularly for FT8, but with a smattering of more traditional modes. The general advice still holds – check the bands mid-morning, late afternoon and early evening for signs of Sporadic-E. It's never too late for Sporadic-E until maybe the end of the first week in September, so it's still well worth a look.

The Moon is at minimum declination today so there will be very low peak Moon elevations and short visibility windows early in the week. This means that, despite 144MHz sky noise being low, the man-made noise from the horizon will be in the main beam of all but the largest antennas.

There are no significant meteor showers this week.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for July 26th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for July 26th 2020.

July 24, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 26th of July 2020

The news headlines:

Over 400 remote-invigilation Intermediate exams booked

July’s RadCom Basic’s free to all

Tokyo Ham Fair cancelled

Since bookings opened on the 13th of July, the RSGB is delighted that over 400 people have booked a remote-invigilation Intermediate exam, with over 250 registering on the first day! These exams take place from the 12th of August and we wish the candidates well with their studying and the exam.

With more than 1000 remote-invigilation Foundation licence students having passed, the RSGB is making the July edition of RadCom Basics a special free-to-everyone edition. With many radio amateurs world-wide still affected by national lockdown restrictions, RadCom Basics is an opportunity to introduce elements of the hobby to newcomers in bite-sized pieces. To read the July copy of this bi-monthly online publication, go to www.rsgb.org/radcom-basics.

The Japanese national society, JARL, has announced that the Tokyo Ham Fair, due to be held on the 31st of October and the 1st of November has been cancelled due to coronavirus. In 2019, 42,000 people are reported to have visited the event that usually takes place in August, it was moved to later in 2020 because of the expected Olympic and Paralympic Games during the summer.

The objective of the AMSAT-UK OSCAR Satellite QSO Party is to encourage all radio amateurs to make contacts via satellites during northern hemisphere summer. Whether you are a seasoned operator or a newcomer, all are welcome. Although points are given per QSO, this isn’t a contest. The QSO Party will be supported by an online leader-board that will be available from the start of the event, which runs from 0000UTC on the 1st of August until 2359UTC on the 22nd of September. Prizes will be awarded to the leading entries, full details at https://amsat-uk.org.

The RSGB’s Tonight @ 8 webinars continue on Monday the 27th of July with a presentation by Dom Smith, M0BLF on Getting started on QO-100. You can watch the livestream and ask questions on both the RSGB YouTube channel or the special Tonight @ 8 channel on the BATC website. The webinar series takes a break in August then will be back on the 7th of September with James Stevens, M0JCQ who will be talking about Portable adventures with Summits on the Air. You can find out more about all the webinars via the RSGB website at www.rsgb.org/webinars.

NZART, the New Zealand National Amateur Radio Society, has published an update on its 60m band page indicating that the current New Zealand 60m trial period, which was due to have been concluded on the 24th of July has been extended for a further three months until the 24th of October. Go to www.nzart.org.nz/info/60m/ for more information.

The European Space Agency has released a new video ‘How to get pictures from the International Space Station via Amateur Radio’ that features radio amateur David Honess, 2E0XDO. It also has a collection of tutorial videos explaining how to receive ISS Slow Scan TV pictures for different computers and mobile devices. Go to https://tinyurl.com/gb2rs-iss to find out more.

The RSGB has uploaded two more 2019 Convention lecture videos to its YouTube channel. In the first one, Richard Banester, G4CDN talks about 2m Ionoscatter and using digital modes to open up paths that are usually unworkable. The second presentation is by Dean Pesnell from the Solar Dynamics Observatory who explains more about the Observatory and how studying the Sun helps us understand the Earth and amateur radio. Go to www.youtube.com/theRSGB to watch these presentations.

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.

August sees two GB80 Special Event Stations come on air marking the critical role that radar played in the Battle of Britain 80 years ago. GB80BRS will be operated to commemorate Bawdsey Radar Station in Suffolk, which was where radar was developed in the late 1930s and was the location of the world’s first operational radar station. Operation will be on 10m to 80m bands, SSB, CW and FT8. GB80CH will be operated from Chelmsford in Essex, which has the most complete surviving radar tower from the Battle of Britain. The BAE Systems Great Baddow Amateur Radio, club with amateur colleagues in local clubs will be operating across the HF+6m bands.

And now the DX news

Tony, OH1TD is active again from his summer QTH on Korpo Island, EU-096, until September. QSL via his home callsign either direct or via the bureau.

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.

Today, the 26th, the UK Microwave Group contest runs from 0600 to 1800UTC. Using all modes in the 5.7 and 10GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The RSGB’s Islands On The Air contest ends its 24-hour run at 1200UTC today, the 26th. It’s CW and SSB only on the 3.5 to 28MHz bands and the exchange is signal report, serial number and your IOTA reference. Mainland Britain is EU-005, mainland Ireland is EU-115, while smaller islands have differing references. A full list can be found at www.qrz.com/i/iota.html. The IOTA contest has been scaled back this year, with no portable entries being accepted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Monday the sixth FT4 series contest runs from 1900 to 2030UTC. Using the 3.5MHz band only the exchange is your 4-character locator.

On Tuesday the SHF UK Activity Contest runs from 1830 to 2200UTC. Using all modes on the 2.3GHz and Up bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The fourth 144MHz Backpacker contest takes place on Saturday the 1st of August but with single operator entries only. Running from 1400 to 1800UTC, it’s all mode with the exchange of signal report, serial number and locator.

Also on the 1st of August, the 144MHz Low Power Contest runs from 1400 to 2000UTC. Again this is single operator only entries. Using all modes the exchange is signal report, serial number, locator and first two letters of your postcode.

The Worked All Britain 144MHz Low power phone contest takes place next Saturday, the 1st of August from 1400 to 1800UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square for UK stations. Entries need to be with the contest manager by the 11th of August. The maximum power for this contest is 10 watts input to the antenna. Mobile and portable entries are allowed but no club or multi-operator entries. Full details from www.worked-all-britain.org.uk.

Next Sunday, the 2nd, the 432MHz Low Power Contest is single operator only from 0800 to 1200UTC. Using all modes the exchange is signal report, serial number, locator and first two letters of your 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 24th of July.

We had quite a quiet week with the Sun with zero sunspots and a settled geomagnetic field. The solar wind speed was slow, between 280 and 330km per second, and its magnetic field was weak, with no significant negative deflections in its important North-South Bz direction. Therefore, the resultant geomagnetic activity was settled.

On the 21st a sunspot appeared around the Sun’s limb. Now classified as sunspot group 2767, on Thursday it contained one sunspot, but its simple uni-polar magnetic signature suggests it is non threatening.

We do expect the Kp index to rise on Friday the 24th due to the arrival of a coronal hole high speed stream. Modest magnetic enhancement is also forecast for the 25th of July with the possible arrival of a slow CME from the 19th.

Expect a possible pre-aurora enhancement followed by the potential for suppressed maximum usable frequencies over the weekend and into early next week.

HF conditions have been generally lacklustre, but Laurie, G3UML reports that WH6FXL and WA6QDQ/KH6, both in Hawaii, were both quite readable signals on 20m SSB at 0800 on Wednesday. Tom, GM4FDM reports working two JAs on 17m using his newly-erected dipole. The 10m UK Net group on Facebook also reported an FT8 opening to Japan on Monday as well.

This just goes to show that you shouldn’t just write off the Summer as being no good for DX.

Next week NOAA predicts the solar flux index will remain in the high 60s with the Kp index between two and three. This generally suggests that HF conditions will remain similar to last week. Expect Sporadic-E openings on 10 metres to continue, although not at the rate that we had earlier in the month.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

A series of low-pressure systems passing close by northern Scotland and various fronts crossing the country mean that there are likely to be few opportunities for Tropo this week. High pressure is displaced to the south over France so any Tropo will be mostly likely from southern England into the continent or across Biscay to Spain. That brings rain scatter on the GHz bands onto the agenda for many regions of the UK at some time or other during the coming week.

Sporadic-E still warrants a mention, but it is becoming more elusive as we move towards August. It's not a 'no chance', but it will need some strategy for being in the right place at the right time. The best options will be to monitor 10m or 6m mid-morning and again late afternoon or early evening. Paths on FT8 will prove good indicators of which direction might deliver as the Es develops.

With the Moon declination negative and falling further as the week progresses, Moon visibility windows will shorten and peak elevation will be just 32 degrees today and falling, leading up to minimum declination a week today.

Perigee was yesterday, Saturday the 1st, so path losses are now increasing. 144MHz sky noise peaks at 2,500 Kelvin on Friday, so low noise preamps won’t help you that day.

The Southern Delta Aquarids meteor shower has a broad peak from the 26th to the 31st with a Zenithal Hourly Rate of 25, so look for enhanced meteor scatter activity in the coming week. In Europe, the shower radiant is above the horizon at night or in the early mornings.

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

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for July 19th 2020.

RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for July 19th 2020.

July 17, 2020

GB2RS NEWS

Sunday the 19th of July 2020

The news headlines:

Over 1000 online exams passed

Ofcom publishes EMF consultation responses

Covid-19 cancels National Hamfest

The RSGB is delighted to announce that recently the 1,000th person has passed the Foundation exam via remote invigilation. Congratulations to them and everyone else who has joined amateur radio via this exam process. To celebrate, the Society has launched a new web page to share the stories of just some of these successful candidates. Go to www.rsgb.org/gota2c-licensee-stories to read what attracted them to amateur radio and what they are hoping to do next.

Ofcom has published the responses to the EMF consultation on their website. A link can be found on the RSGB’s EMF webpage at http://rsgb.org/emf. The RSGB would like to thank the 255 of you who took the time to respond either individually or on behalf of your organisation. The majority of all responders were against the proposals. Now that ICNIRP guidelines 2020 have been published, the RSGB is preparing updated guidelines and advice as to how to operate your stations within these guidelines. These will be published on the EMC pages of the website later this year. This guidance is being prepared by a group of experts from the amateur community including the editors of the IEEE Standard for Safety Levels for Human Exposure to EMF fields.

It is with much regret that the organisers of the National Hamfest have cancelled the 2020 event. This was due to be held on Friday the 25th and Saturday the 26th of September. In consideration of their primary responsibilities to the health and welfare of volunteers, traders and visitors they have decided that this cancellation is the right decision. The environment in which the event is held presents unique and very difficult challenges in protecting social distancing, preventing handling of equipment and controlling numbers in a confined area. Arrangements are in hand for returning to the Newark Showground on the 24th and the 25th of September 2021 and they look forward to seeing you there.

Registrations for this year’s popular International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend appear to have been largely unaffected by the current Covid-19 pandemic. The event will take place this year on the 22nd and 23rd of August. By mid-July, more than 200 entries had been received. New this year is Corsica, registered as lighthouse FR0030, and two lighthouses in Ghana will be on the air for the first time. All participants are urged to observe local COVID-19 safety guidelines. Find out more at https://illw.net.

The Reverse Beacon Network will gain 15 new nodes, thanks to the Yasme Foundation. These will be added in regions where there is a need for reception reports to support amateur radio operation and where those reports will also have scientific value for geophysical research. The Yasme Foundation was assisted in this effort by supporting grants from Amateur Radio Digital Communications and by scientific advice from HamSCI researchers. Node locations will be available after a final list of hosts is available. 

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.

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.

And now the DX news

Joe, K5KUA will participate in the IOTA Contest next weekend from his home QTH on Galveston Island,
NA-143. He will operate mainly CW with some SSB. QSL direct or bureau and Logbook of The World.

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.

Today, 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 today, the 19th. It runs from 1000 to 1600UTC. It’s all mode and the exchange is signal report, serial number, locator and postcode.

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

Next weekend, the UK Microwave Group contest runs from 0600 to 1800UTC. Using all modes in the 5.7 and 10GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

The RSGB’s Islands On The Air contest takes place over the weekend of the 25th and 26th of July. The exchange is signal report, serial number and your IOTA reference. Mainland Britain is EU-005, mainland Ireland is EU-115, while smaller islands have differing references. A full list can be found at www.qrz.com/i/iota.html. The IOTA contest has been scaled back this year, with no portable entries being accepted due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Running from 1200UTC on the 25th to 1200UTC on the 25th, it is CW and SSB only on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands.

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 17th of July.

Last week a coronal mass ejection caught space weather experts by surprise, sending the Kp index up to four for around nine hours on Tuesday. The stream had a strong southward component in its Bz field, which meant it could more easily couple with the Earth’s magnetic field. The weak CME passage was enough to generate aurora at higher latitudes. Otherwise, the Sun was relatively quiet with zero sunspots and a solar flux index of 68-69 all week. Ten metre Sporadic-E has become less prevalent this week, with Thursday showing mostly weak openings to Mauritania, Spain, Sicily and Corsica.

Next week NOAA still predicts more of the same with a solar flux index of 68 and zero sunspots. There are signs of coronal holes on the Sun’s surface, which could result in unsettled geomagnetic conditions at times due to high-speed solar wind streams. The STEREO Ahead spacecraft’s extreme ultraviolet view shows signs of a hot spot on the Sun, which will rotate into view over the next week. This could be the precursor of a sunspot, but only time will tell. Meanwhile, daytime F2-layer maximum usable frequencies are still exceeding 20m, with occasional openings on 17m. Sporadic E openings still occur virtually daily with openings up to 10m. Night-time F-layer MUFs occasionally exceed 20m, especially up to around midnight.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

This weekend we have developing high pressure over southern Britain, and it should provide some good Tropo opportunities, especially across the Channel and over Biscay into Spain and down the west coast of Africa. It’s also worth noting that the Mediterranean is in full-on summer mode with strong ducts over the sea from most of the usual holiday destinations, for example EA6 to IS0. These Tropo conditions should last into the middle of the week. After that, the models seem to suggest a return to more unsettled conditions as a front moves south bringing rain and heavy showers, some thundery, particularly in the south, and this weather type will last into the following weekend. So, there should be some strong rain scatter conditions on the GHz bands in the second half of the week.

There have been some very strong Sporadic-E events all the way up to 2m during the last week. The traditional components like jet streams make a strong showing on the upper air charts, so I would expect to see further Sporadic-E popping up next week, so check the bands mid morning and early evening. With the Moon at peak declination today and path losses falling as we approach perigee next weekend, it’s a good week for EME. Although 144MHz sky noise is low all week, the exception is Monday afternoon when the Sun and Moon are close in the sky. There are no major meteor showers this week, so keep looking around local dawn for the best random contacts.

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

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