The RSGB Intruder Watch Service is looking for a volunteer to act as Coordinator when Richard Lamont, G4DYA retires from the role in September. The function of the Intruder Watch Service is to monitor and receive reports of intrusions of non-amateur transmissions into amateur radio bands and to collate reports and alert Ofcom to persistent and regular intruders. The responsibilities of the volunteer include: submitting details of intruders to the IARU Monitoring Service on behalf of the UK; membership of the RSGB Spectrum Forum; and providing reports for the Spectrum Forum, RadCom and the RSGB Yearbook. The successful applicant for the position will have a station capable of reliable monitoring of amateur bands, up-to-date knowledge of transmission modes and modulation methods in order to be able to identify transmissions, and the ability to receive reports of intruders from other amateur stations by email. If you’re interested in finding out more about this role, please email the RSGB Spectrum Forum Chair, Murray Niman, G6JYB at email@example.com
Have you been to the RSGB National Radio Centre? Would you like to encourage your family and friends to visit and find out more about amateur radio? We’ve just released a promotional video that gives a whistle-stop tour of all the fantastic things at the NRC in just one minute. Find it on the RSGB’s YouTube channel or on the National Radio Centre web page on our website at rsgb.org/nrc
International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend is coming up soon. The event is usually held on the third weekend of August which this year is the 19th and 20th. It is one of the most popular amateur radio events in the calendar and in past years there have been over 500 entries from more than 40 different countries. More details about the event and a registration form can be found at illw.net
A reminder now that the popular British Inland Waterways on the Air event will take place between the 26th and 28th of August. The event is open to amateurs who use canals, towpaths, rivers, lakes or reservoirs for work or recreation. Registration for the event is still open. To sign up, visit Nunsfield House Amateur Radio Group’s website nharg.org.uk and follow the ‘BIWOTA 2023’ link.
The RSGB is reminding all radio amateurs that they are required to revalidate their licence with Ofcom at least every five years. If it has been a while since you did that, go to ofcom.org.uk/manage-your-licence or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The date has been confirmed for the 2023 Scottish Microwave Round Table, or GMRT. It will be held between 10.30 am and 5 pm on Saturday the 11th of November at the Museum of Communication, Burntisland, Fife in Scotland. An interesting programme of speakers has been arranged. Microwave test facilities will be provided, and the event will be an opportunity to purchase components and microwave-related items. The cost is £12 and this includes a buffet lunch. A dinner will be held in the evening at a local hotel. Full information and online registration are available at gmroundtable.org.uk/about Please email Colin, GM4HWO via email@example.com for more information.
Don’t forget that booking is open for the RSGB Convention which is being held between the 13th and 15th of October. For more information visit rsgb.org/convention
And now for details of rallies and events
The Flight Refuelling Amateur Radio Society Hamfest is being held today, Sunday the 13th of August from 9 am to 4 pm. The venue is Cobham Sports and Social Club Ground, Merley, near Wimborne, Dorset, BH21 3DA. Admission is £5 and this includes parking. Talk-in will be on 145.550MHz. On-site catering, bar facilities and an RSGB Bookstall will be available. Indoor and field pitches are available and car-boot traders are welcome from 7 am. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit frars.co.uk or phone 07743 475 018.
The Rugby Amateur Transmitting Society Rally will take place on Sunday the 20th of August. The venue will be Princethorpe College, Princethorpe, Rugby, Warwickshire, CV23 9PY. The event will begin at 10 am. For more details contact Steve, G8LYB on 07956 855 816, email email@example.com or visit rugbyats.co.uk
Lincoln Short Wave Club Summer Rally will take place on Sunday the 20th of August. The venue will be The Festival Hall, Caistor Road, Market Rasen, LN8 3HT. The doors will be open from 9.30 am and admission will be £2. Free car parking and refreshments will be available. The tables cost £10. To book, contact Steve via firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07777 699 069.
The Red Rose Summer Rally will take place on Sunday the 20th of August. The venue will be St Joseph’s Hall, Leigh WN7 2PJ. The event will feature free parking, a café, traders, individual stands, club stands, low-cost bring and buy and a raffle for a new digital radio. For more information visit wmrc.co.uk
Now the Special Event News
Special event station PA14JAMBO will be active until Thursday the 17th of August from Spaarnwoude for the 14th Haarlem Jamborette, a large international scout camp that takes place in the Netherlands every four years. Look for activity on SSB, CW, and digital modes. QSL via PA9LUC and eQSL.
Special event station CX90RCU will be operating until Thursday the 31st of August to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Radio Club Uruguayo, CX1AA, founded on the 23rd of August 1933. QSL via the bureau, direct, or via Logbook of the World.
Now the DX news
Josiah, KI5UBT and John, N5VOF will be active as VP5/KI5UBT and VP5/N5VOF from Providenciales, NA-002, on the Turks and Caicos Islands, until tomorrow, the 14th of August. They are operating SSB and FT8 on the 40 to 2m bands. QSL direct-to-home calls.
Bo, OZ1DJJ will be active again, from Greenland, as OX3LX from Tasiilaq on Ammassalik Island, NA-151, until the 15th of August. He will focus on the QO-100 satellite and the 6 and 4m bands, but he will also be QRV on the HF bands. He will then go to Ittoqqortoormiit, on the main island of Greenland. QSL via Logbook of the World, Club Log's OQRS, or direct to OZ0J.
Also active from Tasiilaq will be Emil, DL8JJ, operating as OX/DL8JJ until tomorrow, the 14th of August. In his spare time, he will operate CW with 10W.
Frans, DJ0TP will be active as TK/DJ0TP from the main island of Corsica, EU-014, until the 3rd of September. QSL via DJ0TP’s home call and Logbook of the World.
Now the contest news
Today, the 13th of August, the Worked All Europe DX CW Contest ends its 24-hour run at 2359UTC. Using CW on the 80 to 10m bands, where contests are permitted, the exchange is signal report and serial number.
On Tuesday the 15th of August, the 1.3GHz UK Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes on 1.3GHz frequencies, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Thursday the 17th of August, the 70MHz UK Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes on the 4m band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA, and G4BAO on Thursday the 10th of August 2023
Sunspot activity continues as we head towards the solar maximum. Or have we already gone past that point? Identifying solar maximum can only really be done in retrospect. That is after we have already had it!
Solar maximum is now forecast for early to mid-2025 so we still have some way to go.
Last week the Solar Flux Index declined from 176 on the 5th, to 153 on the 10th.
Geomagnetic conditions were mainly settled, other than a Kp index of 6.67 on the 5th. This was due to an incoming plasma cloud from a coronal mass ejection, or CME, that left the Sun on the 2nd of August.
We had not one, but two X-class flare events recently. These occurred on the 5th and the 7th. The event on the 5th was long in duration with a peak flux at 2221UTC. Luckily it was from active region 3386, which was right on the edge of the visible solar disk, so any associated CME was directed away from Earth.
The second event at 2046UTC on the 7th was also from AR3386, which by now had rotated just out of view of the Earth, so again its associated CME was not Earth-directed.
So, we were lucky on both counts. If this sunspot region is still active on its return, we could be in for a rough ride. Keep an eye out from around the 20th of this month when it should reappear.
HF conditions have been variable, with occasional F2-layer openings on the 10m band. The 15m band has produced some good DX including 5W1SA in Samoa on FT8. The 17m band produced Roland, TR8CR in Gabon on CW for Laurie, G3UML. S79KW in Seychelles was worked by Hugh, EI2HI on 10m SSB, but it has otherwise been quite quiet. Expect more HF DX activity later next month.
Next week, NOAA predicts that the Solar Flux Index will be in the low 160s, with a maximum Kp index of two. If that does pan out, we can expect fairly good HF conditions.
But as always, watch out for solar flares and CMEs that can’t be predicted terribly well. A solar flare could result in a sudden ionospheric disturbance but that would be relatively short-lived. A CME, which might follow a flare in about two days, could see the MUF drop for a day or more.
And now the VHF and up propagation news
The brief period of high pressure around the middle of last week will be long gone by the weekend and new Atlantic lows will again dominate the UK weather. At first, this will be mainly over the northern half of Britain before moving to the western side of the country later in the week.
This means that any Tropo at the end of the previous week is not here to stay. The low-pressure input will bring rain scatter propagation modes and, since we are supposedly in the summertime, the rainfall events may be quite heavy or even thundery in places, so there may be good scattering for the GHz bands.
The Sporadic-E season is still simmering with a few brief moments of single hop within Europe, but also some longer multi-hop paths including to the Far East and VK on 10m.
The upper air pattern of jet streams may still be able to trigger a few openings during the coming week, although it is looking much weaker than last week and possibly mainly biased towards northern areas like the Baltic and Scandinavia.
Meteor scatter is one mode that should do well, especially at first with the peak of the Perseids this weekend. It can be quite interesting to monitor the 2m meteor scatter calling channel and stand outside watching for meteors, especially if it’s a bit warmer! The shower has a broad peak so should still provide activity during the coming week.
Lastly, the Sun continues to offer occasional disturbed conditions with a chance of high Kp indices and possible aurora. The easiest solution is to monitor the Kp index and perhaps your favourite Scottish beacon for signs of auroral flutter.
With the Moon at maximum declination this weekend, with long Moon visibility windows, it's the Microwave EME contest. Moon apogee is next Wednesday so path losses are at their highest until then. 144MHz sky noise is moderate until late Tuesday when the Sun and the Moon are close in the sky until Thursday when levels drop back to low.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.
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