The RSGB 2023 Convention will be held this year from the 13th to the 15th of October. It is an action-packed weekend of amateur radio and includes the AMSAT-UK Colloquium which will be held during the Convention again. You can chat to the Special Interest Groups and RSGB Committees over a coffee, browse the latest amateur radio equipment and maybe even win a great prize if you buy a ticket in the DXpedition Fund raffle. There will also be two interesting forums on Saturday run in partnership with ICQPodcast. For the first time, the Convention will also have a clear focus on outreach and practical activities as the RSGB provides opportunities for individuals and clubs to ‘have a go’ and be inspired to try new things in their local areas. The draft programme will be available in the October RadCom but is also available now on the RSGB website to give you an idea of the fantastic range of talks that will be happening over the weekend. Find out more and take advantage of the early-bird booking price which is available until the 14th of September – go to rsgb.org/convention
As part of the RSGB’s commitment to the growth of amateur radio, Regional Representative David De La Haye, M0MDB will be giving a presentation at the RSGB Convention in which he will explain more about the Regional Team and how its members can support you to do amateur radio outreach in your local area. A particular focus will be on organising the ever-popular buildathon events. Once you’ve picked up some tips, you can then have a go at building one of a range of kits provided by Kanga Products. The RSGB Convention buildathon is a drop-in event on Saturday the 14th of October which runs from 10.30am to 5pm. You can also confirm your preferred time by pre-booking a slot for a deposit of £5, which is refundable against the cost of the kit you choose to build. Pre-booked time slots will be allocated as first-come, first-served, so make sure to book now! For full details and to book your slot, visit the RSGB website at rsgb.org/buildathon
National Coding Week runs from the 18th of September, but the RSGB is dedicating the whole of September to a focus on amateur radio and coding. There is a range of activity sheets on the RSGB website and we know of schools and amateur radio clubs that are getting involved. Whether you’d like to try the BBC:Microbit, have a go at Node RED or find out more about GNU Radio, this is a great way to try something new, extend your skills, or share your knowledge with your local club, school or community group. If you’d like some support or advice, contact RSGB volunteer John Hislop, G7OHO via email@example.com, and if you’re planning an event let the RSGB know – email firstname.lastname@example.org so the Society can share your stories and photos to inspire others!
Air Ambulance Week 2023 is finishing today, the 10th of September. Lots of amateur radio stations are active on the air to help raise awareness of the lifesaving work that is carried out by the UK’s air ambulance charities. Please give them a call! More information about Air Ambulance Week 2023 can be found by visiting airambulancesuk.org
Amateur radio has been mentioned in the mainstream media twice this week. RSGB President John McCullagh, GI4BWM, was interviewed in a BBC news feature about the demise of longwave radio. You can read it online by searching for “Long wave radio fans mourn fading frequencies”. Secondly, Helen Sharman, the first person from the UK to go into space, was chatting on The Naked Scientists podcast about using amateur radio on the International Space Station to talk to school pupils. Search for “Helen Sharman: chatting with Mikhail Gorbachev” and skip to three minutes and 49 seconds into the podcast.
And now for details of rallies and events
Caister Lifeboat Radio Rally is taking place today, Sunday the 10th of September. The venue is Caister Lifeboat station, Caister on Sea, NR30 5DJ. The doors are open from 9 am to 2 pm. Access for traders is available from 8 a.m. Admission is free. Inside tables cost £10 each. The outside tables cost £5 each. For more information, contact Zane, M1BFI via email on email@example.com or phone 07711 214 790.
The Angel of the North Amateur Radio Club Rally will be held on Saturday the 16th of September. The venue will be Whitehall Road Methodist Church, Whitehall Road, Bensham, Gateshead, NE8 4LH. The doors will be open to traders from 7.30 am and tables cost £6. The event will be open to the public from 10 am to 2 pm and admission will be £2.50. Bacon butties and hot drinks will be available to purchase. There will be a bring-and-buy and a raffle on the day. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Now the Special Event News
Rustington Amateur Radio Group and Worthing and District Amateur Radio Club will be active with Special Event Station GB1SCW on Saturday the 16th of September. Working between 10.30 am and 4.30 pm, operation will take place on HF, VHF and UHF bands using various modes including SSB, FM and digital modes. The station will be operating to celebrate the work of coastal communities, in particular the National Coastwatch Institution and Royal National Lifeboat Institution. More information is available via QRZ.com
OO35ATH is the special callsign in use by members of the Radio Club de Ath, ON4ATH, in Belgium, to celebrate the club's 35th anniversary. The station will be active until the 30th of September.
Now the DX news
John, W5JON is active as V47JA from St. Kitts, NA-104, in the West Indies, until the 12th of September. He is operating SSB and FT8 on the HF and 6m bands. QSL via Logbook of the World, or direct only to W5JON.
Mike, DG5LAC is active as OZ/DG5LAC from Romo Island, EU-125, in Denmark, until the 13th of September. He will operate using FT8, FT4 and some SSB. QSL via Club Log's OQRS, Logbook of the World and eQSL.
Now the contest news
Today, Sunday the 10th of September, the UK Microwave Group 24 to 76GHz Contest runs from 0900 to 1700UTC. Using all modes on 24 to 76GHz frequencies, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
The Worked All Europe DX SSB Contest started at 0000UTC on Saturday the 9th of September and ends at 2359UTC today, Sunday the 10th of September. Using SSB on the 80 to 10m bands, where contests are permitted, the exchange is signal report and serial number.
On Tuesday the 12th of September, the 432MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1800 to 1855UTC. Using FM on the 70cm band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Also on Tuesday the 12th of September, the 432MHz UK Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes on the 70cm band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Wednesday the 13th of September, the Autumn Series CW Contest runs from 1900 to 2030UTC. Using CW on the 80m band, the exchange is signal report and serial number.
On Wednesday the 13th of September, the 432MHz FT8 Activity four-hour Contest runs from 1700 to 2100UTC. Using FT8 on the 70cm band, the exchange is report and four-character locator. Also, on Wednesday, the 13th of September, the 432MHz FT8 Activity two-hour Contest runs from 1900 to 2100UTC. Using FT8 on the 70cm band, the exchange is report and four-character locator. Stations entering the four-hour contest may also enter the two-hour contest.
On Thursday the 14th of September, the 50MHz UK Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes on the 6m band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Sunday the 17th of September, the 70MHz Affiliated Societies Contest runs from 0900 to 1200UTC. Using all modes on the 4m band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Sunday the 17th of September, the IRTS 70cm Counties Contest runs from 1300 to 1330UTC. Using SSB and FM on the 70cm band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator. EI and GI stations also give their county.
Also on Sunday the 17th of September, the IRTS 2m Counties Contest runs from 1300 to 1500UTC. Using SSB and FM on the 2m band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator. EI and GI stations also give their county.
On Sunday the 17th of September, the British Amateur Radio Teledata Group Sprint PSK63 Contest runs from 1700 to 2100UTC. Using PSK63 on the 80 to 10m bands, where contests are permitted, the exchange is serial number.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA, and G4BAO on Thursday the 7th of September 2023
The propagation team was caught out last week by two coronal mass ejections, or CMEs, that came off the edge of the Sun. The arrival of those CMEs on the 3rd of September eventually pushed the Kp index to 5.67.
In its report, Spaceweather.com said that it was possible that a CME arrived on the 2nd of September, but its weak impact was masked by a chaotic stream of solar wind already blowing around Earth at the time.
At this time of year, even weak CMEs can do a good job of sparking auroras as a result of the Russell-McPherron effect, which boosts geomagnetic activity around the equinoxes.
So much for saying that we could expect quiet geomagnetic conditions last week!
The Solar Flux Index declined to 131 but has since recovered to reach 147 on Thursday the 7th, with eight active regions visible. We had a number of M-class solar flares last week, but nothing too damaging.
With the Kp index back to one on the 7th, we saw daytime MUFs rising again, heading above 24.9MHz over a 3,000km path. There were lots of Chinese and Japanese stations on 21MHz FT8 around 1100UTC on Thursday. And up on 12m FT8, even more of the same. DX stations included Thomas, KH0/KC0W on the Mariana Islands in the Pacific.
While the 10m band was just about open as well, it offered slim pickings compared with the 12m band.
Next week NOAA predicts that the Solar Flux Index will increase over the week to hit perhaps 155 by next weekend. Geomagnetic conditions remain variable with a Kp index of three or four forecast for the 12th to the 16th.
This weekend the geomagnetic forecast is that it will be quiet although, with so many sunspots visible at the moment, it wouldn’t take much for a CME to disrupt things. As always, keep an eye on solarham.net for near real-time updates.
And now the VHF and up propagation news
The RSGB 144MHz Trophy produced good DX on 2m into Poland and Sweden, so we guess that Tropo performed for us this week.
This spell of hot sunny weather, due to high pressure, does mean Tropo was the mode of choice for the end of this current week, ending today the 10th, especially across the North Sea.
However, unsettled weather is gradually encroaching from the west, introducing some thundery rain into western areas, and this will spread east.
Although the Tropo will cease, Gigahertz bands rain scatter is a likely replacement although very isolated rather than the widespread nature of a good Tropo event. It should be noted that next week is not fully determined by all models with quite a spread of outcomes. Either way, it's Tropo or rain scatter for most areas next week.
It’s always possible that meteor scatter and aurora could show during this period. The early morning, around dawn, is usually the best time to look for random meteor scatter activity in the absence of any major meteor showers. For aurora, it’s best to follow the solar data from spaceweather.com to pick up early alerts and an increasing Kp index.
For EME stations, Moon declination is at its highest this weekend but with apogee, the Moon’s furthest point from Earth, next Tuesday, path losses are high. 144MHz sky noise is low for most of the week except for Thursday and Friday when the Moon and Sun are very close, meaning high solar noise in the beamwidth of antennas.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.
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