Sunday 11th December 2016
The news headlines:
GB16YOTA operating news
Celebrating first amateur transatlantic signals
Hams provide Indonesian earthquake comms
The special callsign GB16YOTA is on the air to introduce and promote amateur radio to young people. It will be operated from a variety of clubs and organisations throughout December. Today, Sunday the 10th, the CDXC will be putting the callsign on the air, on the 13th it’s with Otley ARS, from the 14th to the 16th Castle Rushden School will be operating, then the callsign moves to Northern Ireland with Mid Ulster ARC on the 18th. Finally for this week it’s off to Scotland next Sunday, the 18th, with Stirling and District ARS. If you hear GB16YOTA on the air please give them a call, as you might well be giving a young person their first-ever taste of amateur radio.
Today, the 11th of December, a special event will commemorate the 95th anniversary of the first transatlantic contact between Greenwich, Connecticut, and Ardrossen, Scotland. On that day in 1921, a radio signal from a Radio Club of America test station 1BCG in Greenwich was received in Ardrossen as part of a series of ARRL transatlantic tests. The special event will begin at 1200UTC today, the 11th, and end at 0300UTC on the 12th. It will include an attempt at a two-way contact between N1BCG in Greenwich and GB2ZE, operated by Jason, GM7VSB, in Ardrossen. It is hoped the contact will take place during the afternoon of 11 December on 20m, if conditions allow. N1BCG operation will be on AM on 75 and 40 metres; CW and SSB on 40 metres, CW on 30 metres, and CW and SSB on 20 and 17 metres.
The earthquake in Indonesia on Wednesday struck at 5am local time. It has been reported that it took two hours for the Ham Radio Group to reach the earthquake damage zone with emergency communications. 7.110MHz is being used for emergency traffic, and amateurs are asked to avoid interference during this emergency.
Research from the University of Surrey and Augmented Optics Ltd, in collaboration with the University of Bristol, has developed technology that could revolutionise the capabilities of appliances that have previously relied on battery power to work. The research has discovered new supercapacitor electrolytes that exhibit capacitance values that are between one and ten thousand times higher than conventional supercapacitor materials. This could translate into very high energy density supercapacitors, making it possible to recharge devices in just a few seconds.
The International Amateur Radio Union has issued an update on preparations for the World Radio Conference in 2019. The IARU’s prime roles are to work in the areas of spectrum privileges gaining or retaining spectrum for the amateur radio services and making sure that our spectrum remains available for use and free from serious human-made interference. For full information on the work in progress, go to www.iaru-r1.org
Vintage radio enthusiasts are invited to participate in an on-air Vintage Radio Weekend on the 17th and 18th of December. This activity is open to everyone who has a classic transmitter or receiver, or who is interested in owning one. Activities can be on any band and mode, and at any time. All participants may download a free self-service VRW Award Certificate from www.phoenixarc.org.uk, where there is also additional information.
Santa Radio, OF9X, will be active until the 31st of December to promote the Christmas spirit on the radio spectrum. There are twelve ‘elves’ operating OF9X and they will identify themselves with a 3-letter identity. Work OF9X on as many bands and modes as possible to earn QSO points and work as many elves as possible to get multipliers. Your efforts will be rewarded by Santa Awards, see www.QRZ.com for details. QSL via OH2BH and Club Log OQRS.
And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week
We know of no more rallies for 2016. If you have any rally or event information for 2017 that you’d like to appear in future editions of GB2RS News, in RadCom and on the RSGB website, please email full details to email@example.com as early as possible.
And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources
Eric, KH6EB works on an uninhabited Hawaiian island, OC-019, for ten days every month. He is located at the base camp that supports the state’s efforts to restore the island. He is there between the 12th and 21st of December. During his free time in the evenings and mornings, around 1600 to 1700UTC, 0300 to 0500UTC and 0600 to 0900UTC, he is on 20 metres. QSL direct to KH6EB, via Logbook of the World and eQSL.
Chris, VK3FY will be active holiday style as 3D3FY from the Fijian Islands, OC-016 until the 14th of December. He will operate SSB and CW on the 10 to 80m bands. QSL via M0OXO.
Akira, JH0CKF will be on the air as T88MZ on Koror Island, OC-009, from the 13th to the 16th of December. He will be on the HF bands. QSL via JH0CKF either direct or via the bureau, Logbook of the World or Club Log OQRS.
Mikhail, VE7ACN will operate as VP5/VE7ACN from Grand Turk Island, NA-003, until the 19th of December. Activity will be on the HF bands using CW and SSB. QSL via VE7ACN or logbook of the World.
The Radio Society of Sri Lanka's annual DXpedition to Hiyare Galle as 4S7RS will take place until the 13th of December using 160 to 10 metres on CW, SSB and digital modes.
Now the special event news
Dutch radio amateur Sascha, PD9Z will be operating PC16XMAS from the 6th to the 31st of December. The station is intended to maintain the spirit of friendship between amateur radio operators in the Christmas period – and to provide a nice QSL card! Operation will be on 160 to 10m, SSB and CW.
Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the independence of Kazakhstan on the 16th of December 1991, a large number of UP25 callsigns will be active during the whole of December. See http://kazakhstan25.hamlog.ru/ for logsearch and information on the award available.
Now the contest news
On Tuesday the 432MHz UK Activity Contest runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes on the band the exchange is signal reports, serial number and locator.
Next Saturday and Sunday, the 17th and 18th, the Stew Perry Top Band Challenge runs from 1500UTC to 1500UTC. Using CW only on the 180m band the exchange is your 4 character locator.
Finally, a reminder that the UK Six Metre Group Winter Marathon continues on 6m until the end of January. Details are on the UKSMG.org website.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 9th of December.
This past week had been reasonably settled, geomagnetically, with the K index generally being between zero and three at the beginning of the week. The noon-time critical frequency as measured by the Chilton ionosonde near Harwell on Tuesday was just over 6MHz, which meant 40m often struggled for contacts close in around the UK, but 15 metres was potentially open to DX at times. The critical frequency climbed higher during Tuesday afternoon, which meant that 12 metres may have been open. This also confirms that noon doesn’t always bring the highest critical frequencies.
We then had a succession of B-class solar flares on Wednesday. A large recurrent coronal hole moved across the Earth-facing side of the sun and became geo-effective from December 7th.
Enhanced geomagnetic activity, including minor (G1) storm conditions then occurred on Thursday when a high-speed solar wind stream passed Earth. Don’t forget you can get a short pre-event enhancement just as the plasma hits and the K index rises, but the prognosis for HF is then not good if we get prolonged storming.
NOAA predicts that the coronal hole effects will diminish after the weekend, leaving a more settled ionosphere for the rest of the week. Conditions may become more unsettled again from around December the 19th.
So Monday to Saturday next week may be the best times for working DX on the HF bands, but don’t forget to check the low bands for DX during late afternoon and through the hours of darkness as we are at an optimum time as we near the Winter solstice.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
This week sees one of the biggest meteor showers of the year. The peak of the Geminids is expected on Wednesday morning at around 0020UTC, with a zenithal hourly rate of around 120. All the low VHF bands will be affected, with EME-capable stations on 70cm also able to make meteor scatter QSOs.
There seems to be a common theme in the weather models for the coming week, which is that there is likely to be high pressure nearby to the south and east of Britain, over the continent. A series of low pressure systems will continue to pass by the northwest of the country with cloud, rain and periods of stronger winds. This means that any Tropo conditions are likely to be confined to the southern and eastern half of Britain, closer to the high pressure over the continent, which is the direction to look for any Tropo DX during the next week.
The latter part of the week will probably see a stronger development of high pressure over the south of Britain, maintaining the Tropo options into the following weekend.
Low losses and high declination this week make it a good one for EME contacts. E44QX should be QRV on the GHz bands from Jericho until Wednesday.
And that’s all for this week from the propagation team.