Sunday 12th March 2017
The news headlines:
New video blog uploaded
Talk to Cadets in Exercise Blue Ham
Latest news on RSGB AGM
The RSGB has just launched its first video blog, or vlog, to share what is happening behind the scenes in preparation for YOTA 2017, the amateur radio youth event planned for the summer. It features the Youth Committee Chair, Mike Jones, 2E0MLJ. Look out for more vlogs in the coming weeks, where you will hear from other people involved in making this international event a reality. Go to www.youtube.com/theRSGB
The Cadet signals exercise known as Exercise Blue Ham is due to take place on 5MHz on the 18th and 19th of March, then again on the 25th and 26th. Not only will they be speaking to other Cadet groups, they welcome calls from amateurs too – but only make contact on amateur licensed frequencies. Full details are at http://alphacharlie.org.uk/exercise-blue-ham
The 90th RSGB AGM will be held at the Angel Hotel, Castle St, Cardiff CF10 1SZ on Saturday the 22nd of April, commencing at 12 noon. Arrangements have been made for Members who are unable to attend the AGM to cast their votes by proxy. Details of this are at www.rsgb.org/AGM2017. Whilst the RSGB encourages Members to vote electronically via the Electoral Reform Society website at www.ersvotes.com/rsgb17, if you require a postal vote please call HQ on 01234 832 702. Votes must be received by the ERS before 12 noon on Thursday 20 April 2017. Lunch will be provided at the AGM for Members who notify their attendance in advance. Please register using the form on the website at www/rsgb.org/attendagm
The next episode of the UK's only TV show dedicated to all things radio, TX Factor, is released on the 17th of March. Go to www.txfactor.co.uk for details. Factor is sponsored by the RSGB and Martin Lynch & Sons. In amongst the item on Episode 15, Bob discovers the fun to be had remotely controlling his Icom IC-7300 over the internet using Icom’s proprietary software interface and shows you how to set it up. The IC-7300 was reviewed in the August 2016 RadCom. Mike and Bob meet two youngsters who are passionate about amateur radio and find out how they are making more people, both young and old, aware of the delights of our hobby. TX Factor is available to stream to your phone, tablet, computer or smart TV.
With the significant increase in numbers of 70cm digital voice repeaters that have inputs at the low end of the band, the ETCC have been reminded to highlight the power restrictions that apply to 430-432MHz. The maximum peak envelope power in this part of the band is 40W effective radiated power for Full and Intermediate Licensees and 10W ERP for Foundation licensees. Given that many modern mobiles can run 50W or more to high gain collinear aerials it is very easy to exceed these levels so please take care to keep your power to the minimum required and certainly never above the limits mandated in your licence.
The talk Being the DX, QRP by Dominic Baines, M1KTA is the latest 2016 RSGB Convention lecture available for members to view via the new video portal at www.rsgb.org/video. It joins Contesting from VY2ZM on Prince Edward Island by Jeff Briggs, VY2ZM; Developments in IOTA, update on electronic QSLing and the future by Roger Ballister, G3KMA and Advances in amateur television by Noel Matthews, G8GTZ.
Following a request from the RSGB, Ofcom has kindly agreed an increased power level of 50 watts ERP for new 146-147MHz Notice of Variation applications. The band is only available to holders of a Full Licence and all other NoV terms remain unchanged, including antenna height and geographical restrictions. New applicants or existing NoV holders can use the online application system at www.rsgb.org/nov to get the new NoV free of charge.
And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week
The Dover Radio Club Rally takes place today, the 12th of March, at Whitfield Village Hall, Sandwich Road, Manley Close, Whitfield, near Dover CT163LY, Talk in will be on GB3KS. Doors open from 10am to 2pm and entry is £2. The auction starts at 12.30pm. More details from Aaron, 2E0FQR on 0771 465 4267.
Due to a clerical error the Grantham Radio and Electronics Rally is incorrectly listed in RadCom as being in May. We apologise for the confusion and confirm that the Grantham rally is, in fact, today, the 12th of March, at the Grantham West Community Centre, Trent Road, Grantham, Lincs NG31 7XQ. There is car parking and disabled facilities at the venue. Doors open 9am and entry is £3. There will be trade stands, special interest groups and an RSGB bookstall. Catering is available on site. Kevin, G6SSN on 07793 142 483 has more information.
On Saturday the 18th of March the Laugharne Radio Rally will be held at the Millennium Memorial Hall, Clifton Street, Laugharne SA33 4QG. Doors open from 10am to 1pm, with disabled admission 15 minutes early. Entry is £3. Details from Matthew, GW6KOA on 0199 4427 581.
On Sunday the 19th, the 32nd Wythall Radio Club Rally is at Wythall Park, Silver Street, B47 6LZ. Parking is available on site. Doors open at 10am, with disabled visitors gaining access at 9.30am. Entry is £4. There will be a Bring & Buy, a RSGB bookstall as well as lectures. Catering will be available on site. Contact Mike, on 0797 674 4479.
If you have any rally or event information you’d like to appear in future editions of GB2RS News, in RadCom and on the RSGB website, please email full details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources
S21GM and S21KW will be on the air from Bangladesh between the 15th and the 27th of March. Using the 160 to 10m bands, the team will operate CW, SSB and RTTY.
The F6KOP expedition team will be in the Ivory Coast signing TU7C until the 19th of March. They will be active on all HF bands CW, SSB and digital. QSL via F1ULQ or the Web page OQRS.
A multinational team will travel to Niger and activate 5U5R until the 20th of March. They will be on all bands from 160 to 10m on SSB, CW and RTTY. QSL to EA5RM.
The EI DX Group will be signing 9N7EI from Nepal until the 20th of March.
Now the special event news
The Beacon Museum, Whitehaven will host a variety of special events today, the 12th of March, to support the local charity of Samaritans of West Cumbria. In addition to the scheduled beacon exhibits on display, members of the RSGB will operate GB1SWC. As well as live tracking of the International Space Station and interactive demonstrations such as a Morse code game, there will be sending and receiving of television pictures and digital information over radio waves. More information is on QRZ.com.
Foyle & District ARC will be operating GB5SPD on the 17th of March between 9am and 6pm from 159 Victoria Road, Bready, Strabane, Co Tyrone BT82 0DZ. More details from Philip, MI0MSO on 07849 025 760.
Grey Point Fort ARS will operate a St Patrick’s Day Award station on the 16th to the 18th of March from 10am to 6pm. Check out the website stpatrickaward.webs.com for details.
West Tyrone ARC will operate GB1SPD on the 17th of March between 9am and 5pm from the Ulster American Folk Park, 2 Mellon Road, Omagh BT78 5QU. More from Philip, MI0MSO on 078 4902 5760.
Look for special event station II0CXX to be active until the 31st of May on Saturdays during the Collins Collectors Association of Europe Net, at 1000UTC on 7165kHz. This activity is in remembrance of the 30th anniversary of the passing of Arthur A Collins, W0CXX, founder of the Collins Radio Company, who became a Silent Key in 1987. QSL via IK0IXI only direct: no bureau and no eQSL.
Now the contest news
The 80th Commonwealth Contest ends its 24 hour run at 1000UTC today, the 12th. Using CW only on the 3.5 to 28MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number. HQ stations also send HQ.
Today, the 12th, the second 70MHz Cumulative contest takes place from 1000 to 1200UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
The Worked All Britain 3.5MHz Phone Contest takes place today, the 12th of March, from 1800 to 2200UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square. Entries need to be with the contest manager by the 2nd of April. Full details of the rules and log sheets may be obtained from the WAB website www.worked-all-britain.org.uk or from the contest manager Tony Beardsley, G3XKT, by email to email@example.com.
On Tuesday from 1900 to 2000UTC the 432MHz FM Activity Contest takes place. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator. Then between 2000 and 2230UTC it’s the 432MHz UK Activity Contest. Using all modes on the band the exchange is signal report serial number and locator.
On Wednesday the 80m Club Championships runs from 2000 to 2130UTC. Using CW only, the exchange is signal report and serial number.
On Thursday from 1900 to 2000UTC the 70MHz FM Activity Contest takes place. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator. Following that, from 2000 to 2230UTC, the 70MHz UK Activity Contest takes place. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
The BARTG HF RTTY Contest runs from 0200UTC on the 18th to 0200UTC on the 20th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz bands the exchange is signal report, serial number and time.
From 1200UTC on the 18th to 1200UTC on the 19th the Russian DX contest uses CW and SSB only. Using the 1.8 to 28MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number, with Russian stations sending their Oblast code.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 10th of March
In the last report we said the ongoing disturbed geomagnetic conditions may have settled, with a predicted K index of two. Unfortunately, this didn't happen as early as expected and the beginning of the week saw a K index up as high as five. This had an adverse effect on maximum useable frequencies, with a very unsettled ionosphere. Daytime MUFs seldom allowed the bands much higher than 20 metres to be used. This was also not helped by an absence of sunspots.
The slightly better news is that on Thursday a look at the sun in extreme UV light showed there were no earth-facing coronal holes on the sun's equator, although there are some around its poles. This means that we can hope for a few days of lower K indices this weekend, and hopefully more settled HF conditions for the Commonwealth Contest.
NOAA predicts the solar flux index will be in the mid 70s next week. To put this in perspective, the solar flux index never gets below 65 at sunspot minimum, so conditions are not good. NOAA also predicts conditions may be geomagnetically unsettled again from mid week, with a potential maximum K index of five either Wednesday or Thursday. So look for better DX conditions at the beginning of the week, and then the potential for a pre-auroral opening on the upper bands just as the K index rises, although this is harder to predict.
And now the VHF and up propagation news
It looks like the early part of this week could bring some Tropo over the South and Central part of the UK, extending in to the North Sea up to Norway, so keep an eye on the bands and put out some CQ calls to generate interest. There is the possibility of VHF auroral activity mid week if the K index rises as predicted.
The winter minimum in meteor activity continues until the April Lyrids, so stick to the best time for random meteor scatter contacts, around dawn, when the earth is rotating into the flux of meteoric particles.
The Moon’s declination goes negative on Monday so Moon windows are shortening. The Moon is also heading out to apogee next Sunday so losses will be high and increasing as the week progresses.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.