Sunday 18th December 2016
The news headlines:
Christmas GB2RS arrangements
Transatlantic commemoration successful
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 18th, Stirling & District ARS will be on the air and this is followed by Durham & District ARS on the 19th and 20th. The 21st sees the callsign being operated by Chertsey Radio Club and then it moves to Wales on the 22nd with Aberystwyth & 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.
We start with seasonal greetings to all Newsreaders and listeners, both over the air and via the internet recordings, and not forgetting viewers of the ATV broadcast, which is available via several repeaters and kindly streamed via the BATC.TV website. Next week, the RSGB will prepare a short GB2RS news script for Sunday the 25th of December, Christmas Day. Newsreaders may not be reading it on air but you can read the script on the RSGB website from the afternoon of Friday the 23rd of December onwards. There will be no GB2RS script for Sunday the 1st of January 2017. Normal broadcasts will resume on Sunday the 8th of January.
Last week we mentioned the special event to commemorate the 95th anniversary of the first transatlantic contact between Greenwich, Connecticut, and Ardrossen, Scotland on the 12th of December. The commemorative contact between Greenwich and Ardrossen took place at 1531UTC with US operator Dave Patton, NN1M and Scotland operator Jason O’Neill, GM7VSB. The original 1921 message was exchanged successfully. The event was widely reported in Scotland on both radio and television as well as in a number of newspapers. Congratulations to all involved.
During the festive season Bletchley Park is open to visitors daily except 24, 25, 26 December and 1 January. The RSGB would like to extend its thanks to the amazing work by the volunteer team who keep the National Radio Centre open throughout the year. Meanwhile, GCHQ has generously donated £15,000 to the Bletchley Park Trust. The money was raised from the sales of a special edition of the book Prof: Alan Turing Decoded written by his nephew, Sir Dermot Turing. The donation, presented to Bletchley Park recently, will help fund the Oral History Project. This involves staff and volunteers visiting surviving veterans all over the country, to record their memories and observations of life at Bletchley Park.
The first Bath Buildathon took place in 2008, making the next one the 10th in the series. This year the team have selected a Kanga 40m Sudden receiver kit that will come with a pre-drilled box and all the fittings. There are a number of Intermediate students already booked in but there is room for more to join in the fun, even if they are not Intermediate students. The event will take place in the centre of Bath on Saturday 7 January and will run from 9.30am to 5pm. The cost of the day, including the kit and all parts, will be £40. Further details can be had from Steve, G0FUW, via e-mail to G0FUW@tiscali.co.uk
The IARU Region 1 Monitoring System newsletter reports that one of China’s HF over the horizon radars has been transmitting on 6.999MHz, impinging on the very low end of the 40 metre band. Military ALE transmissions have also been heard from Kyrgyzstan on 7050kHz. IARU Monitoring also reports that the Australian Jindalee Operational Radar Network has been heard on 10.131MHz in the amateur 30 metre band; Amateur Radio is secondary on 30 metres. Radio Eritrea appeared in November on 7180kHz, together with white noise from Ethiopia. The frequencies 7146.5, 7175, and 7185kHz were reported to be in use as well. Reports of amateur radio band intruders may be logged on the IARU Region 1 Monitoring System logger, at http://peditio.net/intruder/bluechat.cgi
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 firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources
Matt, VK1MA will be active holiday style as VK9NM from Norfolk Island, IOTA reference OC-005, from the 19th to the 26th of December. QSL via Logbook of The World and eQSL only.
The Holy Land DX Group will be active as 4X07W from around 0700UTC on the 23rd of December until noon on the 24th. They will operate SSB and CW with two stations from the Israel National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Beit Guvrin. QSL via 4Z5LA.
Robert, DU7ET operates as 4F7OC from Negros Island, WLOTA 3568, between the 15th of December and the 15th of January. QSL via DU7ET.
During the weekends in December and January, members of the radio clubs PueblaDX and AREPAC plan to activate IOTA groups NA-221 and NA-224 with the call XF2L. QSL via XE1SOV.
Now the special event news
The Liechtenstein Radio Amateur Society, AFVL has been celebrating its 30th anniversary during 2016. The special event station HB0AFVL is available on the air until the end of December and contacts can be confirmed by a special QSL card.
Now the contest news
The Stew Perry Top Band Challenge runs for 24 hours until 1500UTC today, the 18th. Using CW only on the 180m band the exchange is your 4 character locator.
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.
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 16th December.
This week we have a slightly different approach to the HF propagation news. We want to help you and your family contact Santa's elves in Lapland, Finland.
The station Oscar Foxtrot Nine X-ray is once again on the air this Christmas from Santa Claus land in the Arctic Circle. Twelve elves are operating OF9X, which stands for ‘Old-Father-Nine-Christmas’, near the city of Oulu in Finland for the entire month of December. To work the elves at OF9X, the best starting point is the DX Cluster or Reverse Beacon Network to see where they are operating. They have been spotted on many bands and modes over the past week. The HF predictions suggest 20m or 17m both give a good possibility of a contact with a probability of greater than 90% during the hours of daylight. Even 15m may be possible around midday. 7MHz, 40m should also give a high probability for the whole 24 hours, while 80m and 160m may also be open during the hours of darkness in the UK. But get in quick, because NOAA is predicting unsettled geomagnetic conditions from December 19th to the 23rd due to a recurrent coronal hole.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
We’ve had some useful Tropo recently, but this will decline early next week as low pressure becomes the dominant force on the weather charts in the lead-up to Christmas. The high pressure that brought us some good Tropo in the south and east will be eroded by a large deepening low near Iceland and subsequent lows further south and close to Britain in the latter part of the week. These lows may bring very strong winds to some areas and if you are leaving your station over the Christmas period, make sure you’ve checked the forecast and, if necessary, made your antennas safe before leaving.
December often sees a minor uptick in Sporadic-E activity so keep alert on the low VHF bands and watch the 10m beacons for signs of this propagation mode.
With the Geminids meteor shower past its peak, we look forward to the Quadrantids shower after Christmas. Until then, continue to look for the early morning peak of random meteor activity to make MS contacts.
Moon declination goes negative towards the end of the week and losses are climbing as the Moon goes out to apogee next Sunday. Get on in the early part of this week to catch the end of this month’s lunar cycle.
And that’s all for this week from the propagation team.