Sunday 19th February 2017
The news headlines:
RSGB publishes band plan
Plan your Museums on the Air station
RSGB new video page
The RSGB has published the 2017 Band Plans in RadCom and online. These consolidate earlier changes made in June 2016 and just add one important change with respect to UK usage of 5MHz. For the 60m band a new footnote has been added that states that internal UK-only contacts should now be conducted outside of the new WRC-15 range in line with the IARU Region 1 band plan for that narrow segment. Full details can be found on the On The Air/Operating section of the RSGB website.
It’s not too soon to start planning your International Museums Weekends scheduled for later this year. The dates for your diary are the 17th and 18th then the 24th and 25th of June. More details about the event can be found at www.radio-amateur-events.org/ Also at this address are details of the International Air Ambulance Week in September. Registration, for both events, is now open.
The RSGB has launched a new video page that brings its full range of videos together in one place. Go to www.rsgb.org/video to see promotional films about amateur radio, RSGB convention lectures and videos commemorating special events. They are freely available for you to download but please read the RSGB’s conditions of use first.
Sad news that Dave Powis, G4HUP became a silent key on the 9th of February. Dave was a well-respected tutor and mentor and a very active member of several radio clubs, mentoring many candidates to gaining their amateur radio licences. He joined the Examinations Standards Committee in 2007 and spent much of 2016 working with the Exam Group on revising the licence syllabuses. Late in 2016 he became RSGB Exam Standards Committee Chairman and was just beginning to bring his newest ideas to bear. He also was well-known for the excellent surface mount soldering classes at the RSGB Convention in recent years. Our thoughts are with his family and many friends at this difficult time.
The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, or HAARP, in Alaska, will soon undertake its first scientific research campaigns since the facility was taken over by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute 18 months ago. Among the investigators is UAF Researcher Chris Fallen, KL3WX who will be working under a National Science Foundation grant. The HAARP transmissions will take place within the facility’s transmitter tuning range of 2.7 to 10MHz and should be audible outside of Alaska and may even produce visible effects within the state. Fallen's experiments will be carried out between the 19th and 22nd of February.
The RSGB has appointed Youth Committee Deputy Chair, Milo Noblet, 2E0ILO as the UK team leader for YOTA 2017. He will lead the UK young amateurs during the IARU Youngsters on the Air 2017 summer camp that the RSGB is hosting at Gilwell Park in August. Plans for YOTA 2017 are progressing and you can help the RSGB to make the YOTA 2017 event a great success by becoming a financial supporter – anyone who donates more than £15 receives a supporters’ pin. Find out more from the YOTA 2017 web page, www.rsgb.org/yotasupporter.
The International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 Monitoring System newsletter reports a mysterious ‘foghorn’ that is a Chinese over-the-horizon burst radar is operating in the amateur radio bands. The mysterious foghorn on 7, 10, and 14MHz is often jumping with the signal frequency modulated on pulse with 66.66 sweeps-per-second bursts. The latest IARUMS newsletter also reports strong splatter from Radio France International on 7,205kHz down to 7,186kHz. The French REF has informed RFI and French telecommunications authorities. Full details on these and other interference matters can be found at www.iarums-r1.org/iarums/news2017/news1701.pdf
The Indian Space Agency has successfully launched the amateur radio satellite Nayif-1 along with 103 other satellites, a record for a single launch. The PSLV-C37 lifted off at 0358UTC on the 15th of February. Nayif-1 started transmitting about an hour after launch and radio amateurs in the west of the USA reported the first signals. Ken, GW1FKY reports he received his first frames of data when the satellite came in range of the UK at 1007UTC.
And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week
The Radioactive Fair at Nantwich takes place today, the 19th of February at the Civic Hall, Market Street, Nantwich CW5 5DG. The venue has free car parking. Doors open at 10am and admission is £4. There will be trade stands and a Bring & Buy. Catering will be available on site. Details by email from firstname.lastname@example.org.
There has been an unavoidable change to the venue for the Rainham Rally on the 26th of February. It will now be held at The Victory Academy, Magpie Hall Road, Chatham, Kent ME4 5JB. The new venue is larger with on site parking for 250 cars and is located a couple of miles from the M2, Junction 3. A talk in station, GB4RRR, will operate on 145.550MHz. Doors open from 10am to 2pm with disabled visitors gaining access at 9.30am. Admission is £2.50. There will be trade stands, special interest groups and catering on site. Details from Trevor Cannon, on 0771 767 8795.
Next weekend on the 26th of February the Central Coast Amateur Radio Club Rally takes place at Wyong Racecourse, Howarth St, Wyong NSW 2259, Australia. Billed as the largest event in Australia. More information at www.ccarc.org.au
Also on the 26th but much closer to home is the Pencoed Amateur Radio Club Table Top Sale at Pencoed Rugby Football Club, The Verlands, Felindre Road, Pencoed CF35 5PB. Tables will be £10 each (first come first served) Doors open at 8am for sellers and the setting up of tables. Buyers will be allowed in when the doors open at 9.30am. Entry fee £2. Hot food will be available in the morning and at lunch time. Hot and cold drinks will be available from the bar (non alcoholic drinks till lunch time). Table bookings are through Madeline Roberts on 01639 767056.
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 email@example.com.
And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources
Alain, F5OZC and Sebastien, F8DQZ will be in the Los Islands, IOTA AF-051, until the 26th of February. The Los Islands are off the coast of Guinea in West Africa and the callsign being used is 3XY3D.
A European team will sign VP6EU from Pitcairn Island in the Pacific until the 5th of March. More information can be found on www.pitcairn2017.de
A team of German operators will be active as XX9D from Macao until the 26th of February. They will be on CW, SSB and RTTY with 3 stations active 24/7. QSL via Club Log OQRS.
Alain, F5OZC and Sebastien, F8DQZ are on the air as 3XY3D from Kassa Island, IOTA AF-051, until the 26th of February. Activity is on 40 to 10 metres using mainly CW with some SSB. QSL via F5OZC.
Eric, SM1TDE will be transmitting as 5X8EW from Entebbe from the 23rd to 26th February. Activity will be on 40 to 10 metres using CW. QSL to home call.
Michael, DF8AN will be on the air as CE0Z/DF8AN from Robinson Crusoe Island, IOTA SA-005, from the 21st to the 24th of February. Activity will be on the HF bands using CW and various digital modes. QSL to his home callsign.
Now the special event news
Operators from the Darwin Amateur Radio Club will on air using the callsign VI8BOD from the 18th of February to the 28th of March to remember the 75th anniversary of the Japanese bombing of Darwin, Australia in 1942. QSL Manager is M0URX and QSL cards can be requested on the M0URX OQRS. More information can be found by searching VI8BOD on QRZ.com
Now the contest news
The ARRL International DX contest ends its 48 hour run at 2359UTC today, the 19th. It’s CW only on the 1.8 to 28MHz bands and the exchange is signal report and transmitted power level. W stations also send their State and VE stations their Province.
On Tuesday the 21st, the 1.3GHz UK Activity Contest takes place from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes on the bands the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
The Irish Radio Transmitter Society 80m Counties Contest takes place on the evening of 22nd. Work EI and GI stations only between 2000 and 2100UTC. There are SSB-only and CW/SSB sections, with CW QSOs attracting twice as many points as SSB QSOs.
On the 23rd of February the CW leg of the 80m Club Championships takes place from 2000 to 2130UTC. The exchange is signal report and serial number.
With HF conditions now so poor, the CQWW 160m DX CW Contest that commences at 2200UTC on Friday the 24th might be even livelier than usual. Running for 48 hours and using SSB only, the exchange is signal report and CQ Zone, with V stations sending State and VE stations sending their Province.
The REF (French) Contest runs for 36 hours over the same weekend on SSB from 0600 to 1800UTC. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz bands the exchange is signal report and serial number, with French stations sending their Department or overseas prefix.
Next Sunday, the 26th, the first 70MHz Cumulative contest takes place from 1000 to 1200UTC. Using all modes the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 17th of February.
Last week brought mostly settled conditions and the HF bands benefitted as a result. With a solar flux index in the mid 70s, and a K index never higher than two before Thursday, it was an opportunity for the ionosphere to shine.
The maximum useable frequency was often just above 21 Megahertz at times, bringing DX in from many parts of the world, including TL8TT in the Central African Republic. Other highlights included RI1ANR in Antarctica, 4JT4K Azerbaijan, and CE2AWW in Chile, all on 17 metres.
More settled conditions also brought better conditions at the bottom end of the spectrum with some very strong openings to the United States on 80m at dawn.
Next week NOAA predicts that the solar flux index should be around the 80 mark. Geomagnetic conditions are expected to be settled at first, perhaps declining from around Wednesday the 22nd to give a K index of around four at times. Once again this is due to ongoing solar coronal hole activity.
We recommend getting your DXing in over the weekend and in the first half of the week, as conditions may be more unsettled as the enhanced solar wind impacts the Earth. At this time of year, HF favours diagonal paths across the equator, such as the UK to South America. This will start to shift towards more north-south paths, such as the UK to South Africa, as we head towards the spring equinox next month.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
The predicted high pressure has become dominant over the south of Britain, and may help us with some limited Tropo in the first half of this week before declining after midweek. The reason for the decline is that a large low will become resident to the north-east of Britain and bring some rain and windier weather as the high gets nudged away to the south. So, this is not the best week for Tropo, although there are limited prospects in the first half of the week.
You could monitor the various rain radar websites to help predict short rain scatter openings on the Gigahertz bands. Look at beacon signals on an SDR waterfall display for their characteristic broader signals, offset in frequency from the main carrier. Don't expect too much from this rain as winter does not produce the sort of DX that we see in summer thunderstorms.
There are no major meteor showers this week, so keep looking for random meteor scatter contacts around dawn, when the earth is rotating into the flux of meteoric particles.
The Moon apogee on Sunday means peak path losses. Combined with low declination, reaching a minimum on Wednesday, it’s a week of short daytime windows at low elevation for EME.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.