National Coding Week is taking place from the 14th of September, but the RSGB is dedicating the whole of September to amateur radio and coding activities. This is a great way to try something new, extend your skills or share your knowledge with your local club, school or community group. You can find out more on the RSGB’s coding page at rsgb.org/coding and, if you would like to get involved, please contact ESRG member John Hislop, G7OHO via firstname.lastname@example.org If you are taking part, whether on your own or in a group, the RSGB would love to share what you’re doing so that you can inspire others. Please email details to email@example.com
The G5RP Trophy is an annual award designed to encourage newcomers to HF DXing. The award is not limited to youngsters or the newly licensed. It is open to anyone who has recently discovered and made significant progress in HF DXing. If you are an established HF DXer and want to recommend someone to be awarded the G5RP Trophy for 2023, now is the time to send in your nomination. Your nominee should be an up-and-coming HF DXer who has made rapid progress in the last year and has some real achievements to show, for example, a good total of new countries worked or some HF DXpedition activity. Please send your nominations to Ian Greenshields, G4FSU by email via firstname.lastname@example.org Nominations should arrive no later than Friday the 15th of September 2023.
The RSGB Convention is being held between the 13th and 15th of October. The programme is nearly finalised and contains some fantastic speakers on a range of amateur radio subjects. In addition, there will be a buildathon where you will also gain invaluable advice about how to run a similar event at your club, local school or community group. The early bird booking price has been extended to the 14th of September so don’t miss out – book now! Full details of the programme will be published soon. For more information and to book, visit rsgb.org/convention
Today, Sunday the 20th of August, John, GW3JVB is operating from Steep Holm Island in the Bristol Channel. The Worked All Britain square for the location is ST26 and the IOTA reference is EU-120. John hopes to be operational from approximately 1000UTC to 1930UTC. Using SSB, he is most likely to be working on 40 and 20m, but may also be available on other bands, depending on the weather and conditions. If you hear John on the air, please give him a call. You can read more about John’s amateur activities on his blog via gw3jvb.uk
International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend is taking place this weekend. There are lots of stations on the air waiting for your call. To see a list of registered stations, visit illw.net
Neil Bauers, G4JUV has created ‘Camper Ham UK’ on Facebook. It is for anyone who likes camping and operating their radios, both licensed and shortwave listeners. Motorhomes, vans, caravans, tents and bivvy bags are all OK. Just take a radio! As well as the usual technical discussions about radios and antennas, the group is interested in antenna-friendly camping sites and good spots for portable operation. In the future, there may be meetups organised by group members. For more information search for ‘Camper Ham UK’ on Facebook.
Please send details of all your news and events to email@example.com The deadline for submissions is 10 am on Thursdays before the Sunday broadcast each week.
And now for details of rallies and events
The Rugby Amateur Transmitting Society Rally is taking place today, Sunday the 20th of August. The venue is Princethorpe College, Princethorpe, Rugby, Warwickshire, CV23 9PY. The event begins at 10 am. For more details contact Steve, G8LYB on 07956 855 816, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit rugbyats.co.uk
Lincoln Short Wave Club Summer Rally is also taking place today, Sunday the 20th of August. The venue is The Festival Hall, Caistor Road, Market Rasen, LN8 3HT. The doors are open from 9.30 am and admission is £2. Free car parking and refreshments are available. Tables cost £10. For more information, contact Steve via email@example.com or phone 07777 699 069.
The Red Rose Summer Rally is taking place today, Sunday the 20th of August. The venue is St Joseph’s Hall, Leigh, WN7 2PJ. The event features free parking, a café, traders, individual stands, club stands, low-cost bring and buy, and a raffle for a new digital radio. For more information visit wmrc.co.uk
Torbay Annual Communications Fair will take place on Sunday the 27th of August. The venue will be Newton Abbot Racecourse, TQ12 3AF. This will be an indoor event with free parking. The doors will open at 10 am. A bring-and-buy area, on-site catering, and an RSGB bookstall will be available. For more information contact Pete, G4VTO on 01803 864 528, Mike, G1TUU on 01803 557 941 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Milton Keynes Amateur Radio Society Rally will take place on Sunday the 27th of August. The rally will be held at a new venue this year – Heron’s Lodge Guide Activity Centre, Bradwell Road, Loughton Lodge, Milton Keynes, MK8 9AA. The venue is opposite the National Badminton Centre and has excellent modern amenities together with free on-site parking, catering and disabled facilities. The entrance fee is £3 and doors will be open to the public from 9 am. Outdoor pitches and indoor tables are available. For trader and exhibitor enquiries please email email@example.com For more information see mkars.org.uk
Now the Special Event News
Celebrating the centenary of the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio, and Molise, special callsign II6PN is in use until the 31st of October. QSL via Club Log's OQRS, Logbook of the World, eQSL, or via IK6IHU. For details of a certificate that is available, see QRZ.com
8S80AA is the special callsign in use throughout 2023 by Vasteras Radio Klubb, SK5AA to celebrate its 80th anniversary. QSL via Club Log's OQRS is preferred but is also available via the bureau to SK5AA, or direct to SM5FUG. More information about the club can be found at sk5aa.se
LA100K is the special callsign in use by Akademisk Radioklubb, LA1K to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its foundation. Based in Trondheim, it is the oldest amateur radio club in Norway. The special callsign will be in use until the 31st of December. QSL via the bureau, or direct.
Now the DX news
Laurens, PF3X will be active as TF/PF3X while touring Iceland until the 25th of August. He will operate SSB and digital modes on the HF and 6m bands. QSL via Logbook of the World and eQSL, or direct to his home call.
Chris, OE6CUD plans to visit the Lofoten Islands, EU-076, the Vesteralen Islands, EU-033, and Senja Island, EU-046, while touring Norway by car until late October. He will be QRV as LA/OE6CUD and will operate mainly CW on the HF bands. He might also give QO-100 a try. QSL via home call, direct or bureau, Logbook of the World and eQSL.
Now the contest news
On Tuesday the 22nd of August, the SHF UK Activity Contest runs from 1830 to 2130UTC. Using all modes on 2.3 to 10GHz frequencies, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Next weekend, the CQ RTTYops Worldwide RTTY Contest has two sessions between the 25th and 27th of August. The first session is between 2200UTC on the 25th and 1200UTC on the 26th. The second session is from 1200 to 2359UTC on Sunday the 27th. Using RTTY only on the 160 to 10m bands, where contests are permitted, the exchange is a signal report and the four-digit year of your first licence.
The Worldwide Digi DX contest runs from 1200UTC on the 26th to 1200UTC on the 27th of August. Using FT4 and FT8 on the 160 to 10m bands, where contests are permitted, the exchange is your four-character locator.
Next Sunday, the 27th, the UK Microwave Group 5.7 and 10GHz Contest runs from 0600 to 1800UTC. Using all modes on 5.7 and 10GHz frequencies, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA, and G4BAO on Thursday the 17th of August 2023
Sunspot activity continues as we head towards the solar maximum. We have had a reasonably settled Sun over the past week. The Kp index never exceeded 3.33 and was generally in the ones and twos all week. We also had no M- or X-class flares to worry about with only minor C-class events occurring.
The solar flux index stayed in the 140s and 150s, only topping out at 160 on Wednesday and Thursday.
So, it was not a bad week for HF propagation as we head towards the end of August.
There are signs that propagation is improving due to the seasonal change in the chemistry of the F2 layer. With a move towards more monoatomic species and fewer diatomic ones, it means that it is becoming easier to ionise.
Daytime critical frequencies are currently around 6 to 7MHz according to the Dourbes Digisonde, giving a maximum usable frequency over 3,000km of between 18 and 21MHz. 28MHz Sporadic-E contacts have all but finished, but don’t write the 10m band off as you may get the odd surprise.
20m still seems to be the best DX band this week, according to the Chiltern DX Club, with 17 and 15m also contributing.
FO/F4FJH in French Polynesia; E51JD in the South Cook Islands; and FH4VVK in Mayotte have all been heard on 20m SSB, while 3D2AG in Fiji has been worked on 15m CW.
And now the VHF and up propagation news
The fine summer-like weather has returned, at least for this weekend and up to about mid-week before it becomes more unsettled again. So, Tropo will be worth exploring, especially this weekend and during the first part of next week.
Note that, in these warmer summer months, Tropo is often better overnight and early morning, especially those misty ones, but tends to decay as the ground warms in the morning sunshine. However, coastal paths often remain good throughout the day so Tropo paths across the North Sea or English Channel could be worth a look from your holiday deck chair!
The Sporadic-E season is slowly coming to a close, but it is still worth a check in the evening tea-time activity window to make sure nothing is missed, and even better if you can add a morning check-up at around 1030UTC.
The recent Perseids meteor shower may have added some useful meteor debris as fuel, so it is certainly not time to give up checking just yet. However, you may have to manage your expectations on the higher VHF bands.
Meteor scatter is still a good bet in the tail end of the Perseids shower and the usual random meteors increase around dawn. Rain scatter is always an option in the summer months so keep a watch on weather radar displays for the brighter thundery rainfall echoes, especially later next week.
There have been some interesting propagation on 50MHz down to the equatorial belt in the late evenings with D2UY in Angola working FT8 stations in an arc from the Canaries around through Northern Scotland, and the whole of the UK to Turkey with ‘Trans-equatorial sounding’ fading patterns, making decodes difficult sometimes.
Moon declination goes negative again this Sunday, shortening Moon visibility windows and, as we are past apogee, path losses will fall all week. 144MHz sky noise is low to moderate until next Friday peaking at 2900 Kelvin on Saturday morning.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.
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