Sunday 25th December 2016
The news headlines:
Season’s Greetings from the GB2RS team
New GB2RS broadcast in FreeDV
Final set of GB16YOTA activations
This is the final GB2RS news reading for 2016 and 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. We would like to take this opportunity to once again thank all those who read the news, in whatever format, for their tireless dedication to their fellow amateurs. RSGB HQ is closed from noon on Friday the 23rd until 8.30am on Tuesday the 3rd of January. There will be no news reading on the 1st of January and normal GB2RS broadcasts resume on Sunday the 8th of January.
RSGB GB2RS news is now also broadcast in FreeDV. The transmission starts at 8.50am on 3.640MHz ± QRM followed at 9am by the news. The post-news net is from 9.30 to 10am. The initial launch is by Matthew Phillips, G6WPJ in Suffolk JO01jx. FreeDV is a new mode for sending voice over HF and VHF frequencies using digital modulation of the voice. Currently to operate FreeDV stations will need to use a PC with suitable software or an SM1000 accessory with a transceiver capable of SSB operation. Full details of the software needed and station setup can be found here http://freedv.org/tiki-index.php
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. On the 28th and 29th Leicester Radio Club will be operating the callsign and on the 30th it will go on the air from the National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park. 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.
The German telecoms regulator, BNetzA, has enabled access to the new WRC-15 60m amateur allocation to all German Class A licensees as of the 20th of December. The allocation is from 5351.5 to 5366.5kHz on a Secondary basis with a maximum power of 15W EIRP and a maximum bandwidth of 2.7kHz. All modes are permitted and the German national amateur radio society, DARC, recommends the use of USB and the IARU Region 1 provisional band plan for 60m.
Separately, ComReg announced on 22 December that amateurs in the Irish Republic have access to the 5MHz WRC-15 band, with immediate effect. The allocation is 5351.5 to 5366.5kHz, on a secondary basis, all modes and 15W pep. IRTS recommend usage in line with the provisional IARU band plan.
The annual KW Days activity weekend takes place the 7th and 8th of January. It is a great opportunity for collectors, enthusiasts and all those with fond KW memories to get on the air. SSB activity centres are on 7.177, 3.777 and 14.277MHz but operators are encouraged to use KW gear on other bands. Vintage KW, AM and CW-only gear will be on the VMARS net channels.
A few weeks ago Leicestershire Repeater Group took their 10GHz beacon, GB3LEX, off the air. The beacon keeper, G3TQF, found that the PA stage has failed. A search is now on to find a replacement PA. Further info will be published at www.leicestershirerepeatergroup.org.uk as it becomes available.
The Galileo satellite navigation system went live last week. First conceived in 1999, it will offer most users a 3D positioning accuracy of about one metre as receivers and additional satellites become available. In the past the system has caused concern as one of the new frequencies it uses is within the 23cm amateur band.
A pilot exercise will shortly take place for online Advanced examinations. These will be based at selected registered radio examination venues. The pilot phase will start mid-January 2017, with exams running from mid-February 2017. Further details will be announced early in 2017, including how centres can take part and what equipment is required. The RSGB appreciates that this option will not be for everyone as many radio examination venues don’t have internet access. In those cases the exam will still be available on paper. For more details see the RSGB website.
A longer version of this news report is available on the RSGB website at www.rsgb.org/news. It includes information on the Ofcom UHF Spectrum Review, further information on the online Exams system, the new RSGB Product Development Group and the new EU EMC Directive 2014/30 coming into UK law.
And now the DX news compiled from 425 DX News and other sources
Sila, AK0SK is on the air as 5Z4/AK0SK from Taveta in Kenya until the 6th of January. Activity is on 80 to 10 metres using SSB. QSL to his home callsign.
Chris, ZS1CDG is operating as 7P8GOZ from Teyateyaneng in Lesotho until the 31st of December. Activity is holiday style on 20 metres using PSK31, and possibly 15 metres. QSL to his home callsign.
Milan, OK1DWC is on the air as E51DWC from Rarotonga Island, IOTA reference OC-013, until early next year. Activity is on 160 to 10 metres using CW, SSB and RTTY. QSL to his home callsign.
JH0IXE will be operating as T8CW from Koror Island, OC-009, from the 26th of December to the 6th of January. Activity will be on 80 to 6 metres using CW, SSB, RTTY, PSK31 and JT65. QSL to his home callsign.
Several operators will be active as ZV2CV from Couves Island over the weekend of the 7th and 8th of January. Activity will be on 80, 40, 20, 15 and 10 metres using CW, SSB and digital modes. QSL via PY2XIZ, direct, by the Bureau or Logbook of The World.
Now the special event news
GB2KW will be on the air from the 1st to the 28th of January using vintage KW Electronics Ltd equipment. See the GB2KW listing on QRZ.com for full information.
OZ90EDR will be on the air in 2017 to celebrate the foundation of the Danish national society, EDR, on 15 August 1927. The QSL Manager is OZ1ACB.
Humber Fortress DX ARC in Hull have organised a year's multi club activation to celebrate Hull as the UK City of Culture 2017. Ofcom have kindly granted the callsign GB0HCC for the whole year using the standard NoV format of 28 days; each club will apply for the relevant 28 day portion of the year, to follow on from the previous club. Humber Fortress will be starting the year off, at 0001UTC until 0830UTC from the Cottingham Road Baptist Church. After the Church services have finished in the afternoon, about 1600, they hope to activate for a few more hours. Look for them on the 40 and 80m bands.
OZ100DVI will be put on the air from the 1st of January until the 31st of December by members of EDR HAM Radio Club of Skanderborg. It is to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of the Danish West Indies. Look on QRZ.com for further 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.
Canadian radio amateurs can use special callsign prefixes to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada's Confederation in 2017. Those whose regular callsigns start with VA will be able to use the CF prefix, VE will be able to use the CG prefix, VO will be able to use the CH prefix and those with VY will be able to use the CI prefix.
Now the contest news
The UK Six Metre Group Winter Marathon continues on 6m until the end of January. Details are on the UKSMG.org website.
Christmas Cumulatives runs for 2 hours each day between the 26th and 29th of December. Between 1400 and 1600UTC on all bands from 50 to 432MHz the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
The Worked All Britain Christmas Party runs from the 26th to the 31st of December. Using all bands and modes the exchange is your WAB book number, with the aim to collect as many as possible.
The DARC Christmas Contest takes place on the 26th of December between 0830 and 1100UTC. Using the 3.5 and 7MHz bands with CW and SSB, the exchange is signal report and serial number. German station will also send either DOK or NM.
On the 1st of January, the IRTS 80m Counties Contest runs from 1500 to 1700UTC. Using SSB and CW on the 3.5MHz band the exchange is signal report and serial number, with EI and GI stations also sending their County.
The 3rd of January sees two contests. The Low Power 144MHz FM contest runs from 1900 to 2000UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator. The 144MHz UJ Activity Contest is from 2000 to 2230UTC, using all modes and with signal report, serial number and locator as the exchange.
The 4th sees the UK EI CC take place on 80m from 2000 to 2100UTC. Using SSB only, the exchange is your 4-character locator.
The EUCW 160m CW Party takes place in two sessions on the 7th and 8th of January. On the 7th it’s between 2000 and 2300UTC and on the 8th it’s between 0400 and 0700. For details of the exchange it’s best to check out the website, www.eucw.org/eu160.html
The ARRL RTTY Roundup runs from 1800UTC on the 7th to 2359 on the 8th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz bands the exchange is signal report and serial number, with US stations sending their State and Canadians their Province.
Finally, on the 8th the CW AFS takes place from 1400 to 1800UTC. Using the 3.5 and 7MHz bands the exchange is signal report and serial number.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 23rd of December.
This week we have an extended propagation bulletin that takes you through to January 8th.
HF propagation will continue to be relatively lacklustre, with the solar flux index staying in the mid to high 70s.
Geomagnetic conditions have been unsettled at times, thanks to recurrent coronal hole activity. We will have a fairly quiet week from Christmas to the New Year, with the K index predicted to be mostly two. Unsettled auroral conditions are then predicted to return from the 2nd to the 8th, when the K index could reach five.
We expect the low bands of 160, 80, 60 and 40 metres to be the ones to concentrate on, especially early in the morning, late afternoon and at night. During the day, 20 and 30 metres should bring some DX, with 17 metres opening at times. There is also a chance of some winter Sporadic-E on the higher bands.
After sunset the ionosphere can settle and the MUF may rise again after about 2030, bringing some DX on 40 metres. The MUF can then fall again around 0330 until after sunrise.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
It looks like a white Christmas for some northern hills, but that's about it, since the rest of the country will have mild, wet and windy weather. This means no Tropo to get excited about in the short term, but by about Tuesday there will be a build of pressure over the continent. This may bring some good Tropo prospects for the southern half of the UK as we head towards the New Year.
Paths across the southern North Sea and Biscay look best, with some options into the continent at times. This high may strengthen towards New Year’s Eve, so northern Britain may share some of the spoils late in the week.
Since we have a very strong jet stream in the vicinity over Christmas there could be some Winter Sporadic-E, so check the 10, 6 and 4 metre beacons. Two metre Sporadic-E may be a big ask for Santa!
The Quadrantids meteor shower peaks in the week after New Year, so until then, continue to look for the early morning peak of random activity to make meteor scatter contacts.
Christmas day sees the Moon at apogee and by Thursday we are at maximum negative declination, so there are high losses and short moon windows all this week.
And that’s all from the propagation team. Hope you have a great Christmas and good DX in 2017.