Sunday 26th February 2017
The news headlines:
YOTA 2017 – find out more
Long path propagation SOTA event
Review of Contesting seeks your thoughts
There is now a dedicated section on the RSGB website that contains everything you need to know about YOTA 2017, www.rsgb.org/yota You can discover more about the history of the event and who will be taking part this year; read the latest news and announcements; meet the team involved in making YOTA 2017 a reality; and learn how you could become one of our ‘Super supporters’. The section has just been redesigned to make the information easier to find, so take a look and find out more! Plans for YOTA 2017 are progressing and you can help the RSGB to make 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.
Mike, 2E0YYY, Andrew, VK1AD and Ed, DD5LP are planning another long path propagation SOTA Summit to Summit event for 11 March starting at 0630 UTC. Activity will be SSB or CW on 20 metres and going by the last action in October 2016, over 30 summits are expected to be active concurrently over Europe, Australia, New Zealand and possibly Japan. Check reflector.sota.org.uk for details.
RSGB President Nick Henwood, G3RWF is writing a report on the implementation of the 2015 Review of Contesting. A questionnaire forms an important part of the input to this report, but there will also be feedback from clubs, groups and individuals as well as factual analysis of performance where possible. The questionnaire is now available on the RSGB website on the ‘Consultations’ page. It will be live until the 19th of March. All those interested in the future of contesting are urged to complete it. Whether or not you are a Member of the RSGB, the Society is asking for your help and input.
The CRS-10 mission carrying vital amateur radio equipment to the International Space Station launched at 1439UTC on the 19th of February. Included was an ARISS Ericsson 2 meter VHF radio. This radio will replace the Ericsson radio that failed a few months ago. The VHF radio is used for school group contacts and amateur packet radio in the Columbus module. Once the Dragon vehicle is berthed to ISS, the Ericsson will be unstowed and, at some point, installed in Columbus, replacing the UHF radio that is now supporting APRS packet and some school contacts.
The RSGB Board Proceedings for the December 17 meeting have been released. Members can read the RSGB Board proceedings on the RSGB website www.rsgb.org.uk
The GM DX Convention 2017 will be held at the King Robert Hotel, Whins of Milton, Stirling, on the 1st of April. Lectures include Chris, G3SVL speaking about the ZL7G Chatham Island DXpedition and SDR “with knobs on” by John, G3WGV.
The RSGB has added more to the new video page for Members. Go to www.rsgb.org/video to see more from the 2016 RSGB Convention. They are freely available for you to download but please read the RSGB’s conditions of use first.
And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week
The Rainham Rally takes place today, the 26th of February, 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.
Also on the 26th 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.
The Lagen Valley ARS Rally and Hamfest takes place on the 4th of March in the Hillsborough Village Centre, 7 Ballynahinch Road, Hillsborough, County Down BT26 6AR. Doors open at 11am. All the usual traders are expected to attend.
On the 5th of March the Exeter Radio and Electronics Rally will take place in America Hall, De La Rue Way, Pinhoe, Exeter EX4 8PW. Doors open at 10.30am with disabled visitors gaining access 15 minutes earlier. Bring & Buy book-in starts at 10.15am. Admission is £2 and there will be trade stands. Catering is available on site. Details from Pete, G3ZVI on 0771 419 8374.
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
Elvira, IV3FSG will be in Burkina Faso until the 13th of March. She will sign XT2SE on CW, SSB and Digital. QSL Manager is IK3GES.
Steve, M1ACB, Rob, M0VFC and John, M0IDA will be active on the FM and SSB amateur radio satellites from Berry Islands in the Bahamas from the 4th to the 10th of March and will be using hand-held antennas. Since the FM satellites will only cover part of the USA they’ll also be using SSB on FO-29 to reach the British Isles and Europe. They will be operating from Little Harbour Cay in the Berry Islands, IOTA NA-054, Grid Square FL15do.
Lot, DJ7ZG and Babs, DL7AFS are operating from Antigua as V21ZG until the 26th of March. They will be on SSB on all bands 80m to 6m including 60m. Logs will be uploaded to Logbook of The World and QSLs can be obtained through Club Log OQRS.
Mike, W0MU and Jonathan, G0DVJ will be on the air from Belize until the 28th of February. They are using the callsigns V31MU and V31DV and can be found on CW, SSB and RTTY. QSL to the home calls.
A group of operators are operating as VP6EU from Pitcairn Island until the 5th of March. Activity is on 160 to 10 metres using CW, SSB and various digital modes. QSL via DK2AMM.
Jonathan, KK7PW will be in Uganda until the 7th of March. He has been issued with the callsign 5X1O and will be on the air early mornings/ late evenings on 40, 20, 15 and 10m on CW, SSB and Digital. His QSL Manager is EA5GL.
Now the special event news
GB0SMD will be operating from the historic church of St Margaret of Antioch on Saturday the 4th of March from 10am-4pm. Operation will be on HF using the 10 to 80m bands and a special QSL card will be produced.
PA2017BP is on the air until the 20th of March to commemorate Lord Baden-Powell who founded the Scout Movement, also known as the Boy Scouts. QSL to PA3EFR.
Throughout 2017, Canadian Radio Amateurs may use special callsign prefixes to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada's Confederation. 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 VY will be able to use the CI prefix.
Now the contest news
With HF conditions now so poor, the CQWW 160m DX CW Contest that ends its 48 hour run at 2200UTC today, the 26th, might be even livelier than usual. 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 ending at 1800UTC today, the 26th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz bands the exchange is signal report and serial number, with French stations sending their Department or overseas prefix.
Also today, 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.
On Tuesday the SHF UK Activity Contest runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes within the 2.3 to 10GHz bands the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Wednesday it’s the UK EI CC on 80m from 2000 to 2100UTC. The exchange is your 4-character locator.
Next weekend it’s the ARRL International DX contest from 0000UTC on the 4th to 2359UTC on the 5th. Using the 1.8 to 28MHz bands the exchange is signal report and transmit power. American stations will also send their State and Canadians their Province.
Also next weekend it’s the 144/432MHz contest from 1400UTC on the 4th to 1400UTC on the 5th. Using all modes on the 144 and 432MHz bands the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Finally for next week, the UK Microwave Group Low Band Contest runs from 1000 to 1600UTC on the 5th. Using the 1.3 to 3.4GHz bands, any mode, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 24th of February.
Last week was a mixed bag as far as HF propagation is concerned. We had a solar flux index that got as high as 83, but this was tempered by unsettled geomagnetic conditions at times. The planetary K index hit four on Wednesday due to incoming plasma from a large solar coronal hole. And it varied from between zero and three for a lot of the week.
The good news is that there is quite a large sunspot group in the north-west quadrant of the Sun that should be pretty much earth-facing by the time you read or hear this report. The bad news is that there is another coronal hole rotating into position. While Sunday the 26th and Monday the 27th will merely be unsettled with a predicted K index of three, Tuesday the 28th and the rest of the week are predicted to be very unsettled with a possible K index of six. These unsettled conditions could continue through to the end of the week.
At the moment we are seeing maximum daytime critical frequencies over the UK of about 6.6MHz. This means 40m is largely useable for contacts beyond 100 kilometres and we have daytime maximum useable frequencies exceeding 21MHz.
Looking on the bright side, next week we enter into March and head towards the spring Equinox. This can be a good time for the higher HF bands, with better conditions on North-South paths.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
I hope you managed to keep all the antennas intact and storm Doris passed uneventfully. The unsettled weather will continue through much of the coming week with no signs of any significant Tropo to look forward to.
There is one brief period on Sunday when mild, windy and cloudy weather may give suitable conditions for a slight lift, in the region between a warm front and cold front. Given the speed that the weather systems are moving, it will be a short visit and soon gone. That leaves us with slow-moving low pressure nearby, but without large shower clouds at this time of year, GHz bands rain scatter will be limited.
There are no major meteor showers this week, but remember that the best time for random meteor scatter contacts is around dawn, when the earth is rotating into the flux of meteoric particles.
The Moon reaches perigee on Friday, and its declination goes positive on Tuesday, so EME path losses are low and Moon windows will lengthen as the week progresses.
It’s a good week for EME, apart from today and Monday when the sun and moon are within a few degrees of each other giving high solar noise, especially at VHF where antenna beam widths are wide.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.