Sunday 26th March 2017
The news headlines:
Examinations Standards Committee chair wanted
UK YOTA 2017 team announced
ISS contact deadline approaches
Following the sudden and unexpected sad loss of the recently-appointed Examinations Standards Committee Chair Dave Powis, G4HUP, the RSGB Board is again seeking to appoint a suitably qualified replacement. The Committee oversees all aspects of the examinations. More details are on the RSGB website, but if you require further information or an informal chat about the role you can contact the responsible RSGB Director Ian Shepherd, g4evk, via email to email@example.com
The RSGB is delighted to announce that the members of the UK YOTA 2017 team are Peter Barnes, 2E0UAR and Jonathan Sawyer, M0JSX. Peter is 19 and a member of Thornbury and South Gloucestershire ARC. Jonathan is 23 and belongs to the Reading and District ARC. You will be able to read more about them in the May issue of RadCom, which should arrive around Easter. Congratulations to them both.
The deadline for schools or informal educational institutions and organisations to submit proposals to host amateur radio contacts next year with International Space Station crew members is fast approaching. All applications must be in by the 5th of April. Organiser ARISS anticipates that contacts will take place between the 1st of January and the 30th of June next year. Anyone interested should contact the RSGB liaison Ciaran Morgan via email to firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance with the application process.
The 90th RSGB AGM will be held at the Angel Hotel, Castle St, Cardiff CF10 1SZ on Saturday the 22nd of April, commencing at 12 noon. Details of those standing for elections, the accounts and the Minutes of the 2016 AGM appear in the April RadCom. Votes must be received by the ERS before 12 noon on Thursday 20 April 2017, as described in RadCom. Lunch will be provided at the AGM for Members who notify their attendance in advance. Please register using the form at www.rsgb.org/attendagm
The new Bletchley Park website has officially launched. It includes details of a booked event happening on the 2nd of April between 2 and 4pm. Visitors can experience an intimate Q&A session with Bletchley Park Veterans in celebration of the Off Duty exhibition that gives a look into the recreational activities the Codebreakers and their colleagues enjoyed outside of work. Go to www.bletchleypark.org.uk/ and click on the What’s On tab. RSGB Members can gain free admittance to Bletchley Park using an individualised voucher that you download from the www.rsgb.org home page.
The 2016 RSGB Convention lecture The rise & rise of 5.7GHz EME by Peter Blair, G3LTF has been released for RSGB Members to view. Just log in and then go to the online video portal www.rsgb.org/video
Amateurs in the UK have been very fortunate in having early access to 5MHz, with 5 spot frequencies 15 years ago and more than 70kHz of spectrum made available in 2013. This was a result of close cooperation with Ofcom and the MoD, who is primary user on the band. The UK currently has an arrangement that gives us more spectrum and a higher power allowance of 100W at 5MHz, however it does not cover all of the WRC-15 band of 5351.5 to 5366.5kHz. The Society played a very active role in the WRC-15 process and continues to work with Ofcom to gain access to all of the WRC-15 band, however this is not expected to change in the foreseeable future as there are on-going assignments within the band. The RSGB will implement the IARU Region 1 band plan for 5MHz within the segments allocated to us. In common with other Region 1 societies with allocations greater than 15kHz, we will recommend that frequencies within the WRC-15 band that are allowed under the UK Amateur Radio Licence only be used for international contacts, or for stations with no other option.
All radio amateurs are invited to participate in Portugal's National SOTA Day on the 1st of April. This is not a contest. Diplomas, sent electronically, will be available to activators, chasers and SWL registered on the SOTA database and after the upload of their logs. More information from Pedro, CT1DBS/CU3HF by email to diasotaCT@gmail.com.
The Palestine, E44CM DXpedition that took place in November 2016 has now been approved for DXCC credit. Follow the usual procedures or, for new participants, go to www.arrl.org/dxcc
At 1am today, the 26th of March, the clocks were turned forward one hour, signalling the start of British Summer Time. It means that there’s more daylight in the evenings and less in the mornings. Most radio amateurs leave their shack clocks to GMT or UTC but some programs may need the time changed.
And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week
Today, the 26th of March, the Callington Radio Rally will take place at Callington Town Hall, Callington, Cornwall PL17 7BD. Doors open at 10am and admittance is £2. There will be a Bring & Buy and trade stands. Catering is available on site and there is ample free parking in the adjacent car park. The rally is organised by the Devon & Cornwall Repeater and Callington Amateur Radio Society. More information, including booking details, from Roger on 07854 088 882.
Next weekend, on the 2nd of April, The Hack Green Hangar Sale will take place at Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker, French Lane, Nantwich, Cheshire CW5 8AL. Doors open 10am. It is a sale of amateur gear, electronic equipment, computers, military radio sets and vehicle spares. Refreshments are available on site. More details from Lucy Siebert on 01270 623 353 or by email to email@example.com
An advance notice and an apology now. The Ripon Rally on the 23rd of April didn’t appear in last month’s RadCom, for which the editorial team apologises. The rally does appear correctly on the RSGB website. It will be held at Hugh Ripley Hall, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 2PT on Sunday 23 April. Doors open at 10am and entry is £2 on the door, with under 16s free. Enquiries can be made via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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
A group of radio amateurs from Sweet Lake City in the Netherlands will be in Liechtenstein from the 1st to the 8th of April. Using the HB0 suffix to their callsigns they will be on all HF bands using CW, SSB and digital modes. All QSLs are via PE1FLO.
W2APF will be on Nevis Island in the Caribbean, IOTA reference NA-104, until the 1st of April. He will be using the callsign V47JR and will be active on the 6 to 80m bands using CW and SSB. This is a holiday style operation and QSLs go via the home callsign.
Richard, G3RWL will be reactivating his 8P6DR callsign from Barbados, NA-021, until the 20th of April. He will be on CW and RTTY on the 80 to 10m bands. QSL via Club Log OQRS.
Tim, NL8F is on the air as T2TT on Tuvalu, OC-015, until the 13th of April. Activity is on the various HF bands using SSB and digital modes. QSL via N7RO.
Laurent, F5IXR is on the air as TZ5XR in Mali until 2019. Activity is on 40, 20, 17, 12 and 10 metres using mostly CW. QSL direct to home call.
Now the special event news
GB8EGT will be on the air from RAF Eglington in Londonderry from the 25th of March to the 9th of April, 9am-5pm. The station will be on air holiday style. Contact Paul Lewis, MI1AIB by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
GB8BKY will be on the air from RAF Ballykelly in Limavady from the 25th of March to the 9th of April, 9am-5pm. The station will be on air holiday style. Contact Paul Lewis, MI1AIB by email to email@example.com
A Canadian-led DXpedition-style event will activate the 100 hectare WWI battle site, Vimy Ridge as it is the centenary of the April 1917 Battle of Vimy Ridge. A commemorative amateur radio station will go on the air from the summit of Vimy Ridge on the 1st of April and continue until dusk on the 9th. Seventeen operators, drawn from the ranks of Canadian and French contesters and DXpedtioners, will run two stations 24 hours per day, using SSB, CW and digital modes on 160 through 10 metres. The radios will be Elecraft K3s and KPA 500s with Spiderbeams, verticals and dipoles for antennas. www.v100vimy.ca
South Kesteven ARS will put GB5ROC on the air on the 2nd of April from Post 62, Buckminster, the Royal Observer Corps Cold War Nuclear Bunker, operating as a part of Britain on the Brink.
Now the contest news
The CQ World Wide WPX SSB contest ends its 48 hour run at 2359 today, the 26th. Using all contest bands from 160 to 10m, the exchange is signal report and serial number. In this contest everyone can work everyone.
On Tuesday the SHF UK Activity Contest runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes on the 2.3 to 10GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Wednesday, the UK EI Counties Contest runs from 2000 to 2100UTC. Using the 80m band only, the exchange is your 4-character locator.
Next weekend is a busy one. The SP DX contest runs from 1500UTC on the 1st to 1500UTC on the 2nd. Using the 1.8 to 28MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number. SP stations send their Province code too.
On the 2nd, running from 0900 to 1200UTC, the Frist 70MHz contest takes place. Using all modes on the 70MHz band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Also on the 2nd, but from 1900 to 2030UTC, the RoLo 1, or Rolling Locators, contest takes place. Using SSB only on the 3.5MHz band, the exchange is signal report and the locator you received.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 24th of March.
Last week’s predicted geomagnetic storm materialised on cue, sending the K index up to five on Tuesday. The storming continued right through Wednesday into Thursday. There was an initial ionospheric enhancement late on Tuesday, but it didn't last long. Maximum useable frequencies were then adversely affected on Wednesday with noisy bands and even 20 metres struggling to open at times. The culprit was a high-speed stream from a solar coronal hole, which impacted the Earth at speeds in excess of 650 kilometres per second, triggering an aurora. The time around the equinoxes can often bring more auroral activity.
The sun has been otherwise quiet, with only one tiny sunspot group coming around the limb.
Next week, NOAA predicts that the solar flux index will remain in the low 70s, but geomagnetic disturbances will continue. The K index is predicted to rise sharply on Tuesday due to yet another high speed stream from a coronal hole. This may push the K index up to six, prompting auroral conditions yet again.
Poor conditions may then continue, so look out for an initial positive phase, which could occur early in the week, but then expect disturbed conditions with lower maximum usable frequencies for the remainder. As always, polar HF paths may be the worst hit, while North-South paths could remain less affected.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
The high pressure we hinted at last week is now building over northern Britain and should dominate the weather for much of the coming week.
The prospects for tropospheric openings look good, especially across the North Sea into northern Germany and the Low Countries. Weather models seem to follow a theme that the high declines later in the week with low pressure and the potential for gigahertz bands rain scatter for western areas by next weekend.
As we move towards April, there will be a chance of some early season Sporadic-E within southern Europe. This is not ready for us yet, but a sign of good times ahead, given another three weeks or so. Now is the time to be checking those 10m, 6m, 4m and 2m beams and beacon lists.
Moon declination goes positive this week, meaning increasing windows of moon visibility. With perigee on Thursday, losses will become lower as the week progresses, making it a good week for EME.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.