RSGB Board Chair Stewart Bryant, G3YSX is pleased to announce that the Board has co-opted Ben Lloyd, GW4BML as a Board Director until the AGM in April 2024. Ben had a significant number of votes in the RSGB 2023 Board elections. Ben brings a fresh perspective together with a very active life as a radio amateur in Wales. The Society hopes you will welcome Ben to his new role.
The RSGB 2023 Convention is just seven weeks away and the Society is delighted that AMSAT will be holding its Colloquium during the event again. The RSGB’s programme includes a fantastic range of expert speakers and amateur radio topics. You’ll hear behind-the-scenes stories about the Rockall DXpedition 2023 and the Bouvet 3Y0J DXpedition; Cathy Clarke, G1GQJ will share the history of RAYNET and its importance in the modern world; and there are presentations on aircraft scatter, PCB Building plus working FM satellites on a budget. Following the exciting news that the UK will be the hosts for the World Radiosport Team Championship in 2026, you’ll hear from competitors and referees who took part in the 2022 Championship and gain an insight into the preparations for the 2026 event. For the first time, the Convention will also have a clear focus on outreach and practical activities as the RSGB provides opportunities for individuals and clubs to ‘have a go’ and be inspired to try new things in their local areas. These are just some of the many highlights and the RSGB will be publishing full details in the October RadCom. Keep an eye on rsgb.org/convention for more details over the next couple of weeks. Also, the RSGB is delighted to announce that Keith Hotchkiss, G0FEA has been appointed as the RSGB’s volunteer Lecture Coordinator for the 2023 Convention. Keith will be working with General Manager and Convention Chair Steve Thomas, M1ACB and the rest of the Convention team to create another fantastic event.
IARU Region 1 will hold its next General Conference from the 1st to the 4th of November 2023 in Zlatibor, Serbia. A wide range of papers and proposals are now available online and the RSGB welcomes comments on these. Topics include: general reports; organisational and budget proposals; the new HF Bandplan; VHF, UHF and SHF changes; and consideration of WRC-23, the World Radiocommunication Conference, which follows shortly afterwards. Other themes include: strategic projects and progress, accommodating digital technologies, contests, EMC and other spectrum matters. Comments should be forwarded to the relevant HF, VHF or Microwave spectrum manager, by Thursday the 12th of October, in order to allow time to finalise the RSGB position. You can find a link to the consultation via thersgb.org/go/iaruconsult
Have you replied to the Ofcom consultation about amateur radio yet? And have you read the article by Ofcom Director for Spectrum, David Willis, in the September edition of RadCom? In it, David says: “We fully recognise the contribution amateur radio has made to developing radio technologies over the years, including in the development of radar and LTE. We know how important amateur radio is as a hobby to those who are involved, and that it plays an important role in nurturing the next generation of radio engineers.” This recognition of the importance of amateur radio skills for careers in engineering dovetails with the RSGB’s strategic priority to grow and develop amateur radio. You can read David’s full article on the RSGB website and watch three RSGB presentations that give information and guidance about the Ofcom Consultation. The Society encourages every radio amateur to submit their views about the Consultation proposals – go to rsgb.org/licencereview
A reminder now that the popular British Inland Waterways on the Air event is taking place this weekend and will finish tomorrow, Monday the 28th. The event is open to amateurs who use canals, towpaths, rivers, lakes or reservoirs for work or recreation. Lots of stations are active, so why not give them a call? To find out more about the event visit Nunsfield House Amateur Radio Group’s website nharg.org.uk and follow the ‘BIWOTA 2023’ link.
It has been announced this week that the UK will host the world’s first summit on artificial intelligence safety in November. The summit will be held at the iconic Bletchley Park, which is one of the birthplaces of computer science. To be able to host an event of this global importance, Bletchley Park and the RSGB National Radio Centre will be closed to the public from Saturday the 28th of October to Friday the 3rd of November inclusive. If you have pre-booked a visit for during that time, Bletchley Park will contact you. For more information see bletchleypark.org.uk
And now for details of rallies and events
Torbay Annual Communications Fair is taking place today, Sunday the 27th of August. The venue is Newton Abbot Racecourse, TQ12 3AF. This is an indoor event with free parking. The doors open at 10am. A bring-and-buy area, on-site catering, and an RSGB bookstall are available. For more information contact Pete, G4VTO on 01803 864 528, Mike, G1TUU on 01803 557 941 or email email@example.com
Milton Keynes Amateur Radio Society Rally is also taking place today, Sunday the 27th of August. The rally is being 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 are open to the public from 9am. Outdoor pitches and indoor tables are available. For trader and exhibitor enquiries please email firstname.lastname@example.org For more information see mkars.org.uk
The Huntingdonshire Amateur Radio Society Annual Rally will take place tomorrow, Monday the 28th of August. The venue will be Ernulf Academy, St Neots, PE19 2SH. The gates open for traders at 7am and for the public at 9am. The entrance fee will be £3 and free car parking will be available. The event will feature an RSGB bookstall and bring and buy. For more information, email Malcolm, M0OLG via email@example.com or phone 01480 214282.
On Saturday the 2nd of September, the G-QRP Club Convention, featuring its famous Buildathon, will take place at the Harper Adams University campus near Telford, Shropshire, TF10 8NB. The following day, Sunday the 3rd of September, Telford Hamfest will take place at the same venue. Talk-in will be available on Sunday morning on 145.550MHz FM. Further details are available at gqrp.com/convention.htm and telfordhamfest.org.uk If you have any questions, you can contact Martyn, G3UKV on 01952 255416 or John, M0JZH on 07824 737716.
Dartmoor Autumn Radio Rally will take place on Sunday the 3rd of September. The venue will be Yelverton War Memorial Hall, Meavy Lane, Yelverton, Devon, PL20 6AL. There will be the usual bring and buy, trader stands and refreshments available. The doors will open at 10am and admission will be £2.50. Free parking will be available. For more information email Roger via firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07854 088882.
Now the Special Event News
PG100N is the special callsign in use to celebrate the centenary of the lighthouse located at Noordwijk aan Zee. Look out for activity until the 11th of September, especially during Open Monument Day on the 9th and 10th of September. QSL via the bureau to PA7DA.
Special callsign LX90RTL is active in celebration of the 90th anniversary of Radio Luxembourg’s first long wave broadcast. It is being used by various LX operators until the end of the 2023 year. Look for activity on the HF bands. QSOs are possible via SSB, CW, digital modes and satellite. All QSOs will be confirmed automatically via the DARC bureau. The logs will be uploaded to Club Log, Logbook of the World and eQSL on a regular basis. See QRZ.com for more information.
Now the DX news
Frans, DJ0TP will be active as TK/DJ0TP from the main island of Corsica, EU-014, until the 3rd of September. QSL via his home call and Logbook of the World.
From the 1st to the 7th of September, Christo, LZ3FN and Thomas, SV2CLJ will be QRV from Skyros Island, EU-060, in Greece, as SV8/LZ3FN and SV8/SV2CLJ. They will be operating on the 80 to 2m bands using CW, SSB and digital modes.
Now the contest news
Today, 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.
Also today, the 27th, the CQ RTTYops Contest is running from 1200 to 2359UTC. Using RTTY only on the 160 to 10m bands, where contests are permitted, the exchange is signal report and the four-digit year of your first licence.
The World Wide Digi DX Contest ends today, the 27th, at 1200UTC. Using FT4 and FT8 on the 160 to 10m bands, where contests are permitted, the exchange is your four-character locator.
The All Asian DX Contest starts at 0000UTC on Saturday the 2nd of September and ends at 2359UTC on Sunday the 3rd of September. Using SSB on the 160 to 10m bands, where contests are permitted, the exchange is serial number and age.
On Saturday the 2nd of September, the CWops CW Open will run from 0000 to 2359UTC. Using CW on the 160 to 10m bands, where contests are permitted, the exchange is serial number and name.
IARU Region 1 SSB Field Day starts at 1300UTC on Saturday the 2nd of September and ends at 1300UTC on Sunday the 3rd of September. Using SSB on the 80 to 10m bands, where contests are permitted, the exchange is signal report and serial number.
The 144MHz Trophy Contest starts at 1400UTC on Saturday the 2nd of September and ends at 1400UTC on Sunday the 3rd of September. Using All modes on the 2m band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Sunday the 3rd of September, the Worked All Britain 2m QRO Phone Contest runs from 1000 to 1400UTC. Using phone, the exchange is signal report, serial number and Worked All Britain square.
On Sunday the 3rd of September, the 5th 144MHz Backpackers Contest runs from 1100 to 1500UTC. Using all modes on the 2m band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA, and G4BAO on Thursday the 24th of August 2023
Last week saw plenty of DX being worked, thanks to quiet geomagnetic conditions and a seasonal change to a more autumnal ionosphere.
Although we are still in August, there are signs that the ionosphere is moving away from its summer doldrums as its chemical composition changes to more monatomic species, which ionise more easily.
Another bonus is that there has been a big reduction in the size and number of coronal holes on the Sun, which again leads to lower Kp indices.
Mike, G8AXA reports that, for the first time in a long while, his Faros IBP beacon monitoring software recorded the VK6RBP beacon on 28.200MHz between 0857 and 1000UTC, via short path, just making S1 on his long wire and Yaesu FT-991A. On 21.150MHz, he also recorded hearing the ZL6B beacon between 0757 and 0909UTC up to S3.
Conditions should continue to improve as we move towards September and October.
Last week, the solar flux was in the 140s and 150s. The Kp index never rose above three, meaning the ionosphere was quite stable. The proton flux was also very low. FT8 on the 15m band was humming in the afternoon with the Far East and Caribbean both being workable at the same time.
Next week we have active regions 3413 and 3415 rotating to be more Earth-centric. NOAA predicts that the Solar Flux Index will rise to the 160s again and the quiet geomagnetic conditions may continue with a predicted Kp index of two.
So, as long as we don’t get any solar flares, or CMEs erupting from sunspot groups 3413 and 3415, we could have a good week again for HF DX.
And now the VHF and up propagation news
The current spell of unsettled weather looks likely to stay with us for most of next week, in fact until around Friday when there are signs of a ridge building in for next weekend, although mainly for southern areas.
This could be in time for some Tropo over the weekend of the 144MHz Trophy Contest. However, the models are a bit uncertain this far out, so keep a watch for changes during the week.
The remaining mode in such unsettled weather is of course rain scatter and most of the period until the end of the week should provide many opportunities.
As we approach the close of the traditional Sporadic-E season, although it can still occur in any month, the activity levels are much reduced after the end of August and certainly tail off sharply after the first week in September. We are still getting the occasional flurry of activity for multi-hop paths on 10m to the Far East and the States, so don’t abandon it just yet.
Remaining modes such as meteor scatter are still available via random meteor activity and there are always chances of a higher Kp index with its implications for aurora. Note that the autumn and spring months are typically a preferred time for aurora.
This Saturday sees minimum Moon declination with the Moon not getting above 10 degrees elevation. It goes positive again next Friday. As the Moon’s perigee is on Wednesday, path losses are at their lowest. 144MHz sky noise is high this weekend, but falling to low levels by next Friday.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.
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