Sunday 2nd April 2017
The news headlines:
New North Uist repeater with internet link
Mixed blessings for Dutch amateurs
Second YOTA vlog released
New repeater GB3EI is located on the Isle of North Uist in the Outer Hebrides and it went on air last Thursday. It operates on 145.6125MHz with a 600kHz shift and 88.5Hz CTCSS. Details are on its website, www.gb3ei.co.uk
Telecommunication regulators in The Netherlands have scaled back considerably the country’s formerly liberal 60m privileges. Since December 2015, amateurs in The Netherlands have had access to a 100kHz wide band at 5MHz, with a maximum power of 100W. Starting on the 1st of April 2017, the allocation has been changed to the global secondary 15kHz-wide allocation, 5351.5kHz to 5366.5kHz, with a maximum of 15W EIRP. On a positive note, the same Gazette notice also removed the cross-band and duplex restrictions on 50.45 to 52.0MHz and 70.0 to 70.5MHz.
The RSGB’s second YOTA 2017 video blog, or vlog, features RSGB Youth Committee member Rebecca Hughes, M6BUB. She introduces one of the activities she’s looking forward to helping with at the international YOTA 2017 week the RSGB is hosting in August. You can watch this and other vlogs on our dedicated YOTA 2017 web pages, www.rsgb.org/yota 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
US amateurs will get two new bands in the near future. On the 28th of March, the FCC adopted rules that will allow secondary amateur radio access to 472 to 479kHz and to 135.7 to 137.8kHz. The new rules become effective 30 days after publication in The Federal Register. More information is on the ARRL website www.arrl.org
The RSGB Board recently received a number of reports that postings to the Have Your Say web page were not being answered and tasked the Board Chair with investigating the position. A technical problem was identified that may mean a number of HYS messages weren’t received and, therefore, weren’t answered. However, we are only aware of one message specifically that didn’t get a response. The technical problem has now been fixed. The Board would like to thank those who drew attention to this issue and trust that the actions taken will show that they listen and act when matters are made known.
In order to try to meet the 2015 Presidential Review aim of reducing geographical and other disadvantages, the B2 contest scoring method was introduced on a trial basis for RSGB VHF contests throughout 2017. Arrangements are now being made to start to review B2 use, based on scores during the first four months of the year. For details of how this will happen and the proposed wider consultation see http://rsgb.org/main/blog/news/rsgb-notices/2017/03/30/vhf-contest-scoring/
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. AGM registrations are going well; lunch will be provided free of charge for Members who notify their attendance in advance using the form at www.rsgb.org/attendagm
The www.CQScotland.com Group will be will be coordinating a kit building and Micro:Bit computing showcase at the Braehead Arena, Glasgow G51 4BN on Sunday the 7th of May. The Group is being supported by the Radio Society of Great Britain and the Micro:Bit Educational Foundation. Radio amateurs, electronics enthusiasts or fans of the BBC Micro:Bit are invited to join the Volunteer Team. You will help guide a young person to successfully complete their electronic project in about an hour. Please register your initial interest at www.CQScotland.com
This year’s Mills on the Air event takes place on the 13th and 14th of May. There is an award available for working the various special event stations. Please do remember to register at www.g4cdd.net or www.mills-on-the-air.net
And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week
We start with the unfortunate news that the Southern Electronics & Radio Fair, planned for the 6th of May, has had to be cancelled. Details can be found at www.serf.org.uk
Today, the 2nd of April, the Hack Green Hangar Sale takes 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Northern Amateur Radio Societies Association Exhibition, otherwise known as the Blackpool Rally, will take place on the 9th of April in the Norbreck Castle Exhibition Centre, Blackpool FY2 9AA. There is car parking at the venue and a talk in station will be in operation. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy, special interest groups and an RSGB bookstall. Doors open 10.30am with disabled visitors gaining access 15 minutes earlier. More information from Dave, M0OBW on 01270 761 608.
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
IOTA enthusiasts and prefix collectors should look out for PF38T on Texel Island, IOTA reference EU-038, operated by Hans, PA7HPH until the 9th of April. A special QSL card will be issued via PA7HPH.
Tim, NL8F will reactivate his T2TT callsign from Tuvalu in the Pacific, OC-015, until the 13th of April. He will be on SSB and JT65 on 80m to 10m. His QSL Manager is N7RO.
Tony, 3D2AG is on the air as 3D2AG/p until the 28th of April from Rotuma, OC-060, a Fijian dependency. Activity is on 160 to 6 metres using CW, SSB, RTTY, JT65 and FSK441. QSL via the operator's instructions.
Eliot, W1MJ will be on the air as CE0Y/W1MJ from Easter Island, SA-001 until the 4th of April. Activity will be holiday style on 40, 30, 20 and 15 metres using QRP CW and possibly PSK31 as well. QSL to home call.
YB3MM and YB3LZ will be transmitting as 4W/YB3MM and 4W/YB3LZ, respectively, from Dili in Timor-Leste, OC-148 between the 3rd and 5th of April. Activity will be holiday style on the HF bands, using mostly JT65 and possibly other modes as well. QSL via operators’ instructions.
Marc, ON5SM will be transmitting as DU9/ON5SM from Mindanao in the Philippines, OC-130, from the 4th of April to the 24th of May. Activity will be on 80 to 6 metres using SSB, SSTV and various digital modes. QSL to home call.
Now the special event news
GB8EGT will be on the air from RAF Eglington in Londonderry and GB8BKY will be on the air from RAF Ballykelly in Limavady, both until the 9th of April, operating holiday-style. Contact Paul Lewis, MI1AIB by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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. More information is at www.v100vimy.ca
South Kesteven ARS will put GB5ROC on the air today, 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.
French radio club F8KHW will be running a portable station from Wailly Les Arras on the 8th of April for the centenary of the battle of Arras city that began on the 9th of April 1917. They will be operating, on 2m FM and SSB, 40m and 20m SSB, CW and PSK.
Now the contest news
This weekend is a busy one. The SP DX contest ends its 24 hour run at 1500UTC today, the 2nd. Using 160 to 10m, the exchange is signal report and serial number. SP stations send their Province code too.
Today, the 2nd, running from 0900 to 1200UTC, the First 70MHz contest takes place. Using all modes on the 4m band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Also today, 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.
On Monday the 80m Club Championships will take place from 1900 to 2030UTX. Using CW only, the exchange is signal report and serial number.
On Tuesday there are two 2m contests. The FM Activity Contest runs from 1800 to 1900UTC, then the all mode UK Activity Contest from 1900 to 2130UTC. Both have the same exchange: signal report, serial number & locator.
On Wednesday it’s the UK EI CC on 80m from 2000 to 2100UTC. The exchange is your 4-character locator.
Next Sunday, the 9th, it’s the Frist 50MHz contest running from 0900 to 1200UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number, locator and post code.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 30th of March.
Last week was a mixed bag. As predicted we had geomagnetic storming, thanks to the effects of a large coronal hole and its associated high speed solar wind stream, but we also had some good HF conditions at times. With the solar flux in the low 80s, propagation was dominated by the impact of solar material on Tuesday, with the subsequent rise in the K index to five and even six. The initial onset brought a pre-auroral enhancement, with many stations reporting good HF conditions. But this was soon tempered by poorer conditions later in the week.
Visible auroras were reported at higher latitudes and a UK-wide red aurora alert was issued by Lancaster University on the 27th. Next week, NOAA predicts that the solar flux index will decline into the mid 70s.
Geomagnetic conditions will remain unsettled until later in the week, with the K index likely to hit four at times. We may then get a bit of a respite, with more settled conditions on Friday and across the weekend of the 8th and 9th. You can then expect maximum useable frequencies over a 3,000km path to hit 18 or perhaps even 21MHz at times. We won't see any significant activity on 10 metres until the Sporadic-E short-skip season starts in a few weeks.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
Two widely-used weather models are predicting a developing high just after the weekend. One has it starting today. For the VHF, UHF and SHF bands, this means a good week with the prospect of some useful Tropo once the unsettled weather at the start of this weekend has moved away. Most areas are likely to benefit from Tropo paths within the UK, across the North Sea and down to the south across Biscay.
There are often two temperature inversions in this type of pattern, one due to the high itself, producing an elevated duct somewhere between 1km and 2km in height. The second type is often found near the surface at the end of a night time of cooling. This one is less reliable, since it will often disperse after the sun begins to lift the daytime temperature. This tropo should make the 144MHz UKAC and FMAC contests very interesting on Tuesday evening.
Isolated heavy showers this weekend might have brought rain scatter, but they’ll be gone by the start of next week.
The Sporadic-E season has not quite started yet, but it can’t be far away.
The Moon is at high declination early this week, so long windows of moon visibility. We are past perigee, so losses will increase as the week progresses.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.