Sunday 5th March 2017
The news headlines:
Speak now on RSGB future
Repeater NoVs now due
80th Commonwealth Contest next weekend
The consultation on the RSGB's future direction ends today, Sunday the 5th of March, so don't miss out on your chance to give feedback. Go to the consultations page on the RSGB’s website and let your voice be heard. See www.rsgb.org/consultations
The RSGB's ETCC reminds Repeater Keepers that if they are not in possession of a valid Notice of Variation to their amateur licence on the 1st of April 2017, they must close their repeater or gateway down, as they will be operating outside the terms of their licence. If you do allow your NoV to expire, Ofcom have advised that a completely new application will be required. Your NoV can be renewed on the ETCC website at ukrepeater.net where further information is available. Please contact your local repeater manager if you have any difficulties or queries.
The 80th Commonwealth Contest will take place over next weekend, the 11th and 12th of March. A number of special prizes and awards have been organised to celebrate what is now the longest running CW DX contest in amateur radio. See the March RadCom for details. It is expected that there will be a number of Commonwealth DX stations active.
The North American 4m Trans-Atlantic licence for WG2XPN has been renewed for another two years. The trustee of WG2XPN advises that the beacon is still operating 24/7 using its usual operating parameters; 70.005MHz CW, GPS locked, ERP 3kW from a Yagi aimed at 60 degrees true North from grid square FM07fm. The QTH is 1280m ASL. The beacon has been heard via multi-hop E-skip in the UK and other locations in the EU over the past few years. QSL reports are encouraged via the DX cluster or beaconspot.eu
To celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the ARI, the main Italian amateur radio association, many Italian club stations will be on air on all bands and all modes until the end of the year. These stations can be easily detected from the prefix IQ. They will give a letter and number that shows the Region and the club station involved. Each month two Italian Regions will be on air. More information on the event, and the associated award, can be found in English at tinyurl.com/GB2RS-0303.
Quantum Amateur Radio & Technology Society is pleased to announce that their new System Fusion / WiRES-X gateway, 31369, MB6IOK-ND, is now live, as is their associated room of 41369, MB6IOK-Ormskirk, alias Quantum Tech Club. The gateway is free for all to use and is operating on 431.1625MHz with no CTCSS or digital squelch codes required. The gateway is operating under an NoV assigned to Derek Hughes, G7LFC and is, at present, on an attended basis, which means that the gateway will not be switched on 24/7, but should be available most evenings. Further details about the gateway will be posted at www.mb6iok.uk, a website that is currently under construction.
Amateur radio operators in Uruguay now have access to 60m. General and Superior licence holders have Secondary access to 5351.5 to 5366.5kHz. The range 5351.5 to 5354.0 is for CW and Digimodes, 5354.0 to 5366.0 is all modes and 5366.0 to 5366.5 is more CW and digimodes. The maximum power is 15W EIRP for General licensees and 25W EIRP for Superior licensees.
The 60th anniversary of the world's oldest amateur radio beacon is being marked by running the NAC-contests from the OZ7IGY QTH at JO55wm, with the call sign OZ7IGY. Specific frequencies and other details can be found at www.oz7igy.dk/event-log
Stations are being encouraged to prepare for the annual St Patrick’s Day celebrations, when many amateurs worldwide will turn the bands green as they celebrate on air as part of the St Patrick Award. With many stations already registered to take part from the 16th to the 18th of March, you can find out more information or register by going to http://stpatrickaward.webs.com/
The UK Six Metre Group will be holding a short formal 2016 AGM via Skype on Sunday the 12th of March at 5pm. Any paid-up UK Six Metre Group member is entitled to join the meeting but please notify the group of your intention to do so by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible, so that the right online conferencing arrangements can be put in place.
The local telecommunication authority in Hong Kong, OFCA, has now allocated 5351.5 to 5366.5kHz to the amateur radio service on a secondary basis. The maximum power permitted is 15 watts EIRP.
And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week
Today, 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.
Due to a clerical error the Grantham Radio and Electronics Rally is incorrectly listed in RadCom as being in May. We apologise for the confusion and confirm that the Grantham rally is, in fact, next Sunday, the 12th of March, at the Grantham West Community Centre, Trent Road, Grantham, Lincs NG31 7XQ. There is car parking and disabled facilities at the venue. Doors open 9am and entry is £3. There will be trade stands, special interest groups, and an RSGB bookstall. Catering is available on site. Kevin, G6SSN on 07793 142 483 has more information.
The Dover Radio Club Rally takes place on the 12th of March at Whitfield Village Hall, Sandwich Road, Manley Close, Whitfield, near Dover CT163LY. Talk in will be on GB3KS. Doors open from 10am to 2pm and entry is £2. The auction starts at 12.30pm. More details from Aaron, 2E0FQR on 0771 465 4267.
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
Members of the Tifariti Gang and DX Friends will be active in the Republic of Niger as 5U5R in a multi-national DXpedition between the 9th and 21st of March. Activity will be on the 160 to 10m bands including 30, 17 and 12m using CW, SSB and RTTY, with at least four stations on the air at the same time. Note that no amateur operation on 6m is permitted in Niger. QSL via EA5RM or the OQRS on their web page after the DXpedition goes QRT. Details are at www.dxfriends.com/5u5r/index.php
Members of the EI DX Group will be in Nepal from the 8th to the 20th of March. The 11-man team will run up to five stations from 80 to 10m on CW, SSB and digital. Nepal is currently number 91 Most Wanted DXCC in the world. Operating from a QTH at 5,600 feet above sea level, the team are looking forward to intense pile-ups. For full information, please visit their website, https://9n7ei.com
Members of the Six Gs Team will be on the air as 9G5X from the 7th to the 21st of March. Activity will be on 160 to 10m using CW, SSB and RTTY, with three stations active. QSL via M0OXO.
A group of operators will be operating as C6APY from Little Harbour Cay in the Bahamas, IOTA reference NA-054, until the 11th of March. Activity will be on 40 to 15m using CW and SSB, with up to three stations active simultaneously. QSL via M0OXO.
Frank, DJ5NQ is on the air as E51ANQ from Rarotonga, IOTA OC-013, until the 24th of March. Activity is on 20m using mostly CW. QSL to home call.
Francois, F4HLT is operating as FT3YL from the Dumont d'Urville Station, Terre Adelie on Petrels Island in Antarctica, IOTA AN-017, until the 1st of February 2018. Activity is on 20, 15 and 10 meters using SSB and various digital modes in his spare time from 0900 to 1100UTC and after his work duties. QSL via F6KPQ.
Now the special event news
The Beacon Museum, Whitehaven will host a variety of special events throughout the weekend of the 11th and 12th of March to support the local charity, Samaritans of West Cumbria. In addition to the scheduled beacon exhibits on display, members of the RSGB will operate GB1SWC. As well as live tracking of the International Space Station and other interactive demonstrations such as a Morse code game, there will be sending and receiving of television pictures and digital information over radio waves. More on QRZ.com.
Now the contest news
The ARRL International DX contest ends its 48 hour run at 2359UTC today, 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.
The 144/432MHz contest ends its 24 hours of operation at 1400UTC today, the 5th. Using all modes on the 144 and 432MHz bands the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
The UK Microwave Group Low Band Contest runs from 1000 to 1600UTC today, the 5th. Using the 1.3 to 3.4GHz bands, in any mode, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Monday the 80m Club Championships takes place from 2000 to 2130UTC. Using data only, the exchange is signal report and serial number.
On Tuesday the 144MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1800 to 2000UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Also on Tuesday the 144MHz UK Activity Contest runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Thursday, the 50MHz UK Activity Contest runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
The 80th Commonwealth Contest runs from 1000UTC on the 11th to 1000UTC on the 12th. Using CW only on the 3.5 to 28MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number. Headquarters stations also send HQ.
On Sunday the 12th the second 70MHz Cumulative contest takes place from 1000 to 1200UTC. Using all modes the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
The Worked All Britain 3.5MHz Phone Contest takes place next Sunday, the 12th of March, from 1800 to 2200UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square. Entries need to be with the contest manager by the 2nd of April. Full details of the rules and log sheets may be obtained from the WAB website, www.worked-all-britain.org.uk or from the contest manager Tony Beardsley, G3XKT, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 3rd of March
We were pleased to get the HF propagation prediction pretty much spot on last week. While Monday and Tuesday were reasonably settled, Wednesday saw the effects of solar material from a large coronal hole as it hit the Earth. The K index leapt to five around lunchtime and there were reports of HF openings up to 10 metres. This was probably a pre-auroral enhancement, but it didn't last too long.
By late Wednesday the K index had continued to climb to six. And on Thursday morning this had taken its toll on the ionosphere; the maximum usable frequency was down to less than 14MHz, with unsettled conditions all day. Next week, NOAA predicts a solar flux index in the low 70s and a K index of two, thanks to a respite from coronal hole activity.
Interpreting this, we can say that HF conditions should be better than they were in the latter half of last week. Expect maximum usable frequencies to reach perhaps 21MHz at times. After a few days with a low K index we may even see some better DX. This time of year favours North-South paths, such as the UK to South Africa, South America and the Caribbean. Paths to Cape Town may even reach 28MHz around 1400UTC for well-equipped stations if geomagnetic conditions are quiet. That is, with a low K index. In contrast, paths to the Caribbean may struggle to reach 21MHz.
As we are now into March, users of propagation prediction software like VOACAP and VOAProp should be using the new smoothed sunspot number, 28.
And now the VHF and up propagation news
This week starts as unsettled as the last, but without the extremes of Storm Doris! We had some rain scatter last Tuesday but, true to form, it was just about gone by the start of the SHF UKAC contest. This just highlights the need to operate on the GHz bands more than one day a month, unless you just want to work the same people and no DX.
This week we have regular small lows drifting across the country and producing more areas of rain or heavy showers. In fact, as we move towards the equinox, the chances of heavier showers developing increases and, although this may mean potential thunder and lightning, it does improve the prospects for rain scatter on the GHz bands.
This takes us up to midweek, after which there is a hint of higher pressure over Biscay and France, possibly bringing slightly better Tropo prospects to southern areas. But some longer-range models bring a return of unsettled weather after a day or so.
We are still in the period until April with no meteor showers, so stick to the best time for random meteor scatter contacts, which is around dawn, when the earth is rotating into the flux of meteoric particles.
The Moon reaches its highest declination on Tuesday and losses are still low in the early part of the week, so it’s another good week for EME.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.