Sunday 9th April 2017
The news headlines:
April 22nd is Marconi Day
New PSK31 software for blind amateurs
Club Log gets Trusted Partner status
Dozens of official award stations have registered to take part in the 2017 International Marconi Day event, this year being held on the 22nd of April. All contacts counting toward the Marconi Award must be made on HF with registered stations, but other participating stations do not need to be registered to claim awards. The event is not a contest, but an opportunity for amateurs around the world to make point-to-point contact with historic Marconi sites, using HF communication techniques descended from those used by Marconi, and to earn an attractive award certificate for working or hearing a number of Marconi stations. All you need is a log extract – you don’t need QSL cards. International Marconi Day special event station GB4IMD will be on the air from Cornwall. Go to www.QRZ.com/db/GB4IMD for details. To help you work the requisite number, Steve, G0KYA has prepared some propagation predictions for IMD operators in the UK. You can find these at g0kya.blogspot.co.uk
A free, new Windows program called Accessible Digipan has been released. It allows blind hams to operate PSK31. The download includes the application, audio tutorials, detailed written guides, and additional helpful resources, plus DigiPan PSK31 and PSK63 software. ARRL member Richard, KK6MRH, and Jim, WA0PSS, both blind, developed the program. The app will work with many different kinds of rigs, interfaces, and Windows versions. Full details are at http://accessibledigipan.org/ which is especially designed to be kind to electronic screen readers.
Club Log, run by G7VJR, has become the first logging service to achieve Trusted Partner™ status for Logbook of the World. Radio amateurs holding Logbook of the World callsign certificates who have uploaded logs to Club Log now can readily cross-post them to Logbook of the World. More information on technical specifications and on current Trusted Partner program members is available on the ARRL website.
At the QSL Bureau, the G4 callsign series is in process of being consolidated. There are now just four G4 sub groups for the distribution of QSL cards to members. G4 call holders are advised to check the sub managers list on the RSGB website before sending more collection envelopes, as their volunteers details may have changed. Due to retirements and other commitments, we now have a vacancy for a new volunteer sub-manager to handle the G4T-Z sub group. The group receives around ten to fifteen thousand cards, spread across the year. If you are interested, please email the RSGB QSL bureau via email@example.com
The second YOTA 2017 vlog, or video blog, 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 that the RSGB is hosting in August. You can watch this, and other vlogs, on our dedicated YOTA 2017 web pages www.rsgb.org/yota
The video of the 2016 RSGB Convention talk by John Rogers entitled Diagnosing and Reporting RFI has been added to the videos available to RSGB Members on the RSGB website video page. Non members can view the 2015 lectures on the RSGB’s YouTube channel.
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 appear in the April RadCom. Members attending the AGM will be able to try out the RSGB’s pilot project for the online Advanced exam and test their knowledge on a specially shortened 13-question mini Advanced exam. The first session will run for an hour before the formal AGM, which commences at 12 o’clock, with another session run during the lunch break.
The RSGB has made available drafts of papers which will be submitted to the IARU Region 1 General Conference in Germany in September. The Society welcomes feedback on the draft papers. They can be seen in the IARU Matters 2017 Forum at http://tinyurl.com/GB2RS-0904
And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week
The Northern Amateur Radio Societies Association Exhibition, otherwise known as the Blackpool Rally, takes place today, 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.
There are no rallies in the diary for the Easter weekend, the 14th to the 17th of April. The next rallies are on the 23rd. These will be the Yeovil QRP Convention, the Ripon Radio Rally, and the Andover RAC Spring Car Boot Sale. We will give full details of these next week. Meanwhile you can find details of all known forthcoming rallies in RadCom, which should arrive with RSGB Members from Wednesday this week.
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
GW4DVB will be operating as J88PI on a holiday-style DXpedition on Palm Island, IOTA reference NA-025, in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Operation will take place between the 14th and the 23rd of April using a Yaesu FT-991A with 100 watts into a 10m vertical. Operation will be on the 40 to 10m bands using SSB. QSL direct only, see www.g4dvb.co.uk/ for details.
Chung, VA7YM is on holiday in Vanuatu, OC-035, until the 17th of April. Using callsign YJ0YM, his QSL Manager is EA5GL.
Jan, PA4JJ will be active holiday style as 9A/PA4JJ from Croatia until the 30th of May. Operation will be mainly on digital modes. QSL via his home call either direct or bureau and Logbook of The World.
Paul, W7NZJ will be active as FS/W7NZJ from St Martin, NA-105, until the 16th of April. He will operate digital modes and CW on the 40 to 10m bands. QSL via eQSL.
Ken, KH6QJ will be active as T32AZ from Kiritimati or Christmas Island, OC-024, in East Kiribati on until the 18th of April. He will be using the 80 to 10m bands. QSL via KH6QJ.
Now the special event news
A Canadian-led DXpedition-style event will activate the 100 hectare WWI battle site, Vimy Ridge, marking the centenary of the April 1917 Battle of Vimy Ridge. A commemorative amateur radio station will continue until dusk today, the 9th. More information is at www.v100vimy.ca
R25SRR will be in use throughout April to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Russia's IARU society. Several RO25xx callsigns will join the celebrations, where xx is the 2-letter abbreviation for the various regions. See http://srr25.hamlog.ru for the award programme.
Now the contest news
Today, the 9th, it’s the First 50MHz contest, running from 0900 to 1200UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number, locator and post code.
On Tuesday the 432MHz FM Activity Contest will take place from 1800 to 1900UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator. Following on is the 432MHZ UK Activity Contest, from 1900 to 2130UTC. This time it’s using all modes. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Wednesday it’s the SSB leg of the 80m Club Championships, running from 1900 to 2030UTC. The exchange is signal report and serial number.
Thursday sees the 50MHz UK Activity Contest. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
The Worked All Britain Data Contests takes place next Sunday, the 16th of April, on the 3.5, 7.0 and 14MHz bands. There are two separate contests one for RTTY and one for PSK. Each contest is split into two parts to get optimum conditions on all three bands. The RTTY contest is from 1200 to 1400 and 1800 to 2000UTC. The PSK contest is from 1400 to 1600 and 2000 to 2200UTC. Note that club and multi-operator stations can only score points in the first of the two sessions. The exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square. Full details are at www.worked-all-britain.org.uk
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 7th of April.
A large sunspot group pushed the solar flux index to 112 this week, which was largely unpredicted. However, unsettled geomagnetic conditions reigned again with the K index hitting five on the fourth. The activity from sunspot region 2644 also brought a number of solar flares, and it will be interesting to see if they reoccur when the spot rotates back into view in around nine days or so. These flares did bring widespread radio blackouts on the solar-facing side of the Earth.
Next week, the solar flux index is predicted be in the mid to high 70s. Geomagnetically, we may have a respite from the recent coronal activity, the more settled conditions hopefully giving us some good HF DX at times.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
The promised high pressure duly arrived and brought some good Tropo at times last week. The good news is that it should hang around for most of next week, although a few Atlantic lows will bring less favourable conditions to Scotland and north-east England now and again.
So, moments of Tropo are likely to make the VHF, UHF and gigahertz bands worth a visit for a second week, with paths to the south across Biscay being the more profitable direction.
We are close to the start of the 2017 Sporadic-E season, and it can’t be long now. So, in preparation, keep a watch on 10 metres for signs of short skip during late morning and late afternoon, and check the six metre beacons if you experience it.
After last weekend, when 1296MHz was crackling with CW contest activity, Moon declination goes negative tomorrow, so windows of Moon visibility will shorten. The Moon reaches apogee this coming Saturday, so losses will be high and increasing over the week.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.