As most listeners will already know, Paul Godley was sent over from the USA 100 years ago to conduct the transatlantic tests. Those tests opened up the era of short-wave radio communication. But why Paul Godley? Who was he, why was he chosen and what happened next? On Thursday the 7th of April, all those questions will be answered in an open Zoom talk by Godley's grandson, Bruce Littlefield. The Zoom meeting will be hosted by Wigtownshire ARC in South West Scotland and will begin at 1900UTC. Everyone is invited, subject to a limit of 100, and joining details will be published closer to the meeting date at www.gm4riv.org.
The RSGB National Radio Centre welcomes thousands of people through its doors each month and introduces them to amateur radio. The Society needs to expand the team of volunteers and is particularly looking for people who can be part of the team each Thursday. If you are interested in becoming an NRC volunteer you should enjoy meeting people and be prepared to work a minimum of one, preferably two, days per month. Full training is given. Please email NRC Coordinator Martyn Baker, G0GMB for further information via firstname.lastname@example.org.
A scheduled annual maintenance shutdown of the MSF 60kHz Radio Time Signalservice is planned. It will allow safe working on the masts and antennas. The service will be off-air from 0700 to 1700UTC each day between the 4th and 21st of April. The transmission will be restored overnight whenever possible. A radio-controlled clock will not be able to pick up the MSF signal during these periods, so may drift off from the correct time.
There have been recently a number of reports of individual holders of UK Amateur licences gaining Innovation and Trial licences from Ofcom. This is to conduct experimental transmissions on 40MHz or the 8m band. The RSGB has asked Ofcom for guidance concerning the status and possible contacts with such stations. Ofcom’s view is very clear. Any operation on 40MHz in the UK is not Amateur radio and therefore cross-band contacts to such stations by UK radio Amateurs operating on the bands licenced for amateur radio are not permitted. You can read the full statement from Ofcom in the RSGB Notices part of the RSGB website at rsgb.org.uk.
The RSGB is looking for a Convention Chair to lead the team of people who will create this year's Convention. If you understand the advantages of both online and in-person events and can contribute ideas for speakers and topics that will attract both audiences, this could be the role for you. For a full role description look on the volunteer vacancy page of the RSGB website at rsgb.org/volunteers.
BBC journalist and long-time RSGB Member Laurie Margolis, G3UML broke the fact of the invasion of the Falklands through amateur radio. On Monday the 4th of April, he will share how that happened in the RSGB’s free Tonight@8 webinar. He will also cover his involvement in the 1970 King Hussein story. Watch and ask questions live on the RSGB YouTube channel or special BATC stream. Find out more about this and the Society’s other webinars via rsgb.org/webinars
On the 18th of April, radio amateurs worldwide take to the airwaves in celebration of World Amateur Radio Day. It was on this day in 1925 that the International Amateur Radio Union was formed in Paris. You can read more about the event, download posters and other publicity material for any special event station you may be planning from iaru.org.
And now for details of rallies and events
Please send your rally and event news as soon as possible to email@example.com. We’ll publicise your event in RadCom, on GB2RS, and online.
The 36th QRP Convention will be held on the 9th of April inDigby Hall, Sherborne DT9 3AA. Doors open at 9.30 am and entry is £3. There are no lectures this year. Please note that car parking charges apply.
On the 10th of April, the Lincoln Short Wave Club Spring Rally will be at Festival Hall, Caistor Road, Market Rasen LN8 3HT. Entry is £2 per person. The doors open at 10 am or 30 minutes earlier for disabled visitors. There is ample free car parking and refreshments will be available. Free Wi-Fi is available on site.
The next rally in the diary is on the 24th of April. The Cambridge Repeater Group Rally will be held in Foxton Village Hall, Hardman Road, Foxton, Cambridge CB22 6RN.
Now the DX news
S57MK will be active as 9N7MK until the 23rd of April. He will be operating for three or four days from Kathmandu and then from other locations while trekking in the Mount Everest region of Nepal. He will run 10 to 15 watts mainly on the 40, 20, 17 and 15m bands using SSB, CW and digital modes.
Antonio, EA5RM will be working on a non-governmental organisation's project in the Bolivian rainforest until the 22nd of April. In his spare time, he will operate SSB, CW and FT8 as CP1XRM. QSL via his home call.
Rune, LA7QY and Helge, LB4MI will be stationed on Jan Mayen, EU- 022, until early October. They plan to operate as JX7QY and JX/LB4MI, respectively, in their spare time.
Now the Special Event news
Flight Refuelling ARS will be operating from the club station using GB2FRA to celebrate the club’s 40th anniversary. It is intended that the callsign will be used on all the bands and modes that are available from the club shack including 10GHz EME. Operations will run throughout April. Please keep a lookout for them on all bands.
Medway Amateur Receiving and Transmitting Society will operate GB5MW between the 3rd and 30th of April to celebrate the society's centenary year. QSL via eQSL.
Brother John Cassar, 9H1CJ is a Franciscan friar operating from the Capuchin friary in Malta, EU-023. Until the 30th of June, he will be active as 9H6CAP, commemorating the 80th anniversary of the destruction of the historic friary and adjacent church during World War Two. QSL direct to home call.
Now the contest news
Today, the 3rd sees the Spring 70MHz contest run from 0900 to 1200UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Monday, the CW leg of the 80m Club Championship takes place between 1900 and 2030UTC. The exchange is a signal report and serial number.
The 144MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1800 to 1855UTC on Tuesday. It is followed by the all-mode 144MHz UK Activity Contest from 1900 to 2130UTC. The exchange for both is a signal report, serial number and locator.
Wednesday sees the 144MHz FT8 Activity Contest run between 1900 and 2100UTC. The exchange is a report and your 4-character locator.
Also on Wednesday the UK EI Contest Club 80mtr SSB contest runs from 1900 to 2000UTC. The exchange is your 6-character locator.
Four contests are scheduled to take place next Sunday, the 10th of April.
The Spring 50MHz contest takes place between 0900 and 1200UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Next is the UK Microwave group Low Band contest running between 1000 and 1600UTC. Using all modes on the 1.3 to 3.4GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
The Worked All Britain data contest runs from 1000 to 1400UTC and from 1700 to 2100UTC. Using the 3.5 to 14MHz bands where contests are permitted, the exchange is signal report, serial number and your WAB reference.
Finally, the RoLo SSB contest runs between 1900 and 2030UTC. Using SSB on the 3.5MHz band, the exchange is the signal report and the locator you received.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA, and G4BAO on Friday the 1st of April 2022.
Last week we said there was a sense of excitement as it looked like the solar flux index would increase. But even NOAA didn’t predict that it would rise to 156, which it hit on Monday the 28th. Unfortunately, along with high sunspot numbers, we have had unsettled geomagnetic conditions. On Sunday and Monday last week, the Kp index hit four, due to the predicted coronal hole issues. By Thursday the 31st, the effects of an M4/M1 coronal mass ejection event from the 28th of March were being felt. This CME resulted from a pair of sunspots, which combined into one larger shock front.
The solar wind speed was above 500km/s and the Bz component of the interplanetary magnetic field shifted south meaning it coupled more easily with the Earth’s magnetic field, pushing the Kp index to five with warnings for middle to high latitude aurora happening.
If this wasn’t enough, we have had a number of solar flares to contend with, including an X1.3 event from active region AR 2975 peaking at 1737UTC on Wednesday the 30th of March. This will likely result in a CME coming our way.
All this has had numerous effects on HF, from fadeouts from the flares to pre-auroral enhancements from the CMEs and good conditions on 10 metres thanks to the high SFI.
A high f0F2 critical frequency has also meant that 40 metres has been open to inter-G signals at times.
We are now well and truly in a period where it is getting difficult to predict what will happen next. NOAA predicts that the SFI will remain above 120 for the next few days and then decline into the teens. We think the best advice is to keep an eye on solarham.net and watch out for news of CMEs leaving the Sun. Expect unsettled conditions around 48 hours after news of any CME.
But the best advice overall is just get on the bands and work DX whenever you can! We can often expect MUFs to exceed 28MHz at times so make the most of 10 metres when you can, for example, John, G4BAO reports 10m was wide open to Asia on Thursday morning.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
Next week offers a change of wind direction from northerly to westerly with the glimmer of hope for high pressure after the weekend, but it's only a partial nod towards tropo with just a weak, temporary ridge extending across the southern UK from the Azores high.
The next items worth mentioning are as in last week’s bulletin; keep your ears and eyes open for aurora, after a promising end to the last week as we write this with fluttery signals on 80m, you should have sorted out some favourite beacons to listen out for. Also, the early mornings can be good for random meteor scatter activity.
As we roll over into April we are getting a bit closer to the 2022 Sporadic-E season. There have been some isolated examples on 10m CW/SSB and 6m on data modes, so it's time to start checking the position of jet streams and EPI on the Propquest.co.uk website.
The end of last week favoured paths to the south into Spain across a northwesterly jet stream over the Pyrenees and Cantabrian mountains, whereas next week it looks like paths to Scandinavia might be worth a look, although probably a lower probability for these more northern latitudes.
Moon declination is positive all week reaching maximum on Friday, so Moon windows and peak Moon elevation will be high. We are past perigee so path losses will increase throughout the week. 144MHz Sky noise is low all week, briefly hitting 500K on Thursday.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.