Sunday 15th August 2021
The news headlines:
- Amateurs help with forest fire comms
- Latest Online Convention news
- Morse Texting girls make video
Radio Amateurs from the Algerian National Society ARA are assisting their Government in the response to forest fires, where 65 people have lost their lives already. An ARA team was dispatched to the scene of the incident, where communications networks were already weak, to communicate emergency needs between the mobile station in the area and the crisis unit in Tamda via the ARA HQ station. Frequencies reported in use are 7110kHz, 3650kHz and 14300kHz. Please take care not to affect emergency operations on those frequencies.
The RSGB has announced further details of its online Convention, which will be held on Saturday 9 October. The event will be streamed live on the Society’s YouTube channel and there is a great line-up of expert speakers to inspire you. Whether you're new to amateur radio or have been enjoying it for years, do put the date in your diary. You can find out more information from the website at rsgb.org/convention
Milly, Alice and Caitlin, the three girls featured in the August issue of RadCom, have made a video about Morse Texting. It will be shown at the QSO Today online conference on Sunday 15 August at 5 pm BST. Access to the Exhibitor area is free but does require registration. You can see a complete list of over 90 speakers and purchase tickets at qsotodayhamexpo.com.
For a number of years, the RSGB has been operating a very successful Morse Competency Scheme. Until he recently became SK, Philip Brooks, G4NZQ ran the scheme’s administration. It relies on the services of approximately 28 Morse Assessors dotted up and down the country to carry out the actual tests/assessments. The Society would like to appoint someone to take on this important role. Ideally, applicants should have an interest in Morse code. For further information see the full description on the RSGB volunteers’ web page, rsgb.org/volunteers
The G-QRP Club has released the agenda for its Online Convention 2021, which takes place on the 4th and 5th of September. The event comprises a series of online presentations and knowledge-sharing meetings. It’s free to G-QRP Club members; others are charged. For more information and to view the full event schedule, visit gqrp.com/convention.htm
The QSL Bureau sub-manager for the G4T-Z group has retired. A replacement volunteer to distribute cards to this active sub-group is urgently needed. If you have time, a little space, some basic computer skills plus the desire to help your fellow members, the bureau would like to hear from you. You can find out more by emailing QSL@rsgb.org.uk.
Dudley and District club plans a nine-week Foundation course that commences on the 10th of September. For details, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The RSGB held its 2021 AGM online in April and members were invited to send in questions for RSGB Board Directors before the AGM. These questions were answered during the event. In successive issues of RadCom, the RSGB is sharing the Q&A so that everyone can see the topics discussed and the answers given. You can also read them on the Society’s website and if you missed the event, you can still view the whole of the AGM on the RSGB YouTube channel.
And now for details of rallies and events
Before travelling to any rally or event, please check the event’s website as there may be alterations or cancellations due to the current restrictions.
The Dartmoor Radio Rally takes place today at its new venue, The Yelverton War Memorial Hall, Meavy Lane, Yelverton. Devon, PL20 6AL. Free parking is available on site. Doors open at 10 am and admission is £2.50. There will be the usual Bring & Buy, trade stands and refreshments.
Part 1 of the British Amateur Television Club Convention, CAT 21, will commence on the 21st of August at the Midland Air Museum, Rowley Road, Coventry CV3 4FR. There will be lectures, discussions and fix-it sessions on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, followed by the BATC General meeting on Sunday afternoon. The intention is that all lectures will be streamed online. Details can be found at forum.batc.org.uk.
On Sunday the 22nd, a Grand Field Day Out will be held at Willesborough Windmill, Ashford, just off junction 10 of the M20.
Now the DX news
Yann, F1SMB is activating several French Polynesia islands as FO/F1SMB. From the 15th to the 17th of August he is on Rangiroa, IOTA reference OC-066; for 17th to the 20th he moves to Fakarava, OC-066 and finally, on the 20th to the 23rd, it’s Tahiti, OC-046. He operates QRP SSB and FT8, mainly on 40m and 20m. QSL via F1SMB and eQSL, according to operator’s instructions.
AM1CCB is the special callsign for URE Burgos to mark the 800th anniversary of Burgos Cathedra, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The callsign is active until the 18th of August. QSL via the bureau, LoTW, eQSL, or direct.
Massimo, HB9TUZ will be active as HI9/HB9TUZ from Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic, NA-096, until the 30th of August. He will operate SSB on 40 to 10m. QSL via eQSL only.
Special callsign 6E0D will be active until the end of August to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the fall of the capital of the Aztec Empire, Tenochtitlan, on the 13th of August 1521. QSL via LoTW, or direct to XE1EE.
Special callsigns R20RTA, R20RTM, R20RTP, R20RTRN and R20RTT will be active until the end of August to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Russian Television and Radio Broadcasting Network, created on 13 August 2001. QSL via operator’s instructions.
Now the Special Event news
Next weekend is International Lightships and Lightship weekend. Many lighthouses, lightships and associated places will be activated for this annual event.
Moray Firth Amateur Radio Society will be operating as GB0CSL from the Covesea Skerries Lighthouse, Lossiemouth, with the kind permission of the lighthouse trustees. Activity will be on HF and VHF, with details listed at www.mfars.club and on QRZ.com under GB0CSL.
GB0ELH will be active over the weekend of the 21st and 22nd August 2021 for the International Lighthouses and Lightships Heritage Weekend from near the Beachy Head Lighthouse. They will be operating on an ad-hoc basis from HF through to 23cm. QSL by email only to email@example.com. Full details are on the QRZ.com page for GB0ELH.
North Bristol Amateur Radio Club will run GB0AVL from Avonmouth Community centre, close to the Avonmouth Lights. They intend to operate from 9 am to 5 pm on both days. Details are at nbarc.org.uk.
Other special event calls we know of in relation to the weekend include GB2RL for Roker Light, Sunderland; GB5HCL, Hurst Castle Lighthouse; GB0TLH, Teignmouth Lighthouse and GB0ALK for the Association of Lighthouse Keepers. There are many more, worldwide.
Next Sunday, members of the Colchester Radio Amateurs are holding a special event called BRO On The Air, using the callsign GB0BRO. The aim is to support the reopening of the British Resistance Organisation Museum and to celebrate, belatedly, the 80th Anniversary of the formation of the British Resistance Organisation in June 1940. Activity will be on 80,30 and 20m SSB, FT8 digital and PSK31.
Now the contest news
With different parts of the UK having different lockdown restrictions, please make sure you follow the appropriate regulations. Keep yourself and fellow amateurs safe. August is the month of the traditional summer holiday so there are no RSGB HF contests this month.
The first of the Worked All Europe DX contests of the year ends its 48-hour run at 2359UTC today, Sunday. This is the CW leg. Europe works non-Europe only in this German-run series. Exchanging QTCs, that’s reports of previously held contacts, can significantly boost your score, although not everybody chooses to do it. See the rules to learn how QTCs work. The exchange is signal report and serial number.
Today, the 5th 70MHz Cumulative contest runs from 1400 to 1600UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Tuesday the 1.3GHz UKAC runs from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes on the 23cm band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Thursday sees the 70MHz UKAC from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes on the 4m band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA & G4BAO on Friday the 13th of August.
We had another week of minimal sunspot numbers, a low solar flux, but quiet geomagnetic conditions. As a result, DX was a little harder to find. We did have a low-level C-class solar flare on August the 9th that erupted from a plage region on the Sun. Whether this was a precursor to a sunspot appearing we will have to wait and see.
HF conditions have been a little lacklustre with maximum usable frequencies over a 3,000km path struggling to get above 18MHz a lot of the time. Sporadic-E has helped a little, but that is also starting to decline now that the bulk of the season is over.
The best DX may be occurring overnight. Laurie, G3UML reports working Anguilla on 3.799MHz at 0109Z this week – the top 10kHz on 80 metres is often a good DX watering hole. He also reports very good conditions to South America on 20m up to around 2300hrs local and huge signals on 40m from the eastern US. On Thursday morning he also logged K7GI in Arizona on 40m at a genuine S9+. Meanwhile, Colin, G3VCQ reports that signals from Japan on 40m in the early evening have been good too. This may be due to the quiet geomagnetic conditions, which allow the ionosphere to settle. The lower SFI means that higher bands may not be open during the day, but the lower bands can come into their own after dark.
As of Thursday, there were no coronal holes on the Sun’s equator so we may expect the good conditions to continue over this weekend. NOAA predicts the solar flux index will start next week in the low 70s. There may be a slight increase to the mid-70s as the week goes on. We may expect slightly unsettled geomagnetic conditions on the 16th with a Kp index of three, but after that, it should settle again to one or two.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
The end of last week saw some reasonable Tropo conditions over southern areas extending south into the near continent and down across Biscay to Spain. This area of enhanced lift conditions will be displaced to just affect southwestern parts of the UK and southern Ireland as we move into the new week.
The main change is a return to a more unsettled northwesterly weather type with showers in the first half of next week, so some rain scatter options should be available. By about midweek the next change comes in the form of high pressure returning to northern areas and perhaps more widely later. This is potentially useful for Tropo again, although not as good as that at the end of last week.
Last week’s Perseids meteor shower has probably added some useful new long-lived metallic ionisation into the mix as fuel for Sporadic-E. The coming week shows that jet streams are still present, so maintain your watch list of 10m and 6m beacons to check. The Perseids are a relatively broad-peaked shower, so there will still be some good meteor scatter moments through the coming week as well as the best random meteors around dawn. The Kappa Cygnids shower is active and should peak around the 18th, but with a ZHR of just three, it’s a small one.
Moon declination is negative this week so Moon windows will be short. Minimum declination is very close to Tuesday’s perigee where we have the lowest path losses.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.