Sunday the 9th of August 2020
The news headlines:
Remote invigilation helps hundreds
Check RSGB news online
Could you write for children?
The RSGB remote invigilation exams continue to help hundreds of people join the world of amateur radio and progress to the Intermediate licence level. From youngsters who have decided to learn a new skill whilst being off school during lockdown to older people who have overcome their fear of exams, they have wanted to share their stories in the hope of inspiring others to take the plunge! You can read some of these on the RSGB’s website at www.rsgb.org/gota2c-licensee-stories.
This is a really busy time for amateur radio and the Radio Society of Great Britain is supporting members and non-members alike during these changing times. Remember that you can see the RSGB’s main news on its website, and its RSGB Notices page in particular. Check there for updates to the Board, Volunteer Leadership Team and Regional Team as well as news about ‘Get on the air to care’, new initiatives and activities, exams and the syllabus, support and general services. It’s all at www.rsgb.org.
Have you ever written a book for children in the 11-13 age range? The RSGB is looking for an author of a book aimed at Key Stage 3 school children. This is intended to be an appropriately illustrated technical book, so experience of working with an illustrator will be very useful. We already have a suitable manuscript for the topic but it needs to be re-written for the intended audience. If you have relevant experience writing for young people we’d like to hear from you. Send details of yourself and your experience to email@example.com.
The RSGB has released two more 2019 Convention presentations to its YouTube channel. In I can hear it, why won’t it decode?, Neil Smith, G4DBN explains choosing the best digital mode for Tropo DX at VHF and above. He also investigates multipath, scintillation, scatter modes and radio characteristics on signal coherence and decodability. In the second presentation, 122GHz and up, well-known microwaver Chris Whitmarsh, G0FDZ covers the challenges and equipment used on the 122, 134, 241GHz and higher bands. To see both of these presentations go to the RSGB YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/theRSGB.
The vintage SAQ Alexanderson alternator in Grimeton, Sweden, conducted its transmissions on 17.2kHz on the 5th of July as part of SAQ Alexanderson Day. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the transmitter hall was empty except for the five members of the Alexander Association who would make the transmissions. Visitors were directed towards the Visitor Centre. The planned two transmissions took place at 0900UTC and at 1200UTC and were livestreamed to their YouTube channel. They have received 630 unique listener reports from all over the world – a new record for SAQ Anderson Day. For QSL information, see www.alexander.n.se.
The Youth Working Group within the IARU Region 1 created a new programme called YOTA Online. In these monthly gatherings a team of active youngsters have presented different topics, while answering questions from the youth community. You can see the previous broadcasts at www.youtube.com/hamyota.
Now the special event news
Since the change of regulations applying to special event stations in the UK, many activations are now able to go ahead. UK amateurs would like to thank Ofcom for their help in making this happen.
Fort Palmerston ARC will put GB1PF on the air from member’s homes between the 14th and 17th of August. They will operate using CW, SSB and data across the HF/VHF/UHF bands. More information on QRZ.com.
To commemorate the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, the RSGB has organised a VJ Day amateur radio marathon on the HF bands and 6m using SSB, CW and digital modes. Three special UK callsigns GB75PEACE, GB1945PE, GB1945PJ will be on the air from the 1st to the 31st of August. The special stations have their own QRZ.com pages with details of the activation schedule. Full details of the radio marathon and the five awards are on the Society’s radio marathon web page, www.rsgb.org/ve-vj-marathon.
August sees two GB80 Special Event Stations on the air to mark the critical role that radar played in the Battle of Britain 80 years ago. GB80BRS will be operated to commemorate Bawdsey Radar Station in Suffolk, where radar was developed in the late 1930s and was the location of the world’s first operational radar station. Activity will be on 80 to 10m using SSB, CW and FT8. GB80CH will be operated from Chelmsford in Essex, which has the most complete surviving radar tower from the Battle of Britain. The BAE Systems Great Baddow Amateur Radio, club with amateur colleagues in local clubs, will be operating across the HF and 6m bands.
And now the DX news
Celebrating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Korea on the 15th of August 1945, members of the Korean Amateur Radio League will be active as HL75V until the end of August. QSL via 6K0MF.
Commemorating the 105th anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli during World War I, special event stations TC3GP and TC3GS will be active until the 23rd of August. QSLs via YM3KCN.
Now the contest news
Please remember to check before the events for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your own government’s advice first and foremost.
The WAE DX CW contest ends its 48 hour run at 2359UTC today, the 9th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, European stations work non-Europeans only. The exchange is signal report and serial number.
Today, the 9th, it’s the 5th 70MHz Cumulative contest from 1400 to 1600UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Tuesday the 432MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1800 to 1855UTC. It is followed by the all-mode 432MHz UK Activity Contest from 1900 to 2130UTC. The exchange is the same from both contests, signal report, serial number and locator.
On Thursday it’s the 50MHz UK Activity Contest from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 7th of August.
The week started with a geomagnetic disturbance caused by a high-speed stream from a coronal hole, which moved past the Earth at a speed in excess of 500 kilometres per second. This was not predicted by NOAA, but it was from a long coronal hole limb that stretched towards the solar equator. It pushed the Kp index to four in the early hours of Monday, causing a depletion of the F2 layer that impacted HF for much of the morning. MUFs over a 3,000km path struggled to get up to 14MHz until 0930hrs. Meanwhile, we are seeing some more activity on the sunspot front. A new Cycle 25 region numbered 2770 rotated into view, pushing the sunspot number to 13 and the solar flux index to 73. While this isn’t too exciting, it is another step in the right direction. This sunspot region has been emitting a lot of B-class solar flares and we expect that to continue. Next week, NOAA predicts that the solar flux index will return to 69-71 with a maximum Kp index of two. At the time of writing, there were no coronal holes looking to threaten Earth.
The Sporadic-E season is now well past its peak, but there is always hope for openings on 10m, especially with high-efficiency modes like FT8. We expect daytime F2-layer MUFs to peak above 14MHz, with occasional openings on 18MHz. Night-time MUFS over a 3,000km path should remain above 10MHz after paths on 20m close at around 2200hrs.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
The VHF highlight next week is the annual Perseids meteor shower, peaking on the 12th with a huge ZHR of 100. This is the big opportunity to try meteor scatter on digimodes, with a very good chance of results. Read up on the procedures, bands and modes before you dive in, to avoid disappointment.
It's a mixed selection of propagation weather this week. The south and east had some Tropo options last week and will do again into early next week, with a particularly strong indication from northern Britain across the North Sea at the end of this weekend. It also looks likely that a developing ridge from high pressure over the Atlantic will give a return of Tropo potential at the end of the week, especially in the north and west. In between these two Tropo periods, the weather is essentially unsettled, with a tendency to produce slow-moving areas of showers. It’s quite likely that some will be heavy and thundery. This bodes well for GHz rain scatter opportunities, especially from the heavier showers.
It’s still worth a shout out for Sporadic-E, which is not over yet, although events are harder to find using CW or SSB. It's not looking like a good set of jet stream charts, so as we said earlier FT8 is a good first place to look.
Moon declination is positive and rising this week so peak Moon elevations and visibility windows will follow suit. Combined with falling path losses, it’s an improving week for EME. 144MHz sky noise is low, peaking on Friday at 500K.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.