Sunday the 13th of December 2020
The news headlines:
New RadCom Basics released
Awards Manager appointed
Charity auction for special Morse key
The next edition of RadCom Basics is now available. Articles include Are you making full use of the RSGB? Antennas and planning matters, Metal bashing with basic workshop practices, the FT8 digital mode and Revisiting a Start Here article on How filters can help remove interference from outside the amateur bands. RSGB Members can read previous editions of RadCom Basics by going to www.rsgb.org/radcom-basics. You can register at the same address to receive notification of subsequent issues as they become available.
The RSGB Board has appointed a new Awards Manager, Lindsay Pennell, G8PMA. An avid award collector himself, Lindsay already volunteers as an RSGB QSL Bureau Sub-manager and has recently served on the Legacy Committee. He will start his new role next week. He can be contacted then via email to email@example.com.
The RSGB and NHS Campaign ‘Get on the air for Christmas’ is off to a great start this week with the launch of a charity auction to raise money for NHS Charities Together. Roy Bailey, G0VFS created his beautifully-engineered VirusPerpleXed Bug CW Key during the first lockdown and has kindly donated it for the auction. You can bid for the item on eBay by going to https://tinyurl.com/RSGB-charity-auction before 7.30 pm on Saturday the 19th of December, which is when the auction ends. On Sunday the 20th of December, GB1NHS will be on the air from the RSGB National Radio Centre to raise awareness of ‘Get on the air for Christmas’ and to chat to as many radio amateurs as possible. Listen out for them and give them a call.
The world’s largest solar observatory, located on the island of Maui in Hawaii, has released its first image of a sunspot, which captures the phenomenon in striking detail. The image, taken last January, is among the first solar images of the new Solar Cycle 25 and can be seen at https://tinyurl.com/gb2rs-sunspot. The telescope’s 4m primary mirror will give the best views of the sun from Earth throughout the next solar cycle. Thanks to the National Solar Observatory for the story.
Gremlins got into the January 2021 edition of RadCom. A draft version of G4JNT’s Coherent ADC article was inadvertently printed, for which we apologise. A corrected version can be found on the RSGB website – go to www.rsgb.org/radcom and click on Supplementary material and errata.
Sadly, the Australian regulator, ACMA has decided against permitting that country’s amateurs a 5MHz/60m allocation. It says, in balancing defence’s existing use of the 5351.5–5366.5kHz band against the impacts of introducing use by the amateur service, the ACMA has decided not to support amateur use in the band. The ACMA recognises the high level of interest shown by the amateur community in adding this band and understands there will be disappointment. You can read the full document at https://tinyurl.com/gb2rs-acma.
The 80m RSGB National Radio Centre Net continues to run each weekday at 10.30 am on 3.727MHz. The NRC volunteers are keen for radio amateurs to call in. So get on the air and have a chat – they’d love to hear from you.
Would you like to volunteer for the RSGB? Its President Dave Wilson, M0OBW will retire at the AGM and the Society is looking for one elected Board Director. In addition, there are three Regional Representative vacancies in Regions 2, 6 and 12 because the current post holders were co-opted into a vacancy after the last AGM. Each one has indicated their willingness to stand for election but applications are also welcome from all RSGB Members living in these particular Regions. The nomination process must be completed by 2359 on 31 January 2021 and the results will be announced at the RSGB AGM, which will be held online on 24 April 2021. For more information about any of these roles, how to nominate someone or for information about the election process, visit the Society’s election web page, www.rsgb.org/election.
Listen out for Youngsters On The Air stations around the world. GB20YOTA will be operating throughout December. M0SDV will operate the station today, the 13th; then M0KDS takes over on Monday. Tuesday sees the callsign under G4DJX and GW1YQM’s guidance, with GW1YQM picking up the call on Friday. G7OHO will be operating on Saturday and Sunday and then it goes to M0NCG, also on Sunday. The calendar is shown on the GB20YOTA page on QRZ.com. To reserve an operating slot, contact Jamie, M0SDV via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now the special event news
Thurrock Acorns ARC members will be on the air as GB4XMS from the 20th of December to the 3rd of January.
During the month of December, Welland Valley ARS will be running GB1XMS, GB2XMS, GB5XMS and GB9XMS from the shacks of various members. QSL via eQSL and Logbook of The World.
Now the DX news
The 6V1A expedition to the island of Goree, IOTA reference AF-045, will be between the 18th and 20th of December. Activity will be on various bands SSB and CW. QSL via Logbook of The World.
Now the contest news
Please remember to check before the contest for any new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your national and local government’s advice.
As per tradition, December is a quiet month for traditional contests, with no RSGB HF contests, but look out for the RSGB Hope QSO Parties. There are two series, which run from 21 December to 14 January, with a short break over Christmas. You can find out details at https://tinyurl.com/RSGB-Christmas-Hope-QSO.
The Second Machine Generated Mode contest ends its 24-hour run at 1400UTC today, the 13th. Using any machine-generated mode on the 50 and 144MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and your 4-character locator.
The ARRL 10m Contest ends its 48-hour run at 2359UTC today, the 13th. The contest is CW and phone only. The exchange is signal report and serial number with US stations sending their State code and Canadians their Province code.
On Tuesday the 1.3GHz UK Activity Contest runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Thursday the 70MHz UK Activity Contest runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
The UK Six Metre Group Winter Marathon runs until the end of January 2021. Just exchange a signal report and locator.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA & G4BAO on Friday the 11th of December.
We said last week that it would be hard to predict what would happen over the next seven days – and that turned out to be true. The coronal hole we mentioned last week didn’t really amount to much, and sunspot region 2790 didn’t either. As a result, the solar flux index fell to 82 by Thursday, with region 2790 shrinking and with no other sunspots on the visible face of the Sun.
A B-class solar flare on the 7th of December resulted in a coronal mass ejection that impacted the Earth in the early hours of the 10th. This pushed the Kp index to four, but the effects were relatively short-lived and the index was back down to one by midday. Propquest’s ionosonde readings reflected the CME’s effects in the early hours but showed the MUF over a 3,000km path was back to 21-24MHz by mid-morning. There were other minor solar flare events during the week, but nothing as intense as the flare on the 7th.
There was DX around last week. Bob, VP8LP in the Falkland Islands and numerous Brazilian stations have been audible in the afternoon on 10m FT8. Australia and New Zealand have both been workable on 20m FT8 in the morning as well.
NOAA got its SFI prediction pretty much spot-on last week. It said we could expect to see it in the low 80s by the end of the week and so it was! Next week NOAA says it will be around 86, but we can expect poorer conditions around the 18th and 19th due to a geomagnetic disturbance. Region 2783 returns again this week, but the prediction is that is unlikely to be that active.
So this week, focus your DXing efforts at the beginning of the week as conditions may be worse by next weekend.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
It will be another quiet week for Tropo propagation, with the next few days looking to be once again dominated by unsettled weather. Low pressure mostly to the northwest of Britain will feed a succession of fronts and bands of rain across the country. This makes rain scatter a probable mode for the GHz bands, and not much chance to cheer up any Tropo operators. It may also be rather breezy in some areas and mostly milder again.
The Geminids meteor shower is well underway and peaks tomorrow on the 14th, so expect high activity on the digimode frequencies on all the VHF bands. If you have 100 watts and a beam on two or six metres, why not try an SSB sked at the peak? All that chanting of callsigns and “Roger, Roger” can be very therapeutic! The high ZHR of 150 means that this is quite possible. Also, look for signal bursts around 49.750MHz from the few remaining Eastern European TV carriers, and on 143.050MHz for the Graves bistatic radar from France.
The Moon is at minimum declination on Tuesday so there are short visibility windows all week. Losses are low with the Moon at perigee today. 144MHz sky noise is high and increasing and the Sun and Moon are very close tomorrow and low, not falling below 500 kelvin until Wednesday.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.