Sunday the 7th of February 2021
The news headlines:
New GB2RS Newsreaders
hamradio.org URL donated to IARU
New short RSGB video
The RSGB is delighted to announce some enhancements to the GB2RS News service. Kelvan, M0KEL is now broadcasting the news via GB3IW on the Isle of Wight at 1015UTC each Sunday. The repeater is on 433.225MHz FM with a sub-audible access tone of 71.9Hz. The repeater has an impressive coverage on the south coast too, and our thanks go to the repeater-keeper Paul, G4IKI who has kindly granted permission for this broadcast. And a new digital amateur television broadcast is being made on 1308MHz at 1000UTC each Sunday via GB3EY, located in a commanding position near Hull 155 metres above sea level. The newsreader Clive, G3GJA also listens for reports on the ATV talkback frequency of 144.775MHz. The latest GB2RS Broadcast Schedule can be downloaded from rsgb.org/gb2rsschedule. We’re always looking for new readers to join the teams around the UK and Crown Dependencies. If you would like to find out more, and you are an RSGB member with a Full or Intermediate licence, please contact the GB2RS Manager via email to email@example.com.
Andrew, KI7RYC has donated the hamradio.org domain to the International Amateur Radio Union for non-profit educational use to promote the amateur and amateur satellite services. In accepting the gift, IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH said, “The hamradio.org domain offers a unique opportunity for which we are deeply grateful to Andrew. It is our intention to develop a website that can serve as a focal point for anyone, anywhere, who may be seeking information on amateur radio.”
The RSGB represents UK radio amateurs both nationally and internationally. Strengthening this representation is part of the Society’s strategic goals. A short video explaining more about this has been added to the Spectrum Forum web page at rsgb.org/spectrum-forum.
Girl Guides from Australia will be operating the ALARA Echolink conference station, node 286905, from 2200UTC to 2359UTC on Saturday the 20th of February for their International Thinking Day activities. Contacts from Girl Guides and Leaders would be appreciated.
The preparatory work for WRC-23 has started across all regions in both the ITU R and the Regional Telecommunications Organisations. The IARU has representatives contributing to the studies and helping to develop the regional positions on all the WRC agenda items. The IARU Administrative Council has agreed the first preliminary positions covering the six most important agenda items for the amateur and amateur satellite services. Read more at iaru-r1.org.
The RSGB nominations process has closed for its forthcoming elections. Only the current co-opted Regional Representatives in Regions 6 and 12 were nominated in those areas, so they have been elected unopposed. We congratulate Liz Cabban, GW0ETU and David de la Haye, M0MDB who will continue in their roles. No nominations were received for the Regional Representative in Region 2, which covers Scotland North and the Northern Isles.
The UK and Ireland Contest Club has been assigned the historic callsign EI5G as its club call. Its previous holder was the late Pete Daly, who held the call from the early 1930s until 1961. He was a keen participant in field days and contests. Reviving the callsign honours the memory of its previous holder and, with its EI and G components, captures the ethos of the UK and EI Contest Club.
The WSJT Development Group has announced the general availability release of WSJT-X Version 2.3.0. A summary of new features can be found in the User Guide. The Release Notes offer additional information, including a list of important program changes since the WSJT-X 2.2. Upgrading from earlier versions of WSJT-X should be seamless and it’s not necessary to uninstall a previous version or move any files. Just search online for WSJT-X 2.3 User Guide.
Congratulations to Lincoln Short-Wave Club, whose 100th birthday is on Wednesday this week. Due to current Covid restrictions, the celebratory dinner will be delayed, but members will probably raise a glass at home.
Now the DX news
Gareth, M0MOL will be active as MM0MOL/P from the main island of Shetland, IOTA reference EU-012, in February and March. He will operate QRP with what he refers to as a typical portable setup and he will be QRV mainly in the evenings after work.
Kang, DS4DRE will be active as DS4DRE/4 from Komun Island, AS-060, until the 31st of January 2022. He plans to operate SSB and CW on the 80 to 10m bands. QSL via home call, direct or bureau.
Now the Special Event news
Hull & District ARS is continuing to celebrate 100 years of amateur radio clubs in the Hull area with its year-long special event station, GB1OOH. The station operates most days on bands ranging from 160m to 70cm using different modes. Further details about the operation can be found on QRZ.com.
IQ3DD will be active during the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Cortina, Italy from the 7th to the 28th of February. A special QSL card will be available. More information on qrz.com.
TM18AAW will be on air from the 14th to the 28th of February to celebrate the 18th Antarctic Activity Week. All information is on QRZ.com. The operation will be on the 10 to 40m bands.
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.
Today, the 7th of February, the 432MHz AFS contest runs from 0900 to 1300UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
The first European Union DX Contest ends its 24-hour run at 1800UTC today, the 7th. A variety of operating categories are offered, including SWL, and everybody works everybody. Just search for European Union DX Contest Club to obtain full details.
On Tuesday the 432MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 1955UTC. It is followed by the all-mode 432MHz UK Activity Contest from 2000 to 2230UTC. The exchange is the same for both, signal report, serial number and locator.
On Wednesday the data modes leg of the 80m Club Championships runs from 2000 to 2130UTC. The exchange is signal report and serial number.
On Thursday the 50MHz UK Activity contest runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Saturday the 13th, the 1st 1.8MHz contest runs from 1900 to 2300UTC. It’s CW only and the exchange is signal report, serial number and District code.
Next weekend the CQ World Wide WPX RTTY contest runs from 0000UTC on the 13th to 2359UTC on the 14th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.
Also next weekend, but running for 24 hours, is the PACC Contest. It starts at 1200UTC on the 13th. Using CW and SSB on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number. Note that PA stations also send their Province code.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA & G4BAO on Friday the 5th of February.
Last week was dominated by unsettled geomagnetic conditions. These were due to the effects of a high-speed stream from a solar coronal hole. The stream resulted in a co-rotating interaction region or CIR. CIRs are transition zones between slow- and fast-moving streams of solar wind. Solar wind plasma piles up in these regions, creating density gradients and shock waves that can affect Earth’s magnetic field much like a coronal mass ejection, or CME. The net result was a Kp index that hit four with widespread visible aurora in the early hours of February 2nd. Unsettled geomagnetic conditions continued until at least Thursday with the Kp index eventually settling back to two.
Propagation wise, Tuesday morning saw 10 metres alive with FT8 signals. There was short-skip to Scotland, Wales and Ireland as well as longer paths to Croatia and the Canary Islands. Wednesday saw 4X4DX in Israel coming through. Chris, G0DWV managed to work Namibia and South Africa on 10 metres from his well-equipped station. He then moved to 12 metres and bagged the Dominican Republic, Paraguay, Venezuela, Ecuador and numerous North American stations. And all this with virtually no sunspots!
Next week NOAA predicts the solar flux index will be in the range 72-76. But a high-speed stream from another solar coronal hole may impact the Earth this weekend, sending the Kp index up to four. It will be interesting to see if we have an enhancement to the upper HF bands again. Keep an eye on 10 and 12 metres and also for a rapid rise in the real-time solar wind speed at solarham.com.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
A disturbed end to this week with rain and snow giving us plenty to do without worrying about band conditions. There’s always GHz bands snow and rain scatter to try if you have the equipment. 10GHz rain scatter QSOs can be made over short ranges using high elevation, so put that tripod out in the back yard, chuck something waterproof over the equipment and make a sked!
On the Tropo front, there’s a hint of a temporary weak ridge down the spine of the country at the start of next week, and it may produce some sharp nocturnal temperature inversions over snow cover to bring up the odd distant repeater. Thereafter another low moves up the Channel with rain and snow for the south, while wintry showers affect northern areas. Later in the week a more vigorous Atlantic low pushes active fronts across the whole country. For VHF/UHF propagation this is not a good period, apart from some scattering on the GHz bands. February is the minimum month for Sporadic-E.
The Moon is at minimum declination on Monday, so visibility windows are at their shortest and peak Moon elevations are minimum. Perigee was last week so path losses are still low. 144MHz sky noise is high, over 2000K on Monday. On Thursday afternoon the Sun and Moon are within a few degrees of each other so Sun noise will dominate.
The Alpha Centaurids meteor shower peaks tomorrow, Monday, but with a zenithal hourly rate of just six, you’ll only see a slight enhancement on meteor scatter conditions.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.