Sunday the 10th of January 2021
The news headlines:
Happy New Year from RSGB
Volunteers invited to stand for election
Celebrating 200 years of Greek independence
The news team and all the staff at RSGB HQ would like to wish our newsreaders, listeners and online readers a very Happy New Year. We would like to remind everyone that we always welcome your news, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and the deadline is 10 am sharp on Thursday mornings. The GB2RS script is uploaded to the RSGB website by 4.30 pm each Friday afternoon.
We’re into the final weeks of the nominations process for the RSGB elections, which will end at 2359UTC on the 31st of January. The Society is looking for its next President as Dave Wilson, M0OBW will retire at the AGM. There is also a place 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. For more information about any of these roles, how to nominate someone or for information about the election process, visit www.rsgb.org/election. The results will be announced at the RSGB’s online AGM on Saturday the 24th of April.
To commemorate the 200th anniversary, the Greek Independence Award will run throughout 2021. Anyone can take part and all mode and types of QSO are valid. The website https://sv2rck.gr/200YEARS lists a number of award stations.
Get on the air for Christmas finished yesterday, Saturday the 9th of January, but you still have time to enter the construction competition. Projects can be hardware, software or a system and may be based on a kit. There is a prize of £100 and the winning entry will be featured on the Society’s website and in RadCom. The deadline for entries is the 1st of February. See the details at www.rsgb.org/gota4c.
Elettra is the vessel on which Marconi conducted many experiments. The Elettra: the miracle ship award commemorates the centenary of the ship's official registration under the name of Elettra. The award period lasts the whole year and there will be a different special event callsign each month. Detail at www.arifidenza.it.
Were you one of the 19,000 people who enjoyed the RSGB’s Tonight @ 8 webinars last year? The 2021 series starts tomorrow, Monday the 11th of January, when Steve Hartley, G0FUW and Pete Juliano, N6QW will talk about amateur radio construction. Despite what many people think, building your own radio equipment is still a very popular aspect of amateur radio. This presentation will share some ideas on how to get started and provide some examples of homebrew gear, using hardware and software. Watch live and ask questions on the RSGB YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/theRSGB.
A QSO Party to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Marconi Club AR Loano will take place on the 16th of January. Running from 0800 to 2200UTC using the 20, 40 and 80m bands with CW only, you can find out the rules at www.ariloano.it/marconiclub.
Permission has been announced for Category 1 Uzbek licensees to operate in the new WRC-15 Amateur 60m Secondary Allocation of 5351.5 – 5366.5kHz with a maximum power of 100W.
Now the special event news
Hull and District Amateur Radio Society is celebrating 100 years of amateur radio clubs in the Hull area with a year-long special event station, callsign GB10OH. The station will operate most days throughout 2021 on bands ranging from 160m to 70cm and using different modes. Further details about the station and QSL options can be found on QRZ.com.
During 2021, the British Railways ARS will be celebrating its 55th anniversary. They will be running the special event call GB0LMR, operated by BRARS member Mark, G1PIE from Preston in Lancashire. Bands of operation will be 40 to 10 metres using PSK-31, PSK-63 and SSB, plus VHF/UHF. Further information is on QRZ.com and www.brars.info.
Now the DX news
Grant, VK5GR will be active as VK5KI from Kangaroo Island, OC-139, until the 22nd of January. He plans to operate holiday style on the 80 to 6m bands using CW, SSB and FT8, possibly with some RTTY and PSK. QSL via M0OXO's OQRS.
Seba, SQ1SGB and Will, M0ZXA expect to be active as VP8/SQ1SGB or VP8HAL and VP8DOI from Halley VI Research Station, Antarctica until the 4th of February. In their spare time, they will operate SSB and digital modes FT8 and JT65 on 40 and 20 metres.
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 10th, the Datamodes AFS contest runs from 1300 to 1700UTC. The SSB AFS contest takes place on Saturday from 1300 to 1700UTC. Both use the 3.5 and 7MHz bands, and the exchange is signal report and serial number.
On Monday and Tuesday, the 2nd Christmas Hope QSO Party has two sessions. The first is 0930 to 1100UTC on the 11th using FT4 on the 3.5 to 28MHz bands, with an exchange of your 4-character locator. The second is 1100 to 1230UTC on the 12th using CW on the same bands with an exchange of signal report and serial number.
Tuesday sees the 432MHz FM Activity Contest run from 1900 to 1955UTC. It is followed by the All-Mode UKAC from 2000 to 2230UTC. The exchange for both is signal report, serial number and locator.
Wednesday and Thursday see two more sessions of the 2nd Christmas Hope QSO Party. The first is on the 13th from 1230 to 1400UTC using RTTY. The second session is on the 14th from 1400 to 1530UTC using SSB. The exchange is the same for both, signal report and serial number, as are the bands to be used, 3.5 to 28MHz.
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 Worked All Britain 1.8MHz Phone Contest runs from 1900 to 2300UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square.
Don’t forget, 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 Thursday the 7th of January.
We start by welcoming in 2021, and here’s hoping that it proves to be more fruitful than 2020 in terms of HF propagation. We’ve started the New Year with zero sunspots and a solar flux index back in the mid-70s on Thursday the 7th. The STEREO Ahead spacecraft is not showing anything of note around the back of the Sun, but we know that spots can suddenly appear.
HF propagation has been relatively poor, but with seasonal ionospheric changes mainly being responsible for an uplift in daytime critical and maximum usable frequencies. Daytime critical frequencies have generally been in the range of 4.5 to 5.5MHz, falling to below 3.5MHz by 1930UTC on most evenings. This means that 80m is ceasing to be suitable for local NVIS contacts as the evening progresses, which is normal for this time of year.
Daytime maximum usable frequencies over a 3,000km path have exceeded 18 and even 21MHz on most days, with winter Sporadic-E being the main DX mode on the higher 12 and 10 metre bands. There has been the odd F2-layer opening on 28MHz, but we will need some more sunspot activity to make band openings more reliable.
NOAA predicts the solar flux index will remain in the high 70s at the beginning of next week, reflecting the lack of sunspot activity. The Kp index is predicted to reach a maximum of only two, due to a lack of coronal hole and coronal mass ejection activity. This means we may have a more settled ionosphere, which may be good for HF DX.
So in summary, it's more of the same in terms of HF propagation next week, with no real highlights. But don’t ignore the lower bands, such as 1.8, 3.5, and 7MHz, which can really come into their own in mid-winter.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
Despite no Tropo for a number of weeks, there has been high pressure to the west of Britain for some time. During the weekend and next week, it will become more dominant over much of the country, initially favouring Tropo for the south-western parts, but perhaps more generally later. This may be temporarily curtailed by frontal systems moving across the country around midweek and thus add some options for GHz rain scatter, but some models bring a ridge of high pressure back later in the week.
As hinted at in the last bulletin, a sudden stratospheric warming did indeed develop on the 4th of January 2021. As mentioned, it can have impacts on not just the stratospheric flow but can influence weather patterns nearer the surface about a couple of weeks later.
In a related note, it appears the models, after a milder next week, are hinting at a colder northerly spell again after the following weekend.
Staying with the stratospheric wind flow changes, these may have a possible link to winter Sporadic-E events and it’s worth monitoring 10m and 6m for activity in the next couple of weeks or so, especially FT8, but CW and SSB are not impossible.
After the excitement of the Quadrantids meteor shower we are now entering the annual quiet period in meteor activity with just two significant showers between now and the April Lyrids, so back to pre-dawn random meteors for the best chance of DX.
The Moon was at perigee yesterday, so path losses are at their lowest, but it’s at minimum declination on Tuesday meaning Moon windows are short and low elevation. The Moon only reaches 12 degrees elevation on Tuesday, meaning horizon noise will be an issue all week at VHF.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.