Sunday 13th January 2019
The news headlines:
Volunteers invited for National Radio Centre
IARU Region 1 consolidates project groups
RSGB Board and Regional Representative nominations open
With over 55,000 visitors to the RSGB’s National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park in 2018, we are looking to recruit new volunteers to engage with the public and give radio demonstrations. If you’re interested in becoming an NRC volunteer you should be passionate about meeting people, feel confident explaining the hobby, as well as operating the NRC’s radio station, GB3RS. You should be a licensed amateur, an RSGB Member and be prepared to work a minimum of one (preferably two) days per month. You will be joining a team of enthusiastic, friendly and dedicated volunteers and full training will be given. Travel expenses are paid to volunteers living within reasonable travelling distance and NRC volunteers enjoy numerous benefits associated with volunteering at Bletchley Park. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
At the IARU Region 1 General Conference in Landshut in 2017, it was agreed to create three project groups to address issues of the future direction and growth in amateur radio across the Region. These groups have undertaken some of the planned work, but because of other commitments of the project leaders, progress has not been as rapid as the IARU Region 1 had hoped. It was decided to bring the three project groups together under a single project manager. Mark Jones, G0MGX, has agreed to take this role. Mark is already deeply involved in ‘future and growth’ issues in RSGB, where he is a Board Member. Mark can be contacted via email to email@example.com. We wish Mark every success in this key role.
RSGB Members are reminded that nominations are open for RSGB Board and Regional Representatives. Details are in the January RadCom and on the RSGB website via tinyurl.com/GB2RS-0113A. These roles offer a good opportunity to help the RSGB develop and to promote amateur radio. Nominations close on the 31st of January.
In America, the FCC is not processing any US amateur radio applications as the partial government shutdown approaches its fourth week. For radio amateurs, the shutdown means that while the Universal Licensing System continues to accept applications for all valid purposes, the FCC will not review or act upon them until the funding stalemate is resolved. Newcomers who have passed the required examinations will have to wait until the shutdown concludes to receive a callsign and authorisation to operate. License upgrades are also on hold.
Please note that the RSGB National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park will be closed for a private event on Tuesday the 15th of January. Outside of this, volunteers look forward to welcoming visitors seven days a week, especially RSGB Members, who can download a free entry voucher for Bletchley Park from the RSGB website.
On the 27th of December a Soyuz launch deployed two German satellites, D-Star ONE – Sparrow and D-Star ONE – iSat. The beacons have been successfully received from both satellites, which each carry a D-Star repeater. They uplink on 437.325MHz and downlink on 435.525MHz. The December Soyuz flight also deployed the UWE-4 1U CubeSat carrying a 70cm AX.25 digipeater, with an uplink/downlink frequency of 437.375MHz. AMSAT Germany has reported that in-orbit testing of the P4-A amateur radio transponders on Es’hail-2 has begun but amateurs should not attempt to transmit on the Es’hail-2 uplink. When all in-orbit testing has been successfully completed, the satellite will be moved to its final orbital position at 26° East and availability announcements will be made.
Club Log’s latest Most Wanted List, generated on the 28th of December, can be found at https://secure.clublog.org/mostwanted.php. The information is derived from the half-billion or so QSOs uploaded to Club Log and available for analysis. To improve quality, only QSOs that have QSLs confirmed are considered to be worked. The most wanted charts are rebuilt once per month, on average.
And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week
The next rally in the diary is on the Horncastle Amateur Radio and Electronics rally on the 27th of January. It takes place at the Horncastle Youth Centre, Cagthorpe Buildings, Willow Row, Harncastle LN9 6DZ. Doors open at 10am.
Advance notice now of the CW Boot Camp, which will be run by the GMDX Group. It takes place on Sunday the 10th of March at Stirling & District ARS, Unit 68, Bandeath Industrial Estate, Throsk FK7 7NP. This event is open to all however places are limited, so it is important that you pre-register your interest by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To get your event into RadCom, onto GB2RS and on the RSGB website, please send details as early as possible to email@example.com – we need to know about four months in advance for RadCom.
And now the DX news from 425 DX News and other sources
A group of operators will be active as H33J from Volcan in the Chiriqui Province of Panama, between the 13th and the 31st of January. They will operate CW, SSB, RTTY and FT8 on the 160 to 10m bands, with a focus on the low bands FT8. QSL via Logbook of The World, Club Log’s OQRS or via JA1HGY.
Jean-Pierre, F6ITD will be active as FG/F6ITD from La Desirade Island, IOTA NA-102, in Guadeloupe from the 14th of January to the 13th of March. Activity will be on the 80 to 6m bands using CW, SSB and various digital modes. He will also be active as TO7D in various contests. QSL direct to his home call.
Willy, KB8YRX will be on the air as 8P9CA from Barbados between the 15th of January and the 4th of February. Activity will be focused on 20m and FT8. QSL to his home call.
Gerhard, OE3GEA will be on the air as HC8GET from Santa Cruz, Isabela, and San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos Islands from the 13th to the 25th of January. Activity will be on the HF bands. QSL to his home callsign.
Now the special event news
Worthing & District ARC will be running a special event station to commemorate its 70th anniversary. This will be on the weekend of the 19th and 20th of January, using callsign GB5WOR. The station will be on the air on all HF bands, possibly 2m and 70cm. Further details from the club website, www.wadarc.org.uk
Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Sweden's National Society for the Active Visually Impaired will be active as SF50CG throughout 2019. QSL via SM0BYD.
Please send special event details to firstname.lastname@example.org, as early as possible, for free publicity on GB2RS, in RadCom and online. Remember that UK special event stations must be open to the public, so our free publicity can help make your efforts more widely known.
Now the contest news
Today, the 13th, the Datamodes AFS contest runs from 1300 to 1700UTC. Using data only on the 3.5 and 7MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.
On Tuesday the 1.3GHz UK Activity Contest runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. Thursday sees the 70MHz UK Activity Contest, also from 2000 to 2230UTC. Both use all modes on the respective band and the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Saturday the 19th the SSB AFS contest runs from 1300 to 1700UTC. Using the 3.5 and 7MHz bands only, the exchange is signal report and serial number.
Also on Saturday the 19th, the Worked All Britain 1.8MHz Phone contest runs from 1900 to 2300UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and the WAB square.
The UK Six Metre Group Marathon continues until the 31st of January. Using all modes on the 50MHz band, the exchange is signal report and locator.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 9th of January.
This week saw relatively-settled HF conditions after the effects of a geomagnetic storm that impacted Earth at the weekend had passed. The Kp index was mostly around one or two thanks to a reduced solar wind. A small solar coronal hole did become Earth-facing on Wednesday the 9th, but its effects, if any, won’t be felt until around Friday the 11th. The sun’s disk remained spotless, with the solar flux index around 71-72.
The Propquest.co.uk site shows that daytime critical frequencies remain around 3.5-5MHz, although there have been some high spots where it has hit more than 6MHz. These can spark short-term long-range HF propagation at maximum usable frequencies of more than 18MHz, so it is worth keeping an eye on the higher bands. Otherwise, the upper bands have been fairly lacklustre with mostly contacts around Europe, as can be expected at this point in the sunspot cycle.
Next week NOAA has the solar flux remaining around 70 with settled geomagnetic conditions, other than around the 16th when the K index may rise to four due to recurrent coronal hole activity.
A check with the new animation facility at predtest.uk shows that the upper HF bands currently favour one-hop contacts into Southern Europe with occasional openings to North Africa. Forty metres should be open to Europe both day and night with the possibility of some weaker longer paths opening up around sunset and after dark.
Eighty metres remains a good evening and night-time band, but make the most of it now as the nights are starting to get shorter.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
The weekend started with a residual high pressure area, by now displaced to the southwest of Britain. This means that the bulk of the country is under a weaker ridge. This will obviously favour the western side of the country, which is closest to the high, for any Tropo activity.
As the week progresses, the high weakens further and the pattern becomes more like a showery north-westerly with little chance of Tropo and rather more breeze, especially over the north and down the eastern side of the country. This type of weather can produce an opportunity for rain scatter on the Gigahertz bands as big reflective shower clouds drift past the coasts.
We are in the quiet period of the year for meteor activity with few major showers until April. There are, though, always opportunities for random meteor scatter contacts peaking around dawn when the earth is rotating towards the main orbital flux of meteoric particles.
Lunar declination is positive again, so moon windows will lengthen as the week progresses, and path losses will fall. Early in the week, moonrise will be around lunchtime, and getting later over the coming week.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.