Sunday 4th July 2021
The news headlines:
Join Monday’s Tonight @ 8
NRC closure for tree felling
GM0GMN to lead IPA Amateur Radio Section
Don’t forget to join the RSGB’s Tonight @ 8 webinar on Monday evening. RSGB EMC Chair John Rogers, M0JAV will explain how to assess your station against ICNIRP EMF levels. The EMC Committee has been working hard to help all radio amateurs understand more about how to comply with the new Ofcom licence conditions. So take this chance to hear from an expert and ask questions. Tonight @ 8 will take a break in August and then will be back with another great programme for the autumn. To find out more about this and previous webinars, go to rsgb.org/webinars.
The RSGB National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park will be closed on the 5th and 6th of July. This is due to the large tree in the immediate vicinity of the NRC being felled. It is planned to re-open on Thursday the 8th as usual. Note that the NRC is not open on Wednesdays.
Following the very sad passing of Regional Representative Tom Reilly, G0NSY, the International Police Association has appointed James, GM0GMN to lead their UK Amateur Radio Section. James is keen to make contact with current and former members of the group and to encourage new members. To contact James, see QRZ.com.
Following the update from Ofcom to their guidance What you need to know as an Amateur Radio user, the RSGB has updated its calculator to version rsgb10a. This can be found on the EMF pages of the website at rsgb.org/emf. Please treat this as a beta release and report any problems to email@example.com. The main changes are to implement band dependent antenna gain and the low power compliance condition in line with Ofcom’s change to guidance. The other changes made by Ofcom to their calculator were already in the RSGB version.
Have you ever thought about taking up an awards challenge as part of your amateur radio activities? Whether you enjoy HF or VHF/UHF, the RSGB awards are open to everyone, whatever your age, licence level and personal interests. Along the way, you will learn more about propagation, experiment with equipment and make tweaks to your station to maximise performance. Awards encourage you to push yourself further. The RSGB has launched a new web page that highlights the stories of radio amateurs who enjoy chasing awards. Take a look and be inspired by them at rsgb.org/award-stories.
The GB2RS service is seeking a newsreader to cover the Western Isles of Scotland. You would be joining an existing team as a reserve reader and there are opportunities for more than one applicant to broadcast the News on Sunday using HF, VHF or UHF. You should be an RSGB Member and have good coverage of the region. If you want to find out more without obligation, please contact the GB2RS Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A date for your diary now. The popular Churches and Chapels on the Air event will take place on the 11th of September. Most activity takes place on the 80 and 40m bands. Please register your station with organiser John, G3XYF, see QRZ.com.
And now for details of rallies and events
We heard from several rally organisers that their events will not be taking place this year. Rugby ATS regrets that it is not able to run its rally this year, but they look forward to seeing everyone next year on Sunday the 21st of August 2022. The organisers of the Welsh Radio Rally, which was due to take place in October, have said that it will return in 2022. They would like to thank the traders and visitors that have supported them over the years and look forward to seeing everyone again in 2022. Also cancelled are the East Sussex Wireless Revival and McMichael rally & boot sale, both originally planned for next Sunday, the 11th.
On a much brighter note for later this month, the Finningley ARS Car Boot bring & buy is scheduled to go ahead on Sunday the 25th of July. You can check for updates at g0ghk.com/cbr21 Finally, the Wiltshire Radio Rally, Electronics Fair & Car Boot Sale is planned to go ahead on Sunday the 1st of August. Details of this one are at chippenhamradio.club.
Now the DX news
Ed, ES2TT will be active as ES2TT/0 from Saaremaa Island [sar-eh-mah], IOTA reference EU-034, on the 10th and 11th of July. He will operate CW and SSB on the 30 to 20m bands. QSL via his home call, direct or via the bureau.
Frank, K3TRM will be active as VP2V/K3TRM from Tortola, British Virgin Islands, NA-023, between the 4th and the 17th of July. He will operate on the 40 to 6m bands using SSB, RTTY, FT8 and satellite. QSL via Logbook of The World, Club Log’s OQRS, or via home call.
ZD7GB is the callsign issued to Gerry, G3WIP for use during his stay on St Helena Island, AF-022, until the 6th of September. In his spare time he will operate SSB, FT8 and FT4 on the 40 to 10m bands and via the QO-100 satellite.
Now the Special Event news
Coventry ARS is running two special event stations until May 2022 to celebrate Coventry being the City of Culture. GB1COC & GB8CCC will be running most days, with GB8CCC passing between members of the club. Dates and times will vary.
Now the contest news
With different parts of the UK having different lockdown restrictions, please make sure you follow the appropriate regulations. Keep yourself and fellow amateurs safe.
This weekend is the RSGB VHF National Field Day. It runs for 24 hours until 1400UTC today, the 4th. Using all modes on the 50MHz to 1.3GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator. Please note that with the current Covid-19 restrictions, teams with multiple operators should ensure they are following the regulations in their area.
Today, the 4th of July, is the 3rd 2m Backpackers contest. It runs from 1100 to 1500UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Monday the CW leg of the 80m Club Championships runs from 1900 to 2030UTC. The exchange is signal report and serial number.
On Tuesday the 144MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1800 to 1855UTC. It is followed by the all-mode 144MHz UK Activity Contest from 1900 to 2130UTC. The exchange for both is the same, signal report, serial number and locator.
On Wednesday, the 144MHz FT8 Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2100UTC. The exchange is your report and 4-character locator.
On Thursday it is the turn of the 50MHz UK Activity Contest, running from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Next weekend the IARU HF Championship runs for 24 hours from 1200UTC on the 10th to 1200UTC on the 11th. Using CW and SSB on the 1.8 to 28MHz bands, where contests are permitted, the exchange is signal report and ITU Zone. For the UK that is 27.
The UK Six Metre Group Summer Marathon runs until the 1st of August. Just exchange your 4-character locator.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA & G4BAO on Friday the 2nd of July.
Well, NOAA certainly got the sunspot predictions wrong last week. It said that the solar flux index would be in the range 76 to 78 with a maximum Kp index of two. As it turned out, the SFI ended up way higher than this, peaking at 94 on Thursday. Active sunspot regions 2835 and 2836 ended up being bigger and more vigorous than predicted, pushing the sunspot number to a high of 53. This bodes well for the future and could mean that Solar Cycle 25 is now truly under way.
The CDXC group has reported 10m FT8 openings to China, Japan and South Korea, plus 10m and 12m openings to the Caribbean and South America.
Sporadic-E has started to tail off a little as we enter July and this is probably not helped by an increase in the Kp index to four on Wednesday night.
The major IT outage at the University of Massachusetts Lowell continues. This means there is still no ionosonde data on the Propquest.co.uk website for foF2 graphs at the moment. Luckily, you can still access the live Chilton ionosonde data directly at ukssdc.ac.uk/ionosondes, although you may need to register. A check on Thursday showed that the critical frequency mid-morning over the UK was around 4 to 4.5MHz, meaning a maximum useable frequency over a 3,000km path of about 16.5MHz. Other than Sporadic-E openings, we can’t expect the MUF to rise much further until the Autumn.
NOAA predicts the solar flux index will decline from around 92 to perhaps 85 next week, as regions 2835 and 2836 rotate off the visible face of the Sun. Geomagnetic conditions are predicted to remain relatively calm with the Kp index at two to three.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
Tropo opportunities have gradually diminished over the tail end of the week just gone. We had a super North-South duct up the East Coast on Wednesday evening allowing a close-to 700km 10GHz Tropo QSO between Keith, GM4ODA/P at IO99IV in Shetland and Neil, G4DBN in IO93NR, who’s almost at sea level on the Humber estuary.
We are now left with what is essentially a low pressure-driven weather pattern, with a small low crossing southern England early in the week. This will mean that periods of rain or heavy and possibly thundery showers are likely, so good for rain scatter on the GHz bands.
The main development will see low pressure over the British Isles or just to the west. The accompanying upper air pattern suggests a jet stream becoming established just to the south, over the near continent. This is a perfect location for supporting Sporadic-E paths into much of Europe, should other factors be in favour.
The jet stream strength also looks to be a bit stronger again, which is another good sign. Just keep in mind that the band will seem dead if you don’t call CQ! Mid-morning and late afternoon to early evening are going to be the most profitable times to do that.
Moon declination is positive and rising again so Moon visibility windows will lengthen. With apogee on Monday, path losses will be high.
There are no significant meteor showers until the end of the month, so continue to look around dawn for the best random meteor scatter opportunities.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.