Sunday the 5th of July 2020
The news headlines:
Celebrate the NHS with Get on the air to care
Contest Committee to relax Covid-19 rules
IARU appoints new EMC Coordinator
The RSGB’s ‘Get on the air to care’ campaign with the NHS is celebrating the NHS’ 72nd birthday today, Sunday the 5th of July. The Society is encouraging all radio amateurs to 'Get on the air to care' to mark the celebration and to use /NHS after their callsign. Share photos on the RSGB Facebook or Twitter accounts and make sure you add #GOTA2C to your message. You can also email photos to email@example.com. For more info about the NHS birthday see the NHS website, www.england.nhs.uk/nhsbirthday/about-the-nhs-birthday.
As we’re all aware, the changes to Covid-19 restrictions have been coming thick and fast recently, but they have also remained inconsistent across the different parts of the UK. The Contest Committee is preparing to allow Single Operator Portable entries to RSGB contests again from Tuesday the 7th of July. This is in time for the 2m UK Activity Contest and FM Activity Contest as well as the HF Low Power contest on the 19th of July. All activities must be properly socially distanced. All station activity, including station assembly, must be carried out by the operator, or only with support from people who are living at the same household. The RSGB is not opening up normal multi-operator contesting as in section ‘O’ entries at this time. Any local Covid-19 restrictions, such as any limitation on access to particular public locations, must be strictly observed. Please keep a close eye on the Contest Committee website www.rsgbcc.org for the latest updates.
The IARU Administrative Council has appointed Martin Sach, G8KDF, as global Electromagnetic Compatibility Coordinator, succeeding Tore Worren, LA9QL. The EMC Coordinator’s mission is to ensure that the concerns and needs of radio amateurs are effectively addressed in international standards bodies, particularly CISPR and the ITU, as well as in regional telecommunication organisations and at national levels through IARU member societies. Assisting in the effort is a network of volunteers with expertise in the field of EMC. Martin is also the RSGB IARU EMC Liaison.
RSGB General Manager Steve Thomas, M1ACB joined the Denby Dale ARC online meeting to hear Dan, KB6NU speak on Having Fun with Morse Code. After Dan’s talk and the question and answer session, the club asked Steve to do a Q&A session. There were a wide range of questions on current topics. Dan’s talk and both Q&A sessions are on YouTube at https://youtu.be/noC1pxTswg4.
In the light of the Covid-19 restrictions, the IARU Region 1 Executive Committee has split the 2020 General Conference into two parts. The first part in October will be a virtual conference and the second, in-person part will be in 2021. The IARU and its Member Societies face some very significant challenges for the future to ensure that growth into amateur radio is further stimulated and that Member Societies and the IARU continue to be seen as relevant and supportive by new entrants. The 2021 part of the Conference will be run in ‘workshop’ format with active participation from all Member Societies present.
Dave Wilson, M0OBW, RSGB President and Exams Quality Assurance Manager, has announced that the 1000th online invigilated exam took place on the 1st of July. He anticipated that the 1000th successful candidate will pass the exam sometime this coming week. The RSGB would like to thank all involved in this remote invigilation exam process, including Ofcom, the RSGB exams department and all those invigilating. It’s a great example of amateur radio coming together.
Please note that all news items for both RadCom and GB2RS should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and to that email address only. Sending to multiple addresses just slows the process down and some old addresses, such as email@example.com will be closed in the near future. The deadline for GB2RS is 10am on the Thursday before transmission and the deadlines for RadCom are shown in the Around Your Region section or on the RSGB website under the Publications tab.
Now the special event news
Since the change of regulations applying to special event stations in the UK, many activations are now able to go ahead. UK amateurs would like to thank Ofcom for their help in making this happen.
To commemorate their 3rd anniversary, special event stations will be on air during the FT8DMC Activity Days until the 31st of July. All stations will bear the FTDMC or FTDM suffix, referring to the third anniversary of the FT8 Digital Mode Club. An FTDMC Anniversary Award can be earned by working the FTDMC and FTDM stations and collecting points applicable for various award classes. See www.ft8dmc.eu for more details.
Durham and District Amateur Radio Society is participating as one of the bonus stations in the 13 Colonies Special Event. GB13COL will run until 0400UTC on 8 July. The primary focus of the event will be the HF bands using SSB, CW, FM and various digital modes, but VHF and UHF will also be in use. This year’s QSL cards for GB13COL has been kindly sponsored by Martin Lynch at ML&S.
Now the contest news
Please remember to check before the events for new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your own government’s advice first and foremost.
On Monday the 80m Club Championships will runs from 1900 to 2030UTC. Using CW only, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
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 signal report, serial number and locator.
On Thursday the 50MHz UK Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Next weekend the IARU HF Championship runs from 1200UTC on the 11th to 1200UTC on the 12th. Using SSB only on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and ITU Zone, which is 27 for the UK.
The UK Six Metre Group’s Summer Marathon runs until the 2nd of August. Using all modes on the 50MHz band, the exchange is your 4-character locator.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 3rd of July.
This week saw the beginning of a new month and continued Sporadic-E openings. Traditionally we see a slow down in the number of Sporadic-E openings in July, but while we are seeing a few periods on 10m when there are no openings, they inevitably reappear.
An HF F2-layer opening to Angola occurred on Wednesday, allowing amateurs to bag Gabriel, D2EB on both 17 and 12 metres CW. Paul, G0KPH also spotted Gabriel on 40 metres CW in the evening.
As we said a couple of weeks ago, the HF bands are staying open later, which is a summer phenomenon. Darren, G0TSM has found 17m FT8 to be open to Japan, the West Coast of the USA, Alaska and Hawaii until around 0200UTC. Mike, G4FHQ said 80m has been good overnight too, after he heard a string of W2s and VE3s working the Canada Day contest at 0330UTC at 57/8 on SSB.
The Sun, however, remained very quiet with zero sunspots, which means our predictions are beginning to sound like a stuck record! The Kp index ranged from zero to three thanks to a high-speed solar wind stream. Next week NOAA predicts a solar flux index of 68 and a Kp index of two to three. There are no sunspots predicted, just a few bright spots on the STEREO Ahead spacecraft’s extreme ultraviolet view, which may or may not develop into spots. Mid-latitude coronal hole activity has declined recently and it does look like we are now truly at sunspot minimum.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
There is a change in the weather coming along and Sunday should see a ridge of high pressure building across the south of the country, bringing Tropo back into the options. This could be particularly good for paths to the south across the Channel and Biscay as well as across the southern North Sea. This ridge gets a bit of knock-back after mid-week as a small low tracks across the north of the country. In some models this is also followed by a further weak ridge for the next weekend, so Tropo will continue to feature.
The Sporadic-E season is less prolific in July, but it’s still a key month for the mode. The weather is always busy generating atmospheric gravity waves that can propagate upwards to affect the E region and trigger Sporadic-E, so hopefully some parts of the country may find the geometry is right for some VHF DX paths via Sporadic-E. These high summer weeks are often good for Sporadic-E ultra DX paths to the Far East, mostly in the early morning and on FT8, so it's well worth checking the clusters from 0600-0800UTC.
With low Moon declination and no major meteor showers this week, it’s a good week to increase your square count via the satellites. QO100 and the low-Earth orbiters are always there to work the DX if the bands are flat.
Finally, a thought. While we’re definitely not advocating “don’t call CQ”, you’ll increase your chances of making non-contest QSOs hugely, especially on the GHz Bands, if you announce your planned activity in advance. Use email reflectors, social media and the ON4KST microwave chat to let people know when you’re QRV.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.