Sunday 6th June 2021
The news headlines:
- National Radio Centre re-opens
- Dartmoor Rally should run in July
- HF radio performance on Tonight@8
The RSGB National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park reopened last week in line with current Covid restrictions. The volunteers welcomed a fantastic 1,226 visitors over the Bank Holiday weekend and that number has continued to rise during the week. One young lad came with his father and they were both inspired to start studying for their Foundation licence. The RSGB would like to thank all the NRC volunteers who are making this experience possible for so many Bletchley Park visitors. The NRC is open daily, except Wednesdays, until further notice. Visitors to Bletchley Park need to pre-book and pay via their website so at present the Society is unable to offer its free entry voucher to RSGB Members whilst that system is in place.
The Dartmoor Radio Rally is due to take place on the 4th of July. In view of the uncertainties of Covid-19 restrictions that may be introduced at short notice, the organisers ask that visitors please check the website at dartmoorradioclub.uk before travelling.
The next Tonight @ 8 live webinar is on Monday the 7th of June. In a change to the advertised programme, Rob Sherwood, NC0B will talk about Transceiver Performance for the HF DX & Contest Operator. His presentation will explain the process that Sherwood Engineering go through to produce detailed performance figures for a wide range of transceivers, including details on the long-awaited new Elecraft K4D. You will be able to watch and ask questions live on the RSGB’s YouTube channel. For more information about this and other webinars in the series, go to rsgb.org/webinars.
IARU Region 1 Spectrum Affairs Chair, Barry Lewis, G4SJH, reports that efforts continue in defending the interests of amateur radio during preparations by CEPT for the World Radiocommunication Conference in 2023. Meeting on the 21st of May, the IARU worked with CEPT regional telecommunications organisations. The IARU put forward the agreed preliminary IARU positions for agenda items that could affect amateur radio. The IARU’s overall objective is to safeguard the allocations to the amateur and amateur satellite services in the co- and adjacent-frequency bands within the scope of each agenda item.
HamSCI is looking for amateurs to make recordings of time-standard stations during the June 2021 solar eclipse across the Arctic Circle as part of a citizen science experiment. Researchers will use the crowd-sourced data to investigate the superimposed effects of auroral particle precipitation and the eclipse on HF Doppler shift. The experiment will run between the 7th and 12th of June. All participants will receive QSL certificates and updates as the data is processed. For more information and setup instructions, visit the June 2021 Arctic Eclipse Festival page at hamsci.org.
A date for the diary next. Electromagnetic Field will return to Eastnor Castle Deer Park in Herefordshire from the 2nd to the 5th of June next year, 2022. Tickets will go on sale later this year. Electromagnetic Field is a non-profit UK camping festival for those with an inquisitive mind or an interest in making things, including hackers, artists, geeks, crafters, scientists and engineers.
The GB3CM repeater was fitted with a new antenna on the 24th of May. The first indications are quite promising with regards to coverage. The repeater is in IO71VW near Carmarthen. Signal reports will be very gratefully received, especially from those who used the repeater before the antenna change. You can send your report to Mark, GW8KCY via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now the DX news
Bo, OZ1DJJ will be active as OX3LX from Greenland between the 8th of June and the 10th of July. He plans to operate mainly on the 6 and 4m bands from several locations along the southwest coast of Greenland. Operations will be in his spare time, which is typically around lunchtime, after dinner as well as early and late sessions at weekends. QSL via Logbook of The World, Club Log’s OQRS or direct to OZ0J.
Lars, SM6CUK will be active holiday style as SA6G/7 from Ven Island, EU-137, between the 7th and 12th of June. He will operate CW on the 40 to 10m bands. QSL via SM6CUK and Logbook of The World; logsearch on Club Log.
Gary, NC3Z will be active as VP2V/NC3Z from Tortola, British Virgin Islands, NA-023, until the 14th of June. He will operate SSB and the FT modes. QSL via Logbook of The World.
Now the Special Event news
Dragon ARC is running a VHF Day on Saturday the 12th of June from 10 am until 5 pm. They will operate on the 6, 4 and 2m bands using FM, SSB or AM. Club members will be using the callsign GB0VHF from Parys Mountain on the island of Anglesey, locator IO73TI.
GB0UTA will be on the air between the 6th and the 28th of June promoting the University of the Third Age. The u3a is an organisation that aims to help people learn, stay active and have fun in later life. This special event station will be operating on behalf of the Honiton, Devon branch of the u3a. See the QRZ.com entry for more information.
The Queen’s official birthday is being celebrated with the callsign GB95QB from the 6th to the 13th of June. The operation will be on all available bands using CW, SSB and digital modes. The station will be run from the home of Nigel, G0GDA with assistance from members of Medway ARTS.
Denmark is taking part in the European Football Championship and a special event station will be on the air between the 11th of June and the 11th of July. 5P2UEFA/xx will be active on all HF bands with CW, SSB and digimodes. The extended suffix /xx will consist of a double-digit number and will be used in connection with the application for a diploma. You can find out about QSL cards and the diploma on QRZ.com under the callsign 5P2UEFA.
From 1600UTC on the 11th of June to 0800UTC on the 12th, Hawaiian amateurs will be taking part in the King Kamehameha Celebration. Using the callsign K6K, the main modes will be SSB, FM, FT-8 and Winlink. eQSLs will be available via Logbook of The World, please note no paper QSLs, please.
Now the contest news
With different parts of the UK having different lockdown restrictions, please make sure you follow the appropriate regulations. Several contests now accept portable entries, so please check the contest rules. Above all, please follow relevant national and local restrictions.
Ending its 24-hour run at 1200UTC today, the 6th is the SEANET contest. Using CW and SSB on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.
The CW National Field Day also ends its 24-hour run today, the 6th, at 1500UTC. Using the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.
The UK Six Metre Group Summer Contest ends its 24-hour run at 1300UTC today, the 6th. Using all modes on the 50MHz band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Today, the 6th, the UK Microwave Group Low Band contest runs from 1000 to 1600UTC. Using all modes on the 1.3, 2.3 and 3.4GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Monday, the data leg of the 80m Club Championships takes place between 1900 to 2030UTC. The exchange is signal report and serial number.
On Tuesday the 432MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1800 to 1855UTC. It is followed by the all-mode 432MHz 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 ATV contest runs from 1200UTC on the 12th to 1800UTC on the 13th. Using the 432MHz and up bands, the exchange is picture quality, serial number, four-digit code and locator.
Next Sunday, the 13th, is the Practical Wireless 2m QRP contest, which runs from 0900 to 1600UTC. Using phone only, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Also, next Sunday is the second 144MHz Backpackers contest, which runs from 0900 to 1300UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
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 4th of June.
The Sun was pretty quiet over the last week, with few sunspots and a solar flux index in the mid-70s. From a peak of 82 on Sunday, the SFI declined to 75 on Thursday when there were just two small sunspot groups visible, regions 2827 and 2929.
As predicted, geomagnetic conditions have been mostly settled, with a maximum Kp index of three. The solar wind has buffeted Earth at times thanks to a string of small coronal holes on the solar surface.
As we head towards the summer solstice we are seeing the HF bands remain open later in the evening. This is due to changes in the chemical make-up of the ionosphere. The 20m band currently remains open to DX over a 3,000km path until nearly midnight. In fact, if we had a few more sunspots we could even see 14MHz open 24 hours a day at times.
The main mode of interest remains Sporadic-E, with daily inter-Europe openings and occasional multi-hop openings to further afield. Make the most of these in June as conditions can decline as the season progresses.
Next week NOAA predicts the solar flux index will be in the mid to high 70s again. It says that the Kp index should remain around two. We may expect disturbed geomagnetic conditions on Sunday and early next week due to a large coronal hole on the Sun’s equator that became Earth-facing on Friday.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
It feels like a classic ‘summer combo’ this coming week, with periods where Tropo is the dominant mode as weak ridges of high pressure remain close by over the UK. Remember that the best conditions are often overnight and early morning since during the day the solar heating of the ground destroys any surface temperature inversion. In addition, you will also find that Tropo paths exist across the surrounding seas throughout the 24 hours, so /P from the clifftop or beach sounds ideal.
Mixed in with this hesitant high-pressure theme are occasional periods of instability releasing heavy showers, possibly with thunder and lightning. This is good for some because summer thunderclouds produce excellent prospects for GHz bands rain scatter.
Early June is prime time for Sporadic-E, and it’s been simmering nicely for a while now, so perhaps more of the same. In theory, all bands up to 144MHz come into play.
A point of observation regarding the jet stream patterns is that, perversely, they are not looking so favourable this coming week, which makes predicting paths very unwise. Check the daily blogs at Propquest.co.uk to see how things are developing.
We start another lunar month with positive and increasing declination giving lengthening daytime visibility windows, but with apogee on Tuesday, EME path losses are at their highest.
June the 7th sees the peak of the Arietids meteor shower. It actually lasts from May 22 to July 2, and with a ZHR of 30 it is one of the two most intense daylight meteor showers of the year.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.