We start with the sad news that the RadCom Technical Editor, Giles Read, G1MFG, has become a Silent Key following a short illness. Since June 2006 he has been an integral part of the RadCom and GB2RS team and will be missed by his colleagues as well as many in the wider amateur circle. An obituary is on the RSGB website at rsgb.org/sk. We will be adding to this web page and sharing a fuller tribute to Giles in the May edition of RadCom. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.
The RSGB is pleased to announce that the National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park will reopen on Monday the 28th of March. It will be open seven days per week as usual. The Society is sorry to have had to close the NRC last week due to a significant number of volunteers suffering from Covid and is grateful for your support of that decision. If you had hoped to visit last week, the RSGB is sorry for any disappointment caused and the volunteers look forward to welcoming you soon.
The island of São Jorge in the Azores has suffered over 1800 earthquakes in 48 hours. The Regional Government has prepared contingency plans to protect the island’s population. CT1END, the Emergency Communications Co-Ordinator for Portugal, reports that a group of nine radio amateurs are working to support emergency communications locally and back to Portugal. Radio amateurs are asked to steer clear of 3.75 to 3.76MHz overnight, 7.1 to 7.11MHz during the day and around 14.300MHz for those amateurs outside the region. All radio amateurs are encouraged to listen carefully and avoid causing any interference to emergency operations on those frequencies. More at iaru-r1.org.
A brief reminder now. In the UK the clocks went forward 1 hour at 1 am this morning, the 27th of March.
Voting in the RSGB 2022 AGM is now open. There are three resolutions to vote for including the endorsement of two Nominated Board Directors. They have been put forward by the RSGB Nominations Committee but it is RSGB Members who choose whether or not to endorse them. The Society encourages all members to read the CVs and personal statements of the Nominated Directors and then follow the voting links to cast a vote. On the RSGB AGM web pages, you can also see the draft accounts and submit a question for the RSGB Board to answer at the online AGM. Go to rsgb.org/agm to find all the information and links you need.
Each IARU Region holds a General Conference every three years, timed so that there is one regional conference every year. The reports of past Region 1 Conferences, including the one in 2021, can be accessed via iaru-r1.org. Just go to the How IARU Works in the About IARU section.
The annual School Club EU Day activity takes place on the 5th of May between 0800 and 1800UTC. The aim is to make contacts with and among school amateur radio club and training stations as well as school children with their own callsigns. A certificate of participation will be issued for stations that send an excerpt from the log of the day. Search online for Annual School Club EU Day to learn more.
And now for details of rallies and events
Please send your rally and event news as soon as possible to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll publicise your event in RadCom, on GB2RS, and online.
There are no rallies in the diary for next weekend. The 36th QRP Convention will be held on the 9th of April inDigby Hall, Sherborne DT9 3AA. On the 10th of April, the Lincoln Short Wave Club Spring Rally will be at Festival Hall, Caistor Road, Market Rasen LN8 3HT.
Now the DX news
Peter, DF6QC, will be active as DA0HEL from Helgoland Island, EU- 127, until the 2nd of April. A side trip to nearby Helgoland Dune is also planned when activity as DL0IH will only be during the morning and early afternoon hours. QSL via DF6QC, direct or bureau.
Jean-Luc, F1ULQ will be active as TO1Q from Guadeloupe, NA-102, until the 8th of April. He will operate SSB and FT8, and possibly satellites and EME as well. QSL via Logbook of The World, via F1ULQ either direct or bureau or Logsearch on Club Log.
Look for Janusz, PJ5/SP9FIH, Roman, PJ5/SP9FOW, Dariusz, PJ5/SP9MQA to be active from Sint Eustatius, NA-145, until the 7th of April. They will operate SSB, CW, RTTY and FT8 on 10 to 40m bands. QSLs via Club Log's OQRS, or via SP9FIH for both PJ5/SP9FIH and PJ5/SP9FOW and SP9MQA for PJ5/SP9MQA.
Now the Special Event news
Commemorating the 150th anniversary since the death of Samuel Morse on the 2nd of April 1872, OE0MORSE will be on the air, CW only, throughout April. QSL via Club Log's OQRS, Logbook of the World or eQSL. A certificate will be available.
The Isle of Wight Radio Society is planning a rather unusual special event station on a sandbank that only uncovers for a few minutes at extreme low water, twice a year. GB1BB is planning to be active over the Easter weekend, depending upon tide times. Follow the story on iowrs.org.
Dennis, G7AGZ / M3DJS is running a project in two parts for the Cornwall Hospice Care organisation. The first part will be a special event station using the callsign GB0CHC that will run throughout April on all bands from 80m to 70cm from home. The second part will be a six-peak challenge that he hopes to complete in twelve days subject to weather conditions. All information is on the GB0CHC qrz.com page.
Now the contest news
This weekend the CQ WPX Contest runs for 48 hours, ending at 2359UTC today, the 27th. Using SSB only on the 1.8 to 28MHz bands where contests are permitted, the exchange is signal report and serial number. The Gibraltar Amateur Radio Society will be active as ZB2BU in the contest with a multi-op low power entry.
On Monday, the RSGB FT4 contest will run from 2000 to 2130UTC. Using the 80, 40 and 20m bands. The recommended dial frequencies will be 3.576, 3.579 and 3.582MHz, 7.0475 and 14.080MHz. The exchange is signal report and your 4-character locator.
On Wednesday the UK EI Contest Club 80m Contest runs from 2000 to 2100UTC. Using CW only the exchange is your 6-character locator. Rules at ukeicc.com.
On Saturday, the FT4 International Activity Day will run from 0800 to 2000UTC. Using FT4 on the 1.8 to 28MHz bands, the exchange is signal report and 4-character locator.
Next Sunday sees the Spring 70MHz contest run from 0900 to 1200UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Now the radio propagation report was compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA, and G4BAO on Friday 25th of March 2022.
We had a good week of HF propagation with moderate solar flux index numbers and generally quiet geomagnetic conditions. The KP index has not been above three, at least by Thursday when this was written. The SFI has been hovering around the 100 mark, which was enough to stir 12 metres into action with occasional 10m openings.
A proton storm was detected earlier in the week, courtesy of the LASCO instrument on the SOHO spacecraft. This was as a result of a CME on the far side of the Sun, which was luckily not Earth-directed.
We now have a sense of excitement as a new sunspot group is currently turning into an Earth-facing position. Active region 2975, along with a larger Earth-sized sunspot group, appears to be in a growth phase. Both regions will likely be a threat for at least minor C-Class or moderate M-class solar flares over the next week.
NOAA predicts the SFI may rise from 98 to perhaps 120 over the next seven days. Geomagnetic conditions are forecast to be unsettled around April 1st with a predicted Kp index of five. A coronal hole became Earth-facing on Thursday so there is also the chance of an elevated KP index and reduced MUFs over the weekend.
Finally, with the spring equinox here this is a good time for North-South paths on HF. Higher-band contacts into South Africa and South America have been prevalent over the last week and should continue for a few weeks.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
Through much of the coming week, we will see the high-pressure system dominating the weather charts and continuing to provide a chance of further Tropo paths on VHF and UHF.
In this case, the high pressure will, at times, be centred right over the country and when this happens the temperature inversion may be too close to the ground for longer distance Tropo since it is changes in the refractive index of the air across the inversion that makes Tropo work for RF waves.
To avoid problems near the high centre, it is usually better to look for paths around the side of a big high to get the best DX. There are some weather models that try to break down the high later in the week, so make the most of the better conditions when you can.
There are still signs of disturbed solar conditions, so there’s always a chance of some aurora to play with, or of course, any random meteors may be worth a check, especially early morning.
There are reports of some strong Sporadic-E signals on 10m, so as we move into April it becomes a more regular item on the menu, say for 10m and perhaps 6m on digital modes.
Moon declination is increasing and goes positive again on Friday, so Moon windows and peak Moon elevation will increase. With perigee last Wednesday, path losses are low but increase as the week progresses.
144MHz Sky noise is low all week.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.