Sunday the 2nd of May 2021
The news headlines:
RSGB AGM appointments
Club, Beacon and Repeater insurance renewed
Help survey amateur radio
At the RSGB AGM on the 24th of April, it was announced that Stewart Bryant, G3YSX has been elected as President of the Society and will serve until the 2023 AGM. We congratulate him and welcome him as RSGB President. Dave Wilson, M0OBW was elected as a Director of the Society and will serve until the 2024 AGM. Congratulations to him and many thanks to those Directors who have served during the year. Paul Devlin, G1SMP and David Hills, G6PYF were endorsed as nominated Directors of the Society and will serve until the 2024 AGM. Congratulations to them both.
RSGB Club Insurance and Beacon and Repeater Insurance has now been renewed for the year to April 2022. Club Insurance Certificates can be downloaded from the RSGB website; please use your Membership Services login to obtain a copy of your Certificate. To ensure that your beacon or repeater is covered under the insurance, a £10 admin fee is required and you may renew this online at the RSGB shop. Please allow a couple of days after renewal for your certificate to be dispatched.
The IARU Region 1 is running a strategic workshop on the future of amateur radio. Each of the national societies in the region has been asked to contribute information about amateur radio in their country. In preparation, the RSGB is conducting a short survey of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that apply to amateur radio in the UK. The Society would like to hear the views of all UK radio amateurs so please take a few minutes to fill in the survey at www.rsgb.org/survey. The deadline for responses is the 23rd of May.
There are three new ways to listen to GB2RS news. John, G4TRN and Sean, G7NJX have been providing a regular UHF service via GB3ZB in Bristol for some time. Now, this repeater is interlinked to GB3FI in Cheddar to give extended coverage on both sides of the Mendips. The broadcast is at 9.30 am. Another new transmission comes from Richard, G0NAD near Clacton-on-Sea in Essex, serving the Tendring area on 433.525MHz FM at 11 am. GB2RS can now also be heard via the QO-100 amateur radio satellite. The transmission is provided by Keith, GU6EFB at 0800UTC, using upper sideband on 10489.900MHz, which is in the mixed-mode section of the narrowband transponder. QO-100 is a geostationary satellite with a footprint that covers Europe, Africa and India, so this news bulletin is a specially adapted international version. The RSGB would like to thank AMSAT-DL for their kind cooperation in making this broadcast possible. If you don’t have any 10GHz equipment but would still like to monitor the broadcast, there is a dedicated webSDR at batc.org.uk that requires no radio equipment. Just click on the ‘online’ tab.
SOS Radio Week is an annual event that sees many amateur radio stations get on the air throughout the month of May. The aim is to raise awareness of the voluntary work of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and National Coastwatch Institution. The event coincides with the RNLI’s own Mayday fundraising month. For further details of the event, visit sosradioweek.org.uk.
Earlier this month Mike, G4GUG was interviewed on the University of the Third Age, or U3A, podcast. Mike is the amateur radio subject adviser at U3A. He shared his personal experience of enjoying amateur radio throughout his life and also highlighted the influx of new licensees over the last year. You can hear the podcast on the U3A YouTube channel; search for Episode 7. Mike’s interview starts about nine-and-a-half minutes into the podcast.
Sixteen awards were given at this year’s AGM. This included the prestigious RSGB award of Life Vice President, which was bestowed on Dave Wilson, M0OBW. This rarely-given award was for his tireless devotion over many years to all aspects of amateur radio and the Society. Congratulations to everyone who received an award. You can see the trophies, the winners and read the full citations at rsgb.services/gb2rs/010.
Now the DX news
This year’s International DX Convention will be a virtual two-day meeting to be held on the 15th and 16th of May, with eight DX-related and eight exhibitor Zoom webinars respectively. Free pre-registration is required and is now open. See dxconvention.com for more information, including the programme details.
Matthew, M0ZMS will be seconded to the RAF station at Mount Pleasant, Falkland Islands, IOTA reference SA-002, from late April to late August. He will be active as VP8ZMS, hopefully using the Royal Air Force ARS club station shack. He operates digital modes, CW and some SSB. QSL via home call and Logbook of The World; logsearch on Club Log.
Lee, HL1IWD will be active holiday style as HL1IWD/4 from the Kogunsan Islands, AS-148, until the 3rd of May. He will operate CW and some FT8 on 40-20 metres. On his way back he will make a short stopover on Anmyon Island, AS-080, and will try to operate as HL1IWD/3. QSLs via EA5GL.
Now the Special Event news
GB0ME will be on the air until the 16th of May to highlight awareness of the medical condition ME. The official awareness day is the 12th of May. The schedule of calling is to be confirmed but, until the 16th, George, MM0JNL will be operating as GB0ME when working from home to get the callsign out there.
On the 8th and 9th of May, GB2SXC and GB0SCW will be on air for the Stone Cross Windmill near Eastbourne. The stations are part of the Mills on the Air event. For further details email email@example.com.
Guernsey Amateur Radio Society will be using GB5LIB for the 76th anniversary of the Liberation of the islands. The call will be activated by club members from 0001UTC on the 8th to 2359UTC on the 14th of May. All bands and modes from 160m to 10m will be used and maybe 4 and 6m, if conditions allow. See QRZ.com for details.
Paul, G1OVK will be operating GB0SOS throughout May for SOS Radio week. Using HF, 2m and 70cm, he will operate SSB and digital. QSL via the bureau.
GB2HLS will be operated by Wirral ARS from Hoylake Lifeboat station throughout May. This is part of the SOS Radio Week activities.
On the 8th and 9th of May, Chesham & District ARS will operate GB0BWN at Brill Windmill as part of the Mills on the Air weekend. They will be using the 80m, 40m and 2m bands.
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.
This weekend, the 432MHz to 245GHz Trophy ends its 24-hour run at 1400UTC today, the 2nd of May. Using all modes on those bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Today, the 2nd, the 10GHz Trophy runs from 0800 to 1400UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
The ARI International DX contest ends its 24-hour run at 1200UTC today, the 2nd. Using CW, Phone and RTTY on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number. Italian stations also give their Province code.
Today, the 2nd, the UK Microwave group Low Band Contest runs from 1000 to 1600UTC. Using all modes, 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 UK Activity Contest from 1900 to 2130UTC. The exchange is the same for both, signal report, serial number and locator.
On Wednesday the 144MHz FT8 Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2100UTC. The exchange is your signal report and 4-character locator.
The fourth FT4 Series contest also takes place on Wednesday from 1900 to 2030UTC. Using the 3.5 to 14MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and your 4-character locator.
Next Sunday, the 9th, the 70MHz CW contest runs from 0900 to 1200UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number, locator and postcode.
The Worked All Britain 40m Phone and CW contest runs for 1000 to 1400UTC next Sunday, the 9th. Using SSB and CW, the exchange is signal report, serial number and the WAB area.
Also on the 9th, the IRTS 40m Daytime Counties Contest runs from 1200 to 1300UTC. Using SSB and CW, the exchange is signal report and serial number. EI and GI stations also exchange their County.
The UK Six Metre Group Summer Marathon runs until the 1st of August. Exchange your 4-character locator.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA & G4BAO on Friday the 30th of April.
Last week was characterised by relatively low sunspot numbers but reasonably settled geomagnetic conditions. The solar flux index never rose above 80 all week, despite a large cluster of sunspots. This cluster, composed of regions 2818, 2820 and 2821, were responsible for some C-class solar flare activity, but never really grew into anything. By the time you read or hear this, they will have rotated out of view.
The Kp index started the week at five, thanks to the effects of a high-speed solar wind stream from a coronal mass ejection. This was relatively short-lived and the rest of the week saw more settled conditions with a maximum Kp index of three and often zero.
HF conditions have been variable. There has been DX workable, as Norfolk ARC showed during last Saturday’s International Marconi Day. GB0CMS made more than 900 contacts on HF, including contacting the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, Ecuador, Panama, the Falkland Islands, Australia and Indonesia. SSB activity on 10 metres has been reported as being relatively quiet, with the odd Sporadic-E contact into Europe. FT8 has thrown up a few contacts into South America during the late afternoon and early evening.
Next week, NOAA predicts the SFI may dip again, perhaps down to 72-73. This weekend may see unsettled geomagnetic conditions with the potential for the Kp index to rise to four or five due to coronal hole activity. However, once this clears we may expect a more settled Kp of two as the week progresses. Propquest shows that, according to the Chilton digisonde data, daytime MUFs over a 3,000km path are generally reaching the 18MHz band and occasionally 21MHz.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
Next week it will probably be very difficult to time the weather changes correctly. It will be a mix of classic April showers – in May! – and some longer periods of rain, but also weak ridges of high pressure or, more accurately, ‘cols’, between highs and lows. These are very rarely useful for Tropo but may facilitate temporary lifts in the early mornings. The trend towards a showery weather pattern is likely to be good news for the rain scatter operators on the GHz bands.
With the arrival of May, expectations for Sporadic-E grow stronger. The daily blogs will begin this month on the Propquest.co.uk website where a commentary about the location of jet streams and potential for Sporadic-E will be discussed along with a chance to evaluate the new Sporadic-E Probability Index, or EPI, shown on the same website. Beams certainly help with weak Sporadic-E or multi-hop paths, but a strong opening will be found with even a colinear, so it’s not just for super-stations. If you’ve never worked Sporadic-E before, doing just one thing, checking 10m and 6m at teatime, will guarantee you the best chance of breaking your duck.
Last week we had a Supermoon. No reason to get excited, this is simply a full Moon occurring within 10% of perigee. Perigee was last Tuesday so EME path losses will slowly rise all week. Moon declination is negative until Saturday so we’ll see lengthening Moon visibility windows and peak Moon elevations as the week goes on.
Two meteor showers to look out for this week. The Eta-Aquarids has a broad peak around the 6th of May with a good Zenithal Hourly Rate or ZHR of 50, then the much smaller Eta Lyrids on the 8th.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.