Sunday the 15th of November 2020
The news headlines:
Hope QSO Parties over Christmas
RSGB responds to Ofcom’s second EMF consultation
RCF help is available
Following the successful Hope QSO Parties earlier in the year, the HF Contest Committee is launching two further short Christmas Hope Party series to run as part of the Society’s ‘Get on the air for Christmas’ campaign with the NHS. The first starts on Monday the 21st of December and the second on Monday the 4th of January. Each series has two phone, two CW, two RTTY and two FT4 events. For more information, including a link to the rules, see the RSGB website www.rsgb.org/gota4c.
RSGB has responded to Ofcom’s second consultation document on limiting Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields. Our response can be found on the RSGB website http://rsgb.org.uk/emf. Please remember the deadline is tight; all responses need to be in to Ofcom by 5pm on Monday the 16th of November. The RSGB would encourage you to respond yourself and thank all those who have done so already.
The Trustees of the Radio Communications Foundation have noted the surge in newcomers to amateur radio since lockdown. Newcomers may not be aware that RCF is a charity that is committed to supporting radio clubs in schools, colleges and universities. If any readers need help in establishing, resurrecting or improving a school, college or university amateur radio club they should contact the RCF. Details can be found at https://commsfoundation.org/contact-the-rcf/. The RCF continues to sponsor a number of Arkwright Engineering Scholarships and works with the UK Electronics Skills Federation.
The IARU Region 1 Political Relations Committee attended an European workshop that is drafting the next radio spectrum programme for the 2025 – 2030 period. Topics included strategic spectrum issues, climate change and EMF. The IARU was pleased to be able to submit a contribution that is now available with inputs from other stakeholders at www.iaru-r1.org/2020/rspg-workshop-on-rspp.
We received sad news this week. John Devoldere, ON4UN became a Silent Key on the 9th of November. Well-known as a lowband DXer, he had been in failing health for some time. In addition to his enthusiasm for operating, he may be best known as the author of Low-Band DXing and HF Ethics and Operating that was adopted by the IARU. Our thoughts are with his family and friends around the world.
Dave Johnson, G4DPZ gave an online satellite talk to Mid Ulster ARC and the video is now available on the club’s YouTube channel. He covered the many amateur satellites in Low Earth Orbit that operate in the 145.8-146MHz and 435-438MHz satellite bands, plus the QO-100 geostationary satellite that uses 2.4GHz and 10GHz. Another talk is an evening with Laurie Margolis, G3UML, the BBC journalist and News Editor who was the radio amateur that broke news of the Falkland Islands invasion in 1982. See www.youtube.com/MuarcMedia/videos.
The RSGB is taking part in December YOTA Month but the Covid-19 restrictions will make the event very different this year. If you are a parent with a newly-licensed youngster in your family, you can apply to host the callsign GB20YOTA safely from your own home. You must be a Full licence holder to apply for the callsign. You can book an appointment slot within a set calendar shown on the GB20YOTA page on QRZ.com. To register your interest, or to reserve an operating slot, contact RSGB YOTA Month Coordinator Jamie, M0SDV via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now the special event news
The 2nd of November marked the centennial of US radio station KDKA. The station originally began operations in 1916 as an amateur radio station, callsign 8XK. After WW1, the operators reorganised the station as a commercial AM radio station. To celebrate this historic milestone, Pittsburgh area amateur radio operators will take to the airwaves with a series of special event stations, K3A, K3D, K3K, and W8XK. These will be set up at several locations in Pennsylvania during November.
Members of UBA Section KTK will be active as OP0PEACE until the 30th of November to commemorate the end of World War I. QSL via the operator's instructions and logsearch on Club Log.
Now the DX news
Remo, HB9SHD plans to be active as 8Q7RM from Kandolhu Island, IOTA reference AS-013, until the 29th of November. Activity will be holiday-style on HF using CW, SSB and digital modes. QSL via HB9SHD.
Robert, S53R plans to continue working in his spare time as T6AA in the Afghan capital city of Kabul, until mid-December.
Giorgio, IU5HWS is stationed in Iraq with the Italian Army and expects to remain there until around the 20th of January. The Iraqi Amateur Radio Society has authorised him to operate as YI9/IU5HWS until his requested callsign of YI9WS is granted by the National Communications and Media Commission.
Now the contest news
Please remember to check before the contest for any new rules due to lockdown and social distancing, which may differ around the world. The RSGB strongly advises obeying your own national and local government’s advice.
The WAE DX RTTY contest ends its 48-hour run at 2359UTC today, the 15th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.
Today, the 15th, the UK Microwave group’s Low Band contest runs from 1000 to 1400UTC. Using the 1.3 to 3.4GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Monday, the 9th FT4 series contest runs from 2000 to 2130UTC. Using the 3.5MHz band, the exchange is signal report and 4-character location.
On Tuesday the 1.3GHz UK Activity Contest runs from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Thursday sees the 70MHz UK Activity Contest running from 2000 to 2230UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Next Saturday, the 21st, the Second 1.8MHz contest runs from 1900 to 2300UTC. It’s CW only and the exchange is signal report, serial number and District code.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA & G4BAO on Friday the 13th of November.
The Sun really shone last week, in more ways than one. Large sunspot group 2781 pushed the solar flux index to 91 with a sunspot number of 40 at the weekend, a figure that we haven’t seen for many years. This was coupled with quiet geomagnetic conditions with a maximum Kp index of two, but frequently it was at one or zero. These figures, coupled with a seasonal upturn in HF propagation, meant there was DX to be worked. 7Q7RU, the Russian Robinson Club DXpedition to Malawi, has been logged in the UK on many bands, including 15 metres. Australia has also put in an appearance on 10 metres, with VK6NC being worked on SSB with a 5 and 8 signal for Gary, G0FWX. New Zealand has also been workable on the short path with John, ZL2JBR being very loud on 20m SSB around 14.210 to 14.215MHz on many days around 0830 to 0930UTC.
There probably hasn’t been a better time for HF propagation for quite a few years. As this report was being written, new sunspot group 2782 was just showing around the edge of the Sun and this could develop as the weekend goes on. NOAA predicts the SFI will be in the range 78-80 next week, although this rather depends upon how region 2782 develops. Geomagnetic conditions are unlikely to be quite as quiet next week, with NOAA predicting a maximum Kp index of three, rising to five on Friday the 20th. The first part of the week might therefore be the best choice for HF DXing.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
The Leonids meteor shower reaches its peak in the hours before dawn on Tuesday, the 17th of November. So be ready for some good but short-lived meteor scatter conditions. The shower has a Zenithal Hourly Rate of 15, but it is known for producing meteor storms at various times in recent history. The last Leonid Storm was in 2001, but the first great meteor storm of modern times was the 1833 Leonids, kicking off the scientific study of meteors.
The current spell of changeable weather is likely to set the template for terrestrial propagation this coming week. That is to say, periods of wet and windy weather when active weather fronts cross the country interspersed by brighter showery interludes. All of these features are capable of providing some good rain scatter conditions on the GHz bands. Because of this unsettled pattern, high pressure is banished to the south of the UK, over France, so if there are any vestiges of Tropo it will be most likely from southern England across the Channel.
The Moon was at perigee yesterday, so path losses are still low, but with minimum declination on Wednesday, Moon visibility windows are short. 144MHz sky noise peaks at nearly 3300K on Tuesday but drops back to below 300K again by the end of next week.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.