Sunday the 1st of November 2020
The news headlines:
GNU Radio on Tonight@8
Introduction to presentations go online
Yahoo Groups closes soon
The next Tonight@8 is this Monday, the 2nd of November. Heather Lomond, M0HMO will give a beginners’ introduction to using GNU Radio to create simple amateur radio projects. Starting from the beginning, Heather will introduce the GNU Radio programming environment, develop a little of the theory needed to understand SDRs, and then go on to use some simple GNU Radio blocks to build a receiver based on one of the super-cheap SDRs. Finally, she will show how to build more complex radio systems and where to go to take things to the next level. Do encourage people to listen to this webinar, particularly if they are a new or returning licensee. More information is on our website at www.rsgb.org/webinars.
The individual presentations from the “Introduction to…” stream at the RSGB Convention Online that took place on the 10th of October are now available to watch. You can catch up on ones you missed or take the opportunity to see again the ones you enjoyed most. Find them at www.youtube.com/theRSGB.
Just a reminder for listeners who use or who have subscribed to a Yahoo group. On the 15th of December, groups.yahoo.com, or Yahoo Groups, and its list service will shut down. Many amateurs are still using Yahoo groups and not groups.io. If you want more information, go to https://help.yahoo.com/kb/groups/SLN35505.html.
The RSGB sometimes receives complaints regarding incidences of deliberate jamming and foul or inappropriate language on the air and is trying to quantify the size of the problem. A Freedom of Information request to Ofcom showed only three identifiable reports submitted between the 1st of January 2015 and the 31st of December 2019. The RSGB would like to hear from radio amateurs who have reported similar problems directly to Ofcom, not the RSGB, during this period, and after following the Operating Advisory Service’s advice. For further information, including how to submit your reports to the Society, please see the RSGB website via tinyurl.com/rsgb-oas-reports.
Results of the IRTS 80 metre Counties Contest held on 6th October have now been published. Band conditions were good for this contest, which kept local and overseas stations busy for the hour. 35 logs were submitted, showing participation from 22 EI and GI counties, as well as 12 overseas DXCC entities. See www.irts.ie/results for full details.
The RSGB will once again be participating in the annual YOTA Month activities in December. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we will not be encouraging large group events and all participants should remain within national and local guidelines. GB20YOTA is available for Full licence holders to book an appointment slot within a set calendar shown on the GB20YOTA QRZ.com page. All operations should be focused with the intention to get young people on the air. To register your interest, or to reserve an operating slot, contact Jamie, M0SDV, via email to email@example.com.
The proceedings from the 19th of September RSGB Board meeting are now online. Of particular note is that media and public interest in amateur radio continues, RSGB Membership numbers are still rising and examination numbers are still buoyant with an increasing number of candidates progressing to the next licence level. See https://tinyurl.com/gb2rs-board.
Now the special event news
Members of the HCDX Group will be active as HD1X from a remaining tropical rainforest in Ecuador, grid reference FI09IV. Active until the 3rd of November at 1700UTC they will use various HF bands including 30, 17 and 12m, using SSB, SSTV and FT4/FT8.
Larry, G4HLN will be active as GB4CKS between the 1st and the 14th of November. He will operate CW and some SSB on 40 to 10m, marking the 85th anniversary of the death of Australian record-setting aviator Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, who disappeared on the 8th of November 1935 off the coast of Myanmar, then known as Burma, whilst trying to break the England-Australia speed record. QSL via G4HLN, direct or via the bureau.
Pittsburgh radio station KDKA will celebrate 100 years of radio broadcasting in November, and Pennsylvania radio amateurs will run a multi-station special event. Special event stations K3K, K3D, K3A and W8XK will set up and operate at several locations in Pennsylvania during November. Stations will determine their own modes and schedules. Visit the W8XK profile on QRZ.com for information on certificates and QSLs.
Now the DX news
Remo, HB9SHD plans to be active as 8Q7RM from Kandolhu Island, IOTA reference AS-013, from the 2nd to the 29th of November. Activity will be holiday style on various HF bands using CW, SSB and digital modes. QSL via HB9SHD.
Bob, W0YBS will be active as V31CO from Cay Caulker in Belize until the 13th of November. Activity will be on the 80 to 10m bands including 30, 17 and 12m, using CW, SSB, FT8 and RTTY. QSL via W0YBS and Logbook of The World.
Robert, S53R plans to remain in the Afghan capital city working in his spare time as T6AA until mid-December.
Now the contest news
Please remember to check before the contest for 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 first and foremost, especially in the instance of local lockdowns.
The UK EI Contest Club DX Contest ends its 24-hour run at 1200UTC today, the 1st of November. This is SSB only and also has a 12-hour option. UK and EI area codes are multipliers for DX stations and all QSOs made by UK or EI stations between the hours of 0100 and 0500UTC are worth double points. For the rules and other information, follow the links from www.ukeicc.com.
On Monday the Autumn Series contest runs from 2000 to 2130UTC. It’s data only on the 3.5MHz band, with the exchange being signal report and serial number.
On Tuesday the 144MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 1955UTC. It is followed by the all-mode 144MHz UK Activity Contest from 2000 to 2230UTC. The exchange is the same for both, signal report, serial number and locator.
On Wednesday the UK EI Contest Club contest runs from 2000 to 2100UTC. Using the 3.5MHz band only, the exchange is your 6-character locator square.
Next weekend, the Marconi CW contest runs from 1400UTC on the 7th to 1400UTC on the 8th. Using the 144MHz band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 30th of October.
Last week saw more evidence that Solar Cycle 25 is definitely underway. Large sunspot group 2778 caused the solar flux index to rise to 82. And it then got even better when it was joined by active region 2779, which pushed the SFI up further to 88 on Thursday. This is the first time we’ve seen the SFI in the 80s for some time and a clear indication that things are changing for the better.
Both regions were responsible for B and C-class solar flares, but nothing that impacted the ionosphere too much. In addition to the sunspots, we did have the lingering effects of a high-speed solar wind stream from a coronal hole, which saw the Kp index rise to four across the weekend.
This corresponded with the SSB leg of the CQWW contest and did have an adverse impact on propagation.
The elevated Kp index continued until late in the week and was still at three on Thursday, preventing the ionosphere from completely recovering. Nevertheless, Propquest.co.uk shows that over a 3,000km path maximum usable frequencies often exceeded 24 and were even 28MHz at times. Ten metre FT8 proved popular with the eastern states of the USA, Mexico, South America, Cuba, Malawi, Kenya, South Africa, as well as India, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea all of these being logged on Thursday.
As for next week, the STEREO ahead spacecraft shows a couple of sunspots returning to the Earth-facing solar disk. Regions 2775 and 2777 are coming back, but it is difficult to know how active they will be.
So as we enter November, NOAA predicts the SFI will be roughly 74-75 with quite calm geomagnetic conditions. The Kp index is predicted to be two by Monday, which bodes well for HF.
With the seasonal improvement in ionospheric conditions, a quiet geomagnetic field and possible sunspot activity, the next seven days could be quite good for HF propagation.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
We ended the previous week with very unsettled conditions bringing rain and strong winds at times. This pattern will continue into the first half of next week, so once again we expect GHz bands rain scatter to be on the propagation guest list.
There is a suggestion that a ridge of high pressure will move into Scotland midweek, gradually extending its influence southwards to make Tropo a consideration. That said, the ridge may get overwhelmed by returning low-pressure next weekend.
Recent unsettled weather, which is usually driven by strong jet streams, would be perfect for summer Sporadic-E, and it's worth saying that even out of the traditional Sporadic-E season, FT8 may bring the occasional surprise. Definitely worth a periodic check on 10m and up.
The Moon’s declination is still rising, reaching maximum late on Thursday, so Moon visibility windows continue to be long. The Moon is just past apogee so path losses are still high. 144MHz sky noise peaks at 500K on Wednesday.
Continue to keep an eye out for low-VHF auroral propagation and remember, we are just over two weeks from the peak of the big Leonids meteor shower.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.