Sunday the 22nd of November 2020
The news headlines:
Spectrum Forum meeting details published
Help wanted for eclipse propagation tests
GB1NHS on the air over Christmas
The reports, presentations and minutes from the 2020 RSGB Spectrum Forum annual meeting are now available. The material provides a wide-ranging overview of topics across EMC, HF, VHF and microwaves; from both the Society and nationally affiliated Special Interest Groups. Presentations include updates on Ofcom’s EMF proposals, IARU 2021 Band Plans, VHF Innovation and WRC-23 pressure on 23cm band. Several reports include the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic driving on-air activity. The reports are online at https://rsgb.org/main/about-us/committees/spectrum-forum/meeting-minutes.
HamSCI is looking for amateur radio operators around the world to help collect propagation data during the 14th of December eclipse across South America. Data collection requires an HF radio connected to a computer. There will be a 24-hour practice run on the 5th of December. The main data recording will run from the 9th to the 16th, to ensure an abundance of control data. Details of the experiment are on the website www.hamsci.org, click on the Projects tab.
As part of the RSGB and NHS campaign ‘Get on the air for Christmas’ the NHS amateur radio station GB1NHS will be on the air on Sunday the 20th of December and Wednesday the 30th of December. It will be hosted at the RSGB’s National Radio Centre, so make a note to listen out for it on those days. Please note that the NRC is still closed to visitors and the operators will be following all national and local Covid-19 guidelines to ensure the safety of volunteers. The Society is also delighted that Ofcom is supporting the use of /NHS as a suffix to callsigns during the campaign, which runs from Saturday the 19th of December through to Saturday the 9th of January.
The RSGB’s GB2RS News Service is looking for a new volunteer manager. The position involves appointing and liaising with GB2RS newsreaders, managing schedules and notices of variation, as well as working closely with the editorial staff at HQ. For more information please contact the RSGB General Manager’s Department via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bob, G3VCA reports that an Icom IC-7100 has gone missing from the RAF Waddington ARC station. Its serial number is 03001813. If you have any news of it, particularly if you see it offered for sale, please email G3VCA via email@example.com.
The damaged 305m radio telescope at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico will be decommissioned due to safety concerns. One of its support cables broke in August and, before repairs could be put in place, a second broke earlier in November. The decommissioning plan focuses only on the 305-meter telescope and is intended to safely preserve other parts of the observatory.
The VHF Contest Committee has a consultation open right now looking for feedback on some possible rule changes for 2021. The closing date has been extended to midnight on Sunday the 29th of November. If you haven’t already responded and you’re interested in VHF Contesting, we’d really appreciate a few minutes of your time. You’ll find it at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/VHFCC20.
South Dublin Radio Club has uploaded its latest video to the club's YouTube channel. It is called Signals from Outerspace! Make your own antenna to get images from Weather Satellites. It is designed as a beginner's radio project and instructs viewers on how to construct a very simple V-dipole for 137MHz, demonstrating how it can be utilised along with a basic software-defined receiver and computer in order to decode images from passing NOAA Weather satellites.
Now the special event news
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.
4U2STAYHOME is the special callsign reactivated by the Vienna International Centre Amateur Radio Contest DX Club until the 31st of December. QSL via UA3DX, direct or via the bureau.
The Belgian regulator is again issuing special callsigns during its second nationwide lockdown. The callsigns are valid until at least the 13th of December. They include callsigns such as OO4UZLEUVEN, OO7STAYHOME, OQ20LIFE, OQ5BECLEVER and OR1LIFE. There are many more in the list. See the station’s entry on QRZ.com for details.
Now the DX news
Ali, EP3CQ will be back to Mogadishu, Somalia for two months. In his spare time he will operate mainly FT8 on various bands as 6O1OO. QSL direct as per the details on QRZ.com.
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.
On Tuesday the SHF UK Activity Contest runs from 1930 to 2230UTC. Using all modes on the 2.3 to 10GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and 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.
On Thursday it’s the Autumn Series contest from 2000 to 2130UTC. Using CW only on the 80m band, the exchange is signal report and serial number.
Next weekend it’s the CQ World Wide DX CW contest. Running for 48 hours from 0000UTC on the 28th to 2359UTC on the 29th on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and your CQ Zone. For the UK that is Zone 14.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA & G4BAO on Friday the 20th of November.
Last week was not bad for HF propagation, but probably not as good as the previous period. The solar flux index remained in the mid-to-high 70s, but the upside was that we had quiet geomagnetic conditions, which helped settle the ionosphere. The result was that maximum usable frequencies over 3,000km remained quite high, with 12 metres often being open. There was even the occasional long-distance opening on 10 metres, including SSB contacts with Australia, especially by better-equipped stations.
Next week may be better as sunspot group 2783 rotates into an Earth-facing position. NOAA predicts the SFI will remain in the range 70-75, but this could easily be exceeded if sunspot 2783 becomes more active. Unfortunately, geomagnetic conditions may not be as favourable next week due to a large coronal hole on the Sun’s surface.
NOAA predicts the Kp index could rise to four on Sunday the 22nd of November and again on the 24th and 25th. Things could then settle down with a maximum Kp index of two, just in time for the CQ Worldwide CW contest on the weekend of the 28th and 29th. So it looks like the latter half of the week will be better for HF propagation than the first half.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
This is often regarded as an unsettled time of year, but can occasionally bring quite settled weather, typical of high-pressure systems. Unfortunately, there is once again no real sign of any substantial high pressure, other than the occasional brief ridge between successive lows and their fronts. Like last week, any high pressure is likely to be closer to southern Britain and over the Continent, therefore favouring southern England to France and Biscay for the more optimistic operators. It's another week to look for GHz Bands rain scatter, with much variability expected in timing. It's best to follow events via the daily forecasts to find the most likely opportunities.
There have been a few out-of-season Sporadic-E events on 10m and 6m in the past week, so it's never safe to assume there is only a summer season for Sporadic-E. Admittedly it's not usually a great response in November, but it can and does happen!
Just one minor meteor shower this coming week. The November Orionids peaks on the 28th, with a zenithal hourly rate of just three. Moon declination goes positive again on Wednesday, so visibility windows will lengthen all week. With the Moon approaching apogee on Friday, path losses are at their highest. 144MHz sky noise is low all week, but rising above 300 Kelvin from Thursday.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.