Sunday 10th of October 2021
The news headlines:
- School ISS contact this Tuesday
- RSGB exam booking system is live
- New 2x1 callsigns for Australia
At 1112UTC on 12 October, GB4MHN will be calling the International Space Station to enable ten deaf children to speak to a NASA Astronaut. The children at the Mary Hare School for deaf children in Newbury will be assisted by Lloyd, M5LDF and other members of Newbury and District Amateur Radio Society. The children will each ask a question to the astronaut and the reply will then be interpreted into subtitles and sign language. The event is made possible by ARISS, which heads up the radio contacts for space agencies NASA and ESA. The ISS signal can be received on the 2m band or watched live at live.ariss.org.
The RSGB's new exam online booking system is now live. On the first page, you choose whether you are an individual who wants to book a remote invigilation exam or a club that wants to book an exam for candidates at the club premises. Clubs will be able to choose whether to book and pay for their candidates, or just book the date and time then receive a link that candidates will use to pay for their own exams. You can find the new booking process and an FAQ to help you at rsgb.org/exam-bookings.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority will commence the release of brand new 2 x 1 Australian contest callsigns at 10 am, 13 October 2021. The contest callsign template comprises the VK, VJ or VL prefix followed by one number then one letter. There are a number of rules governing the application for a short contest call and they will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
The RAF Air Cadets are planning to run the next Blue Ham Radio Communications Exercise on the 16th and 17th of October. They hope that radio amateurs can put some time aside to join in with the cadets and staff on the shared section of the 5MHz bands. A Blue Ham participation certificate is available to those who contact 15 or more special Cadet callsigns during the exercise. Just search for exercise blue ham to find out more information.
As part of the day of lectures for the British Amateur Television Club CAT21 day, Ian, GM3SEK is giving a talk on the application of the RSGB-Ofcom Calculator to microwave bands and QO-100 satellite operation on Saturday the 16th of October at 1.30 pm. Registration is not required and full details of the day and how to view can be found at batc.org.uk/live/cat21.
Jamboree On The Air is an annual event in which Scouts and Guides all over the world communicate with each other via amateur radio. JOTA 2021 runs for the full 48 hours of the 16th and 17th of October. You can find out more at jotajoti.info.
Members of the BBC’s radio club, The London BBC Radio Group, have been granted an exceptional all-year Special Event callsign to help celebrate the BBC’s centenary year in 2022. Ofcom will permit GB100BBC to operate throughout the year, starting at midnight on New Year’s Day, from the headquarters station in Broadcasting House, London. Operating slots will then be allocated for use by individual members and local groups of operators, from their home QTH, or BBC premises throughout the UK.
And now for details of rallies and events
Before travelling to any rally or event, please check the event’s website as there may still be alterations or cancellations due to the pandemic.
The second part of the BATC Convention for amateur TV will take place on the 16th of October. It will be a day of free online talks about amateur television. Just search for BATC CAT21 and follow the link for the live stream.
Essex CW Amateur Radio Club will hold a CW Boot Camp on the 16th of October in Witham. You can find out more by searching on the internet for Essex CW ARC and clicking their Boot Camp link.
On the 17th of October, the Hornsea Amateur Radio Rally is due to be held at the Driffield Show Ground, YO25 3AE. Doors open at 10 am and parking is free. Admission is £2. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy and a car boot area. Catering will be available on site.
Also on the 17th, the Hack Green Radio Surplus Hangar Sale will be held at the Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker in Nantwich. Doors open at 10 am and there will be equipment, components and amateur radio gear on sale.
The Galashiels Rally, scheduled to take place on the 24th is cancelled, as previously publicised.
The Members of Bishop Auckland RAC have, sadly, had to cancel their annual rally due to be held on the 28th of November. It will now be planned for 2022.
Now the DX news
Nobby, G0VJG has cancelled his operation from the Maldives and will be active as 3B8/G0VJG from Mauritius, AF-049, until the 16th of October. He will operate SSB and digital modes on the 80 to 10m bands. QSL via M0OXO's OQRS.
Robert, 3B9FR is a resident of Rodrigues Island, AF-017, and is now active again. He operates mainly CW, with some occasional SSB and FT8. QSL via M0OXO's OQRS.
Curtis, KC5CW will be active as FY/KC5CW from French Guiana until the 3rd of November. He will operate SSB, slow CW, PSK and FT8 on the 160 to 6m bands. He will upload his log to the Logbook of The World and Club Log.
Alex, VE1RUS and Pierre, VE3TKB will be active from VY0ERC, the Eureka Amateur Radio Club station located on Ellesmere Island, NA-008, between the 12th of October and the 22nd of November. QSL via M0OXO's OQRS and Logbook of The World.
Now the Special Event news
From the 6th of October through to the 2nd of November, West of Scotland ARS will be running a special event station GB4GDS, celebrating 90 years of the Guide Dog Association. More information about the station can be found at www.wosars.club.
Dundee ARC will be active over the weekend of the 16th and 17th of October as part of the Jamboree On The Air weekend. They will be using HF and VHF, so if you hear them please give them a call.
Now the contest news
When operating in contests, please keep yourself and fellow amateurs safe by following relevant pandemic-related government recommendations.
This weekend, the Oceania DX CW contest ends its 24-hour run at 0800UTC today, the 10th. Using the contest bands between 1.8 and 28MHz, the exchange is signal report and serial number.
Today, the 10th is the UK Microwave group’s 122 to 248GHz contest. Running from 0900 to 1700UTC, it uses all modes. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Tuesday the 432MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1800 to 1855UTC. It is followed by the all-mode UK Activity Contest from 1900 to 2130UTC. The exchange for both is signal report, serial number and locator.
Wednesday sees the data leg of the 80m Autumn Series running from 1900 to 2030UTC. The exchange is signal report and serial number.
The 50MHz UK Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2130UTC on Thursday. Using all modes the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Next weekend is the Worked All Germany contest running for 24 hours from 1500UTC on the 16th. Using SSB and CW on the contest bands between 3.5 and 28MHz, the exchange is signal report and serial number. German stations will also send DOK.
Next Sunday, the 17th, there are four contests taking place. The first is between 0900 and 1300UTC the 50MHz AFS contest uses all modes and the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator. Stations in the UK and Commonwealth Dependencies also exchange the first two letters of their postcode.
The second contest is The UK Microwave Group 24 to 76GHz Contest runs from 0900 to 1700UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
The IRTS 40m Daytime Counties Contest runs from 1200 to 1300UTC and is the third contest on the 17th. It uses CW and SSB and the exchange is signal report and serial number. EI and GI stations will also send their County code.
Finally, for the 17th, the second Rolling Locator, or RoLo, contest runs from 1900 to 2030UTC. It is CW-only on the 3.5MHz band. The exchange is the signal report and the rolling locator.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA & G4BAO on Friday the 8th of October.
Solar activity has dipped a little over the last two weeks. From a solar flux high of 102 on the 20th of September, activity declined to the mid-80s and stayed there. That isn’t to say that HF activity has been poor. Far from it. There are numerous reports of DX being worked, including S9OK on Sao Tome and Principe. The Czech DXpedition, off the coast of western Africa, has been logged on many bands and continues to be popular. Ten metres has thrown up SSB contacts into Brazil, Chile and Uruguay for many, and openings to the Far East at times. Autumnal HF conditions are driving the DX, rather than the solar flux index. Maximum usable frequencies over a 3,000km path are often above 24 or even 28MHz in the afternoons.
Next week is looking like more of the same, with NOAA predicting a solar flux index of 85, declining to 75 later in the week. Having said that, the STEREO Ahead spacecraft is highlighting two active regions due to rotate into view that may or may not develop into sunspots, so NOAA’s forecast may turn out to be pessimistic.
The good news is that a decline in coronal hole activity means the Kp index may remain low, perhaps down to two, which may result in continued settled geomagnetic conditions.
As always, we maintain that October is one of the best months for HF DX, so do make the most of it.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
High pressure this weekend should be producing good Tropo conditions for the southern half of the country, but probably peaking on Saturday the 9th. It is likely to return at times after mid-week as high pressure becomes more dominant over the country.
Remember that Tropo can be long-lasting, as opposed to brief Sporadic-E openings, and it is often better on higher frequencies, so if 2m feels good then look at 70cm and 23cm too. It is worth looking up on beaconspot.uk, checking out some of the useful beacons across DL, OZ, SM, SP, LY, YL, and ES and getting them in your rig memories. In the second part of the week Tropo is more likely to favour the western side of the UK and support paths south to France or Spain.
Other modes such as rain scatter, aurora and meteor scatter are worth checking and of course, you have a number of opportunities using the low earth orbit and geostationary satellites to keep you interested.
The Draconids meteor shower peaked on Friday and we have the small delta-Aurigids, with a low ZHR of two, peaking on the 11th.
For EME enthusiasts, the SV5/HB9COG DXpedition to Rhodes is now over, with the team making QSOs on all bands from 432MHz up to 10GHz with just a lightweight 1.5metre portable dish and a single Yagi.
Moon declination reaches minimum on Tuesday with the Moon barely reaching 11 degrees elevation at its zenith that day. Path losses are still low but increasing.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.