Sunday the 11th of October 2020
The news headlines:
New field strength licence condition proposed by Ofcom
RSGB YouTube Convention catch-up
Jamboree on the Air to go ahead
Ofcom received 400 responses to their EMF consultation, 255 of which were from radio amateurs. Ofcom has addressed some respondent’s concerns, revised their proposals and requested feedback. The RSGB will reply to Ofcom’s revised proposals and keep you updated via www.rsgb.org/emf. Ofcom intends to add a condition to all licences that allow more than 10W EIRP, requiring compliance with the ICNIRP general public limits on EMF exposure. Ofcom has provided a basic EMF calculator that will provide a conservative estimate of the required separation distances between the radio equipment and the public. RSGB and ARRL experts are working on detailed modelling of near-field EMF levels to demonstrate compliance where the Ofcom calculator is too conservative. Our aim is that Ofcom will approve such an approach. The RSGB is continuing discussions with Ofcom about the new condition, including what amateurs will actually be expected to do to operate safely within ICNIRP reference levels, and any need for extra advice and training.
Following on from the online RSGB Convention for 2020 that took place yesterday, the 10th of October, the AMSAT-UK Colloquium 2020 is online today, the 11th. There will be a lecture stream from 11 am to 4 pm. You can find out more at www.amsat-uk.org/colloquium. You may be interested to know that the two live streams from the RSGB Convention online will be available to watch again on the RSGB YouTube channel from today, the 11th. The results of the annual RSGB Construction Competition were announced during the online Convention and will be on the RSGB website from today, the 11th, at www.rsgb.org/construction-compeition.
The IARU Region 1 General Conference, originally scheduled to take place in Serbia, is taking place online, starting today, the 11th. Taking advantage of online access, well over 200 delegates and observers have registered from nearly 50 national societies. Nearly 90 papers are scheduled for discussion, several from the RSGB. The conference will be formally opened by IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH. A day-by-day report of the proceedings at the Conference will be published throughout the coming week on the IARU Region 1 website, www.iaru-r1.org, beginning Sunday evening.
Jamboree On The Air, the world’s largest and radio Scout event promoting friendship and global citizenship takes place over the weekend of the 16th to the 18th of October. There are of course a few difficulties this year due to the pandemic. However, the event is going ahead – often with creative ways of operating. Please listen out for the JOTA stations and do give them a call.
On United Nations Day, the 24th of October, the SAQ Very Low Frequency transmitter in Grimeton, Sweden, will again send out a message. Startup and tuning of the Alexanderson Alternator will be from 1430UTC. The message will be transmitted from SAQ on 17.2kHz CW at 1500UTC. Live streaming can be seen at www.youtube.com/c/AlexanderSAQ/videos.
The RSGB will once again be participating in the annual YOTA Month activities in December. Normally we would encourage large youth groups, schools, Scouting associations and amateur radio clubs to participate. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we will not be encouraging large group events. We do hope that smaller groups will be able to participate in the event, whilst remaining within national and local guidelines. GB20YOTA will be available for Full licence holders to book an appointment slot within a set calendar. This calendar will be available on the GB20YOTA QRZ.com page for you to choose when you want to operate. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to a Spaceweather.com report on the 6th of October, Canadian amateur Scott Tilley, VE7TIL received a signal from the NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter as it flew just 274km above the Red Planet’s surface. The signal was an X-band carrier containing no data or telemetry. Such detection is possible because, right now, Mars is unusually close to Earth. Visit www.Spaceweather.com and look at the archive for the 6th of October for more information.
Now the special event news
Since the change of regulations applying to special event stations in the UK, many activations are now able to go ahead. UK amateurs would like to thank Ofcom for their help in making this happen.
PJ4TEN will be active during October to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Bonaire becoming a Special Municipality of the Netherlands and a new DXCC entity. The rules for the award can be found on the PJ4TEN QRZ.com page.
Hannes, OE1SGU will be active as OE1990SGU between the 1st and the 31st of October to celebrate his 30th anniversary in amateur radio. QSL via LoTW, eQSL, or via OE1SGU either direct or via the bureau.
Now the DX news
Jerry, F4HJO will be active as F4HJO/p from Brehat Island, IOTA reference EU-074, between the 17th and 24th of October. He will operate mainly SSB on the 80, 40, 20 and 17m bands. QSL via Club Log’s OQRS, Logbook of The World or via his home call, either direct or via the bureau.
Take, JG8NQJ will be back to the weather station on Minami Torishima, OC-073, from the 14th of October until mid-January 2021, his QSL manager reports. Take will operate CW as JG8NQJ/JD1 in his spare time. QSL via JA8CJY direct or JG8NQJ via the bureau.
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 Oceania DX CW contest ends its 24-hour run at 0800UTC today, the 11th. Using the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.
Today, the 11th, the IRTS 40m Counties contest runs from 1200 to 1400UTC. Using CW and SSB, the exchange is signal report and serial number, with GI and EI stations, also sending their County.
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.
On Wednesday the 80m Autumn Series runs from 1900 to 2030UTC. Using data only, the exchange is signal report and serial number.
Thursday sees the 70MHz UK Activity Contest from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Next weekend, from 1500UTC on the 17th to 1500UTC on the 18th, it’s the Worked All Germany Contest. Using CW and SSB on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number, with German stations sending DOK.
Next Sunday, the 18th, the 50MHz AFS contest runs from 0900 to 1300UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Also next Sunday, the 18th, the second RoLo contest runs from 1900 to 2030UTC. This is CW only on the 80m band and the exchange is signal report and a rolling locator.
Next Sunday, the 18th, the UK Microwave group’s 24-76GHz contest runs from 0900 to 1700UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 9th of October.
We had another week without a single sunspot appearing on the solar surface. The only upside was that the solar wind was largely calm, which resulted in a settled ionosphere. The solar flux index remained pegged at 71 or 72, reminding us that although NASA says that solar cycle 25 has started, we are still a long way from the glory days of solar maximum. Having said that, on Thursday morning there were signs of some activity on the Sun’s south-eastern limb that may or may not result in a spot forming in due course.
There were numerous warnings this week for spacecraft operators about high levels of the 2MeV electron integral flux. This can result in charging occurring on satellite solar panels and other electronics. It can also have a detrimental impact on HF radio in the polar regions, while North-South paths remain relatively unaffected. However, after a brief geomagnetic disturbance when the Kp index rose to four on Monday the 5th, conditions remained settled, with the Kp index mainly being one throughout the week. This no doubt helped the ionosphere, with numerous reports of 15 and even 10 metres opening up. This time of year usually supports North-South paths as witnessed by Adrian, G0KOM logging on 15m Cyril, FR4NT on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean. An F2-layer opening also brought in Carlos, CX7CO in Uruguay on 28MHz CW, who was logged by Chris, G3SJJ.
An unseasonal Sporadic-E opening saw France and Italy being worked on 10 and 12 metres on Tuesday. So it is rather good news for HF at the moment, despite the lack of sunspots.
NOAA predicts more of the same next week with the solar flux index predicted to remain around 70. Geomagnetic conditions are also expected to remain settled with the Kp index at two or three.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
Last Tuesday saw a surprise widespread Sporadic-E opening on 50MHz, with stations working into Italy and Spain. This was quite possibly a direct result of the current spate of meteor showers. We should always be alert to the unexpected, especially during very unsettled weather with strong jet streams and meteor showers in attendance. These are though, truly rare events.
It looks very much like another “bust” for the autumn season Tropo mode this week. Low pressure will predominate and give another week of options to the microwave operators using rain scatter. A brief period with a ridge nearby is a slight possibility in the second half of the week, but not looking too strong at this range.
Next Sunday sees the peak of the Epsilon Geminids meteor shower. Not to be confused with the much bigger Geminids shower in mid-December, this one has a zenithal hourly rate of just three. Keep looking around local dawn for the best random meteors.
The Moon is at positive declination until Friday this week and path losses are falling as we approach perigee on Friday night. 144MHz sky noise is low this week until the Sun and Moon appear close in the sky on Friday lunchtime. As mentioned before, we are now well and truly into the period where perigee and lowest EME path losses begin to coincide with low declination and subsequent low peak moon elevation. This trend will not start to reverse until July 2022.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.