Sunday the 18th of October 2020
The news headlines:
Behind the scenes of RSGB Convention
Bath Distance Learning places available
146MHz experiment to continue
The RSGB Online Convention took place last week and was a huge success, with top-notch talks by many of the world’s leading amateurs. The two simultaneous live lecture streams were viewed by people in 24 countries. Over the coming weeks, the RSGB will release the individual presentations via its YouTube channel, so you can catch up on any you missed. In the meantime, you can see a video that shows just how much work the technical team were doing in the background to make the streams go smoothly. That video is at www.rsgb.org/convention and you can find all of the RSGB YouTube videos via www.youtube.com/theRSGB.
We recently announced that the Bath Distance Learning Team was resuming its work. There are still a very few places available on the Intermediate course that will run from November this year to March 2021. To open availability as widely as possible the deadline for applications has been extended until this Friday, the 23rd of October. Students receive weekly work packages via a virtual classroom and have access to weekly tutorials and revision quizzes. They also have a remote tutor who provides feedback and additional guidance when required. The course is free, though a refundable £30 deposit is required to secure a place. For full details, and an application form, contact the team leader Steve, G0FUW, via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a great opportunity for Foundation holders to upgrade their knowledge and licence.
All Notices of Variation for the temporary 146 to 147MHz band expire on the 31st of October. Ofcom have agreed to make the frequencies available for a further year. To take advantage of this band, you will need to apply online for a new Notice of Variation even if you have held one before. Go to www.rsgb.org/nov and select the 146 and 147MHz NoV link. The NoV is issued free and is available to all UK Full licence holders. As a reminder, the band is intended for technical and experimental work. It should not be used for modes or operations that normally take place in the 144 to 146MHz band.
The IARU Region 1 Virtual General Conference concluded on Friday. The plenary saw numerous recommendations across a wide range of General, HF, VHF, UHF, microwave and EMC matters, including Youth and Spectrum issues. The RSGB was a leading contributor and was pleased with the success of its proposals. Barry Lewis, G4SJH was elected as the new Chair for IARU Region 1 Spectrum Affairs, succeeding David Court, EI3IO. Overall, the online format enabled a great team effort across all our volunteers. A fuller report will be available in due course via the IARU Region 1 website.
The British Amateur Television Club is holding its virtual Convention next Saturday, the 24th of October. Known as CAT 20, proceedings start at 10 am and will incorporate a series of talks. These will include details of the hugely popular BATC Portsdown digital ATV transmitter and its accompanying receiver, the Ryde. Whether you are a beginner or seasoned ATVer there will be something for everyone in this fascinating exciting part of the hobby. You can watch the action free via the live stream at https://batc.org.uk/live/cat20
The UNESCO International Day of Persons with Disabilities takes place on the 3rd of December. If you are planning any amateur radio activity in support of the Day, IARU would like to hear from you so they can publish details on the IARU Region 1 website. The co-ordinator is Thomas, HB9FXU and further information will appear at www.iaru-r1.org/about-us/committees-and-working-groups/ipha/
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 email@example.com.
Now the special event news
Marking the design project for the next 50 years for the United Arab Emirates, members of the Emirates Amateur Radio Society will activate the special callsigns A6050Y from their club station in Sharjah and A6050Y/1-9 from nine different members’ stations until the end of October.
Now the DX news
John, W2GD will be active as P40W from Aruba Island, IOTA SA-036, from the 20th to the 27th of October. He will operate on 160 to 10m, including activity in CQ WW DX SSB Contest. QSL via N2MM direct, or Logbook of The World.
Jeff, VP9/N1SNB will be active from Bermuda, NA-005, from the 21st to the 26th of October. He will operate on HF and take part in the CQ WW DX SSB Contest, in the Single Operator All Band Low Power Category. QSL via his home call.
Wolf, DM2AUJ, Guenter, DL2AWG, Peter, DL3APO, Rainer, DL2AMD, Werner, DJ9KH and Franz, DL9GFB are QRV as Z66DX until the 28th of October. Activity will be with three stations active on the 160 to 10m bands using CW, SSB and FT8. QSL via DL2AWG.
Philippe, F1DUZ is active from Guadeloupe as FG4KH from the shack of FG5FI until the 5th of November. QSL via home call.
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 Worked All Germany contest ends its 24-hour run at 1500UTC today, Sunday. 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.
The 50MHz AFS contest runs from 0900 to 1300UTC today. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Also today, 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.
Today also sees 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.
Monday sees the RSGB FT4 series continue. Running from 1900 to 2030UTC on the 80m band in FT4 mode only, the exchange is your locator, using NA VHF Contest format.
On Tuesday the 1.3GHz UKAC takes place from 1900 to 2030UTC. Using all modes on the 23cm band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Next weekend it’s the CQWW DX SSB contest. Running from 0000UTC on the 24th to 2359 on the 25th, it’s SSB-only on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands. The exchange is signal report and Zone, which is 14 for the UK.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 16th of October.
We had a little flurry of solar activity last week, but it didn’t amount to much. Region 2775 decayed to a spotless plage and didn’t contribute at all after Tuesday the 13th. A new region began forming while on the far side of the Sun and has turned into view off the east limb. The new region has been assigned active region 2776 and, while a few spots are currently visible, so far only minor B-class solar flares have been detected.
Geomagnetic conditions were quiet, with the Kp index fluctuating between zero and one. This was due to a lack of coronal hole activity, which meant the solar wind was subdued, generally keeping below 300km/s. As a result, HF conditions have been quite good, with lots of DX being reported by CDXC members. Patrice, FK8HA in New Caledonia has been reported on 15m SSB, as has Mike, 5H3EE in Tanzania on 15m CW.
October can also be a good month for 40m contacts into Australia and New Zealand. A number of contacts have been logged and Predtest.uk shows that 0600-0700hrs is probably best for a long-path contact; 1300-1600hrs might favour a short-path one.
Next week NOAA predicts the solar flux index will remain around 70, but the Kp index may rise, probably due to a returning coronal hole. It predicts a Kp index of four on the 20th and unsettled geomagnetic conditions which may peak around the 25th-26th with a Kp index of six. So the conclusion is, make the most of the HF this weekend as the predicted conditions are likely to be poor for the rest of next week. Otherwise, look for auroral contacts on 10m next weekend.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
This is a tricky week to predict, but hopefully with some chance of Tropo. The VHF highlight though is the peak of the Orionids meteor shower on the morning of the 21st. With a ZHR of 20, it’s one of the larger ones of the year. The shower is already underway and runs from about October 2 to November 7. It’s caused by the stream of debris left behind by Comet Halley.
On the Tropo front, we ended last week with high pressure occupying much of the country and offering a chance of paths primarily between the UK and France plus across the North Sea to southern Scandinavia and Baltic. Early next week a low tracks south-east from Iceland towards Denmark and introduces colder showery weather and a good prospect for rain scatter with heavy showers over the adjoining coastal waters. After mid-week, a new high builds in from the west and leaves us in high-pressure Tropo weather to finish the week.
The Moon’s declination is negative all week reaching a minimum on Wednesday, so Moon visibility windows are short. The maximum Moon elevation in South-East England is just 12 degrees and, as we passed perigee last Friday night, path losses will increase. The 144MHz sky noise is high until the end of this week, above 2600 kelvin on Wednesday, so, all in all, it is a poor week for EME.
Finally, keep an eye out for auroral propagation due to the predicted disturbed Sun.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.