Sunday the 25th of October 2020
The news headlines:
Back to GMT today
New Zealand loses 5MHz
New RSGB Convention talks on YouTube
Don’t forget, in the UK, the clocks went back one hour at 2 am today Sunday the 25th of October. We will then we back to Greenwich Mean Time, or UTC until the clocks change again in March 2021.
The New Zealand national amateur society NZART reports that, unfortunately, the New Zealand Defence Force has advised they are not willing to approve another renewal of their 5MHz trial allocation and licence. As a result, all use by New Zealand amateurs of the two trial frequencies, 5353 and 5362kHz, cease from midnight on Saturday the 24th of October 2020. Although the trial is over, NZART will continue to work with the regulator to see if there are other ways of providing New Zealand amateurs with access to 5MHz frequencies.
The individual presentations from the Introduction To... stream at the successful RSGB 2020 Convention Online are now available on the Society’s YouTube channel. You can catch up on ones you missed, or take the opportunity to watch again the ones you enjoyed most. The keynote presentation and the individual talks in the Learn More About… stream will be released next week. Find them at www.youtube.com/theRSGB.
The German town of Bad Bentheim is taking nominations for the Golden Antenna Award. For 50 years, the town has hosted German-Dutch Amateur Radio Days, during which the town stresses the importance of amateur radio as a public service. A committee headed by the mayor of Bad Bentheim will choose the winner. The recipient will be invited to receive the award on the 28th of August 2021. They would favour candidates who did something special related to the Covid-19 pandemic, but other candidates are welcome. Send nominations via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The new IARU Monitoring Service Region 1 Coordinator Gaspar, EA6AMM has appointed Peter, HB9CET, as Vice-Coordinator. Both have been working together in IARUMS for more than a year. More on the work of the Monitoring Service can be found at www.iaru-r1.org.
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. 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
As a tribute to Eddie Van Halen passing on the 6th of October, PA5150EVH will be on air from the 28th of October until at least the 31st of January. It will be operated by Van Halen fan Frank, PF1SCT.
URE San Fernando, EA7URF, is participating in the official celebrations for the 500th anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the Earth. AM500ETS will be active from the 31st of October to the 8th of November.
During fighting around Ypres in WWI, much of Sanctuary Wood, Hill 62, Armagh Wood and Mount Sorrel was taken at the expense of many casualties. The Great Reconstruction in the Westhoek is commemorated during November with the callsign OP20FENIKS. The station is located in the immediate vicinity of the memorial of Hill 62, and will be on HF and VHF using SSB, CW and some data modes. Full details are on QRZ.com
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.
Now the DX news
Cezar, VE3LYC will be active as TX0T from one of the new IOTAs in French Polynesia, Tatakoto Atoll, OC-298, between the 29th of October and the 5th of November. He will be primarily on 40, 30, 20 and 17 metres CW and SSB. QSL via Club Log’s OQRS, or via VE3LYC.
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 CQWW DX SSB contest ends its 48 hour runs at 2359 today, 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.
On Tuesday the SHF UK Activity Contest takes place between 1830 and 2130UTC. 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 2130UTC. Using CW only, the exchange is your 6 digit locator.
On Thursday the 80m Autumn Series runs from 2000 to 2130UTC. Using SSB only, the exchange is signal report and serial number.
The UK EI Contest Club DX Contest takes place for 24 hours beginning at 1200UTC on Saturday the 31st of October. 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.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 23rd of October.
The last week was dominated by sunspot region 2776, which pushed the solar flux index to 75. Geomagnetically, it was a mixed bag though, with the Kp index peaking at four on Wednesday, but otherwise being relatively quiet and showing zero on Tuesday. The sunspots, plus the October seasonal enhancement, meant that the HF bands were quite active. There were reports of Australia being worked from the UK on 10m FT8. Alek VK6APK was worked at 0920UTC by Tony, G4HZW. Mario, FR4QT on Reunion Island was also worked on 28.380MHz SSB by Gary, G0FWX, according to the 10m UK Net Facebook group. If you like 10 metre operation the group is definitely worth signing up to. These 10-metre contacts bode well for the future and we look forward to other reports of VK/ZL as the solar cycle progresses.
Next week, NOAA predicts the solar flux index will be the range 72-74. Sunspot region 2776 will have almost rotated off the visible disk by the time this report is published and there are no other spots at the moment. However, it does look like we are in for a disturbed weekend with poor geomagnetic conditions. This is due to a large polar coronal hole on the solar surface that has returned after a 27-day rotation and which could cause the Kp index to rise to five. The solar wind will likely increase in speed and density, resulting in an adverse effect on the ionosphere after a potential pre-auroral enhancement.
Expect maximum usable frequencies to decline and conditions to be poor this weekend. Do look out for potential 10 metre auroral contacts though.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
We are about to enter a phase of very disturbed weather with a series of deep lows dominating the charts, especially in the nearby Atlantic. Their influence will bring strong winds and periods of heavy rain or showers. At long range it’s pointless to try to time such events precisely, but nonetheless the general characteristics suggest that Tropo will again be a rare feature in the coming week other than transient weak ridges between successive fronts or lows. On the upside, rain scatter could do rather well for the GHz bands.
The Moon’s declination is rising and goes positive on Thursday so Moon visibility windows will lengthen. The Moon reaches apogee on Friday where path losses are at maximum. 144MHz sky noise is low all week.
With the Kp index set to rise to five thanks to the returning coronal hole, it might be worth keeping an eye out for low-VHF auroral propagation again.
There are no significant meteor showers this week but get ready for the Leonids, peaking on 16th and 17th of November.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.