Sunday 6th October 2019
The news headlines:
Bampton School to contact ISS on Tuesday
Exams committees reorganised
Enter the Construction Competition!
Bampton School in East Devon will make their contact with the International Space Station on the Tuesday the 8th of October at 1.51pm. They will be operating as GB4BPS and contacting NA1SS on the station, speaking to Drew Morgan, KI5AAA. The downlink signals on 145.800MHz FM will be audible in many parts of Europe.
In January 2019 the RSGB announced that the Exam committee structure would be changing. The Examinations and Syllabus Review Group, or ESRG, has now been formed to replace the previous Examinations Group. The new Group includes places for club tutors who hold a Full amateur radio licence and have taught the Advanced Syllabus for at least two years. The RSGB is seeking to appoint a Chair and up to three additional members. Further information about the Group, including its Terms of Reference and membership can be found on the RSGB website at www.rsgb.org/esrg. Please email the Examination Standards Committee Chair, Tony Kent G8PBH, via email@example.com for an application and include a brief description of your relevant experience.
There is still time to put in an entry for the RSGB Annual Construction Competition, which will be judged at the RSGB Convention on the 12th. Entries covering any aspect of amateur radio are welcome. Any project may be entered, other than previous winners in this competition. If you have entered a club or national construction competition, or written up a project for your club magazine, you have done most of the work needed to enter the RSGB Construction Competition. Go to www.rsgb.org/construction-competition to find out more.
Regrettably, two items were stolen from the ML&S stand at the National Hamfest last Saturday. A Kenwood TH-D74E, serial number B6B10239, complete with the battery and antenna was removed from the stand. Additionally a Nissei digital SWR/power meter type RS-70 was removed. If you are offered either of these items, please contact Martin Lynch & Sons.
The RSGB Convention takes place in Milton Keynes from the 11th to the 13th of October. It is kindly sponsored by Martin Lynch & Sons. The programme of lectures and workshops is now online at www.rsgb.org/convention. The closing date for online discount day tickets is the 7th of October. Weekend package bookings can be made until midnight tonight, the 6th of October, at www.rsgb.org/convention. If you have tickets for the Gala Dinner on Saturday and wish to reserve a table with friends, send your name and callsign details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
From 8am to 5pm on the 12th and 13th of October, UK Army, Navy and Air Cadet Units will be carrying out Exercise Blue Ham 19. Operations will be on the 5MHz shared band. Amateurs may claim a certificate if they contact 10 or more stations over the weekend and submit a copy of their log sheet. QSO exchange details and claim info are at tinyurl.com/GB2RS-BlueHam-19. This is the last chance of 2019 to make contact with Cadets.
John Rogers, M0JAV and David Lauder, G0SNO will be running an RFI Clinic at the RSGB Convention on Saturday at 4.45pm. The session will consist of a short presentation on the tools and techniques used to locate and identify RFI sources. Then a number of test setups and live demos will be available using radios, SDRs and spectrum analysers to let you see and hear some of these common RFI sources. If you have an unusual source then please bring it along for them to investigate.
Due to essential maintenance work, the GB3RS radio room at the RSGB’s National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park will be closed on Wednesday the 9th of October. The NRC itself will remain open to visitors but, with the radio room closed, it will be unavailable for visiting radio amateurs to operate the station GB3RS. We apologise for any inconvenience and anticipate the station to be fully operational again on Thursday morning.
There will be two Raspberry Pi workshops held on Saturday the 12th at the RSGB Convention. Raspberry Pi owners that are new to Linux and the Pi who would like to understand more about its capabilities in amateur radio should bring along their own Pi; the workshop will supply other equipment. There are limited spaces, but plenty of room for observers, and handouts will be provided. See www.rsgb.org/convention for timings.
And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week
Today, the 6th of October the 46th Welsh Radio Rally takes place at Rougemont School, Llantarnam Hall, Malpas, Newport NP20 6QB. Doors open from 10am to 4pm, or 9.45am for disabled visitors. Admittance is £2.50. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy, RSGB bookstall and Special Interest Groups. Lectures will take place during the day. Catering is available on site. Contact Rob Evans, MW0CVT, 01495 220 455.
The RSGB Convention takes place from the 11th to the 13th of October, with delegates being encouraged to visit the RSGB’s National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park on Friday as part of the weekend activities. Taking place at Kent’s Hill Park Training and Conference Centre, Swallow House, Timbold Drive, Kent’s Hill Park, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire MK7 6BZ, the Convention will feature five streams of lectures and workshops to suit all areas of amateur radio interest. See www.rsgb.org/convention
Next Sunday, the 13th, the Hornsea Amateur Radio Rally will be held in the Floral Hall, Hornsea HU18 1NQ. Doors open at 10am. Admission is £2, with under 14s free. The Bring & Buy will be run by Hornsea ARC. There will be trade stands showing radio equipment, computers etc and an RSGB book stand. Hot and cold food will be available in the café. Contact Les, 2E0LBJ on 01377 252393 or see www.hornseaarc.co.uk.
Next Sunday, the 13th, sees the Holsworthy Radio Rally take place at its new venue, Holsworthy Leisure Centre, Well Park, Western Road, Holsworthy, Devon EX22 6DH. There will be traders, a Bring & Buy and catering on site. The venue has separate disabled access via the traders side door entrance. A club steward will be on duty in the car park. Doors open 8am for traders and 10am for visitors. Contact Howard, M0MYB via email to email@example.com.
Please send details of your 2020 rally and event plans as soon as possible to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And now the DX news from 425 DX News and other sources
Pasi, OH3WS will be active as OJ0W, OJ0/OH3WS and OJ0/OG3A from Market Reef, IOTA reference EU-053, until the 12th of October. He will operate CW and SSB on the 80 to 30m bands. This is expected to be the last activity for Market Reef’s Golden Jubilee celebrations.
Ravi, VU2IIX will be on Mahe Island in the Seychelles, AF-024, until 30 June 2021. He will operate SSB and digital modes as S79VU on the 80 to 10m bands.
Vernon, NN5E and James, NT5V will operate as V31CC and V31JW respectively from Belize until the 12th of October. QSL via Logbook of The World, or via home calls either direct or via the bureau.
Members of the Italian DXpedition Team will be on the air from Liberia until the 11th of October. An unusual feature of this trip is that instead of the normal EL prefix they will be using A82X for CW and SSB contacts and A82Z for digital contacts. QSL manager is I2YSB and there will be an online log.
Istvan, HA5AO is in Lesotho until the 19th if October using the callsign 7P8AO. He will focus on the high bands, mainly on CW and FT8. QSL via his home call.
Now the special event news
Special callsign GB100HAL has been issued to commemorate 100 years of RAF Halton, in conjunction with the many events that are taking part celebrating the anniversary. The call may also be claimed towards the Airfields on the Air Award and is recognised by RAFARS for all their awards. The callsign will be used most Saturdays up until the end of the year.
Please send special event details to email@example.com as early as possible so we can give you free publicity. It is a licensing condition that stations using a UK special event callsign must be open to the public.
Now the contest news
This weekend is busy, with several contests taking place over the two days.
The IARU 432MHz to 245GHz contest runs for 24 hours, finishing at 1400UTC today, the 6th. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
The Oceania DX SSB Contest runs for 24 hours until 0800UTC today, the 6th. Using SSB only on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.
Today, the 6th, the DX Contest runs from 0500 to 2300UTC. Using CW and SSB on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.
Also today, the 6th, the Worked All Britain DX Contest runs from 0500 to 2300UTC. Using SSB only on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB area.
On Monday the Pioneer FT4 Series contest takes place from 1900 to 2000 on the 3.5MHz band. The exchange is your signal report and 4-character locator.
The IRTS 80m Evening Counties Contest runs from 1900 to 2000UTC using CW and SSB on the 3.5MHz band. The exchange is signal report and serial number. EI and GI stations also send their County.
On Tuesday the 432MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1800 to 1855UTC, using FM only. It is followed by the all-mode 432MHz UK Activity Contest from 1900 to 2130UTC. The exchange for both contests is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Thursday the 50MHz Machine Generate Mode Activity Contest runs from 1800 to 1855UTC, with the exchange of signal report and your 4-character locator. It is followed by the all-mode 50MHz UK Activity Contest from 1900 to 2130UTC. The exchange for that contest is signal report, serial number and locator.
The Oceania DX CW contest runs for 24 hours from 0800UTC on the 12th to 0800UTC on the 13th. Using the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.
Next Sunday, the 13th, is the IRTS 40m Counties Contest. Running from 1200 to 1400UTC using CW and SSB, the exchange is signal report and serial number. EI and GI stations also send their County.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA & G4BAO on Friday the 4th of October.
We had a real mixed bag in terms of HF propagation last week. The middle of the week through to Friday was actually quite good. Peter, G3XJE ran a very comprised 20m WSPR station from the Propagation Studies Committee stand at the Newark Hamfest and was picked up as far afield as the southern states in the USA. Saturday was a different story though, thanks to a geomagnetic storm that saw the Kp index soar to five. Twenty metres was pretty lousy and WSPR on 30 metres from Newark only returned a few European spots.
The Sun remained spotless last week and HF propagation is again being dominated by geomagnetic disturbances. Next week NOAA has the solar flux stuck at around 68 with zero sunspots.
We may see the effects of another coronal hole today, the 6th of October, with the Kp index predicted to rise to four. Look out for a possible pre-auroral enhancement. This disturbance may be relatively short lived, with the Kp index falling to two for the rest of the week.
There are a number of DXpeditions on at the moment. The A82X and A82Z DXpedition to Liberia may be one of the easier ones to catch, with openings from 0600-0800 hours on 30m to 15m being favourite. After the slight mid-day D-Layer absorption lull, openings again occur all afternoon. Keep an eye on the DX Cluster to see where they are operating.
Station A35JT from Tonga may be a little more difficult for average stations, as will ZK3A from the Tokelau Islands, both in the Pacific Ocean. But if you don’t have a beam and a linear amplifier, why not try FT8?
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
It's another very unsettled looking set of weather charts for the week to come. They suggest that once again, rain scatter will be the go-to mode on the GHz bands. The hidden message here is that this means low pressure and a general lack of high pressure and temperature inversions for enhanced Tropo conditions.
It can sometimes be useful to explore areas of high pressure a bit further away, and in the next week we find a large high resident between the UK and the Azores. A ridge from this high could occasionally just reach out to the south-western corner of the British Isles to give a small chance of Tropo paths from Southern Ireland, southwest England and South Wales towards Spain and perhaps as far as the Canaries or Azores.
Moon declination reached minimum yesterday so we’ll see an increase in Moon window lengths and peak moon elevation as the week goes on. Apogee is on Thursday, so losses will be high as well. The only plus is that sky noise on VHF is low all week.
There is a flurry of meteor showers this week with the largest, the Draconids, with a zenithal hourly rate of 10, peaking on the 9th. This is followed by the Southern Taurids on the 10th and the delta Aurigids on the 11th, so we should see some better meteor scatter conditions.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.