Sunday 12th of September 2021
The news headlines:
- IARU Region 1 awards medals
- RSGB Convention trailer released
- Electrojumble at Computing Museum
IARU Region 1 has announced the recipients of the Region 1 Medals. They are six people who have each made a very significant contribution to the IARU Region 1’s work over the years. Hilary Claytonsmith, G4JKS, is an EMC Committee member and, until recently, its Secretary for nearly 25 years. She has been an IARU representative in the European Telecommunications Standardisation Institute during discussions on power line technology. The EMC Committee is a forum for progressing the Region’s work on EMC matters and much of its success is due to Hilary’s early work. Hilary is also a past President of the RSGB. Dave Court, EI3IO led the Spectrum and Regulatory Liaison Committee through the period of WRC 19 that resulted in the Region-wide allocation to the amateur service of a 2MHz segment at 50MHz. Other medal recipients were Peter, HB9CET, Tore, LA9QL, Jacques, ON4AVJ and Hans, ON6WQ. You can read more about the six medallists online at iaru-r1.org.
The RSGB Online Convention is taking place on the 9th of October. The Society has just released its video trailer for the event that will give you a taste of what to expect. There will be two streams of talks available all day as well as after the event on the RSGB YouTube channel. Steve, G0KYA, chairman of the RSGB’s Propagation Studies Committee, will look at what we can expect from the upcoming solar maximum in his talk Solar Cycle 25 – the good, the bad and the downright ugly. He looks at the good and not so good aspects, including better propagation on the higher HF bands, but greater risks of solar flares and coronal mass ejections. You can watch the video and read about the other talks in the two streams, at rsgb.org/convention. Whether you’re new to amateur radio or have been enjoying it for years, do put the 9th of October in your diary.
The National Museum of Computing on the Bletchley Park site will be holding an Electrojumble on Sunday the 19th of September from 11 am to 3 pm. Although entry to the event is free, admission will be by pre-booked ticket only. For more detailed information and booking details please visit tnmoc.org and scroll to upcoming events.
The early 1920s saw the dawn of international amateur radio. A series of significant milestones led, over some five years, from no amateur transmission ever having been heard on another continent, to intercontinental two-way communications becoming commonplace. The RSGB will commemorate these historic events by encouraging everyone to get on the air to make QSOs, focusing on December 2021 and December 2022. Full details of how you can participate will be published via the Society’s communications channels over the coming months. There will be features and photos in RadCom but you can also read the fascinating story on the RSGB website at rsgb.org/transatlantic-tests.
Last week RSGB General Manager Steve Thomas, M1ACB was invited to speak online to Stockport Radio Society members. His presentation explained the framework of the RSGB, looked back at the challenges and successes of 2020, and also highlighted the need to support the thousands of new licensees who have joined in the last year. He answered a wide range of questions and was joined by RSGB Board Director Dave Wilson, M0OBW. You can watch the presentation on the Stockport Radio Society YouTube channel.
Sadly, the GENESIS-L and GENESIS-N amateur radio satellites were among several lost following the failure of the Firefly Alpha rocket during launch. An anomaly occurred about two minutes into the mission, causing controllers to destroy the launcher in flight. The anomaly has yet to be explained.
This week, the RSGB passed the fantastic milestone of 4,000 candidates passing their Foundation licence via remote invigilation. In 2020 the Society implemented remote invigilation in stages for all three licence levels, to enable people to become involved with amateur radio and progress despite the pandemic. The RSGB is delighted that 1,241 candidates have since passed the Intermediate exam and 544 have gained their Full licence. Thanks are due to the small team of remote invigilators and congratulations to all those successful candidates.
The DXCC Most Wanted entities list has been updated on Club Log. The full list contains 340 entities, with the top three being North Korea, Bouvet Island and Crozet Island. There have been no changes at the top of the list.
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.
Today, the 12th, the Caister Lifeboat Rally takes place at Caister Lifeboat station, Tan Lane, Caister on Sea, Norfolk NR30 5DJ. Doors open at 9.30 am. There will be a raffle and the onsite café will be open. The museum will also be open.
Also, today the 12th, the Exeter Radio and Electronics Rally takes place in America Hall, De la Rue Way, Pinhoe, Exeter EX4 8PW. Doors open at 10.30 am and admission is £2, with under-16s free. Visitors are encouraged to wear a face-covering when inside.
Next Sunday, the Cambridge Repeater Group Rally will be held in Foxton Village hall, Hardman Road, Foxton CB22 6RN. Please be aware that there will not be a Bring & Buy, but car boot traders are welcome. Visitors are recommended to wear face masks for the indoor section. Doors open at 9.30 am and entry is £3.
Looking ahead, the Weston-super-Mare Rally will take place on the 26th of September in the Campus Community Centre BS24 7DX. Doors open at 10 am and entry is £3.
Now the DX news
Gabor, HA3JB will be active as 5H1IP from Zanzibar Island, IOTA reference AF-032, between the 17th and 29th of September. He will operate CW, SSB, RTTY and FT8 on the 160 to 6m bands. QSL via Club Log's OQRS, or direct to HA3JB.
Adrien, F4IHM will be back in Niger until the 22nd of October and will be active as 5UAIHM in his spare time. He operates CW and SSB on the 40 and 20m bands. QSL via F4IHM, direct or via the bureau.
Harald, DF2WO will be active as 9X2AW from Kigali in Rwanda between the 13th and 28th of September. He will operate CW, SSB, RTTY and FT8 on the 160 to 10m bands. QSL via M0OXO and Logbook of The World.
Klaus, DL8DZL will be active as DL8DZL/P from Usedom Island, EU-129, until the 21st of September. He will operate CW and SSB on the 40 to 10m bands. QSL via his home callsign, direct or via the bureau.
Now the Special Event news
International Chocolate Day is on the 13th of September. EG5DIC will be on the air to mark International Chocolate Day until the 19th of September. Using CW, SSB and FT8 on the 10 to 80m bands, and there is a downloadable award available.
Thurrock Acorns Amateur Radio Club will be operating GB2BB for the Battle of Britain from the 10th to the 20th of September.
Riviera Amateur Radio Club will be running GB8BB in September in commemoration of those who served in the Battle of Britain. This year is the 80th anniversary.
Now the contest news
When operating in contests, please keep yourself and fellow amateurs safe by following any government recommendations during the pandemic.
This weekend, the WAE DX SSB contest ends its 48-hour run at 2359UTC today, the 12th. Using all the contest bands from 3.5 to 28MHz, the exchange is signal report and serial number. European stations work non-European stations only.
Today, the UK Microwave group contest runs from 0900 to 1700UTC. Using the 24 to 76GHz bands, 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 432 UK Activity Contest at 1900 to 2130UTC. The exchange for both is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Wednesday the CW leg of the 80m Autumn Series runs from 1900 to 2100UTC. The exchange is signal report and serial number.
The 70MHz UK Activity Contest takes place between 1900 and 2130UTC on Thursday. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Next Sunday is the 70MHz Affiliated Clubs Contest, running from 0900 to 1200UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
The IRTS 70cm Counties contest runs from 1300 to 1330UTC next Sunday, the 19th. Using SSB and FM, the exchange is signal report and serial number. Note that EI and GI stations also give their County.
The IRTS 2m Counties Contest is also next Sunday, but running from 1330 to 1500UTC. Details and exchange are the same as for the 70cm contest.
Finally, for next Sunday, the BARTG Sprint PSK63 contest runs from 1700 to 2100UTC. The exchange is just the serial number.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA & G4BAO on Friday the 10th of September.
What a difference a week makes! Last week we were looking at a virtually spotless Sun and we said that NOAA predicted the SFI would decline into the low 80s. But this week we have had an explosion of sunspot activity. As a result, the SFI has gone up to 100 with a sunspot number of 87. Just to recap, that doesn’t mean that there are 87 sunspots, as groups count for 10 and sunspots count for one. In any event, it shows that the cycle is progressing nicely.
The solar wind pushed the Kp index up to four on Wednesday, but this didn’t seem to impact MUFs too much.
HF conditions are definitely improving, probably by a combination of seasonal changes and the increased solar flux. There were extensive openings to South America and the Caribbean this week on 21MHz and we can expect these to improve as the month goes on. It was good to work the Dominican Republic on 15m FT8 as well as numerous Brazilian and Argentinian stations. It will be interesting to see if we get 10m openings to North America in late September, which normally requires an SFI of more than 100 to make them reliable.
Next week NOAA predicts the SFI will reduce to around 85 again as active regions 2863 to 2869 rotate out of view. There are signs of another group that will come into view, but we may not get the high SFI that we have experienced this week. The good news is that geomagnetic conditions are likely to remain settled due to a lack of coronal holes, as long as we don’t get any coronal mass ejections.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
For newer licensees, last weekend was possibly the first experience of a decent Tropo opening coinciding with a major European SSB/CW contest. The European 144MHz contest showed what the band is capable of, without the help of a computer, with SSB QSOs from Scotland down to the Czech Republic.
This week on VHF and above it's very much a little bit of Tropo, a little bit rain scatter, and a little bit flat band. The weekend is seeing the end of the unsettled conditions with high pressure returning for a while for the start of the new week. A couple of further showery incursions and rain in the northwest around midweek and just a hint that further high-pressure ridging may return at the end of the week. So, in terms of propagation interests, it feels like a mix of Tropo and some GHz rain scatter at times, with periods of no particular preference, and of course, always a small chance of some aurora or meteor scatter, so keep your options open.
Random meteor activity is still high and the September Epsilon-Perseids are still active until the 21st of September, so keep checking in the early morning for the best MS conditions.
With the Moon at minimum declination on Tuesday, peak moon elevations drop to 11 degrees and the Moon is only above the horizon for around six and a half hours. It reached perigee on Saturday so path losses will be low but increasing.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.