Sunday 19th of September 2021
The news headlines:
- RSGB Convention on 9 October
- Join in with Exercise Blue Ham on 5MHz
- New RSGB VHF UHF award
The RSGB Online Convention is taking place on the 9th of October. There will be two live streams of talks available all day with a Q&A session at the end of each talk. After the event, on the RSGB YouTube channel, you can view the lectures as many times as you wish. Callum, M0MCX from DX Commander is no stranger to YouTube videos. He will talk about An Obsession with Antennas, covering everything from very basic antenna modelling, through antenna shapes to achieving an impossible gain. You can watch a video trailer about the Convention 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 RAF Air Cadets are planning to run the next Blue Ham Radio Communications Exercise on the 16th and 17th of October. They hope that radio amateurs can put some time aside to join in with the cadets and staff on the shared section of the 5MHz bands. A Blue Ham participation certificate is available to those who contact 15 or more special Cadet callsigns during the exercise. Details will be on the alphacharlie.org.uk website.
The RSGB has introduced a new VHF UHF award. It is intended to encourage people to use their new handheld and the substantial bandwidth we have at VHF and UHF. There are five levels of awards available for progression. Full details as rsgb.org.uk/awards
Another casualty of the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic is the 2021 Tokyo Ham Fair, scheduled for the 2nd and 3rd of October. Due to the latest wave of infection this summer, the Japanese national society, JARL, has reluctantly decided to cancel the Ham Fair. They hope that the Tokyo Ham Fair will be back in 2022 under safer conditions.
The recently formed Amplitude Modulation Amateur Society has announced the date of its very first monthly AM net. It will take place today, Sunday the 19th of September, at 1830UTC on 3.625MHz. Robert, GW6GBY will be the net controller, using the callsign GC5AMS from the historic transmitter site at Criggion. Members and non-members are welcome to join in, using AM. More information is on QRZ.com under G5AMS.
Next week, after a few months of normal eclipse periods, FUNcube-1, AO73, will re-enter full sunlight for about two months. It has been in continuous transponder mode for some time now and AMSAT-UK has decided that, during this sunlight period, FUNcube-1 should operate in continuous high-power telemetry mode. The change will be made within the next few days. FUNcube-1 has now been in orbit for almost eight years and the telemetry indicates that all systems, including the battery and solar panels, appear to be operating as well now as they did immediately after launch.
The IARU Region 1 Monitoring Service newsletter, dated August 2021, is now available. Generally, August showed a very similar situation to previous months. Well-known intruders were regularly present in the 7MHz band. From time to time, an intermodulation artefact of 13855kHz and 13710kHz was heard on 14000kHz. Also, several over the horizon radar systems were active almost daily. You can read the full report, including the UK report from Richard, G4DYA, at iaru-r1.org.
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 19th, 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.
Weston-super-Mare Radio Society be holding its 6th Radio & Electronics Rally on the 26th of September. It will be held in The Campus Community Centre, Highland Lane, Worle BS24 7DX, which is just off M5 junction 21. Over 60 tables have been booked and the doors will be open at 10 am. The entry fee is £3.
The 3rd of October Welsh Radio Rally is cancelled, as previously publicised.
Now the DX news
SP9FIH and SP6CIK will be active as D60AC and D60AD respectively, from the Comoros archipelago, IOTA reference AF-007, until the 2nd of October. They will operate SSB, CW, RTTY and FT8 on the 80, 40, 20, 17, 15, 12 and 10m bands. The preferred method of QSL is via Club Log’s OQRS, otherwise use their home callsigns.
Look for JI3DST/5, JR8YLY/5 and JR8YLY/p using FT8 from Shodo Island, AS-200, until the 23rd of September and again between the 25th and 28th September. All QSOs will be uploaded to Club Log and made available for Club Log Matching on the IOTA website.
Stian, LB5SH will be active as OY/LB5SH from the Faroe Islands, EU-018, until the 20th of September. He will operate mainly SSB and FT8, possibly with some CW during the SAC Contest. QSL via Logbook of The World.
Now the Special Event news
Thurrock Acorns Amateur Radio Club will be operating GB2BB for the Battle of Britain until 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. Apologies for the error last week, this is the 81st anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
GB8ROC will be operating from Scotland’s Secret Bunker, in Fife, on Thursday the 30th of September. Further activity may take place the following weekend. This is to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the national stand-down of the Royal Observer Corps, and also to mark the 80th anniversary of the award of Royal title to the Observer Corps, in recognition of their services in the Battle of Britain. The operation will be on HF and VHF. QSL via the bureau.
GB4SRM will be on the air for Railways On The Air on the 25th and 26th of September from Locomotion at Shildon in County Durham. All are welcome and entry to the venue is free.
Now the contest news
When operating in contests, please keep yourself and fellow amateurs safe by following relevant pandemic-related government recommendations.
Today, the 19th, 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 today, 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 today, but running from 1330 to 1500UTC. Details and exchange are the same as for the 70cm contest.
Finally, the BARTG Sprint PSK63 contest runs from 1700 to 2100UTC today. The exchange is just the serial number.
On Tuesday the 1.3GHz UK Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Thursday sees the data leg of the 80m Autumn Series take place from 1900 to 2130UTC. The exchange is signal report and serial number.
Next weekend is the 48-hour CQ World Wide DX RTTY Contest, ending at 2359UTC on the 26th. Using the contest bands between 3.5 and 28MHz, the exchange is signal report and Zone, which is 14 for the UK.
The UK Microwave group contest runs next Sunday from 0600 to 1800UTC. Using all modes on the 5.7 and 10GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
The Practical Wireless 70MHz contest runs from 1200 to 1600UTC next Sunday, the 26th. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA & G4BAO on Friday the 17th of September.
After last week’s very active Sun, we have had a quieter week with little solar activity. As of Thursday, there were zero sunspots and the solar flux index had declined to 75, pretty much as predicted. The upside is that the Sun has been quiet geomagnetically with a maximum Kp index of three over the past week. This means the ionosphere has not been adversely affected.
HF conditions have been adequate rather than exceptional, with FT8 F2-layer openings on 10 metres as well as some late-season Sporadic-E. Brazil has been logged in the late afternoons on 10m FT8, as have a few other stations from the Caribbean and South America. We haven’t seen much of the long-awaited Autumnal trans-Atlantic DX on 10 metres, but it is still early days. We may not see this until later in the month or even early October.
At the moment it isn’t looking too good for next week either. NOAA predicts the SFI will be in the range 76 to 78. This could, of course, change if we have a sudden outburst of sunspots. Geomagnetically, NOAA predicts more of the same with the Kp index at two to three. Propquest shows that the predicted maximum usable frequency over a 3,000km path is likely to just touch the lower end of 21MHz at times.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
The continuation of the mixed weak Tropo and rain scatter modes seems to be the way to go during the period to next weekend. At the moment the primary Tropo period comes along for the first half of next week, before being eroded from the west as Atlantic fronts move in. The preferred Tropo directions are probably east across the North Sea and south into northern France. The other modes such as meteor scatter and aurora and of course, the most reliable of DX modes, aircraft scatter, are always worth checking out.
Now international air travel is getting frequent again, the dip in aircraft scatter opportunities that we had at the height of the pandemic, should be reducing, so check the beaconspot.uk website for the latest on VHF and up beacons and monitor them to see some interesting propagation, and set up some skeds on VHF and up via the ON4KST.info chat.
Look on www.airscout.eu to download an excellent aircraft scatter path prediction program from Frank, DL2ALF.
No meteor showers this week, and random meteor activity will be declining from the August/September peak, but keep checking in the early morning for the best random meteor scatter conditions.
Time to put the EME system back in the dish for this month as we return to positive Moon declination on Tuesday. Losses are still low but increasing this week. The Moon is up from early evening to the early hours.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.