It is just three weeks until the RSGB 2023 Convention so grab a coffee and browse the great line-up of speakers at this year’s event. The keynote and after-dinner speaker is Colonel John Doody, who has the unique experience of having held appointments in Defence, the Intelligence Services and Industry. John will discuss his radio communication experiences across the frequency spectrum from VLF, LF, HF, VHF and SHF to satellite communications from 1965 to today. He will also talk about how amateur radio skills can help people make the most of the many career opportunities within the RF Spectrum. During the rest of the weekend, you will have a wealth of topics and speakers to choose from, ranging from DXpeditions and SOTA to 23cm, aircraft scatter, 30THz cutting-edge technology and everything else in between! AMSAT-UK is also holding its Colloquium at the RSGB Convention again. Find out more at rsgb.org/convention and book your place at this fantastic amateur radio event.
The RSGB Board is pleased to announce the appointment of Richard Horton, G4AOJ as a co-opted Director to assist it in its duties until the RSGB 2024 AGM.
After serving for nine years, the RSGB Trophy Manager is retiring and the Society is looking for a new volunteer for this role. Although traditionally an individual role, the tasks of the Trophy Manager could also be carried out by a small team. Working in close relationship with the three Contest Committees and the RSGB General Manager, the Trophy Manager looks after the RSGB trophies arranges for their engraving and presentation to recipients, and maintains the trophies’ history. Currently, the trophies are stored in a commercial storage facility, paid for by the RSGB, and this can be moved near to the location of the new Trophy Manager or team. If you are interested in applying for the role as an individual or a small team, please email firstname.lastname@example.org you can find out more about the role on the RSGB website at rsgb.org/volunteers
For the whole month of October 2023, a new event known as ‘UK Bunkers On The Air’ will be taking place. The event is now a standalone activity and this year it is dedicated to the memory of the late Chris Darlington, M0DOL. It recognises his work to establish Bunkers On The Air within the former Castles And Stately Homes On The Air, or CASHOTA, team. This is a brand new activity with a fully revamped register of former Royal Observer Corps bunkers, with more than 1,500 potential references to activate or chase. Activities are planned for the HF and VHF bands. This is a good opportunity to get out and do some portable activity before the winter closes in. Awards will be available for chasers, activators and short-wave listeners. Overseas amateurs and short-wave listeners will be very welcome to chase activators and apply for awards. For more details, search for ‘Bunkers On The Air’ on Facebook, visit bunkersontheair.org or email email@example.com
Lots of operators are taking part in Railways on the Air weekend. Today, the 24th, is the last day of the event, so log the participating special event stations while you can! For more information, and to see a list of stations taking part, visit rota.barac.org.uk
This is the last call for volunteers to apply to be the new Intruder Watch Coordinator when Richard Lamont, G4DYA retires from the role in a few weeks. If you’re interested in finding out more, email RSGB Spectrum Forum Chair Murray Niman, G6JYB at firstname.lastname@example.org or look at the volunteer description on the RSGB website at rsgb.org/volunteers
And now for details of rallies and events
The Hack Green Military Surplus and Military Radio Hangar Sale is taking place today, Sunday the 24th of September. The venue is Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker, Nantwich, Cheshire, CW5 8AL. The sale includes electronic equipment, amateur gear, components, military radio items and vehicle spares. For more information visit hackgreen.co.uk or contact email@example.com Any last-minute news will appear on facebook.com/HGsecretbunker
The Bury St Edmunds Radio Rally is taking place today, Sunday the 24th of September. The venue is Rougham Tower Museum, IP32 7QB. The doors are open from 8 a.m. for traders and from 9.30 a.m. for the public. The entrance fee is £3. The event features trade stands, tabletop sales, bring and buy, local radio clubs’ displays, an RSGB book stall and Raynet. Refreshments are available from the Museum’s cafeteria. Please direct enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Weston Super Mare Radio Society Radio and Electronics Rally is being held today, the 24th of September. The venue is The Campus Community Centre, Worle, Weston-super-Mare, BS24 7DX. The doors are open from 10 am and entry is £3 per person. Under 16s will be admitted free of charge. Free parking and refreshments are available. For more information, email email@example.com or call 07871 034 206.
Biggleswade Swap-meet and Auction is taking place today, Sunday the 24th of September. The venue is The Weatherley Centre, Eagle Farm Road, Biggleswade, SG18 8JH. The doors are open from 9.30 am and entry is £8. The auction starts at 12.30 pm. Bring and buy, hot food and ample parking are available. For more information, email Jeremy, G8MLK via Jezzer3@hotmail.com
Now the Special Event News
Special callsign OQ95RCL is in use throughout 2023 by Radio Club Leuven, ON4CP, in Belgium, to celebrate its 95th anniversary. QSL via Logbook of the World, eQSL, the bureau, or direct to ON3AR.
VI10VKFF is the special callsign in use to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the World Wide Flora and Fauna programme in Australia. It will be used from Australian parks until the end of 2023. QSL via Logbook of the World, eQSL, or via VK5PAS, direct or via the bureau.
Now the DX news
Darren, VK4MAP will be active as 3D2RAT from Rotuma Island, OC-060, until the 29th of September. He operates SSB on the 80, 40, 20, 15, 12 and 10m bands. QSL direct to home call.
Holger, ZL3IO will be active as ZL7IO from Waitangi, Chatham Islands, OC-038, until the 29th of September. He is QRV on the 160 to 10m bands using CW, RTTY, SSB, FT8 and FT4. QSL via Logbook of the World, Club Log's OQRS, or via DK7AO.
Don, M0CVZ will be active as 6Y5DH from Jamaica, NA-097, until the 30th of September. He will operate SSB on the 40, 20, 17, 12 and 10m bands. QSL via Club Log and Logbook of the World.
Now the contest news
The CQ Worldwide DX RTTY Contest started at 0000UTC on Saturday the 23rd of September and ends at 2359UTC today, the 24th of September. Using RTTY on the 80 to 10m bands, where contests are permitted, the exchange is signal report and CQ Zone. The UK is in Zone 14.
Today, the 24th, the UK Microwave Group 5.7 and 10GHz Contest runs from 0600 to 1800UTC. Using all modes on 5.7 and 10GHz frequencies, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Also, today, the 24th, the Practical Wireless 70MHz Contest runs from 1200 to 1600UTC. Using all modes on the 4m band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Tuesday the 26th of September, the SHF UK Activity Contest runs from 1830 to 2130UTC. Using all modes on 2.3 to 10GHz frequencies, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Wednesday the 27th of September, the UK and Ireland Contest Club 80m Contest runs from 2000 to 2100UTC. Using CW on the 80m band, the exchange is your six-character locator.
On Thursday the 28th of September, the Autumn Series Data Contest runs from 1900 to 2030UTC. Using RTTY and PSK63 on the 80m band, the exchange is signal report and serial number.
The UK and Ireland Contest Club DX SSB Contest runs from 1200UTC on Saturday 30th of September to 1200UTC on Sunday the 1st of October. Using SSB on the 80 to 10m bands, where contests are permitted, the exchange is signal report and serial number. Stations from the UK and Ireland also send their District Code. This event replaces the original RSGB DX contest. It is listed on the RSGB contest calendar and, for entrants from the UK and Crown Dependencies, counts towards the HF Championship. This international DX SSB contest also has a Teams section. Team members, with a maximum of three members, can be from different DXCCs and can enter different sections. Rules, in English and eight other languages, can be found under the "DX CONTESTS" menu at ukeicc.com
The Worked All Britain DX Contest runs from 1200UTC on Saturday the 30th of September to 1200UTC on Sunday the 1st of October. Using SSB on the 80 to 10m bands, where contests are permitted, the exchange is signal report, serial number and Worked All Britain square.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA, and G4BAO on Thursday the 21st of September 2023
Last week’s space weather was very disturbed from a geomagnetic point of view. The Kp index hit 6.67 on the 19th of September, spawning reports of visible aurora from around the UK once again. This was the result of a coronal mass ejection passing Earth, which caused a period of strong G3 storming very early that morning.
The ionosphere was badly affected with MUFs over a 3,000km path down below 18MHz for most of the day. By Wednesday the 20th, things began to improve and MUFs were back to 21MHz, and sometimes even 24MHz, by late morning. By Thursday the 21st, the Kp index was down to 2.67.
Meanwhile, we had numerous C- and M-class solar flares to contend with as well – a total of 39 from the 18th to the 20th.
So, last week was not exactly a good time for HF operations!
This week, commencing today the 24th, NOAA predicts that the solar flux index will be in the range of 135 to 145 although, if the past month is anything to go by, it could easily be higher. The Kp index is forecast to be 2, apart from on the 28th and 29th when it could rise to 4.
In reality, with so many sunspots, we could have a solar flare and associated coronal mass ejection at any time, so take these predictions with a pinch of salt!
The good news is that we are now past the autumnal equinox, so the ionosphere is improving. Expect better worldwide HF conditions as we head towards October and November.
And now the VHF and up propagation news
The recent unsettled weather seems to have set a trend for us with a likely repeat process through the coming week, although there may be a few drier interludes. The next low in the sequence will soon be arriving to keep the rather unsettled theme in play.
This means that rain scatter is a good choice for operators during the period.
There is usually some uncertainty in such a complex pattern, and recent model runs have been alternating between a return of high pressure during the next week, with a chance of Tropo, and the continuation of lows with fronts bringing rain and showers.
We are, however, in a ‘keep the lows coming’ mindset at the moment, so don’t build your hopes of Tropo too high. Such uncertainties in long lead-time forecasts are quite typical at this time of the year when ex-hurricanes can get involved in the Atlantic flow pattern and disrupt the forecasts very easily.
The other modes to monitor are aurora, which has been seen recently from southern Britain, so definitely one to keep in mind, and meteor scatter, which can be productive.
We are approaching the ‘busy season’ for meteors with several good showers between early October and December. However, the last week in September does not hold much promise. There are always random meteors to keep interest alive, but this week might be better used getting equipment ready for the next few months of activity.
Having reached its lowest declination of the lunar month, the Moon is now beginning its slow climb back up. With the Moon out of Sagittarius, sky noise will decrease and is at its lowest mid-week. Path loss, or degradation, will be lowest on the 27th with the Moon at perigee, its closest point to Earth. The full Moon is on the 29th.
Altogether, it looks like a good week for EME operations, especially if you can elevate your antenna or dish reflector.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.
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