Sunday 5th of September 2021
The news headlines:
- Prof Cathryn Mitchell to headline Convention
- Newbury children to contact ISS
- IARU responds to European Commission
The RSGB is delighted to announce that Professor Cathryn Mitchell, M0IBG has agreed to be the keynote speaker at the Online Convention on the 9th of October. Her talk, Radio technology and space science – a perfect partnership, will explore the connections between radio and space and will look at the many ways that everyone can get involved. Cathryn is the Academic Director of the University of Bath Doctoral College and recipient of the 2019 Edward Appleton Medal. She was recently inducted into the CQ Hall of Fame. You can read more about the talk, and all the others 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.
A group of children at the Mary Hare School for deaf children in Newbury will be talking to an astronaut aboard the International Space Station in October, using amateur radio equipment set up with the help of Newbury and District ARS. The children will each ask a question to the astronaut who will then answer the question live over amateur radio. The reply will then be interpreted into subtitles and sign language for the children to understand. More details when the October date is announced.
The IARU Region 1 Political Relations Committee, PRC, has responded to two recent European Commission consultations to promote the amateur radio viewpoint. In the case of the consultation on ‘Designing mobile phones and tablets to be sustainable – ecodesign’, the PRC responded with a written submission. It is expected to set a precedent for all wireless equipment needing to be 'greener' in due course. In the second instance, the consultation on the Delegated Act under the Radio Equipment Directive on the subject of ‘Internet-connected radio equipment and wearable radio equipment, the IARU response was one of 26 received by the Commission. The Delegated Act aims at strengthening the security of internet-connected devices, most of which are expected to be part of the Internet of Things, and of wearable radio equipment. However, the IARU has concerns as to how the Act will be implemented and how it might affect amateur radio.
On Monday 6 September the RSGB starts its autumn Tonight @ 8 webinar series. Gavin Nesbitt, MM1BXF will introduce meteor scatter communications. These free webinars are live-streamed on the RSGB YouTube channel and you can ask questions during the presentations via live chat. For more information about this and other webinars in the series go to rsgb.org/webinars
Roger Castle-Smith, G3IOT is presenting an IET webinar at 7 pm on the 8th of September. It is about the Broadcast Group of the Diplomatic Wireless Service that had its origins in the Political Warfare Executive at the beginning of World War Two. This illustrated talk will look at the transmission of black propaganda and associated activities during WWII. There will be many pictures and descriptions of the equipment and aerials used at these stations. Also covered will be an introduction to the progress of amplitude modulation techniques that enabled transmitters to become more compact. This lecture will last for two hours, with a 10-minute break at around halfway. To sign up for the event, which is open to anybody, not just IET members, go to events.theiet.org. Scroll down to 08 Sep and click on the one that mentions Aspidistra, then follow the registration instructions.
Churches and Chapels on the Air is taking place on Saturday the 11th of September. Most activity will take place on the 80 and 40m bands in SSB from 10 am to 4 pm local. For anyone intending to put a station on at their local church or chapel, do ensure that permission is obtained and any Covid guidance is observed. A list of CHOTA stations is at wacral.org.
This year's International Air Ambulance Week will take place between the 4th and 12th of September. The focus is on supporting and generating donations for flying medical services around the world. The event covers two weekends, giving amateurs a great chance to get involved and support the event. For full details, including how to register, search for ‘amateur radio air ambulance week’ on the internet.
And now for details of rallies and events
Before travelling to any rally or event, please check the event’s website as there may be alterations or cancellations due to the pandemic.
The annual Telford HamFest takes place today, the 5th of September, at the Harper Adams University campus near Telford, Shropshire. The event opens at 10.15 am, with talk-in via GB4THF. Details can be found at telfordhamfest.org.uk.
Next Sunday, the 12th, the Caister Lifeboat Rally will be held 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, on the 12th, the Exeter Radio and Electronics Rally will take place in America Hall, De la Rue Way, Pinhoe, Exeter EX4 8PW.
Now the DX news
Tina, HB0/DL5YL and Fred, HB0/DL5YM will be active from Liechtenstein from the 5th to the 28th of September. Usually, they operate CW, RTTY and some SSB on the 160 to 6m bands. QSL via home calls, direct or bureau.
Claudio, HB9OAU will be active holiday style as SV5/HB9OAU from the Greek island of Karpathos, IOTA reference EU-001, until the 17th of September. He will operate SSB, RTTY and FT8 on the 80 to 10m bands. QSL via Logbook of The World, eQSL or via his home call, both bureau and direct.
Now the Special Event news
GB2SCC will be activated at St Cynllo's Church in Coed Y Bryn as part of CHOTA this year. They expect to be active mostly on 80m and 40m SSB between 10 am and 4 pm from IO72TB, with perhaps some 20m, 17m and 15m SSB excursions if conditions permit. QSL will be via the bureau.
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 is a busy one for contests. The SSB Field Day ends its 24-hour run at 1300UTC today, the 5th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.
The IARU Region 1 Field Day ends its 24-hour run at 1300UTC today, the 5th. Using the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report and serial number.
The 144MHz Trophy Contest ends its 24-hour run at 1300UTC today, the 5th. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
The All Asian DX contest runs for 48 hours this weekend ending at 2359UTC today, the 5th. It is SSB only on the 1.8 to 28MHz contest bands. The exchange is signal report and your age, although ladies can just send 00.
Today, the 5th, the fifth 144MHz Backpackers contest runs from 1100 to 1500UTC. Using all modes on the 144MHz band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
The Worked All Britain 144MHz QRO contest takes place today, the 5th of September, from 1000 to 1400UTC. The full rules are on their website. Entries to be with the contest manager by the 15th of September. Mobile and portable categories have resumed, but the organisers ask that participants please act sensibly.
On Monday the 80m Autumn Series contest runs from 1900 to 2130UTC. It is SSB only and the exchange is signal report and serial number.
On Tuesday the 144MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1800 to 1855UTC. It is followed by the all-mode 144MHz UK Activity Contest from 1900 to 2130UTC. The exchange for both is signal report, serial number and locator.
Thursday sees the 50MHz UK Activity Contest run from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Next weekend the WAE DX SSB contest runs for 48 hours from 0000UTC on the 11th to 2359UTC on 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.
On Sunday the 12th, 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.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA & G4BAO on Friday the 3rd of September.
Well, NOAA got the solar flux index prediction wrong last week. The SFI actually ended up higher than the prediction, thanks to active region 2860, which grew as the week went on. NOAA also issued a G1 or Minor, and G2, or Moderate, geomagnetic storm watch for the 1st and 2nd of September, just days after two CMEs occurred on the 28th of August. The first was associated with an M4 X-ray flare or R1-Minor Radio Blackout. The second CME was associated with a filament eruption. As of 1800 on Thursday it looks like this may have been overcautious as no disturbance had occurred. Active region 2863 has now rotated into view, but on Thursday it still looked quite small and non-threatening.
There are signs of HF propagation improving as we move to more autumnal ionospheric conditions. Antoine, 3D2AG and Dominik, 3D2USU in Fiji were both logged on 17 metres this week and ZS1OIN in South Africa was noted on 15 metres. Chris, G3SJJ reports working Chile on 15 and 20 metres, along with Uruguay, Peru and Puerto Rico on 20m.
The equinoxes are typically very good for North-South paths so we can expect conditions to improve as the month wears on. Propquest shows that the maximum usable frequency over a 3,000km path is generally struggling to reach 18MHz during the day.
Next week NOAA predicts the SFI will decline into the low 80s, due to a lack of serious sunspot activity. It also predicts a maximum Kp index of two. However, a large equatorial coronal hole was Earth-facing on Thursday, so we may expect a geomagnetic disturbance and higher Kp index across this weekend, due to the incoming plasma from the high-speed solar wind.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
The prolonged spell of high-pressure weather has produced some strong lift conditions across the country and surrounding seas. Unfortunately, it seems the high will probably suffer some knocks during the coming week and there will be some rain or showers. However, there is a good chance the high will fight back, to some extent, and there may be further Tropo periods during the week. The rain events are unreliable with marked changes in outcome from run to run of the forecast models but may provide occasional opportunities for rain scatter on the GHz bands.
The main Sporadic-E season has pretty much finished and, although occasional outliers can still provide activity into September, the events may be very brief. Of course, random meteor scatter and auroral propagation modes are always possible. For one reason or another, it is good to periodically check the VHF/UHF beacons; they are there for this very purpose. Perhaps now is a good time to update your VHF/UHF beacon list by looking at the real-time, updated lists at www.beaconspot.uk to ensure you are there for the next chance opening!
Random meteor activity is still high and there is just one small meteor shower again this week. The September Epsilon-Perseids have a low Zenithal Hourly Rate of five. It is active from the 5th to the 21st of September, reaching a maximum on the 9th at 1100UTC.
Moon declination goes negative again on Wednesday so we’ll have decreasing peak elevations shortening Moon visibility windows. It reaches perigee on Saturday so path losses will be getting lower all week.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.