The RSGB Board has chosen four strategic priorities for the Society to focus on until the 2024 AGM. These are the growth of amateur radio; membership of the RSGB; spectrum and licensing; and ensuring the continued financial stability of the Society. These priorities will set the framework for the RSGB’s activities over the coming months. Both HQ staff and volunteers across the range of RSGB teams will be involved in planning how best to implement these four priorities. Look out for further details in the coming weeks.
The RSGB 2023 Convention has a great speaker programme and there are also some fantastic forums to take part in. The RSGB HF and VHF Forums will take place on Sunday, and on Saturday in conjunction with ICQPodcast, the RSGB is offering Convention attendees the chance to discuss two important topics. The first will challenge you to consider and take responsibility for the issues within amateur radio today – for example, is amateur radio just about what you like? Should someone else fix the issues you see? The second forum will focus on QRM and how both newcomers and experienced radio amateurs can sometimes feel frustrated or discouraged by on-air activities. In both forums you can discuss personal experiences, share ideas, and help to promote positive interactions with fellow radio amateurs. You will leave with a notepad full of ideas. The only way to participate in these forums is to be at the Convention, so do book your package or tickets now! Full information about the updated programme, speakers, the drop-in buildathon and the social scene are on the RSGB website at rsgb.org/convention
December is Youngsters on the Air, or YOTA, month and is an exciting opportunity for you, your club, school, or social group to host an amateur radio station with the aim of getting youngsters active on the amateur bands. Once approval from Ofcom is received, the RSGB will provide access to the special callsign GB23YOTA and a full list of operating slots will be made available on QRZ.com. These slots will be first-come, first-served, so check your calendars and reserve your place as soon as possible. If you’d like to register your interest for YOTA month, or simply ask for further information, you can email Jamie, M0SDV at email@example.com
The RSGB Learning Team is calling out for your help – it is looking for volunteers to get involved in the development, implementation and relaunching of the new Discovery Challenge, which is a revamp of the Individual Scheme from the Beyond Exams initiative. The team is proposing to split the activities into three levels – Explorer, Adventurer and Master. If you’d like to help out with these exciting changes, or would just like to share some ideas or feedback, you can contact Mark Burrows, 2E0SBM the Beyond Exams Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
The UK Six Metre Group’s 2023 AGM will be held via Zoom on Sunday the 8th of October from 6pm BST. The brief formal part of the meeting will be followed by a talk from Antoine, 3D2AG entitled “Extending 6m DX boundaries from the Heart of the South Pacific." Zoom details have been emailed to members. Non-members will be welcome to join the call but will not be able to vote on AGM business. For more information about the group, visit uksmg.org
The popular Railways on the Air weekend, coordinated by Bishop Auckland Amateur Radio Club, usually takes place on the weekend closest to the 27th of September each year. This date celebrates the anniversary of the first steam-powered passenger railway journey which took place on the 27th of September 1825. The first passenger train ran on a line in North East England from Darlington to Stockton. This year, the event will run on the weekend of the 23rd and 24th of September with lots of special event stations on the air. For more information, to register, and to see a list of stations taking part, visit rota.barac.org.uk
And now for details of rallies and events
The Hack Green Military Surplus and Military Radio Hangar Sale will take place on Sunday the 24th of September. The venue will be Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker, Nantwich, Cheshire, CW5 8AL. The sale will include 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 will take place on Sunday the 24th of September. The venue will be Rougham Tower Museum, IP32 7QB. The doors will be open from 8am for traders and from 9.30am for the public. The entrance fee will be £3. The event will feature trade stands, tabletop sales, bring and buy, local radio clubs’ displays, an RSGB book stall and Raynet. Refreshments will be available from the Museum’s cafeteria. Please direct enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Weston super Mare Radio Society Radio and Electronics Rally will take place on Sunday the 24th of September. The venue will be The Campus Community Centre, Worle, Weston-super-Mare, BS24 7DX. The doors will open at 10am and entry will be £3 per person. Under 16s will be admitted free of charge. Free parking and refreshments will be available. For more information, or to book a table, email email@example.com or call 07871 034 206.
Biggleswade Swap-meet and Auction will take place on Sunday the 24th of September. The venue will be The Weatherley Centre, Eagle Farm Road, Biggleswade, SG18 8JH. The doors will open at 9.30am and entry costs £8. The auction starts at 12.30pm. Bring and buy, hot food and ample parking will be available. To book tables, or for further information, email Jeremy, G8MLK via Jezzer3@hotmail.com
Now the Special Event News
Special callsign TI70RC will be active until the 30th of September to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Radio Club de Costa Rica, TI0RC, founded on the 29th of September 1953. QSL via Logbook of the World.
Special event callsign DM23BUGA is active until the 8th of October. The suffix stands for 'Bundesgartenschau’, the biennial horticulture show and festival that is taking place in Mannheim this year. All QSOs will be confirmed automatically via the bureau. Direct cards will be managed via DL2VFR.
Now the DX news
Claudio, HB9OAU is active as SV5/HB9OAU from Karpathos Island, EU-001, until the 21st of September. He is operating using SSB, CW, RTTY and FT8 on the 80 to 10m bands. QSL via Logbook of the World, eQSL, or direct to his home call.
Ken, KH6QJ is active as T32AZ from Christmas Island, OC-024, until the 17th of October. QSL via KH6QJ, direct or via the bureau.
John, VK1POR is active on Deal Island, OC-195, until the 1st of December. He often uses FT8 on the HF bands and uploads his log to eQSL and Logbook of the World.
Now the contest news
Today, the 17th of September, the 70MHz Affiliated Societies Contest runs from 0900 to 1200UTC. Using all modes on the 4m band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Today, the 17th of September, the IRTS 70cm Counties Contest runs from 1300 to 1330UTC. Using SSB and FM on the 70cm band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator. EI and GI stations also give their county.
Also today, the 17th of September, the IRTS 2m Counties Contest runs from 1300 to 1500UTC. Using SSB and FM on the 2m band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator. EI and GI stations also give their county.
Also today, the 17th of September, the British Amateur Radio Teledata Group Sprint PSK63 Contest runs from 1700 to 2100UTC. Using PSK63 on the 80 to 10m bands, where contests are permitted, the exchange is serial number.
On Monday the 18th of September, the RSGB FT4 Contest runs from 1900 to 2030UTC. Using FT4 on the 80, 40 and 20m bands, the exchange is your report.
On Tuesday the 19th of September, the 1.3GHz UK Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes on 1.3GHz frequencies, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Thursday the 21st of September, the 70MHz UK Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes on the 4m band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
The CQ Worldwide DX RTTY Contest starts at 0000UTC on Saturday the 23rd and ends at 2359UTC on Sunday 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.
On Sunday the 24th of September, 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 on Sunday the 24th of September, 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.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA, and G4BAO on Thursday the 14th of September 2023
While our terrestrial weather this week was variable, it seems our space weather was equally unsettled!
We warned last week that it wouldn’t take much to cause the Kp index to rise and on Tuesday a coronal mass ejection, or CME, hit the Earth sending the Kp index to 5.67. The Bz component of the interplanetary magnetic field tipped sharply south for a long duration causing visible aurora to be seen across the north of the UK and as far south as Cornwall.
This really hit HF quite hard and good signals were scarce.
Unsettled radio conditions continued into Wednesday bringing the Maximum Usable Frequency, or MUF, over a 3,000km path down below 18MHz for most of the day. The Kp index was still around 3 or 4 on Thursday, but MUFs were recovering and were at around 28MHz over 3,000km by lunchtime.
Next week NOAA predicts that the Solar Flux Index will start the week around 165 and then decline as the week progresses, perhaps ending at around 145 to 150.
Geomagnetic conditions are forecast to be quiet, at least until the 23rd when the Kp could rise to four. But at this point in the solar cycle the risk of a solar flare, and subsequent CME, remains high every day, so watch solarham.net for up-to-date information.
And finally, a new paper by NASA’s Lisa Upton and David Hathaway indicates that sunspot maximum is now forecast to be in the Autumn of 2024. They predict a maximum sunspot number of 135, plus or minus 10, which is slightly larger than Cycle 24’s maximum of 116.4, but well below the average of 179 for Solar Cycles 1 to 23.
And now the VHF and up propagation news
Tropo conditions are still present over southern areas today, the 17th. However, by early next week, low pressure will be a dominant force and the coming week looks very unsettled with rain and quite strong winds at times.
This means that any Tropo, either across the southern North Sea or down across Biscay, will not last beyond this weekend, ending today the 17th.
The unsettled low-pressure-driven weather will mean that rain scatter is a distinct possibility on some of the more active days. The other propagation modes are the usual fall-backs of meteor scatter using random meteors and aurora, which may not be too far-fetched in view of the geomagnetic activity and visible auroras experienced recently.
The September Epsilon Perseids meteor shower has already peaked earlier in the month, but a few lingering meteors may give some truly random radio reflections.
Last week there were indications that this normally quiet period after the August Perseids and the forthcoming October Draconids can still provide some interest for persistent meteor scatter enthusiasts.
During this coming equinox week, the Moon will reach its lowest declination of the month on the 22nd and 23rd. This point also coincides with the Moon being in Sagittarius, so that sky noise will be very high. This will make moon bounce operations particularly difficult towards the end of the week.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.
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