Sunday 8th August 2021
The news headlines:
The G5RP Trophy is an annual RSGB award to encourage newcomers to HF DXing. The award is not limited to youngsters or the newly licensed; it is open to anyone who has recently discovered and made significant progress in HF DXing. If you are an established HF DXer and want to recommend someone to be awarded the G5RP Trophy for 2021, send your nomination to Ian Greenshields, G4FSU, via email to email@example.com to arrive no later than Friday the 10th of September.
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, SSB, between 10 am to 4 pm. If you are intending to put a station on at their local church or chapel, please ensure permission has been obtained and any Covid rules in force are observed. Please send details of your CHOTA station to John, G3XYF via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. A list of CHOTA stations should be available at wacral.org.
The RSGB National Radio Centre is seeing amazing visitor numbers. In July they welcomed 7,682 visitors and, on the last Saturday in July, there were 639 in a single day. The RSGB continues to put emphasis on the well-being of visitors and volunteers; visitor numbers are carefully monitored. The RSGB is also asking visitors and volunteers to continue to wear a face-covering or face shield, use the hand sanitiser stations frequently and respect social distancing within the NRC. At this time, we are still not permitting visiting radio amateurs to use the GB3RS station.
The next QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo will take place on the 14th and 15th of August. Tickets include entry for the Live two-day period as well as the 30-day on-demand period. Access to the Exhibitor area is free but does require registration. You can purchase tickets and see a complete list of over 90 speakers at qsotodayhamexpo.com.
In July, Steve, G0FUW gave a talk that covered the history of Amateur Radio Exams in the UK and the 2019 Exam Syllabus. Steve is well-known for his involvement with Bath Based Distance Learning. The talk was given online to the Bath & District Amateur Radio Club. Go to YouTube and search for Bath & District Amateur Radio Club and you can view the video.
On the 12th of December 1921, Paul Godley, 2ZE received the first complete and verified amateur radio short wave transatlantic message ever sent, from 1BCG based in Greenwich, Connecticut. Godley finally settled on Ardrossan as the site to conduct his reception experiments. The Crocodile Rock Amateur Group is celebrating the centenary of Paul Godley’s success, in collaboration with North Ayrshire Council. GB2ZE and GB1002ZE will be operating throughout December. They would welcome volunteers for all aspects of the centenary celebrations. To volunteer please contact Bob, GM0DEQ via email to email@example.com.
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 current restrictions.
As previously publicised, the Flight Refuelling Hamfest that was originally scheduled for today, the 8th, is cancelled.
The Cockenzie & Port Seton Mini Rally scheduled for the 13th of August is also cancelled.
The Dartmoor Radio Rally will take place on the 15th of August at The Yelverton War Memorial Hall, Meavy Lane, Yelverton. Devon, PL20 6AL. Free parking is available on site. There will be the usual Bring & Buy, trade stands and refreshments. Doors open at 10 am and admission is £2.50.
Part 1 of the British Amateur Television Club Convention will take place of the 21st of August at the Midland Air Museum, Rowley Road, Coventry CV3 4FR.
On the 22nd, a Grand Field Day Out will be held at Willesborough Windmill, Ashford, just off junction 10 of the M20.
Now the DX news
Bruno, IW5BBV will be active as CN2BBV while touring Morocco until the 30th of August. He will operate SSB mainly on the 40 and 20m bands. QSL via his home callsign.
Frans, DJ0TP will be active as TK/DJ0TP from Corsica, IOTA reference EU-014, until the 14th of September. QSL via Logbook of The World, or via the bureau to his home callsign.
Bruce, ZL1AAO will be active holiday style as E51AAO from Rarotonga, OC-013, in the South Cook Islands from the 9th to the 19th of August. He will operate SSB on the 40 and 20m bands. QSL via his home callsign and Logbook of The World.
Now the Special Event news
Today, 8th of August, Welland Valley ARS will be running GB5HAW from the Harborough At War event at the Market Harborough Show Ground LE16 7QB.
Coventry ARS is running two special event stations until May 2022 to celebrate Coventry being the City of Culture. GB1COC & GB8CCC will be running most days, with GB8CCC passing between members of the club. Dates and times will vary.
Now the contest news
With different parts of the UK having different lockdown restrictions, please make sure you follow the appropriate regulations. Keep yourself and fellow amateurs safe. August is the month of the traditional summer holiday so there are no RSGB HF contests this month.
The Machine Generated Modes contest ends its 24 hour run at 1400UTC today, the 8th. Using the 50 and 144MHz bands, the exchange is your report and 4-character locator.
On Tuesday the 432MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1800 to 1855UTC. It is followed by the all-mode 432MHz UK Activity Contest from 1900 to 2130UTC. The exchange for both is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Thursday the 50MHz UK Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Next weekend, the first of the Worked All Europe DX contests of the year runs for 48 hours from 0000UTC on the 14th to 2359UTC on the 15th. This is the CW leg. Europe works non-Europe only in this German-run series. Exchanging QTCs, that’s reports of previously held contacts, can significantly boost your score, although not everybody chooses to do it. See the rules to learn how QTCs work. The exchange is signal report and serial number.
Next Sunday, the 15th, is the 5th 70MHz Cumulative contest that runs from 1400 to 1600UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA & G4BAO on Friday the 6th of August.
The last week looked like we were back at solar minimum again! With the solar flux declining to 71, and the sunspot number at 14 on Thursday, it hardly looks like things are improving. This was coupled with news from NASA that they have revised their projections for Solar Cycle 25.
NASA heliophysicists at the High-Altitude Observatory, based at the University Of Colorado, now predict the peak of Solar Cycle 25 will top out at a value of 195, plus or minus 17. This is based upon the new scale for calculating smoothed sunspot numbers. For reference, Solar Cycle 21 peaked at an SSN of 233 on the new scale, while Solar Cycle 23 peaked at an SSN of 180 on the same scale. They also now agree that the dramatic run-up in sunspot activity we experienced late last Autumn was an outlier. In other words, they are saying that Cycle 25 may not yet have properly started. Or at least, we are not seeing a dramatic start, but only time will tell if they are right.
Maximum useable frequencies remain subdued, partly because of the low solar flux and partly because we are still in the summer doldrums. With the daytime critical frequency mainly in the range 5 to 6MHz, this means the 40m band remains closed to near-vertical incidence skywave or short skip. Daytime MUFs over 3,000km struggle to get much above 18MHz.
Laurie, G3UML reports OA4DX in Peru has been CQing on 30m using CW around midnight, nice if you fancy working a fairly rare one. Thirty metres can be a good band after dark if you like digital modes or CW.
Amateurs looking to work around the UK during the day are better off looking at 60 metres, the 5MHz band, or perhaps just waiting until nightfall when the absorbing D-layer dissipates and 80m comes alive.
There is a chance of unsettled geomagnetic conditions across this weekend, thanks to a high-speed solar wind from a coronal hole.
Next week NOAA predicts that the solar flux index will remain in the mid-70s. Geomagnetic conditions look set to remain mainly quiet, apart from a period around August 10th and 11th when the Kp index may rise to four.
So, in conclusion, we think the main message is to make the most of any Sporadic-E as the season is now past its peak. And if you want to work DX stay as high in frequency as you can during the day, perhaps 17 or even 15 metres, or look at 30m and 40m after dark for some occasional surprises.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
The basic pattern of unsettled weather looks like continuing into the coming week. This means that rain scatter QSOs should be worth a look for the GHz operators. It is hard to see any significant Tropo coming out of this weather pattern except perhaps for a time around the middle part of the week when high pressure to the south of Britain may give some Tropo conditions from southern areas into the continent.
The other mode of choice, even in August, is still going to be Sporadic-E and this spell of unsettled weather is very good for providing strong summer jet streams, which can be important in the formation process of Sporadic-E. Overall, the positioning of the jet streams looks better at the end of this week and into the beginning of next week, whereas later next week the jet stream strengths will probably be weaker.
As we move into the middle of August, the peak of the Perseids meteor shower is approaching in the second half of the week. This is potentially good for Sporadic-E since meteors are the source of the ionisation comprising Sporadic-E, but obviously, also a good thing for meteor scatter activity. Thursday the 12th and Friday the 13th sees the peak of the shower, so with a ZHR of 100 and some big fireballs, not only will MSK144 and FSK441 digimodes produce excellent results with modest stations, fast CW and SSB with slick operating will also bring QSOs for those larger stations.
Moon declination goes negative next Thursday so Moon windows will shorten as the week progresses. Perigee is still nearly a fortnight away, but path losses will continue to decline.
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