Sunday 13th June 2021
The news headlines:
It is with much regret that the organisers of the National Hamfest have decided to postpone the event planned for the 24th and 25th of September 2021 until September 2022. A number of factors have made the organisation of the event impossible to predict this year. At this point, the organisers cannot reliably commit to successfully and safely holding an event that takes upwards of three months of continuous effort to organise. The organisers not only wish to act in a responsible way towards the large team of volunteers who staff the event and make it possible every year, but also the visitors and the partner organisations, all of whom make the event such a success each year. The organisers are looking forward to more certainty in 2022 and welcoming you to the event in September next year.
The national amateur radio society for Kyrgyzstan has announced that on the 4th of June, the national regulator made a 5MHz allocation available to amateurs. The WRC-15 Amateur Secondary Allocation of 5351.5 – 5366.5kHz is available at a maximum power of 100W. Other secondary allocations made available at the same time were 472 – 479kHz at 1W, 122.25 – 12 GHz and 134 – 141GHz both at 100W.
To celebrate the first one-way amateur radio QSO across the Atlantic that took place on the 12th December 1921, the ARRL has joined with a group of UK operators who plan to re-create the event in December this year. To celebrate the centenary of Paul Godley, 2ZE’s success, in collaboration with North Ayrshire Council, special event stations GB2ZE and GB1002ZE respectively will be operating from the 1st to the 28th of December. Volunteers are sought to help. See GM0DEQ on qrz.com for email details.
The RSGB National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park will be closed to all visitors between the 14th and 17th of June. This is because groundworks are taking place around the building blocking the fire escape. Normal opening hours will be resumed after the work is finished.
The RSGB’s Friendship on the Air Award is a new way of getting on the air, representing your club and having a proper chat with radio amateurs on the airwaves. It is a great way to start chatting to other radio amateurs if you are a new licensee. There are monthly and annual awards for individuals, clubs and the highest-scoring club in each region. If you have taken part already don’t forget to upload your logs. If you would like to get involved for the first time this month, you will find all the details at rsgb.org/friendship-award.
The inaugural Gateways On The Air Event takes place between the 12th and the 20th of June. The main aim is to increase communications through linked analogue and digital simplex gateways that are accessible to all licensed amateurs. More details can be found at gota.org.uk.
Murray Niman, G6JYB, the RSGB Spectrum Forum Chairman, gave a spectrum presentation and Q+A session via Zoom to Mid Ulster ARC. The presentation covered an overview of the functions of the RSGB Spectrum Forum, where do your frequencies come from and what they do for UK radio amateurs. The talk, and others, is now available on YouTube with the suffix /muarcmedia.
Now the DX news
Jun is active as XV9RH from Hanoi and will remain in Vietnam until the 26th of June. In his spare time, he operates CW and FT8 on the 20 to 10m bands. QSL via OE1JUN.
Harald, DF2WO will be active as XT2AW from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso starting on the 13th of June for three weeks. He will operate CW, FT8 and SAT modes; SSB will be used but only when conditions allow. QSL via M0OXO.
Now the Special Event news
GB0UTA will be on the air until the 28th of June promoting the University of the Third Age. This special event station will be operating on behalf of the Honiton, Devon branch. GB5UTA will be on the air during the same period on behalf of the Cirencester and Tetbury branches of the U3A. See the QRZ.com entry for more information.
Now the contest news
With different parts of the UK having different lockdown restrictions, please make sure you follow the appropriate regulations. Several contests now accept portable entries, so please check the contest rules. Above all, please follow relevant national and local restrictions.
This weekend is the Argentinian CW Group’s contest, running for 24-hours until 1500UTC today, the 13th. It uses the 80, 40, 20, 15 and 10m bands and entrants should observe the CW segments according to their national band plan. The exchange is signal report and CQ Zone. Full rules at contest.com.ar.
The IARU ATV contest ends its 30 hour-run at 1800UTC today, the 13th. Using the 432MHz and up bands, the exchange is picture quality, serial number, four-digit code and locator.
Today, the 13th is the Practical Wireless 2m QRP contest, which runs from 0900 to 1600UTC. Using phone only, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Also, today is the second 144MHz Backpackers contest that runs from 0900 to 1300UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
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.
On Wednesday it is the CW leg of the 80m Club Championships. Running from 1900 to 2030UTC, the exchange is signal report and serial number.
The 70MHz UK Activity Contest takes place on Thursday from 1900 to 2130UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Next weekend the 50MHz Trophy contest runs from 1400UTC on the 19th to 1400UTC on the 20th. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Also next weekend, but running for 48 hours is the All Asian DX contest. Using CW only on the 1.8 to 28MHz bands where contests are permitted, the exchange is signal report and age.
The Worked-All-Britain 50MHz phone contest will take place on Sunday the 20th of June from 0800 to 1400UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and WAB square. Entries to be with the WAB Contest Manager by 30th of June. Due to the easing of restrictions, the mobile and portable categories will be resumed; but please act sensibly.
Next Sunday, the 20th, the UK Microwave Group 122 to 248GHz contest runs from 0900 to 1700UTC. Using all modes, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
The UK Six Metre Group Summer Marathon runs until the 1st of August. Just exchange your 4-character locator.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA & G4BAO on Friday the 11th of June.
The predicted geomagnetic disturbance we spoke about last week didn’t amount to much. The Kp index rose to four on Monday evening, but the disturbance was short-lived and it was back to one later on Tuesday. Region 2829 was the only sunspot group visible on the Sun later in the week. This pushed the solar flux index to 80, but we are still a long way away from the kind of activity needed for real F2-layer DX.
The good news was a lack of coronal hole activity, which allowed the ionosphere to settle. This means that daytime maximum useable frequencies were often above 14MHz, but below 18MHz at times. Nightime critical frequencies are around 3.75-4MHz, which translates to a maximum usable frequency of around 10-13MHz over a 3,000km path.
The better news was that Sporadic-E continued to provide excitement on the upper HF band with many reports of single and double-hop openings.
The 10m UK Net group on Facebook reports that 7X2VFK in Algeria was workable on SSB, plus there were 28MHz openings to the US, Canada and the Caribbean.
Next week NOAA predicts more of the same with the SFI in the mid-70s, although regions 2824 and 2826 will rotate into view next week.
Geomagnetic activity should generally be settled, although we may expect a Kp index of four on or around the 16th due to a high-speed stream from a returning coronal hole.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
It is going to be another summer mix for the coming week. Some periods of high pressure with summertime Tropo overnight and throughout the 24 hours across adjacent seas. There will also be some frontal activity with weather systems affecting northwestern areas and decaying into isolated showers as they move southeast into the high pressure.
This could mean that there are likely to be a few rain scatter opportunities again for the GHz bands. At present, the second half of next week looks a bit more unsettled with the possibility of thundery weather, especially in the south.
Sporadic-E has taken a bit of a pause lately or, at best, been rather ‘sporadic’ and the indications of jet stream patterns for next week suggests that favoured directions for openings will probably involve the UK across northern Europe and Scandinavia.
This northern positioning of the jet stream pattern may be what is needed for the more exotic paths across to the Far East via northern Russia. There may also be some valuable second hop possibilities across the Balkans and the eastern Mediterranean.
The basic rules are to check mid-morning and late afternoon and expect it to reach up to 144MHz if the conditions are favourable. The longest distances are often recorded at the start of a band opening so if you are working Es, remember to try the next higher frequency band.
With peak Moon declination passed, the week will feature shortening Moon visibility windows, lower peak elevation and falling losses as we approach perigee a week on Monday.
The Arietids meteor shower is declining now and the next one is the June Bootids peaking in a fortnight. This shower normally has a low ZHR of one or two but has a reputation for outbursts of activity. The last being in 1998 when the ZHR hit 100. Until then, continue to look for the best random meteor scatter propagation around dawn.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.
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