Sunday 18th July 2021
The news headlines:
The RSGB ran an amateur radio survey in May as part of its input to an IARU workshop. Over one thousand people responded and gave their views of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for amateur radio both currently and in the future. A summary of the responses has been published in the August RadCom. You can also read the summary on the RSGB website at thersgb.org/gb2rs/011.
On the 1st of August, the radio operators of Cornwall are holding the 1st Cornwall Antenna Build-Off. This is a free event, organised by Callum, G5XDX with the support of local stations and sponsored by PJ BOX. As well as the Build-Off there are Bring & Buy tables available as well as refreshments. For details of the event and competition rules please search @g5xdx on Facebook or email G5XDX@gmx.co.uk.
The Bath Based Distance Learning team is now planning another course for the Full level exam syllabus. The course will run from the end of August to December this year. Students will receive weekly work packages via a virtual classroom and will have access to weekly online tutorials. Students will also have access to one of the remote tutors who will provide feedback and additional guidance when required. There will be no charge for the training but applicants must work through a pre-course classroom and quiz to be eligible for a place. The deadline for course applications is the 4th of August. For full details, and an application form, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The QSL Bureau sub-manager for the G4T to Z group is retiring and a replacement volunteer to distribute cards to this active sub-group is urgently needed. If you are an RSGB Member, have time, a little space and some basic computer skills, the bureau would like to hear from you. You can find out more by emailing email@example.com.
The callsign GB4RS is issued to the President of the Radio Society of Great Britain for the term of their office. Stewart Bryant, G3YSX is the current RSGB President and intends to use this call sign as often as possible. Listen out for him on the air.
As GB2RS continues to expand, it is a pleasure to extend a warm welcome to a new newsreader. Peter, G3XDS has started a 2m simplex reading in the Mansfield area, which improves coverage and is attracting a strong new audience. Michael, 2J0SZI who has delivered many a bulletin on Jersey over the years is retiring and we wish him all the best for the future.
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.
Finningley ARS Car Boot will be outdoor only with doors opening at 10 am on the 25th of July. It is located near M18 junction 2, Doncaster. Admission is £3.
The Wiltshire Radio Rally, Electronics Fair & Car Boot Sale is planned for Sunday the 1st of August at Kington Langley Village Hall & fields, SNl5 5NJ. Doors are open from 9 am to 3 pm and admission is free. Details at chippenhamradio.club.
Dartmoor Radio Rally has moved to the 15th of August at Yelverton War Memorial Hall.
Now the DX news
John, MM0CCC, Gordon, MM0GPZ, Keith, GM4YXI and Chris, GM3WOJ will be active as GM7V during next weekend’s IOTA contest. They will operate as a Multi-2 station from Benbecula, which is EU-010. QSL via N3SL.
The C6AHA DX-pedition to the Bimini Islands, IOTA reference NA-048, appears to have been postponed until October this year. However, a smaller team is currently active from Bimini using the call sign C6AHB. They will operate until 21st of July.
Five operators from Cray Valley Radio Society will be active as GM3RCV from Ceann Ear Monarch Islands, EU-111, from the 22nd to 27th of July. They will take part in the IOTA Contest as MM8C. QSLs via Club Log’s OQRS and Logbook of The World.
Now the Special Event news
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.
Today, the 18th, the International Low Power contest runs from 0900 to 1600UTC. Using the 3.5 to 14MHz bands, where contests are permitted, the exchange is signal report, serial number and power.
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 Thursday it is the data leg of the 80m Club Championships. Running from 1900 to 2030UTC, the exchange is signal report and serial number.
Next weekend is the 24-hour Islands On The Air contest. It runs from 1200UTC on the 24th to 1200UTC on the 25th. Using CW and SSB on the 3.5 to 28MHz contest bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and your IOTA reference. Stations on the UK mainland are IOTA reference EU-005; a full list can be found at iota-world.org.
Next Sunday, the 25th, the UK Microwave Group contest runs from 0600 to 1800UTC. Using all modes on the 5.7 and 10GHz bands, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA & G4BAO on Friday the 16th of July
The solar flux index remained in the 70s last week, reflecting the lack of decent sunspots. What spots we did have were both minuscule and un-noteworthy. The high-speed wind stream from a large solar coronal hole impacted the Earth a little later than predicted. In the end, it hit us during the late afternoon and early evening of Wednesday the 14th, pushing the Kp index to four. Its effects were felt during the evening’s RSGB’s 80-metre club championship contest with a noisy band, fading and compromised signals.
The good news is that the major outage of the server at the University of Massachusetts Lowell has now been fixed. This means that the ionosonde data on the Propquest.co.uk website for the foF2 graphs is back and all services have resumed. To recap, Propquest gives us near real-time displays of the critical frequency over the UK and from this, it also extrapolates likely maximum useable frequencies over different path lengths.
Sporadic-E remains the most interesting mode for HF propagation, with extensive openings on the higher bands.
Next week NOAA predicts that the SFI will be in the high 70s and might even reach 81 during the middle of the week. At the moment, it does look like the Sun may be free of coronal holes, which bodes well for a settled ionosphere. The risk of solar flares also appears to be low.
Don’t forget that it is the RSGB’s Islands on the Air contest next weekend, which may throw up some interesting DX on HF.
And now the VHF and up propagation news
At the moment, you will find some lovely tropospheric ducting across the Mediterranean from east to west, typical for high-summer. Sadly, few UK visitors will be able to take advantage of it. Pascal, F5LEN produces a day-by-day Tropo ducting forecast. Just Google F5LEN Tropo to find it, and you will see that Tropo ducting is quite commonplace at this time of the year.
In view of a return to high-pressure weather at home, keep a lookout for good sea paths across the Irish Sea, North Sea and the English Channel. Tropo paths overland tend to fade quickly as the sun heats things up in the early morning, but often the sea paths remain active through the day.
The Sporadic-E season is still underway with occasional openings up to 2m and not just on FT8; CW and SSB are getting involved too. The jet streams are looking weaker in the coming week for European paths, but still worth checking out paths across the Atlantic later in the day or farther afield to the Far East in the early morning.
As ever, check the clusters and set aside a little time late afternoon for the best chance of getting into any Sporadic-E that might present itself.
May 2022 sees the point in the Lunar cycle where the closest approach of the Moon, perigee, coincides with minimum declination. It’s not until September 2026 that the highest declination coincides with perigee again. This all means that for the next few years, lowest EME path losses occur with the Moon at low declination and Moon visibility windows are short. This week, declination is negative and still falling, so Moon visibility windows will shorten. Path losses will continue to fall throughout the week until perigee on Wednesday.
There are no significant meteor showers until the Southern delta Aquarids at the end of this month. This shower has a broad ZHR peak of 25 running from the 26th of July through to the 31st of July. Until then, continue to look around dawn for the best random meteor scatter opportunities.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.
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