RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for February 23rd 2020.
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Sunday the 23rd of February 2020
The news headlines:
New distance record on the 122GHz band
Repeater, Gateway and Beacon NoV renewals
Ofcom consults on EMF exposure
Using low power silicon chips with barely a milliwatt, an astonishing new world record of 139km has been achieved on the 122GHz millimetre wave amateur band. The distance record set in the California mountains is particularly notable as this frequency suffers from severe atmospheric losses due to an oxygen molecular resonance that add to significant conventional free-space path losses. More info and video at tinyurl.com/gb2rs-122ghz
The RSGB would like to remind all holders of Notices of Variation for Repeaters, Gateways and Beacons to ensure their contact details are up to date. The three-year renewal season is under way and there are a number of Keepers who have changed their email address etc and are not getting the reminders. It is illegal to operate any such service without a currently valid NoV and they should be closed down if it expires. You can apply for an access code to change your details via tinyurl.com/rsgb-etcc-nov Please note that renewals also require sight of your personal licence document, renewed within the last five years, to demonstrate you are still eligible to hold an NoV. You must renew with Ofcom at least every five years and ETCC need proof that you have done so. Currently, the Ofcom system will only change the issue date on the licence if you amend some detail. A simple solution to this is to add a space at the end of the first line of your address. This will generate a licence with a new issue date.
Ofcom has published a consultation document called “Proposed measures to require compliance with international guidelines for limiting exposure to electromagnetic fields” which can be read at tinyurl.com/gb2rs-ofcomemf The RSGB is reviewing the document and will respond to the consultation in due course.
This weekend members of Girlguiding will have been participating in Thinking Day on the Air. This event is an opportunity for the youngest Rainbow to the oldest Trefoil Guild member to talk to other members of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts all over the world via amateur radio. A list of known stations due to be on the air can be seen on the Station List on the event website: www.guides-on-the-air.co.uk
Some advance news now. The RAFAC are pleased to announce that due to popular demand for the Blue Ham Radio Communications Exercises they have been able to programme in three exercises for 2020. The first exercise will be during the weekend of the 7th and 8th of March. The organisers hope that many radio amateurs will join in. Details of the exchange of information to count as a QSO will be published on the Exercise Blue Ham website at alphacharlie.org.uk/exercise-blue-ham Participants can claim a Blue Ham certificate if they contact 10 or more special MRE callsigns during the exercise, details on the website.
Venues and dates for the 2020 series of RSGB Train the Trainers courses can be found on the RSGB website at rsgb.org/train-the-trainers In order for the organisers to ensure that courses are run as cost-effectively as possible they require between twenty and twenty-five candidates to attend each venue. To reserve a place on any of the courses please email email@example.com with your name and telephone number. The first course to run will be held in Telford on the 21st March; it currently has only two places left. Following Telford will be Cardiff on the 18th of April. This course currently only has five candidates registered, so if you want to attend this event please book as soon as possible. Details of other courses available are on the website.
The MV Braveheart is at sea again, this time transporting the VP8PJ South Orkney DXpedition team to Signy Island. You can follow the vessel’s progress on the VP8PJ website sorkney.com Team members have been operating as ZL1NA/MM during their voyage, generating heavy pileups. VP8PJ is expected to commence operation on the 21st of February and continue until the 5th of March. Operation will be on CW, SSB, RTTY, and FT8 fox/hound mode except on 60m.
The 5MHz beacon, GB3WES, in Westmorland, IO84QN, on 5.290MHz will close down on the 11th of March when its NoV expires. The beacon began service on the 30th of October 2004. At the time, it was one of a chain of three UK 5MHz propagation research beacons; the others were GB3RAL in Oxfordshire, already shut down, and GB3ORK in Orkney, which will be the sole remaining beacon after GB3WES shuts down.
AMSAT reports that the pioneering AMSAT-OSCAR 85 CubeSat, also known as Fox-1A, has gone silent. Having not been heard throughout the most recent period of full illumination, it is reasonable to believe the batteries have deteriorated to the point of no longer being able to power the transmitter. AO-85 was conceived as the first AMSAT CubeSat and was launched on the 8th of October 2015.
Provisional results of the IARU R1 UHF/microwave Contest and the Marconi Memorial VHF CW Contest are available on the IARU Region 1 website at www.iaru-r1.org. Congratulations to G3CKR/P in IO93AD, M2A in JO02ST, G4RGK in IO91ON, G5RS/A in IO91RH, G3XDY in JO02OB, G3TCU in IO91QE and GM4DIJ/P in IO74MU who were the highest placed UK stations in these contests.
And now for the details of rallies and events for the coming week
Today, the 23rd, the Rainham Radio Rally takes place at The Victory Academy, Magpie Hall Road, Chatham, Kent ME4 5JB. Doors open from 10am to 4pm and admission is £3 with children attending free of charge. Talk in will be on 145.550MHz using GB4RRR. Local and national traders will be in attendance. The BRATS Interactive Zone for Kids will be available as will the BRATS Junk stand. Refreshments from the BRATS Kitchen. Contact 0782 583 8877 if you need more information.
Also today, the 23rd, is the Red Rose Winter Rally at St Joseph’s Hall, Chapel Street, Leigh WN7 2PQ. Doors open at 11am. There will be trade, individual and Club stands as well as a Bring & Buy. Details at www.wmrc.co.uk
Next Sunday, the 1st of March, the Exeter Radio & Electronics Rally will be held in America Hall, De la Rue Way, Pinhoe, Exeter EX4 8PW. Doors open at 10.30am, 10.15am for disabled visitors, and admission £2 with under 16s free. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy and catering is available on site. Details from Pete, G3ZVI on 0771 419 8374 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please send details of your rally and event plans as soon as possible to email@example.com – we give you valuable publicity online, in RadCom and on GB2RS, all for free.
And now the DX news from 425 DX News and other sources
The W8S DXpedition to Swains Island in the Pacific, set to take place in mid-March, has been postponed until the Autumn as a result of travel restrictions imposed on individuals entering American Samoa, stemming from the recent coronavirus outbreak. The Department of Health allows non-residents to enter American Samoa only via Hawaii after a 14-day mandatory quarantine in Hawaii, and the DXpedition was unable to accommodate that requirement.
Charles, NK8O and Fred, N8AX will be in Tanzania from the 24th of February until the 21st of March using the callsigns 5H3DX and 5H3AX. They will be mainly on CW with possibly some FT8 and PSK-31 on the 160 to 10m bands. QSLs go via NK8O.
Tom, AA9A will be active as PJ7AA from Sint Maarten, NA-105, from the 29t of February to the 28th of March. He will operate CW, FT8 and SSB on the 80 to 10m bands. QSL via Club Log's OQRS, Logbook of The World or direct to AA9A.
W1JXN/4 will be active holiday style from Gasparilla Island, NA-069, from the 25th of February to the 4th of March. He will operate mainly CW on the 40, 30 and 20m bands.
YB8RW, YE8XBN, YE8XW and YF8XAT will be active as 7I8X from the Widi Islands, OC-145, and Mayu Island, OC-145 between the 21st and 29th of February. QSL via Club Log's OQRS, or direct to YB8RW.
Gildas, FG/F6HMQ and Michel, FG/F6GWV will be active as TO3Z from Guadeloupe, NA-102, until the 8th of March. QSL via F6HMQ.
Now the special event news
Many Greenland and Denmark radio amateur stations will be celebrating the 80th birthday of Her Majesty The Queen of Denmark in these two DXCC entities. Look for special event stations OX80HM and OZ80HM to be active on all bands until the 16th of April. QSL via OZ1ACB OQRS. A special royal award will be available, see qrz.com for more information.
IO3RT and IO3AF are two special callsigns for ARI Thiene to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Arturo Ferrarin's epic flight from Rome to Tokyo. Look for activity on the 80 to 6m bands using SSB, CW and digital modes until the 31st of May. QSL via IQ3BM
4UNR is the special callsign for the VIC Amateur Radio Contest DX Club to celebrate World Radio Day until the 29th of February. This activity counts as Austria for DXCC, and for the Vienna International Centre for the CQ DX Marathon. QSL via UA3DX, direct or via the bureau.
Please send special event details to firstname.lastname@example.org as early as possible to get your event publicised here on GB2RS, in RadCom, and online.
Now the contest news
The CQ 160m DX contest ends its 48-hour run at 2200UTC today, the 23rd. Using SSB only the exchange is signal report and CQ Zone with American stations also sending their State and Canadians their Province.
The REF Contest is SSB only on the 3.5 to 28MHz bands and ends its 36 hour run at 1800UTC today, the 23rd. The exchange is signal report and serial number with French stations sending their Department number or overseas prefix.
Ending its 24-hours run at 1200UTC today, the 23rd, the UK EI Contest Club DX contest is CW only on the 3.5 to 28MHz bands. The exchange is signal report and District Code.
On Tuesday the SHF UK Activity Contest runs from 1930 to 2230UTC. Using the 2.3 to 10GHz bands the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.
On Wednesday the UK EI Contest Club 80m contest runs from 2000 to 2100UTC. Using CW only, the exchange is your 4-character locator.
On Thursday the 80m Club Championships runs from 2000 to 2130UTC. Using CW only, the exchange is signal report and serial number.
Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA and G4BAO on Friday the 21st of February.
The week got off to a good start with the ARRL International DX CW contest. Contacts into the western US States from the UK, including California, Washington and Colorado, were all possible on 20 metres.
On Tuesday the Earth was hit by a high-speed solar wind stream from a coronal hole, which sent the Kp index to four. The unsettled conditions continued before the Kp index hit a hefty five in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
There were reports of auroral contacts on the higher bands. Luckily, the disturbance tailed off on Thursday with the Kp index finally returning to settled levels.
The solar flux index remained at 71 during this time, reflecting a lack of sunspots.
Next week NOAA predicts the Sun will continue with a solar flux index of 71 with zero sunspots, although new regions can occur at any time. The Kp index is predicted to remain around two to three, but with a rise to four around the 26th and 27th due to a returning coronal hole.
Interest in the VP8PJ DXpedition to South Orkney is beginning to rise. At the time of writing the “Braveheart” ship had just arrived and the station may be on the air some time this weekend.
This may be a difficult path, but rsgb.org/predtest suggests that the best time for a short-path contact may be through the night on 40m, with a peak around 6am. There may also be a long-path opening around 8am-noon on 20 or 30 metres.
And now the VHF and up propagation news.
I’m sure there were wires and beam elements flapping about in the winds last week, so now that we’re all used to this, you should be able to cope with the coming week too!
It's looking very much like the unsettled weather continues with low-pressure systems tracking across the far north of Britain producing generally windy weather throughout, and at times very windy weather with gales again likely over the north.
The upshot of all this leaves no sign of high pressure Tropo propagation to speak of. It is again a case of rain scatter for the GHz bands as the active rain-bearing weather fronts or squally showers pass by, with little else to offer as a variation.
The Sun and the Moon are close to eclipse today, so sky noise will be very high. Once today’s event is over, it’s quite low for the rest of the week. Moon declination is rising and goes positive again on Wednesday, meaning lengthening Moon windows with the Moon up during the day. This coincides with apogee so path losses will be at their highest.
Aside from EME and satellite operation, keep looking for random meteor scatter QSOs around dawn, when the Earth is rotating towards the main meteor flux, to keep the VHF DX coming.
And that’s all from the propagation team this week.
21/02/2020 | 17:32
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