RSGB GB2RS News Bulletin for December 5th 2021.

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GB2RS News

Sunday the 5th of December 2021

The news headlines:

  • New online EMF calculator from RSGB
  • Sign /2ZE to mark Transatlantic Centenary
  • Centenary stations in ARRL 160m Contest

The RSGB has launched a new version of the Society’s EMF calculator, v11d, that is now available in a new browser-based version as well as the spreadsheet version. The web browser version does not require you to have Excel or another spreadsheet on your computer. It also has several great new features to make compliance checking simpler and quicker. You can find both versions on the RSGB EMF web pages or you can go directly to the new web app via rsgb.org/emccalculator.

This month marks the Centenary of the first amateur radio signals crossing the Atlantic. Signals from the USA were received by Paul Godley, 2ZE, at a specially prepared receiving setup at Ardrossan in Scotland. From the 1st to the 26th of December, all UK and Crown Dependency licensees may add the suffix /2ZE to their amateur callsign to mark the centenary. Learn more on the story at rsgb.org/transatlantic-tests.

The annual ARRL 160m Contest began at 2200UTC on Friday the 3rd of December and ends at 1559UTC today, the 5th. This 42-hour CW-only contest is the most similar to the original Transatlantic Tests. The RSGB is planning to activate special callsigns to commemorate the centenary of the Tests. Stations from the UK and Crown Dependencies will use up to seven different prefixes such as G6XX, GD6XX, GI6XX, GW6XX and so on.

One week later, the ARRL and the RSGB are jointly sponsoring the 160m Transatlantic Centenary QSO Party between 0200 and 0800UTC on the 12th. Stations participating will operate only on CW, trying to contact the two official callsign activations, W1AW and GB2ZE. At times the stations may listen for callers 1kHz above their transmitting frequency, to help those looking for them. They may also periodically ask for DX callers, only. Callsign and signal reports will be exchanged. The GMDX Group will award a quaich, which is a traditional Scottish drinking cup representing friendship, to the first stations in North America and the UK to complete contacts with both W1AW and GB2ZE during the QSO Party. A commemorative certificate will be available for download. Log submissions will not be required from participants. The official logs from W1AW and GB2ZE will be used to determine the winners and for certificates. For more details go to rsgb.org/transatlantic-tests.

It’s not too late to support December YOTA Month 2021. The RSGB has been granted the callsign GB21YOTA, for allocation to youngsters to operate throughout December. To see what operating slots are still available please look up GB21YOTA on QRZ.com. Today, the station will be operated by GM1DSK. On Monday, M0SCY takes over. Next Saturday, G0HRS will operate the station followed by G3EFX on the 12th.

There is also an award programme available for the YOTA event. Work as many YOTA stations on as many bands and modes as possible and be eligible for your Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum award, all of which are issued for free. This programme promotes radio activity on the airwaves and shows that there is and will be activity in the future. Visit events.ham-yota.com for more information about the award rules.

The Bath Based Distance Learning team has processed over 100 expressions of interest for their Intermediate course starting in January. Further details were published in the December RadCom. The closing date for applications is the 15th of December so if you are interested, please contact team leader Steve, G0FUW, for full details and an application form as soon as possible, via email to G0FUW@tiscali.co.uk.

And now for details of rallies and events

Now is the perfect time to let us know your group’s rally or event plans for 2022. Email radcom@rsgb.org.uk with details and we’ll publicise your event for free in RadCom, on GB2RS, and online. If you don’t tell us, we can’t publicise you.

Now the DX news

Ferdy, HB9DSP will be active as 5Z4/HB9DSP from Malindi, Kenya until the 16th of December. He will operate SSB and some FT8 on the 20, 15 and 10m bands. QSL via Logbook of The World and via his home call, with the bureau preferred.

DL2SBY will be active holiday-style from the Dominican Republic until the 14th of December. He will operate CW, FT8 and possibly some SSB as HI7/DL2SBY from Punta Cana, IOTA reference NA-096 and Bayahibe, NA-096. QSL via Logbook of The World, or direct only to home call or Club Log’s OQRS. He no longer uses the bureau.

Harald, DF2WO will be active as XT2AW from Burkina Faso until the 20th of December. He will be operating on all bands and also via QO-100. QSL via M0OXO’s OQRS and Logbook of The World.

DJ6TF and DL7BO will be active as Z21A and Z22O from Harare, Zimbabwe until the 15th of December. They will operate CW, SSB, FT8 and FT4 on 160-10 metres. QSL both calls via DJ6TF.

Now the Special Event news

Special event station GB1002ZE will be operated by Crocodile Rock Amateur Group near Ardrossan. In addition to the radio celebrations, North Ayrshire Council have jointly created an exhibition surrounding this Centenary that will be hosted in the North Ayrshire Heritage Centre, Saltcoats. This exhibition is open until mid-December.

Kilmarnock and Loudoun ARC will operate a commemorative station adjacent to the site of the original transatlantic experiment at Ardrossan. It will be on the air between 1200UTC on the 11th until 1200UTC on the 12th. The station, GS2ZE, will be used for the celebration except for the first hour of the 160m CW QSO Party and it will take part in the message relay as GB2ZE. GM2ZE is also expected to be operational on several bands from the station of Jason, GM7VSB, which is also adjacent to the site of the original Ardrossan experiment. An attempt will be made to re-enact Godley’s original successful reception of transatlantic signals exactly at the same time and date as 100 years ago.

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the historic Transatlantic Tests of December 1921, members of the HB4FR Amateur Radio Club will be active as HB1BCG throughout December. 1BCG was the callsign of the Connecticut station whose message crossed the Atlantic Ocean to be received in Scotland. QSL via HB9ACA.

Now the contest news

When operating in contests, please keep yourself and fellow amateurs safe by following relevant pandemic-related government recommendations. December is a quiet month for contests, indeed there are no RSGB HF contests at all this month.

The ARRL 160m CW contest ends its 42-hour run at 1600UTC today, the 5th. Using CW only on the 160m band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator. W and VE stations also send their ARRL or RAC section info. During the contest, the RSGB will activate special event 1920s vintage callsigns to commemorate the transatlantic tests.

Today, the 5th, sees the 144MHz AFS contest, running from 1000 to 1400UTC. Using all modes on the 2m band, the exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

On Tuesday the 144MHz FM Activity Contest runs from 1900 to 1955UTC. It is followed by the all-mode 144Hz UK Activity Contest from 2000 to 2230UTC. The exchange for both is signal report, serial number and locator.

Thursday sees the all-mode 50MHz UK Activity Contest take place from 2000 to 2230UTC. The exchange is signal report, serial number and locator.

Next weekend the ARRL 10m contest runs from 0000UTC on the 11th to 2359UTC on the 12th. Using CW and phone, the exchange is signal report and serial number, with US and Canadian stations, also sending their State or Province code.

Now the radio propagation report, compiled by G0KYA, G3YLA, and G4BAO on Friday the 3rd of December

The last week was characterised by unsettled geomagnetic conditions, but a reasonable solar flux index of 92, falling to 86. Despite NOAA predicting that the Kp index would be around two, we had an excursion up to five on Tuesday. This was due to an enhanced solar wind stream containing a sector of southward Bz, which kicked up a minor, G1-class geomagnetic storm. The southward direction of the interplanetary magnetic field meant that it could more easily couple with the Earth’s magnetic field, allowing solar plasma to flood it. This continued until the end of Wednesday, with the Kp index finally returning to one on Thursday morning.

Last weekend was the CQ Worldwide CW contest and HF conditions were aided by a very low Kp index. This was beneficial, especially for signals going over the pole. As a result, many stations were able to put the North Pole Contest Group, KL7RA, in Alaska, into their logs on 20 metres, where their signal was reasonably free of polar flutter.

Next week NOAA predicts that the solar flux index will start in the high 80s, but may tail off as the week progresses. Once again it predicts that the Kp index will be around two, but this is very dependent on there being no coronal mass ejections, which could add to the solar wind. A large coronal hole was Earth-facing on Thursday, which could possibly result in an elevated Kp index over the weekend and reduced maximum usable frequencies. Keep an eye on solarham.com for details.

And finally, the darker and longer nights mean the low bands can start to come alive, so don’t ignore 160, 80 and 40 metres.

And now the VHF and up propagation news.

Testing times for antennas during this current spell of unsettled weather, which looks as though it will stay with us through all of the coming week. This means periods of wet and windy weather will bring a hint of rain scatter at times, but effectively rules out any tropo opportunities. Once again, it will be down to the slim chance of aurora and reliable random meteor scatter to liven up VHF operating.

The big Geminids meteor shower with a ZHR of 120+ is underway, but won’t hit its peak until the morning of the 14th of December. Predictions show a ZHR of 150 at peak, as ZHR has shown a slight increase over the last decades. It has reached 140 to 150 in recent years. The Geminids peak is broad, and close-to-peak rates persist for several hours. Expect several days of good meteor scatter activity in the days up to the 14th and expect it to decay fairly quickly after the maximum.

It’s an inconvenient period for EME enthusiasts, especially on the GHz bands, with the current phase of lowest path loss coinciding with the lowest declination continuing. Perigee was last Friday, so path losses will increase as the week progresses. With Moon declination at its minimum today, Moon windows will be short and it will not get above 15 degrees elevation until Wednesday. 144MHz sky temperatures are high during the early part of the week and combined with the low elevation, VHF EME will be a noisy affair. In all, it’s looking like a very good week to try some satellite operation!

And that’s all from the propagation team this week

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