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Tonight is a social informal evening plus Bright Sparks for our younger memebers.

As usual we meet from 7pm at CNS Sixth Form Centre.

 

73, David G7URP

 

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Contest News from somewhere East of Norwich.
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80m Club Championship:

The 80mCC DATA contest (12/02/20), published results are still pending.

Hopefully we'll see the new pecking order before the next event, CW on Thursday 27th February.
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Propagation conditions for inter-G working were poor for the whole data contest.
Strong stations from GM were well clear of the noise and many EU stations became well featured in quite a few logs.
The longer skip propagation was noticed in most parts of the country and generally everyone suffered with lower than usual numbers of contacts.
The number of logs dropped only slightly to 10 logs entered for BOUDICA and 9 logs for NELSON - not too far, still a good balance, but then not every station has a set-up for RTTY/PSK.
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I've had an attempt at crystal ball gazing again based on the RAW numbers of QSOs.
It looks like Nelson will have yet another 'Victory' (pun!) and with only one arm!
Normalising the RAW scores against the leaders in each of the sections, 10W/100W and Assisted/Unassisted, the top three stations in the General Category appear to be:
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De Montfort University ARS 4460 points with 11 logs. +37.7% more than Nelson.
Norfolk ARC NELSON 3240 points with 9 logs. +17.9% more than Boudica.
Norfolk ARC BOUDICA 2748 points with 10 logs. 492 points behind Nelson.
Time for Boudica's lot to lay off the mead and slap on some more woad !
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As a comparison, if the two raw NARC scores were combined then De Montfort would have been 25.5% behind us in Data.
All said, there could be double bonus points available for contacting GM6XX on both modes which could effectively add an extra 8 QSOs to some already very low scores.
My log of 17 Qs will become 25 scored, unless it attracts UBNs and Penalties.
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It may be quite a different picture when the official results are published.
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The Contest Net still runs every Friday evening at 2000utc on 145.250MHz for anyone needing help and guidance setting up for N1MM+ Logger and getting started in RTTY/PSK or just doing on-air tests to blow the cobwebs out of their data interfaces.
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Coming to your shack soon:
80m CC CW - Thursday 27th February.
80m CC DATA - Monday 2nd March (just 4 days after the CW).
80m CC CW - Wednesday 11th March.
80m CC SSB - Thursday 26th March.
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RSGB AFS Contests Update:
432MHz AFS (February 2nd 2020) - no entry.
However, overall in the Super League NARC have surprisingly maintained a 5th position in the Local Category, largely due to the 4 strong entries in the HF AFS events.
We may drop a few more places because we are waiting for the adjudication for the 432MHz AFS and then AFS Super League will be complete for the 2019/20 season.
The new 2020/21 Series begins on 20th September 2020 with the 70MHz(4m) AFS followed on 18th October with the 50MHz(6m)AFS. We shall again enter in the Local Category, unless it is decided to move to General before the first event in September.
For next year much more interest in the VHF events would be very welcome.
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Something for the Weekend:
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The 2020 CQ WW 160m SSB Contest, starting 2200utc on Friday 21st February and ending 2200utc on Sunday 23rd February. Rules at:
https://cq160.com/rules.htm
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Also on the same weekend is the REF SSB contest from France, rules below:
http://concours.r-e-f.org/reglements/actuels/reg_cdfhf_dx.pdf
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A useful calendar of other contests can be found here in Bruce's (WA7BNM) weekly listings:
https://www.contestcalendar.com/weeklycont.php#9858
Always download and study the rules.
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Monday 17th February was the first of nine RSGB FT4 Contests on 80m.
85 logs were submitted, which could mean that this form of contesting may become more popular than RTTY and PSK.
The next FT4 event will be on Monday 16th March 2020.
Rules at:
https://www.rsgbcc.org/hf/
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VHF UK Activity Contests.
Tuesday 3rd March is the 144MHz UKAC.
Tuesday 10th March is the 432MHz UKAC.
Thursday 12th March is the 50MHz UKAC.
Thursday 19th March is the 70MHz UKAC.
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73 John G8VPE
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HF News

The week got off to a good start with the ARRL CW DX contest. Contacts into the western US States from the UK, including California, Washington and Colorado, were all possible.

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 should be on the air sometime this weekend.

This may be a difficult path, but Predtest.uk 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.

VHF and up

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.

ENDS

A full week this time with several bits of news.
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First a report from Jim on his class of 25wpm beginners!

telegraphiste

25wpm Beginners CW week7 report
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We have reached week 7 of the 25wpm beginners morse on the repeater GB3NB on Tuesday evenings 8-9pm. This week there were six call-ins plus two apologies for absence. I know some may feel that it is very difficult and become downcast about their form on any given week, but remember this is the early first steps part of the course. This week you were introduced to the letters O, L and I plus , and /

In three weeks we will be doing revision and cementing all the letters, figures and punctuation. This will be the start of a long period of steady gains when you use everything often enough to start recognising things on the bands. I know this seems a long way off, but its coming up fast and soon the CW ends of the bands will start to make sense.

Your job now is to go to work in-between the weekly sessions on GB3NB. You must start to revise the characters in your own time. Please do this as a matter of urgency, because it will shape the rest of the course. Focus on one week at a time, and practice the characters until you are familiar with them, for example using the very fine CW Player software. Here are some notes from a previous newsletter on setting it up.

CW PLAYER

f6dqm.free.fr/soft/cwplayer/en/cwp

This French program by F6DQM is very realistic for simulated QSOs with fading (QSB) and drifting signals etc., but we’re not at that stage yet. The quiz function is where we need to be and allows you to practice a given set of characters.
The window on the right displays the current lesson which starts as one of the many that are preloaded. However, if you click inside the window you can then change to your own list of characters. I suggest you set up a lesson for each week, so lesson 1 becomes CNQ59 and when saved can be used as a random set and it even scores your work and shows you which letters need more practice. Not only that, but as the interaction is via the keyboard, it improves your typing skills at the same time.

So I strongly recommend that you give it a try on your PC and go back through all the weeks so far, creating a lesson for each one. You can also create a combined lesson using all the characters covered, but initially, give each week a go first, separately.

So, before next week, treat yourself to a little practice, try to cover all the weeks so far and if possible allow 15mins per week of characters. This means that you have a mere 3 hours (30mins/day) to cover the 6 weeks of material. This shows how important it is to do regular practice at this stage of events, don’t skimp this bit.

Email me if you have any problems or queries. 25wpm CW from a standing start is never an easy option, but nobody is going to be left behind and Roger has said he would eat his hat if we make this work…. think you know how much I’m relying upon you!

73 de Jim
g3yla

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Many of you will remember Les M0UMH from a few years ago. Les spent couple of years on a longboat on the canals but has now settled in the hebrides, as MM0UMH. However, as he used to be in our GB2CW classes, I thought I would share his email so you can see how his perseverance and practice has paid off.
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Hi Roger.
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Since I received your reply, I have seen VE listed on the internet as "understood" which, I think is the context I heard it in. In other words, the other party to the QSO is using it to say they have understood my transmission.
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"VE ...-. understood, correctly received, German: verstanden" at https://www.eucw.org/op/en/prosigns.html
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I wonder if I was working German stations when I heard it?
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It all goes to add to the fascination of CW anyway.
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I have set myself the target of getting at least a hundred CW QSOs in the log every month in 2020 and am already up to 97 for February. I know that won't seem like a big number to you, but it gives me a target to aim for and keeps me going. CW is the only mode I use now and I can't really see any great skill in just picking up a mike. I've intentionally not configured my rig and pc for data modes at the moment as I fear that it would distract me from keeping up my CW.
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And yes, I have stopped using my "This is my first CW QSO" script (Well remembered you! ) as I felt I could only get away with it for so long. :-) If you check out my MM0UMH QRZ page, you will see that I now blame my dodgy CW on the fumes from the local distillery.
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Life in the Hebrides is very peaceful and when the rest of the world seems to be going to Hell in a handcart, it's rather comforting to be a two hour ferry trip from the mainland and to live on an island with ten distilleries. It also means that I am a little bit exotic to work, especially for IOTA chasers who need EU-008 and a couple of times recently I have had mini pile-ups on my hands.
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Do remember me to Malcolm. I know I was very lucky to have you both teaching me when I took up with CW.

73 Les MM0UMH

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BOOTCAMP Fame is spreading!
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Since Jim organised the piece in Radcom each month, he received this email from over the big pond!
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Hi Jim
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I am Dr. Scott Wright, K0MD and Editor of the National Contest Journal, the ARRL Contesting publication. I am also a RSGB and CW Ops member - a real CW aficionado. I saw your article on CW Bootcamps in the recent RADCOM. These sound intriguing and powerful.
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Would you share an outline of the curriculum so we can promote something like this among contest clubs in the USA?
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I might want to try one in my local community. I am copying two of our local contest club leaders so they can be made more aware of what you are doing also.
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Thank you Scott, K0MD
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BOOTCAMP is Sunday April 19th.
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The mention of the torture chamber did not deter anybody! I now have ten people booked in. If you decide to join them:
Email me to reserve a place in the torture chamber! This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Still room for a few more!
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MARCONI DAY
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As usual Marconi Day takes place at the Caister-on-Sea Lifeboat Station. The date is Saturday April 25th. For those that don't know:
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IMD is a 24 hour amateur radio event that is held annually to celebrate the birth of Marconi on 25 April 1874. The event is usually held on the Saturday closest to Marconi's birthday and in 2020 it will be held on 25th April, Marconi's birthday.
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Although predominantly a CW event, for obvious reasons, SSB and Data are also used. We normally have 2 stations running simultaneously, both using the Call GB0CMS. There is a schedule for operating, so if you wish to book a time, please contact steve G0KYA, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and he will book a slot for you. We have a fun day, lunch at the cafe, lots of banter and chat and you can go for a walk along the beach, and even go for a swim if you are brave enough!
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Fancy taking a test?

 YOU can do so in absoute privacy. You won't get a Certificate, but it would be great practice in examination conditions.Click on the link and have a read. You will find an MP3 file that you can click on and run at 20wpm. Other speeds are available.

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  https://www.kb6nu.com/can-you-pass-the-old-20-wpm-code-test/

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Headcopy Class is going well.
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Some groups are proving to be difficult, mostly due to memory recall than copying ability. Interestingly when I ask individually to repeat what I sent, normally the last in he list has a job with recall, so I have taken to varying the order and that seems to help. However, it is all good Practice, that Big P word again!
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So, join us at 1000 on Monday mornings and have some fun.
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Great to see the support that Paul M1AFQ is receiving at the Club with his Morse in the Computer Room practice sessions. Try it! It really is fun.
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73 de Roger, G3LDI GB2CW Coordinator. May the Morse be with you.
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NARC runs its first Foundation Course for 2020 on March 21st, 28th and April 4th and booking is now open with a limited number of spaces available.

To secure your place contact Exam secretary David G7URP by email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and he will send you the booking form. Please pass this on to anyone you think may be looking for a course.

Be quick - limited places!

 

NARC Training Team

 

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Contest News from somewhere East of Norwich.
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80m Club Championship:

The 80mCC SSB contest results have now been published, the first event of the 2020 Club Championship Series.

In the internal NARC battle it was first blood to NELSON over BOUDICA, but not by an enormous margin at 3364 points to 3084 points, a difference of 280 points or +8.3%.

The teams appear to be quite evenly balanced with 11 logs from each, the relative positions of the two may or may not change after the next contest which is DATA.

Band conditions were quite poor to begin with on that first Monday night, but towards the end inter-G propagation did improve.

But we are still in winter, Spring and the later Sunset usually heralds easier 80m inter-G operation in these evening events, once we are into March (we hope!).

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In the GENERAL section it was a predictable runaway win for De Montfort University ARS, their 12 logs gained them 5280 points, 57% more than the second placed contest team, Norfolk ARC NELSON.

The efforts of both of the NARC teams achieved very good results with NELSON in 2nd and BOUDICA in 3rd places.

As predicted last week, the Three As CG with only 3 logs made it to 4th place, followed by Bristol CG and Verulam ARC.

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Incidentally, if the two NARC scores had been combined then the De Montfort University team would have been in second place, but only 18% behind, not a large difference at this early stage of the competition, something which could easily be overturned.
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Wednesday 12th February was the next 80m CC event, DATA (PSK63/RTTY only).
Propagation conditions for inter-G working were indescribably poor for the whole contest, the foF2 critical frequency reported by the Propquest website failed to reach above 3.5MHz for the duration of the contest.
This meant that the skip distance was longer than ideal for a UK localised contest, but signals from a few active GM stations were quite strong and well clear of the noise and many EU stations became good targets for gaining QSOs.
Analysing my own miserable log I worked 7 EU stations (PA, DL, SM and LB), 4 GMs and only 6 G stations !
The moans and groans about the lousy propagation were abundant and just a glance at the claimed scores shows that most parts of the country suffered with lower than normal numbers of contacts.
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Looking at "NARC wars", the number of logs dropped only slightly to 10 logs entered for BOUDICA and 9 logs for NELSON - not too far, still a good balance, but then not every station has a set-up for RTTY/PSK.
It is too early yet to make any definitive predictions since the entry deadline is not until 23:59:59utc on Thursday night, which is later than the deadline for content in this newsletter.
Looking at just RAW total numbers of QSOs, it appears that even with only 9 logs NELSON has a tally of 260 Qs to BOUDICA's 214 Qs. Could this be another win for NELSON?
It is unknown how many entrants worked the bonus station GM6XX and if worked on both RTTY and PSK63 then it will count for a double bonus which could have a marked effect on the final scores between both teams. Not forgetting our old enemy the UBNs and Penalties of course.
We shall see how divided it is becoming when the official results become available.
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There is nearly a two week gap until Thursday 27th February for the first CW event of the 80m CC series, hoping that propagation will be more conducive to inter-G working.
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The Contest Net still runs every Friday evening at 2000utc on 145.250MHz for anyone needing help and guidance setting up for N1MM+ Logger and getting started in RTTY/PSK or just doing on-air tests to blow the cobwebs out of their data interfaces.
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RSGB AFS Contests Update:
Since last week's news we have at long last had published results for the 144MHz AFS contest, which surprisingly shows NARC with a better score than expected - not ridiculously low for only two log entries when most other clubs had full teams of four.
Declared results so far for NARC in the RSGB AFS Super League:
70MHz AFS (September 2019) - no entry.
50MHz AFS (October 2019) 23rd place.
144MHz AFS (December 2019) 24th place.
Club Calls 1.8MHz AFS (November 2019) 6th place.
CW AFS 4th place.
SSB AFS 5th place.
DATA AFS 5th place.
432MHz AFS (February 2nd 2020) - no entry.
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However, overall in the Super League NARC have still maintained a 5th position in the Local Category, largely due to the 4 strong entries in the HF AFS events. We may drop a few more places because we are waiting for the adjudication for the 432MHz AFS and then AFS Super League will be over for the 2019/20 season.
The new 2020/21 Series begins on 20th September 2020 with the 70MHz(4m) AFS followed on 18th October with the 50MHz(6m)AFS. We shall again enter in the Local Category, unless it is decided to move to General before the first event in September.
For next year much more interest in the VHF events would be very welcome.
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Something for the Weekend:
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ARRL INTERNATIONAL DX CW Contest, starting 0000utc on Saturday 15th February and ending 2359utc on Sunday 16th February. Operation on all contest bands 160m to 10m, not WARC bands.
This may be a good opportunity if you're chasing the Worked All States Award, especially for the Mountain States like Montana, Idaho or Wyoming which are not heard as often as the Eastern Coastal States.
DX stations work only W/VE and W/VE stations work only other DXCC entities (not each other), so they'll be looking out for YOU, if propagation permits.
Rules at:
http://www.arrl.org/arrl-dx
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Russian PSK WW Contest organised by the Russian Digital Radio Club RDRC.
Starts 1200utc on 15th February and ends 1159utc on 16th February.
Operation will be using BPSK31, BPSK63 and BPSK125 on 160m through to 10m, except WARC.
Advisory frequency limits to operate are detailed in the rules at the link below.
Rules at:
http://www.rdrclub.ru/russian-ww-psk-contest/49-rus-ww-psk-rules
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A useful calendar of other contests can be found here in Bruce's (WA7BNM) weekly listings:
https://www.contestcalendar.com/weeklycont.php#9858
Always download and study the rules.
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Monday 17th February is the first of nine RSGB FT4 Contests on 80m.
Rules at:
https://www.rsgbcc.org/hf/
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VHF UK Activity Contests.
Thursday 13th February is the 6m (50MHz) UKAC.
Thursday 20th February is the 4m (70MHz) UKAC.
Tuesday 3rd March is the 144MHz UKAC.
Tuesday 10th March is the 432MHz UKAC.
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Last weekend:
I had an enjoyable time casually giving a few points away in the RSGB 1st 1.8MHz contest (CW), lots of good signals on 160m.
In the PACC contest I worked a few Dutch stations in CW for their PACC contest mainly on 80m and 160m, just one of the 12 Provinces, Flevoland, eluded me but I scored 11 multipliers on each of 160m & 80m.
The remainder of the weekend was dominated by the CQ WPX RTTY contest, propagation on other than the 80m and 40m bands made high scoring very difficult, but I did manage to contact a few unusual prefixes out of those that were active on the bands.
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73 until next week.
John G8VPE
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NARC Training 2020

Amateur Radio Training with NARC

Training is very important to NARC because we realise this is how new people come into the hobby and attain their Foundation, Intermediate and Advance Amateur Radio licenses.
We are pleased to offer courses which are based on demand and our programme of other events and activities. To register your interest for a course and exam please email your name and contact details, together with which level of training course you are waiting for,  to the Club Exam Secretary David Palmer G7URP: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Club meetings...

The club meets virtually every Wednesday throughout the year in the sixth form centre of the City of Norwich School, Eaton Road, Norwich, NR4 6PP from 1900-2130.

We welcome anyone of any age, gender or ability and who enjoys experimenting with radio and electronics to come and meet us and see what we do in our hobby.

Please see above ONLINE tab for details of the club programme and below this piece for contacts of club officials.

 

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