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Well, we’ve had another week with zero sunspots, but we did have a geomagnetic disturbance. This was caused by the frozen-in Bz magnetic field of the high-speed solar wind stream going very negative. This means it can couple more easily with the Earth’s magnetic field allowing plasma to flood in.

At its peak, the stream’s speed was more than 450 kilometres per second and this pushed the Kp index to four on Tuesday the 16th.

Otherwise, the highlight of the week was probably the CQWW RTTY contest last weekend. Chris G0DWV reports that conditions were not brilliant, but he did manage more than 1300 QSOs from his well-equipped station. Highlights included Wesley N7US in Arizona on 80m at midnight and Peter VK4ZP in Queensland, Australia on 20 metres at 1230hrs.

Winter Sporadic E seems to be in decline now. We’ve only spotted Spain on 10 metres twice this week. So until the main 2021 Es season starts again in late April/early May it looks like it will be F2 layer DX only on the upper HF bands.

Next week NOAA predicts the solar flux index will be in the range 71-76, so nothing to get too excited about.

A recurrent, coronal hole high-speed stream with negative polarity is forecast for 20th or 21st February. This is from a large solar coronal hole on the Sun’s equator.

As the solar wind is predicted to have a south-facing Bz component we may expect the Kp index to react strongly. NOAA predicts the Kp index could rise to at least four, although on the coronal hole’s last rotation the Kp peaked at five on January 25th.

Look out for any potential pre-auroral opening on the higher HF bands as the solar wind speed increases. Otherwise, expect the maximum usable frequency to decrease as a geomagnetic storm commences.

At the time of writing the data feed from the Chilton ionosonde is not available on Propquest.co.uk, but just click to select data from the RAF Fairford or Dourbes Digisonde, refresh and all will be well.

VHF and up

This is probably a good week to increase your satellite square count as the weather charts suggest that the unsettled pattern will continue. There’s just the slightest hint of a developing high over southern Britain at the end of next week.

Rain will produce the opportunity for GHz Bands rainscatter at times, and there will be some heavier showers in the mix. It's possible there may be some hail and thunder in the heavier ones, which gives better quality for the scatter users.

The Tropo prospects aren’t great, but at least there is a possibility at the end of next week into the near continent from southern areas.

As we said earlier, we are now in the dormant period for Sporadic-E, so unless it's a rare digital mode QSO, things will probably remain quiet until we are into April for CW and SSB contacts.

Moon declination reaches maximum on Monday so we have long moon visibility windows with high peak Moon elevation. Apogee was last week so path losses continue to fall.

There are no major meteor showers until mid-March, so pre-dawn continues to be the best time for random meteor scatter contacts.

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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

 CLUB MEETINGS - NARC Live!

During the current Covid-19 pandemic when the club cannot physically meet, the club now broadcasts its own magazine show NARC Live! every Wednesday with news, features and guests.
It is streamed online live from 19.30 BST at the following places:

• Facebook Live:
www.facebook.com/norfolkamateurradioclub/

• BATC Streaming service:
www.batc.org.uk/live/NARC

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 official.

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