RSGB CC Data

HF News

Interest in the VP8PJ DXpedition to the South Orkney Islands remains high. The team has now been on the island for one week and many UK amateurs have worked them.

At the moment it looks like beams and linears are the norm for a reliable contact, although they have been heard in the UK on 17 and 20 metres FT8 at -10db SNR in the afternoon using just loft-mounted dipoles.

As they work their way through the pile ups more opportunities to work them may become available. They are currently due to remain on the island until March 5th.

As always, the point-to-point facility at rsgb.org/predtest will give you an indication of the best times to work VP8PJ from the UK.

Conditions have been quite settled with the Kp index moving between one and zero. The Sun continues to remain spotless with a solar flux index of 71.

As this report is being prepared there are two small coronal holes on the Sun that are rotating into an Earth-facing position. If these develop they could cause the Kp index to rise this weekend due to their associated high-speed solar wind streams.

This may result in a pre-auroral HF enhancement.

Otherwise, NOAA predicts the Kp index may rise again to four on March the 4th and 5th, presumably due to a returning coronal hole.

We are now heading towards the Spring equinox, which is a good time for north-south HF contacts.

With the Commonwealth Contest on Saturday the 14th of March this may be a good time to try as you won’t have any competition from continental contesters.

VHF and up

It feels like 'groundhog day' for the VHF/UHF propagation prospects with another week of unsettled weather on the way. There are likely to be several occasions when low pressure systems pass by northern Britain, thus bringing strong winds to Scotland again, but with some windier spells in the south too, though mostly not as strong.

The principal outcome of this weather pattern is that it leaves no room for high pressure to develop over the UK and therefore no chance of Tropo for yet another week.

As before, that means that potential exists for some rain scatter activity on the GHz bands using the heavy rain, hail and snow as good scatter points. Sometimes individually from fast-moving small shower clouds, but also from larger areas like active weather fronts making it easier to latch onto the scattering area.

The upper air patterns continue to show strong ‘winter’ jet streams nearby or over the country, so this leads to the slim chance of ‘out-of-season’ sporadic E on 10m and 6m, especially if using the digital modes and, if forced to pick a favoured direction, it would probably be south towards EA and CT.

Moon declination reaches maximum mid week and path losses are falling with perigee a week on Tuesday, so a good week for EME. 144 MHz sky noise reaches 500K on Tuesday, but is generally low for most of the rest of the week. There are no meteor showers peaking in the coming week, so keep looking for random meteor scatter QSOs around dawn.

It feels like 'groundhog day' for the VHF/UHF propagation prospects with another week of unsettled weather on the way. There are likely to be several occasions when low pressure systems pass by northern Britain, thus bringing strong winds to Scotland again, but with some windier spells in the south too, though mostly not as strong.

The principal outcome of this weather pattern is that it leaves no room for high pressure to develop over the UK and therefore no chance of Tropo for yet another week.

As before, that means that potential exists for some rain scatter activity on the GHz bands using the heavy rain, hail and snow as good scatter points. Sometimes individually from fast-moving small shower clouds, but also from larger areas like active weather fronts making it easier to latch onto the scattering area.

The upper air patterns continue to show strong ‘winter’ jet streams nearby or over the country, so this leads to the slim chance of ‘out-of-season’ sporadic E on 10m and 6m, especially if using the digital modes and, if forced to pick a favoured direction, it would probably be south towards EA and CT.

Moon declination reaches maximum mid week and path losses are falling with perigee a week on Tuesday, so a good week for EME. 144 MHz sky noise reaches 500K on Tuesday, but is generally low for most of the rest of the week.

There are no meteor showers peaking in the coming week, so keep looking for random meteor scatter QSOs around dawn.

25wpm CW Week8 Report

telegraphiste

.Nearly there folks, we have got just five more letters to do, then its time for continuous practice sessions. This week there were seven call-ins plus at least two secret listeners.

Progress is good and we added the letters K, J and H plus . ? = as the last three punctuations. As mentioned in all these lessons so far, the real work is done by your time spent practicing and its now a case of looking back at all the previous weeks. I do hope that you are able to give some time to this because it will make a world of difference to your enjoyment of CW.

You know the drill; practice the letters/figures and punctuation using CWPlayer or any program that gets you to identify a letter on the keyboard upon hearing the sound. As a reward give yourself some time on the CW end of the bands to see if anything seems familiar.

We are going to be looking at abbreviations a lot in the coming weeks. These are important because most QSOs are 75% abbreviations, so its very important to get them into your memory bank of sounds. One way of attacking this can be trying to send the abbreviation using a paddle or straight key and using the common CW readers to see how well you’ve done it. Once you have spent 10mins sending a phrase, it becomes firmly fixed… try it.

Either way, practice is the word. We don’t want Roger to turn down the cooker where his hat is simmering gently, do we?

 73 de Jim
g3yla

Comment from the bad cop:
.
My hat is still on simmer! Now the call for constant practice each day will sort the men from the boys!
But hey, great to see you stick the course thus far! Good luck with the practice, but remember, it does tak time,so don't expect instant results.

.

BOOTCAMP is Sunday April 19th.
.
The mention of the torture chamber did not deter anybody! I now have eleven 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!
.

 

MARCONI DAY

morsekey2
.
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:
.
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.
.
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!
Incidentally, I have set up a tentative sked with Ian VK3MO. If he can't make it with his antenna nobody can!
.

Headcopy Class is going well.
.
Some groups are proving to be difficult, mostly due to memory recall than copying ability.
E I S H and 5 are causing a bit of grief, but the thing to remember here is that you are very unlikely to hear those in one group at any time! It is merely to concentrate the mind on patterns. So don't despair, even the most skilled have problems with groups like this.
However, it is all good Practice, that Big P word again!
.
So, join us at 1000 on Monday mornings and have some fun.
===============================

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The K9YA Telegraph
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K9YA publishes an interesting Newsletter on CW matters. You can subscribe to it with this link:
.
mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/k9ya_telegraph
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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.
.

 

.
Contest News from somewhere East of Norwich.
.
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.
.

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.
.
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:
.
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 !
.
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.
.
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.
.
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.
.
.
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
.
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/
.
.
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.
.
73 John G8VPE
.
.

 

 

 

 

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

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

telegraphiste

25wpm Beginners CW week7 report
.

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

---------------------------------------------------
.
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.
.
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.
.
"VE ...-. understood, correctly received, German: verstanden" at https://www.eucw.org/op/en/prosigns.html
.
I wonder if I was working German stations when I heard it?
.
It all goes to add to the fascination of CW anyway.
.
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.
.
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.
.
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

========================
.
BOOTCAMP Fame is spreading!
.
Since Jim organised the piece in Radcom each month, he received this email from over the big pond!
.

Hi Jim
.
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.
.
Would you share an outline of the curriculum so we can promote something like this among contest clubs in the USA?
.
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.
.
Thank you Scott, K0MD
.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

BOOTCAMP is Sunday April 19th.
.
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!
.

 

MARCONI DAY
.
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:
.
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.
.
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!
.

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.

.

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

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Headcopy Class is going well.
.
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!
.
So, join us at 1000 on Monday mornings and have some fun.
.

.
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.
.
73 de Roger, G3LDI GB2CW Coordinator. May the Morse be with you.
.