What is Amateur Radio?

HF News

Sunspot group 2699 threw a surprise last week when it unleashed a C-class solar flare and a coronal mass ejection. While we have got used to having coronal hole activity, CMEs have been less prevalent over the last few months.

The CME and a coronal hole solar wind stream were predicted to reach Earth by Thursday February 15th.

NOAA said the combined effects could generate minor (G1) storming at higher latitudes with a chance for isolated (G2) storming as well, and issued an aurora alert for high latitudes.

The ACE spacecraft showed an increase in both solar wind density and speed from about 8am on Thursday, but ionospheric effects appeared minimal. But the full effects were seen later on Thursday evening when the K index rose to four.

NOAA predicts that next week the solar flux index will fall back to around 70, due to a lack of new sunspots. Geomagnetic conditions may be unsettled at the beginning of the week due to the ongoing effects of the CME, but should be more settled later in the week.

The maximum usable band over a 3,000km path still tends to be 17 metres, with occasional openings on 15 metres and higher.

Daytime critical frequencies are still around 5MHz, so 40 metres is still mostly closed to the UK during the day. Nighttime critical frequencies are mostly in the range 2-3MHz, so again 80 metres closes to UK contacts after dark.

VHF and up

The return of high pressure means that Tropo will play a part this week. Conditions should be good across the southern half of Britain and well into the continent at times. Models show some hint that more disturbed weather could bring it to a close later next week.

There is some talk of a sudden stratospheric warming, which changes the stratospheric flow to look more like a summer pattern. There is a thought that this can lead to out of season Es, and therefore well worth checking the clusters for activity on 28 and 50MHz.

You can keep an eye on digimodes activity on 50 and 144MHz by monitoring the operational frequencies for the different digital modes.

Just use Google or look at posts on dxmaps.com to find these frequencies. This can act as a good real time guide for propagation, but remember to call CQ on the bands even if it seems quiet.

If you don’t transmit, you won’t work the DX!

Moon declination goes positive this Monday and path losses will fall all week, as the Moon comes closer. This will give steadily improving EME conditions as the week progresses.

This week we have a talk from Cezar Tifu VE3LYC giving a brief overview of expeditions carried out to bring on the air a few rare island locations throughout the world for the Islands on the Air (IOTA) Programme - coming to us live from Canada via Skype!

As well as this, voting is open for Speaker of the Year 2017 and nominations welcomed for officers and committee to run your club from the AGM in April - could you make a difference? Whether they are specifically mentioned or not they will be available every week until just before the AGM - just ask if you do not see them.

We are also asking for suggestions for a good cause which can be NARCs adopted charity of the year. Please send suggestions to David G7URP - they will be put to the membership and voted on at the AGM.

Please note that 2018 subs are now overdue - please renew at the club or online using the details on the home page of the website or your membership will lapse.

QCX kits are also ready for collection - they can be collected from David G7URP after the talk please.

73 de Mark G0LGJ

Contest Net is still on Friday evenings 145.250MHz at 2000 local time. Any questions, problems, comments or offers of money, just call in! You will be most welcome!
Great Data evening for logs, not so good for propagation however! A few regulars were missing, but even so NARC still managed 20 logs and it looks like we will be in a good place when the results come out.
Next Thursday evening is the CW leg, so hopefully the band will have settled down a bit. We look forward to seeing YOUR log in for that one too! Don't forget to be on early to ensure that everything works as it should.
NOTICE: The WA7BNM Contest Calendar has permanently moved to: http://www.contestcalendar.com/ Please update any links to the calendar.
The web versions of this contest calendar can be found at: http://www.contestcalendar.com/ You can also access a text version of the weekly calendar at: http://www.contestcalendar.com/weeklycal.txt
Other Contests:
VHF/UHF from the East.
I noticed an anomaly with VHF_B4RTTY N1MM+ contest set-up module during the recent 50MHz UKAC, the total cumulative score was increasing much too rapidly.
The problem with the claimed score was due to "new grid" multipliers being applied to claimed scores as well as the 500 points bonus for new grid squares.
This resulted in grossly inflated score totals in real time to be displayed at the bottom right corner of the Entry Window.
Since then I've been in correspondence with Les G4OGGB, the author ​of the N1MM+ UDCs for VHF contesting.
Consequently a new update to the VHF_B4RTTY contest setup module for 2018 UKACs has been issued by Les.
The updated UDC is part of RSGBVHF.ZIP on the N1MM+ website - dated 14 February 2018.
Extract the ZIP to your [......\Documents\N1MMLogger+\UserDefinedContests ] folder.
A help file for this was printed in the NARC Newsletter of 29th December 2017 - previous newsletters are archived on the club website.
Previous UKAC logs uploaded to the RSGB Contest Robot were corrected anyway, since the robot re-scores all logs. But, if you make use of the running score total then you'll need the updated VHF_B4RTTY.udc
80metre Club Championship.
The first SSB session held on 05/02/18 was off to a cracking good start.
18 logs were submitted from club members containing 1098 QSOs.
We gained 5774 points putting us in 1st place, 1131 points clear of our nearest rivals De Montfort University ARS.
UBNs again..... moan!
Club members collected a total of 34 UBNs plus 24 penalty points, a total of 58 Lost QSOs which translates as a potential 302 points down the plug hole.
In comparison De Montfort only lost a total of 20 QSOs.
A rule addition for this year is that contact with RSGB station G6XX (or GM6XX) gains 5 points for that contact, the equivalent gift of working 4 extra QSOs for no effort.
It is well worth watching out for that station, especially to those who tune the band in S&P mode.
10 club stations managed to work GM6XX in the SSB contest, gaining a useful bonus equivalent of 40 extra QSOs in total.
80m band propagation conditions were dire for inter-G working on Wednesday 14th Feb in the 80mCC DATA contest, local stations were struggling to work each other, but the longer skip distances meant many more GMs and EU stations were workable from Norfolk (a pity it wasn't scored as 1pt/km).
The poor conditions meant that most operators favoured RTTY over PSK63, but in RTTY GM6XX was an easy one to get in the bag for the extra bonus again.
NARC participants entered 20 logs for the DATA contest but only a total of 565 QSOs (half of the SSB total), which reflects the abysmal condx.
AFS Super League.
We are still waiting for the results of the 432MHz AFS and then will discover our final placing in the 2017/2018 AFS Super League.
73 John G8VPE
That's it for this time. 73 de Roger, G3LDI



Make a New Year's resolution to learn something! CW is a great choice.
You can't learn properly unless you join the class. Whichever class it is, it will not broadcast to fresh air. Raw beginners is just what it says. It matters not if you don't know one letter of Morse, JOIN THE CLASS if you want to learn.
It is with pleaseure that I can announce that Phill G4NZQ has taken on the role of Morse Test Coordinator with the RSGB. Hopefully this will mean a very useful liason with the RSGB and I am sure you all join me in wishing Phill lots of success with his new post.

                                                      p brooks G4NZQ                                                   

The schedule for Morse tuition locally is:
1000 - 1100 Coffee Break Morse with Chris G4CCX on 145.250MHz
1900 - 2000 Raw Beginners with Roger G3LDI on 145.250MHz
2000 - 2100 Intermediates with Jim G3YLA on 145.250MHz
1000 - 1100 Coffee Break Morse with Chris G4CCX on GB3NB
2000 - 2100 Advanced Class with Malcolm G3PDH on 145.250MHz
The Tuesday class is well attended, as is the Thursday class on GB3NB.
Besides these schedules, it will also be possible to learn on line using Skype. Classes will be held using that medium in the near future. Let me know if you are interested.
73 de Roger, G3LDI GB2CW Coordinator. May the Morse be with you.

I am pleased to tell you that our 50 QCX kits have made their journey from Japan and Turkey and I will start distributing them from tonight, Wednesday 14th February, from between 8pm to 9pm (the first hour to give me a chance to sort out other club things and prepare kits with the extras I have bought in to go with them as I will not have time during the day).


I realise that not everyone who has ordered will be there tonight because of contest or other commitments, but this is fine and they will be available most Wednesdays going forwards. You may also pick your kit up from my DCP works premises reception on a weekday if preferred by prior arrangement by email only please as they will normally be stored at home.


While writing this I am reminded that our home construction competition is in 2 weeks time on 28th February, and although the very last thing you should be doing is rushing assembly of this kit it would make a nice entry and display to this annual contest.


I will also be including a printout with details of where to download instructions, online forum plus a useful FAQ guide written by Steve and Jim which will help you get started and know what to watch with assembly.


73, David G7URP

PS, for those that complained last week I will remember to bring the biscuits for teas and coffees this week! Sorry.