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HF News

Last week was not very good for HF propagation with the effects of an enormous solar coronal hole, and its associated high-speed solar wind, sending the K index soaring.

There were, however, some upsides. The initial positive phase of a geomagnetic storm saw maximum useable frequencies rise to more than 21 MHz during the afternoon and early evening of Sunday 7th October.

These positive phases are very hard to predict, but it is always worth checking as a rise in the solar wind speed and pressure, coupled with a southward facing Bz or interplanetary magnetic field, can be signals that something is about to happen, often before the three-hourly K index changes.

The propagation charts at g0kya.blogspot.com include near real-time output from the ACE spacecraft that can show these effects or go to solarham.com.

HF conditions this weekend may be unsettled again. Another large equatorial coronal hole is moving across as the Sun rotates and became Earth-facing on Thursday. This means we may expect unsettled geomagnetic conditions from perhaps Saturday 13th.

According to NOAA, conditions may again become unsettled on Thursday the 18th through to Saturday the 20th.

Barring any surprises, we will likely see no sunspots this week with the solar flux index hovering around 69.

Unfortunately, this will probably remain the pattern for the next few months, although now we are into October we are seeing more DX available when conditions allow. Kenneth TT8KO in Chad has been a strong CW signal on 15 metres at times, although the E6Y DXpedition on Niue in the South Pacific has proved a little more elusive for many.

VHF and up

This is going to be a much more autumnal week with the best of the recent Tropo having declined by now. That leaves us with predominantly low pressure near or just to the north of the British Isles and at times rather windy weather, especially in the north of the country.

Tropo will not be so likely next week, but there may be options for rain scatter perhaps, but we are not very convinced that this would be a major outcome.

I guess it's a good time to check the antennas before the winter gales become the norm and perhaps try your luck on the VHF/UHF frequencies in case of any short Tropo or rain-scatter events. Or why not make a winter resolution to learn Morse for the UHF and Gigahertz bands or perhaps set up your station for digital modes where such QSOs can make use of bands that may be dead or marginal to voice modes.

The Moon is at minimum declination tomorrow and at apogee on Wednesday so a poor week for EME with short, low-elevation passes and high losses.

October continues to produce meteor showers with the Eta - Geminids, a small one, peaking on Thursday followed by the Orionids a week today. But neither are much to get excited about due to low meteor rates.

Our 2 yearly Advance examination course starts this Saturday 13th October in Room 43 at CNS with 7 Saturdays and examination in early December, in time for a Christmas full license!

Its not quite too late to join it, so if you would like to be part of the course please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we can book you in.  Cost if £50 for the 7 week course or £45 if you are a full paid up member of NARC.


73, David G7URP

morse key 2  I AM practising!!!  I did ten minutes last month, but it doesn't sink in!!

Our user above seems to think it will sink in as if by magic!        It ain't like that. Practice has to be regular, like every day for about 30 minutes, and it will take several months to become a proficient operator. However, the satisfaction of having done so is unimaginable.  Nothing worthy of attainment is procured without effort!


    The Monday evening NARC CW Net this week was cancelled due to several being absent, and also the CW section of the autumn series was taking place. Several locals did take part in that and submitted logs. Don't forget that there is a QRS corral so if you want to take part but didn't think your speed was high enough, look between 3565 to 3570 for slow speeds. You can gain some invaluable contest experience there.
Next Wednesday evening is an informal at the club but there is the usual Morse in the computer room. We will be trying some QSO techniques, both receiving and sending, so bring your key if you have one and we will enable you to have an "across the desk" type of QSO.
Morse at the Club takes place in the computer room and is quite well supported. If you would like to join, you are most welcome. There is a need for some to join the beginner's class.
I now have two in my Beginner's class, John G8VPE and Colin G1UYW. Look forward to seeing a few more!!!!
Just to remind you that if you still need to do any studying:
You can find your study course here:
or here:
After that do take a look at how to construct a QSO:
From October onwards we hope that some of you will be taking a Proficiency Certificate:
GB2CW Certificates.
We have several in the various classes that could be eligible for a Proficiency Certificate. Without being pushed, please just consider taking a test locally. Malcolm G3PDH is the Assessor and Phill G4NZQ is the Adjudicator. If you are interested in taking a test, please remember that there is no pressure and the speed can be as low as even 5 wpm, because you can then upgrade as you feel capable. Please let Malcolm know and he will make the necessary arrangements. It would be nice to have several at one session if possible.
With a few local passes, suitable pictures could be published in Radcom to further the purpose of the GB2CW training scheme. As CW is no longer part of the Amateur Licence this will also increase your spectrum capability, because without CW you lose 40% of the available amateur bands. CW readers are fine, but no replacement for a brain!
Remember that Malcolm is away for September, returning beginning of October, so I would suggest as much practice as possible between now and middle of October, when he will be making arrangements with Phil G4NZQ to set up the tests. They will probably take place here, QTH G3LDI, for the sake of peace and quiet. PLEASE EMAIL MALCOLM OF YOUR INTEREST AND INTENTIONS. HERE:
"Malcolm Prestwood, G3PDH President NARC" <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>


bug key
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 145.625MHz - in other words on GB3NB repeater,
1000 - 1100 Coffee Break Morse with Chris G4CCX on GB3NB
2000 - 2100 Advanced Class with Malcolm G3PDH on the GB3NB Repeater.
The Tuesday class is well attended, as is the Thursday class on GB3NB.
INFORMAL evenings at the Club will still have Morse in the Computer Room with Paul M1AFQ and Chris G4CCX. Jim G3YLA will also be taking the Persuader's Class in the main room.
Norfolk Amateur Radio Club CW Net.
This will remain as part of this GB2CW CW Corner, just to remind you of the net. Hopefully some of you will join in.
NARC Net: 3545kHz plus or minus QRM. The Net Controller, normally Malcolm G3PDH, will call CQ at 8.30 p.m. local time on Monday evenings. Call with just your call sign once until he acknowledges you. Once all check-ins have been established, a list will be sent of the order. Make a note of this because you should know your place on the list and each operator will take his turn, passing it to the next call on the list. Short overs are needed with quotes on salient points, and sending your news at the same time. Make notes as the net progresses and comment on just the point(s) that you wish to address.
Speed will not be a problem because that is adjusted to the lowest speed on the net. Two things are practised here. One is conversational Morse, and the other is Net Protocol. It should provide both confidence and impetus for you to make more QSOs on the air. We look forward to hearing you.
73 de Roger, G3LDI GB2CW Coordinator. May the Morse be with you.

Tonight is a social informal evening at NARC, with construction tools and test gear available on request and morse practice with Paul and Jim.


73, David G7URP


Scout groups over Norfolk are looking for help to run local radio stations for Jamboree on the Air next weekend. If you are licenced and can help in any way please contact Simon M0LDK:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

NARC VHF/UHF Contests.

 contest meeting

Contest Group Meeting booked for October 31st in ROOM 52.
Hopefully more people will attend this one, spurred on by Rod G0CBO. We are especially looking for those who said they would support a VHF/UHF contest. Several possibilities are being investigated and whatever event is choosen, will involve a lot of organisation. Thus far we have the following who have expressed interest, so it's looking good!

News on the 80m Autumn Series contests:
The 80m Autumn Series 2018 continued with the 2nd CW session on Monday 8th October.
(There's only one opportunity left for you to participate in a CW session, 29th November).
Thank you to all 6 club members who were sufficiently interested in actively supporting NARC and submitted logs for this contest.
Alan G8OO returned from vacation and successfully put his Flex through its paces in CW mode, scoring 61Qs.
Chris G4CCX, Mike G4DYC and G8VPE all posted scores in the 40s.
Our QRP duo of Peter M0RYB/P (103) and Chris G0TZZ (84) together scored almost as many QSOs as the other 4 of us combined.
A new Autumn Series set-up profile for N1MM+ users is available on the Hamdocs website entitled 80M_AUTUMN.udc
However, this UDC comes with a warning:
"Note, for Data mode-in Cabrillo log, change PSK mode from PK to PS."
It could be that this UDC has been cobbled up from another non-UK contest where PK is the valid mode code.
The RSGB rules clearly state that the Cabrillo Mode Codes RY and PS must be used, loss of many contacts has previously happened when codes are incorrectly submitted.
To be honest, I shall continue to use the RSGB80MCC profile which has proved to be adequate for the Autumn Series, both last year and this. I just edit the Cabrillo header (notepad) to change the reference to 'CC' into 'AUTUMN' on the fifth line down.
The Contest Robot will adjust the scoring and take into account the bonus for working Gx6XX, which appeared as GI6XX in this recent CW test - hope everyone worked it.
The latest Autumn Series results:
The results are published for the DATA leg (8/10/18), NARC were placed 2nd with 6 logs entered.
The top 4 positions are as follows:
De Montfort University ARS 5825 points (11 logs)
NARC 2622 pts. (6 logs)
RSGB Contest Club 1467 pts. (2 logs)
Verulam ARC 1369 pts. (4 logs)

3As CG 631 pts. (7th place with 1 log)
It would appear that some clubs and operators don't favour Datamodes contests!
Overall, prior to the recent CW test, NARC are narrowly in 2nd place ahead of RSGB CC by a 6 point margin.
Results are eagerly awaited for this CW leg (entry closing date isn't until 11/10/18 at 2359utc).
Looking at the raw CW scores, NARC could be in 3rd or 4th place for this test; it's so close between Verulam and NARC that the UBNs may well decide it. The raw scores indicate that NARC might just retain a tenuous 2nd place overall- we shall be sure after adjudication.
Here are the remaining Autumn Series dates for your diaries. (4 down, only 5 to go)
Wednesday 17th October DATA 2000-2130 local time (Informal club meeting)
Thursday 25th October SSB 2000-2130 local time
Monday 12th November DATA 2000-2130 local time (CW club net)
Wednesday 21st November SSB 2000-2130 local time (K5AC, Skype talk about FLEX)
Thursday 29th November CW 2000-2130 local time (Final chance!)
Some other recent activity:
RSGB DX Contest (12 or 18hrs), also part of the HF Championship.
This was held last weekend 6th/7th October. CW activity was moderately busy on the lower frequency bands, 20m to 80m, I looked at 15m but decided that the few contacts appearing on the bandmap were going to be much too difficult, I didn't bother to even attempt 10m in spite of the higher scoring on the high bands. I stayed in CW mode rather than a mixed CW+SSB entry and I finished with 61Qs worked in short periods over about 9 hours.
The only other club members noticed were Chris G0TZZ and a colossal score from Peter M0RYB/P of 259, both QRP.
Forthcoming Contests:
The next 2m events are on Tuesday 6th November and Tuesday 4th December.
6m UKACs are all on Thursdays 11th October, 15th November and 13th December.
70cm (432MHz) 13th November and 11th December.
A weekend further ahead on the evening of 21st October it is the RSGB ROLO CW (formerly ROPOCO) rotating locator contest, 1900 to 2030utc, also adding points towards the HF Championship.
The morning of the 21st October will be the first of seven events of the 2018/2019 AFS Super League with the 6m (50MHz) AFS contest, 0900 to 1300utc.
On Tuesday I didn't run away fast enough and I was caught in Roger's lasso and placed in his 7pm Beginners CW class
- so, I've been entrapped again. (Watch this space for future developments).
A comment heard recently, musings for the newsletter were referred to as C.R.A.P......
I can only assume that he was using abbreviations for Contest Reporting and Atmospheric Propagation !
I hope to see a few more of you on the bandmap.
That's it for this time. 73 de Roger, G3LDI