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Last week was defined by a lack of sunspots, but otherwise reasonably settled geomagnetic conditions. However, towards the end of the week the Sun woke up with regions 2797 and 2798 becoming active. The sunspot number rose to 25 on Thursday, although the solar flux index remained in the 70s, reaching 77 on Thursday.

This is good news as the Sun had remained spotless for some time.

By this weekend the spots will have rotated to be more Earth-centric and we shall have to see what happens to the SFI. They may continue to grow or could diminish.

Meanwhile, a large solar coronal hole near the Sun’s equator will also become geoeffective on Friday, which may result in an elevated Kp index at the beginning of next week.

NOAA predicts the solar flux index will remain in the mid to high 70s next week and the Kp index will be in the range of two to three. This will rather depend on the interplanetary magnetic field of the solar wind, emanating from the coronal hole. If its Bz swings south we can expect it to couple more easily with the Earth’s magnetic field and the Kp index could rise further.

So HF propagation may remain subdued with little of note. However, this is a good time of year for low-band operations, with top band and 80m coming into their own after the sunset and around sunrise.

Signals from stations to the West, such as from North America, can peak just before our sunrise and there is often SSB activity around 3.795 MHz. Why not take a look?

Higher up the bands, daytime maximum usable frequencies over a 3,000km path are reaching and often exceeding 21MHz. Daytime critical frequencies are in the range 5-6MHz, which means 40m remains a band for longer-range contacts. 60 metres or five Megahertz would be a better HF choice for near-vertical incidence skywave or NVIS contacts around the UK.

VHF and up
The current spell of unsettled weather seems likely to be continued through the coming week. This means that other issues like rain, snow and strong winds are the themes we will have to adapt to.

In amateur radio terms it will be thin pickings, primarily rain scatter on the microwave bands as active fronts and showers pass by. That said, winter rain scatter is nothing like as intense as it is in the summer, so don’t expect too much. Keep an eye on your beacons and rainfall radar maps, and make a noise on reflectors and social media if you catch rain scatter propagation.

It’s hard to find any other benefits in the weather charts, and certainly no sign of high pressure and Tropo. We are also past the window of typical midwinter Sporadic E, but that's not to say the odd path won’t appear for digital modes like FT8, since unsettled weather brings a good supply of jet streams.

Moon declination reaches maximum on Tuesday so we’ll have long Moon windows and high peak Moon elevations all week. As we are past apogee, path losses will be falling. 144 MHz sky noise starts moderate, but dips below 180 Kelvin on Thursday.

There are no significant meteor showers again this week so continue to check pre-dawn for the best random meteor 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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