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Last week was characterised by relatively low sunspot numbers, but reasonably-settled geomagnetic conditions.

The solar flux index never rose above 80 all week, despite a large cluster of sunspots. This cluster, composed of regions 2818, 2820 and 2821, were responsible for some C-class solar flare activity, but never really grew into anything. By the time you read or hear this they will have rotated out of view.

The Kp index started the week at five, thanks to the effects of a high-speed solar wind stream from a coronal mass ejection. This was relatively short lived and the rest of the week saw more settled conditions with a maximum Kp index of three and often zero.

HF conditions have been variable. There has been DX workable as Norfolk Amateur Radio Club showed during last Saturday's International Marconi Day. GB0CMS made more than 900 QSOs on HF, including contacting the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, Ecuador, Panama, the Falkland Islands, Australia and Indonesia.

SSB activity on 10 metres has been reported as being relatively quiet, with the odd Es contact into Europe. FT8 has thrown up a few contacts into South America during late afternoon and early evening.

Next week, NOAA predicts the SFI may dip again, perhaps down to 72-73. This weekend may see unsettled geomagnetic conditions with the potential for the Kp index to rise to four or five due to coronal hole activity. However, once this clears we may expect a more settled Kp of two as the week progresses.

Propquest shows that, according to the Chilton digisonde data, daytime MUFs over a 3,000km path are generally reaching the 17 metre (18MHz) band and occasionally 15 metres (21MHz).

VHF and up

Next week it will probably be very difficult to time the weather changes correctly. It will be a mix of classic “April showers” (in May!) and some longer periods of rain, but also weak ridges of high pressure or, more accurately, “cols” between highs and lows.

These are very rarely useful for Tropo, but may facilitate temporary lifts in early mornings.

The trend towards a showery weather pattern is likely to be good news for the rain scatter operators on the GHz bands.

With the arrival of May, expectations for Sporadic-E grow stronger. The daily blogs will begin this month on the Propquest.co.uk website where a commentary about the location of jet streams and potential for Es will be discussed along with a chance to evaluate the new Es Probability Index (EPI) shown on the same website.

Beams certainly help with weak Es or multi-hop paths, but a strong opening will be found with even a colinear, so it's not just for 'super-stations’. If you’ve never worked Es before, doing just one thing; checking 10m and 6m at tea time, will guarantee you the best chance of breaking your “duck”.

Last week we had a “Supermoon.” No reason to get excited, this is simply a full Moon occurring within 10% of perigee. Perigee was last Tuesday so EME path losses will slowly rise all week.

Moon declination is negative until Saturday so we’ll see lengthening Moon visibility windows and peak Moon elevations as the week goes on.

Two meteor showers to look out for this week. The Eta-Aquarids has a broad peak around May 6th with a good Zenithal Hourly Rate or ZHR of 50, then the much smaller Eta Lyrids on the 8th.

 

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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.

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 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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