Category: CRAC News

The Cornish Award – Special for 2016

The Cornish award has been offered by the Cornish Radio Amateur Club for in
excess of 40 years in recognition of the applicant having worked the prescribed number
of resident Cornish Amateur Radio Stations operating from their
locations within the County of Cornwall, either fixed, mobile or portable

For 2016 only

2016 has become a very special year and, we were approached by the Poldhu Amateur Radio Club who asked if they could base their K for Kernow award on the Cornish Award and we readily agreed. In line with the Kernow Award we are for 2016 only offering a FREE award with a different certificate delivered only by e.mail in .pdf format.

The award offers three levels of achievement for both HF & VHF

One point is given per QSO made; however, if you work our Club call during the period GK4CRC we will award 5 points as long as the claimants call sign appears in our Club logbook.
any or all amateur bands and modes may be used within each Class, but SIMPLEX
contacts ONLY are eligible so NO repeater, Satellite or Internet contacts will be counted.

This Special 2016 award is for contacts made between 01.01.16 and 31.12.16 only.

CLASS ONE – Amateur Bands 1.8 to 50MHz

Level One – 30 points.
Level Two – 20 points.
Level Three – 10 points.

CLASS TWO – Amateur Bands 144MHz and above

Level One – 15 points.
Level Two – 10 points.
Level Three – 6 points.

All contacts must be made using the same callsign, but /M /MM
or /P is acceptable. However,no claims from M3xxx and G7aaa within the same claim for example.
You will need to work the required number under an individual call.

For our award in 2016, claims are welcomed for: single mode, single band, all worked /M or /P, but
equally claims may be mixed band or mode.
This gives you a little more scope to set yourself a challenge for example, to work for Gold Awards on perhaps 6M, 4M, 2M, 70cms, & 23cms plus a Mixed!

Similar details apply for the SWL award, with the exception that the claim should be a log extract, showing not only the Cornish station heard, but also the station being worked.

Claims, in the form of a log extract preferably in .pdf or Excel Format indicating clearly which award class is being claimed.

For ease we would appreciate a separate log extract for each class being claimed please.

Claims should be submitted via e.mail to our 2016 ward manager. Mike G1NRF

If you have any questions that need answering prior to submitting your award claim please use this contact method..

* indicates required field

From 01.01.17 we will return to the original format with a printed certificate being issued for each award issued.

What the numbers mean in propagation forecasts

This one is for you Ian M0IAF you asked for some training so here it is…….

By Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA

The sun emits electromagnetic radiation and matter as a consequence of the nuclear fusion process. Electromagnetic radiation at wavelengths of 100 to 1000 Angstroms (ultraviolet) ionizes the F region, radiation at 10 to 100 Angstroms (soft X-rays) ionizes the E region, and radiation at 1 to 10 Angstroms (hard X- rays) ionizes the D region. Solar matter (which includes charged particles–electrons and protons) is ejected from the sun on a regular basis, and this comprises the solar wind. On a “quiet” solar day the speed of this solar wind heading toward Earth averages about 400 km per second.

The sun’s solar wind significantly impacts Earth’s magnetic field. Instead of being a simple bar magnet, Earth’s magnetic field is compressed by the solar wind on the side facing the sun and is stretched out on the side away from the sun (the magnetotail, which extends tens of earth radii downwind). While the sun’s electromagnetic radiation can impact the entire ionosphere that is in daylight, charged particles ejected by the sun are guided into the ionosphere along magnetic field lines and thus can only impact high latitudes where the magnetic field lines go into the Earth.

Additionally, when electromagnetic radiation from the sun strips an electron off a neutral constituent in the atmosphere, the resulting electron can spiral along a magnetic field line (it spirals around the magnetic field line at the electron gyrofrequency). Thus Earth’s magnetic field plays an important and critical role in propagation.

Variations in Earth’s magnetic field are measured by magnetometers. There are two measurements readily available from magnetometer data–the daily A index and the three-hour K index. The A index is an average of the eight 3-hour K indices, and uses a linear scale and goes from 0 (quiet) to 400 (severe storm). The K index uses a quasi-logarithmic scale (which essentially is a compressed version of the A index) and goes from 0 to 9 (with 0 being quiet and 9 being severe storm). Generally an A index at or below 15 or a K index at or below 3 is best for propagation.

Sunspots are areas on the sun associated with ultraviolet radiation. Thus they are tied to ionization of the F region. The daily sunspot number, when plotted over a month time frame, is very spiky. Averaging the daily sunspot numbers over a month results in the monthly average sunspot number, but it is also rather spiky when plotted. Thus a more averaged, or smoothed, measurement is needed to measure solar cycles. This is the smoothed sunspot number (SSN). The SSN is calculated using six months of data before and six months of data after the desired month, plus the data for the desired month. Because of this amount of smoothing, the official SSN is one-half year behind the current month. Unfortunately this amount of smoothing may mask any short-term unusual solar activity that may enhance propagation.

Sunspots come and go in an approximate 11-year cycle. The rise to maximum (4 to 5 years) is usually faster than the descent to minimum (6 to 7 years). At and near the maximum of a solar cycle, the increased number of sunspots causes more ultraviolet radiation to impinge on the atmosphere. This results in significantly more F region ionization, allowing the ionosphere to refract higher frequencies (15, 12, 10, and even 6 meters) back to Earth for DX contacts. At and near the minimum between solar cycles, the number of sunspots is so low that higher frequencies go through the ionosphere into space. Commensurate with solar minimum, though, is less absorption and a more stable ionosphere, resulting in the best propagation on the lower frequencies (160 and 80 meters). Thus, in general, high SSNs are best for high-frequency propagation, and low SSNs are best for low-frequency propagation.

Most of the disturbances to propagation come from solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs). The solar flares that affect propagation are called X-ray flares due to their wavelength being in the 1 to 8 Angstrom range. X-ray flares are classified as C (the smallest), M (medium size), and X (the biggest). Class C flares usually have minimal impact to propagation. Class M and X flares can have a progressively adverse impact to propagation.

The electromagnetic radiation from a class X flare in the 1 to 8 Angstrom range can cause the loss of all propagation on the sunlit side of Earth due to increased D region absorption. Additionally, big class X flares can emit very energetic protons that are guided into the polar cap by Earth’s magnetic field. This can result in a polar cap absorption event (PCA), with high D-region absorption on paths passing through the polar areas of Earth.

A CME is an explosive ejection of a large amount of solar matter, and can cause the average solar wind speed to take a dramatic jump upward–kind of like a shock wave heading toward Earth. If the polarity of the sun’s magnetic field is southward when the shock wave hits Earth’s magnetic field, the shock wave couples into Earth’s magnetic field and can cause large variations in Earth’s magnetic field. This is seen as an increase in the A and K indices.

In addition to auroral activity, these variations to the magnetic field can cause those electrons spiraling around magnetic field lines to be lost into the magnetotail. With electrons gone, maximum usable frequencies (MUFs) decrease, and return only after the magnetic field returns to normal and the process of ionization replenishes lost electrons. Most of the time, elevated A and K indices reduce MUFs, but occasionally MUFs at low latitudes may increase (due to a complicated process) when the A and K indices are elevated.

Solar flares and CMEs are related, but they can happen together or separately. Scientists are still trying to understand the relationship between them. One thing is certain, though–the electromagnetic radiation from a big flare traveling at the speed of light can cause short-term radio blackouts on the sunlit side of Earth within about 10 minutes of eruption. Unfortunately we detect the flare visually at the same time as the radio blackout, since both the visible light from the flare and the electromagnetic radiation in the 1 to 10 Angstrom range from the flare travel at the speed of light–in other words, we have no warning. On the other hand, the energetic particles ejected from a flare can take up to several hours to reach Earth, and the shock wave from a CME can take up to several days to reach Earth, thus giving us some warning of their impending disruptions.

Each day the Space Weather Prediction Center (a part of NOAA, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) and the US Air Force jointly put out a Solar and Geophysical Activity Report. The current and archived reports are at SWPC page. Each daily report consists of six parts.

Part IA gives an analysis of solar activity, including flares and CMEs. Part IB gives a forecast of solar activity. Part IIA gives a summary of geophysical activity. Part IIB gives a forecast of geophysical activity. Part III gives probabilities of flare and CME events. These first three parts can be summarized as follows: normal propagation (no disturbances) generally occurs when no X-ray flares higher than class C are reported or forecasted, along with solar wind speeds due to CMEs near the average of 400km/sec.

Part IV gives observed and predicted 10.7-cm solar flux. A comment about the daily solar flux–it has little to do with what the ionosphere is doing on that day. This will be explained later.

Part V gives observed and predicted A indices. Part VI gives geomagnetic activity probabilities. These last two parts can be summarized as follows: good propagation generally occurs when the forecast for the daily A index is at or below 15 (this corresponds to a K index of 3 or below).

WWV at 18 minutes past the hour every hour and WWVH at 45 minutes past the hour every hour put out a shortened version of this report. A new format began March 12, 2002. The new format gives the previous day’s 10.7-cm solar flux, the previous day’s mid-latitude A index, and the current mid-latitude three-hour K index. A general indicator of space weather for the last 24 hours and next 24 hours is given next. This is followed by detailed information for the three disturbances that impact space weather: geomagnetic storms (caused by gusts in the solar wind speed), solar radiation storms (the numbers of energetic particles increase), and radio blackouts (caused by X-ray emissions). For detailed descriptions of the WWV/WWVH messages, visit

Normal propagation (no disturbances) is expected when the space weather indicator is minor. A comment is appropriate here. Both the Solar and Geophysical Activity Report and WWV/WWVH give a status of general solar activity. This is not a status of the 11-year sunspot cycle, but rather a status on solar disturbances (flares, particles, and CMEs). For example, if the solar activity is reported as low or minor, that doesn’t mean we’re at the bottom of the solar cycle; it means the sun has not produced any major space weather disturbances.

In order to predict propagation, much effort was put into finding a correlation between sunspots and the state of the ionosphere. The best correlation turned out to be between SSN and monthly median ionospheric parameters. This is the correlation that our propagation prediction programs are based on, which means the outputs (usually MUF and signal strength) are values with probabilities over a month time frame tied to them. They are not absolutes; they are statistical in nature. Understanding this is a key to the proper use of propagation predictions.

Sunspots are a subjective measurement. They are counted visually. It would be nice to have a more objective measurement, one that actually measures the sun’s output. The 10.7-cm solar flux has become this measurement. But it is only a general measure of the activity of the sun, since a wavelength of 10.7-cm is way too low in energy to cause any ionization. Thus 10.7 cm solar flux has nothing to do with the formation of the ionosphere. The best correlation between 10.7-cm solar flux and sunspots is the smoothed 10.7-cm solar flux and the smoothed sunspot number–the correlation between daily values, or even monthly average values, is not very acceptable.

Since our propagation prediction programs were set up based on a correlation between SSN and monthly median ionospheric parameters, the use of SSN or the equivalent smoothed 10.7-cm solar flux gives the best results. Using the daily 10.7-cm solar flux–or even the daily sunspot number–can introduce a sizable error into the propagation predictions outputs due to the fact that the ionosphere does not react to the small daily variations of the sun. Even averaging 10.7-cm solar flux over a week’s time frame can contribute to erroneous predictions. To reiterate, for best results use SSN or smoothed 10.7-cm solar flux, and understand the concept of monthly median values.

For short-term predictions, the use of the effective SSN (SSNe) may be helpful. In this method, an appropriate SSN is input to the propagation prediction software to force it to agree with daily ionosonde measurements. Details of this method can be found at

Geomagnetic kp and ap Indices

Daily regular magnetic field variation arise from current systems caused by regular solar radiation changes. Other irregular current systems produce magnetic field changes caused by the interaction of the solar wind with the magnetosphere, by the magnetosphere itself, by the interactions between the magnetosphere and ionosphere, and by the ionosphere itself.

Magnetic activity indices were designed to describe variation in the geomagnetic field caused by these irregular current systems.

K, Kp, and ap Indices

The K-index is quasi-logarithmic local index of the 3-hourly range in magnetic activity relative to an assumed quiet-day curve for a single geomagnetic observatory site. First introduced by J. Bartels in 1938, it consists of a single-digit 0 thru 9 for each 3-hour interval of the universal time day (UT).


The planetary 3-hour-range index Kp is the mean standardized K-index from 13 geomagnetic observatories between 44 degrees and 60 degrees northern or southern geomagnetic latitude. The scale is O to 9 expressed in thirds of a unit, e.g. 5- is 4 2/3, 5 is 5 and 5+ is 5 1/3. This planetary index is designed to measure solar particle radiation by its magnetic effects. The 3-hourly ap (equivalent range) index is derived from the Kp index as follows:

Kp = 0o 0+ 1- 1o 1+ 2- 2o 2+ 3- 3o 3+ 4- 4o 4+

ap = 0 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 12 15 18 22 27 32

Kp = 5- 5o 5+ 6- 6o 6+ 7- 7o 7+ 8- 8o 8+ 9- 9o

ap = 39 48 56 67 80 94 111 132 154 179 207 236 300 400

Other planetary indices include the Ap* and AA*. The Ap* index is defined as the earliest occurring maximum 24-hour value obtained by computing an 8-point running average of successive 3-hour ap indices during a geomagnetic storm event and is uniquely associated with the storm event. The AA* index is similar to the Ap* index, but has a longer history and is based on reports from only two stations.

JOTA 2015 report from ARRL

It is interesting to have an insight into JPTA from the other side of the Atlantic.
Whatever the position was we had an excellent weekend at 9 Ashes, Nr Bodmin. Our numbers were down a little but enthusiasm was evident from many participants.


Despite what the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) called “solid results from an exciting JOTA weekend,” Scout participation for the October 2015 event was reported down by 8 per cent from 2014, although the number of registered stations and station reports remained about the same. The BSA said 7117 Scouts took part in JOTA 2015. The number of visitors, at 5138, was also down by 8 per cent. The Boy Scouts said only 60 per cent of registered stations — 208 —filed a station report, so the report may represent only part of the activity. The 346 total stations registered for JOTA 2015 represented a slight improvement from 2014, however.

“The total number of Scout councils involved dropped from 149 to 127,” said the report posted by National Jamboree On The Air Organizer Jim Wilson, K5ND. “Therein lies our big challenge — getting the word out to local Scout councils about the biggest Scouting event in the world and how they can participate.”

Participation took a big jump in 2012, with 18,566 Scouts and visitors. In 2013, however, participation was down by nearly 4700, and it slipped further in 2014.

On a more positive note, 208 JOTA-participating stations have filed reports. That’s up 1 per cent over last year’s event. In all, JOTA stations worked 106 countries, as 979 Amateur Radio operators put 847 radios on the air to make 8360 contacts — all up from 2014.

“The most memorable thing was the Scouts who absolutely said they weren’t getting on the air. But when they did, you couldn’t pry the mic out of their hands,” said Philip Jacobs, W2GSB, at the K2S JOTA special event station. “They turned out to be some of the best Scout ops we had.”

The Scouts blamed persistent challenges from propagation, contesting, a lack of council involvement, and failing to get information to those who needed it. “Propagation and contesting will remain on-going problems. “Changes to the Worked All Germany contest to reserve JOTA frequencies have been helpful,” the Scouts reported. “[We] need to activate a similar arrangement with USA-based QSO Parties in New York, Iowa, Illinois, and South Dakota.”

Looking ahead to JOTA 2016, the Scouts are planning “consistent, persistent, and even relentless communication…to increase awareness of available information.” Wilson said Scout Council awareness of JOTA remains low, and efforts will be made to communicate through Council International representatives, active Scouters, and existing Boy Scouts of America channels to reach both professionals and volunteers. The BSA said the worldwide registration system used this year in conjunction with Jamboree On The Internet (JOTI) encountered several problems leading up to JOTA weekend, including a system shutdown. “More work is required here with reliability and ease of use,” the BSA said.

JOTA 2015 took place over the October 16-18 weekend.

Special Event News – 6-12-15

ANZAC centenary commemorations end with VI4ANZAC on the air between 12 and 20 December commemorating the work of the Royal Australian Naval Bridging Train. A QSL card will be available.

The 200th Anniversary of the birth of Ada Lovelace will be commemorated by special event station GB200ADA at Newstead Abbey, Nottinghamshire, from 10 to 13 December. Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron, is internationally recognised as the author of the first computer algorithm, which was written for the Analytical Engine designed by Charles Babbage to increase the accuracy of astronomical calculations. A special, self-service, downloadable certificate will be available to every one who makes contact.

To celebrate the 90th Anniversary of IARU the Radio Club of Haiti will be using HH90IARU until 31 December. The QSL Manager is W3HNK.

The Santa Claus Arctic Circle Team will be active as OH9SCL from the Finnish Lapland above the Arctic Circle during December. Activity will be mostly on the HF bands, on all modes. QSL via OH9AB.

On 18 February 1930, astronomer Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, using a blink comparator and photographic plates. 2015 was designated the Year of Pluto. To celebrate, the members of the Northern Arizona DX Association will operate special event station W7P starting at 0000UTC on 5 December and ending at 2359UTC on the 13th. W7P operators will be on the air from inside the Pluto discovery telescope dome, as well as from club members’ homes. Operation will be on SSB and CW.

Oops OFCOM makes mistakes

Dear Norman,

Thank you for your message about our recently published updated guidance. We agree that a typographical error seems to have crept in and that paragraph 2.106 should include “/A” and not “/T” to signify operation at an Alternative Address. We are grateful to you for pointing this out. We shall correct this when the next version of the guidance is released. This is likely to be at the beginning of December, at which time we shall make the correction.

I trust this helps.

Please let us know if you have any further questions or queries.

Kind Regards,
:: Zara Johnson
Licensing Officer
Spectrum Licensing
Spectrum Operations
0300 123 1000
:: Ofcom
Riverside House
2a Southwark Bridge Road
London SE1 9HA

For more information on licensing visit

My message read:

From: Norman Pascoe [mailto:g4usb@]
Sent: 05 November 2015 16:14
To: Spectrum Licensing
Subject: Fwd: Clarification Please

Guidance for Licensees

In the recently published guidance for licensees document on Page 18 section 2.106
the suffixes are described as /M /P /T and /MM

/M = Mobile
/P = portable in the field away from station registered address
/MM = Maritime Mobile

/T = Not a Clue

/A is not in the list

so does /T replace it or should it also be used for temporary locations anywhere away from the home registered QTH?

Seems to contradict Page 10 of 20 of the UK Amateur Radio Licence text (downloaded from your web site) in the Notes to licence section d it states: when operating at locations other than the main station address it is recommended the following suffixes be used:

/A operates from Alternative Address – as it has always been
/P operates from a Temporary Location – as it has always been
/M from a mobile location – as it has always been
/MM from a maritime mobile location – as it has always been

These are as expected in that there is no mention of a /T

I am therefore seeking some clarification of this point. Suffix usage is often a topic of argument within our Club meetings as the more recent licence holders seem to have latched on to the option use of them and tend to ignore it completely whereas we long term operators (me since 1981) always use them as a matter of course. It was bad enough when /P when walking around with a hand held suddenly became/M unless you stamdong still, that was bonkers so us oldies still use /P when not attached to a fixed station be if in a vehicle or building.

Await comment with interest.

Can’t wait to be GK4USB next year that should stir things up a bit hi hi

Norman Pascoe G4USB
President of the Cornish Radio Amateur Club

BBC piece on XH558 the Vulcan’s history and retirement

OFCOM Guidance for Amateur Radio Licence holders

Cluck on the link below to view the full missive from OFCOM.

It is interesting to note that /P seems to have vanished and replaced by /T for temporary location? I wonder if that is actually correct.

Using RSL when in an alternative location such as Wales appears to now be optional!

Using /M /MM etc also seems to be optional?

Click link to read the full missive


RSL – K available via NOV to all Amateurs resident in Cornwall

Here is the announcement taken from the Ofcom Web Site dated 20/3/2015. Should be a fun year in the contests!


Representatives of Radio Amateurs in Cornwall approached Ofcom to request temporary use of the RSL ‘K’ (for ‘Kernow’, the Cornish word for Cornwall), following the recognition of the Cornish People under the ‘Framework Convention on National Minorities’.  Ofcom has agreed to this request and will permit Radio Amateurs with a Main Station Address in Cornwall to use of the RSL throughout 2016

In common with comparable past temporary RSLs, it will be available for all classes of Amateur Radio licences, including stations participating in contests.  We shall authorise the use of ‘K’ by varying individual licences, upon application by licensees via the website of the RSGB.  We are grateful to the RSGB for making this facility available.

Eligible licensees will be able to use the RSL ‘K’ anywhere within Cornwall, including at an alternative address, a temporary location, mobile or maritime mobile though Maritime Mobile use would, as usual, be limited to holders of the Full licence.

Use of this RSL will not be mandatory.  Licensees not wishing to use it will therefore continue to apply the normal licence rules on RSLs.

We shall make variations available from early December and we shall publish further guidance then.  Variations will have a start date of 1st January 2016 (or the date of issue if that is later) and they will all expire on 31st December 2016.  The RSL may therefore not be used beyond these dates.


Well done to PARC for the initiative in pushing for this to happen.

Should confuse the masses quite well as currently many can’t work out what to do with the existing permanent RSL and the clarification issued following the licence review suggests changing it when in another area is now optional.


Foundation Examination Re-Take Nov 4th

We would like to wish Linda all the best with her Foundation Examination on Wednesday evening.

You should fly through this time.



Offers to CRAC Members from UAS Enterprises

Moonrakers 250 ex-speaker .. £5

Intek CB 5 ex-speaker.. £4

Yaesu G-450C Rotator Nevada offer price £339.95

ex shipping, my price ….£300.00


Recommended Application
Light to Medium Duty.
Perfect entry-level rotator
Wind Load 1  m²K-Factor (Turning Radius x Weight of Ae) 100
Stationary Torque 3,000kg/cm
Rotation Torque 600kg/cm
Max Vertical Load 100kg
Max Vertical Intermittent Load 300kg
Backlash 0.5º
Mast Size 32 – 63 ?360º Rotation Time 63sec @ 50Hz180º Elevation Time N/A
Rotator Diametre x Height 170 ? x 263
Weight 3.2kg
Cable Requirement (# cores/wires) 5

Yaesu G-650C

Nevada offer price £379.95 ex shipping,

my price ….£340.00

Regards M3YKT, Roy

P.J.Box 01209-844859

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