Source The RSGB News extra service e-mail
The RSGB has received a significant number of enquiries expressing confusion and concern about the unexpected allocation of the secondary prefix “K” for Cornwall.
As a result, the Board has written to Ofcom asking them to review their decision and consult on the changes that they are proposing.
Whitey K1VV W1AA Marconi Radio Club
great video on Elettra produced by MIT. Scroll to end, on “Marconi Legacy”: Other info on the page is also interesting.
Look forward to seeing everyone at Gweal An Top this evening
7.00 pm for 7.30 start
The Annual General Meeting
Please come along to help the Club going forward by selecting the Committee for the new year.
Your chance to make a difference by volunteering to serve the Club as a Committee member.
Tea and Coffee will be available as usual.
||PUNTA DEL ESTE, URUGUAY
||BORKUM ISLAND, GERMANY
||BASS POINT CORNWALL
||CLIFDEN, COUNTY GALWAY
||MARTELLO TOWER,CO DUBLIN
||YORKSHIRE AIR MUSEUM
||ROCCA DI PAPPA
||PORTLAND BILL, DORSET
||ORKNEY WIRELESS MUSEUM
||SOUTER POINT LIGHTHOUSE
||WAUNFAWR, N. WALES
||ROCCA DI PAPA, ROME
||TORRE CHIARUCCIA, SAMTA
||ALUM BAY, ISLE OF WIGHT
||MIZEN HEAD, COUNTY CORK
||MARCONI POINT, CULLERCOATES
||BROW HD, CROOKHAVEN,CO CORK
||HOFDI, REYKJAVIK, ICELAND
||CALSHOT, Nr SOUTHAMPTON
||SOMERVILLE, NEW JERSEY
||BREAN DOWN, SOMERSET
||BOLINAS, POINT REYES, CALIFORNIA
||WALL, NEW JERSEY
||NANTUCKET ISLAND, MASS
||SOMERSET, NEW JERSEY
||ROCKY POINT, NEW YORK
||ELBERTS, FRANKFORT, MICHEGAN
||FLATHOLM ISLAND, HOLYHEAD
||GLACE BAY,NOVA SCOTIA CANADA
||SIGNAL HILL,ST JOHNS,NEW’FLAND
||THE VATICAN CITY
Surplus Equipment Sale
Thursday 7th November 2013
The Old School, School Lane, Gweal An Top, Redruth, Cornwall
Time: 7.30pm onwards
Bring along your surplus radio Kenwood TS990S
Yaesu ft 950 or Icom IC-7600 !
Have you any items of radio equipment in your shack that
you wish to sell?
All are welcome to attend as this is not an event limited to members only so,
if you fancy coming along you may find a bargain or a purchaser for your
For Sale by Club Member
I have just done an upgrade, I am selling my Magnum 257 (no not an ice cream bar).
This is a 10-11 metre multimode rig – in perfect condition – about 22 to 25
watts out (SSB on 11 metres is to be legalised later this year (see Ofcom
site!)). I would like to get about £120 (ono) for it – so if any one is interested
it’s now available. Complete with instructions, mobile mount (unused), updown
mic, 5 memories, 1k, 10k or 100k steps (or channelised if required) –
have just worked into Russia so I know it’s good!
73 Mike (G4WQL)
If not sold beforehand this might just be there on the night!
The Autumn has always been a Season where HF conditions improve and if you have recently
been licensed, with this being your first autumn operating on the HF bands, the chances are you
are in for a treat. But I hear you asking why?
The summer is not a good time for HF, apart from the relatively short-range intense Sporadic E
openings. However, the autumn brings improved conditions to the HF bands resulting in
openings to many parts of the world.
The sun passed through the equinox on September 22 and the long daylight hours it provides are
rapidly heading south as their Summer approaches. The result of this is that the ionosphere in
the Northern hemisphere is now cooling down and becoming more dense.
Another seasonal change occurs in the molecular-to-atomic ratio of the ionosphere. The affect of
this is that it is harder for the sun’s UV rays to ionise it.
Although it appears that the summer should be better for HF with all that sunshine, the reality is
that in summer the loss of ions (as they recombine more readily) overwhelms the increase
in production, and the total F2 layer ionisation is actually lower than it is in the spring and
The consequence is that although there is now less sunlight hitting the regions that make
up the ionosphere in the northern hemisphere the actual F layer ionisation is higher than
it was in the summer and D and E layer absorption is now lower too. As a result we find that
the maximum usable frequencies (MUFs) during the day are higher than they were in summer.
The result of all the changes in activity means we are now seeing better openings on 20m and above,
including 17m (18 MHz), 15m (21 MHz), 12m (24 MHz) and 10m (28 MHz).
In October, openings should be possible to the eastern USA and the Caribbean in the afternoon on
10m, whereas in June these were unlikely to happen (apart from the odd multi-hop Sporadic E contact).
It would be worth , listening to 29.620 MHz FM in the early afternoon in October and you
are almost certain to hear the KQ2H repeater in up-state New York.
Because both hemispheres of the Earth are evenly illuminated this is also a good time for contacts to
be made on North-South paths – we may also experience some good openings to South Africa
and South America as a result.
On the flip side, the sun sets a lot earlier than it did in summer so we can expect the higher HF bands,
28 MHz (10m), 21 MHz (15m) and 18MHz (17m), to close earlier than they did, with only 14 MHz
remaining open until around 2100-2200hrs. This is hastened of course by the hour change in October.
If you get the chance, make sure you take a look at the HF bands as they will be significantly better than
you have been experiencing during the summer season. Remember, 10m might even offer you some great
DX, even with 10 Watts SSB and a simple dipole or vertical.
You will also notice that on the lower HF bands such as 80 and 160m DX activity will begin to increase
during the darkness hours. Take a listen around 3.798 early mornings to the lads running four square
antenna systems working the world to prove the point. You will probably hear David G0AIX with them
using his verticals.
(based on an article in the RSGB newsletter)
When you first get on the air it can be very confusing. Sooner or later someone is going to ask you what your WAB square is, or your locator, or in a contest, what zone you are in.
Location information is used a lot in amateur radio. It can be used to work out the distance between two stations, or it can be used to collect awards. In some contests you get extra points for working specific “zones”, so it pays to know where you are!
Let’s take a look at what they all mean.
“Maidenhead” or QTH locator squares
The Maidenhead or QTH locator squares are mainly used on VHF, UHF and microwaves and plot where you are. For example, the square “IO” (Italy Oscar) covers the Western part of the UK, Scotland and Ireland.
The square is then broken down into smaller numbered squares that give more information as to your whereabouts—each of these squares represents 1° of latitude by 2° of longitude. Finally, two further letters define it even more.
For example, my locator is IO70JE.
If you want to work out what square you are in the easiest way is to go to http://f6fvy.free.fr/qthLocator/,
zoom in on the map and click where you live.
If you chase DX on 6m, 2m, 70cms or higher the chances are people will want to know this locator square.
The other way now of course is to use one of the various Apps available for the smart phones, even easier.
Worked All Britain square
The Worked All Britain Awards Group (W.A.B.) was devised by the late John Morris G3ABG in 1969.
The aim was to promote an interest in amateur radio in Britain and sponsor a series of awards based on the geography
of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
You can find out more at www.worked-all-britain.co.uk
But in the meantime you might want to work out what WAB square you live in.
These are based on the Ordnance Survey maps of the UK and a simple way is to go to
www.streetmap.co.uk and enter your postcode. Once you have done that you’ll see a line at the bottom of the screen that says
“Click here to convert coordinates”. If you do you will see that the sixth line down is headed “LR”, standing for “Land Ranger”.
Now just take the two letters and first two numbers and these are your WAB square. So, as a test, enter the postcode—
NR18 0XJ—and you will see that the WAB square comes out as TG12.
Put your address in and see what your WAB square is.
Also available withing some smart phone Apps too of course.
ITU Zones and CQ Zones
If you enter HF contests you may hear people exchanging “Zone” numbers. This can be very confusing as it depends
what contest you are in as to what your zone is.
For example, the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) has the UK in ITU region 27. However,
CQ Magazine has its own zones, which are used in its contests such as CQ Worldwide Contest
(the SSB contest is being held on October 26-27 in 2013 by the way, an excellent contest to check out your station’s efficiency).
The CQ zone for Western Europe is actually 14.
Just to confuse you even more, we live in IARU (International Amateur Radio Union) region 1!
The best bet is make a note of all of your locator information so that you can refer to it when operating. If using 6m, 2m
or higher you will likely be asked for your Maidenhead or QTH locator. If anyone asks for your WAB square you will
also have it to hand. And you will probably only need the zone information if operating in a contest.
This sounds complicated but in reality it is not as you only need to look things up once for your QTH as the information
will never change.
If you listen to the GB3SI repeater identification CW you will hear it send the locator on the old system that pre dated
the current Maidenhead system and it sends from memory XK63J relating to its former home at St Ives School.
Based on an article within the RSGB newsletter.
A modern HF radio is a marvel of technology. But often they are so complex that a lot of the controls never get touched! Or if they do, people are unsure what exactly they do and use them incorrectly.
So let’s look at some of the functions on a modern HF radio and how you can use them.
Anyone coming from a CB background will be pretty familiar with the squelch control. It basically turns off the audio on the radio until a strong enough signal opens it. Squelch can be very useful (if not essential) as the continuous hiss of a blank FM channel can be very annoying.
Squelch is used somewhat less on SSB as the background noise is generally quieter, but there is no reason why you couldn’t use it. If you are monitoring a specific frequency on your radio for hours on end it can be useful to squelch the audio on SSB to help retain your sanity!
The HF bands can be quite noisy at times and digital noise reduction can be a way of making the audio easier on the ears. The best approach is to engage the noise reduction button and then advance the noise reduction gain knob until you get the effect you are looking for. If you advance it too far the chances are that you will end up with very muddy audio, sounding like someone has their head in a bucket!
If you have a whistle or tone on your received signal a notch filter can be used to remove it. The tone can be due to a heterodyne of two signals mixing or someone tuning up. The approach is to switch on the notch filter and rotate the control until the tone vanishes or is attenuated. If the tone frequency changes you will need to re-adjust the control.
Some radios have an auto notch feature that can automatically track tones and remove them without you needing to touch the controls.
A notch filter can adversely affect the quality of the received audio so should not be left switched in if it is not required. Also, listening to a CW or PSK 31 transmission with auto notch engaged can be totally self-defeating as the rig does its best to remove the very signal you are trying to listen to!
Receiver Incremental Tuning or Receiver Independent Tuning is a way of changing the frequency your radio is listening to without affecting the transmit frequency. It can be very useful on SSB if someone comes back to your CQ call and is not quite on your frequency.
By engaging the RIT and tweaking the control slightly you can make their voice more intelligible. If you moved the main VFO dial the chances are that they would change their radio and you would be back where you started.
The only problem with RIT is forgetting that you have engaged it. If you then subsequently move up or down the band to call someone else you will be off frequency. So either switch it off or set it to 0.00 kHz offset
Webmaster note- Personally I think the Rit is an instrument of the devil, I avoid its use all the time. How many times have you listened to a net where several of the participants have a the RIT engaged and each are netted on a different station — chaos and unintelligibility on a large scale.Forgetting to return the control to zero once used could account for your lack of HF success with the RX shifted possibly, by up to to 5KC either way, could lead you to wonder why there are no responses to your CQ calls!
The Automatic Gain Control is often misunderstood. Received radio signals can vary wildly in their strength, from very weak to incredibly strong. With AGC the radio will try to adjust itself to deal with these vastly differing signal strengths.
On the whole it does a good job, but you can help it. Usually you can choose between fast AGC and slow AGC. This affects the speed at which the radio will adjust itself when listening to different signals. While slow or medium AGC may be fine for SSB transmissions, you may find with CW or PSK31 that you miss the first one or two characters of a transmission as the AGC fails to react quickly enough when moving from a strong signal to a weak one.
Fast AGC tends to work better with digital modes, but it is worth experimenting. AGC can be a personal thing—I prefer a slow setting.
All rigs work in different ways, but most will let you adjust the width of the IF filter. Other older radios may have different crystal filters that have the same net effect. These effectively cut down how much of the “band” you listen to at once.
Typical values for SSB tend to be 3.6 kHz or 2.7 kHz. The first setting is a broad filter that will give you excellent received audio quality. However, if the band is busy you may find that you suffer from adjacent channel interference and the 2.7 kHz setting might be better. With most modern radios you can even narrow this down even more, but if you go much below 2.4 kHz the audio will start to deteriorate.
If your radio lets you set up three different width settings for SSB then 3.6, 2.7 and 2.4 kHz would be a good choice
For CW and digital modes you might want to opt for narrower filters. CW enthusiasts usually go for 500 Hz or 300 Hz, although modern Software Defined Radios (SDR) can even be used down to about 50 or 25 Hz on CW with no “ringing”. Other people prefer to engage a 1000 Hz filter so that they can hear other stations that might be close by, using their brain to filter out the different signals.
The correct filter for digital modes, such as RTTY and PSK 31, will depend upon the mode itself and how busy the band is. A good choice would be set up three—say 500 Hz, 300 Hz and 200 Hz—and select whatever works best for you at the time. But setting a 3.6 kHz width would also let you hear signals that are close, but not exactly on your frequency.
The new tents were erected swiftly and proved the point, they really are quick erect structures.
Having the two also worked very well at the WESS Rally at Stithians.
Thanks go to Trevor G4BHD for the photos
Some excellent deals from this outlet with FREE carriage too, electronics, cameras and much more
- RSGB General Manager