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GB2RS News

GB2RS is the weekly news service of the RSGB, broadcast by radio amateurs.

News items from this week's script may be reproduced freely, provided the source - the Radio Society of Great Britain - is clearly identified.
News for GB2RS must be sent in by 0900UTC on the Tuesday before the broadcast. You can use post, phone, fax or e-mail.


Good morning / evening. It's Sunday the 16th of May [1999] and here is the GB2RS news broadcast, prepared by the RSGB and intended for all radio amateurs and short-wave listeners.

Tornadoes tore through Oklahoma and Kansas on the 3rd of May, leaving at least 46 people dead, hundreds injured and thousands homeless. Before the storms, radio amateurs provided vital information, mostly on two metres, with various weather-spotting nets to the south and west of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. And once the tornadoes struck, amateurs offered emergency communications back-up.
On the 6th of May both the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross put out calls for additional amateur radio assistance. Amateurs in the affected areas used VHF and UHF repeaters, plus HF, to co-ordinate health and welfare enquiries, as well as mobile canteens, shelters and other emergency response activities.

Another new country, France, has become licensed for the 136kHz LF band. The first contacts from France were made by F6CNI, who has been listening on LF since the 73kHz band was first permitted in the UK.

The Radiocommunications Agency is to move back to its London Docklands site during the Bank Holiday weekend from the 27th to the 31st of May. The Docklands building has undergone renovation after it was extensively damaged in the IRA bomb blast on the 9th of January 1996. The Agency will close at 5pm on the 27th of May and re-open from its new address at 9.30am on the 1st of June. All the RA’s telephone numbers will be unchanged.
From June the RA’s address will be: South Quay 3, 189 Marsh Wall, London E14 9SX.

Aberdeen Amateur Radio Society is staging a nation-wide event to promote activity on the VHF and UHF bands. The objective is to get as many clubs as possible operating any size of station, and to provide operating experience to those operators who don’t have the facilities to transmit. The event runs from 1400 UTC on Saturday the 29th of May until 1400 UTC on Sunday the 30th.
Club stations who register before the event will stand the chance of winning one of two trophies - one will go to a Scotland club, and the other to a club south of the border. Certificates will also be available to those who participate. For more details contact Duncan, MM1BUO, whose address is correct in the RSGB Yearbook, or e-mail him at:

A programme entitled ‘Morse Story’ is to be broadcast on BBC Radio Four next Thursday, the 20th of May, at 2230 local time.

On air activity is planned from the Island of Pabay, near Skye, from the 1st to the 5th of June, using the callsign 2S0PNS. Operation will be on 10 to 160m, depending on conditions and antennas available. A special stamp will be issued to mark the event.
For more information contact Jeff, G3LWM, whose address is correct in the RSGB Yearbook, by packet at: G3LWM@GB7COS or via e-mail at:

An array of attractive certificates are now available from the World Association of Christian Radio Amateurs and Listeners. 18 awards can be claimed for contacting or hearing members of WACRAL. A full schedule of WACRAL’s international net times and frequencies are available from Geoff Grundy, G4YJW, at 47 Northiam Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN20 8LP.

The South Dorset Repeater Group is to fold, but a new group - called SDRG2000 - is due to form in its place. Since 1975, the group has been running the local 70cm repeater GB3SD in the Weymouth area. The new group will actively work towards renewing its site lease. For more details contact M0BQQ, whose address is correct in the RSGB Yearbook.

This week we have a couple of amateur TV news items.

Roy Powers, G8CKN, reports that his weekly GB2RS sound and video transmissions are now going out regularly at 0930 hours via the ATV repeaters GB3HV at High Wycombe and GB3AT at Southampton, which are on 1308MHz and 1316MHz respectively. He is using the standard UK 625-line PAL colour system. Gordon Adams, G3LEQ, the GB2RS News Manager would like to hear from any other potential ATV news readers. If you are interested you can contact Gordon on voice mail or fax number 01 565 634 560.

ATV enthusiasts who have a digital ‘free to air’ satellite TV receiver may like to know that Dutch amateur station PI6ALK, alias Mischa, PE10KZ, has been viewed from time to time uplinking from Heerhugowaard {{pronounced ‘hear-hukho-vard’}} on the Eutelsat W2 F3 Earth satellite at 16 degrees East. This satellite is stationed exactly half-way between the Astra analogue and Hot Bird satellites at only three degrees offset from them - and no more than about 30 degrees elevation. The system used is DVB compliant in MPEG-2 format and may be found on 12.701GHz horizontally polarized, with a symbol rate of 3012 and a forward error correction factor of 5/6. More information can be obtained via e-mail from We are told that the chip sets enabling such digital transmissions cost anything between 25,000 and 75,000, so Mische must be getting some professional support.

Down to earth now - Radio Vilnius in Lithuania, one of the Baltic states, has installed a new 100 kilowatt short wave transmitter at Sitkunai. Their English service is going out from 0930 until 1000 UTC on 9710kHz. Unfortunately, Radio Australia from Shepparton also uses the same frequency at this time, but hopefully propagation conditions will allow one of the two signals to dominate. Lithuanian broadcasts in English are also being carried by the German short wave transmitter at Julich near Cologne. Short wave listeners are finding it ever more difficult to identify the location of senders now that so many international broadcasters are renting time via other nation’s transmission sites.

DX News:
From Glorioso Island, FR5ZQ/G will be operational until the 5th of June, using CW and SSB. This counts as AF-011 for the RSGB Islands on the Air Awards Programme.
From Lebanon, OD5/JY4NE is active until about the 26th of May.
And from El Salvador, YS1/KE4LWT is on the air until August, using SSB, including the Maritime Mobile net on 14300kHz.
These DX news items came from the weekly RSGB DX News Sheet, edited by Chris Page, G4BUE.

Contest News:
The RSGB 144MHz contest is taking place this weekend, until
1400 UTC today, Sunday the 16th of May.
The RSGB First 144MHz Backpackers Contest runs from 1100 until 1500 UTC today, Sunday the 16th of May.
The Worked All Britain LF Phone Contest takes place today, Sunday the 16th of May, from 0900 until 1800 UTC. Log sheets may be obtained from the WAB web site or from contest manager John Fitzgerald, G8XTJ, whose address is correct in the RSGB Yearbook.
The full rules of all RSGB contests may be found in the October 1998 RadCom.


SSL has informed the Society that as of last Wednesday morning, the latest callsigns allocated were in the M0 Charlie Juliet -- and M1 Delta Yankee -- series, and Novice calls in the 2 0 Alfa Tango -- and 2 1 Hotel India -- series.

This bulletin is also available on the RSGB web site at: where you will also find links to a number of groups and organisations mentioned in this broadcast..


{{Newsreaders: The historical Solar Factual Data to be read only by HF newsreaders. VHF / UHF newsreaders: you may read this section after the Regional News, providing you do not exceed your 30 minute time-slot.}}

And now the solar factual data for the period from the 3rd to the 9th of May, compiled by Neil Clarke, G0CAS:

After a several week lull in solar activity, solar activity gradually increased from low to moderate levels on the 7th and the 8th, and then to high on the 9th. The largest flare of the week was a M7.6 at 1800 UTC on the 9th. Solar flux levels increased every day, from 127 on the 3rd to 178 by the 9th, and the average was 152. The 90 day solar flux average on the 9th was 132 - that's 4 units up on last week. X-Ray flux levels also increased from B3.7 to C2.2 by the 9th as the sun produced more frequent and larger flares. The average was B7.3 units. Geomagnetic activity was mostly 'quiet', but on the 6th levels increased to 'unsettled' with an Ap index of 11. The average was Ap 8 units. Solar wind data from the ACE spacecraft saw solar wind speeds vary between 360 and 450 kilometres per second, but on the 6th speeds increased briefly to 550 kilometres per second. Particle densities were low and remained below six particles per cubic centimetre, except for late on the 5th when densities increased to 30 particles per cubic centimetre. Bz fluctuated between minus 10 and plus 10 nanoTeslas.
Now the ionospheric data for Chilton, Southern England. With the overall increase in solar activity, the F2 daytime critical frequencies responded well and were up to 8.8MHz on the 8th. The average was 8.3MHz, compared to only 7.2MHz the previous week. The darkness hour lows averaged 4.5MHz, but on the 9th were 5.6MHz. The daytime highs were between 1700 and 1900 UTC, with the darkness hour lows between 0200 and 0400.

{{Newsreaders: The Solar Forecast to be read by ALL newsreaders.}}

Now the solar forecast. This week the quieter side of the sun is expected to be looking our way. However, if the current increase in activity continues then solar activity could be moderate. Solar flux levels will depend on how active the sun is. If quiet, then levels will be slightly above the 100 mark, but hopefully levels could be approaching 150 if activity remains elevated. Geomagnetic activity is expected to be 'quiet to unsettled'. MUFs during daylight hours at equal latitudes are expected to be about 23MHz for the south and 20MHz for the north. Please bear in mind that the daily highs are now taking place in the early evening, and paths to South Africa and South America should be reasonable most evenings. The darkness hour lows should be about 12MHz. Paths this week to India are expected to have a maximum usable frequency with a 50 per cent success rate of 26MHz. The optimum working frequency with a 90 per cent success rate will be about 20MHz. Sporadic E can be expected to become more widespread on 28MHz and openings on 50MHz have already been reported. And that's the end of the solar information.

For more on propagation see


You're listening to GB2RS, the news broadcasting service of the Radio Society of Great Britain, coming to you from the station of [insert own callsign].