Contest Loggers for the Scottish DX Contest

The Scottish DX Contest is now supported by

The organisers will be working with ​the compilers of other contest logging packages for the 2018 contest.

The Scottish DX Contest is the only dedicated Amateur Radio competition with Scotland at the forefront and the 1st SDXC will take place over the weekend 22-23 July 2017.  The Goal is to make contact with as many DXCC and Scottish Council regions as possible.

Full details about SDXC can be found here and the rules can be found here.

IQ6NE Special Event from Martinsicuro Fishing Museum

IQ6NE will operate from the Martinsicuro Fishing Museum on the 14th, 15th, 16th July and 4th, 5th 6th August.  The station will operate on both SSB and CW and CW frequencies have been advised as between 7020.0 and 7025.0 kHz and on 14052.0 kHz

Inbetween the two three-day activations, on the seafront of the same town on 23rd July there will be the 7th Exhibition of Vintage Radio.

Photographs of the Fisheries Museum can be found here.

 

About

EURAO Party On The Air – Watching SSTV – 17 & 18 June

The European Radio Amateurs’ Organization has announced a new party on the air, this time with the motto: “watching SSTV“. This is not a contest, it is just a radio meeting with a few simple recommended ‘rules’.

Purpose: SSTV (Slow Scan TeleVision) is not a new mode, but it is incredibly fun, even as a SWL.

Date & time: June 17th and 18th, 2017, Saturday and Sunday, 00:00-24:00 UTC.

Bands & modes: these are the recommended frequencies (+/-) for SSTV: 3.730, 7.058, 10.132, 14.230, 21.340, 28.680, 50.510 and 144.500 MHz.

Call: “CQ EURAO Party”.

Exchange: because this is a QSO event, not a contest, you can send/watch whatever you want, in any language, and for as long as you like. Here are some topic suggestions to get the conversation going: name, city, locator, weather, antennas, rigs, etc.

Also talk about QSL interchange. Tell the truth. Say “no, thanks” if you are not interested in QSL cards. But if you would like to have a memory of your contact, feel free to use our EuroBureauQSL (see below).

Logs: for statistic purposes only, we ask participants to submit their logs in ADIF format to party@eurao.org, where the filename should be your callsign (e.g. EA3RKF.ADI).

There will be no results or league tables, only statistical information about number of QSOs, countries, callsigns, OMs/YLs/Clubs, etc.

Certificate of Participation: for those sending the log and with a minimum of 10% QSOs confirmed.

EuroBureauQSL: you can use it to interchange QSLs even if you are not member. In this case, just send the QSL to the entry point in the country of contacted station.

Irish Amateur Station Licence Examination

In Ireland, the next Amateur Station Licence Examination will be held on Thursday 29th June 2017 in the ComReg offices in Dublin and at other centres if warranted by the numbers.

The closing date for applications to sit this examination is Monday 12th June 2017.

Places for examinations at the ComReg Offices are limited, they are allocated on a first come first served basis and are only reserved on receipt of an application form and the examination fee.

To reserve a place for the exam, candidates should forward a completed application form to …

Download the application form here.  The exam fee is €50 or €25 for full-time registered students, repeat candidates and those who are retired, unemployed or have a disability.

Payment may be made by credit card or PayPal using our online payments system.  Alternatively, Cheques or Money Orders payable to IRTS may be sent to the address above.

N.B.  A completed application form must be submitted and payment must be made before a candidate can reserve a place for the exam.

Intending candidates should note that anyone who fails to produce a photo identity on the day of the examination will not be allowed to sit the examination.  The photo ID can be a driving licence, a passport, an employment photo identity card or a student card containing a photograph.  A national Garda photo ID is also acceptable.

IARU Region 1 Youth Contesting Programme 2017

The IARU Region 1 Youth Contesting Program (YCP) continues in 2017. Youth members (under 26 years old) from IARU Region 1 member societies are invited to take part in a contest from   “Top-Gun” stations.

Applications are open: apply here.

These young Radio Amateurs will learn how to operate the contest station, improve their contest skills and will aim for the best results together as a team in a live contest.
A youngster will probably be coming for the first time to the host country and will get the chance to experience this country and share amateur radio knowledge with local youngsters.
Contest locations:conteststationsycp
  • ES5TV ARI International DX contest (6-7 May 2017)
  • 9A1A 9A1RBZ  CQ M International DX contest (13-14 May 2017)
  • 4O3A CQWW RTTY contest (23-24 September 2017)
  • Further contests may be added to stay tuned to the web pages listed below
Rules:
  • Young people aged under 26 years.
  • 1 or 2 participants per member society
  • All levels of contest experience are accepted. A participant should have at least basic knowledge about contesting and using a transceiver.
  • Member societies are asked to select young people who are  willing to experience a contest in a “big-gun”station, eager to learn more about amateur radio and who are aiming to get the best results out of the contest. A group of ±6 international youngsters and ±6 domestic youngsters will take part per contest.
  • Participants are asked to fund their own travel costs. All other costs will be covered.

Example Schedule for participants

When taking part in a 24 hours contest the participant will arrive on Friday and leave on Monday.
This is an example time schedule from 9A1A:

Friday: Arrive to host city (in this case Zagreb ). Social event in late afternoon and
evening hours. Sleeping  in one of Zagreb hostels.
Saturday – Sunday: Travel to contest location (in 9A1A case about 40 km). Introduction to the
contest location, its capacities and possibilities. Team will take part in the contest.
Team will sleep on Sunday/Monday night on contest location.
Monday: Travel to home.

Find out more at these web locations:-

What Callsigns for an Independent Scotland?

Sometime after the United Kingdom Government and the European Union come to an agreement on the UK leaving the EU – generally known as BREXIT – all the governments of  the EU (including some local governments) will be given the negotiated terms in order that they can determine whether they can be agreed.   It is the plan of the Scottish Government to offer the people of Scotland an opportunity to decide, in a referendum, whether they wish to

(a) remain a part of a United Kingdom which has withdrawn from the European Union under BREXIT, or

(b) withdraw from the union which is the United Kingdom and return to being a self-determining nation as they were before before the formation of the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707.

The timescale for this has always been uncertain and could be open to variation but will relate to the period when it is expected that the UK’s withdrawal negotiations with the EU will have been completed and the proposed package is then available for the European Parliament, the Parliaments of the nations of Europe (and some European local parliaments) to consider and approve or reject.

The United Kingdom’s minority government is of the opinion that the people of Scotland should not be allowed to determine their future direction. The policy of the devolved government of Scotland is that this should be their democratic right and the Scottish Parliament has agreed with that policy.

At the time of writing this document, in Scotland support for independence from the UK is sitting around the 50% mark and there is, as yet, no campaign running to persuade the people of Scotland of the benefits of seeking Independence. Despite an ongoing campaign for many months by those who favour retention of the UK, in the recent UK election the voters of Scotland returned more independence minded Members of Parliament than those who favour retention of the union.

What is written here considers radio callsigns for Scotland. A similar political issue may exist for Northern Ireland where members of the Republic of Ireland government have indicated that they may require a programme leading to the unification of Ireland to be part of any BREXIT agreement.   The answer to future callsigns for Northern Ireland may be simpler, in that Ireland already has it’s allocation of EIA-EJZ (although some Radio Amateurs in Northern Ireland may prefer not to part with their existing callsigns)

Returning to Scotland now where Amateur Radio callsigns issued for use within the nation have traditionally started with GM (nowadays could also be MM or 2M). There is also the use of GS for Scottish club stations, GA (A for Alba) has been used or two extended periods of time and the shared special event call GB is also used.

All the above are part of the extensive range of callsigns allocated to the United Kingdom and its dependencies. But what would happen to Amateur Radio callsigns if Scotland chose to became independent from the UK.

During the independence referendum held in Scotland in 2014 there was some ill informed comment on this subject, where it was suggested that Scotland would be issued with “one of those funny number callsign prefixes” that are now issued to emerging countries. That, of course, could be one possibility. But there is precedent which would indicate a different outcome.

Callsigns are not owned by countries but allocated to them – by the ITU (International Telecommunications Union) which is part of the United Nations. And history has shown that callsign allocations are not sacrosanct and can be withdrawn or modified.

Callsign allocations are not only related to Amateur Radio but also to the Maritime, Aeronautical and Broadcasting services (and just about any other radio service which might cross international borders).   Callsigns are allocated to the UK in the ranges GAA-GZZ, MAA-MZZ, 2AA-2ZZ, etc. This means that the option of saying all GM/MM/GA/2M/GS/MA callsigns could just be allocated to Scotland, is difficult – because their will be ships and aircraft registered in the UK which also use the first letters in their callsigns. (Traditionally UK ship callsign have been allocated in the format GBTT with four letters and aircraft in the format GAAIR with five letters although ship callsigns have become longer in recent times). So whether Scottish Radio Amateurs could retain their existing callsigns becomes a very big question.

But some will ask why the UK (or what remains of it) should give up any of its callsign allocation to an independent Scotland. The answer involves both history and politics.

Going back to 1603 sees the first steps towards creating what has become the United Kingdom when King James VI of Scotland also took on the mantle of King James I of England, but with Scotland and England remaining two separate countries with their own parliaments, own laws and minting their own currency. It was not until 1707 that the parliaments of Scotland and England came together to form the political union of the Kingdom of Great Britain (which is now the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland). This was a move which was greatly disliked by the majority in Scotland, but at a time when the majority had no voting rights. The dislike of rule from another country has simmered since that time. But although decisions were made from a distance, Scotland retained a number of vestiges of it’s nationhood, including it’s legal system, it’s education system, it’s church and privileges of the Scottish Royal Burghs. The bottom line is that Scotland was one partner in the two partner union which formed the Kingdom of Great Britain.   Should Scotland withdraw from the union, it will have entitlements to it’s share of the union’s assets – which certainly can be seen as including radio callsign allocations.

Historically the United Kingdom and it’s Empire were allocated a great range of callsign blocks.  Along with G, M and 2 there are or were also V and Z allocations, the latter being associated with the Empire, later the Commonwealth.   It is these V and Z allocations which give some interesting historical precedent in relation to UK allocations.

Today there are many nations of the world which were once part of the British Empire and which are now proud and successful independent nations – but which still retain callsign allocations which were originally related to the their old British Empire allocation (i.e. callsign ranges which were once allocated to the United Kingdom) . These include countries such as Australia (VHA-VNZ & VZA-VZZ) India (VTA-VWZ), Hong Kong (VRA-VRZ), New Zealand (ZKA-ZMZ) and South Africa (ZRA-ZUZ). (Some of these countries also have other callsign blocks allocated).

So, there is a simple truth here. A shrinking “empire” no longer warrants the extensive callsign allocations it once enjoyed. And as parts of the “empire” opt out from it’s control, it is completely reasonable that parts of the callsign allocations should transfer to them. It can be argued that this is even more so the case with Scotland which is one of the founding nations of what became today’s United Kingdom – it is certainly the case that Scotland would legally be entitled to it’s fair share of UK assets (which would happen to include the very extensive UK debt!).

However, transferring callsign allocations to Australia, India, Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Africa, etc. was much simpler than the process would be with Scotland. These countries already used these callsign blocks exclusively whereas Scotland’s callsigns are interwoven with the overall UK allocation.

Looking at this from a purely Amateur Radio perspective, it would be very easy to determine that the GMA-GMZ, MMA-MMZ and 2MA-2MZ blocks could simply transfer to Scotland. The same could be the case for GAA-GAZ and GSA-GSZ and potentially for some of the V and Z blocks which continue to be allocated tot he UK.   Such a process would mean minimal changes to Scottish callsigns (Repeaters, Beacons and special events would be exceptions). However, Amateur Radio cannot be taken in isolation and all other radio users require to be considered. This means, without doubt, that some radio users much endure change should Scotland become a self-determining nation.

These are matters which a Scottish Government preparing for independence from the UK would need to consider. They are significant matters to radio users, and perhaps particularly to Radio Amateurs, but relatively minor issues in the great scope of negotiations and applications which require to be considered in shaping a self determining nation.    They are matters which could become submerged in all the work required to launch a nation on the world stage – but this means there could be an opportunity for the Scottish Amateur Radio community to shape their own destiny.

There is no one body in Scotland which represents Amateur Radio – the RSGB will no longer be relevant as a body representing the hobby to government.   There is time now for a new national body representing Amateur Radio in Scotland to come together, to consider all matters which might affect Radio Amateur’s in a nation and to begin building relationships with the Scottish Government.

This year Scotland saw the reintroduction of a national radio convention and the introduction of a Scottish focused international radio contest – there is also the need for a national Amateur Radio body to be in place and prepared should the people of Scotland vote to withdraw from the UK in 2018/2019.

Links

Scottish Amateur Radio Convention 2017

Scottish DX Contest

BY70-1 CubeSat launched December 28

The BY70-1 CubeSat launched on December 28 from the Taiyuan Space Launch Center in China, but in a lower orbit than intended. The satellite carries an Amateur Radio FM transponder.

BY70-1 was intended to go into a 530-kilometer (approximately 329-mile) circular Sun-synchronous orbit, but it appears the orbit is 524 x 212 kilometers, which will give the spacecraft an orbital
lifetime of just a month or two.

Paul Stoetzer, N8HM, reported working Wyatt Dirks, AC0RA, through the FM transponder during the 1709 UTC pass on December 28 and commented that the uplink requires precise frequency adjustment, there’s a delay on the downlink, but the signal is strong,”

BY70-1 is a 2U CubeSat project for education and Amateur Radio. It features 3-axis stabilization and deployable solar panels. In addition to the FM transponder, BY70-1 has a camera, and plans call for downloading images and telemetry via a 9600 bps BPSK downlink.

The IARU Amateur Satellite Frequency Coordination pages list an uplink of 145.920 MHz, and a downlink of 436.200 MHz.