Weekly Propagation Summary – 2016 May 23 16:10 UTC

Weekly Propagation Summary (2016 May 23 16:10 UTC)

Here is this week’s space weather and geophysical report, issued 2016 May 23 0405 UTC.

Highlights of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity 16 – 22 May 2016

Solar activity was low with only B-class and C-class flare activity observed. Regions 2544 (N20, L=295, class/area=Dai/160 on 16 May) and 2546 (S07, L=223, class/area=Cho/550 on 21 May) produced three low-level C-class flares between them, with the largest being a C1.8 at 16/1525 UTC from Region 2544. No Earth-directed coronal mass ejections (CME) were observed during the reporting period.

No proton events were observed at geosynchronous orbit. However, there was a slight enhancement on 16 May from a long duration C3 flare that occured previous to the reporting period. The greater than 10 MeV proton flux reached a maximum of 1 pfu at 16/0030 UTC.

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit reached high levels on 16, 17, and 19 May and moderate levels on 18, 20-22 May.

Geomagnetic field activity was mostly at quiet to unsettled levels from 16-20 May with an isolated period of active conditions on 17 May in response to a positive polarity coronal hole high speed stream (CH HSS). G1 (Minor) geomagnetic storm levels were observed during the 0600-0900 UTC synoptic period on 21 May due to influences from another positive polarity CH HSS.

Forecast of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity 23 May – 18 June 2016

Solar activity is expected to be very low (B-class flares) to low (C-class flares) levels throughout the outlook period.

No proton events are expected at geosynchronous orbit.

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit is expected to reach high levels on 28-29 May, 01 Jun, 03-09 Jun, 12-13 Jun, and 18 Jun. Moderate flux levels are expected for the remainder of the outlook period.

Geomagnetic field activity is expected to reach G2 (Moderate) geomagnetic storm levels on 04 Jun and G1 (Minor) geomagnetic storm levels on 05 Jun due to the influence of a negative polarity CH HSS. Active geomagnetic levels are expected on 26 May, 30-31 May, 02-03 Jun, 06 Jun, 11-13 Jun, and 17-18 Jun due to various recurrent CH HSSs.

Don’t forget to visit our live space weather and radio propagation web site, at: http://SunSpotWatch.com/

Live Aurora mapping is at http://aurora.sunspotwatch.com/

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Tomas Hood, NW7US, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Nebraska, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

Inverted L

I have been lacking the ability to operate on the lower HF bands, while my small 'multi-band' OCFD could be used on 40m trying to use it on 80m was nigh on impossible with my ATU. As you would expect even if matched for a useable VSWR the actual performance has been compromised.

I needed a cheap and relatively unobtrusive solution and I found one in Len Paget's (GM0ONX) design for an inverted L. The full details were printed in the Practical Wireless magazine several years ago and PDFs are available for download from Len's website. The designs make use of coaxial traps, one for the 80m version, two if you want to add a top-band (160m) option.

Opting for the smaller 80m version I set about building one. Using an old fibre-glass fishing pole about 5m high at the far end of the garden tucked behind the summer house which I could collapse down and then retract the wire elements when not in use so hiding it from view.

The fun and interesting part was building the trap. They are formed by coiling some coax, in this case RG58, round a former such as plastic waste pipe. I had a bit of scrap pipe but it was 32mm not the 40mm diameter type described in the article, thinking it couldn't make 'that much difference' I built one using the same number of turns but the resultant antenna wasn't anywhere near resonant according to the analyser.

I decided I needed to test the trap's frequency response. I found a YouTube video by Dave Tadlock (KG0ZZ) where he demonstrates using a MFJ 'Grid Dip Meter' adapter on an MFJ antenna analyser to test coaxial traps.

The adapter consists of nothing more than a coil of wire on a suitable former so I made my own to use with my AW07A analyser. It worked a treat and I discovered my trap was way off frequency. In the mean time I had located a useful PDF document by David Reynolds (G3ZPF) which informed me I actually needed 180cm of RG58 round a 32mm pipe to make a suitable 7MHz trap, so I made another.

I made a small video showing the traps and how I tested them.


The resulting antenna seems to perform well, but it does sag a little due to the weight of the trap and wire and the flimsiness of the pole. But I have made a number of contacts on it and used it during the RSGB 80m CC Datamode contest a few weeks back. It was my first go at this contest but once I got the hang of operating it was great fun.


Andrew Garratt, MØNRD, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from East Midlands, England. Contact him at [email protected].

Really cheap cheap BM-800’s!

For those of you who read my BM-800 microphone, G4IZH modification Blog I wrote early April. A UK ebay seller is currently selling the BM800 at a silly price of £6.99 ($10) including UK delivery! These are branded Floureon BM-800 and are the same specification as the 48V ones I have already mentioned, making them ideal for conversion as the details on the link above or using straight into an audiomixer.

The price proved so irresistable, I decided to purchase another pair and they arrived boxed with all the accessories within a couple of days of clicking the mouse: 





Really the price is so stupid, you could fill the cupboard with a load. If you make a mistake with the mods or a slip with the soldering iron you are not going to end up red faced or feel it on your pocket. The G4IZH project is now really viable for a club, to get your heads together, purchase a load and have a modification night.

Link to seller here.

* Please note this is a UK seller and I don't know if they ship internationally? I have no connection with this company only to spread you Amateurs with the news.

Steve, G1KQH, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from England. Contact him at [email protected].

Out on the trail with the KX3






The bike all loaded up
I had Friday off and it was a beautiful sunny day so it was time to take my KX3 out on the trail to see how my new bike/ham radio setup works. My goal today was to see how to fit all I needed and find out what I really don't need to take on my bike and to make sure my antenna setup worked. I wanted to have an enjoyable ride and at the same time have all needed to setup for portable operations on the trail. The antenna was my mono band whip antennas from 10m-40m. I have them in a nice nylon roll up canvas bag I found they fit just perfect on the bikes horizontal support frame. I also have 2 canvas carry bags mounted on the rear of the bike that can be removed. While also loading the side bags I came to the conclusion that less is more! I had to trim down on what I was bringing. First off my KX3 was in a Pelican case and the case has to go as it takes up one side bag Since the KX3 is a trail rugged rig and I have a protective face cover ( from GEMS) for my next trip the KX3 is not going in the Pelican case. I also found the binder I use would not even fit in the side bags so that has to be re-thought out as well. The binder I have now is nice as I put a small metal plate in it for my Palm paddle to secure too via it's base magnets.
After loading up the bike the first thing I found out was the kick stand on the bike would not support the bike and the loaded side bags. It turned out to be a fine balancing act when it
Diamond K400 mount
came time for setup making sure the bike did not tip over. Since the bike is brand new and I told the bike store what I was doing he wanted to see if this bike stand would work as it is lower profile. I was told if it was not doable then to come back and a more robust kick stand will be installed free of charge.
Here is a list of the items I am packing:
KX3-on it's own with no Pelican case
Extra battery just in case- The Tracer battery pack
18 gauge counter poise- only for 20m at this time
Pens, paper and 3x5 cards with programming Kx3 instructions
Headphones- I don't use ear buds as my hearing is not that great and any noise around me tunes out CW.
Trunk lip mount base for antenna- Diamond K400 
Miscellaneous items- antenna connectors, adjustable wrench, tire repair kit for bike, hat, sunglasses and so on.
Lets get to the trail adventure..........I was able to bike to one of my pre picked spots down at the Lake where a nice size picnic table was available. The antenna mount setup worked great on the bikes rear rack which I mounted back at the condo in case there was issues. I attached the counter poise via a male female 14 gauge connectors. The rig setup was straight forward as I have done this many times in the past. I fired up the rig  and I wanted to see at this point if the counter poise was sufficient for a decent SWR and it was. BUT after
The setup
the tuning process had finished and my KX3 display returned it returned with an error message "ERR TXG D=114. Never had I seen this error before on my KX3 but then again Murphy is always close by to make things interesting. I was not able to transmit at all so I was dead in the water........and I was even picking up a G4 station calling CQ! I got the Iphone out and Googled the error code and it came back that possibly a TX gain calibration was needed to be done. That was not a big deal as the Elecraft software utility does this automatically but the rig has to be at home to do this. The trail/ham radio outing had come to a grinding halt but that was just fine as I really accomplished what I set out to do and that was see how things packed up, transported and how the rig operated using the bike to mount the antenna on. Back at home I did the TX gain calibration and the same issue persisted. I went online to the Elecraft reflector and was advised that it may be my internal AA batteries were low. They were just charged I thought.........Julie informed me it was about 3 months ago that happened. I
The surprise error code
charged the unit and all is well. So today it's another great day and it's off to the trails again to hopefully make a contact or two.    

Mike Weir, VE3WDM, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Ontario, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

Amateur Radio Weekly – Issue 112

New D-STAR HT from Kenwood
Tri-band, D-STAR, APRS included. Rumors of August availability at $600.
AmateurRadio.com

New Yaesu FT-891 mobile HF rig
It covers 30kHz to 56MHz on receive and transmits in the amateur bands from 160m to 6m with 100W output.
QRP Blog

HamRadio360 interviews Elecraft co-founder, discusses new KX2
Elecraft gives first peek into the new KX2 transceiver.
HamRadio360

[PDF] Elecraft KX2 brochure
Elecraft

[PDF] Elecraft KX2 data sheet
Elecraft

[PDF] Elecraft KX2 FAQ
Elecraft

Video: KX2 in action for SOTA activation
Elecraft KX2 and KX3 Transceivers in action, side-by-side
WG0AT

DV4home announced, supports D-STAR, DMR, dPMR & P25
The DV4home features direct Internet transceive mode using the microphone and the external speaker.
Wireless Holdings

Uniden announces DMR support for its flagship scanners
Uniden has announced that its flagship BCD436HP and BCD536HP HomePatrol series scanners will soon support DMR monitoring.
VA3XPR

Dayton Hamvention AMSAT demonstration plans
A special demonstration on SO-50 will take place during the 12:19pm (16:19 UTC) pass on Saturday May 21st.
AMSAT

Hackaday at Hamvention
The main purpose of my visit is to document the immense swap meet. There will be over a thousand vendors hocking their wares, from antique radios to gauges and other electronic paraphernalia.
Hackaday

ARRL CEO want to hear from you at Dayton
ARRL CEO Tom Gallagher, NY2RF, said he’s looking forward to hearing in person from ARRL members when he makes his inaugural appearance at Hamvention.
ARRL

DX Engineering announces new acquisitions
DX Engineering has acquired exclusive rights to Clifton Laboratories’ ham radio product line, and it has purchased TW Antennas.
ARRL

Experience Hamvention remotely
Check out some of the webcasts that will emanate from Hara Arena during the big show.
ARRL

NPOTA activations while bound for Dayton
En route to the 2016 Dayton Hamvention, I’m doing a few National Parks On The Air (NPOTA) activations with my my buddy, Eric (WD8RIF).
The SWLing Post

CubeSats with Amateur Radio payloads deploy from ISS
The Slow Scan Television (SSTV) satellite STMSat-1, built by Elementary students at Saint Thomas More Cathedral School (STM), was deployed along with the pair of NODES CubeSats built by students at Santa Clara University.
AMSAT UK

Television signal DXing
Would pristine digital signals make it harder to find unusual stations? And with so many TVs offering digital channel-scanning functionality, would the heavy tweaking so often needed to bring a channel to life eventually make TV DXing impossible?
Motherboard

habhub: Complete high altitude ballooning software tool set
Tracking system, predictor, car chase apps, SSDV, more…
habub

Ham Radio Mesh Networks – fun and fulfilling
The concept is to take commercial off-the-shelf technology and re-purpose it into a mesh data network.
AmateurRadio.com


Amateur Radio Weekly is curated by Cale Mooth K4HCK. Sign up free to receive ham radio's most relevant news, projects, technology and events by e-mail each week at http://www.hamweekly.com.

Kenwood D-STAR tri-band handheld

Reports from Dayton are that Kenwood has a D-STAR tri-band handheld under glass in the booth, along with colorful brochures. None of my sources are reporting on price or availability, and the documents all show "Tentative". Never the less, this news along with the development going on within the dv4 group are pretty exciting!

UPDATE: Tom KJ9P on the ground in Dayton reports that the model name and number haven't been published yet, but it should be available by year end with an MSRP between $500 and $700.

I also had a D-STAR conversation with Tony N8NNX as he was walking the floor at Hamvention regarding the dv4mobile product. His inquires came back also with a 2016 availability date and prices between $800 and $1000.

Michael Brown, KG9DW, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Illinois, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

Lightwave Madness

The 288 km path  courtesy: REAST


One of the local lightwave builders, Mark (VA7MM), brought my attention to some outstanding lightwave work conducted several years ago, by a group of very dedicated amateurs in Tasmania.

A pair of articles describes their successful attempts to send signals, via cloudbounce, over the astounding distance of 288km (180mi), crossing Bass Strait between the north Tasmanian coast and southern Australia.


What did it take to transmit lightwave signals over such a distance? Basically a system similar to the ones recently employed in our own local lightwave experiments but on a grander scale ... much grander!

The receiver is based on one of the KA7OEI designs, with modifications to increase its sensitivity. The receiver, and several other designs, can be found on Clint's website here, probably the best source of information on amateur lightwave available anywhere.

The lightwave receiver  courtesy: REAST
Although the basic receiver used a typical-sized fresnel lens, what really set it apart from most was the use of a large (10mm x 10mm) Avalanche Photo Diode (APD) for the detector, to maximize the field of view produced by the fresnel and gather every bit of light possible ... at a cost of $1200!

The 10mm x 10mm rx APD courtesy: Hamamatsu

The transmitter was also big, consisting of an array of 60 red Luxeon III LED's, similar to the Red Rebel Luxeons used in our own local tests. Each LED had its own 12cm square fresnel lens, heatsink and method of focusing. Certainly this was a mammoth project, by amateur lightwave standards.

The 60 LED TX array courtesy: REAST
One of the biggest problems when using such a high-gain system, is the difficulty in pointing. They found that aiming in altitude was simply a matter of pointing a few degrees above the horizon but azimuth pointing was much more critical, requiring accuracy to within a half-degree.

Earlier long-haul tests out to 209 km used the digital JT65 mode for signal decodes but the 288 km test used a fairly esoteric weak signal mode called WSC built on the Spectrum Lab software. This mode is capable of digging almost 20 db deeper into the noise than JT65, down to almost -50db.

An in depth description of the two long-haul events, including equipment schematics, can be found in "288 km Cloudbounce from Tasmania to the Australian Mainland" and in "209 km with Narrow Beamwidth Transmitter".

The 288 km crossing project evolved over several years and is all very well documented, from the first early steps, at the Radio and Electronics Association of Southern Tasmania's (REAST) website here.

This adventuresome project was largely the work of VK7MO, VK7JG, VK3HZ and VK7TW. Their work is most inspiring and much can be learned from seeing what they discovered when transmitting into the cloudy nighttime skies.

Such an endeavour as this makes the local, much shorter Georgia Strait crossing, seem like a cake-walk, but I can't imagine using anything that big and bright here without causing trouble ... it would probably appear much too 'laser-like' to talk one's way out of a jam. Pointing anything resembling a laser light into the air these days is simply begging for trouble.

I can however, envision a scaled-down version, perhaps consisting of an array of four Luxeons ... at least on my end of the path, but even pointing one of those from the city could be problematic. Perhaps any NLOS lightwave attempts across Georgia Strait will need to be well away from Vancouver and its two-million sets of eyes.

Steve McDonald, VE7SL, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

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