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Update and Weather

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough
Details

Hello all,

We have all been a little quiet recently with the weather in the UK being rather wet and windy. Many areas around the country have been suffering with the heavy rain causing flooding to the countryside and many properties. The West Coast has also been battered by strong Hurricane force winds along with high tides that has caused extensive damage to the sea fronts.

DSC 0075Down in the area of the farm, Pembrokeshire, has seen some horrendous wind, rain, and high tides. Our friends Greg and Lisa, the RSPB wardens on Ramsey Island posted some video footage of the harbour area on the island to their blog and on YouTube which just shows the power of the oceans. This photo shows the harbour when we land, click on the link to see the video and the huge difference. Rob, Charles and Ant have taken photo's of the damage and flooding in their areas which we have in a new gallery showing how ferocious the storms have been.

We would also like to wish all our friends in the USA who have had the heavy snow fall a safe recovery from their unusually strange weather. The snow fall and temperatures have been extreme with snow of unusual depths being recorded in areas where if they are lucky they get just a light dusting. Again this is unusual and has caused damage and disruption through out the Northern states.

At least not everything is doom and gloom. Rob is busy with his lambing down on the farm, Ant cannot build his HexBeams quick enough and now has his son helping him out, Tim and Charles are both getting busier with their QSL management work and the rest of us are working hard at our day jobs. We are all making plans for this coming year for trips to the farm and various conventions and radio related activities.

This year is also a special year for Rob, Jane, and Rob's brother Ian on the farm as it is 100 years since their family moved on there. A big party is being planned for the summer, with the club call being activated. We will share the fun by uploading photo's, video's and on the radio with all our friends around the world. We may even have a trip around and over to Ramsey Island for a day so again we could be on the air from there.

We are also having a visitor from "Down Under" at the end of June in the shape of Stuie, VK8NSB. He will be staying with Tim and there are plans for some of us to go to the farm for a couple of days so you may hear Stuie on the air from there (if Rob lets him!! hahahaha). Tim and Stuie will then be going up to the IOTA convention at the start of July, so if you are attending then say hello and buy them a beer or two.

Chris will be on HMS Belfast around April 25th for the AGM of the HMS Belfast group and will try to get on the radio while he is on board. He is hoping to have some time to do some photography while he is there and will post the pics on his FlickR page and some on here.

That's all for now but we will try to keep up to date with what is happening through out the year.

Sun Going to Sleep

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough
Details

As radio amateurs we all have an interest in what happens on the Sun. Whether we are interested in DXing, Contesting, or just chatting with friends it will affect all our contacts at some point. On HF the Sun Spots and Solar Indexes determine Sunspot Llanferranwhether we can make long distance (DX) contacts on the higher bands, and on the lower band the suns radiation causes absorption in the layers in the upper atmosphere so the signals are from much more local sources.

Even on the VHF/UHF bands the sun plays it's part with how far our transmitted signals travel. A Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) will send out magnetic particles that cause the Aurora's at the poles, we can then use these to bounce our signals and achieve greater distances then on a direct sky path - unless the sun has caused some form of ducting up in the upper atmosphere which - on certain bands - allow the signals to travel thousands of miles.

The BBC's Newsnight programme had a very interesting article on the sun and the possibility of us being in a Maunder Minimum period which is, to put it simply, when the "Sun goes to sleep". Just click on the highlighted words to get to the article.

Lets hope the science is wrong, and the sun is just having a quick power nap to revive itself.

 

New Year Shenanigans

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough
Details

Firstly lets kick off with Happy New Year to all friends and family around the world.

We have been on the air, but only on 40 and 80 meters. The wind and rain has been horendous, and sadly we have had to keep the mast luffed over for safety and to prevent damage to the antenna. We will be uploading the logs to both DSCN0265Clublog and LOTW this morning, so keep an eye out for the updates.

Plenty of food and drink was had with friends old and new joining us from the locality. Ant, Tim, and Chris did the usual late night chat and drink finally retiring around 02:45. As can be seen we do like good food imageand our wine. It is just a shame that the weather has not been too kind so our annual walk may not take place.

Again we will be back on 40m in a little while to work some more of you. Do call in and say hello.

Out of This World Photography

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough
Details

During 2013 we saw some wonderful photo's of our home planet Earth from the International Space Station - ISS - taken by Commander Chris Hadfield and other crew members. Over the past few days the BBC have put a selection of shots on the internet titled "Best Space Images of 2013" with some stunning shots.

But somewhere out there there must be a website with even better images then these, I know Commander Hadfield downloaded some wonderful shots on to his Twitter feed. Click on the italics to get to follow the links to these images and articles.

A Bit of a Do

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough
Details

Once again a group of us will be gathering at the farm to celebrate New Year and have some fun. REMEMBER THIS IS NOT THE IOTA ACTIVATION BUT OUR HQ....

We are hoping to get on the air over the period where there will be a few operators so we may be on a couple of bands at the same time. We have a 80M vertical that has only been erected once and really needs testing so if we can and Rob will allow us we may get that out and get on that band as we very rarely use it.

It will be more relaxed operating and we will be using Facebook while there so if you log in and like the page we will be uploading and adding photo's as we go along. We may even video some of the activation and upload that too.

Seasons greetings and hope to meet you on the air.

Unexpected Arrivals

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough
Details

Photo by; Jane,

1510528 10151784742571167 1710903052 nA little news from down on the farm. One of Rob's sheep looks like she has been a naughty girl and not been faithful to Rob's lambing plan - in other words she has been in with the ram too early - and has given birth to twins.

The lambing season doesn't usually start until mid January, but these two arrived yesterday. So Rob is now watching the flock for any other "loose women" and signs of early births.

QSLing Practices

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough
Details

Written by: Tim - M0URX

I have spent the last few hours preparing to send out my own QSL cards for DXCC and IOTA DXpeditions worked recently, Oh boy, I did not realise how complicated QSL managers are making things these days, $3 if you want a QSL sent here but $4 if you want it sent outside Europe, $5 if you want it sent to the Pacific, what is going on?

Some countries only accepting IRC's so long as the IRC you sent has your country name on it! What? This completely disregards all UPU postal regulations on IRCs. I decided a short time ago not to accept IRC's any more, they are just causing too many problems.

One recent DXpedition website even states that if you want a quick LoTW upload then you must send $5 by PayPal..... Ummmm EXCUSE ME SIR, but isn't that the job of a QSL manager to upload to LoTW? If he wants paying for every LoTW upload he will be MINTED!!!!!! Some of these scandals are encouraged by DX organisations and Foundations throwing money at them and accepting these shoddy practices as STANDARD. It just is not good enough is it?
My logging software uploads the whole log to LoTW in ONE quick click of the mouse! Why on earth would you charge $5 for each individual upload? Answers on a postcard please? Together with $5 of course.

DX Foundations that accept $5 for a QSL or LoTW upload as acceptable should explain their reasons for this?

I even saw this one, a QRZ.com profile for an Italian IOTA
"EU stations: send a SAE (Self Addressed Envelope) plus 5 US$ or 3 Euro or 1 valid IRC"

I have also been chasing up some non-QSL returns, and many QSL managers refuse to answer emails. WHY?

Here at United Radio QSL Bureau, I have some promises to DX'ers and DXpedition teams.
1) I will NOT charge any more than $2 for a Direct letter to send a QSL to ANYWHERE on this planet.
2) OQRS will not cost more than €2 for a Direct letter to send a QSL to ANYWHERE on this planet.
3) LoTW WILL be uploaded immediately after the DXpedition. Or at the earliest opportunity. FREE
4) Emails resulting from QSL requests WILL be answered as quickly as possible!
5) Bureau cards will be sent DIRECT to all IARU World Bureaus every 3 or 4 months. FREE

If you are planning a DXpedition, DXCC or IOTA in 2014 please contact us to provide YOU and the DX'ers that work you, with the best QSL services in the World. All mail is posted as Priority Air Mail.

United Radio QSL Bureau - Setting Standards!

The above is from Tim's blog on his website. And we here at S.H.A.R.K are getting fed up with extortionate costs put up by QSL managers around the world. These guys rare getting to be the equivalent of Al Capone with his extortion rackets....

What Is The Coldest Place on Earth??

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough
Details

Written By; Charles - M0OXO

lowestWhat is the coldest place on Earth? It is a high ridge in Antarctica on the East Antarctic Plateau where temperatures in several hollows can dip below minus 133.6 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 92 degrees Celsius) on a clear winter night. Scientists made the discovery while analyzing the most detailed global surface temperature maps to date, developed with data from remote sensing satellites including the new Landsat 8, a joint project of NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Researchers analyzed 32 years' worth of data from several satellite instruments. They found temperatures plummeted to record lows dozens of times in clusters of pockets near a high ridge between Dome Argus and Dome Fuji, two summits on the ice sheet known as the East Antarctic Plateau. The new record of minus 136 F (minus 93.2 C) was set Aug. 10, 2010.

That is several degrees colder than the previous low of minus 128.6 F (minus 89.2 C), set in 1983 at the Russian Vostok Research Station in East Antarctica. The coldest permanently inhabited place on Earth is northeastern Siberia, where temperatures in the towns of Verkhoyansk and Oimekon dropped to a bone-chilling 90 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (minus 67.8 C) in 1892 and 1933, respectively.

High Winds in UK

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough
Details

Today has seen the winter weather finally hit the UK. There have been reported gusts of wind up to 106 MPH (Miles Per Hour) in some Western areas of Scotland.

Here in central England the local airport at Birmingham had some of the aircraft miss the runway and take a second attempt at landing, with at least one flight having to divert to another UK airport. A video of aborted landings is available on the Birmingham Mail - local newspaper - website.

There have also been reports of damage to property, buildings, and chaos on the roads. I drive a small truck for my job and today I have been driving at low speeds due to the wind effects on the side of my truck. Antennas have been lowered by all the group, and we hope no one else gets any damaged antennas.

If you are out in this wind stay safe and we hope to meet you on air after the storm has passed.

Seasons Greetings 2013

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough
Details

As the 2013 year end draws ever closer, we like to wish all our friends around the world seasons greetings in their home language, and we do appologise if we miss yours off the list. Lets hope that 2014 brings us all good conditions on the radio and we hope to contact you all at some point.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd dda

Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo

Joyeux Noel et Bonne Annèe
 
Feliz Navidad y Feliz Año Nuevo
 
Vasel Koleda
 
Froehliche Weihnachten undein gluckliches Nues Jahr
 
Kala Christougenna Ki eftihismenos o Kenourgios Chronos
 
Boldoy Karácsonyt
 
Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia
 
Cestitamo Bozia
 
Boas Fiestas e um feliz Ano Novo
 
Nollaig Shona Dhuit
 
From all at the Strumble Head DX and Contest Group.May we meet on the air sometime in 2014.
 
And remember we will be on the air sometime over the holiday period from the farm to celebrate the new year.
 
We are also thinking to next summer and a special announcement with regards the farm and it's history.

Happy Thanks Giving Day.

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough
Details

May we take this opportunity to wish all our friends from across the pond in the USA a Happy Thanks Giving Day, and we look forward to meeting you guys on air in the near future.

Mexborough and District Amateur Radio Society new webpage

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough
Details

We all, and I don't just mean S.H.A.R.K members, have an affinity and close alliance with a radio club somewhere around the world. And I (Chris, G1VDP), am no exception to this. When I first started out in this wonderful hobby I joined Mexborough And District Amateur Radio Society (MADARS), and subsequently went through their training course for the RAE, taught at that time by Eric Rogers, and gained my Class B licence.

Since then the club has moved on and now caters for the 3 licence classes, hold numerous functions, and special event stations throughout the year. They have also just recently built a new website with full details of the club and it's activities. To view the website click on MADARS and this will take you to the website, which is still having bits and pieces added and updated on a regular basis.

Comet Ison - Naked Eye Object this week?

Charles Wilmott
Charles Wilmott
Details

comet ison1Observers around the world are reporting that Comet ISON brightened sharply last night and is now at the threshold of naked-eye visibility. By some reports, ISON surged in brightness by approximately 2 magnitudes over last 24 hours and is now brighter than comet Lovejoy.

If this trend continues, it will be a faint but easy naked-eye object by the end of the week, SpaceWeather reports.

The sudden uptick in brightness could be caused by a fresh vein of ice opening up in the comet's nucleus. Rapid vaporization of ice by solar heat is a sure way to boost a comet's visibility. 

ISON's brush with the Sun on November 28th is very near and many more of these brightening events might happen but all three scenarios for ISON are still open. The first possible scenario is fizzle - ISON evaporates under intense tidal forces and solar radiation. The second scenario is break-up - ISON breaks into smaller chunks.

The third scenario is what everybody hopes will happen - sizzle - ISON survives its brush with the Sun and emerges so bright it becomes visible on Earth in daylight.

A few days at MC0SHL again...

Charles Wilmott
Charles Wilmott
Details

SHARKIts November again and having a couple of days down at the Club in GW Land.

Listen out for MC0SHL on the air but in all likelyhood I don't expect to be on air much at all as I have other things planned but you never know!

Also have a browse around the Club website when you have a few minutes.

You can find the website by clicking on the log top left of this message or from the left sidebar of the webpage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

   
© MC0SHL