Nits Archive

Monday night net - Retro Technology!  Monday August 10th

I can't be the only amateur who has fond memories of early home computers and video cameras and I still have quite a few in my collection, so tonights Monday night net is all about Retro Technology, whether it's Drake Transceivers or Sinclair Spectrums, BT Video Phones or Polaroid instant cameras, I am sure you have something to say on it. So why not join me David G7URP from 7.30pm this Monday for our weekly net on GB3NB and share your retro passions!

73, David G7URP   (PS we still need volunteers to run the occasional Monday net please...)

PS - NARC Live! is also having a Retro Technology night with videos, pictures and live links to you with your Retro Tech on Wednesday 26th August!



NARC Live!: Getting to know DX Commander, aka Callum McCormick;  Wednesday 12th August

DX Commander is a british company which makes a range of innovative antenna and accessories, but the man behind the company Callum McCormick M0MCX has made just as much of a name for himself with his frequent videos on all aspects of amateur radio on his YouTube Channel where he now has over 26000 subscribers! So tonight on NARC Live we will get to meet him live by video link and I will be asking Callum how it all started and you can ask him questions and comment as usual on BATC or Facebook.

As well as Getting to know DX Commander there will be our weekly competition 'Whos shack' and your news and views. Please drop us details of what you have been up to, photos, stories, great buys etc....  to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before 3pm Wednesday to be included on that nights show.

73, Tammy M0TC and David G7URP


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Monday night net - Retro Technology:      (A great museum of computers in Cambridge: ©



NARC Live on Wednesday - Getting to know DX Commander Callum McCormick




 Well well, what is going on?  Student's rebellion?  Heat stroke?  Can't stand the pace?   Looks like my hat has a reprieve!!  I do hope it is short lived.

Beginners 25wpm CW report Tuesday 4th August 2020


Well it seems the holiday season has got the better of our CW sessions this week with a no show from the students. It turns out that there were some good reasons and the only damage is that Roger has turned the cooker off, so his hat is no longer simmering.

I was thinking of stopping the sessions until September, but would really like to make use of the lockdown extra time we have to spend doing something productive. So the plan is to keep going with the revision and probably focus on QSO examples and perhaps some common words. So don’t forget, every Tuesday at 8pm on GB3NB. I am always available for one to one practice QSOs and a quick call on 145.450 will find me to set up a sked, or if preferred, email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Instead of setting 100 lines for a no show, I would like to think that you are all busy getting some good time practicing with those paddles sending complete words so that we get rid of the tendency to pause part way through a word. So, take a piece of text, a send each word many times as a single stri ng with no gaps, then when correct move on to the next one… easy.

73 de Jim


Morse Code ain't dead, dude!
The truth is that Morse code is very much an active mode, with a utility still applicable in this day and age. Preppers know this: when computer networks go down, and when modern communications technology fails, Morse code can be generated, transmitted, received, and decoded with the most minimal of technology.
Not only that, but the efficiency of CW (continuous wave modulation, A1A) in terms of propagation is impressive. Morse code can be effectively used to communicate over much greater distances than voice modes and many digital modes, using the same equipment, antenna, and power levels.
In terms of general use, take a look at the activity typical of an evening on shortwave bands:


The aim of the SARL HF Contests is for participants to contact as many amateurs in Southern Africa as possible on the 20, 40 and 80 meter amateur bands. There are three contests that you can take part in, starting with the HF Phone contest on Sunday 2 August, the HF Digital contest on Sunday 16 August and the HF CW contest on Sunday 30 August. Each contest runs from 14:00 to 17:00 UTC on each Sunday.

You can participate as a Single Operator Single Band, a Single Operator All Band, a Multi Operator Single Band, or a Multi Operator All Band (MOAB) station. Multi operator stations do not have to operate from the same location. The exchange is an RS, RSQ or RST report and a consecutive serial number starting at 001. MOAB stations may have a separate serial number per band.

Each QSO counts 1 point, with 2 points for each call area worked per band and 2 points for each station worked on all three bands. Trophies are awarded to the first place and the highest single band score in each contest and there is a trophy for the highest combined score in all three contests. A trophy is awarded to the Phone contestant in his or her first year of operating achieving the highest score, while trophies are awarded to the radio amateur under the age of 25 and to the YL achieving the highest score in the three contests.


"The SARL working for the future of Amateur Radio!"
Bulletins can be found at
"What are YOU doing for Amateur Radio?"



The Essex CW Club has been awarded the CWops 2020 Award For Advancing The Art Of CW.


The CWOPS CWT activity periods are very well attended now, even on the early morning ones, three of us at least turn up. There were five of us this week, Phil G4LPP, Peter M0RYB, Mike G4DYC, Chris G4CCX ( who managed to turn out of bed for a second time!) and myself. Propagation on 40 metres at that time of day is pretty good, the band was full of USA station at good signal strengths. However, they do have a major static problem and it is difficult to get contacts with 80 watts and a dipole. Having a linear helps considerably. 80 metres was not bad either, but not too many there.

With lockdown, it is a super time to learn CW, but it does need the Big P word!!
Think about joining the CW Academy. It helps people learn from scratch and in your own time. You can find all the details here:

There is no cost or obligation to participate in CWops CW Academy Classes and membership is not required. Enrollment is open to anyone with the desire to learn or improve their proficiency in Morse Code.
Please Note: CW Academy training and mentoring for Beginners and those with Morse Code experience needing help are offered three times a year, in two-month increments:
Jan-Feb; Apr-May; Sep-Oct
You can even have a preliminary chat before making any decision.
Sign up now to talk with one of our CWops CW Advisors and learn what CW Academy can do for you.
It will soon be time for the CW OPS Open, held on the first Saturday in September. This is a serious contest, with three four-hour periods. It is great fun however, and four hours is not too long, especially in Lockdown!! Take a look on the CW OPS web site.

"My Favourite Keys"
No input = no output
I don't have any more pictures of keys from anybody so I guess we have reached saturation, unless YOU know different?


FISTS are doing their bit to stir up some activity on the bands. Their Ladder remains as popular as ever, as does their straight key events.

Headcopy Class is changing.We are trying a new format, One-to-One QSOs. We will have feedback on 145.250 and try to encourage a conversational type QSO, starting out at about 20 wpm. This should then give some incentive to have more QSOs on the HF bands with other amateurs that are not known.
THis is proving to be very useful and a good method for gaining experience. Join us on a Monday morning, and try a QSO yourself. It is good practice and after a few of these willgive you the confidence to go on and make other QSOs.

So, join us at 1000 on Monday mornings and have some fun. GOTA is the accronym to apply here, Get On The Air and make more Qs.
The lyf so short, the craft so longe to lerne (Chaucer)

73 de Roger, G3LDI GB2CW Coordinator. May the Morse be with you.


Contest Nooze from a village East of Norwich.


contest clipart 3
80m Club Championship:

The 2020 80m CC series has ended and the final results are still awaited.
The next CC contest will provisionally be SSB on Monday 1st February 2021, starting a new 80m CC series.
RSGB 80m Autumn Series:
Beginning on Monday 7th September and running through to Thursday 26th November the Autumn Series of nine contests will be held for the 4th year.
NARC finished 3rd in 2017 and 2nd in 2018 & 2019, totally unable to match the large effort put in by the De Montfort University ARS team who have romped away with colossal scores each year.
Getting off to a good start in September will be of paramount importance, when the 80m propagation still favours inter-G working.
Later, especially in November, past experience shows that evening propagation on 80m is very far from ideal and generally the foF2 Critical Frequency is well below 3.5MHz. It is not the best time to try catching up with the other teams.
If you make use of Jim's excellent Propquest website you may be able to follow the decline in evening time 80m performance as the rest of the year progresses.
The Autumn Series rules are very similar to those for the 80m CCs, but be wary of the special rule additions, including a 5 point penalty for transmitting during the 2 minute quiet zone prior to the start of the contest.
Personally, I think it should be a 50 points penalty.
A reminder that Intermediate Licence holders have their scores doubled and Foundation Licensees scores are tripled.
Amazingly in past years this dangling carrot has not been a large enough motivation to encourage large numbers of Foundation and Intermediate licensees to participate. The Autumn series was conceived in 2017 with the hope of introducing more new operators to become involved with contesting, it does not appear to have happened yet.
September dates:
7th September SSB.
16th September CW.
24th September DATA.
Rules at:
There are no RSGB HF Contests during August.
For other HF contests during August, organised by other national societies visit the website below for the
Contest Calendar by Bruce WA7BNM.
This Weekend:
DARC Worked All Europe DX Contest. (CW)
Saturday, August 08, 2020, 0000 UTC until Sunday, August 09, 2020, 2359 UTC

Many contesters consider the WAE DX contest to be the most challenging contest of the year.


Only intercontinental QSOs between DX and Europe are counted.
The unique feature of QTC-traffic adds another operating challenge to the contest. Here the DX stations transfer to the European stations data of previously logged QSOs. Each of these records counts one additional point for the sender and the receiver, given that the complete record was logged correctly. Thus, a DX station can actually double its score by sending QTCs.
Rules need to be studied:
RSGB HF SSB Field Day.
Single Operator Only, on Saturday & Sunday, 5th & 6th September. Single Op. Portable operation is permitted.
SSB FD Rules at:
RSGB 144MHz Trophy Contest.
The VHF event is usually held on the same weekend as HF SSB FD, 5th & 6th September.
Safety is still of paramount importance and the VHF rules state "Single operator entries only" in all sections.
Single Op. Portable operation is permitted.
Rules at:
VHF UK Activity Contests.
All at 2000 to 2230 Local time.
Tuesday 11th August 432MHz UKAC.
Thursday 13th August 50MHz UKAC.
Thursday 20th August 70MHz UKAC.
Tuesday 8th September 144MHz UKAC.
VHF Calendar and Rules at:
Keep vigilant, remain safe.
73 John G8VPE

HF News

The week started with a geomagnetic disturbance, caused by a high-speed stream from a coronal hole, which moved past the Earth at a speed in excess of 500 kilometres per second.

This was not predicted by NOAA, but it was from a long coronal hole limb that stretched towards the solar equator.

This pushed the Kp index to four in the early hours of Monday causing a depletion of the F2 layer that impacted HF for much of the morning. MUFs over a 3,000km path struggled to get up to 14MHz until 0930hrs.

Meanwhile, we are seeing some more activity on the sunspot front. A new cycle 25 region numbered 2770 rotated into view, pushing the sunspot number to 13 and the solar flux index to 73. While this isn’t too exciting it is another step in the right direction.

This sunspot region has been emitting a lot of B-class solar flares and we expect that to continue.

Next week NOAA predicts that the solar flux index will return to 69-71 with a maximum Kp index of two. At the time of writing, there were no coronal holes looking to threaten Earth.

The Sporadic E season is now well past its peak, but there is always hope for openings on 10m, especially with high-efficiency modes like FT8.

We expect daytime F2-layer MUFs to peak above 14MHz, with occasional openings on 18MHz. Nighttime MUFS over a 3,000km path should remain above 10MHz after paths on 20m close at around 2200hrs.

VHF and up

The VHF highlight next week is the annual Perseids meteor shower, peaking on the 12th with a huge ZHR of 100. This is the big opportunity for those who’ve not experienced meteor scatter to try it on digimodes with a good chance of results.

Read up on the procedures, bands and modes before you dive in, to avoid disappointment.

It's a mixed selection of propagation weather this week. The south and east had some Tropo options last week and will do into early next week with a particularly strong indication from northern Britain across the North Sea at the end of this weekend.

It also looks likely that a developing ridge from high pressure over the Atlantic will give a return of Tropo potential at the end of the week, especially in the north and west.

In between these two Tropo periods, the weather is essentially unsettled with a tendency to produce slow-moving areas of showers. It’s quite likely that some will be heavy and thundery. This bodes well for GHz rain scatter opportunities, especially from the heavier showers.

Still worth a shout out for Sporadic E, which is not done yet, although events are harder to find using CW or SSB. It's not looking like a good set of jet stream charts, so as we said earlier FT8 is a good first place to look.

The Moon declination is positive and rising this week so peak Moon elevations and visibility windows will follow suit. Combined with falling path losses, it’s an improving week for EME. 144MHz sky noise is low, peaking on Friday at 500K.


Unfortunately our original guest for this evening Dan N1ND from the ARRL has just emailed us (16.40) to say that he has lost his internet connection at home and so will not be able to be with us...

With only around 2 hours to go I have called in a favour from Kevin M0UJD who just today completed a City & Guild course and exam on the latest Electric regulations, so this is your opportunity to ask anything you have always wanted to know about shack electrics, including PME etc, or indeed anything you have ever wanted to ask a professional electrician.

Please support us tonight with lots of questions - Kevin is being a real sport doing this at 2 hours notice but we need your support too!

73, Tammy M0TC and David G7URP


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