Also in GB2RS this week…

| March 28, 2014

The RSGB has launched its 2014 Construction Competition, intended to encourage home construction, experimentation, design and innovation. Any RSGB Member is eligible to enter and there will be prizes in each category. The overall winner will be awarded the new Pat Hawker G3VA Trophy. Full details are online at

In the news broadcast of 23 March we incorrectly stated that GB4IMD would be active from Poldhu for International Marconi Day. GB4IMD is the callsign of the Cornish Amateur Radio Club, who will be active from Stithians Field on that Day. The Poldhu Amateur Radio Club will be operating from the Marconi site at Poldhu for International Marconi Day using their callsign GB2GM. We apologise for this confusion. All stations planning to participate are urged to register in advance. Full details are at

The European CW group is launching a new on-air game called Snakes and Ladders from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015. It is designed to promote activity on all bands and to encourage friendly contacts. Everyone taking part will be acknowledged and any station submitting six or more logs during the twelve months from April to March next year can receive a certificate of participation. Full rules are available in English and many other European languages from the Snakes and Ladders web page at

The BAA Radio Astronomy Group will be holding its 2014 General Meeting on 17 May at the National Space Centre, Leicester, LE4 5NS. This year there are two keynote speakers. Professor Paul Cannon will address the issue of solar storms, their origin and consequences and Dr Klaas Wiersema will describe how new radio telescope technologies enable the exploration of the ‘transient’ radio universe, from the mysterious millisecond duration fast radio bursts to the energetic afterglows of gamma-ray bursts that are sometimes visible for years. Other presentations include an ultra-low cost Hydrogen Line radio telescope; the design of an Arduino-based magnetometer and experiments with a small SDR radio telescope. Tickets are £12 for BAA members, £15 for non-members, including free parking. Details at

Amateur radio will have its own geostationary transponders on-orbit by the end of 2016. This is thanks to the approval of a concept from the Qatar Amateur Radio Society to include a pair of Phase 4 amateur transponders as part of the Qatar Satellite Company’s new communications satellite. It will carry a 250kHz wide linear transponder intended for conventional analogue operations such as CW and SSB. Also on board will be an 8MHz wide transponder to be used for experimental digital modulation schemes and digital amateur television. Precise operating frequencies remain to be finalised. Both of the transponders will be feeding broad beam antennas to provide coverage over about a third of the Earth’s surface. This equates to Europe, Africa, along with parts of South America and Asia.

Icom has published a firmware update for the IC-7700 that is free to download. It follows a similar upgrade made to the IC-7800 last year and is aimed at providing sharpened performance and a greater user experience for operators. It can be downloaded from

Richard, G3CWI completed his 16th talk since last June at the Bolton Wireless Club this week. If your club meets within a two hour drive of Macclesfield, he would be happy to come along to speak. His talks draw on his experience of portable operating from Antarctica to the Andes and from Patagonia to Pacific islands. Details of how to book are online at

Radio amateurs in Thailand with a basic class licence have gained an extension to the 2m band to 146.500MHz and now have access to 28 to 29.7MHz as well. They were previously restricted to 2m FM. The PDF of the Thai regulators announcement can be downloaded from

Category: GB2RS Headlines