Topics and links of the broadcast 22-10-2023 11:00 am (CEST)

Using Amateur Radio to Play Chess (by pd4z)

Playing chess using amateur radio? The concept may have begun in 1912 when a group of college students from Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) wanted to challenge chess players at The Ohio State University (OSU). Though the official origin is still debated, clippings from a 1912 issue of The Case Tech, one of CWRU's former student newspapers, reveal that the challenge was made when the CWRU Wireless Club procured a Morse code transceiver.

Faculty Advisor to the Case Amateur Radio Club, W8EDU, David Kazdan, AD8Y, said there are no official records of the match, so the challenge was re-proposed this year by the Case Amateur Radio Club. With the with the help of OSU's Amateur Radio and RF Club, W8LT, the game was on. It started on September 26 as a round-robin tournament with other schools and is now moving into an elimination phase. The setup is the same as any chess game except the players are in different locations.

Chess moves are relayed over the air either by voice or Morse code.

Read more on the website of ARRL.

Cosmic Chaos: a call for space regulation (by pd4z)

Satellites that can become as bright as the brightest stars in the sky. It sounds like a sparkling fairy tale, but according to Marco Langbroek, these satellites, launched in 2022, will cause big problems. "Space is now becoming a bit of a wild west where anyone with enough money can do whatever they want. It's time for a sheriff to bring order to the chaos up there."

The Nature publication ‘Optical observations find high brightness of the BlueWalker 3 satellite’ was released on Monday, Oct. 2, 2023. The study, written and signed by Langbroek and 39 other experts from all over the world, discusses the brightness behavior of the prototype satellite ‘BlueWalker 3’ and its disruption to astronomical observations and the view of the night sky.

Researcher Marco Langbroek pinpoints out the function of the BlueWalker 3 and AST Space Mobile and regular cell phones for direct communication.

Read the full article from Marco here on TU Delft website.

Video of the Blue walker sattelite on youtube.

Abstract in

Canada’s 84-year radio time check has stopped because of accuracy concerns (by pd4z and pc5d)

“The beginning of the long dash indicates exactly 1 o’clock Eastern daylight time.”

Millions of Canadians grew accustomed to hearing a version of this daily affirmation on CBC Radio One. The National Research Council Time Signal, and the series of 800 Hz “pips” that preceded and followed the time-setting dash, worked its way into everyday rituals. Human listeners, automated radio receivers at railways, shipping firms, and other entities, could set their mechanical clocks to it. That is why it started broadcasting on November 5, 1939, the same year Canada entered World War II.

The long dash’s last broadcast was, somewhat unexpectedly, October 9, 2023.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the NRC have cited accuracy as the reason the 84-year ritual was halted. The CBC told its reporters that because the CBC is now heard over satellite and Internet connections, not just terrestrial radio, there are delays when people hear it. A spokesperson acknowledged Canadians’ “fondness” for the daily ritual but said it “can no longer ensure that the time announcement can be accurate.”

More on this on Ars Technica

John Bernard, of the National Research Council of Canada, walks through the operation of the Time Signal. In this Youtube Video he explains his findings.

Video of the time signal

From the RSGB news (by PC5D)

Today, the 22nd, is the second day of the RAF Air Cadets Blue Ham Radio Communications Exercise. Cadets contact radio amateurs at the shared part of the 5MHz band. There's a Blue Ham certificate of participation available for those who participate during the exercise connect with 15 or more special Cadet callsigns. Search online for 'Exercise Blue Ham' for more information.

Google search link

Example results:

Radio propagation (by PC5D)

Propagation news is curated by Tom PC5D. In the composition he makes other use of the information relevant to the Netherlands from the weekly Propagation News of the British radio amateur association RSGB, dxinfocentre , , Make More Miles on VHF and Propagation news is also part of the radio news of the South Limburg Sunday morning round. The audio recording of this round is back listened on

A coronal mass ejection has been passing Earth since Friday afternoon. The measurements from the relevant space probes showed an initially weak interplanetary magnetic field whose values increased around 1230 UTC. The north-south component was initially weakly variable, but showed a clear southward direction from late afternoon. The geomagnetic activity was initially quiet and became active from 2100 UTC with a Kp of almost 5 on Saturday morning. The decrease in solar flux was expected, but 126 is still lower than hoped. Related to this, solar flare activity and the number of sunspot areas had also decreased significantly. However, overall there was little variation.

The good thing was that the daily MUF for a distance of 3000 km was well above 30 MHz every day, so that all upper bands opened reliably. For example, on October 18 at sunrise, the MUF3000 was already around 29.9 MHz and regularly rose to 37 MHz; at sunset on 20.4 MHz and at 9 p.m. on 15.3 MHz. So the first part of the week was the best for HF propagation with many stations reporting DX contacts including T2C, a German DXpedition to Tuvalu and YL2GM's single-person DXpedition to Tristan da Cunha ZD9W .

For the next few days, NOAA expects a solar flux of 120 to 125. There is only a small chance of possible M-class solar flares. The geomagnetic forecast is not very reliable, because new Earth-oriented CMEs are expected, but whether they narrowly miss the Earth or cause a stray shot cannot be precisely determined from the models. In any case, we can expect turbulent to active phases (Kp 3-4), where sometimes short stormy intervals such as on Saturday morning seem possible. The earth's magnetic field should calm down again during the new week. The MUF will vary from approximately 35 MHz during the day to 11 MHz at the end of the night. 20m will therefore only close for a short time.

VHF and higher
The weather pattern is determined by a low-pressure area. We can forget about tropo conditions for the time being. The only bright spot is the generous opportunities for rain scatter. Once out of the summer thunder season, the results are rarely as good, even though you are spoiled for choice!
By the way, in this fairly typical period of unsettled autumn weather, high winds and heavy rain can be a noticeable feature and put pressure on antennas and coax, so make a note of any weak points and use the next nice period to put things right to make. What's left of propagation is the usual pair of modes - meteor scatter and northern lights - both of which could be worth checking out over the next week. As a reminder, the Orionids, active from October 2 to November 7, peak today, the 22nd, with an average Zenithal Hourly Rate, or ZHR, of about 20. For EME operators, the moon's declination reached its minimum on Friday the 20th, so lunar windows will lengthen next week.

Next week's perigee Oct 21, 2023
Thursday means path losses will be at their lowest this week. 144MHz sky noise starts high but drops over the next week and remains low to moderate.