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NEWS FLASH! FIRST ZS TO ZS CONTACT ON 8 METRES – In his telephone conversation Willem Badenhorst, ZS6WAB, informed us about the first-ever ZS to ZS contact on 40,675 MHz. It was made on Sunday 16 August 2015 between Ian Roberts, ZS6BTE, at Johannesburg and Willem at Polokwame using FSK441 and covering 288 km. ZS6WAB is equipped with a 3 element Yagi and 100 Watts. They are both looking for other ZS contacts.
WILL MASSIVE SOLAR STORMS AFFECT THE ELECTRONICS ON PLANES AND ITS PASSENGERS? – One of the largest Solar geomagnetic storms occurred on 1-2 September 1859, a coronal mass ejection (CME), which produced aurorae that reached latitudes 25 degrees North and South and as bright as the full Moon. It affected the telegraphic network in parts of the USA and Europe, and telegraphists experienced shocks when they touched their Morse keys. On 12 March 1989 another CME hit the Earth’s magnetic field that produced spectacular aurorae, including electrical currents in the ground and knocked out the Quebec power grid for 12 hours. What will happen to aircraft and passengers if a CME type 5 would hit us? Satellites could be silenced, radio and electronic equipment damaged, substation transformers burnt out, and power outages could last for months. Fortunately we will have an early warning of about 17 hours for high speed CME’s and several days for slower ones.
YOU CAN ARRANGE SKEDS OR ASK FOR ADVICE FROM VHF AMATEURS VIA THEIR CELL PHONES – There is a list of cell phone numbers of around 120 VHF operators posted on the SARL Forum, where you can contact many radio amateurs countrywide. The main purpose of this list is to enable amateurs, especially beginners, to arrange skeds or ask for advice from more experienced VHF amateurs. This is a service that will be of benefit to many, including those who live in remote areas.
REPORT BACK FROM ZS6BUN
“From KG54vo Marloth Park: ZS6OB, ZS6JON, and ZS6GJG all on 144,300 MHz JT65b. Nearly made it with ZS6KSG who peaked up to a 5/5 on SSB for a short period. From KG54mp Wit Rivier: ZS6JON, ZS6AVH and ZS6GJG, all on SSB. Carl ZS6BCQ was so close.
The Wit Rivier QTH was especially lousy. There seem to be short, sharp openings (1 minute) – I’m not convinced they’re aircraft scatter. Its better to call 1 x 1 CQ and listen rather than droning one for half a minute or more – more likely to catch the lifts that way. Thanks for keeping me company. 73 Dick ZS6BUN.” (The very deep and slow QSB cycles suggest that you were dealing with Tropo Scatter, a propagation mode that is present daily but requires high power and high gain antenna systems).
GAUTENG VHF NEWS – The activity on 144,300 MHz picked up this weekend, may be it is the warmer weather that we experience in Gauteng. Saturday morning we were 12 stations in the group. Francois Botha, ZS6UU, was on his post for his 75th birthday. David ZR6DLG joined the group for the first time with an ICOM 7000, he bought the previous day, and although his antenna was vertical he had a great signal. After a long battle I managed to work Gideon ZS6GJG in Phalaborwa on SSB at about 08:30 CAT when conditions improved. Gideon improved his antenna system with 2 x 10 element Yagis. At the moment he is running relative low power, 50 Watts over the distance of 415 km between us. Andrew ZS6AVH is on a bit higher location than mine and could copy Gideon 5/7 at times.
Sunday morning 11 stations reported in. Unfortunately I could not work Dick at Wit Rivier, but he managed to work a few stations on SSB. The activity spread from 144,265 MHz Digital. The main group on 144,300 MHz and 144,320 MHz for contacts with far away stations. We are also starting a CW group on 144,250 MHz on Wednesday evenings from 20:00 CAT. This will be a real beginners group, including myself. The purpose will be to get stations proficient to make CW contacts when conditions are not good enough for SSB. The idea is to be able to send and identify call signs and reports. Come and have fun on VHF! 73 Carl ZS6CBQ.”
LATE NEWS! BRAAM ZS6AYE ACHIEVED DXCC & WAC ON 50 MHz – Congratulations to Braam Devenier, ZS6AYE, for being awarded a DXCC and WAC on 50 MHz. This is his third DXCC, the other two DXCC awards were for 10M and 20M, with DXCC credits of 104 for 50 MHz and total of 582 for all the bands from 160-2M. His WAC on 50 MHz was Issued by the IARU on 4 August 2015.