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SARL Today HF Update with ZS4BS VHF/UHF News with Mike Bosch ZS2FM Contest News with Geoff ZS6C SARL Forum current topics Commercial Hamads


SUNSPOT COUNTS REACH 7-YEAR LOW: The face of the sun has been blank (no sunspots) for 15 consecutive days. The last time this happened was April of 2010, near the end of a deep Solar Minimum.  The current stretch of blank suns heralds a new Solar Minimum expected to arrive in 2019-2020.  Is space weather coming to an end? On the contrary, now is when things get interesting: Solar Minimum brings extra cosmic rayspink auroras, and more. (Pic SDO)

G1-class geomagnetic storm is underway on March 21st as a high-speed stream of solar wind buffets Earth's magnetic field.  The stream is broad and Earth could remain inside it for the next three days. 

G1  can cause 

Power systems: Weak power grid fluctuations can occur.

Spacecraft operations: Minor impact on satellite operations possible.

Other systems: Migratory animals are affected at this and higher levels; aurora is commonly visible at high latitudes 



NVIS PROPAGATION  - UNDERSTAND THE  BASICS - Radio Communication via Near Vertical Incidence Skywave propagation  can be used for communication over a wide area. It is very well suited for emergency communication. It uses frequencies between 3 and 10 MHz with amateur allocation in the 5 MHz particularly attractive.  Two propagation researchers, Ben Witvliet  and Rosa Ma Alsina-Pages wrote an interesting paper with lots of reference to  other papers for additional reading.

You can download it here

SARL TO HOLD WORKSHOP ON THE RISING RF NOISE FLOOR - Recently, following a concern raised by the South African Radio League at the SABS TC73 meeting, it was agreed that the question of the increasing level of the RF noise floor should be included in the Strategic Business Plan of the technical committee and added to the work schedule of Working Group 6. 


Noise in this context denotes unwanted radio frequency (RF) energy from man-made sources.  Like many spectrum users, Radio Amateurs have reported that the noise floor in the radio spectrum is rising as the number of devices in use that emit radio energy grows.  However, in search for concrete evidence of an increased noise floors, it appears that only limited quantitative data to support this presumption is available.

The SARL is convening a Saturday morning workshop on 22 April 09:30 - 12:30 to develop a coordinated programme and form a study gro p with the objective of establishing a monitoring system to assemble more information while also considering mtigation methods to deal with manmade noise affecting amateur radio frequencies.

This will be an open meeting and everyone who has an interest in the subject is invited to attend. The workshop will be held at the NARC. If you have a special interest, expertise or experience in this field please share this at the workshop. For more details please email with your contact details. Register now get form here

HAVE YOU PAID YOUR LICENCE?You are advised to make sure that you have paid your amateur radio license for this year. If not it is recommended that you do it without delay. ICASA is not obliged to send out statements, the onus is on the license holder. If you have not paid for the 2016/2017 year, pay R559 and you are covered for this year and the next 4 years with no increases.  The fee for the current 2016/2017 year is R134.  Advise Dewald  at of your payment for a five year license.

ICASA is in the process of implementing an ICASA Council decision to cancel all licenses that are not renewed within 30 days of 1 April. While still in the implementation planning stage make sure you have paid this year’s licence fee. Failing do so will mean that you may have to apply for a new license. You may just find that some else has applied and obtained your callsign. 

SARLNEWS: AMATEUR RADIO TODAY - listen to these programmes on line or download to retransmit on local nets, a SARL service to Radio Amateurs. 

Sunday 19 March 2017

SARLNUUS met Dawie Conradie ZR6DHC  luister/laaiaf hier

SARLNEWS with Rory Norton ZS3BL download/listen here

AMATEUR RADIO TODAY with Hans van de Groenendaal ZS6AKV download/listen   here  or visit the Amateur Radio Today page with more details and download links  here  

RAE Examination details for 2017 - It's the time of year again when clubs get ready to run RAE courses.  This year sees a major change in the day of the exam. In the past, the exam was always written on Thursday evenings, but this year the RAE exam will be written on Saturday mornings starting from 10:00 to 13:00.  This should make it easier for the candidates who can't always make the exam, due to work pressures.  

To register go to: 

The RAE dates for 2017 are as follows:

 1st semester

21 January 2017 - RAE registration process opens.
15 April 2017 - RAE registration closes.
20 May 2017 - RAE examination (Saturday morning) 

2nd Semester

14 July 2017 - RAE registration process opens.
16 September 2017 - RAE registration closes.
21 October 2017 - RAE examination (Saturday morning) 

4 Bursaries available for under 26 to study for class A -  If you are under 26 and planning to study for  the Class A amateur radio examination there are bursaries available.. For more detail and application forms click here

 SDR workshop in Cape Town on 22 APRIL -   Following on a very successful symposium on Software Defined Radio held in Gauteng towards the end of last year a similar event will be presented by AMSAT SA in the Cape on Saturday 22 April 2017 at the Bellville Campus of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Register now here

The programme includes topics relevant to amateur radio, and will provide some background on SDR. A practical approach of how to use readily available dongles in conjunction with your PC to set up a receiving system operational from the low MHz frequencies up to nearly 2GHz. will be described. (Pic shows Andre ZS1F signing up)

To give attendees an insight into the development of such systems some of the software available to perform this task will be demonstrated. Hardware availability suitable for the development of embedded systems required for standalone transmitters and receivers will be introduced.

Looking at the rapid development of radio communication, and the future challenges within this field of technology, it is of importance for young as well as established Radio Amateurs to keep abreast thereof. More details and registration form soon 

RSGB HANDBOOK NOW AVAILABLE IN SA- The new RSGB Radio Communication Handbook is now avaiable in South Africa. Also available are the ARRL 2017 Handbook (hardcover version) and Low Band DXing. For a list of books locally stocked and a mailorder from click here. SARL Members get up to 10% discount .

Advertising in Radio ZS and the SARL Web site

Radio ZS and the SARL web welcomes advertising. It is a source of information for readers. To place an advertisement in Radio ZS, contact Dennis, ZS4BS, at To advertise on the League web site, contact Hans, ZS6AKV at

Advertising Rates

Display (cameo) on home page - R500 pm - R2 500 for 6 months - R4 500 per annum

Commercial Hamad on home page - R60 pm - R300 for 6 months - R500 per annum

Radio ZS Strip advertisement, 10 cm x 2 columns on top of the page - R100 pm - R500 for 6 months - R1 000 per annum

Display (cameo) on home page and Radio ZS Strip advertisement (as above)       - R550 pm - R2 700 for 6 months - R4 900 per annum 

Terms and conditions

All contract advertisements content may be changed monthly on 5 working day notice

The rates are based on the complete supply of material in Jpeg unless otherwise negotiated. For artwork additional charges may apply as agreed

The content of the advertisements must comply with regulations and norms acceptable in South Africa

All advertisements are playable in advance by EFT to SA Radio League, ABSA, account no 4071 588 849 branch code 632 005

All correspondence and material must be sent to with a copy to

HF Update with Dennis, ZS4BS/7P8DG (updated 18 March 2017) 

Get your weekly copy of HF Happenings at  

New amateur radio regulations for Cuba were published on 10 March 2017. The new legal body consists of 17 chapters and 182 articles, which contain the regulations governing radio amateurs in Cuba. It includes an important group of modifications with respect to the previous Regulation, including new authorized bands, extension of the expiration period of Licenses and Capacity Certificates and regulations for the importation of equipment, antennas and other accessories.

Cuba has adopted the approach of listing permitted modes by band with up to 31 Emission Designators specified for some bands. A drawback of attempting to list every possible Emission Designator for each band is that some will inevitably be missed. For example, the new regulations do not appear to include the F7W and FXE designators for D-STAR and DMR.

Cuba has three classes of license:

1st Class - Prefix CO – 2 000 watts max

2nd Class - Prefix CM - 100 watts max

3rd Class - prefix CL - 10 watts max

1 April is Portugal's National Summits on the Air Day. All radio amateurs are invited to participate in Portugal's National SOTA Day, on 1 April, an event that is meant to both highlight and encourage participation on the Summits on The Air program. The 'party-on-the-air' is also meant to celebrate SOTA – Portugal's sixth year in activity, started precisely on this day, in 2011.


Long time and current participants, as well as amateur radio clubs, are particularly encouraged to invite other amateur operator´s to tag along their planned activities in order to increase the program's awareness. Diplomas (electronically sent) will be available to activators, chasers and SWL registered on SOTA´s Database and after the upload of their day´s logs.


No other rules apply other than the Summits on The Air own set of procedures. This is not a contest, just another way of enjoying and celebrating SOTA´s unique pleasure of amateur radio activity. Pedro Carvalho, CT1DBS/CU3HF is the “point man” on this event and all queries regarding Portugal´s National SOTA Day 2017 should be sent to his email (lookup QRZ.COM) or

Mills on the Air. So far, 13 Mills have registered for the weekend of fun on 13 and 14 May. Most are British, two in Holland, another from Belgium and the first ever in its decade-long history is a mill in Australia.

Here in South Africa, we have a number of mills – I am aware of four in the greater Cape Town area and a number in the Eastern Cape around Grahamstown and Bathurst.

Norway, LA. Special event station LA1742K is active until the end of 2017 to commemorate the 275th anniversary of the city of Kristiansund. QSL via LA6K.

European Russia, UA. Special event station RY83HN is active until 2 April in celebration of the 83rd International Festival of the North from Murmanskaya Oblast. QSL via operators' instructions.

Bangladesh, S2. A large group of operators are active as S21ZED and S21ZEE until 27 March. Activity is on 160 to 10 meters using CW, SSB and RTTY. This includes being active in the Russian DX contest and as S21ZEE as a Multi Op entry in the upcoming CQ WPX SSB contest. QSL via operators' instructions.

VHF+ UHF+ MICROWAVE NEWS by Mike Bosch ZS2FM 19 March 2017 


THE AUTUMNAL QUINOX OCCURS ON 20 MARCH 2017 AT 12:28 CAT – There are two equinoxes every year – in March and September – when the Sun shines directly on the equator and the length of night and day are nearly equal. In South Africa the Autumnal Equinox occurs this year on 20 March 2017 at 12:28 CAT. 

This would have been the time, at the peak of the Solar Cycle, when the MUF would have risen up to 50 MHz  (6 metres) or higher and making F2 DX operation possible worldwide. Likewise, the 160 metre band would open up an hour or two before sunrise until about half an hour after sunrise for DX operation to Europe and the USA etc. The DX similarity between the 6 metre VHF band and the 160 metre MF band is quite startling. So give 160 metre DX a try an hour or so before sunrise. 

REPORTS OF THE RECENT SARL VHF/UHF CONTEST – Pieter Jacobs V51PJ reports from Namibia: “Dick ZS6BUN had a wonderful time 2m wise, I think he will win this 100%.  I managed to work him on 2m via MS this morning. It was a very long QSO time wise but I think the cherry is on the cake for Dick for his effort put into this competition. The distance between us was 1433 km which is a new long distance for me on 2m and for him too. I did not work on 6m at all. I managed to work 5 stations on 2m MS including ZS2ACP, but that was a battle on its own. Pings were very scarce and very small too making each QSO a quest on its own. QSO’s took between 1-3 hours to complete. 

“But I found the following happening. At times there were a lot of distortion on signals. The software can handle a Doppler Shift of up to 200 Hz both ways. But some distortions were close or more than 400 Hz at times. You could hear it on the burst that it was either too low or too high in pitch that made decoding very difficult. The most affected signals were low power say from 100 Watts down. That is something that I noticed during this contest especially because pings were small and scarce. Yes there were big ones too. Between me and Dick i picked him up at 4dB maximum at my side which is a very strong signal MS wise. But yes Tropo did the job for the guys east of me I think. As they had 59++ signals from ZS6BUN on SSB and he was heard nonstop by most of the hams in the Free State and Gauteng. No reports received on any West Coast activity at all. I think the strong winds had an effect on activity coastal wise. Logs might proof me wrong. 73 V51PJ.” 

A report was also received from Andre Botes ZS2ACP at Port Elizabeth. He said that he would like to confirm his contacts with Pieter V51PJ on 2m MSK441 and on 4m. What made his 4 m contact special was QRP 10 Watts from his homebrew transverter built around a Cobra CB rig, which came through with flying colours. 

ZS6NK ACTIVE IN KG47LII ON 50 MHz DIGITAL FROM 19-21 MARCH 2017 – Paul Smit, ZS6NK, will be activate KG47li on 50 MHz Digital. Operating times: 

19 March 05:30 to 07:15 CAT.

20 March 05:30 to 08:00 CAT or later if necessary.

21 March 05:30 to 08:00 CAT or later. 

He will use 50,230 MHz (first period) MSK441 15 seconds, FSK441 30 seconds and JT65a for Tropo. He is equipped with a 5 element LFA Yagi at 5 metres AGL and +400 Watts.

MORE VHF NEWS FROM NAMIBIA – “I was operating last week since Wednesday afternoon nonstop till Saturday morning.  Kenneth Gurr, ZS6KN, at Onderstepoort was monitoring on his side and got 3 Backscatter pings until Friday 9 am in the morning when weather conditions changed at his QTH. Something I was thinking is that the waterfall needs to be watched too to see if there is not also Tropo Scatter on the signal. MSK441 can decode a very small burst compared to FSK441 that needs a longer burst to decode – that is why I chose the former. Yes it can be a Meteor Backscatter ping or it can be a Es cloud Backscatter – if it is an ES cloud that means that signal also can be extended to somewhere further across the Atlantic towards PY direction or somewhere else in South America. 

Sunday morning ZS6KN also reported that he heard a burst of my beacon on 144,429 MHz. He did make a recording but it was a short burst that was difficult to provide info. I still think we need more monitors in the air as 2m is the weird band compared to the magic 6m band. Bernie ZS4TX was saying that it might be QRM, but as I said to Bernie that I also heard ZS4BFN 2m beacon at my QTH (+1000km) during a period of time when it might be Aircraft Scatter as there are planes flying between JHB and USA across my path to ZS4. But because I did not look at www to see if there were actually aeroplanes in that path over that period – I still need to find that site that tells everything.  

I remember as a kid we used to listen daily to Piketberg FM tower when on the farm next to Aggeneys That was a permanent path from sunrise till some time in the late night. We had a 14el FM Yagi with a masthead preamp in the air that time. Also there is a permanent path from Springbok to way past Williston towards PE on 4m when conditions are perfect. I worked Springbok repeater at various times when driving between Williston and Carnarvon on 4m then on commercial spectrum. Eish we are getting too old to explore everything. Wish for youngsters to take over that we can enjoy all their findings too, hehehehe! Greetings from the Namib, de Pieter Jacobs V51PJ.” 

NASA PLANS MANNED TRIP TO MARS AND RECEIVES FUNDING – A trip to Mars by 2033 is among the several long-term NASA goals included in a bill Congress just passed to fund the aerospace agency. On Wednesday, the House followed the Senate’s lead by passing the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017, which appropriates $19,5 billion in spending for fiscal year 2017 for exploration, space operations, science, technology, education and more. Amazon’s Blue Origin rockets rekindle space race. In addition to funding, the 146-page bill aims to extend humanity’s reach into deep space, including cis-lunar space, the Moon, the surface and moons of Mars, and beyond. For human spaceflight and exploration, the bill sets three long-term goals to expand a permanent presence beyond low-Earth orbit, through crewed missions for the purpose of reaching deep space, including habitation on another celestial body and a thriving space economy in the 21st century.



CONTEST NEWS WITH ZS6C Updated 5 March 2017 

South African Radio League VHF/UHF Contest. Aim: The VHF/UHF contest is a test of operator ability and station design. To promote activity on the VHF/UHF and microwave bands. To encourage Amateurs to work greater distances than usual by operating portable/field stations in favourable locations and by optimising equipment and operating techniques at both field and home stations. Date and Time: 10:00 UTC Saturday 11 March to 10:00 UTC Sunday 12 March 2017. Bands: 6, 4 and 2 metres, 70 and 23 cm and higher frequencies as per band plan using FM, CW, SSB and digital. Exchange: RS or RST and six-figure grid location. See the 2017 Blue Book for more details!

SARL Forum Active Topics
ALL BIRTHDAYS & NO MEMBERS  25/03/2017  07:40:05
by: ZS6P
Hammies Field station  25/03/2017  07:08:37
by: ZR6DX
CQWW WPX SSB CONTEST this weekend  24/03/2017  22:38:33
by: ZS1AU
What happened here now happens "Down Under".  24/03/2017  22:16:51
by: ZS1AU
RaDAR Challenge  24/03/2017  17:58:08
by: V51PJ
Operating Hand held on public transport  24/03/2017  13:05:33
by: ZS6BHF
Crystal XI 200va inverter  24/03/2017  12:41:46
by: V51PJ

Commercial Hamads 


Direct importer of a wide selection of SWR meters, H.F., V.H.F. and U.H.F. base and mobile antennas. Amateur radio transceivers, antenna analyzers, etc. Affordable shipping costs for out of town customers and subsidized shipping to SARL members. Check out all my amateur radio goodies here. 0720268909.


Light Engineering Works

General engineering, part remanufacturing  turning, milling, drilling.Specialised welding of steel, stainless steel, aluminium and cast iron.Gear repair and remanufacturing.Prototype industrial and automotive  parts and brackets made to specification,  Heavy duty antenna support and Mobile brackets including standoff brackets and antenna parts manufactured.Tower and tower part repairs also undertaken. Contact Willie Wright ZS6WC.0823351356.


Place your commercial hamads on the home page.  Book a six months space for R300 or 12 months at R500 prepaid with order   The advertisements will be  text only up to 60 words including address, telephone number and click through URL to advertisers' website and email address. Adverisement can be changed  Send your contact details to and we will contact you or call the NARC at 011 675 2393

What is Amateur Radio ? 

Tell me more  about Amateur Radio

Radio Amateurs, or "Hams" use two-way radio communication to make contact with other radio amateurs all over the world. They are even able to use satellites and on occasion speak with astronauts. Radio Hams can do this from home or while mobile in cars, boats or on foot.

Radio Hams have a full range or communication modes at their disposal. These include plain voice, Morse code, numerous digital computer modes and even graphical modes like television. As a licensed amateur radio operator you will be able to join in experiments using all these modes.

mateur radio can be enjoyed by young and old, male and female, even the most severely disabled can make friends around the world from their own home. This hobby knows no boundaries.

Random Photo from the Call book.

 Elizabeth Maria Henrika van Wyk, ZS6EMH


Conical Technologies

Sam's Radio 


You can also call us on us 082-974-8248 or 084-585-8563 


RF Design

ICOM Hamshack

CDS Advert 


 Click here to visit website 


 Click here to go to the Kevtronics web 

Worked All ZS award
An interesting operating goal

The entry level for the WAZS award is 100 different call signs. The programme has recently been expanded to include higher level endorsements, such as WAZS-200, WAZS-300, etc. Endorsements may also be obtained for specific modes, eg: CW, SSB, etc.
Click here for more information...

lboat034a.gif (1979 bytes)SA Maritime Net

The South African Maritime Mobile Net provides weather reports and maintains contact with sailing vessels from around the coast and high seas.
The net operates 7 days a week.

There are two regular schedule times as follows:

  • 06:30 UTC and 11:30 UTC on 14 316 kHz high seas net.
  • 06:35 UTC and 11:35 UTC on 7 120 kHz coastal net - the net lasts approximately 30 minutes .


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This page last modified: 4/2/2017