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SARL Today HF Update with ZS4BS Focus on VHF/UHF/Microwave Contest News with Geoff ZS6C SARL Forum current topics Commercial Hamads

SARL TODAY! 

NARC Office closed today 9 December 2019. The office will be open again tomorrow


The 2020 Contest manual is available for download from the SARL website. Contest sponsors please check that the details of your specific contest are correct.


SARL ON-THE-AIR BULLETINS AND AMATEUR RADIO TODAY PROGRAMME  8 December 2019

Thanks to Herman Erasmus ZS6CTA for hosting the audio files

SARLNEWS in English with Dennis Green ZS4BS listen/download here 

SARLNUUS in Afrikaans met Jan Kramer ZS6JRK 

luister/laai hier af

AMATEUR RADIO TODAY, a weekly actuality programme about Amateur Radio and technology hosted by  Hans van de Groenendaal ZS6AKV  Download/listen  here

Amateur Radio Today on 80 metres on Mondays - On Mondays Amateur RadioToday is transmitted at 19:30 local time on 3620 kHz by Andy Cairns ZS6ADY. Reception reports are invited. Please send your report to artoday@sarl.org.za. Please give details of the signal strength antenna and location.  The SARL thanks Andy for coming forward to do the weekly relay. The SARL is inviting more amateurs to come forward to become relay stations. Send your details to artoday@sarl.org.za. 



December 2019 - YOTA Month Activity

An activity for young people during the month of December when several youngsters from member countries will become active on the air with YOTA as suffix in the callsigns.

From Sunday, December 1 to Tuesday December 31, 2019 international YOTA stations will attempt to make many contacts worldwide with each other. This event is aimed at young people and is a golden opportunity for clubs to get youngsters who are interested in or want to find out more about Amateur Radio on the air.

The SARL has registered the callsign ZS9YOTA on the IARU R1 website as an educational callsign for use by clubs and individuals during this December.

To reserve a slot to make use of the ZS9YOTA callsign on a daily basis or for information please contact Noel ZR6DX via email at zr6dx@iafrica.com or alternatively to Nico, ZS6QL at zs6ql@mweb.co.za

The SARL is running a youth competition. Obtain a certificate, win one of two ARRL Satellite Handbooks or be entered into a lucky draw to win a brand new hand- held radio and an AMSAT SA dual band Yagi antenna.

The daily schedule is available here the Rules here and the Competition information here

Looking forward to hear our younger generation active on the air working local and DX during this month!


The December 2019 Radio ZS is available for download - go to Publications on the menu on the left hand side and click on Radio ZS download.  SARL on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/officialsarl/Worldwide list of HF Beacons - Click here; Worldwide list of 6 Metre Beacons - Click here


The SARL Novice Award - The Council has approved the SARL Novice Award. This award is available to holders of South African Novice Licence (ZU) and is designed to encourage activity across four designated bands for this licence class. Contacts may be made using CW, SSB or FM modes, as appropriate on 80 m, 40 m, 10 m and 2 m with a minimum of 10 contacts and maximum of 25 contacts per band. Multiple contacts with the same amateur and contacts via terrestrial repeaters do not count for the award. No QSL cards are needed. Get the information HERE 


2020 ARRL Handbook and Antenna book - Limited stock of the ARRL Antenna Book ( 4 volumes in a boxed set) and the ARRL Handbook (6 volumes shrinked wrapped)  are now available. Order while stocks last .

Order form with details can be downloaded here

 



 

The 2020 SARL 95 National Convention - The Sandton and Hammies ARCs are hosting the 2020 SARL 95 National Convention over the weekend of 3 to 5 April 2020 at the Wanderers Club in Illovo, Johannesburg. The SARL Symposium will be run on Friday 3 April with the SARL AGM on Saturday morning 4 April. The SARL 95 Celebratory Dinner Dance will be held on Saturday evening with the LM Radio Band and Eddie Eksteen!

Why SARL 95? The SARL will be 95 years old in 2020 and application will be made for a special call sign.


Report interference and unauthorised use of amateur frequencies - If your transmission or repeater is interfered with by an unlicensed person (s), note as much detail as possible and report the case for investigation to the ICASA  regional office in your area. By policing the amateur bands and reporting transgressions by non-licensed persons we protect the future of the amateur radio spectrum. Send a copy of your email to artoday@sarl.org.za   to allow   the SARL to monitor how wide-spread the problem is.  For a  list of  ICASA Regional managers and contact details visit http://www.sarl.org.za/public/licences/licences.asp  or click here.


Unlocking Amateur Radio Technology - The SARL hosted a very sucessful synposium on 12 April 2019 in Stellenbosch.  It was attended by over 60 delegates. The symposium was supported by contributions from  RF Design, Comtest, F'Sati, Giga Technology and AMSAT SA. The powerpoint presentations are available for download here. Download while still available .


Guidelines for a non SARL member to use the SA-QSL system- Phone Kelley at NARC (011 675 2393) and check that your correct information is on the database – license number and e-mail address are important.

Click on SA-QSL system link (on the left-hand side of the web page) and then click on “Need to Register”. Follow the instructions on the screen. Your username and password will be e-mailed to you which you can use to logon in future.

SARL and not yet SARL Members are requested to check their Electronic QSLs on a regular basis.  

Two New Books and mike kit available from ARD Trust online bookshop - The books are RSGB Shortwave Defined Radio and  Get On The Air with Digital (includes FT8). Also new is a sunstep cordless microphone kit (ideal for kids). Get details here

If you are a newcomer to radio or would like to brush-up on your knowledge you may also like this one 

 

 Get details here

Get  your antennas ready for the SARL contests. Here is another handy ARRL book: Basic Antennas @ R740 per copy.


 2019/2020 Amateur Radio License fee increase

ICASA has informed the SARL that the licence fee will be increased by 4,7% on 1 April 2019. The new fees will be 

1 Year   -              R 148.00

2 Year   -              R 283.00

3 Year   -              R 406.00

4 Year   -              R 517.00

5 Year   -              R 617.00  

ICASA will start the invoicing process for the 2019/2020 period from 4 February 2019. Radio Amateurs are reminded that it is their responsibility to ensure their license is up to date. If for some reason no invoice is received, check that ICASA has been informed of any address changes. 

Avoid the hassles of having to renew each year, opt for a multi-year licence. Simply, when renewing pay the appropriate amount. On the EFT state 5 Year licence and your callsign. Also send an email to dkuhrau@icasa.org.za with a copy of the EFT payment.

The correct account for your ICASA Licence Fee is NEDBANK Account number: 14 62 00 29 27, Branch Code: 146245 - Corporate Client Services – Pretoria and in the reference field type in your licence number and call sign. 

ICASA Licence Fees - DO NOT pay the ICASA licence fee into the SARL bank account, all moneys wrongfully paid into the SARL account will be refunded less the bank charges associated with these transactions. 


LOW SUNSPOTS TRY 16O M, you cannot be without this book - ON4UN's Low Band DXing -  Dozens of new propagation maps based on DX Atlas, as well as an in-depth analysis of the influence of sunspot cycles on 160-metre ducting. A new discussion of cutting edge technology including Software Defined Radio and the revolutionary LP-500 Digital Station Monitor. Chapters include 

  • Propagation
  • DXing on the Low Bands
  • Receiving and Transmitting Equipment
  • Antenna Design Software
  • Antennas: General, Terms, Definitions
  • The Feed Line and the Antenna
  • Receiving Antennas
  • The Dipole Antenna
  • Vertical Antennas
  • Large Loop Antennas
  • Phased Arrays
  • Other Arrays
  • Yagis and Quads
  • Low Band DXing from a Small Garden
  • From Low Band DXing to Contesting

CD-ROM included! The CD-ROM includes the entire book in a fully searchable PDF format as well as ON4UN’s software (Windows XP only), antenna modeling files, photographs and more. Now R950.  Delivery via Postnet R120. Special offer  for September and October 2019 free postnet delivery


2019 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. Send your advertisement for the League website to Hans, ZS6AKV at artoday@sarl.org.za and for Radio ZS to Dennis, ZS4BS at radiozs@sarl.org.za

Advertising Rates (effective 1 February 2019)

Display (cameo) on home page and Radio ZS Strip advertisement (10 cm by 2 columns) - R550 pm - R2 750 for 6 months - R4 750 per annum

Commercial Hamad on home page - R70 pm - R350 for 6 months - R550 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 admin@sarl.org.za with a copy to artoday@sarl.org.za


HF Update with Dennis, ZS4BS - 7 December 2019 

Get your weekly copy of HF Happenings at www.sarl.org.za/hf_happenings.asp 

Daily frequency predications: https://spaceweather.sansa.org.za/products-and-services/frequency-predictions/daily-frequencies Bloemfontein - Cape Town; Cape Town – Durban; Cape Town – NVIS; Cape Town – Pretoria; Durban – Pretoria; Pietersburg – Pretoria; Pretoria - NVIS

7 day frequency predications https://spaceweather.sansa.org.za/products-and-services/frequency-predictions/public-service-information Hermanus – Antarctica; Durban - Cape Town; Port Elizabeth – Pretoria; Pretoria – Auckland; Pretoria - Cape Town; Pretoria – Durban; Pretoria – Frankfurt; Pretoria - New Delhi; Pretoria - New York; Pretoria - San Francisco 

Southern African Fauna and Flora https://zsfaunaandflora.wordpress.com/

Contacts with stations on the African continent count towards the SARL’s All Africa Award www.sarl.org.za/public/awards/awards.asp

Worldwide List of HF Beacons https://iaruhfbeacons.wordpress.com/ 


The Gambia, C5. Carlo, ON4BR has been active as C56BR from The Gambia since 3 December and is expected to remain there until 14 December. QSL direct to home call.

Senegal, 6W. The annual 6V1A expedition to the island of Goree (AF-045) will be conducted between 13 and 15 December. Activity will be on various bands using SSB and CW. QSL via LoTW, or PayPal 6v1a.aras@gmail.com for a direct card.

Somalia, T5. Ali, EP3CQ is active as 6O1OO until 19 December. QSL direct to home call.

Morocco, CN. Special station CN19JIM will be active between 21 and 22 December from Imlil in the High Atlas mountain range of Morocco. The callsign's suffix stands for Journee Internationale de la Montagne (International Mountain Day). QSL via RW6HS.

Germany, DL. Special call sign DL250BTHVN will be active from Bonn between 16 December 2019 and 17 December 2020, during the Beethoven Anniversary Year. Ludwig van Beethoven, one of the greatest composers of all time, was born in Bonn on 16 December 1770. More information will be available on https://dl250bthvn.de/.

Belgium, ON. The Bastogne based Radio Club des Ardennes (ON4RCA) will be active as OP75USA from 7 December to 7 January 2020 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge during World War II. QSL via the bureau, or direct to ON4JM; log search on Club Log.

Cyprus, 5B. Alex, 5B4ALX is active as C4XMAS during December. Activity is mainly on 20 meters. QSL via IZ4AMS.

Finland, OH. Members of the Santas Radio Club are active as special event station OH9SCL from Rovaniemi during December. QSL direct to OH9AB.

United Arab Emirates, A6. Members of the Emirates Amateur Radio Society are active with special event station A60BHR until 17 December to celebrate the 48th Bahrain National Day. QSL via A62A.

Ecuador, HC. Joshua, W9HT will be active as HC5JLT from Ecuador between 15 and 21 December. He will operate SSB, CW and digital modes on the HF bands and 6 metres. QSL via home call.

Honduras, HR. Gerard, F2JD will be active as HR5/F2JD from Copan-Ruinas from 12 December to 4 April 2020. Activity will be on 160 to 6 meters using CW, SSB and various digital modes. QSL via F6AJA.

Myanmar, XZ. Martti, OH2BH is active as XZ2D until 17 April 2020. Activity is generally on 15 and 10 meters. QSL to home call.


VHF+ UHF+ MICROWAVE NEWS - FOCUS ON VHF with ZS6YZ 1 December 2019 

VHF, UHF and Microwave Record Table the latest table of records is available from the VHF SA Record page. Click here to get a copy. Compiled and updated by Paul, ZS6NK - latest version 31 October 2019. Updates to zssixnk@gmail.com


Focus on VHF and Above 1 December 2019

 

This week we are focusing on some activity along the West Coast.

 Audio version here

There is no doubt that there is a lot of enthusiasm and passion and participation when it comes to VHF and above activities along the West Coast. 

During the regular West Coast Net that takes place on Monday evenings, a suggestion was made that a fox hunt should be done. All agreed and so the work started for Charles ZS1CF who had committed to build a Fox transmitter comprising out of an Arduino that interfaced with a hand held radio. 

A PC board was designed that could piggy back on an existing Arduino. 

 

Output pin 6 was programmed to output either Sound, Music or CW.

The resistors and capacitors on the board formed a filter to transform the Arduino square wave output to a sine wave. 

Output pin 7 was programmed to PTT the radio. 

Part of the plan was to connect the radio’s audio output to an analogue pin on the Arduino so that the Fox could be activated remotely by a DTMF tone. Charles says that “he did not have time to add this feature to the program”.

 

 

 

 

The Fox transmits a Happy Christmas tune, then after a 20 second break, it transmits CQ CQ CQ de ZS1CF FOX HUNT and then another 20 second break. Charles added a piezo buzzer directly to pin 6 which allowed him to monitor the sound. And he says that he was surprised at how well the transmission sounded over the air.

The Fox Hunt took place on Saturday 23 November, starting at the Laguna Mall in Langebaan.

The winner Fritz ZS1KRF found the Fox within 13 minutes. Marais ZS1NOS was second finding the Fox in 40 minutes. 

Just take a look at the trophy that Charles also made for the winner. 


 

Charles says “Everyone taking part in the Fox Hunt, thoroughly enjoyed it!  After the hunt we all went to Fritz's house for a braai. The discussion subject???  FOX HUNT!!!

Charles also adds “We will definitely organise more Fox Hunts in the future.”

 

Charles also made a video of the Fox Hunt that you can view on the SARL web page.

 

Part_1of2.mp4

Part_2of2.mp4

 

I saw on the WhatsApp group that there were many of the members of the West Coast group that could not make the Fox Hunt. I’m sure next time there will be plenty more hunters and I’m sure more foxes as well.

 

Later in the week on Tuesday 26 November the tropo forecasts looked very good along the West Coast and extending all the way to St Helena Island.

 

WCTropo2.jpg

 

Charles, ZS1CF started to call on 145.500MHz from 19h00 and Pieter, ZS3PV in Kleinzee answered. Charles says “Pieter was not very strong, only a S1 signal. We talked for a while and then I lost Pieter in the noise.

At 19h44, Naz, ZS1NAZ from Goodwood made contact with Cobus, ZS3CVB in Port Nolloth.”

 

1_Naz_Cobus.mp3

 

At 20h00 Chris, ZS1FC from Jacobsbaai also joined the group. Conditions improved and Charles could hear Pieter again. 

 

2_Pieter.mp3

 

At 20h13 Henry, ZS1HA joined the group from Kleinzee.

 

3_Henry.mp3

 

Cobus, ZS3CVB in Port Nolloth also called St Helena Island on a regular basis.

 

4_Naz_rx_Cobus.mp3

 

Chris, ZS1FC in Jacobsbaai managed to work Pieter, ZS3PV in Kleinzee.

 

5_Chris_rx_Pieter.mp3

 

At 20h30, Tienie ZS1HO also joined the group from Vredenburg.  5 Minutes later Stephen, ZR6YFJ from Hopefield also called in.

Charles says “We now had 8 stations on the air ZS3CVB, ZS3PV, ZS3HA, ZS1NAZ, ZS1CF, ZS1FC, ZS1HO and ZR6YFJ.”

 

Conditions kept on improving and at 21h15 Andre, V51LZ from Oranjemund also called in using only a folded dipole.

 

6_Andre.mp3

 

Conditions just kept on improving and at 21h40 Charles received Cobus in Port Nolloth with a S9 plus 60 dB signal.  Full scale over a distance of 440km!!!

 

Path_CF_CVB.jpg

 

At the same time Charles received Andre in Oranjemund with a S7 signal over a distance of 523km!!!

 

Path_CF_V51LZ.jpg

 

Thank you Charles ZS1CF for both these news items.

 

Please send your news snippets and information about activities on VHF and Above to vhfnews@sarl.org.za.

 

The text version of Focus on VHF and Above is available on the SARL home page as well as this audio file. Focus on VHF and above is compiled, edited and presented for Amateur Radio Today by Brian Jacobs ZS6YZ.


Focus on VHF and Above 24 November 2019

 

Audio version 

Today we are going to talk a little about installing a radio in a vehicle.

This can be a challenge and there are numerous things that one needs to consider and sometimes the decision to drill a hole in the body of the car is one that is not taken lightly.

 

Here in South Africa we also need to consider the road traffic ordnance.

Here we are talking about regulation 308A as at January 2006. A copy can be found on the SARL website at http://www.sarl.org.za/public/licences/Mobile_Communications__Road_Traffic_Ordinance_308A_01_2006.pdf

Basically it is illegal to use any cellular or mobile telephone or any other communication device in your hand while driving your car. This however excludes land mobile radio transmission and reception equipment operating in the frequency ban 2 megahertz to 500 megahertz that is affixed to the vehicle or is part of the fixture in the vehicle.

 

 So bottom line is that your radio needs to be affixed to the vehicle in order for you to legally operate it while driving. That means no handhelds and no radios lying on the front seat. 

Now where do you mount the radio. Well that depends on the type of radio and where there is space for it in your vehicle. Do you or do you not drill holes in the vehicle to mount the radio or faceplate of the radio it you have one where the front of the radio can be disconnected from the rest of the radio.

 

Where is the best place to mount the antenna. Another difficult question to answer. The best place is the centre of the roof, but you may not want to drill a hole in the roof. You could use a magnetic base in the centre of the roof. 

Either way, you also need to consider how and where to run the antenna cable. I can tell you that running a cable from a magnetic base can provide a very easy ingress point to water where the cable enters through the door rubbers. It is not pleasant to drive a car with damp smelly carpets. Take a look at page 34 of the November 2019 issue of Radio ZS which has a very nice diagram showing the various places where one could mount an antenna and the expected losses when not mounting the antenna in the centre of the roof. 

The modern cars are full of electronics as well. This posses another challenge. Firstly on the reception side, you need to check that you are not receiving ignition or other noises from the vehicles electronic systems. Likewise you need to check that when your transmit that the vehicles electronic systems are not affected by your transmission. 

Some vehicle manufacturers actually provide information about where they recommend a radio and antenna be installed in their vehicles. 

For a HF radio installation you will also need to consider noise generated from the exhaust system, doors, boot and bonnet. You may need to use earthing straps to ground the doors, etc. to the body of the vehicle. 

Let us first listen to what Onno VK6FLAB as to say about the subject. 

Putting_a_radio_in_a_car.mp3 

There is really no definite answer to the questions, but hopefully the information provided here will assist in getting you going.

It would also be useful if you keep a laminated copy of Road Traffic Ordinance 308A and a copy of your current license in your vehicle. You never know when you may need to educate that traffic officer who casually pulls you over.

 Now for some VHF and above news.

 

 The combined VHF and Noise workshop was held yesterday at the National Amateur Radio Centre. It was an interesting morning of presentations and as always there were interesting and challenging topics presented. Do not miss out on the next workshop that will most likely be held the first quarter of next year. 

The SARL National Convention will be held over the weekend of 3 to 5 April 2020 at the Wanderers Club in Johannesburg. There will again be a Symposium on the Friday afternoon which always provides very interesting topics. 

Looking ahead at the Hepburn charts the conditions look very favourable this coming week across the Atlantic between the West Coast of South Africa and Namibia and the East Coast of Brazil.

 

The latter half of next week also looks very good along the South East Coast, although possibilities to Reunion Island do not look great. 

Remember these are just forecasts and weather patterns do change, so you may get lucky. 

 

Please send your news snippets and information about activities on VHF and Above to vhfnews@sarl.org.za


Focus on VHF and Above 17 November 2019

Audio version

During December a new VHF beacon will be installed on a hill overlooking Bethlehem in the Freestate.

This is a very important beacon for the SARL Beacon Project. It will have two 8 element Yagi antenna connected to it with one pointing in the direction of Gauteng and the second antenna will be able to be pointed in various directions depending on what tests need to be done. 

Why is this beacon important? 

We have all heard about the fantastic tropoducting that takes place along the West Coast and across the South Atlantic to St Helena Island. There are also every now and then good opportunities along the South East Coast as well and these conditions can extend as far as Reunion Island and possibly Mauritius. The conditions are however a little more challenging along the South East Coast. 

Tropoducting has been very well studied over the oceans and these conditions can be predicted with reasonably accuracy by software like the Hepburn Charts developed by William Hepburn. There are at least two other amateurs who have also been developing software to try and predict tropoducting, but again this is only over the oceans. The weather patterns are also dynamic and always changing and the predictions are not accurate, but an indication that there could be a possibility for tropoducting. 

There is currently no way of predicting tropoducting over the landmasses.

We are starting to get an idea of what atmospheric conditions may result in tropospheric ducting, but again it is very difficult to predict and at the end of the day there is still a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done to understand tropospheric propagation. 

The next best way to figure out if tropospheric propagation is favourable is to monitor VHF and UHF beacons. There are various types beacons around, but the most common beacons transmit a CW message that identifies the beacon and it’s grid square. The beacon will send out a signal every 30 seconds continuously, 24/7, 365 days in the year, regardless of the weather conditions. 

There are a number of beacons operational through out the country that are regularly listened to. For example, Carl ZS6CBQ and Rickus ZS4A, two of the most active VHF and above enthusiasts will listen every morning and evening for certain beacons and depending on how well they hear the beacon they know whether there will be a chance of some long distance VHF or UHF communications. If they find that there is an opening then they will let the folk who are all part of the 46 Group on WhatsApp know about the opening. Openings also do not necessarily only occur in the mornings or evenings and the times may change as well depending on the weather conditions and we all know how predicable the weather is. 

The problem is however that as with a large part of the amateur community they still need to work to put bread on the table and cannot spend all their time in front of the radio. 

All of us also know how annoying WhatsApp groups can be where everything other than what is meant to be posted on the group is posted and eventually we mute the group and then we do not know what is happening. 

A relatively simple monitoring station can be deployed anywhere to listen for the beacons and automatically decode and report on the beacons being heard. This system is called a reverse beacon network. The only catch here is that in order for software to decode the CW received, the signal needs to be of good quality with accurate timing of the dots and dashes as well as the spacing between characters and words. 

This beacon going up at Bethlehem has been specifically designed to be able to be accurately decoded by software such as FLDigi, CW Skimmer and other similar programs. 

At the same time Tom ZR6TG has written an application that runs on Telegram, known as a bot. This bot allows the user to register with his callsign and grid locator and then when a beacon is heard, the user tells the bot that he wants to report a beacon. The bot will then display a list of beacons from which to make a selection, ask for a RST report and once confirmed, will send out a message to all users registered on a Telegram group that the beacon was heard and at which grid locator. This is a closed group and only the bot can post propagation reports on it. 

This bot will be demonstrated at the next Workshop on 23 November at the National Amateur Radio Centre. 

Work can also now start on an automated reverse beacon network to monitor, decode and report when the beacon is heard, 24/7, 365 days of the year. 

We will eventually be able to know when the beacons were heard and when VHF openings take place and slowly be able to build a record of openings that will aid in the study of VHF propagation. 

The Bethlehem beacon will also be the test bed for the next beacon that will be developed to be placed somewhere in the Northern Cape to allow for monitoring propagation paths between Gauteng and the Western Cape and possible other paths as well. 

Now for some other VHF and above news. 

John Worsnop G4BAO has made available the details of his 23cm 45W amplifier that was published in RadCom in June 2009. 

John announced on Twitter that he will no longer be stocking these kits and the design is now in the public domain under an MIT licence. 

He's included a copy of the original article, Eagle board and schematic files, plus Gerber files for the PCB. You can find more information on his Twitter account https://twitter.com/g4bao/status/1194228652323549184 

Also have a look at the 23cm-45W-PA on GitHub at https://github.com/g4bao/23cm-45W-PA 

In the US the proceedings of the Microwave Update 2019 that was held on 3-5 October 2019 has been published. Take a look at it at http://ntms.org/files/MUD2019/MUD_Proceedings_2019.pdf

There is also a GNU Workshop Notebook available that tells you all about how to get started with the GNU Radio software that can be used alongside your SDR project. Take a look at http://ntms.org/files/MUD2019/MUD_GNR.pdf

 The North Texas Microwave Society website http://ntms.org/ has lots of interesting documents from other meetings as well. 

How about telling us about that VHF or UHF project you are working on!

 Please send your news snippets and information about activities on VHF and Above to vhfnews@sarl.org.za.


Focus on VHF and Above 3 November 2019

 Audio  version

There are some exiting projects being done in the VHF and above bands. 

Let us firstly look at NPR or New Packet Radio that is being developed by Guillaume F4HDK. 

 

What is packet radio? Packet radio was very popular in the ‘80’s and 90’s and used the AX.25 Amateur Packet-Radio Link Layer protocol. The older radio amateurs will remember the packet bulletins boards that were around those years and used to send out messages far and wide. This was prior to everyone having emails. AX.25 is also still used with APRS or Automated  Position Reporting System which a lot of local guys are playing with today, mainly as trackers in their vehicles, but it can also be used for reporting weather data. The important thing to note is that it is a low data rate protocol.

Around 2009 the use of the AX.25 protocol and packet radio fell by the wayside and some Polish radio amateurs developed a new protocol called NBP which comes from the Polish phrase "Ne-Brezhibni Protokol" (NBP) meaning Non-Flawless Protocol.

When Guillaume was looking at NBP, he decided that there must be a way of creating an even better protocol with a modern design that would be easier to use and inexpensive to physically implement. The result after six years of work was New Packet Radio.

NPR supports IPv4 and allows data to be transmitted at up to 500 kilobits per second on the popular 70-centimeter UHF ham radio band. 500 kb/s is not as fast as the European Hamnet or U.S. AREDN, which use Gigahertz

frequencies like those of Wi-Fi, but it is still faster than the 1.2 kb/s normally used by AX.25 links, and the 70-cm band permits long-distance links even when obstructions prevent line-of-sight transmissions.

Guillaume uses a ISM Si4463 radio module. To this he adds a DMR amplifier giving around 30W output to achieve longer distances. The radio module is controlled by an Mbed Nucleo STM32 L432KC controller connected to an Ethernet interface. Any connected PC or network sees the radio link as just another IPv4 connection with no need to install specific NPR software. The NPR modem can be configured over this link or via a USB connection.

  

For more information about this project and to find more information that will allow you to build your own system, take a look at his Hackaday project page at https://hackaday.io/project/164092-npr-new-packet-radio. This is an active project and continually being updated.

Now for something on a much higher frequency.

Neil G4DBN has released details of his latest project on the popular Hackaday site. A set of feedhorns, reference horns and flange couplers for use with the SiliconRadar TRA_120_002 chipset on the 122 GHz amateur radio band.

Building on the designs from Andrew Anderson VK3CV using a duplexer cavity fitted over the 5x5mm TRA_120_002 radar chip,

https://siliconradar.com/products/single-product/120-ghz-transceiver-tra_120_002/ but using threaded adjustment for best match.

Niel says, “I'm working on a range of alternative fittings including UG-387/U anti-cocking flanges, reference horns, feedhorns and Chaparral-style choked horns. I'll extend the range of fittings to include WR-08 rectangular waveguide transitions and tapered sections to 1.8mm or smaller round guides as demand arises.”

The 122 GHz band presents extreme challenges to long distance communication because of atmospheric resonances (2nd harmonic of the 60GHz Oxygen resonance) and water vapour absorption. Losses are in excess of 1dB per km. The world record distance for this band is around 60 km.

Further details of Niel’s antenna and feeds can be found at

https://hackaday.io/project/168231-122-ghz-antennas-and-feeds.

 

More information about the 122GHz project of Andrew Anderson VK3CV can be found at https://groups.io/g/The122GProject.

The innovation displayed by fellow amateurs is simply remarkable.

Hopefully these projects will stimulate some of you to try your hand at constructing or venturing into the higher bands.

How about letting me know what projects you are working on at vhfnews@sarl.org.za.

And now for some local contest news.

Carl ZS6CBQ has posted the following two reminders on the 46 Long Distance VHF/UHF WhatsApp group.

The second leg of the SARL VHF/UHF Analogue contest will be on the air from 10:00 UTC on Saturday 9 November to 10:00 UTC on Sunday 10 November 2019 with SSB, FM and CW contacts on 6, 4 and 2 m, 70 and 23 cm and higher. All QSOs must be two-way point to point and the exchange is a RS or RST report and your location - either a six-digit Maidenhead locator, or latitude and longitude.

 

Please consult page 48 of the 2019 Blue Book for all the information about the contest - multipliers and scoring, etc. Your log sheet must be sent to contest@sarl.org.za by Monday 2 December 2019.

 

Let’s hope that conditions are good next weekend.

 

The Contest team is busy working on the 2020 SARL Blue Book and requests Clubs hosting contests to submit any changes they would like to make as well as confirm e-mail addresses for log submissions. Members are requested to submit requests for new contests as well. Please send requests, suggestions and changes to contest@sarl.org.za by Wednesday 20 November 2019.

Carl says, “We are allowed and have made changes in the past to the rules of the VHF/UHF contest.

I think there is room for improvement ... specifically the Digital contest.

Please send me your ideas and suggestions as soon as possible. Read the rules very carefully and do not try and change the whole contest. We can have live discussions on the air as well. So this is YOUR chance to have a say. So no more talking about THEY or complaining next year when we use the rules. My email address  is minnecd@absamail.co.za

Thanks Carl for these reminders.

The VHF Work Group reports that the installation of the new VHF beacon in Bethlehem will take place on Saturday 7 December.

Well that’s all for this week.

Please send your news snippets and information about activities on VHF and Above to vhfnews@sarl.org.za.


CONTEST NEWS WITH ZS6C 15 May 2019 

THE 2020 SARL BLUE BOOK

 

The Contest team is busy working on the 2020 SARL Blue Book and requests Clubs hosting contests to submit any changes they would like to make as well as confirm e-mail addresses for log submissions. Members are requested to submit requests for new contests as well. Please send requests, suggestions and changes to contest@sarl.org.za by Wednesday 20 November 2019.

 

THE 2020 SARL DIARY OF EVENTS

 

The SARL Secretary is busy drawing up the 2020 Diary of Events and invites Clubs to submit the dates of their Club Meetings, Flea Markets and other Club activities. Send the information to secretary@sarl.org.za by Wednesday 20 November 2019.

SARL Forum Active Topics
2020 Blue Book  09/12/2019  11:17:03
by: ZS6DJA
ICASA Licence - Paper wastage 
 1  2
09/12/2019  09:39:52
by: ZS1V
BBC , The Cold War's strangest sport  09/12/2019  09:28:25
by: ZS1C
Shuguang Valves  09/12/2019  02:08:39
by: ZS6MUE
Circuit simulation and PCB layout  08/12/2019  18:54:19
by: ZS6GST
QRZ or not?  08/12/2019  17:38:11
by: ZS6OMT
2 Metre Beacons.  08/12/2019  08:52:32
by: ZS6BUN
Telkom's removal of copper line service  08/12/2019  07:40:52
by: ZS1PR
60M band  07/12/2019  20:59:54
by: ZS2G
Dyslexia  07/12/2019  11:42:53
by: ZR1PJA


Commercial Hamads 

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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. 


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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 admin@sarl.org.za 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.

A
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.


 Schalk Van Vuuren , ZS1LL


     

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Worked All ZS award
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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.
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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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