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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
South African COVID-19 Corona Virus Resource Portal: www.sacoronavirus.co.za

SARL TODAY! 

The Office at the NARC is closed during the Lock Down period. Kelley is working from home and you can contact her on admin@sarl.org.za and/or 011 675-2393.


AMSAT SA TO HOLD VIRTUAL SPACE SYMPOSIUM ON 22 AUGUST -AMSAT SA will be holding its annual Space Symposium via video conferencing on Saturday 22 August 2020 from 10:00 – 15:00.  The symposium was originally scheduled for 11 July but as result of the lockdown and travel restrictions it had to be postponed. The conference will be fully interactive. For more details visits www.amsatsa.org.za


SARL ON-THE-AIR BULLETINS AND AMATEUR RADIO TODAY PROGRAMME 2 August 2020

SARLNEWS in English with Rory Norton ZS2BL   Listen Here/Download

SARLNUUS in Afrikaans met  Irene Mynurgh ZS6EIA  luister/laai hier af

AMATEUR RADIO TODAY,  SARL's weekly actuality programme about Amateur Radio and technology hosted by  Hans van de Groenendaal ZS6AKV  Download/listen  here  Comments on the programme, questions and reception reports send a voice note on 076 402 1464

Feature in the programme of 2 August  2020 is about Automatic Link Establishment with ARRL's Steve Ford

Sundays at 08:00 UTC on repeaters around South Africa including 145,750  and 145,725 MHZ in Pretoria. On HF 7 082 kHz by ZS5LP

Amateur Radio Today on 80 metres on Mondays - On Mondays Amateur RadioToday is transmitted at 19:30 local time on 3 620 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. Or send a WatsApp voice note on 0764021464

Text bulletins from 1 March 2020 can be found at https://sarlnewsbulletin.wordpress.com/


AMATEUR RADIO LICENCE RENEWAL – ICASA still operate the old system in parallel with the new online system.

Legacy System

If you licence was issued on the old system, you will receive an invoice. ICASA informed the SARL that the invoice will be mailed during the next few weeks. However with the huge postal backlog caused by the lockdown you may not receive it for some time.

You may pay it with out the invoice as follows:

2020/21 Amateur Radio License fee

1 year licence –  R 154.00.

2 year licence –  R 294.00

3 year licence –  R 422.00

4 year licence -  R 537.00

5 year licence – R 642.00

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 inconvenience 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 e-mail to specrev@icasa.org.za and 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.  

ONLINE SYSTEM

"The ICASA license  renewal phase is very important for the new online system to work and for the protection of call signs issued to radio amateurs. The Authority extended the renewal date to 30 June 2020 and this is the process that they are busy with. The fact that a payment was made earlier in the year does not mean that the licence is renewed", Dewald Kuhrau told the SARL

The new online system puts control over the licence in the licensee`s hands. All amendments and/or renewals are done online by the licensee. For those radio amateurs who applied for their licences online the process is extremely easy. If you are not yet registered on the system then you need to register, create your legal entity, and then press the renewal button on the manage page. The system will then prompt you to indicate for how many years the licence must be renewed, and an invoice will be rendered after submission. Thereafter you can pay online through your manage portal or upload the proof of payment if payment is made through another method. Renewal for the following year will then be an easy exercise.

If this process is not followed, radio amateurs not only stand a chance to get the licence cancelled but more importantly lose their call signs. These call signs will then be available and assigned to other radio amateur which can cause much unhappiness.

To access the portal, go to https://online.icasa.org.za/

It is important to note that the above process is only for licences that were already issued on the new online system. Any licence issued on the Authority`s old legacy system should still be renewed by payment of the prescribed licence fees only.

ICASA indicated that it will start with the process to transfer the existing licences to the online system during the next year where after all renewals will be done on this system. Please note that any amendment to your licence such as change of call sign or change of address should from now on be done on the online system through a legacy amendment application and the licence will be transferred immediately to the new system.

Please do not call the SARL or any of the SARL officials as they cannot assist you.  They do not have access to your ICASA account. The system is identity driven. If you are experiencing any problems, send an email to dkuhrau@icasa.org.za.


New Satellite Book now available - The new ARRL Amateur radio satellites for beginners is now available in South Africa. With the opening of e-commerce, Postnet is operating again and books can be sent to your nearest Postnet. You can make contacts through amateur radio satellites, and even with the International Space Station, using equipment you probably own right now! All it takes is the right information, which you will find in Amateur Radio Satellites for Beginners by Steve Ford

There are dozens of spacecraft in orbit just waiting for your signals, and more are being launched every year. This book is your guide to a whole new world of operating enjoyment.

Amateur Radio Satellites for Beginners will introduce you to new experiences that you may have thought were out of your reach. Start reading and discover how easy it can be! To order the book visit www.amateurradio.org.za. 115 pages plus index.


 

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.


2020 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 January 2020)

Display (cameo) on home page and Radio ZS Strip advertisement (10 cm by 2 columns) - R600 pm - R3 000 for 6 months - R5 000 per annum

Commercial Hamad on home page - R100 pm - R400 for 6 months - R900 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. A design service is available at R400 per advertisement.

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 - 31 July 2020 

Uganda, 5X. Shabu, M0KRI is active as 5X1RI until mid-August. QSL to the home call.

Ghana, 9G. Currently active "from a temporary location in Accra", Matteo, IZ4YGS will be active again as 9G5GS from Sanzule, Ghana from 8 August to 15 September. In his spare time, he will operate SSB and FT8 (Fox & Hound), as well as USB on the QO-100 Geostationary satellite. QSL via Club Log's OQRS, LoTW, eQSL, or direct to home call.

Morocco, CN. Taking part in the annual Throne Day's celebrations, members of the Association Royale des Radioamateurs du Maroc (ARRAM) will be using the special prefix CN21 between 28 July and 15 August. Throne Day is a public holiday in Morocco that commemorates the enthronement of the incumbent monarch. Since 1999, it has been celebrated on 30 July.

England, G. Special event stations GB75PEACE, GB1945PE and GB1945PJ will be active during August to mark the end of World War II in the Pacific. QSL via LoTW.

South Korea, HL. Celebrating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Korea (15 August 1945), members of the Korean Amateur Radio League (KARL) will be active as HL75V between 1 and 31 August. QSL via 6K0MF.

Turkey, TA. Commemorating the 105th anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli during World War I, special event stations TC3GP and TC3GS will be active between 3 and 23 August. QSLs via YM3KCN.

Market Reef, OJ0. Tommi, OH3BRJ and his son Valtteri, OH3BRK will be active as OJ0/OH3BRJ and OJ0/OH3BRK from Market Reef (EU-053) on 6 and 7 August. They will operate SSB RTTY and FT12 on 80 - 6 metres. QSLs via LoTW, or via home calls (direct and bureau).

Sardinia, IS0 - Simone, IU4HRJ will be active as IM0/IU4HRJ from Maddalena Island (EU-041), Sardinia between 4 and 10 August. He will operate SSB and digital modes on 40-10 metres. QSL via home call.

Greece, SV. Francesco, IK6QON will be active as SV8/IK6QON from Kerkyra Island (EU-052) between 9 and 20 August. He will operate CW and SSB on 40 - 6 metres. QSL via home call.

Corsica, TK. Frans, DJ0TP will be active as TK/DJ0TP from Corsica (EU-014) from 6 August to 14 September. During the International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend (22-23 August) he will operate from the Phare d'Alistro. QSL via LoTW, or via home call (direct and bureau).

Viet Nam, XV. Jesus, WP4JBG is active as XV9G from Ho Chi Minh City. Activity is on the HF bands. QSL via operator's instructions.


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/ 


VHF+ UHF+ MICROWAVE NEWS - FOCUS ON VHF with ZS6YZ 2 August 2020 

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 - Send your record claim to zssixnk@gmail.com


Focus on VHF and Above 2 August 2020

 Audio file

Just as I was finished writing this week’s Focus on VHF, I received news that Gert, ZS6GC in Secunda has worked Pieter, V51PJ  in Southern Namibia this morning on meteor scatter. This was Gert’s first meteor scatter contact. The distance is about 1220 km. The QSO took 2 hours to complete with Gert running a barefoot ICOM 910H at about 75 watts to a 5 element crossed Yagi antenna.

 

Dick ZS6BUN says “I’m so excited, it proves again the point you don’t need a top end station to work meteor scatter - just limitless patience and a bottomless coffee pot” 

 

Well done Gert and Pieter. Gert, this is a contact will be remembered for a long time. 

 Homebrewing

Today I want to discuss homebrewing. Not homebrewing your own beer! In the world of amateur radio building your own projects is called  homebrewing. 

In the past before commercial amateur radio equipment was readily available amateurs used to homebrew their own equipment by re-purposing  commercial or other equipment for amateur use. For example surplus military radios were modified to work on amateur frequencies. 

Today there are still a lot of folk homebrewing their own equipment for various reasons. One is the enjoyment of building their own equipment, another reason is the cost of equipment or they want to learn more about electronics and build low power or QRP equipment from first principals. Sometimes you need to homebrew when you are experimenting on bands where there is no commercial amateur equipment available. A good example here is building a QO-100 station. There is no amateur equipment on 2.4 GHz or 10 GHz so if you want to play here, you need to put together your own station. 

Building your own antenna, an interface to allow you to work the digital modes, a power supply, a dummy load, a power distribution box are all examples of homebrewing. Sometimes you do not even need to build a printed circuit board and can connect commercially available modules together to create a device that you need. This is typically how you could assemble a QO-100 station. 

Where can you find information on homebrew projects? 

Club magazines and national society magazines are a good source of information. Radio ZS, the SARL’s monthly magazine has a lot of homebrew projects. The ARRL handbooks also have many ideas of projects that can be built. I have looked on the internet and found many websites with ideas of homebrew equipment that you could build. Two examples are

https://www.w1wc.com/homebrewing/ and https://www.qsl.net/vu2msy/homebrew/homebrewing_zone.htm 


Listen to what Onno VK6FLAB says about homebrew radio for the 21st Centuary.

Homebrew_radio_for_the_21st_Century.mp3

 

It seems to me that today there are very few amateurs who homebrew or even attempt to assemble a kit. I do not know why there is so little interest in homebrewing. 

Write to us at vhfnews@sarl.org.za and tell us about that interesting project you are busy with and maybe we can encourage other amateurs to try their hand at homebrewing. 

Have you heard these two beacons lately? 

We are looking for reports on the ZS0BET beacon in Bethlehem and the ZS1TWO beacon in Cape Town. 

The ZS0BET beacon at grid KG41ds puts out 25 W into two 8 element Yagi antenna pointing East and North. The frequency is 144.425 MHz.

 The ZS1TWO beacon’s antenna is pointing in the direction of Divisions 4 and 6. The beacon at grid JF96fb puts out 20 W into a 5 element Yagi on the frequency of 144.435 MHz. 

Please listen out for these beacons. It will be very interesting to know where these beacons are heard. And, when you hear these beacons with a good signal level you can be sure that the possibility for good long-distance VHF comms is also possible. 

Let us know at vhfnews@sarl.org.za of the VHF and above contacts that you have made or send us your beacon reports, or tell us about that interesting project that you have been working on. 

Focus on VHF and above is compiled, edited and presented for Amateur Radio Today by Brian Jacobs ZS6YZ.


 Focus on VHF and Above 26 July 2020

 Audio version

Last week we mentioned that amateurs along the West Coast and in the Western Cape must listen out for Dick ZS6BUN transmissions on MSK144 via meteor scatter. On Friday Dick sent out a WhatsApp message on the VHF, UHF/ SHF West Coast group. 

 

Dick said “Good afternoon all. I’m going to run meteor scatter tests tomorrow morning from 06h00 SA time. Same as last weekend. Mode will be MSK144 30 sec cycle. I will transmit in the first 30 secs of every minute. I will start beaming west from KG43GM and announce on this group as I slowly move round to the SW. Even if you don’t have software please listen for my “pings” on dial freq USB 144.230. If you can, switch your agc to fast or better still, off. I will be running about 6-800 watts to a 12dBd h-pol Yagi at 15m with a clear take off.” 

What do “pings” sound like?  

Go and have a look at a video on YouTube of 6m MSK144 meteor scatter contacts and you will get a good idea of what to listen out for.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5JfpgPyDl4 

Here is a short sound clip from the video.

 Meteor_Sounds.mp3 

On Saturday morning Dick and Pieter V51PJ completed another MSK144 contact. Rickus also heard Dick’s transmission in Bethlehem. I’m not sure whether they completed a QSO. Tom ZS1TA could not join in due to other commitments and it looks like no one else was listening. 

46 Long Distance Group was also active yesterday morning on SSTV. Looking at the pictures posted on the WhatsApp group of the pictures received there was good propagation on Saturday morning. 

SSTV_Images.jpg

 

The tropo along the West Coast was also good this week. 

The guys along the West Coast also monitor APRS to see when there is ducting along the West Coast.  

APRS_Reception.jpg

 

On Monday ZS3JPY ZS3CVB and V51LZ were busy on 145.500 simplex during a tropoducting opening and then Chris ZS1FC managed to receive the APRS beacon of Cobus ZS3CVB, a distance of 423 km.

 

ZS3CVB_APRS_RX_ZS1FC.jpg

 

On Wednesday Koos ZS3JPY again alerted the West Coast guys that the tropoducting forecast looked good.

 

Tropo_20200722_1800.jpeg 

Here is a QSO recorded by Koos between him, Andre V51LZ in Oranjemund and Chris ZS1FC in Vredenburg. The distance between Andre and Chris is 513 km. 

ZS1FC_V51LZ_ZS3JPY.mp4 

Well done guys. 

The Bethlehem beacon was reported S4-S5 last Monday by Ronald ZS6RVC. 

Have you heard these two beacons lately? 

The ZS0BET beacon in Bethlehem at grid KG41ds puts out 25 W  into two 8 element Yagi antenna pointing East and North. The frequency is 144.425 MHz. This beacon has already been reported being heard far and wide and from some unexpected locations. 

The ZS1TWO beacon’s antenna is pointing in the direction of Divisions 4 and 6. The beacon at grid JF96fb puts out 20 W into a 5 element Yagi on the frequency of 144.435 MHz. 

Please listen out for these beacons. It will be very interesting to know where these beacons are heard. And, when you hear these beacons with a good signal level you can be sure that the possibility for good long distance VHF comms is also possible. 

For the guys who like to build projects and may have a VNA or are thinking of getting one or building your own. I found an interesting video on Youtube from the UK Denby Dale Amateur radio society of a talk by Alan W2AEW.

The first part is about 3rd Order Inter Modulation Distortion or IMD, what it is and how to mitigate it and the second part is about understanding Vector Network Analysers and a look at the easily and cheaply available NanoVNA. Take a look at the recording at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hDxCgIaCIw

 

Let us know at vhfnews@sarl.org.za of the VHF and above contacts that you have made or send us your beacon reports, or tell us about that interesting project that you have been working on. 

 

Focus on VHF and above is compiled, edited and presented for Amateur Radio Today by Brian Jacobs ZS6YZ.


 

Focus on VHF and Above 19 July 2020

Audio version   

 

 

 

 

 

The storms that hit the southern parts of the country has certainly caused havoc amongst the amateur community, with amateurs along the West coast reporting antennas and towers being blown over. We hope that the damage caused is repairable and that in the process of repairing the damage that you are able to make improvements to withstand the winds in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

METEOR SCATTER

Yesterday morning, Dick ZS6BUN, Tom ZS1TA and Pieter V51PJ were again playing with Meteor scatter early in the morning. 

Dick had announced the previous day that he would be on the air from 06:00 local time on 144.230 MHz using MSK144. First beaming West and later South West from his QTH at grid KG43GM. 

I think Dick was so excited about getting on the air that his first transmission was already at 04:00. It did not take Tom and Pieter long to start monitoring for the meteor scatter pings. Just before 05:00 Dick and Pieter logged the first contact. 

Unfortunately Tom’s Icom 910H is in for repair and all that he had was his Icom 706.

 

 

 

The cables that Tom was using was configured for his 910H so although he could get audio to and from the radio he could not control the PTT. Pieter suggested that Tom use the microphone to PTT which worked and at 5:16 they managed to log the contact. Tom was only transmitting 15W on the Icom 706. Tom remarked on his trusty 706 “The old 706 has earned more respect. Sailed all over the world and twice across Pacific doing MM and Winlink. Now VHF MS too.” 

Well done guys great contacts again and just to show us youngsters out here what can be done. 

Dick will publicise on the West Coast WhatsApp groups when he will be active so listen out for Dick’s transmissions via meteor scatter and see if you can hear the meteor scatter pings. If you can hear the pings, see if you can decode them using MSK144. 

There is a very interesting report that the Winlink team has published about an excellent digital modes comparison study, by Thomas Whiteside, N5TW. It shows steady improvements in performance as software algorithms evolve for the digital modes.

Joe Speroni, AH0A, The ARRL Pacific Section Manager said "the addition of digital modes in our tool kit makes Amateur Radio more valuable to our served agencies." For example, "Winlink is a tool for personal communications, health and welfare traffic, and served agencies with varying need of digitally-formatted messages." 

The report can be read at  https://winlink.org/sites/default/files/a_winlink_digital_mode_performance_comparison_based_on_the_ionis_sim_hf_vhf_channel_simulator_-_july_5_2020_0.pdf 

It is indeed an interesting report to read, especially the section on VHF. 

Winlink is one of the modes to be used for the HAMNET Winter Blackout exercise in August. 

With our testing that we are doing on digital modes within HAMNET, we are also finding that digital modes on VHF are a lot more reliable than HF within the greater Johannesburg and Pretoria areas. 

Have you heard these two beacons lately? 

The ZS0BET beacon in Bethlehem at grid KG41ds puts out 25 W  into two 8 element Yagi antenna pointing East and North. The frequency is 144.425 MHz. This beacon has already been reported being heard far and wide and from some unexpected locations.

 The ZS1TWO beacon’s antenna is pointing in the direction of Divisions 4 and 6. The beacon at grid JF96fb puts out 20 W into a 5 element Yagi on the frequency of 144.435 MHz. 

Please listen out for these beacons. It will be very interesting to know where these beacons are heard. And, when you hear these beacons with a good signal level you can be sure that the possibility for good long distance VHF comms is also possible. 

Let us know at vhfnews@sarl.org.za of the VHF and above contacts that you have made or send us your beacon reports, or tell us about that interesting project that you have been working on.

Today I’m going to leave you with the following thoughts from Onno VK6FLAB on what is the point to this remarkable hobby of ours. 

Whats_the_point_of_this_hobby-Onno_VK6FLAB.mp3


  Focus on VHF and Above 5 July 2020

 Audio version

On Monday evening Ken ZS6KN reported hearing the ZS0BET beacon at his QTH at grid KG44bj, a distance of 292 km. Ken heard it again at 11:00 on Tuesday morning. Ken is a little north of my QTH further away from the Magaliesberg. Ken reported that while the signal was low it was perfectly readable. So far if I recall correctly, this is the furtherest to the north that this beacon has been reported. Thanks for that report Ken.

 

The ZS0BET beacon in Bethlehem at grid KG41ds puts out 25 W  into two 8 element Yagi antenna pointing East and North. The frequency is 144.425 MHz. This beacon has already been reported being heard far and wide and from some unexpected locations.

 

The ZS1TWO beacon’s antenna is pointing in the direction of Divisions 4 and 6. The beacon at grid JF96fb puts out 20 W into a 5 element Yagi on the frequency of 144.435 MHz.

 

Please listen out for these beacons. It will be very interesting to know where these beacons are heard. And, when you hear these beacons with a good signal level you can be sure that the possibility for good long distance VHF comms is also possible.

 

Be sure to let us know at vhfnews@sarl.org.za of those long distance QSO’s that you make including beacon reports.

 

Those of us that attempt to build our own homebrew equipment, interfaces or whatever will know that it becomes quite interesting when we are faced with the challenge that we cannot find conventional components any more and we are forced to consider using surface mount components. Yes, it is daunting and for many of us so scary that we rather not attempt the project.

Surface mount devices come in various sizes, but with the right tools it is not that difficult to work with them.

 

There is a good article in the latest edition of the Surrey Amateur Radio Club magazine on solder reflow by Kevin McQuiggin VE7ZD/KN7Q. There is of course plenty of other interesting articles in their magazine as well. You can find the magazine at https://ve7sar.blogspot.com/2020/07/the-july-august-2020-communicator.html

 

By now most of you will have heard about the HAMNET 2020 Blackout exercise that will take place over the weekend of 29-30 August 2020. This exercise will use both HF and VHF and each team will have a HF and VHF sub team. The exercise will also require us to make extensive use of digital modes. Most of us are quite familiar with digital modes over HF. Those same digital modes work very well on VHF as well and we have already done some extensive testing using JS8Call on VHF, getting some decent distances without any atmospheric conditions that enhances VHF communications.

 

While it is a HAMNET exercise, there only needs to be one HAMNET member in a team who will also be the team leader.

 

Here is a great opportunity to test out your go box on digital modes on VHF as well.

 

If you do not already have a computer set up for your digital modes, why not put together a low cost Raspberry Pi solution.  It is definitely not difficult to set up. Go and look at look at the Youtube Channel of Jason KM4ACK. He has a really simple recipe to set up a Raspberry PI with everything that you need to be able to run digital modes in the field.

 

I have been following Jason’s channel for a while and I have already completed two installs on both a Raspberry Pi 3B and a Pi 4. The current version of Jason’s installation recipe is so simple that all you need to do is run a script, provide some basic information and select which programs you would like to install. The script does everything for you. There is some configuration that is needed, but Jason takes you through that as well in one of his videos. It is that simple.

 

Add to this a 10 inch touch screen LCD display and you are fully sorted with a portable controller for your station. Alternatively you can use a laptop and VNC to connect to your Pi via it’s own hotspot if you are not connected to an external network.

 

I’m currently sorting out a 12V to 5V step down supply to run the Pi from the 12 V radio batteries as well.

 

What interesting project you are busy with? Share it with us at  vhfnews@sarl.org.za..

 

Focus on VHF and above is compiled, edited and presented for Amateur Radio Today by Brian Jacobs ZS6YZ.


 


MORSE CODE NEWS WITH ZS6MWS 

Setup of a CW paddle

Rick, WW1ME, writes in regard to the conventional setup of a CW paddle: "The right-hand lever is the 'dah' if you are right-handed. For lefties, it is just the opposite. Most keyers/radios will let you change the keyer 'sense' for RH or LH. I recall back in the day, too, that all MFJ keyers were wired for the wrong sense, so when you plugged in your paddle, it was set for a lefty. If you used that paddle with other devices, that could be a real issue. Otherwise, you'd have to swap the wires." Another temporary means of sending with a paddle that is opposite of what you're used to is to turn it around and reach over the paddle for the levers. Awkward, but the technique works for a limited amount of sending.

CW Contest Trainer

Ray, G4FON, has written a program entitled CW Contest Trainer and has made it available on his website http://www.g4fon.net/. His program supports a number of contests, including CQ WPX, CQ WW, IOTA, ARRL Field Day, ARRL Sweepstakes, CW Ops CWT, NAQCC, and SKCC. The free version on his website is limited in operation but can be upgraded for a fee.

Four CW Contacts per Day Certificates

The ZS-CW group have started a new initiative to get more people active on CW on all bands, this will get you a certificate at the end of the year. Make four CW contacts per day and qualify for the following certificates: 200 to 250 days - Bronze certificate, 250 to 300 days - Silver Certificate and 300 plus days - Gold Certificate. Send proof of your contacts by Excel log submission to Mike, ZS6MSW (zs6msw@gmail.com) or Andy, ZS6ADY (andyzs6ady@vodamail.co.za).

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Commercial Hamads 

ZS2BL's S.A. HAMSHACK

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. 


Just Curious Designs

Promotional Branding & Gifts for all your requirements relating to:

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Visit our website and online shop for more information on our wide range of products at www.curiousdesigns.co.za or email us sales@curiousdesigns.co.za

Johan ZR6JC – 082 821 5759


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.


 Hannes Coetzee, ZS6BZP


     

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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: 11/6/2020