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THE PEARS NATIONAL VHF/UHF CONTEST THIS COMING WEEKEND – The PEARS National VHF & UHF Contest takes place this weekend from 18:00 CAT on Friday 20 January until 14:00 CAT on Sunday 22 December 2017. The express purpose of this national contest is to encourage long distance operation between different Divisions countrywide on the VHF and UHF bands. We have been informed that amateurs from all six divisions will be active during the contest, which includes Division 3 on the West Coast for the first time, as well as Namibian stations. Field stations as well as Rovers, which is a very popular category in the USA, both operating from high sites will hopefully keep the bands alive during the day via Tropo Enhancement and possibly Sporadic-E propagation. Tropo Ducting could be at its best in the early mornings and at night especially on 144 MHz making very long distances possible. Please make an effort to participate in the contest, help to advance amateur radio, and make it more exciting for everybody. Good luck with the contest and let’s hope the weather won’t interfere.
DIGITAL TESTS ON 50,230 MHz FSK441 – Bernie ZS4TX posted the following digital report from Paul ZS6NK that covered Saturday (7th) and Sunday (8th) mornings. He heard and answered: ZS1LS, ZS2EZ, ZS5HV, ZS5J, ZR6AUI, ZS6BTE, ZS6BUN and ZS6JON. He worked the following stations: ZS2ACP, ZS2EZ, ZS4TX, ZS6A, ZS6BTE and V51PJ.
Paul says his site is very quiet, ZS6JON/b is in on Tropo most of the time, around 12:00 to 16:00 CAT in and out, last night 519 to 539 continuously. He is running WJST V10 (R6088) and although the bursts are massive it is not decoding at all. Bernie’s best Tropo signal on JT65a was –8 dB, worst –21 db. Loudest FSK was +15 dB and there were many. Paul’s bakkie is parked on a high spot on the farm for I-net and he says the Sun is burning the @#$%^&* out of him, 1635B and a mild 37C, and 73 from the hot spot.
DIV 5 GROUP TO JOIN DIV 2 GROUP ON MONDAY EVENINGS – Hugo van Zyl, ZS5HV, at Scottburgh says he will remind Lee ZS5LEE (Durban), Craig ZS5CD (Durban), Brad ZS5BG (Pinetown) and John ZS5J (Richardsbay) to join the Monday evening East Coast net run by Peter Tottle, ZS2ABF, from East London. He suggests that VHF amateurs should join the WhatsApp group of Mike ZS1TAF, Cell 076 278 5622. Some members in this group are: FR5DN, ZS5LEE, ZS4TX, ZS4A, ZS6OB, ZS6JON, ZS2BK, ZS1LS, ZS5HV, V51PJ, ZS5CD, ZS5BG, ZS1TAF, ZS1CM, ZS4BS, ZR6AUI, ZS6TW, ZS1LCD and ZR1AIK. Posting that you are calling on a specific frequency will definitely get you a response.
VHF NEWS FROM CAPE TOWN – Mike ZS1TAF reports: “I was monitoring , but no digital signals my side. Most active on 6 metres in Cape Town is: ZS1TK – SSB and FM, ZS1ALJ – SSB, Digital and FM, ZS1SA – SSB, ZS1LS – Allan has everything, and ZS1TAF – SSB and FM, awaiting FT-879 repairs, then I will be back on Digital.
"The 50,080 MHz ZS1SIX beacon is currently off the air. Once CPUT re-opens in January Rassie ZS1YT will investigate why the beacon is off the air. I am monitoring the 50;044 MHz and 50,050 MHz beacons. 73 Mike ZS1TAF.”
WATCH OUT FOR SPORADIC-E OPENINGS ON 50 MHz – We are now in the peak period where Sporadic-E propagation could appear on the 50 MHz band. So keep an eye on the beacons up north and take note that the Es cloud slowly drifts from an easterly to a westerly direction. This means that ZS6TWB/b on 50,044 MHz will become audible first, followed ny ZS6JON on 50,050 MHz and later V51PJ on 50,300 MHz will appear. Strong Es openings have been recorded on 26th December 2016 as well as on New Years day and several stations were worked.
MYSTERIOUS RADIO SIGNAL TRACED TO DWARF GALAXY – Astronomers have pinpointed the location of mysterious signals which have puzzled experts and fuelled suggestions they represented signs of alien life since the first powerful cosmic radio blast was detected over 15 years ago. The first of such signals, a 5-millisecond radio burst dubbed the Lorimer burst, was discovered in archived data taken in 2001 by the Parkes radio dish in Australia. Since then, more than a dozen fast radio bursts (FRBs) have been detected in telescope data. The nature of these radio wave blasts is to last for just a few milliseconds, occurring as one-off events with just a single burst recorded from a single location. They can emit as much power as 500 million suns.
Until now these elusive FRBs have never been traced to their origin and scientists have been left baffled by the strange signals. New research published in Nature, focusing on the only fast burst known to repeat – FRB 121102, has shed light on the intriguing phenomenon. FRB 121102 was first detected in 2012 in the constellation Auriga and has re-emerged a number of times since then. A team of astronomers used a number of radio telescopes to detect multiple bursts of FRB 121102 and narrow down its location. The Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico, the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array in New Mexico, and the European VLBI Network across Europe were used in the process. They discovered the bursts originated from a dwarf galaxy some 3 billion light-years from Earth and emit faint radiation in both radio and visual wavelengths. The Gemini North telescope in Hawaii was used for a follow up observation and showed that the galaxy was less than one-tenth the size and has only about 1 percent of the mass or our Milky Way Galaxy.
LATE NEWS! A 432 MHz NET IS PLANNED IN GAUTENG FOR 2017 – “Conditions South of my QTH in Krugersdorp was quite good this morning (Sat. 14/01/2017) on 144,300 MHz. Andre ZS3AG in Kimberley was 5/8 at times, Pierre ZS4PF 5/9+10 and Rickus ZS4A 5/9+20. Unfortunately there were no Bloemfontein stations on the air. I am also very happy with my SSB contact on 70cm (432 MHz) with Andre ZS3AG. My longest distance so far on 70cm, 418 km. Reports were 5/5 and 5/4. Andre is using a 24 element Yagi with 50 Watts. On my side I have a 38 element M2 Yagi, 250 Watts and receive pre-amp. An attempt to work Rickus ZS4A on 70cm was not successful but I could hear his CW just above the noise. My plans for this year is to get a regular group on 70cm for long distance contacts to be established, so listen on 432,200 MHz for us over weekends from about 06:00 CAT. Regards Carl ZS6CBQ.”
German regulator acts on radio interference
In 2016 the German communications regulator Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA) took decisive action against 6 000 devices causing radio interference
Google English translation of DARC post:
In 2016 the Federal Network Agency's testing and measuring service identified more than 6000 radio disturbances and eliminated them.
The number of radio disturbances remained constant compared with the previous year. "Our test and measurement service detects radio interference and resolves its cause. Ever more diverse radio applications make the investigation and resolution of disturbances more complex, "explained Jochen Homann, President of the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur).
"The testing and measuring service makes an important contribution to consumer protection and ensures efficient and interference-free use of the frequency spectrum," adds Homann. The causes of radio interference have changed significantly in recent years. The number of radio disturbances is continuously declining. Frequent audible and visible effects of such radio interference are a rattling of radio or streaks on the TV screen. Disturbances in the broadband data transmission in the telephone and cable networks, however, in the case of household-related radio applications (W-LAN, Bluetooth, CB radio) and in mobile communications are increasing. In particular, new and innovative radio applications make it difficult to isolate and eliminate the cause of disturbances. For example, mobile radio transmitters can be impaired by defective or uncomfortable satellite receiving systems.
Interference with safety-relevant radio applications, such as the radio traffic of rescue services, the fire brigade and the police, or airborne radio interference, present a considerable danger to the public. The test and measurement service of the Federal Network Agency is to be able to quickly spot the causes of radio interference With specialists and special measuring technology at 19 locations in Germany. The radio interference detection is available around the clock. The Bundesnetzagentur advises and clarifies in each individual case whether a disturbance processing on site is necessary and whether charges must be levied if necessary.
In addition to radio interference processing, the test and measurement service controls, for example, frequency usage, the implementation of supply obligations in mobile communications and the observance of limit values for electromagnetic environmental compatibility. Further information on radio interference and the contact details of the radio interference acceptance are published at https://www.bundesnetzagentur.de/funkstoerungen
(Source: Press release Bundesnetzagentur)