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 10 June 2019. Updates to firstname.lastname@example.org
Focus on VHF and Above 9 June 2019
We have previously in tutorials spoken about the various propagation modes.
Bernie ZS4TX sent VHF news an email this week with some great information which I’m going to use as an introduction to how do you identify what VHF mode of propagation you may be experiencing and what it sounds like on the radio.
The ZS5KT beacon is being heard very well in Bloemfontein. Bernie says “I have been hearing the ZS5KT 144.420 CW beacon from grid KF50MF in grid KG30BX almost all the time during the few days I have been monitoring since I was alerted about the beacon being active.” The ZS5KT beacon has a 9 element Yagi with an output of 25W and Bernie has a 4 x 14 element Yagi array. The distance between KG30BX & KG50MF is 483.55 km.
Bernie also attached two screen shots with an audio recording at about the time the screenshots were taken. You need listen carefully and sometimes it may be difficult to hear the changes in the signal, but it will get easier over time.
Bernie says “On the first recording you will hear a short meteor burst at the beginning followed by the normal troposcatter signal.
On the second recording you will hear the signal enhancement for a few seconds as typically caused by aircraft scatter. The 2nd screenshot of the WSJT waterfall clearly shows the stronger signal and doppler shift caused by the aircraft scatter.
In the first recording Bernie sent you probably did not recognise the meteor burst. So what do meteor scatter bursts sound like?
Here is a recording of more pronounced meteor scatter pings recorded during the Leonids meteor shower in 2002. You will clearly hear the pings when the ionisation of the air takes place and then a burst of radio activity being reflected or scattered by the ionisation.
Here is another recording of some meteor scatter bursts
and lastly one of two short FSK441 meteor scatter reflections
If you now again carefully listen to the recording sent by Bernie, you will recognise the meteor burst.
Thank you Bernie for this information and thanks to EA6VQ for providing the other MS recordings.
The screenshots and recordings are available on the SARL web page.
Next week we will listen to another VHF and above propagation mode.
Now for some VHF and above news.
For those of you who like to play with Slow Scan TV or SSTV, the Raspberry Pi magazine, MagPi has a very nice article that describes how to set up a Raspberry Pi and a RTL-SDR dongle to receive SSTV pictures from the International Space Station. Follow the link https://www.raspberrypi.org/magpi/pictures-from-space-via-ham-radio/
The ISS regularly transmits SSTV images on the downlink frequency of 145.800 MHz. To find out when the ISS will be making SSTV transmissions keep an eye on the Amateur Radio on International Space Station (ARISS) SSTV blog page at http://ariss-sstv.blogspot.com/
Talking about satellites, Lightsail-2 is scheduled for launch June 22 and will have a Beacon on 437.025 MHz
LightSail is a citizen-funded project from The Planetary Society.
This cubesat will be propelled solely by sunlight, to Earth orbit. LightSail 2 is scheduled to launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy on June 22, 2019, and they will attempt the first, controlled solar sail flight in Earth orbit.
LightSail 2 will ride to space aboard the Department of Defense Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) mission which will send 24 spacecraft to 3 different orbits. LightSail 2 itself will be enclosed within Prox-1, a Georgia Tech-designed spacecraft originally built to demonstrate close-encounter operations with other spacecraft. Prox-1 will deploy LightSail 2 seven days after launch.
After a few days of health and status checks, LightSail 2's four dual-sided solar panels will swing open. Roughly a day later, four metallic booms will unfurl four triangular Mylar sails from storage.
The sails, which have a combined area of 32 square meters [344 square feet], will turn towards the sun for half of each orbit, giving the spacecraft a tiny push no stronger than the weight of a paperclip.
For about a month after sail deployment, this continual thrust should raise LightSail 2's orbit by a measurable amount.
LightSail 2 will fly in a 24-degree inclination, 720 km, circular orbit.
At latitudes of 42 degrees north it will reach a maximum elevation of 10 degrees above the horizon.
Lightsail-2 has been issued an experimental radio license WM9XPA and transmit on 437.025 MHz. A morse beacon will transmit the callsign every 45 seconds. A packet beacon will transmit AX.25, FSK 9K6 bps data.
Beacon information is available at:
Documentation of the downlink telemetry data structure is posted at:
The VHF workshop will take place on 20 July 2019 at the National Amateur Radio Centre in Honeydew.
The main topic will be: Which is better, Vertical or Horizontal polarisation?
Come to the VHF workshop and listen to what Dick ZS6BUN has to say about Vertical vs Horizontal propagation.
We are also privileged have a presentation by Jan Pienaar ZS6OB or "Pine" as we all know him, and he will talk about Antennas, the most important link in VHF communication and discuss what is really important to look out for.
There will also be feedback on the progress of the two new beacons, a discussion on the West Coast propagation phenomenon and some quick fire sessions on the Reverse Beacon Project, a growing concern regarding the HF noise levels and why VHF and UHF has an important future in Amateur Radio.
The registration fee is R50 for SARL and AMSAT SA Members and R100 for non-members. For registration and the agenda go to either the AMSAT SA website at http://amsatsa.org.za/ or the SARL website www.sarl.org.za
Looking forward to seeing you there.
The next meeting of the VHF Work Group will be via Skype at 20:00 on 27 June 2019. If you want to join the VHF Work Group, send us your Skype name to email@example.com and we will add you to the call.
Please send your news snippets and information about activities on VHF and Above to firstname.lastname@example.org.