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SARL Today HF Update with ZS4BS Focus on VHF/UHF/Microwave Morse Code News with Mike ZS6MSW SARL Forum current topics Commercial Hamads
South African COVID-19 Corona Virus Resource Portal: www.sacoronavirus.co.za

SARL TODAY! 

 

SARL ON-THE-AIR BULLETINS AND AMATEUR RADIO TODAY PROGRAMME 17 January 2021

SARLNEWS in English with Dave Reece ZS1DFR  Listen/Download here

SARLNUUS in Afrikaans met Irene Myburgh ZS6IEA 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 or listen here 

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 Louis, ZS5LP. Sundays @19:00 on the 145.750 Tygerberg repeater, a rebroadcast by Andre, ZS1F

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, ZS6ADY.

Reception reports are invited. Please send your report to artoday@sarl.org.za. Please give details of the signal strength antenna and location. 

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


FIRST WAZS ON 60 METREBAND - The late Pieter Jacobs ZS6XT was the first person on 14 July 2020 to be awarded WAZS on 5 MHz with 135 confirmed contacts. Pieter became a radio amateur in May 1997 when he obtained the callsign ZR6XT. In October 1997 he passed the Morse Code test and became ZS6XT.


 
He enjoyed working DX and 6 Metres. He only used dipole antennas for the 80 - 15 Metre bands, a half wave vertical for 10 metres and a 3 element yagi for 6 metres.
Pieter became a silent key on 20 November 2020.
 

VAKANTE POSTE - Die SARL Nuusspan bestaan uit twee bulletin samestellers; 3 Engelse proeflesers; 2 Afrikaanse proeflesers; 4 Engelse bulletin opnemers en 2 Afrikaanse bulletin opnemers. Jan, ZS6JRK het so pas uit die span bedank.

Dit sal lekker wees om die Afrikaanse afdeling te vergroot - kontak zs4bs@netactive.co.za 


The 60 metre WAZS challenge - In terms of the outcome of the World Radio Conference 2015 where radio amateurs gained access to the 60-metre band, ICASA published on 25 May 2018 in the National Radio Frequency Plan an allocation of 100 kHz of spectrum to South African Radio Amateurs. There are two separate footnotes in the plan, splitting access to the 60-metre band into three segments.

In footnote 5.133B there is an allocation of 5351.5 to 5366.5 kHz with a power limit of only 15W eirp. This is the most common allocation in countries where 60 metres is permitted.

In footnote NP 0, ICASA has allocated a full 100 kHz. The footnote reads: “The 5350 – 5430 and the channel 5290 kHz is allocated on a secondary basis to radio amateurs under Article 4.4 of the ITU regulations. The entire allocation is on a secondary basis which means radio amateurs may not cause interference.

 ICASA has however not yet updated annexure I of the Frequency Spectrum regulations which stipulates power limits and modulation types. However in the SARL’s motivation to have 100 kHz of 5 MHz spectrum allocated, the SARL requested a power limit of 26 dBW (400 Watts PEP) for ZS and ZR licence holders and 20 dBW (100 watt PEP) for ZU licence holders. These power limits are common in South Africa for all bands that are allocated on a secondary basis.  On bands where amateur radio has a primary allocation, the power limit for ZS and ZR licensees is 30 dBW.  The current situation is that these power limits for secondary allocations apply on 5 MHz except for the segment 5351.5 to 5366.5 where only 15 Watt eirp is permitted

Work All ZS award

The SARL is challenging radio amateurs to use the 60-metre band and work towards the SARL Worked All ZS award. The Worked All ZS series of awards is available to all radio amateurs and short-wave listeners. Applicants must prove two-way contacts (or SWL reports) with at least 100 South African callsigns. The 60 M WAZS award will carry a special ” worked on 5 MHZ”  endorsement.  The callsigns must represent the different call areas as per the WAZS rules as follows:

ZS1 16 contacts

ZS2 8 contacts

ZS3 1 contact

ZS4 6 contacts

ZS5 13 contacts

ZS6 56 contacts

“Radio Amateurs are encouraged to give genuine signal reports as the data will be processed and will make part of a study of propagation of the 60-metre band.  Each application must show the date, time, frequency, power used, both callsigns, and the given and received accurate signal reports.

All applications for the special 60 Metre Worked All ZS award received by 31 March will participated in the draw for a 2021 ARRL handbook.

For application details visit http://www.zs6p.com/SARL_Awards_Directory.pdf orclick here


SARL DIARY OF EVENTS AND CONTEST MANUAL UPDATE - Version 1.4 (8 January 2021) of the SARL 2021 Diary of Events and Contest Manual has been uploaded to the Contest Page. The document has been updated with the VHF/UHF and the HF Band Plans.

Radio ZS - The January 2021 Radio ZS is available for download, go to Publications on the left-hand menu and click on Radio ZS Download 


CTU Propagation Summit -  The Contest University will host "The 2021 Propagation Summit" on 23 January, from 16 to 20 UTC, via Zoom Webinar. Complete information, including the direct link to register for this free webinar, can be found on https://www.contestuniversity.com/.


 Next generation beacon components arrive in SA - Brian Jacobs ZS6YZ told SARL News that the components for the next generation beacon have arrived at ORT international airport and are expected to be delivered early next week. The building of the replacement for the Bethlehem analogue beacon will start soon.


VHF and UHF radio propagation remains a mystery; even tropospheric and sporadic-E propagation are not fully understood,  even with new long-distance communication distance records being broken. The enquiring nature of radio amateurs has over many years resulted in informal research with setting up beacons and monitoring signals. But this hand-to-mouth way of doing this has not really delivered the kind of data to make meaningful and scientific findings. All it's really is showing is that long distance communication of frequencies above 30 MHz is possible and does regularly occur.

Reverse beacon monitoring has always been a major requirement for monitoring a beacon and has been discussed over the past two-plus years at various workshops arranged by the SARL and AMSATSA. The initial outcome of these deliberations was to monitor CW beacons using software like CW skimmer, but experience gained through actual testing has shown several flaws with this approach. The major flaw is that CW skimmer software is not 100% reliable when it comes to decoding. It requires a fairly strong signal before the software actually begins decoding the received CW signal. Aural reception of a weak CW signal can already take place way before the skimmer software starts to decode the signal. These findings encouraged members of the SARL VHF work group to start experimenting with digital modes like FT8 and JS8Call on VHF and UHF, and they found that the reception and reporting of the signals heard could take place at very low levels. This therefore seems to be a much better solution for  a beacon than continuing with a traditional CW beacon.

Next generation beacons

Drawing on experience from international amateur radio groups with similar objectives, the work group found that the PI4 mode would meet the requirements and the journey to next generation beacons. Next generation beacons generate a machine generated message (MGM) similar to WSJT-X and other digital modes.

Initially three beacons are in the planning stage, Cape Town, Northern Karroo and a replacement for the older generation Bethlehem beacon which is currently in operation.

Crowd funding - your contribution will speed up the project

The SARL has provided funding for the first beacon. However, the initiative will have to rely on crowd funding to accelerate the project. AMSAT SA has launched a crowd funding project on behalf of the SARL VHF work group. Contributions can be made from here by clicking on the pay button for R50, R250 or R1000. Contributions from industry and the public are invited. All donations will be acknowledged on www.amsatsa.org.za and www.sarl.org.za.

A detailed article about the project can be found in the November edition of EngineerIT or click here


NARC CLOSED OVER CHRISTMAS The Office at the National Amateur Radio Centre will close on Tuesday afternoon 15 December 2020 and re-open on Wednesday 13 January 2021. 


 

JOIN THE SARL AT THE HALF YEAR RATE GET ONE MONTH FREE

Join the SARL today and pay the half year rate. The Council has decided to institute the half year rate from Monday 30 November 2020. Ordinary members pay R250, Senior members pay R150, spouse members pay R90 and student members pay R60. Fill in the online membership application form on www.sarl.org.za/public/membership/join.asp and do an EFT into the SARL bank account using your call sign as the reference.


The SARL  Noise Floor Project - The presentation by Hans, ZS6AKV during the C7 - EMC meeting atthe Region 1 Virtual General Conference, can be seen here.


The IARUMS Region 1 Newsletters are available on iaru-r1.org and read it!


AMATEUR RADIO LICENCE RENEWAL –.

You may pay it with out the invoice as follows:

2021/22 Amateur Radio License fee

1 year licence –  R 

2 year licence –  R 

3 year licence –  R 

4 year licence -  R 

5 year licence – R 

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.  


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 - 16 January 2021 

Zambia, 9J. Brian, 9J2BO is usually active on 40 metres using CW from 03:30 to 05:00 UTC. QSL via EA5GL.

Mali, TZ. Jeff, TZ4AM has been active on 30 and 17 metres using CW between 17:45 and 20:00 UTC. QSL via W0SA.

Svalbard, JW. Erling, LB2PG will be active again as JW/LB2PG from the weather station on Bear Island (EU-027), Svalbard until late May. In his spare time, he will operate SSB on 80 - 20 metres. QSL via home call.

Greenland, OX. Nils, SM3UQK has been based in Narsarsuaq, Greenland (NA-018) since 5 January, and will remain there until 28 January. In his spare time, he is active as OX/SE3A mainly on 20 metres. QSL via SM3UQK, direct or bureau.

Andorra, C3. Joan, C31US is usually active on 40 metres using CW between 07:00 and 08:00 UTC. QSL to home call.

Ukraine, UR. Special call signs EM150PLU, EN150PLU, EO150PLU will be active until 31 December to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Lesya Ukrainka (1871 - 1913), one of Ukrainian literature's foremost writers. QSL via operator's instructions.

Bolivia, CP. Owing to travel restrictions, EA5RM's activity has been postponed until sometime in March (hopefully). Antonio was expected to be active from Bolivia as CP1XRM between 9 and 26 January.

Aruba, P4. Mathis, DL4MM will be active as P4/DL4MM from Aruba (SA-036) from 23 January to 3 February. He will operate CW, FT4, FT8 and SSB on 160 - 6 metres with a focus on the low bands and will participate in the CQ WW 160-Meter CW Contest (29 and 31 January) as P44AA. QSLs via LoTW, Club Log's OQRS, or via DL4MM.

USA, W. The Marconi Cape Cod Radio Club, KM1CC will be active on 18 January to commemorate the 118th anniversary of the first transatlantic wireless communication between the United States and Europe (18 January 1903). The message was sent from Marconi's station in South Wellfleet, Massachusetts and received at his station in Poldhu, England. Look for activity on 160 - 20 m CW and 80 – 17 m SSB; the operating plan can be found on https://www.qrz.com/db/KM1CC. QSL via LoTW (preferred), or direct to N1NS.


VHF+ UHF+ MICROWAVE NEWS - FOCUS ON VHF with ZS6YZ 17 January 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 

17 January 2021

 

Audio version

Today, I’m opening with the following story that I picked up on Southgate Amateur Radio News. 

Radio amateurs in Israel have lost much of their spectrum between 1 and 6 GHz and suffered a draconian power reduction on 10 GHz 

Israel has three classes of amateur license:

Class A (Advanced) up to 1500 watts


Class B (General) up to 250 watts

Class C (Novice) 100 watts on 4 HF bands, lower power on some higher bands 

Israel's Ministry of Communications amateur allocations document produced on November 17, 2020, shows these changes to amateur allocations between 1 and 10.5 GHz: 

The 23cm band (formerly 1240-1300 MHz) has been reduced to just 1260-1270 MHz and can only be used by Class A holders for Satellite uplink with a maximum power of 25 watts. 

The 13 cm band appears to have remained the same, Class A and Class B have:

2320-2340 MHz 15 watts

2400-2402 MHz 100 watts

2402-2450 MHz 100 milliwatts 

9 cm band which used to be 3400-3475 MHz has been entirely lost 

6 cm band was 5650-5850 MHz now only the satellite segments remain 5650-5670 MHz 50 watts and 5830-5850 MHz 200 milliwatts. Only Class A can use them and it appears to be satellite only operation. 

3 cm band has suffered a dramatic power reduction. 10.00-10.45 GHz maximum power is now just 100 milliwatts and is Class A only (it was 100w Class A, 25w Class B). 10.45-10.50 is satellite only, Class A 100 watts, Class B 25 watts. 


This is now the third country where radio amateurs have lost or are about to lose access to parts of the bands previously allocated to them. All of them within IARU Region 1.

The threat to our VHF and above bands is becoming very real and it is only a matter of time before we start getting reports of changes closer to home. 

The IARU has formed a committee to address world wide demands on the  amateur spectrum above 144 MHz. They have requested information regarding amateur activity on the following bands: 

13 cm 2.3-2.45 GHz

6 cm 5.65 – 5.85  GHz

3 cm 10 - 10.5 GHz 

Any information about activities, experiments that are taking place on these bands or even being planned in the near future. As much documentation that can identify and explain amateur use of the spectrum on the bands would be very useful and can be sent to vhfnews@sarl.org.za. We need to assist the IARU with information about the activities on these bands. 

Carl ZS6CBQ has taken the initiative to try and get more activity on the 23cm band and posted the following on the SARL VHF and UHF Forum. 

“I started a thread on the Forum on 1296 MHz activity in 2016.

There were lots guys interested in this band and some of the guys started building antennas and sourcing equipment. Stations like ZS4A and ZS4PF got their stations working and soon distances of 236 km and more was achieved on a regular basis. 

A few of us made regular use of 1296 MHz but no new stations were joining us. I know of quite a few ICOM IC9700's that were bought and I was wondering why we don't hear these stations on 23cm. It does not make sense to buy an expensive radio and not utilize it fully? 

We reactivated our 23 cm WhatsApp group and 15 guys are in the group so far. We want to assist and get more stations on the band and so far Hennie ZS6EY has gotten his station on the air and I logged my first QSO on SSB on Saturday morning with him. 

Please join us if you are interested, I can add you in our WhatsApp group or we can share information here on the forum.

 The following stations are active on 1296.200 MHz on a regular basis

ZS6CBQ, ZS4PF, ZS4A, ZS6KSG, ZS6EY AND ZS6AIG” 

Great initiative Carl, let us hope that more stations join the group and become active.

The PEARS National VHF and UHF contest is on this weekend and watching the VHF/UHF WhatsApp groups there was a fair amount of activity on Saturday morning on the bands. Earlier in the morning the most popular band was 6m MS and some nice long distance contacts were made. 

Around mid morning Dick ZS6BUN and Mike ZS1TAF reported 6m opening to Cape Town and Mike ZS1TAF reported a contact on 6m with Paul ZS6NK. 

Here is a video posted by Mike ZS1TAF of the 6m beacons he received in Cape Town.

 ZS1TAF_Beacons_2021-01-16_at_08.46.15.mp4 

More 6m contacts were reported between ZS1 and ZS6. 

A while later Koos ZS3JPY reported a 10m FM contact with Leon ZS6LMG via the 10 repeater on the East Rand. 

10m_between_GP_and_West_Coast 2021-01-16_at_09.25.10.mp3 

While 10m is not strictly VHF it shows that when the bands do open then some amazing contacts can be made.

 Just after midday Leon ZS6LMG posted a recording of a conversation on the 438.700 MHz repeater also on the East Rand. 

4387000_20210116_112358.mp3 

I have no words to describe what we have just heard.

 That’s all for the week. Keep trying to make those long distance contacts on VHF and above and do let us know at vhfnews@sarl.org.za when you make those contacts. 


Also 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. 

10 January 2021

Audio version 

 

There was some very good 6m activity last Sunday 3 January. Some of the stations that were on the air from around 03:15 until 06:15 local time were Derek V51DM, Andre ZS2ACP, Willie ZS2CC, Tom ZS1TA, Mike ZS1TAF, Christi ZS4CGR and Dick ZS6BUN. Modes used were MSK144 and FSK441. It sounds as if the group had a lot of fun, with some contacts being completed and others just not getting there. Well done to everyone who was on the air from really early on a Sunday morning and had the patience to keep trying. Mike ZS1TAF made the comment “VHF is a game of patience” and it truly is. 

Dick, ZS6BUN celebrated 50 years of holding an amateur radio licence on Wednesday 6th January. Dick was first licensed as G3ZXQ in 1971 when 2m activity was virtually 100% AM until the advent of the infamous ”Liner 2” which put out an SSB signal so bad which Dick says “should have been banned from the airwaves”.

 

Dick posted a photo on the WhatsApp group showing his first adventures with digital modes working RTTY with a teleprinter. 

Dick also posted a photo of a tuning fork with the comment “If you were working RTTY in the 1960’s and 70’s you simply HAD to have one of these ........”

 

TeleprinterTuning Fork 

Dick came to South Africa in 1974 “in search of adventure” and operated on 2m as ZS5ZX in Amanzimtoti. He travelled up and down the coast and as far inland as Nottingham Road with a transverter stuck on the end of a TS520. Dick transferred to Johannesburg in 1980 and became ZS6BUN. A brief love affair with the 2m repeaters ensued using a homebrew Wood and Douglas synthesised FM transceiver. 

Wood Douglas 

Business and family commitments limited amateur radio activity until the early 2000’s when PSK31, WSJT and an Icom 706 saw Dick working meteor scatter on 2m and 6m across the region. Marginally EME capable, Dick now runs on all bands from 160m to 23cm from the farm Vrisgewaag, SE of Nigel. Dick is semi-retired from the plastics industry. Dick also takes a keen interest in the benefits this great hobby has on the lives of amateurs as they transition from full time employment into their “Golden Years”. 

Dick is a serious VHF enthusiast

 

Dick, well done on this great achievement and may you enjoy many, many more years of this great hobby. We also still have so much to learn from you as well. 

Your photo of you with the teleprinter brought back fond memories for me and my experiences with radio telegraphy as late as ‘85 when I was stationed at the research station on Marion Island and radio telegraphy was the mode that we used to send weather data back to the Weather Bureau in Pretoria via the Derdepoort Radio station just off Zambezi Drive. The tuning fork was what you used to adjust the speed of the teleprinter’s motor so that  you could successfully transmit and receive the data. If the speed of the motor was out then you would either receive nothing or Gobeldy Gook.

Last week I mentioned Claude Shannon and a documentary about him called “The Bit Player”. I watched the documentary and certainly recommend that you watch it if you can.  It is available on Amazon Prime Video. More information about the documentary can be found at https://thebitplayer.com/ 

Looking ahead for the next week, at the Hepburn charts, it seems as if there will be good tropoducting on the West Coast again this coming week. There is also fair conditions predicted all along the South and East Coasts from Cape Agulhas to Richards Bay. 

 

We are still urgently looking for information regarding activity on the following bands: 

13 cm 2.3-2.45 GHz

6 cm 5.65 – 5.85  GHz

3 cm 10 - 10.5 GHz 

Any information about activities, experiments that are taking place on these bands or even being planned in the near future. As much documentation that can identify and explain amateur use of the spectrum on the bands would be very useful and can be sent to vhfnews@sarl.org.za. We need to assist the IARU with information about the activities on these bands. 

That’s all for the week. Keep trying to make those long distance contacts on VHF and above and do let us know at vhfnews@sarl.org.za when you make those contacts. 

Also 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.


 3 January 2021

 Audio version

The bands seem to have been quiet the last week with very little activity  being reported on the various groups that I monitor. 

Looking ahead for the next week, the Hepburn charts do not show much chance of good long distance propagation either, but these are all predictions, and we know that predictions and conditions do change.

There is a new digital protocol being developed by the WSJT-X team that will be very interesting for VHF and above called Q65. The quick start user guide available on the web mentions that “Q65 is particularly effective for tropospheric scatter, ionospheric scatter, and EME on VHF and higher bands, as well as other types of fast-fading signals.” The document also mentions “An excellent example of targeted uses is ionospheric scatter on the 6 m band.  Extensive tests on the 1150 km path between K1JT and K9AN have shown that with 300 W output power, nearly every Q65-30A transmission is copied correctly by the other station.  Q65 will enable stations with a modest Yagi and 100 W or more to work one another on 6 m at distances up to ~1600 km at most times, in dead band conditions.  Ionospheric scatter is best near midday and in summer months, but is present at all times.” This sounds interesting! 

Q65 will be introduced in WSJT-X 2.4.0. I did not find a timeline for the release. The current version is 2.2.2 and version 2.3.0-rc2 is already available for beta testers. The user guide can be found at https://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/k1jt/Q65_Quick_Start.pdf 

Scanning the Southgate ARC news site, an interesting title caught my eye.

How Claude Shannon invented the future 

More than 70 years ago, in a single ground breaking paper, Claude Shannon laid the foundation for the entire communication infrastructure underlying the modern information age. 

The first thought that came to mind was the Shannon-Hartley theorem that I had learned in communications theory in my college days. This is directly related to digital communications and weak signal communications, which a large number of us play with. I just needed to dig deeper and it again highlighted something that is very important to us amateurs. 

During 1928, Hartley formulated a way to quantify information and its line rate (also known as data signalling rate R bits per second). This method, later known as Hartley's law, became an important precursor for Shannon's more sophisticated notion of channel capacity.

Claude Shannon's development of information theory during World War II provided the next big step in understanding how much information could be reliably communicated through noisy channels. Building on Hartley's foundation, Shannon's noisy channel coding theorem (1948) describes the maximum possible efficiency of error-correcting methods versus levels of noise interference and data corruption.

Shannon’s theory was published in 1948, “A Mathematical Theory of Communication.” 

The heart of his theory is a simple but very general model of communication: A transmitter encodes information into a signal, which is corrupted by noise and then decoded by the receiver. Despite its simplicity, Shannon’s model incorporates two key insights: isolating the information and noise sources from the communication system to be designed, and modelling both of these sources probabilistically. He imagined the information source generating one of many possible messages to communicate, each of which had a certain probability. The probabilistic noise added further randomness for the receiver to disentangle. 

Now all of this may seem like Greek to most of you, but the bottom line why this is important and there are some of you who would have realised it already is that the more noise there is the less reliably the message can be received correctly. Noise, is our greatest enemy and the more noise that we experience the less reliably we can communicate. Weak signal modes or not. Weak signal modes are there to assist with the encoding, error correcting and decoding of the message, but noise is the one thing that we all experience in varying degrees and that is fundamentally the reason why some of us can receive a known station better than others. It is all about the noise levels that we experience in our particular locations. This is why the noise measurement campaign that the SARL is participating in is so important. Noise affects each and every one of us. 

One can read more about Shannon’s theory at https://www.quantamagazine.org/how-claude-shannons-information-theory-invented-the-future-20201222/. On this site you will also find a link to Shannon’s paper. 

There is also a documentary about Claude Shannon called “The Bit Player” that is available on Amazon Prime Video. More information about the documentary can be found at https://thebitplayer.com/ 

Just a reminder from last week’s program which is on the SARL website and has been published in the the January 2021 Radio ZS as well. We are urgently looking for information regarding activity on the following bands: 

13 cm 2.3-2.45 GHz

6 cm 5.65 – 5.85  GHz

3 cm 10 - 10.5 GHz 

Any information about activities, experiments that are taking place on these bands or even being planned in the near future. As much documentation that can identify and explain amateur use of the spectrum on the bands would be very useful and can be sent to vhfnews@sarl.org.za. Both Hans ZS6AKV and myself are involved with the IARU Spectrum and Regulatory Liaison Committee and get all emails sent to VHF News at this address. We need to assist the IARU with information about the activities on these bands. 

That’s all for the week. Keep trying to make those long distance contacts on VHF and above and do let us know at vhfnews@sarl.org.za when you make those contacts. 

Also 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.


27 December 2020

Audio version

We are starting off with two reports found on the Southgate ARC news website.

14 December 2020, Spain: Authorization to use 2,400 MHz extended.

Spain's Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure has extended the authorization for Radio Amateurs to use 2,400.050 to 2,410.0 MHz for QO-100 communications until Dec 26, 2021

15 December 2020 Finland's radio hams ask for 1240-1300 MHz replacement.

Finland lost the important 1240-1300 MHz amateur radio band on April 24, 2020. National society SRAL now asking for 220-225 MHz as a replacement, their initial request for 902-928 MHz having been rejected

The request is to provide spectrum for Amateur Television operation. It seems that currently operation in 1240-1300 MHz is still possible but only by applying for a Special Permit. These Special Permits will cease when the Galileo GNSS constellation becomes fully operational. 

I have previously mentioned with the build up to WRC-19 that our bands are in demand and stressed the importance of creating activity on the VHF and above bands especially the microwave bands and that if we do not use the bands we will loose them. 

You will also recall prior to WRC-19 there was a lot of petitions on the internet amongst radio amateurs regarding the 144 MHz band after the French administration wanted to reallocate it for aeronautical use.

 We have also spoken about the threat to the 23cm band due to the perceived interference with the GNSS GPS system when it goes into full operation. This is agenda item 9.1.b for WRC-23 and goes about the coexistence between the Galileo/GLONASS system and the amateur service. 

There are a number of resolutions on the table for WRC-23 with the following wording: 

Agenda Item 1.2 says “IMT identification in the frequency bands 3 300-3 400 MHz, 3 600-3 800 MHz, 6 425-7 025 MHz, 7 025-7 125 MHz and 10.0-10.5 GHz to conduct and complete in time for WRC-23 the sharing and compatibility studies”. We, amateurs have a secondary allocation in the 10.0 – 10.5 GHz band.

Agenda Item 1.12 says “Possible secondary allocation to the Earth exploration-satellite service (active) for space borne radar sounders in the range of frequencies around 45 MHz to conduct studies on spectrum needs and sharing studies between the Earth exploration-satellite (active) service and the radiolocation, fixed, mobile, broadcasting, amateur and space research services in the frequency range 40-50 MHz and in adjacent bands”. 

We, amateurs have primary and secondary allocations on the 50 MHz to 54 MHz band.

These are only some of the Agenda Items for WRC-23 that mentions studies on spectrum needs and sharing. Right now it seems as if it is only the microwave bands that are on the radar of the administrations. Unfortunately in most of these bands we are only secondary users which means that we are already sharing these bands with primary users on these bands. It is vitally important that we try and protect these secondary allocations. 

These are all very real threats and there is a world wide team of dedicated IARU volunteers who are working tirelessly trying to mitigate these threats at a very high level. 

So how can we assist? 

One of the best ways, is to show that we are actively using these bands, but this is also where one of the biggest challenges are. We do not actually know what activity there is on these microwave bands. 

Some activities that we are aware of are Mesh Networks that have been set up and experimented with for disaster communications. The folk in Gauteng, Secunda and the Southern Cape have been active on the 6 cm band with Mesh Networks. We all also know that the uplink toQO-100 is on the 13 cm band and the downlink is on the 3 cm band. 

So we know a little, but is it enough? We need more detail on these activities, such as how often are these systems in use? How much bandwidth is required or used? What other activities are there?

We are urgently looking for information regarding activity on the following bands: 

13 cm 2.3-2.45 GHz

6 cm 5.65 – 5.85  GHz

3 cm 10 - 10.5 GHz

Any information about activities, experiments that are taking place on these bands or even being planned in the near future. As much documentation that can identify and explain amateur use of the spectrum on the bands would be very useful and can be sent to vhfnews@sarl.org.za. Both Hans ZS6AKV and myself are involved with the IARU Spectrum and Regulatory Liaison Committee and get all emails sent to VHF News at this address. 

The Next Generation Beacon hardware is now on my bench, but this week I have been wrestling with getting the MSHV software installed and operational on a Raspberry Pi. The MSHV software can decode the Pi4 mode that the next generation beacon generates in it’s MGM message that it transmits. The software also runs on Linux, but cannot run on the native Raspberry Pi operating system and therefore one needs to install Ubuntu onto the Pi. This has its challenges as the documentation is not clear nor up to date and so it has taken a lot of experimentation to find the right combination of Ubuntu and desktop applications that runs on a Pi and is functional and usable, in other words, not stressing the resources available on the Pi. I believe I have found the right combination and once I have completed some basic testing, I can get on with figuring out the hardware and getting some of the boards up and running. There are still some cables and GPS antenna that needs to be acquired locally, which will only happen in the new year as most suppliers are closed this week. 

That’s all for the week. Keep trying to make those long distance contacts on VHF and above and do let us know at vhfnews@sarl.org.za when you make those contacts. 

Also 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. 


20 December 2020 

Audio version

Over the last weeks there has been a lot of VHF activity, however locally very little it seems. 

The Geminids meteor shower has come and gone with the peak being last weekend. A number of VHF enthusiasts were listening and transmitting, but the conditions were not as expected.  I asked Dick ZS6BUN how it went and he had the following to say “Well, it wasn’t as if a waterfall of rocks was falling out of the sky ! On the Saturday morning Andre, ZS2ACP and I worked on 6m using FSK441 and completed quite quickly - in about 10 minutes which is not bad for 6m. Tom, ZS1TA and I then completed in 10 minutes on 2m using MSK144. That’s quick. On the Sunday morning Andre and I settled down on 2m with FSK441 again and a bottomless coffee pot. 50 minutes and we were done. That’s about average for 2m. This small burst helped though.” 

Dick_ZS6BUN_Geminids_decode.jpeg

I also mentioned last week that I was collecting data for a HAMSCI measurement initiative around the total eclipse of the sun over South America on 14 December. Well it turns out that there was also a Coronal Mass Ejection from the sun that was due to hit us on 13 December and the scientists hoped to find information on our data that we were collecting about the effects of the solar storm. I wonder if that solar storm perhaps had some influence on the meteor shower as well. 

Here is another story of a 144 MHz signal from the Faroe Islands that was heard 3000 km away in Bulgaria during the Geminid Meteor Shower. 

During this year's Geminid meteor shower, many radio amateurs worldwide were busy making contacts on the VHF bands by bouncing signals off the many meteor trails. One of the big surprises however was when the 144 MHz signal from Jon, OY9JD in the Faroe Islands was heard 3075 km away in Bulgaria by LZ1KU! 

Normally the maximum range of meteor scatter contacts is similar to Sporadic-E i.e. in the region of 2300 km. One hop meteor scatter alone certainly couldn't account for the 3075 km distance. 

To put this distance into context, 3075 km is about the same as the distance across the North Atlantic between Ireland and Newfoundland. 

At first, it was thought that the signal might have bounced off two meteors that just so happened to burn up at just the right place and at just the right time. This is certainly not impossible even though it's an unlikely scenario. 

After some investigative work, it now seems likely that the signal from OY9JD actually reflected off the International Space Station as it was passing over Europe! It seems that the 73 x 109 metre spacecraft is large enough to reflect amateur radio signals when it's in the right spot.

Take a look at the whole story on the blog spot of John EI7GL at  https://ei7gl.blogspot.com/2020/12/144-mhz-signal-from-faroe-islands-heard.html. It is very interesting to read how this contact was analysed by John. 

Also on John’s blogspot there is a report of a remarkable 144 MHz contact made on 15 December between the West Coast and the East Coast of Australia. 

During an extensive Sporadic-E opening in Australia on the 15th of December 2020, WSPR signals from John VK2IJM and David VK2DVM in Sydney were heard by Peter VK6KXW near Perth in Western Australia. 

The path was in the region of 3200 km which is way beyond the usual 2300 km or so one hop distance from Sporadic-E. It seems likely that on this occasion, the most likely propagation mode was double hop Sporadic-E which is very rare at 144 MHz. 

It looks as if just one WSPR transmission from each of the VK2 stations was decoded at 10:16 and 10:36 UTC. This was about an hour after sunset in Sydney which is 11 hours ahead of UTC.

It's also worth pointing out that the reports from the WSPRnet website say that the VK2 stations were running just 10 watts. 

VK6CPU in Perth was also heard by VK5AYD in Adelaide at around the same time over a distance of 2149 km which was likely to be via Sporadic-E.

It would seem as if double hop Sporadic-E was the most likely mode of propagation for the VK2 stations. 

Dropping down in frequency to the 6m band there was a remarkable 13,000 km opening on 50 MHz between Australia and South America on 12th December 2020. 

With the Summer Sporadic-E season in the southern hemisphere now in full swing, there was a remarkable opening on the 50 MHz band on the 12th of December between Australia and South America. 

The opening which is believed to have been multi-hop Sporadic-E was remarkable because of the distances involved which were in the region of 13,000kms and the fact that some of the signals crossed over part of Antarctica. 

One of the longest distances reported was between VK5BC near Adelaide and PT9FD in the south of Brazil, a distance of 13,530 kms.

Stations in New Zealand were also able to get through to South America with distances in the region of 11,000 km being achieved.

 Again more information can be found on https://ei7gl.blogspot.com/2020/12/remarkable-13000-km-opening-on-6-metres.html. 

Staying on 6m, Dennis ZS4BS alerted me to a free e-book about the 6m band. 

Have you ever wondered about the “Magic” of Six Meters? 

It really doesn’t take much on six meters — your existing HF+6 meter rig along with a simple antenna, even a dipole, will work. In this book you’ll find out how I know that dipoles work, along with how to build one of your own.

This book will also provide plenty of insight into how you, too, can “Capture the Magic of Six Meters.” It covers propagation, equipment, software, antennas, awards and contesting, as well as assistance in finding the magic. 

The e-book Capture the MAGIC of Six Meters by Jim Wilson K5ND is available for free download in PDF format from

https://www.k5nd.net/2020/08/capture-the-magic-of-six-meters-ebook/. 

On the SARL VHF/UHF Forum Andy VK6OX wrote the following “I'm a VK ham with many years of 6m operation. I did try with a few ZS stations several years back to organise scheds between Western VK and ZS. For various reasons, things didn't really eventuate.

Here we are now in late 2020 and I'd like to revisit the possibility of making 6m contacts happen between VK and ZS.

The advent of digital transmission methods has meant that even marginal propagation conditions has resulted in successful 2-way contacts. 

Those of you that follow 6m activities globally will know that there have been several successful contacts between eastern VK and South America in the last few days. These contacts have taken place around 2200UTC onward. That's morning time in VK, evening in Brazil/Argentina/Peru etc. The current popular mode of digital transmission is JT65 for the long haul efforts. FT8 can also work but is several dB worse off in the long haul. 

I still believe there is the possibility of making contact with ZS et al in a similar time frame i.e. evening in VK, early morning ZS. 

So in short, if anyone in ZS is at all interested in giving this a go, please get in contact with me. (vk6ox@iinet.net.au) or via various social media platforms!” 

There are some ZS hams who remember 6m CW contacts in the early 90’s between South Africa and Western Australia. 

The 6m band is very under utilised and lack of equipment is not an excuse as every HF radio now days has 6m functionality as well. How about reading the e-book mentioned just now and capturing the magic of 6m for yourself. 

You will also remember that I mentioned in last week’s Focus on VHF that I was going to monitor for the Bethlehem beacon using a similar measurement technique that was used for the HamSCI data collection. Well, I set up my 857D with an AMSAT SA Yagi and started collecting data from just before 18:00 on Wednesday 16 December. Analysing the signals received, I did not find any traces of the beacon signal, however I will keep recording the output of the 857D and hopefully will find the beacon popping up in the recordings. The nice thing about this measurement technique is that you do not need to be in front of the radio and if the beacon is heard with a fairly strong signal then it will definitely be recorded. Once a day I save the recording and then start a new recording, allowing me to go through the recording at my leisure. 

As you have heard on the SARL news the Next Generation Beacon hardware is already on the ground and cleared customs. We are eagerly awaiting the delivery of the shipment and getting to play with the new beacon hardware. Bo Hansen OZ2M, the Danish OZ7IGY beacon project manager and his team has done a superb job of getting the hardware built, tested and shipped after the initial challenges to find some of the components needed. 

That’s all for the week. Keep trying to make those long distance contacts on VHF and above and do let us know at vhfnews@sarl.org.za when you make those contacts. 

 

Also send us your beacon reports, or tell us about that interesting project that you have been working on.


Focus on VHF and Above

6 December 2020

Audio version   

My apologies for not having a programme last week. A lightning storm took out my ADSL line on the Friday evening. On Saturday morning I discovered that the cellular service was barely alive as well. No data services and a GSM signal that was almost non existent allowing only the odd phone call and SMS to be transmitted.  So without anyway of being able to research the program, or sending the program to Hans ZS6AKV who compiles Amateur Radio Today resulted in me having the day off and thinking about the situation that arose. There is no real solution to the problem, but one thing is certain. The more we become reliant on technology in our everyday lives, the harder it hits us when the technology fails. 

At least we radio amateurs have access to “older” technologies and we understand how it works and this allows us to be able to still communicate with the outside world when all else fails. We need to make sure that we brush up our skills and know how to use the radios, software and systems that are available to us because we never know when we are really going to need it. It is only a matter of time. 

In the last program, I mentioned reports of 10m openings and Jose PY4AQA reported 6m Trans-Equatorial Propagation or TEP between PY4 and EA8 and I said that it was time to dust off those 6m antennas. 

This week there were two reports of TEP openings between Argentina and the Caribbean Islands.

 Etienne P41E on Aruba, managed to complete 33 contacts with Argentinian stations on 144 MHz using a combination of SSB, FM and FT8 modes. The most impressive being the contact with LU2EPO near Buenos Aires in Argentina, a distance of just over 5400 km. One of the TEP contacts on 2m SSB was with LU3FCI who was using a vintage Yaesu FT-780R which is almost 40 years old! 

P41E-TEP-Nov-2020.jpg 

Ettiene P41E also has a very modest station and it just shows what can be done. 

P41E-Nov-2020-VHF-antenna.jpg

 

P41E-Nov-2020-radios.jpg

The second contact was between Buenos Aires and the Dominican Republic when David Lama, HI8DL reports that on the night of the 29th of November 2020, both he and Edgar, HI8PLE contacted LU2EPO on 144.300 MHz at 23:57 UTC. The mode used for the contacts was SSB and the distance was 6 102km

HI8DL-TEP-Nov-2020-map.jpg 

Thanks to John EI7GL for the information posted on his blogspot at https://ei7gl.blogspot.com/ 

It is time to dust off those 6m and 2m antennas and point them North. 

We also spoke previously about the Geminids meteor shower that is expected in December. Dick ZS6BUN posted the following on the VHF, UHF / SHF West Coast WhatsApp group. 

Dick says “Geminids meteor shower is the best of the year. We should see a pick-up of meteor activity from 4th to 17th December with a peak the night of the 13th and 14th.

I would like to suggest we get everyone able to get on 2m digital, to meet on the 2m MS freq of 144.360 MHz at say 05h00 on the mornings of Sunday the 13th and Monday the 14th 

We agree before hand:

- Who will tx 1st or 2nd

- MSK144 or FSK441

- 15 or 30 sec periods

- Skeds or free for all 

Suggest we could also have a 6m gathering on 50.280 MHz at 05h00 on Saturday morning the 12 of December.

 According to information on the NASA site regarding the Geminids, during the peak of the activity, approximately 120 meteors per hour can be seen. Not only should this be interesting to experience RF wise, but visually as well if we have clear skies. 

Looking ahead at the Hepburn charts for the South Atlantic there is certainly opportunities for contacts between St Helena Island and Brazil.

 

Hepburn_Chart_South Atlantic_0000UTC9DEC2020.png

Inland there are a number of days where the conditions may be promising in the early hours of Monday 7 December

Hepburn_Chart_South Africa_0600UTC7Dec2020.png

 and Wednesday 9 December

 

Hepburn_Chart_South Atlantic_0000UTC9DEC2020.png 

The VHF Work Group next generation beacon project is making progress and the next generation beacon hardware for the test beacon that will replace the current ZS0BET beacon radio in Bethlehem has been ordered and we are awaiting delivery that should take place in the next couple of weeks.

The VHF Work Group is planning to replace the Bethlehem ZS0BET beacon’s radio and the Cape Town ZS1TWO beacon’s radio with Next Generation Beacon hardware. In parallel we are going ahead to complete a third Next Generation Beacon that will be deployed at a suitable site in the Karoo.

AMSAT SA has not only provided a generous donation towards the beacon project, but they have also started a crowd funding project on their website at http://amsatsa.org.za/ in support of the beacon project. The VHF Work Group would like to thank the Trustees of AMSAT SA for their support of the Beacon Project. 

Donations can also be made by EFT. The account is SARL, ABSA Account No  407 158 8849, Branch code 632 005. The reference must be Beacon and your call sign and surname. Please send a copy of the EFT to admin@sarl.org.za 

An article on the Next Generation Beacon programme has also been published in the November issue of the trade magazine Engineer IT.(www.engineerit.co.za)

Thanks to Hans ZS6AKV for publishing the article. Hans is the Executive Editor of the magazine and regularly posts articles about amateur radio activities in the magazine.

A copy of the November edition of Engineer IT can be downloaded at https://www.engineerit.co.za/magazine/engineerit-november-2020/

That’s all for the week. Keep trying to make those long distance contacts on VHF and above and do let us know at vhfnews@sarl.org.za when you make those contacts.

Also 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 15 November 2020

Audio version

 It seems as if this week has been very quiet regarding VHF and above activities. 

Along the East Coast Phil, FR5DN was hoping for a contact with Dave ZS5DJ, but the conditions just did not allow it to happen.

Along the West Coast, the tropoducting stretched inland for some distance, but at the time of preparing this week’s Focus on VHF, I had not seem any reports of good long distance contacts up the West Coast. 

The VHF/UHF analogue contest has also been on the go from 12:00 UTC on Saturday afternoon. The Cape Radio Group ZS1CRG has set up a field station on Piketberg mountain where they are hoping to get a lot of contacts from St Helena all the way down to Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs. 

The Inland 46 Group was also on the air. Trying to make as many contacts as possible. Inland, VHF propagation seems to be more favourable late at night and in the early mornings. 

Jose PA4AQA also posted two images showing possible Sporadic E conditions between Africa and Brazil. 

 

I attended a HAMNET Gauteng training exercise that took place in the form of a Fox Hunt or Amateur Radio Direction Finding on Saturday morning. Being able to locate transmitters whether it is a Fox that has been hidden, or an ELB which is an emergency locator beacon of a downed aircraft or a missing hiker, or a rogue interferer causing problems on the amateur frequencies, is a skill all amateurs should master. You never know when you will need to use these skills. I thoroughly enjoyed the morning practising to locate the hidden transmitters and honing those skills again.

Apart from that it was a great morning spent outside with my fellow amateurs enjoying the hobby.

 

ARDF is a very popular radio sport in both Europe and the US. There is even an IARU ARDF Working Group and these guys are passionate about it.

For some reason ARDF has not been popular in South Africa for a while. Maybe it is time for the more senior amateurs, or the elmers as they like to call us, to teach the younger crowd how it is done. A great activity for a club afternoon and you do not even need anything fancy to hunt for a fox. Just a hand held radio, a hat and some sun block. Just a word of warning. The cheap Chinese radios like the Baofeng radios which are SDR based cannot be successfully used for a fox hunt. A hand held from the big three and some of the Chinese radios like Wouxun that have a proper RF front end will do the job. Once you have mastered some of the basic skills then you can maybe add a tape measure Yagi and an offset attenuator to your fox hunting toolbox.

 

 

I have seen that Charles ZS1CF has already proposed a date for the West Coast fox hunt again in early December. 

What other groups have a regular fox hunt? Let us know at vhfnews@sarl.org.za. 

The VHF Work Group are planning to replace the Bethlehem ZS0BET beacon’s radio and the Cape Town ZS1TWO beacon’s radio with Next Generation Beacon hardware. In parallel we are going ahead to complete a third Next Generation Beacon that will be deployed at a suitable site in the Karoo. 

We have been given the go ahead to find sponsors for the project and require in the region of R60 000.00 for the hardware for the project. We already have in the region of R26 500 available for the beacon project, thanks to the SARL, AMSAT SA, Brian ZS6YZ and Dennis ZS4BS. 

Donations can be made by EFT. The account is SARL, ABSA Account No  407 158 8849, Branch code 632 005. The reference must be Beacon and your call sign and surname. Please send a copy of the EFT to admin@sarl.org.za 

The RF modules have arrived on my workbench and I have already tested all of them to ensure that they are fully functional. I am still waiting to hear when we can place the order for the NGN beacon hardware. The availability of the VCO modules are currently a challenge. 

The new power supply for the Bethlehem Beacon will be sent to Rickus ZS4A early next week to replace the one that was mistreated by the lightning. 

That’s all for the week. Keep trying to make those long distance contacts on VHF and above and do let us know at vhfnews@sarl.org.za when you make those contacts.

Also 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.


MORSE CODE NEWS WITH ZS6MWS 

I

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).

Germany, DL. Special call sign DR50AGCW will be active throughout 2021 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft CW DL (Activity Group CW DL, https://www.agcw.de/). QSL via the bureau.

 

SARL Forum Active Topics
Fitting a 80m dipole in to my property.  19/01/2021  06:43:36
by: ZS6UT
Solar cycle 25  18/01/2021  20:50:43
by: ZS6MUE
Music on 7.140Mhz?  18/01/2021  20:41:35
by: ZS6J
Inverters in shack  18/01/2021  20:17:09
by: ZS1SSM
60 METER CONTACTS  18/01/2021  12:34:19
by: ZS2ACP
ZS6TJ CW update as on 18/1/2021  18/01/2021  09:21:30
by: ZS6MSW
QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo  16/01/2021  09:47:51
by: ZS6ELI
Conductive Grease  16/01/2021  09:44:24
by: ZS6ELI
DMR talk groups  15/01/2021  20:15:23
by: ZS1VDV
CW Morse Code Kick Start 2021  15/01/2021  11:49:14
by: ZS6MSW


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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.


 Petrus Coetzee (Silent Key), ZU6PJ


     

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The net operates 7 days a week.

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