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You are listening to ZS6SRL, the official radio station of the South African Radio League, the national body for amateur radio in South Africa, with a news bulletin every Sunday at 08:15 CAT in Afrikaans and at 08:30 CAT in English. To listen to a web-stream, visit, click on ARMI and follow the links for details. PLEASE NOTE: for audio via Echolink, connect to ZS0JPL-R.

You can download this bulletin and previous ones from and subscribe to receive future bulletins by e-mail.

Your newsreader this morning is (name), (call sign), on 145,725 and 7,066 MHz from Pretoria, with relays on 28,325; 14,235; 10,130, 7,066 and 3,695 MHz SSB, as well as 52,750; 438,825 and 1 296 MHz FM in the Pretoria area. (Other newsreaders please change to suit.)


It is with deep regret that the passing of two radio amateurs is announced.

Dwight West, AD7AQ, ex ZS6NT, became a silent key on 25 December 2009. We extend our sincere condolences to his wife Lyn, family and friends.

Dave Ingram, K4TWJ, became a silent key on Wednesday 20 January as a result of complications from a severe heart attack he suffered on 1 January. Dave wrote the Ham Pride column in Radio ZS. We express our sincere sympathy to his wife Sandy, WB4OEE, family and friends.


In the news today:





You are listening to ZS6SRL. Stay tuned for more detail on these and other important and interesting news items.


The Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) has recently launched the F'SATI post graduate programme in Satellite Engineering covering the broad field of satellite communication and power systems. The academic programme has been developed to provide students with a foundation to pursue research in this field.

F'SATI, the French-South African Institute of Technology, focuses on Electronic Engineering, Information and Communication Technology addressing three niche areas. Two of these are offered at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT): Enabled Environment and Communication) while the third, Satellite Systems Engineering is offered at CPUT.

The academic programme is supplemented by practical experiments on a real satellite. Students will build a 3U CubeSat. The CubeSat concept originated from a partnership between the California Polytechnique University in San Luis Obispo and Stanford University in Paulo Alto. Between them, they developed a standardized space platform for academic satellite projects. It has since grown to become an international partnership of over 40 institutes that are developing Pico satellites containing scientific payloads. A standard CubeSat is a 10 cm cube with a mass of up to 1 kg.

Prof. Robert van Zyl, deputy director of F'SATI said at the launch of the new satellite clean room facilities at CPUT's Bellville campus that students will be building a 3U CubeSat which is three standard 10 x 10 cm cubes stacked on top of each other. The payloads will include a camera, a parrot repeater and a transponder. In partnership with the Hermanus Magnetic Observatory, a HF beacon will be included to assist the HMO to calibrate their radar systems in the Antarctic. A new type of magnetometer is also under consideration.

Prof. Van Zyl said that the CPUT was fortunate to have received a substantial financial contribution from the Department of Science and Technology through the National Research Foundation. He said from now on the clock starts ticking to complete the project in time to have a flight model on the table by October 2011 when the International Astronomy Conference is held in Cape Town.

Delegates attending the SARL Radio-Technology-in-Action symposium, to be held in Cape Town later this year, will have an opportunity to visit the clean room facilities.


BACAR 2010, which was scheduled for launch later this morning from the Worcester airport, has been postponed due to disagreements between authorities controlling the airspace. Cape Town Air Traffic Control withheld permission for the launch.

SA AMSAT and the BACAR team apologize to all radio amateurs who were planning to participate later this morning. A new date will be set as soon as the problems have been resolved.


It is still an uphill march for the SARL membership to reach the target of 1 400 by the end of the month. On Friday the number stood at 1 340, 60 short of the target. If you have not yet renewed, do it now or join for only R200 until the end of June. Call Mariska on Monday at 011 675 2393 or better still complete the form on the web at


The Council of the SARL will meet for a strategy indaba in early March and you will have the opportunity to brief councillors of what you would like the SARL to focus on over the next two years. Take part in the discussion on the President's net on Sunday 31 January at 19:30.

If you cannot join the SARL President on the Net, send your ideas by e-mail to and your suggestions will be read out on the air. You may also fax them to 088 011 675 2793 but before Thursday afternoon.


There are only six places left at the Home Construction Course to be held in Durban on Saturday 6 February at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The cost is R300 for SARL members and R700 for non-members. If you have not yet booked for the Durban course, do not delay. The course fee includes a CD with schematic- and PCB -generating software for Windows together with a practical demonstration that will turn your circuit into a first case industrial grade project.

The course is intended to give the following skills
How to make SMD quality PCBs;
How to mount SMD components;
How to make Industrial quality face plates and labels.

In Port Elizabeth, the course will be held on 20 February.

If you have booked, please check that your details are on or follow the RTA link from If you’d like to book, do not delay. The form can be downloaded from the home construction page.


The closing date for clubs and SARL members to submit nominations for the following SARL awards is drawing nearer.

Honorary Life Membership – the SARL's highest honour;

The Willie Wilson Gold Badge – awarded to the amateur who gave exceptional and meritorious service to the League;

The Jack Twine Award – bestowed on amateurs who, in the opinion of their fellow amateurs and the league's council, exemplify the qualities desirable in a radio amateur;

The Arthur Hemsley 2 m Trophy – awarded for extraordinary performance on EME or modes such as tropospheric propagation;

The Barney Joel Trophy – awarded for the best performance during the year whilst working HF mobile;

The Joseph White Plaque – awarded for exceptional achievements in the 432 MHz band during the past year;

The Bert Buckley Six metre Trophy – awarded for individual achievements with transmissions in the 6 m amateur band;

The ICOM Excellence Award – bestowed annually on the amateur who through his/her activity in the Amateur Service has brought international recognition to South Africa;

The Radio ZS VHF Trophy – awarded to the amateur who achieved the longest distance on the 2 m amateur band during the year.

Nominations must reach the Secretary by no later than 31 January. They must be addressed to The Secretary, SARL and mailed to PO Box 1721, Strubensvallei, 1735, or faxed to 088 011 675 2793.


From reports received so far it appears that there was more countrywide activity than ever before. It is the first time in the history of the PEARS contest that the country has really been criss-crossed on VHF.

Derek, ZS5Y, of Scottburgh logged Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Kimberley, Pretoria, and more on 50 MHz; and – on 144 MHz – he worked Cape Town, Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Nigel, Haven, amongst others. He contacted all six divisions with the longest distance, 1 229 km, achieved on digital mode.

Andrι, ZS2ACP, of Port Elizabeth, worked ZS6WAB in Polokwane over 1 181 km and Sian, ZS3SVD, in Delportshoop (630 km) on 50 MHz; this was followed by ZS6WAB (1 181 km) on 70 MHz. On 144 MHz ZS2ACP scored with the following contacts: ZS2GK (Haven, 368 km), ZS6TAF (Johannesburg, 909 km), ZS4N (Bloemfontein, 536 km), ZS5Y (Scottburgh, 646 km) and ZS6OB (Pretoria, 943 km). These digital contacts were made via meteor- and tropospheric scatter.

The tropospheric conditions on Friday night were poor at first, but as conditions were enhanced, the 144,400 MHz FM DX channel became a beehive of activity throughout the contest period. Initially the tropospheric inversion layer favoured the high-altitude stations, for example Eric, ZS2ECH, of Port Elizabeth worked ZS2NB in East London on 144,200 MHz SSB with a signal report of only 5-5, but later when the layer dropped lower, ZS2NB was romping in at S9-plus on FM. Numerous analogue contacts were made along the coast from Dana Bay to the Haven that included seven field stations.

The best analogue contact that occurred inland was between ZS3SVD in Delportshoop and ZS6CBQ in Krugersdorp on 144,200 MHz SSB over a distance of 400 km. We have learned a lot from this contest and next year's should be even better.



Are you interested in HF or VHF/UHF Contesting? The SARL would like to form a new Contest Committee. Some of the tasks of this committee would be the management of HF and VHF/UHF contests, updating contest rules, creating new contests, dealing with disputes and issuing the annual contest manual. If you would like to serve on this committee, please send you name to by Sunday 31 January.

The SARL 80 m Phone Club Contest will be run on Wednesday 27 January from 19:30 to 20:30 CAT. This will be a phone-only contest; the exchange is a RS report and a consecutive serial number starting at 001. Each contact counts 1 point and stations may only be contacted once during the session. The individual scores count towards a radio club’s overall score.


Hannes Coetzee, ZS6BZP, reports that the solar activity is still at low levels. Currently sunspot region 1 041 is still active. A new record solar flare for cycle 24 took place on Wednesday near region 1 041. The effective sunspot number is expected to be between 20 and 30 for the coming week. Overall conditions are slowly improving.

15 and 20 m will provide the best opportunities for DX. Conditions to India will be good from the afternoon onwards. During the late afternoon and early evenings, it will be moderate towards Europe. In the afternoons there are good possibilities of contacts with the USA on 15 m. Contacts with New Zealand will be possible for a short while on 15 m during the mornings. Contacts with Australia will be possible on 20 m for a short while during the mornings. During the afternoons and evenings 15 and 20 m contacts may also be possible with Brazil.

Local conditions are going to be good on 40 m during the daytime. 80 m may perform well during the early mornings and late afternoons over the shorter distances. 30 m will perform well over the longer distances during the middle of the day. With summer here, 20 m is also once again very useful for contacts over the longer distances, especially up to 14:00. 80 m is the frequency of choice in the evenings.

Please visit for further information.


27 January – SARL 80 m Phone Club Contest;
31 January – President's net at 19:30;
31 January – Closing date for AGM motions and SARL Awards;
31 January – Closing date for Contest Committee nominations;
6 and 7 February - AWA CW Activity Day;
6 February – Home Construction course in Durban;
20 February – Home Construction course in Port Elizabeth;
28 February – New closing date for the SumbandilaSat essay competition;
28 February – Final date for entries in the ARRISS-SAT project to be submitted to;
27 March – 2010 SA AMSAT Space Symposium.

SARL News invites clubs and individuals to submit news items of interest to radio amateurs and shortwave listeners. Submit news items, if possible, in both English and Afrikaans to, not later than the Thursday preceding the bulletin date.

The SARL also invites you to listen to Amateur Radio Mirror International every Sunday morning at 10:00 CAT on 145,750 MHz in the Pretoria-area, with relays on 7 082, 7 205 and 17 860 kHz. There is also a podcast by ZS6RO. For a web-stream and Echolink by ZS6FCS, visit, click on 'ARMI' and follow the links. A repeat transmission can be heard on Mondays at 21:00 CAT on 3 215 kHz.

Sentech sponsors the ARMI transmissions on the non-amateur frequencies.
You have listened to a bulletin of the South African Radio League compiled by Dennis, ZS4BS. The bulletin editor was Jannie, ZR6PHD.

Thank you for listening, 73.

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Last modified: 14 April 2003