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SARL NEWS - SUNDAY 013 MARCH 2011

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 www.sarl.org.za, 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 www.sarl.org.za and also 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 7,066 and 3,695 MHz SSB.

In the news today

LAST CHANCE TO BOOK FOR THE PROGRAMMING IN WINDOWS COURSE

RESPECTED JOURNAL PUBLISHES EXPLANATION FOR LOW SUNSPOTS

BOOK NOW FOR THE SA AMSAT SPACE SYMPOSIUM

AMATEUR RADIO LICENSE FEES TO REMAIN AT R27 FOR NOW

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

LAST CHANCE TO BOOK FOR THE PROGRAMMING IN WINDOWS COURSE

Reserve your place now for the programming in Windows course to be held in Cape Town on Saturday 19 March 2011. Learn how to produce your own applications in Windows, and design your own shack control program with stand-alone applications. Create your very own EXE files.

The course fee is R350 for SARL members and R500 for non-members. A USB interface that will switch relays and read push buttons and voltages is available for an additional charge of R120 and can now be ordered at the time of registration and will be available for delivery at the course. This course will only be presented in Cape Town once this year. Donít miss this opportunity!

Bookings for the course close on Wednesday afternoon. Get the registration form on www.sarl.org.za, click on RTA.

RESPECTED JOURNAL PUBLISHES EXPLANATION FOR LOW SUNSPOTS

An article in the March 3 issue of the journal Nature purports to explain the extended sunspot minimum from 2008-2010. According to one of the authors, Piet Martens, the last time a sunspot minimum lasted twice as long as usual was around 1913 and before that, 1810. Although solar activity has increased recently, scientists have been puzzled by the recent lack of sunspots. This quiet period had prevented the ionosphere from supporting much of the long-range higher frequency HF Amateur Radio communication that had been expected during the past few years.

After simulating 210 previous sunspot cycles, Martens, along with Dibyendu Nandi and Andres Munoz-Jaramillo, discovered that extended solar minima have coincided with unusually weak magnetic fields at the Sunís poles. The three scientists were associated with Montana State University while they conducted their research.

NASA-sponsored research has resulted in the first computer model that explains the recent period of decreased solar activity during the sun's 11-year cycle.

This recent solar minimum, a period characterised by a lower frequency of sunspots and solar storms, was the deepest observed in almost 100 years. The solar minimum has repercussions on the safety of space travel and the amount of orbital debris our planet accumulates.

Solar scientists around the world were puzzled by the extended disappearance of sunspots in 2008-2009. Results published in Nature indicate the mystery may be solved.

During this deep solar minimum, the sun's magnetic field weakened, allowing cosmic rays to penetrate the solar system in record numbers, making space a more dangerous place to travel. At the same time, the decrease in ultraviolet radiation caused Earth's upper atmosphere to cool and collapse.

As a consequence space debris stopped decaying and started accumulating in Earth orbit due to decreased atmospheric drag. These effects demonstrate the importance of understanding the entire solar cycle, during both minimum and maximum.

Observations from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) will eventually provide measurements that could validate the current model and provide the basis for future solar cycle prediction.

For more information about the research, visit http://www.nasa.gov/sunearth.

BOOK NOW FOR THE SA AMSAT SPACE SYMPOSIUM

Book now for the SA AMSAT Space Symposium which will be held at Vodaworld on 2 April 2011. Amongst the speakers are Dr Sandile Malinga the CEO of SANSA, and the two SA AMSAT CubeSat project leaders John Willescroft and Hannes Coetzee, as well as Dr. L. J. du Toit of EMSS Antennas, the company responsible for the development, production, commissioning and factory support of the KAT-7 receivers. For details and to book visit www.amsatsa.org.za . Make use of the early bird discount. Special rates are offered for SARL and SA AMSAT Members.

AMATEUR RADIO LICENSE FEES TO REMAIN AT R27 FOR NOW

The Amateur Radio License fees will remain at R27 for this year and are only to increase from next year. ICASA will post license renewal accounts for the period 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012 in the near future. If you have not yet paid your licence for the three month period January to March 2011, please do so now. The charge is R6,75. If you did not receive an account in the post, use the information printed on last yearís license.

CONTEST NEWS

The SARL VHF/UHF analogue and digital contest encourages activity on the VHF/UHF and microwave bands so that operators can work greater distances than usual and allows the activation of new grid squares; also to have a weekend of amateur radio fun.

The contest is open to all licensed radio amateurs in South Africa and neighbouring states. The contest starts at 10:00 UTC on Saturday 19 March and ends at 10:00 UTC on Sunday 20 March with phone - FM and SSB, CW and the digital modes on 6, 4 and 2 metres, 70 and 23 cm and higher. There are five categories of participation including field stations and rover stations. Go to page 33 of the 2011 SARL Contest Manual for the complete set of rules.

ONLY TWO DXCCs AMONGST THE SARL PRESIDENTS

Tjerk, ZS6P, the SARL Awards Manager informed SARL News that only two SARL Presidents have obtained the DXCC award while in office. The first was Henry Flanter, ZS1FD, who was president from 1954 to 1956 and the second is Dennis Green, ZS4BS, who has just been awarded the DXCC via Logbook of the World.

PROPAGATION REPORT

Hannes Coetzee, ZS6BZP reports that the solar activity is at moderate to active levels. Just as active Sunspots 1164 and 1165 have rotated onto the western limb and out of direct earth view, The second largest Solar Flare of Cycle 24 thus far has taken place around huge Sunspot 1166. The X1.5 event event peaked on Wednesday evening and caused Radio Blackouts on the sunlit side of earth. Currently Sunspot 1169 and 1166 remain the largest regions. The effective sunspot number is expected to be around 80 for the coming week.

15 m will provide the best opportunities for DX followed by 20 and 10 m. With the higher sunspot activity 10 m will open first followed by 15 and 20 m. Conditions to India will be good from the afternoon till after sunset. During the late afternoons conditions will be good towards Europa. Good contacts with the USA are possible during the evening. Contacts with Australia are possible on 20 m after sunset. Openings to Brazil and South America are possible during the afternoons. With the good 15 and 20 m openings 17 m will also be full of surprises.

For the CW and digital enthusiasts 30 m may be very rewarding with openings to many parts of the world.

Locally is 40 m the work horse for contacts around the country with 20 and 30-m also being very useful for contacts over the longer distances. 80 m will be best during the early mornings and late afternoons as well as over the shorter distances.

80 m is the frequency of choice during the evenings.

Please visit www.spaceweather.co.za for further information.

DIARY OF EVENTS
16 March- -Last day to register for Programming in Windows course in Cape Town.
19 March - RTA, Programming in Windows course in Cape Town, book at www.sarl.org.za.
19/20 March - SARL VHF/UHF analogue and digital contest.
25 March - SAiSAT briefing session at the NARC.
2 April - SA AMSAT Space Symposium at Vodaworld, book at www.amsatsa.org.za.
15-16 April Ė SARL National Convention at Vaal University for Technology.

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 www.sarl.org.za/newsinbox.asp, not later than the Thursday preceding the bulletin date.

The SARL also invites you to listen to Amateur Radio Today every Sunday morning at 10:00 CAT on 145,750 MHz in the Pretoria area, with relays on 7 082, 7 205 and 17 560 kHz. There is also a podcast by ZS6RO. For a web-stream and Echolink by ZS6FCS, visit www.sarl.org.za, click on 'ARMI' and follow the links. A repeat transmission can be heard on Mondays at 22:05 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 George, ZS6NE.

Thank you for listening, 73.
/EX


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