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SARL NEWS - SUNDAY 12 AUGUST 2012

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 'Amateur Radio Today' and follow the links for details. 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 3,695 MHz SSB. (Other news readers change to suit).

SILENT KEY

It is with deep sadness we have to announce that the key of OM Les Clark, ZS6NV, became silent on the 8th August. Les was 92 years old. He joined the SARL in 1947, and has enjoyed continued membership for the past 65 years. Les was a Honorary Member of the Centurion Radio Amateur Club.

Our sincere condolences to his family and friends.

(PAUSE)

In the news today:

MORSE CODE ON MARS

BOOK BY WEDNESDAY NIGHT FOR THE RTA IN GAUTENG

PERSEIDS SHOULD BE FUN FOR METEOR SCATTER ENTHUSIASTS AND VIEWERS ALIKE

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

MORSE CODE ON MARS

When Curiosity moves around Mars it will leave a series on dots and dashes on the surface. If you look carefully at Curiosity's wheels, you might notice that along with treads, there are square and rectangular holes. According to JPL Rover Mechanical Engineering Team, these holes actually have a purpose: odometer markers. JPL Engineers will be looking at the visual odometer markers that are on the wheels. There are asymmetric patterns, actually holes, inside the wheels of the rover that will leave an imprint on the surface of Mars. These imprints help to verify that it has traversed the distance it expects to traverse. If it looks like it's not traversing, even though the wheels are going, that is an indication that the vehicle is getting stuck and it will stop and call back home.

So what pattern did JPL choose to put on Curiosity's wheels? The holes are in a pattern of short squares and longer rectangles -- almost like dots and dashes in Morse code. And what does it spell out in Morse code? JPL.

You can follow Curiosity on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MarsCuriosity.

BOOK BY WEDNESDAY NIGHT FOR THE RTA IN GAUTENG

Pre Bookings for the Radio Technology in Action Symposium to be held at the National Amateur Radio Centre on Saturday 18 August 2012, close on Wednesday night. After that you can register and pay (Cash only) at the NARC from 08:15 on Saturday. Full detail of the symposium is available on line at www.sarl.org.za.

By pre-booking you take part in an additional prize draw for the ARRL Book "Basic Antennas". If you like a programme to be sent to your inbox, send an email to rta@sarl.org.za with RTA NARC in the subject line and a PDF copy will be mailed to you.

Get up to date with Propagation and how to do your own predictions, how to control antennas, contest logging, learn about Software Defined Radio and how to build an experimental SDR, have fun with RaDAR and be part of Tony Voorveld's spectacular presentation "Tuning into nature." It is all happening at the SARL RTA on Saturday at 18 August 2012. Doors open at 08:15 and the programme starts at 09:00.

GET YOUR QSL's AT THE RTA

Members and Non Members can collect their QSL cards at the RTA. The QSL Manager, Willem Weideman, ZS6WWJ, will during refreshment breaks, be available to hand out cards to delegates who are attending the SARL's premiere event.

PERSEIDS SHOULD BE FUN FOR METEOR SCATTER ENTHUSIASTS AND VIEWERS ALIKE

The peak of the Perseids meteor shower will coincide with a waning crescent moon. This will produce favourable viewing circumstances for observers expecting to get the full effect of this yearly experience.

For South Africa the best time to watch and operate is 23:00 - 04:30 CAT on 12 and 13 August.

On average, under completely clear skies, and in complete darkness, observers may witness 20 to 80 meteors per hour; but these rates can exceed up to 120 meteors per hour in rural locations. Be aware that local conditions such as light pollution, cloud cover, and precipitation will also play a major role in the number of meteors you are likely to see.

For the best viewing experience, find an area unobstructed by a structure that is far away from city lights. Using optical devices such as binoculars or telescopes is not recommended, as your field of view will be greatly restricted, thus making the possibility of missing a "shooting star" more likely.

Not coincidentally, the Perseids meteor shower is named after the constellation Perseus for the reason that they appear to originate from the sparkling Greek "hero." Looking directly up at the sky or into the radiant is not recommended since this is just the point in which they appear to come from. You are more likely to see a trail when looking slightly away from this point. Looking half-way up into the sky will lead to the best show in the house.

Amateur Radio and the Perseids

If you own a 6 or 2 metre SSB/CW transceiver, you can get in on the action, bouncing your signals off Perseid meteor trails and making quick meteor scatter contacts over hundreds of kilometres, and possibly even as much as 2 000 km. Meteor scatter operation is particularly easy on 6 metres where 100 W and an Omni directional antenna will do the job. On 2 metres, a directional antenna (such as a multi-element Yagi) usually yields better results.

Some meteor scatter operators prefer to use SSB, making rapid exchanges of signal reports and grid squares. With the free sound-card-based WSJT software suite by Joe Taylor, K1JT, it is possible to make digital meteor scatter contacts almost any time of the day or night, not just during annual showers. Most WSJT scatter operators use a mode known as FSK441 and centre their activities on calling frequencies 50,260 and 144,140 MHz.

CONTEST NEWS

Contest results.
For the SARL Winter QRP contest held on the 21st July 16 logs and 1 check log were received:-
1st Gerrit Rautenbach ZS2XD 2436 points
2nd Lukas Holtzhuizen ZS6LH 1560 points
3rd Andre Botes ZS2ACP 1452 points

Congratulations to Gerrit for his achievement. It just goes to show what can be achieved if you go the extra mile.

By Friday evening at 20:30, the contest committee had received 13 logs and 1 contest log for the SARL HF Phone Contest.

The closing date for logs has been extended to midnight on Monday 13 August 2012. The 50th log received will win a SARL Membership for the current financial year. PLEASE read General Rule 5 and 6 before submitting your log.

Next contest.

The next leg of the SARL HF contest, digital, takes place on Sunday the 19th August.

1. Aim
The aim of the HF Contests is for participants to contact as many amateurs in Southern Africa (General Rules para 1.b.) as possible on the 20, 40 and 80 m amateur bands.
2. Time
From 13:00 to 16:00 UTC [15:00 to 18:00 CAT]
3. Frequencies
3 580 to 3 600 kHz
7 040 to 7 060 kHz
14 070 to 14 099 kHz
PSK31 is preferred at the lower end of the specified frequencies. RTTY is preferred at the upper end of the specified frequencies. Please note that USB must be used at all times, refer to GR 16.
4. Categories
a) Single Operator, Single Band
b) Single Operator, All Band
c) Multi Operator, Single Band
d) Multi Operator, All Band
Individual competitors and club stations are encouraged to compete.
5. Exchange
RS(T) and a consecutive serial number starting at 001.
6. Scoring

Digital contacts count 3 points.
Count two points for each area (see below) on each band.
Count 2 points for each stations contacted on all three bands.

Area 1: ZS1 Western Cape
Area 2: ZS2 Eastern Cape
Area 3: ZS3 Northern Cape
Area 4: ZS4 Free State
Area 5: ZS5 KwaZulu-Natal
Area 6: ZS6 Gauteng, Mpumalanga; Limpopo and North West Area 7: 3B8 Mauritius, 3DA Swaziland, 7P Lesotho, 7Q Malawi, C9 Mozambique, Z2 Zimbabwe, 5R Madagascar, FR Reunion Island and FH Mayotte Area 8: 9J Zambia, A2 Botswana, D2 Angola, V5 Namibia, ZD9 Gough and Tristan da Cunha Islands, ZS7 Antarctica and ZS8 Marion Island.
Contacts with stations outside these areas are allowed, QSO points may be claimed but no zone or three-bander points may be claimed.
7. Sponsor
Send logs to zs4bfn@netactive.co.za or by mail to the Bloemfontein ARC, Box 33211, Fichardt Park, 9317. Closing date for logs is 27 August 2012.

RAE CLASSES

The Bloemfontein ARC will be presenting RAE classes starting on Friday 17 August. These will be weekly classes at 18:00 on Friday evenings. For more information, contact Warren, ZS4W, with email to zs4whiskey@mweb.co.za or mobile 082 777 9094.

CLUB NEWS

At the AGM of the Zululand Amateur Radio Club, held on the 12th July in Richards Bay, the following Committee members were elected to serve the members of the club for the forthcoming year

Chairman: John Kramer, ZS5J
Vice Chairman: Andrew Jansen, ZS5AND
Treasurer: Willie Axford, ZS5WI
Secretary: Dawn Snyders, ZS5ME
Members: Jo Snyders ZS5PO (News Editor)
Anne Griffiths ZS5FAB
Warren Snyders ZS5WOZ.

We wish them well for their term of office, and thank the outgoing members for their hard work during their term of office.

PROPAGATION REPORT

Hannes Coetzee, ZS6BZP, reports that the week's expected solar activity will be at low to moderate levels.

There are currently many sunspot regions visible but none are posing a threat for strong solar flares.

If you want to do your own frequency predictions, the expected effective sunspot number for the week will be around 82.

All the bands from 20 to 10 m will provide lots of DX fun with 15 m providing the best openings with 20 m not far behind. 10 m openings will be more frequent due to the higher solar activity.

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

DIARY OF EVENTS
13 August That is tomorrow, new closing date for submission of logs for the SARL HF Phone competition.
15 August - ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS AMENDMENT BILL, last date to send your comments to the SARL by email to secretary@sarl.org.za.
16 August - Last day to submit logs for the YL Sprint to zs4bfn@netactive.co.za or Bloemfontein ARC, Box 33211, Fichardt Park, 9317.
18 August - RTA in GAUTENG, pre-book now to also enter for an additional prize draw.
19 August - SARL HF digital competition.
26 August - SARL HF CW competition.
27 August - Last day to submit logs for SARL HF digital contest to zs4bfn@netactive.co.za or Bloemfontein ARC, Box 33211, Fichardt Park, 9317,

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 17 760 kHz. There is also a podcast by ZS6RO. For a web-stream and Echolink by ZS6FCS, visit www.sarl.org.za, click on 'Amateur Radio TODAY', go down the green column and click on 'LISTEN ON THE WEB'. A repeat transmission can be heard on Mondays at 17:30 UTC on 3 230 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 Honiball, ZS6NE.

Thank you for listening, 73.
/EX



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Last modified: 14 April 2003