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SARL NEWS SUNDAY 29 DECEMBER 2013

You are listening to ZS6SRL, the official radio station of the South African Radio League, the national body for amateur radio in South Africa. The SARL broadcasts 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 there to receive future bulletins by e-mail.

Your newsreader this morning is (name and call sign), on 145,725 MHz from Pretoria, with a relay on 7,066 MHz SSB. (Other news readers change to suit).

IN THE NEWS TODAY:

RADIO AMATEUR KINGPIN IN SEA RESCUE OFF THE SOUTH WEST CAPE COAST

CALL FOR PAPERS FOR THE ANNUAL AMSAT SPACE SYMPOSIUM

ASTRO-HAMS REPAIR ISS COOLING SYSTEM IN CHRISTMAS EVE SPACEWALK

BEST TIME OF THE YEAR FOR THE MOST PROPAGATION MODES ON VHF

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

RADIO AMATEUR KINGPIN IN SEA RESCUE OFF THE SOUTH WEST CAPE COAST

Trevor Brinch, ZS1TR, a member of HAMNET, the disaster communication division of the South African Radio League, became the main link in a sea rescue drama of the South West coast of South Africa on Sunday 22 December 2013.

At 12:48 on 22 December 2013 harbour authorities at Struisbaai reported that they picked up a Mayday from the commercial ski boat fishing vessel, Maverick, on 29 MHz. They could not make any further contact with Maverick and did not know its position. Further information obtained from talking to other boats that picked up the "mayday" was that Maverick could have run out of fuel and had been drifting for about five hours. Maverick left Struisbaai harbour for the fishing grounds at 18:00 Saturday night.

Two hours into the search broken 29 MHz transmissions were picked up from Maverick but could not be deciphered. Trevor Brinch assisted using his amateur radio equipment and experience in receiving weak signals. He obtained the position of the vessel which had drifted into the shipping lane.

The Maverick was located by Vodacom Rescuer 7 and found that they had experienced engine failure on the one outboard and subsequently ran out of fuel. Rescue 30 took them on tow and after a four hour operation they were towed safely into Struisbaai harbour.

Without the SARL-HAMNET assistance, this operation would have extended into the night with MRCC and search planes having had to get involved.

ARE YOU UNDER 20 AND A LICENSED RADIO AMATEUR?

If you are a young radio amateur under 20 years of age, we invite you to join in the debate during Youth Week which runs from 10 -15 February 2014. The debate will be held on Tuesday evening 11 February starting at 19:30. The topic of discussion is: "What does amateur radio offer young people?" To be considered as a panellist in the debate send your thoughts about the subject and contact details, including a telephone number, to youthweek2014@sarl.org.za by 21 January 2014 and we will contact you. A telephone briefing session will be held a few days before the event. Here is a great opportunity to develop your debating skills and to share your ideas of where amateur radio should be heading. For more on Youth Week 2014 visit www.hamradio.org.za.

CALL FOR PAPERS FOR THE ANNUAL AMSAT SPACE SYMPOSIUM

SA AMSAT has announced that its annual Space Communication symposium will be held on Saturday 24 May 2014 at the Innovation Hub in Pretoria. Proposals for papers are now called for. Submit a brief overview of the planned paper by 15 March 2014 to saamsat@intekom.co.za. Authors will be advised of the acceptance of their paper by 31 March. The final written paper will be requited by 30 April and PowerPoint presentation by 15 May. Please also include a short CV and a photograph of your self.

Registration for the symposium will open on 1 February. Follow details of www.amsatsa.org.za.

JUST IN CASE YOU MISSED THE LICENSE APPLICATION INFORMATION

Radio Amateurs who hold only a one-year license are reminded to complete form B and mail it to ICASA. This also applies to repeaters, beacons and club callsign licences. When re-applying for a license, apply for 5 years, it saves money and the problems of having to apply each year. Full details and from B can be found on www.sarl.org.za.

MORE TIME TO ENTER THE VIDEO COMPETITION

The South African Amateur Radio Development Trust invites amateur videographers to take part in a video competition and compete for some great prizes. Be creative with your camera or even your smartphone. Shoot a short video of an exciting Amateur Radio activity in South Africa and you could win a 5 watt CW MFJ 40 metre transceiver kit valued at R1 300 as well as one of many other prizes.

The video format can be AVI, WMV or MPEG with a minimum resolution of 320 X 240. The length of the video should be between 3 and 5 minutes. The subject can be anything that illustrates the joy and excitement of amateur radio.

Entries should be sent on a CD or DVD. Don't attempt to e-mail it. Send your video to: Amateur Radio Video Competition, P O Box 90438, Garsfontein, 0042. The closing date was 31 December 2013 but as many peoples are on leave entries will be accepted up to 31 January 2014; more details on www.amateurradio.org.za.

ASTRO-HAMS REPAIR ISS COOLING SYSTEM IN CHRISTMAS EVE SPACEWALK

A pair of United States astronaut hams have made final repairs to a damaged cooling system on board the International Space Station. This, during a rare Christmas Eve spacewalk on Tuesday, December 24th. Amateur Radio Newsline's Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, has the story:
It was the second Extra Vehicular Activity or EVA or spacewalk in four days for United States astronauts Mike Hopkins, KF5LJG, and Rick Mastracchio, KC5ZTE, and only the second Christmas Eve spacewalk ever.

NASA ordered several spacewalks to repair a critical cooling system on the International Space Station. This after all non-essential equipment had been turned off when the system faulted on December 11th causing many science experiments halted. To solve the problem Mastracchio and Hopkins removed the faulty ammonia pump during a spacewalk on Saturday December 21st and installed a spare unit during the 7 hour EVA on December 24th.

According to NASA the replacement was slow going because of a balky ammonia fluid line that sent frozen flakes of the extremely toxic substance straight at the two astro-hams. The spacewalkers reported being surrounded by big chunks of the material that bounced off equipment and their space suits. The ammonia needed to dissipate from their suits before the pair returned inside of the ISS to avoid any contamination to the orbiting outpost.

But in the end, it was man triumphing over machine. With this success NASA says that the cooling system should be restored and all equipment up and running by Sunday the 29th.

BEST TIME OF THE YEAR FOR THE MOST PROPAGATION MODES ON VHF

The months of December and January provide the most propagation modes on VHF. They are: Tropo Enhancement, Tropo Ducting, Sporadic-E (Single-hop local and multi-hop DX), Meteor Scatter, SSSP DX, and of course the four annual modes: Aircraft Scatter, Tropo Scatter, DX on EME and Satellites. Also see the front cover of the November/December 2013 issue of RADIO ZS.

SSSP could provide DX operation to VK and ZL during the summer solstice period and possibly also to PY on 50 MHz. ZL stations are keen to arrange skeds with ZS stations on 50 MHz during this period. Bob Sutton, ZL1RS, is currently running his CW keyer on 50,096 MHz between our sunrise and their sunset, i.e. 06:00 CAT to 10:00 CAT, and running 1 kilowatt into an 11 element Yagi. He is joined by ZL2DX and ZL3NW who are operating respectively 200 Hertz higher and 200 Hertz lower than Bob's frequency.

So please send in reports and make full use of this wonderful VHF period which also covers the PEARS National VHF/UHF contest on 17-19 January 2014.

DXCC LISTS

Today is the 29th and this is a reminder that the cutoff for the 2013 Annual and Honor Roll lists is December 31 2013. So if you plan a last minute submission please be sure any paper applications are "postmarked" December 31. Same for LoTW on Dec 31.

PROPAGATION REPORT

Hannes Coetzee, ZS6BZP, reports that the solar activity is at moderate levels. Sunspots AR1934 and AR1936 have "beta-gamma" magnetic fields that harbor enough energy for M-class solar flares.

If you want to do your own frequency predictions, the expected effective sunspot number for the week will be around 80.

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. There may even be some 6 m openings during the early evenings.

Please visit the website spaceweather.sansa.org.za for further information.

DIARY OF EVENTS

18 January 2014 - SARL@Home.
21 January 2014 Last day for prospective youth week panellists to submit their contact details to youthweek2014@sarl.org.za.
31 January 2014 - Last day to submit amateur radio video.
28 February 2014 - Closing date for Youth Essay Competition.
15 March 2014 - Last day to submit proposals for papers for the 2014 SA AMSAT space symposium to saamsat@intekom.co.za.

SARL News invites clubs and individuals to submit news items of interest to radio amateurs and short-wave 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 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 16:30 UTC on 4 895 kHz. The website also lists various other retransmissions. Reception reports, comments and suggestions are invited. Send an email to artoday@sarl.org.za. Sentech sponsors the transmissions on the non-amateur frequencies.

You have listened to a bulletin of the South African Radio League compiled and edited by George Honiball, ZS6NE.

Thank you for listening, and the best wishes from the news editors for a prosperous and satisfying new amateur radio year and keep on sending in the good news for others to share in. 73.

/EX

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Last modified: 14 April 2003