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SARL News Bulletin Archive


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Good morning and welcome to the weekly news bulletin of the South African Radio League read by ………………………………………… [your name, call sign and QTH]

You can tune in to the South African Radio League news bulletin on Sunday mornings at 08:15 Central African Time in Afrikaans and at 08:30 Central African Time in English on HF and on many VHF and UHF repeaters around the country. Echolink listeners can connect to ZS0JPL for a relay. A podcast is available from the League’s web site.

This audio bulletin can be downloaded from the League’s website at You will find this bulletin and previous bulletins in text format under the news link on the left-hand side of the web page. While you are there, you can sign up to receive future bulletins by e-mail.

In the news today,





Stay tuned for more on these and other interesting news items.

** From Thursday 1 December to Saturday 31 December 2016, the annual Youngsters on the Air (YOTA) event takes place and YOTA stations will attempt to make many contacts worldwide with each other. This is an excellent opportunity to get young amateurs in their teens and early 20s to talk with their counterparts on the air.

This is not a formal contest, but a way to get young people on the air and to let them realise that there are hundreds of their peers around the world that feel just the same as they do about the hobby. The main aim is to get our youngsters on the air and for them to make contact with youngsters all over the world. The League has registered with IARU Region 1 as a Member Society participant and the special call sign ZS9YOTA will be activated during the month of December.

** The aim of the South African Radio League Digital Contest is to establish as many contacts as possible between radio amateurs in Southern Africa using the PSK31 and RTTY modes. The contest is on the air from 13:00 to 16:00 UTC on Sunday 4 December 2016 with activity on 80 metres (3 580 to 3 600 kHz), 40 metres (7 040 to 7 060 kHz) and 20 metres (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. The exchange is a RST report and a sequential serial number starting at 001. See the 2016 Blue Book for all the details.

** The editor is busy finalising the December 2016 issue of Radio ZS and it will be available for download from Wednesday 30 November from the League’s web site. In this issue, Chris, ZS6EZ, gives us an overview of the Worked All ZS award, its history, changes and the new challenges. Leon, ZR6LU, tells us how to use Argo to read QRSS. You can read about the BACAR Space week and the Secunda Amateur Radio Club. Are you balanced or unbalanced? Nothing to do with your mental state, but about baluns to use with antennas. There are two articles, one in English and one in Afrikaans on the subject of baluns. There is more in this last issue of 2016.

** “The Origins of Silicon Valley: Roots in Ham Radio” Video Now Available. The ARRL Centennial National Convention presentation, “The Origins of Silicon Valley: Roots in Ham Radio,” by Paul Wesling, KM6LH, has been edited into a video and is now available on YouTube

“It tells of the interesting events in the maritime port of San Francisco at the turn of the 20th century, as early radio was being developed and follows the amateurs who designed new devices and equipment to address steamship traffic plying the Pacific Ocean,” Wesling said. “Their efforts to break the east coast monopoly on tubes and to extend radio into the microwaves as the country approached World War II, form the basis for what became Silicon Valley.” Wesling said the presentation traces early vacuum tube development and other contributions by Bay Area amateurs, “and the continuing spirit of hobbyists and collaborators that fuel today’s high-tech mecca.” The presentation runs about 1 hour.

You are listening to a news bulletin of the South African Radio League

** The Ten-Metre RTTY Contest runs from 00:00 - 24:00 UTC on Sunday 4 December 2016 and the aim is for amateurs worldwide to contact and exchange QSO information with other amateurs using Baudot RTTY on the 10 metre band. Any station may work any other station. The recommended baud rate is 45,45 baud with 170 Hz shift. The exchange is a RST report and a consecutive serial number starting with 001, while stations in the USA and Canada will give a RST report and their state or province. Visit for the rules

** The ARRL 10-Meter Contest will run from 00:00 UTC on Saturday 10 December to 23:59 UTC on Sunday 11 December. The aim is for amateurs worldwide to exchange QSO information with as many stations as possible on the 10 metre band; all stations operate no more than 36 hours out of the 48-hour period. The contest exchange is a RS or RST report and a sequential serial number starting with 001. Stations in the USA, Canada and Mexico will send RS(T) and their state or province. Maritime mobile stations send RS(T) and ITU Region (R1, R2 or R3). Visit for the rules.

** Several radio amateur pioneers made their mark in history and advanced amateur radio and/or radio science, but are now Silent Keys. They were:
1904 – W.E. Dixon Bennett, ZS5EG, pioneered amateur radio in South Africa on spark transmission. He received the first-ever amateur radio licence in 1904 at Pretoria and could pick his own call sign.
1921 – Paul Godley, 2ZE, in Scotland received the first Transatlantic CW signals from the USA around a wavelength of 200 metres.
1923 – Leon De Loy, 8AB, in France with Fred Schnell, 1MO, and John Reinartz, 1AXM, in the USA made the first two-way CW contact on 110 metres and the shortwave era began.
1934 – Ross Hull (ex VK3JU), employed by the ARRL, discovered tropospheric propagation on 56 and 112 MHz.
1938 - After working all the known DX countries, Grote Reber, W9GFZ, mapped the radio sky on 160 MHz and discovered discrete radio sources. He became the first radio astronomer in the world and used a dish antenna.
1947 - Henry Rieder, ZS1P, made first cross-band contact on CW from 50 MHz to 28 MHz with Hilton O'Heffernan, G5BY, and a year later received the first long distance TV signal from the UK. Whereas Bert Howes, ZS6HS, at Johannesburg established the first-ever two-way DX contact via F2 on 50 MHz with Ken Ellis, MD5KW, at Port Said and followed later by ZS1P and brother Charles, ZS1T, when they both worked Paul Saayer, PA0UN.
1954 – Dave Larsen, ZS6DN, assisted Dr Trevor Wadley in the development of the famous RACAL RA17 receiver and the Barlow Wadley portable receiver. He developed the frequency hopping system for the military including Meteor Burst Communications, etc., and was later awarded the Order of the Star of South Africa.
1958 – Denis Richardson, ZS1B, worked JA1AXE for a world record on 50 MHz over a distance of 14 730 km.
1979 – Jack de Villiers, ZS6LN, established new world record on 50 MHz with KH6IAA over 19 305 km that stood for 21 years before it was finally broken

** Hannes Coetzee, ZS6BZP, reports that the solar activity is expected to remain at very low levels. No major solar flaring is expected. In 2016, there have been 25 days with no visible sunspots so far, compared with none in 2015.

If you want to do your own frequency predictions, the expected effective sunspot number for the week will be around 10. The 15 to 20 m bands will provide lots of DX fun. There is a chance of weak 10 m openings on north-south sunlit paths. Please visit the website for further information.

Now for the diary of events

Until midnight UTC this evening – the CQ WW DX CW contest
1 December – the start of the YOTA Month
3 - 4 December – the UK/EI DX SSB contest
4 December – the SARL Digital contest and the 10 m RTTY contest
10 - 11 December – the ARRL 10 m contest
11 December – the SARL Youth Net
27 December – closing date for January 2017 Radio ZS articles

To end this bulletin, a recap of our main news item this morning:

From Thursday 1 December to Saturday 31 December 2016, the annual Youngsters on the Air (YOTA) event takes place and YOTA stations will attempt to make many contacts worldwide with each other. This is an excellent opportunity to get young amateurs in their teens and early 20s to talk with their counterparts on the air.

** Clubs and individuals are invited to submit news items of interest to radio amateurs and shortwave listeners, if possible, in both English and Afrikaans, by following the news inbox link on the South African Radio League web page. News items for inclusion in the bulletin should reach the news team no later than the Thursday preceding the bulletin date.

You are welcome to join us every Sunday morning for the weekly amateur radio magazine programme Amateur Radio Today at 10:00 Central African Time. The programme can be heard on VHF and UHF repeaters countrywide and on 7 082 kHz lower side-band and on 7 205 kHz and 17 760 kHz AM. There is also a podcast available from Dick Stratford, ZS6RO. A rebroadcast can be heard on Monday evenings at 18:30 Central African Time on 4 895 kHz AM.

We welcome your signal reports, comments and suggestions; send these by e-mail to Sentech sponsors the radio transmissions on the non-amateur frequencies.

You have listened to a news bulletin compiled by Dennis Green, ZS4BS/1, edited by Dave Reece, ZS1DFR, and read by ……………………………………………..

73 and 88, thank you for listening


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Last modified: 14 April 2003