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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 may 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 as well as on many VHF and UHF repeaters around the country. Echolink listeners may connect to ZS0JPL for a relay. A podcast is available from the League’s web site.

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

In the news, today:





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

** The ZS3 Sprint, a fun activity to promote contacts between radio amateurs in the Northern Cape and radio amateurs in Southern African countries, is on the air this afternoon from 14:00 to 15:00 UTC. It is a phone and CW contest on the 40 metre band with CW between 7 000 to 7 040 kHz and SSB between 7 063 to 7 100 and 7 130 to 7 200 kHz. The exchange is RS or RST report and your provincial or country abbreviation.

Contacts with stations in ZS3 are worth 2 points and contacts with stations in your own or other ZS call areas (excluding ZS3) or Southern African countries are worth 1 point. ZS3 stations score 1 point for contacts with stations in ZS3 and 2 points for contacts with stations in other ZS call areas or Southern African countries. Contacts with the Northern Cape ARC, ZS3NC, Namaqualand Aero Sport Association, ZS3FLY, the Kalahari Karoo ARC, ZS3ARK, the Bo-Karoo Radio Club, ZS3VDK, or the Sutherland ARC, ZS3OBS, are worth 5 points each. Only one contact per station is allowed.

Logs, in ADIF, Cabrillo or MS Excel format and labelled “your call sign ZS3 Sprint,” must be submitted by 22 May 2017 and sent by e-mail to A certificate will be awarded to the first, second and third places in the competition.

** The SARL Information Technology Working Group was set up earlier this year to examine the League’s IT systems and web sites and develop a strategy for the future. Their first report has now been completed and is available for download from the League web site. Look for IT & Web Planning in the site index, or go to to read the report. We are keen to receive any comments and criticism at

** The AMSATSA Space Symposium on 27 May will give you the first glimpse in what will drive the communication on South Africa's first observation satellite, EO-SAT1. Learn how to get communicating with a Raspberry Pi and how to build up a simple ground station for the soon to be launched geostationary satellite with an amateur payload with 24-hour access from South Africa to Europe and the Middle East. There are many other interesting presentations and demonstrations on the programme. Booking to attend will close at midnight on Thursday 25 May.

Get all the details on or click on the link on the League home page. The symposium is being held at the Innovation Hub, opposite the CSIR, in Pretoria with easy access from the highway.

** Now for some Beacon news. The League wishes to thank all the amateurs who are currently contributing to the 5 MHz research project for ICASA by spotting and transmitting WSPR beacons on 5,290 MHz. The results are coming in steadily but we are asking if a few more stations can join the Beaconeers especially in the 5 to 15 Watt range to gather propagation information at those particular power levels. Please contact Leon Uys ZR6LU for more information.

** The 2017 IARU Region 1 General Conference will be held in Landshut, Germany in September this year. The Conference Papers are available for download from Look under the heading "Conference Papers." C3 is the General Administrative and Organisational Committee, C4 is the permanent HF Committee, C5 is the permanent VHF/UHF and Microwaves Committee and C7 is the permanent EMC Committee.

C4 will be looking at the band plan for the 60 metre allocation. C5 will be looking contesting and band plans for 6 metres and higher. C7 will be looking at noise floor measures and other EMC matters.

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

** Rickus De Lange, ZS4A, had an interesting experience at 05:20 CAT on Saturday morning 13 May when he fired up his 2 metre station in a cold Bethlehem and waited for the Gauteng guys to wake up. He listened to the band on USB and fiddled on the Internet and heard static discharges on the frequency of 144,300 MHz that he got used to after a while. When Carl, ZS6CBQ, came up and turned his beam to Welkom, Rickus could not hear him at all, normally he hears Carl weakly when he is aiming at Welkom. Suddenly he heard "ba - ba" sounds on the frequency and later he could hear audio too, but it was very fast. Rickus was very surprised as it was the first time that he experienced it and later could pick up complete words from Carl and even recognize his voice.

This phenomenon is Lightning Scatter propagation, where a lightning discharge ionizes the air and reflects short radio bursts on 144 MHz. This is like the meteor trails that also create radio bursts, but both Lightning Scatter and Meteor Scatter can produce much longer radio bursts on the lower VHF frequencies. Many years ago, Lightning Scatter was observed during a distant thunderstorm that raged between East London and Durban. Every time a distant lightning flash occurred, the Durban FM broadcasting station popped out of the noise to full quieting and lasted for about ten seconds before it faded out. This unusual phenomenon continued until the thunderstorm drifted away.

So, keep an eye on vacant spaces on the FM band during thunderstorms or during major meteor showers or for Sporadic-E openings that could yield strong FM signals for half an hour or longer. Try and arrange a QSO on 50 MHz Lightning Scatter, but you must be brief and quick and only call when you see the flash or hear the burst of static.

** 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 / RTTY mode(s). The contest is open to all radio amateurs in Southern Africa and runs from 13:00 UTC to 16:00 UTC on Sunday 28 May 2017. Activity takes place on 80 metres between 3 580 to 3 600 kHz, 40 metres between 7 040 to 7 060 kHz and 20 metres between 14 070 to 14 099 kHz. PSK31 is preferred at the lower end of the specified frequencies and RTTY is preferred at the upper end of the specified frequencies. USB must be used at all times.

A station may be contacted twice on each band once on RTTY, once on PSK31. The exchange is a RST report and a sequential serial number starting at 001. Contacts with stations listed in General Rule 1.b are worth 3 points. Contacts with stations NOT listed in General Rule 1.b are worth 1 point. The first contact with each of the call areas will be used as a band multiplier, there are eight call areas.

Logs, in ADIF, Cabrillo or MS Excel format and labelled “your call sign Digital Contest,” must be submitted by 4 June 2017 to

** The West Rand Amateur Radio Club is hosting its next flea market at 12:00 on Saturday 3 June 2017 at their clubhouse in Kroton street, Weltevreden Park, Roodepoort. Everybody is welcome. Bring your surplus equipment and support the vendors on the day. For more information, contact Geoff, ZS6C, on mobile 082 546 5546.

** The closing date for your articles for the June Radio ZS is Thursday 25 May 2017. What is your club doing? Send a report of your club’s activities with some photos. The e-mail address is

** Hannes Coetzee, ZS6BZP, reports that the solar activity is expected to be at low levels. The two small sunspots that are visible are currently stable. If you want to do your own frequency predictions, the expected effective sunspot number for the week will be around one. The 15 to 30 m bands will provide lots of DX fun. Please visit the web site for further information.

** Let’s look at some upcoming events:

This afternoon – the ZS3 Sprint
25 May – closing date for the June Radio ZS
27 May – the AMSATSA Space Symposium and the ERB Flea Market
28 May – the SARL Digital Contest
3 June – the West Rand ARC Flea Market
11 June – the Hammies Sprint
17 June – the World QRP Day
21 to 26 June – the SARL Top Band QSO Party

** To conclude our bulletin a quick overview of our main news item:

The ZS3 Sprint, a fun activity to promote contacts between radio amateurs in the Northern Cape and radio amateurs in Southern African countries, is on the air this afternoon from 14:00 to 15:00 UTC. It is a phone and CW contest on the 40 metre band with CW between 7 000 to 7 040 kHz and SSB between 7 063 to 7 100 and 7 130 to 7 200 kHz. The exchange is RS or RST report and your provincial or country abbreviation.

And that brings us to the end of this bulletin

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 pod cast available from Dick Stratford, ZS6RO. A rebroadcast can be heard on Monday evenings at 18:30 Central African Time on 3 230 kHz AM.

We welcome your signal reports, comments and suggestions; please 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 Emile Venter, ZS6V, edited by Dennis Green, ZS4BS, and read by ..............

From the news team, best wishes for the week ahead.


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Last modified: 14 April 2003