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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 Local Time in Afrikaans and at 08:30 Local Time in English, on HF as well as on many VHF and UHF repeaters around our country. Echolink listeners may connect to ZS0JPL for a relay.

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 information on these and other interesting news items.


Yesterday, Saturday 12 August, the annual IARU Region 1 Youngsters on the Air (YOTA) event held at Gilwell Park on the outskirts of London in the UK ended after an eventful week filled with many amateur radio activities as 80 youngsters from 30 different IARU member countries are returning home. One of the highlights of the week was the opportunity to talk to astronaut Paulo Nespoli, IZ0JPA, on the International Space Station from the ground station at Gilwell Park using amateur radio.

On Tuesday evening, all three members of the South African team had a chance to ask Paulo questions. The event was not without drama as the first attempt to contact the ISS failed due to equipment failure on the ISS. The second attempt during the next orbital pass at 20:15 UTCT was most successful and Philip, ZS6TRE, Ruben, ZR6RJV, and Cameron, ZS6CYE, as part of a selected group of youngsters were able to communicate loud and clearly with Paulo on the ISS. For lots of video material including detailed information of the successful YOTA 2017 summer event visit and YouTube at


The AMSAT SA/SARL workshop, to be held on Saturday 19 August at the SARL National Amateur Radio Centre at Radiokop Roodepoort, will focus on how to get more out of Software Defined Radio, and will take participants to another level in Amateur Radio activity. The workshop will be presented in two sessions, with Session one dealing with the VHF SDR dongle and how to have more fun, such as listening to satellites, receiving weather satellites pictures, and astronomy projects. The second session will discuss a HF Dongle and the SARL HF Noise floor monitoring project, with details and a demonstration of how to automate this and how to build an autonomous system using a raspberry Pi.

For more details and to check your registration status, point your browser to or send an e-mail to


The second of the three SARL HF Contests, the HF Digital Contest, is on the air next Sunday afternoon, 20 August, from 13:00 to 16:30 UTC with PSK and RTTY activity on 20, 40 and 80 metres. See how many zones you can work per band and how many stations on all three bands. You can participate as a single operator single band station, a single operator all band station, a multi operator single band station or a multi operator all band station. Individual competitors and club stations are encouraged to compete. The exchange is a RSQ report and a consecutive serial number starting at 001.

There are two SARL trophies up for grabs in the digital contest, but you stand a chance to win more trophies if you participate in all three contests. The rules are too long to publish in SARL News, so look on page 34 of the 2017 SARL Blue Book for all the information. Do it before the contest starts. Please note that the only address for your log sheets is


South Africa experienced some very cold days this winter and it affected Tropo propagation on VHF. So, what can we expect during the coming warmer months up to the hottest month in February 2018? Tropo propagation will start improving on VHF during September on both land and sea, as most of the DX contacts with Reunion Island on 144 MHz and 432 MHz have been made in September, as well as in February. ZD7VC on St Helena Island is like a ripe fruit ready to be plucked this summer on 144 MHz by well-equipped VHF amateurs on the West Coast.

Tropo Ducting is the most effective on 144 MHz where it could cover thousands of kilometres across the sea, but will also appear up to 10 GHz. On HF, there is only F2 propagation in the daytime, and at night, the F2 and F1 layers combine to form F layer propagation. On VHF, there are around a dozen different propagation modes, which include daily modes like EME, Satellites and Aircraft Scatter. Many propagation modes are the most effective on 50 MHz, the Magic Band, such as Sporadic-E, Meteor Scatter, Trans-Equatorial (TEP), Backscatter, Ionospheric Scatter and Aurora, and of course F2 during the peak of the solar cycle. In contrast, Tropo Ducting on 50 MHz is often limited by the duct size, which cannot accommodate the lower wavelengths such as 50 MHz. Anyway, there is a lot to look forward to this summer on VHF especially on 144 MHz and 50 MHz. The current SARL Tropo record on 144 MHz stands at 3247 km and on 50 MHz TEP 9 822 km has been recorded.

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


Midnight tonight, Sunday 13 August is the closing date for the HF Phone contest logs and midnight on Wednesday 16 August is the closing date for the YL Sprint logs. Send your log sheets for both contests to, this is the only e-mail address to use.


Richard Hooper, ZS6RKE, the National JOTA/JOTI Coordinator for SCOUTS South Africa told SARL News that JOTA/JOTI 2017 is being held from 20 to 22 October. JOTA/JOTI 2016 was a very successful event nationwide, with a 400% growth in Amateur Radio stations and I would like to see this get better with each year.

Below is the latest link with information on hosting an event. Registration has not yet opened for this year, but is expected in the next week or two. I will send out further details once registration opens for the year. Visit

Please let me know if you have any queries or would like some assistance arranging Radio Amateurs for your event. I will endeavour to assist where possible. You can contact me at


The dates for the 2017 D-Star QSO Party has been announced. The QSO
Party will run from 22 to 24 September, visit for all the details.


The Contest Committee received 15 logs for the ZS2 Sprint held on Sunday 23 July 2017. The full results will be published in HF Happenings 763.

1st Mitch Rundle, ZS2DK - 109 points
2nd Hugo Ras, ZS2HR, 101 points
3rd Port Elizabeth ARS, ZS2PE - 74 points
4th Barry Nugent, ZS2NF - 74 points

Thank you to all who submitted logs and congratulations to Mitch!


Hannes Coetzee, ZS6BZP, reports that the solar activity is expected to be at low levels. There is currently only a single sunspot visible which poses little threat for solar flares. If you want to do your own frequency predictions, the expected effective sunspot number for the week will be around two. The 20 and 30 m bands will provide lots of DX fun. 60 m will be the best band during day time for shorter distance, local contacts. Please visit the website for further information.

Let us look at some upcoming events:

Today the closing date for your SARL HF Phone contest logs
16 August the closing date for your SARL YL Sprint logs
19 August the AMSATSA/SARL SDR Workshop at the NARC
19 and 20 August International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend and the ZS9V DXpedition to Robben Island
20 August SARL HF Digital Contest
26 August DMR Workshop at the NARC and the closing date for the September Radio ZS
27 August SARL HF CW Contest
2 September West Rand Flea Market
2 and 3 September IARU Region 1 and RSGB SSB Field Day
9 and 10 September SARL National Field Day

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

One of the highlights of the IARU Region 1 Youngsters on the Air (YOTA) event was the opportunity to talk to astronaut Paulo Nespoli, IZ0JPA, on the International Space Station from the ground station at Gilwell Park using amateur radio. On Tuesday evening, all three members of the South African team had a chance to ask Paulo questions.

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/3, and read by ..............

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


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Last modified: 14 April 2003