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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 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's 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.


The second of the three SARL HF Contests, the HF Digital Contest, is on the air this afternoon, 20 August, from 13:00 to 16:30 UTC with PSK31 and RTTY activity on 20, 40 and 80 metres. As for the HF Phone Contest, 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 email address for your log sheets is


Amateur Radio will be in the service of science on Monday 21 August, as a total solar eclipse causes the shadow of the Moon to traverse the USA from Oregon to South Carolina in a little more than 90 minutes, obscuring the sun completely for a few minutes at any given location along the way. The sudden absence of sunlight - and especially of solar ultra-violet and x-rays - is expected to briefly change the properties of the upper atmosphere.

A few hundred radio amateurs already have registered as participants in the Solar Eclipse QSO Party (SEQP), a special operating event organized by the Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation (HamSCI), which will contribute to the study of the eclipse's impact on the ionosphere. HamSCI's Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF, said those taking part in the SEQP do not have to be in the path of totality to contribute to the research.

"It is very important for people outside of eclipse totality to participate, because one of the questions we have is how large is the effect on the ionosphere," Frissell told the ARRL. "So, we actually need people well outside of where totality is occurring to identify those boundaries."

Frissell, an assistant research professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), said it is easy to be a citizen-scientist. Just getting on the air during the SEQP is a first step. Systems such as the Reverse Beacon Network (RBN), WSPRNet, and PSKReporter will automatically hear digital and CW transmissions and report back to their respective databases.

Despite more than 60 years of research, "open questions remain regarding eclipse-induced ionospheric impacts," Frissell explained in a paper, "HamSCI and the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse," that he'll deliver at the ARRL-TAPR Digital Communications Conference this year. He feels that radio amateurs' advanced technical skills and inherent interest in ionospheric science make them "ideal for contributing to - and participating - in large-scale ionospheric sounding experiments."

ARRL Contributing Editor Ward Silver, N0AX - a contributor to "HamSCI and the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse" - said the SEQP is simply a great way to experience the magic of radio.
[ARRL Letter]


The SA Digital Repeater Sub-Committee (SADRS) is running an event at the National Amateur Radio Centre from 10:00 to 17:00 CAT on Saturday 26 August 2017. This is a free event for SARL members and kits will be available for purchase.

The programme includes sessions about the BrandMeister DMR, D-Star and the Fusion Master Server, the MMDVM Homebrew Building Project and the MMDVM Hotpots projects and Different Digital Radios followed by a Practical MMDVM Demonstration.


The last of the three SARL HF Contests, the HF CW Contest, will be on the air next Sunday, 27 August, from 13:00 to 16:30 UTC with CW activity on 20, 40 and 80 metres. The exchange is a RST report and a consecutive serial number starting at 001.

There are two SARL trophies up for grabs in the CW contest, but you stand a chance to win more trophies if you participate in all three contests. Please note that the only email address for your log sheets is

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


Lightning Scatter is another VHF propagation mode, but two-way contacts have never been tried in South Africa. Many years ago, a FM broadcasting station in Durban on the 88 to 108 MHz FM band was heard in East London by ZS2FM during a lightning storm. Every time a lightning flash occurred, from a distant thunderstorm in the direction of Durban, the FM signal would pop out of the noise at full limiting and last for about ten seconds before it faded out. Recently radio bursts from lightning on 144,300 MHz SSB, emanating from ZS6CBQ at Krugersdorp, were picked up by ZS4A in Bethlehem, even though they were of very short duration the voice of ZS6CBQ was recognizable. This suggests that brief two-way contacts on 50 MHz should be possible on SSB, FM or Digital during a thunderstorm.

The late afternoon thunderstorms, normally experienced in the summer months around Johannesburg, could be a wonderful testing ground for a lightning project. Of course, only distant stations surrounding Johannesburg area would be able to participate, as all antennas will be grounded in the area where the storm is raging. If you are in Pretoria then beam at the storm in Johannesburg area and give a brief call during a lightning flash, while only listening during the next flash. If you can't see the lightning flash then call when you hear the static burst on receive. In theory, it should be possible to make contacts as far south as Bloemfontein. Who will be the first to a make a contact via Lighting Scatter on 50 MHz?


On Tuesday 15 August, the Highway Amateur Radio Club, ZS5HAM, held its Annual General Meeting for 2017. It proved to be a very interesting meeting followed by a finger supper which was enjoyed by all 36 members who were able to attend. A new Committee was elected consisting of:

Chairman - Peter Leonard, ZS5PL
Vice-Chairman - Max Rossi, ZS5MAX
Secretary - Peter Dormehl, ZS5HF
Treasurer - Kimmy Nair, ZS5KIM
Member - Keith Lowes, ZS5WFD, Glen Duffy, ZS5GD, Justin Wright, ZS5JW and Edmund Randall, ZS5ER

We wish to thank the outgoing committee for their service and welcome the new committee members.

At the Annual General Meeting of the West Rand Radio Club held the following new Committee was elected consisting of:

Chairman and website - Geoff Levey, ZS6C
Vice-Chairman and Technical manager - Nic van Duffelen, ZR6AEZ
Treasurer - Gert du Plessis, ZR6GRT
Secretary - Phillip van Tonder, ZS6PVT
Events Managers - Shane Clarke, ZS6SC, and George Voortman, ZS6GRG
RAE Manager - Stephen Reynolds, ZS6SJR
Club Managers - Gert du Plessis, ZR6GRT, and Phillip van Tonder, ZS6PVT
Contest Manager - Phillip van Tonder, ZS6PVT, and Geoff Levey, ZS6C
Anode Editor - Rory Crouch, ZS6RBJ
Public Relations Officer - Willem Weideman, ZS6X
Awards Manager - Nick Dreyer, ZS6NCK


Hannes Coetzee, ZS6BZP, reports that the solar activity is expected to be at low to moderate levels. There is currently only a single sunspot visible which harbours 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 three. The 20 and 30 metre bands will provide lots of DX fun. 60 metre will be the best band during day time for shorter distance, NVIS contacts. Please visit the website for further information.

Finally, a Diary of some upcoming events:

Today – the International Lighthouse Weekend and the 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
02 September - West Rand ARC Flea Market and Bloemfontein ARC AGM
9 and 10 September – the SARL National Field Day

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

The second of the three SARL HF Contests, the HF Digital Contest, is on the air this afternoon, 20 August, from 13:00 to 16:30 UTC with PSK31 and RTTY activity on 20, 40 and 80 metres.

This concludes our bulletin for this morning.

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 program, 'Amateur Radio Today' at 10:00 Central African Time. The program 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 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 Andy Cairns, ZS6ADY, edited by Dick Stratford, ZS6RO, and read by ..............

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


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Last modified: 14 April 2003