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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]

The South African Radio League broadcasts a news bulletin each Sunday in Afrikaans as well as English at 08:15 and 08:30 Central African Time respectively on HF as well as on various VHF and UHF repeaters around the country. The bulletin is relayed on Echolink by Johan, ZS6JPL. A podcast is available on the League website. Audio and text bulletins may be downloaded from the League website at where you can also 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 closing date to register for the VHF workshop is midnight Wednesday 17 July 2019 to allow for catering arrangements to be made. The AMSAT SA dual band Yagi is now back in stock and can be ordered for taking delivery at the workshop. Get details from

When designing an antenna system, a number of important factors must be considered. We need to look at the basics which many times do not seem important. Old tales wants us to believe that anything we do with an installation will work. In fact - any system will work. The important aspect is how well will a system function? If we want to get the best possible results, we need to take note of some basic aspects. Find out more about all the factors that make an antenna work well or just occupies space. Do not miss Pine Pienaar, ZS6OB's presentation at the VHF Workshop on Saturday 20 July.


In SARL News of 7 July, it was reported about the CW activities centred around 7 035 kHz and 3 545 kHz after hours and over weekends. Yesterday afternoon, the group had a CW Fun Festival on 40 metres.

Andy, ZS6ADY has offered to conduct CW lessons every Wednesday evening starting from Wednesday 7 August starting at 19:30 via the Sandton Club repeater. The aim is to assist the Hammies, newly licenses Radio Amateurs and all of those who want to brush up on their CW.


On Wednesday evening 17 July, the third SARL 80 m Club Sprint takes place from 17:00 to 18:00 UTC with CW and phone activity. The exchange is a RS or RST report and your four figure grid square. At this stage the West Rand ARC are in the lead with the Boland ARC in second place and the Bo-Karoo ARC in third place. Find the rules of page 38 of the March 2019 Radio ZS.

The Winter QRP Contest takes place from 12:00 to 15:00 UTC on Saturday 20 July with CW and phone activity using 5 Watts or less. The first hour is restricted to the 40 metre band and the remaining two hours can be on any HF contest band. The exchange is a RS or RST report and your 6 figure Grid locator.

The ZS2 Sprint is on the air from 14:00 to 15:00 UTC on Sunday 21 July 2019 with CW and phone activity on 40 metres. The exchange is a RS or RST report and your provincial or country abbreviation.

The Rules can be found on pages 45 and 56 of the 2019 Blue Book, the log sheets are available from the Contest page on the League web site.


The SARL News team has vacancies for a Bulletin compiler/editor, one English and two Afrikaans proof-readers. The News team works with three groups made up of a news editor and an English and Afrikaans proof-reader, we have four English and four Afrikaans readers. If you want to join the New team, contact Dennis at or Anette, ZR6D at

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


Dr Tony Phillips reports that Solar Cycle 25 is coming to life. For the second time this month, a sunspot from the next solar cycle has emerged in the sun’s southern hemisphere. Numbered “AR2744”, it is inset in this magnetic map of the sun’s surface from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory:

How do we know this sunspot belongs to Solar Cycle 25? Its magnetic polarity tells us so. Southern sunspots from old Solar Cycle 24 have a -/+ polarity. This sunspot is the opposite: +/-. According to Hale’s Law, sunspots switch polarities from one solar cycle to the next. AR2744 is therefore a member of Solar Cycle 25. Solar cycles always mix together at their boundaries. Right now, we are experiencing the tail end of decaying Solar Cycle 24. AR2744 shows that we are simultaneously experiencing the first stirrings of Solar Cycle 25. The transition between Solar Cycle 24 and Solar Cycle 25 is underway. Short-lived “ephemeral sunspots” belonging to Solar Cycle 25 have already been reported on 20 December 2016; 8 April 2018; 17 November 2018; 28 May 2019 and 1 July 2019. The sunspot spotted on 6 July is more important than those earlier examples because it has lasted long enough to receive a numerical designation: AR2744. Record-keepers will likely mark this as the first official sunspot of Solar Cycle 25.

This development does not mean Solar Minimum is finished. On the contrary, low solar activity will probably continue for at least another year as Solar Cycle 24 decays and Solar Cycle 25 slowly sputters to life. AR2744 is an important sign, however, that the next solar cycle is approaching.


International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) President Tim Ellam, VE6SH/G4HUA, said his organization empathizes with the concerns of radio amateurs worldwide regarding a French proposal to allocate 144 - 146 MHz to the Aeronautical Service on a primary basis, essentially sharing it with Amateur Radio. The band is currently allocated to Amateur Radio on a primary basis around the world. Ellam this week offered assurances that the IARU is on top of the matter, which is still a regional issue and is already working to keep the band in the hands of radio amateurs. While the issue could end up on the agenda of World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 (WRC-23), a lot would have to happen first.

"There is a lot of misinformation circulating as to what the proposal is seeking and how IARU is responding to it," Ellam told the ARRL. "While the proposal is a concern, petitions and the like, while well intended, are going to have very limited value and, in fact, may harm the steps being taken in the regulatory environment."

The French proposal, submitted last month to a pre-WRC-19 European Conference of Telecommunications and Postal Administrations (CEPT) meeting, included 144 - 146 MHz within a range of frequencies to be studied for future airborne, non-safety applications in the Aeronautical Service. Germany opposed the move and the IARU "objected strongly," Ellam said. "Nonetheless, the proposal was carried forward to the next meeting of the CEPT Conference Preparatory Group in late August." IARU anticipates that other countries attending the August meeting will oppose the inclusion of 144 - 146 MHz as a frequency range to be considered for the WRC-23 agenda, Ellam said.

Since the June meeting, IARU Region 1 (Europe, Africa, and the Middle East) has asked its member-societies to contact their national administrations (i.e., governments) to explain the importance of the 144 - 146 MHz primary allocation, Ellam recounted. "IARU is also taking other actions to make its views known to those involved in the proposal," he said.
"If accepted as a WRC-23 Agenda Item, this proposal would require 4 years of studies by administrations," Ellam stressed. "Considering the challenges of sharing spectrum with aeronautical systems, it seems inevitable that the conclusion of such studies would be that sharing with a widely used part of the amateur spectrum presents too many problems to be viable."

Ellam encouraged individual radio amateurs who want to help to become members of their IARU member-society. "If anything," Ellam concluded, "this recent news should serve as a timely reminder that defence of the amateur spectrum does not just happen. Your Member Societies and the IARU constantly work at defending the amateur allocations."


Hannes Coetzee, ZS6BZP, reports that the solar activity is expected to remain at low levels. There are currently no sunspots visible. If you want to do your own frequency predictions, the expected effective sunspot number for the week will be around one. The 18 to 30 m bands may provide some DX fun. Please visit the website for further information.

Finally, a Diary of some upcoming events:

15 July – Closing date for Newbie Logs
20 July – the SARL/AMSAT SA VHF Workshop at the NARC and the Winter QRP Contest
21 July – the ZS2 Sprint
25 July – the closing date for the August Radio ZS
27 and 28 July – the RSGB Islands on the Air contest
29 July – the closing date for log sheets for the RaDAR Challenge, QRP contest and ZS2 Sprint
3 Aug – the Pretoria ARC Flea Market
4 Aug – the SARL HF Phone contest

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

The closing date to register for the VHF workshop is midnight Wednesday 17 July 2019 to allow for catering arrangements to be made. The AMSAT SA dual band Yagi is now back in stock and can be ordered for taking delivery at the workshop. Get details from

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. A rebroadcast by Andy, ZS6ADY can be heard on Monday evenings at 19:30 Central African Time on 3 620 kHz. We welcome your signal reports, comments and suggestions; please send these by e-mail to

You have listened to a news bulletin compiled by Andy Cairns, ZS6ADY, 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