HAMNET Report 2 July 2017

Last weekend saw the ARRL’s annual Field Day contest, and this week saw the hundreds of inserts in the local newspapers around the US, as amateur radio in general, and emergency communications in particular, got the greatest publicity of the year there. I have been watching communications posts on Google all week, and it seems all the clubs who mounted field stations last weekend, had their activities written up in their local paper. There can be very few people in the US who have never heard of amateur radio, and the ARRL is to be congratulated on the way the public’s attention has been captured.

Not all reports I read were entirely positive. The ionosphere didn’t play along, of course, so contacts were down a bit on last year. A big contributor to difficulties was the problem of overloading of nearby receivers by transmissions on adjacent bands by other transmitters in the same deployment. Some operators had bandpass filters for each radio as it swung across the bands, but not everyone was so lucky. Some radios are more robust, and able to withstand adjacent band interference, but not all. Field Day allows one to test these things, and reflections of some operators are that they will not use, for example, Radio X next year, because they were flooded by interference. This is the inherent value of Field Day. Would that we could mount such a comprehensive weekend exercise in this country!

Friedrichshafen in Germany has posted an itinerary of some of its activities for the Hamfest on July 14 to 16. “Germany Welcomes the World” is the theme of the 2017 edition of Europe’s major annual Amateur Radio gathering, known simply as “Ham Radio” but more commonly called “Friedrichshafen,” the city on the shores of Lake Constance where it takes place each summer. ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, will head a League contingent to the event, which this year runs from Friday, July 14, until Sunday, July 16.

The 42nd edition of Ham Radio will feature some 200 exhibitors from 30 countries, including around 70 associations. This year, the German Amateur Radio Club (DARC) will celebrate the 45th anniversary of the founding of the Amateur Radio center in Baunatal and will welcome visitors to the Lake Constance Conference. Among its show activities, the DARC will sponsor a competition for radio or electronics kits suitable for young people. Young radio enthusiasts aged 11 and older should be able to assemble the kits within 30 minutes, without having to etch circuit boards.

There will be an on-site Amateur Radio flea market.

The Chair of the IARU Region 1 Youth Working Group, Lisa Leenders, PA2LS, has invited young radio amateurs to join the International Youth Meeting on Saturday, July 15, at 10 AM, in the Liechtenstein Room. The program will include a rundown of the youth contesting program at 9A1A, plus an open mic session, where participants can share their experiences on youth activities. “This is the moment to share your experiences on youth activities and to ask questions to other attendees,” Leenders said. Members of the UK YOTA 2017 team will be at Ham Radio in Friedrichshafen to receive the official Youth on the Air (YOTA) flag from the YOTA Austria 2016 team.

A Ham Rally will take place on Friday and Saturday, offering a varied program for young Amateur Radio operators between the ages of 8 and 18, and a Ham Youth Camp — organized by the fairgrounds and DARC for participants aged 27 and younger — will take place during all 3 days of Ham Radio 2017.

World Radiosport Team Championship 2018 (WRTC 2018), which takes place next July in Germany, will be a particular focus at Ham Radio 2017. The show will include an exhibit of WRTC equipment, plus a demonstration of the competition, as well as video presentations about WRTC 2018. Ham Radio sponsors say several other presentations at the show also will highlight the upcoming international event.

A foxhunt will be held in the wooded area near the fairgrounds on the final day of the show.

The concurrent and fourth annual Maker Faire will open its doors at the Fairground on Saturday and Sunday, offering creative minds and tinkerers ideas and accessories at about 80 exhibitors.

And don’t overlook the Emergency Communications meetings on Friday the 14th July that I mentioned last week.

Thank you to the weekly ARRL letter for these extracts.

I’d like to draw your attention to a slightly dated but very good series of “Basic Soldering Lesson(s)” from Pace Worldwide, to be found on the hackaday.com website. Definitely worth a watch if you want to brush up on your skills. If you can’t find the site, just Google the following words, all joined up by hyphens: key-to-soldering-pace-yourself and you’re sure to find the series. Enjoy the revision!

A quick revue of the dam levels in South Africa this week reveals that most of the provincial average capacities have gone down by one percentage point compared to last week, except the Western Cape, whose capacities have gone up by 2 percentage points compared to last week, but still 15 percentage points lower than this time last year. Urban areas in the Cape are experiencing about 5 to 10mm of rain a week at the moment, so irrigation is probably unnecessary now. The City of Cape Town has introduced harsher water restrictions as of yesterday, hoping that the population will use less that 87 litres of water per person per day. We’re not out of trouble yet!

This is Dave Reece ZS1DFR reporting for HAMNET in South Africa.