The International Amateur Radio Union Region One website carries news of the YOTA 2018 in South Africa week, to be held in August. Nico, ZS6QL, President of the SARL writes that the event will be held in the beautiful central region of Gauteng at the Kopanong Hotel and Conference Centre easily accessible from the O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.
The week will offer many opportunities to learn more about amateur radio and getting to know fellow amateurs from various other countries.
Highlights planned for the week include learning about SDR technology with your own SDR dongle, building a mini CubeSat and experiencing launching it as well as tracking it into near space on a high altitude balloon. Also, learning about Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio (RaDAR), which is in essence amateur radio on the move, and building a QRP HF transceiver kit.
Then there will be a visit to a game reserve to view the Big Five, and some cultural experiences like a traditional braaivleis in an open-air boma, and operating the ZS9YOTA special events station.
The theme of “Train the Trainer” will be explored, to enable participants to return to their home countries, equipped and inspired to organize and promote radio amateur activities to other youth groups, or ultimately starting a youth group.
An item of technology used for the rescue of the 13 people trapped in the cave system in Thailand came from Israel, where a company called Maxtech Networks has developed a mesh capability which allows handheld radios in a cave system to talk to each other, by being relayed to each other by a third handheld somewhere between them. Radio amateurs recognise this capability as being similar to repeaters, where our signals go in to the repeater on one frequency, and are simultaneously retransmitted out on a different frequency to the next radio in the chain. However, with a mesh capability, the signal can be on the same frequency for the entire message path.
Uzi Hanuni, founder and CEO of Maxtech Networks was interviewed this week on CNN, and described his technology, which can daisy-chain the radio system to transmit video, voice and data as needed. Certainly good technology amongst rescue services.
And, since we’re talking about it, I’m sure you’ll join me in being hugely relieved that all 12 soccer players, and their adult coach were successfully rescued this week. It has been a very stressful time for the families of the victims. Tribute also needs to be paid to the senior diver who lost his life trying to ferry oxygen in to the trapped team. His efforts were not in vain.
In further watery disasters, the death toll from Japan’s record rainfall of last weekend stands now at 204, with another 40 people not accounted for. 6700 people are staying in evacuation shelters, nearly 5.9 million people were ordered to leave their homes in 19 prefectures due to landslides and flooding, and 203000 households are still without running water. It seems that the rain has stopped, but there is an enormous amount of clearing up and restoration of essential services still to be done. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cancelled his trip to Europe and the Middle East to oversee the Government response in the country.
Tropical Cyclone Maria-18 of last weekend crossed the Chinese Coast on Wednesday, and rapidly blew itself out, so that danger is over, without much damage or injury reported.
Off the Eastern American border with Canada, Hurricane Chris continued to track northeast at 37 kilometres per hour with sustained winds of 165 kilometres per hour, and was due to make landfall on the Avalon Peninsula late Thursday night as a post-tropical depression.
Rainfall in the affected area was likely to amount to 50 to 70 millimetres, with 80 to 100 kilometre per hour winds, and large surf.
A summary of rainfall figures in the provinces of South Africa shows all provinces except the Northern Cape’s averages as static or slightly up. The Northern Cape’s dams have emptied by 7 percentage points, compared to last week, now at 86% full. The Western Cape’s dams are up by 5 percentage points, to 47% full, compared to 24% full at this time last year. Our big dam, Theewaterskloof is standing at 38% full, as of yesterday afternoon, compared to 18.9% last year. Very reassuring indeed.
And snow reports in our area yesterday came from the Afriski Mountain Resort in Lesotho, and the Matroosberg, and Drakensberg mountains, as well as Sani Pass in to Lesotho. Snowreporter.co.za has plenty of pictures and videos of the snow on Saturday.
The ARRL News reports that IARU Region 1 Emergency Coordinator Greg Mossup, G0DUB, has posted a report on the Emergency Communications Meeting held at June’s Ham Radio event in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Mossup said some 20 emergency communicators attended the June 1 meeting, sponsored by the IARU.
“After the introduction and Region 1 report, there were interesting presentations followed by a good exchange of information in an open forum session, which carried on beyond the official closing time of the meeting,” Mossup said in his report.
He said Michal Wilczynski, SP9XWM, and Krzysztof Gaudnik, SP7WME, presented on emergency activities in Poland, followed by Herbert Koblmiller, OE3KJN, who discussed “Exercise Solar Flare,” which saw good cooperation between Austrian radio amateurs, the military, and service providers. Finally, Alberto Barbera, IK1YLO, and Marco, IU1GJE, spoke about the internet-linked DMR network they have been working on for use in emergencies and disasters.
HAMNET South Africa hopes you will bundle up and keep warm during this coldest period of South Africa’s Winter. With schools opening for the second semester this week, viral infections will be rife, so please be well prepared for the cold.
This is Dave Reece ZS1DFR reporting for HAMNET in South Africa.