National Centres for Environmental Information (NCEI) scientists have updated the world magnetic model (WMM) mid-cycle, as Earth’s northern magnetic pole has begun shifting quickly away from the Canadian Arctic and toward Siberia, an NCEI report said this week. While the new WMM more accurately represents the change of the magnetic field since 2015, it has no impact on propagation.
Updated versions of the WMM are typically released every 5 years. This update comes about 1 year early.
“This out-of-cycle update before next year’s official release of WMM 2020 will ensure safe navigation for military applications, commercial airlines, search and rescue operations, and others operating around the North Pole,” said NCEI, which is part of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). “Organizations such as NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration, US Forest Service, and many more use this technology. The military uses the WMM for undersea and aircraft navigation, parachute deployment, and more.” Other governmental entities use the technology for surveying and mapping, satellite/antenna tracking, and air traffic management. Smartphone and consumer electronics companies also rely on the WMM to provide consumers with accurate compass apps, maps, and GPS services.
Airport runways may be the most visible example of a navigation aid updated to match shifts in Earth’s magnetic field. Airports around the country use the data to give runways numerical names, which pilots refer to on the ground. The declination has changed slightly more than 2.5° over the past 2 decades or so. Compasses use declination — the difference between true north and where a compass points — to help correct navigation systems for a wide variety of uses.
Thank you to NOAA-NCEI for this report.
On the weekend of 26 and 27 January 2019 members of the Gauteng South and Vaal HAMNET Branches once again assisted the Rotary Club of South Africa with the annual Value Logistics Cycle Race held in Meyerton.
Glynn Chamberlain ZS6GLN, National HAMNET Director reports that over 30 HAMNET members were involved in various tasks including the setting up of a Joint Operation Centre, Installation of Radios and Trackers in emergency and event vehicles and the linking of repeaters.
All control vehicles, ambulances and control points were able to communicate with the JOC and live tracking was provided visually to enable the event organisers to deploy vehicles and manpower to problem areas. This gave the organisers an up to date live visual representation as to what was going on, on the ground. Emergency and sweep vehicles were able to be directed to each problem area with ease.
Glyn ZS6GLN, the JOC commander, and his team kept the race organisers abreast of developments, accidents and incident within seconds of them occurring.
Unfortunately three accidents were recorded for the day where cyclists had to be treated and taken to hospital. Numerous other riders were treated for minor injuries by the roving ambulances while the HAMNET ground crew provided mechanical support to the riders.
The Vaal Team provided food and refreshments for the team during the course of the weekend. A communal braai was held for the members who stayed overnight.
Despite the serious injuries and damaged cycles, the event was deemed a success with over 3700 cyclists participating.
The Gauteng South and Vaal teams have a positive attitude and the commitment to always strive in deploying more technology to assist in the coordination of communication events. New prototypes of APRS trackers were tested with success. Further to this, the updated trackers and dual band radios fitted to the service vehicles were also a major contributor to the successful coordination of the activities.
From this model of operations, more systems are fine-tuned to allow other Hamnet teams to also expand their capabilities. News of the Vaal trackers will follow in a couple of months allowing cheap and affordable APRS tracking for all radio amateurs.
Well done to all members who assisted. And thanks, Glynn for the report.
Meanwhile, here in Cape Town, HAMNET Western Cape helped to guarantee a successful “We benefit” 99er Cycle Tour yesterday, the 9th of February, in and around Durbanville.
Just short of 3000 cyclists rode the race, by far the majority choosing the 102km race, the rest opting for the 57km ride. The weather was good to hot, and the riders were happy to finish before 12pm, by which time the mercury was in the late 20’s.
Riders from Thinkbike marshalled the groups of cyclists and messaged in problem areas, and HAMNET provided 9 teams of roving marshals, patrolling consecutive portions of the race. All HAMNET rovers had APRS trackers, as did the 4 ambulances and one rapid response vehicle on the routes, and we provided a feed into the Metro bus which acted as the official medical JOC for the race. A temporary APRS digipeater was installed in the middle of the circuit, to improve beacons transmitted, and all trackers were visible in our HAMNET JOC.
We are aware of some minor injuries from a few falls, but no major calamities, and the cut-off times were very accurately planned, the back riders coming through each cut-off just before the gong, so to speak. So nobody except the voluntary retirees, were pulled off the race.
The organisers of the race were once again very gracious in their thanks to all volunteer groups, and HAMNET will be back again next year for our 12th participation in the event.
Thank you to the 14 operators who manned the JOC and did the roving. The organisers couldn’t have done without us.
This is Dave Reece ZS1DFR reporting for HAMNET in South Africa.