HAMNET Report 23 June 2019

As an example of a newspaper cover of the Field Day exercise taking place in America this weekend, here’s a report from Fair Lawn, in New Jersey.

Members of the Fair Lawn Radio Amateur Club will be participating in the national Amateur Radio Field Day exercise, beginning  Saturday, June 22nd at 2PM and ending Sunday, June 23rd at 1PM local time. The venue will be Memorial Park, c/o Avenue of Heroes/Berdan Avenue  in Fair Lawn. The event is open to everyone and refreshments will be served.

This year’s theme will feature a weekend of science and technology focused on radio science. The club will offer working demonstrations and present visitors with the opportunity to look at the Sun through a solar telescope to learn about its impact upon radio communications on earth; a satellite station offering the opportunity to communicate with orbiting satellites (and, quite possibly, the International Space Station); a chance to “get on the air” and talk with others around the country; to see a high frequency radio alternative to local land-based cellular communication; and to watch demonstrations of both the latest and earliest forms of radio transmitting.

As usual, the club will partner with other ham radio operators across North America establishing temporary ham radio stations in public locations during Field Day weekend, to showcase the science and skill of Amateur Radio. This year the Fair Lawn club will feature four working radio stations. “Field Day”, an annual event since 1933, demonstrates ham radio’s ability to work reliably under any conditions from almost any location and create an independent communications network. Ham operators train and prepare to support emergency communications by providing radio links when other communications channels aren’t working. The previous year’s hurricane disasters in Puerto Rico, Florida and Texas highlighted the value of amateur radio, which provided communications lifelines when all other methods were disabled.

This year’s event  also showcases the club’s work in public service. “In disasters, we’ve learned that cell towers won’t work and ham operators play a huge role when that happens.” said Brad Kerber, President of the Fair Lawn club. “Ham radio functions completely independent of the Internet or cell phone infrastructure, and can be set up almost anywhere in minutes. That’s the beauty of amateur radio during a communications outage.” “Hams can literally throw a wire in a tree for an antenna, connect it to a battery-powered transmitter and communicate halfway around the world,” Kerber added. “In today’s electronic do-it-yourself (DIY) environment, ham radio remains one of the best ways for people to learn about electronics, physics, meteorology, and numerous other scientific disciplines, and is a huge asset to any community during disasters if the standard communications infrastructure goes down.” Amateur radio remains contemporary and more important than ever!

Thanks to the TAPinto Fair Lawn online news service for this excerpt.

Southgate Amateur Radio News reports that the Radio Society of Australia (RASA) has written to the Australian Government radio regulator seeking an increase in output power from 400W to 1kW for advanced class amateurs.

RASA Secretary, Dr. Andrew Smith, VK6AS, produced a research/ background paper on how the issues of higher power at HF and EMR/I/C limits are managed in other countries.

The paper concludes that:

  • there is no health or occupational health reason preventing power limits for (Australian) Radio Amateurs in the HF/VHF/UHF bands to be increased; and
  • there is little or no evidence that suggests that an increase in power will increase complaints of RFI.

This seems to me to be a very progressive step, and would bring Australian regulations in line with large portions of the Amateur radio world. Let’s hope the request is granted.

Now to Friedrichshafen, Germany, where Delegations from ARRL and the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) are currently attending HAM RADIO 2019, the popular international Amateur Radio exhibition. Each year, a contingent from ARRL attends HAM RADIO, greeting its non-US members and networking with other national radio societies. Billed as Europe’s biggest Amateur Radio convention, HAM RADIO 2019 takes place from June the 21st to the 23rd on the shores of Lake Constance.

Attending on behalf of the IARU are President Tim Ellam, VE6SH/G4HUA; Secretary David Sumner, K1ZZ, and past IARU Secretary and ARRL President (1995 – 2000) Rod Stafford, W6ROD.

This year’s event marks the 44th HAM RADIO exhibition and the 70th Lake Constance Convention of Radio Amateurs, sponsored by Germany’s IARU member-society, the Deutscher Amateur Radio Club (DARC). The convention theme this year is “Amateur Radio on Tour.”

DARC Press Spokesperson Stephanie Heine, DO7PR, points out, “Radio amateurs know no bounds and are on land and water as well as in the air with their mobile ‘ham radio shacks.’ They like having the option of being reachable all over the world on their expeditions and getting to know new friends.”

Thanks to the ARRL Letter for those notes.

The indefatigable Keith Lowes ZS5WFD and his band of men are at it again, gearing themselves up for an event. He writes:

We have had almost a week’s rest since the Comrades Marathon so before we get withdrawal symptoms, our next event is the Scottburgh to Brighton Sand & Surf Marathon.

HAMNET KZN provided communications for this event yesterday, the  22nd June 2019. The event covered 46.5Km starting at Scottburgh on the South Coast, a compulsory check in at the beach in Amanzimtoti, and finishing at Brighton Beach on the Bluff in Durban. This is one of South Africa’s premier ocean paddling races and is definitely a blue ribbon event on the surfski calendar. Having begun in 1958, the event proudly holds the title of the oldest long distance surfski race in the world.  The race started at 06H30 provided that it was sufficiently light to ensure paddlers safety. Were weather conditions to be deemed dangerous, today was to be the alternate date.

Categories included double and single ski’s, kneeboard paddlers, and runners on the beach.

14 Hamnet operators were positioned at key points along the route to be able to advise the control station at Athlone Park of any incidents.  Communications were maintained with Inshore Rescue Boats(IRB’s) via a commercial simplex radio channel.  This was a joint operation involving Hamnet, Lifesaving South Africa, NSRI and eThekwini Lifeguards.

A Control Station was established at Athlone Park in Amanzimtoti, giving full 2M simplex radio coverage of the event.

Keep up the good work, Keith – you and your team are certainly putting the rest of HAMNET SA to shame!

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