HAMNET Report 4 August 2019

ARRL News reports that the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) next-generation Interoperable Radio System (IORS) successfully completed a battery of stress tests, required as part of the final certification of the hardware for launch to and operation on the International Space Station (ISS). The IORS consists of a JVC Kenwood D710GA transceiver and the AMSAT-developed Multi-Voltage Power Supply (MVPS). In early July, the equipment successfully completed a series of electromagnetic interference/electro-magnetic compatibility (EMC) tests to ensure that the ARISS hardware will not interfere with ISS systems or other payloads.

The IORS also successfully passed power quality and acoustics testing, which verified that the ARISS IORS will not introduce harmful signals back into the ISS power system and is quiet enough to meet ISS acoustic requirements. ARISS Hardware Team members Lou McFadin, W5DID, and Kerry Banke, N6IZW, were at NASA’s Johnson Space Centre to support the 2-week battery of tests in concert with the NASA test and certification team.

“Since the IORS is being qualified to operate on 120 V dc, 28 V dc, and Russian 28 V dc as well as transmit on VHF or UHF, a lot of test combinations were required to cover all cases,” Banke said. “Each input voltage type was also tested at low, medium, and high line voltage. Moreover, additional permutations were required to test the IORS under no load, medium load, and full load at each voltage level. So it should not be surprising that the tests took 2 weeks to complete.”

Successful completion of these tests represents a key milestone in preparing the IORS for launch. ARISS says it now can begin final assembly of the flight units and prepare for their safety certification before launch. ARISS is working toward launch-ready status by year’s end.

From a Blog entitled Bryan on Scouting, for Adult Scouting Leaders, comes proof that you can reach practically any corner of the globe via amateur radio. That’s the message K2BSA wanted to show Scouts at the World Scout Jamboree. Those in the amateur radio association launched four Mylar balloons from the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia, in hopes that one would catch the jet stream and end up on the other side of the world.

Each balloon, about 3 feet in diameter, was equipped with a global positioning system and an amateur radio transmitter. This combination of devices could relay information about weather conditions, the balloons’ movement and location. Solar panels power the transmitter, sending signals during daylight hours. Filled with high-grade helium, each balloon could reach a height between 28,000 and 32,000 feet — that’s nearly as high as most commercial planes fly.

The first balloon, launched on July 21, was only in the air for a few hours before it was last tracked northeast of The Summit, still in West Virginia.

The second balloon, however, which went up on July 24, sent its last message two days later — from Spain. Specifically, the balloon reported back from the north-central part of the country, near the village of Bordecorex.

The third balloon was launched on July 27. The next day, signals were sent back from New Jersey; and the next day, it appeared to be floating by Newfoundland.

“We’ll continue to monitor this payload as it progresses,” says Bill Stearns, K2BSA vice president.

The final balloon went up on July 29 and tracked in the opposite direction, last heard over eastern Kentucky.

The amateur radio association also arranged communication with the International Space Station on July 27. Scouts were able to ask astronaut and assistant Scoutmaster Andrew Morgan some questions about space and his 8-month mission in space.

For more than 60 years now, amateur radio has been a fun part of the World Scout Jamboree. The Jamboree-on-the-Air was launched during the 1957 World Scout Jamboree in the United Kingdom.

Southgate Amateur Radio News reports that, with two weeks to go, and 335 registrations received for the International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend so far, organisers are hoping for another 100 over the next 14 days.

Leading the field is Germany with 53 entries, USA with 48, Australia 39 and England 24. Just as important are the 17 countries with only one entry each some of which are sought after by DXers and award hunters. Some are the Canary Islands, Gibraltar, Panama Canal, Namibia, Latvia, Trinidad and Tobago, Serbia and Market Reef.

One entry worthy of note was received on Friday from GB2LG, the Wigtownshire ARC, for the Mull of Galloway Lighthouse. This club was a participant in the Northern Lighthouse Activity award 26 years ago, and which became the International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend in 1998.

GB2LG has been at the same lighthouse with the same call sign since 1993. There are several other entrants who have been in the ILLW continuously since 1998 and these have been acknowledged with an appropriate certificate.

Our reliable and trusty reporter, Keith Lowes, ZS5WFD, Director for HAMNET KZN reports that the Division will again be providing 12 operators to manage communications for the Kloof Conservancy 3 Falls Trail Run today the 4th August 2019, organised by the Kloof Conservancy. Operators assisting are: Keith Lowes ZS5WFD (Race Control/JOC), Dave ZS5DF, Terry ZS5TX, Troy ZS5TWJ,  Peter ZS5HF, Hettie ZS5BH, Geoff ZS5AGM, VAL ZS5VAL, Jitesh ZS5JM, Jason ZU5Z, Brad ZS5Z and Craig ZS5CD.  Last year saw us dealing with a number of medical emergencies that fortunately were not too serious. The race, now in its 8th year will start at 06H30. It covers a distance of 18,6Km through the Krantzkloof Nature Reserve, starting and ending at the Forest View Primary SchoolApproximately 350 runners have registered and at least 50 people have entered for the 6,5Km Fun Walk which starts at 06H45.

Keith says that communications will be on the 145.625 Highway Amateur Radio Club repeater with additional links to the JOC on the Ezemvelo Wildlife repeater system that the field rangers will be utilising.

Thanks for the news, Keith – we look forward to your race report in a future bulletin.

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