Alister van Tonder, ZS1OK, has provided us with a summary of the activities of HAMNET members during a recent event. He writes:
A team of six HAMNET operators provided communications support at the Wildrunner Kogelberg event on Saturday, 10th of August. The team consisted of: Matt ZS1MTF and Grant ZS1GRC as team 1, Ian ZS1OSK and Ann ZS1AMS as team 2 and Douw ZS1DGK and Alister ZS1OK at the base.
When things run smoothly during the event, and it is a brilliant spring day with hardly a breath of wind, compared to last year when the jumping castle ended up in the breakers due to strong winds and tents had to be taken down for safety reasons, this year ran smoothly and effective updates and feedback were provided. As usual team 1 always have a bit of a runabout from their initial position to a site with a superb view over Kleinmond and the sea.
As before, cellular APRS was utilized to track the XL-route and Long route sweeps, who had the responsibility to ensure that no runners were left behind on the track. As a result, they were the last to return to the finish line. Having this information on hand, and being able to track the other HAMNET operators via APRS ensured race control was always informed of vital movements of support staff. Having the positions available and accessible on APRS ensured all operators were informed of all the activity relevant to the event. While using an RF iGate/Digi would be possible, 95% of the route has good GSM coverage and would not warrant the risk of the iGate/Digi being stolen, or requiring an additional operator just to keep an eye on it.
The briefing session commenced at 06:45 in the morning and the team stood down at 14:35. This was Grant ZS1GRC’s first opportunity to assist at one of these trail events, although he previously also assisted at the Two Oceans Marathon.
Thank you to all of you, and especially Alister, for keeping HAMNET’s flag flying high.
Now we move to the Caribbean, where ARRL news reports that the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) has been closely watching the progress of Hurricane Dorian and activated on Saturday at 2100 UTC, and will remain in continuous operation on 14.325 MHz and 7.268 MHz.
Over the past 24 hours, the hurricane’s forecast track has shifted slightly, which will take the storm over the northern Bahamas before it strikes south-eastern Florida.
As of 1500 UTC on Friday, Dorian was some 760 km east of the north-western Bahamas and about 1000 km east of West Palm Beach, Florida. Maximum sustained winds were 176 kph (making it a Category 2 hurricane) and moving to the northwest at 16 kph.
“The new forecast track does not look good,” HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, observed. “The Bahamas are forecast for a direct hit late this (Sunday) afternoon when Dorian is a Category 4 hurricane. Next stop is currently forecast to be near West Palm Beach as a strong Category 3 hurricane.” Graves said that after it makes landfall, Dorian is expected to turn to the northwest and move up Florida’s east coast.
“No matter the location of landfall, suffice it to say that, unless something major changes, a huge area of Florida will be impacted by this storm,” Graves said.
According to the National Hurricane Centre:
- Life-threatening storm surge and devastating hurricane-force winds are likely in portions of the north-western Bahamas, where a hurricane watch is in effect. Residents should execute their hurricane plans and heed advice from local emergency officials.
- Life-threatening storm surge and devastating hurricane-force winds are likely along portions of the Florida east coast by early this coming week, but it is too soon to determine where the highest storm surge and winds will occur. Residents should have hurricane plans in place, know if they are in a hurricane evacuation zone, and listen to advice given by local emergency officials.
- A prolonged period of storm surge, high winds, and rain is likely in portions of Florida into this week, including the possibility of hurricane-force winds over inland portions of the Florida peninsula.
- Heavy rains are expected over portions of the Bahamas, Florida, and elsewhere in the south-eastern United States this weekend and into the middle of the coming week.
ARRL Headquarters remains in monitoring mode and has been in regular contact with ARRL’s partner agencies. Thank you to ARRL News for this report.
Now, here’s bad news for those who use vapour inhaling devices in place of cigarettes.
Authorities in the United States are investigating around 150 cases of severe lung disease which they believe could be linked to e-cigarette use or vaping.
Between 28th June and 20th August this year, at least 149 possible cases of severe lung illness associated with e-cigarette product use were reported by 15 states, primarily among adolescents and young people.
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in many of the cases, patients reported a gradual start of symptoms including breathing difficulty, shortness of breath and/or chest pain before hospitalization. Some cases additionally reported mild-to-moderate gastrointestinal illness and fatigue.
In a statement, the CDC said available evidence does not suggest that an infectious disease is the principle cause of the illness. While a cause has not yet been identified, all reported cases had used e-cigarette products or had been vaping.
It also noted that in many cases, patients acknowledged the recent use of tetrahydrocannabinol-containing products (marijuana); however, it said no specific product has been identified in all cases, nor has any product been conclusively linked to illnesses.
“Even though cases appear similar, it is not clear if these cases have a common cause or if they are different diseases with similar presentations,” the CDC said.
In a subsequent news release mentioned on the same website, Robert R Redford MD, Director of the CDC said:
“We are saddened to hear of the first death related to the outbreak of severe lung disease in those who use e-cigarette or “vaping” devices. CDC’s investigation is ongoing. We are working with state and local health departments and FDA to learn the cause or causes of this ongoing outbreak.
“This tragic death in Illinois reinforces the serious risks associated with e-cigarette products. Vaping exposes users to many different substances for which we have little information about related harms – including flavourings, nicotine, cannabinoids, and solvents. CDC has been warning about the identified and potential dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping since these devices first appeared. E-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, pregnant women, or adults who do not currently use tobacco products.”
Thanks to Univadis.co.za for these notes of warning.
And, in late news just handed to me, Icom Japan has surprised the amateur fraternity with the announcement of a small HF/VHF/UHF SDR transceiver putting out 10 watts, and called the IC-705. Look out for it on YouTube channels and Icom announcements. And remember, you heard it here first.
This is Dave Reece ZS1DFR reporting for HAMNET in South Africa.