HAMNET Report 10th November 2019

Keith Lowes, ZS5WFD, he of HAMNET KwaZulu Natal fame, has written me a disturbing report of the Amashovashova Cycle race held last month. He writes:

“Justin ZS5JW and I attended the de-briefing of the event on Wednesday 6th November.  Justin worked in the main Durban JOC on race day.

“Weather predictions for Sunday 20th October had been reported to be favourable with the possibility of light rain in the afternoon. This couldn’t have been further from the truth.  From early in the morning you could feel the humidity building and by 08h00 it was already at very uncomfortable levels.  This resulted in numerous medical cases being treated for heat exhaustion.  Water shortages were also being reported from refreshment tables, although they had plenty of other soft drinks available.

“Unfortunately the event resulted in one casualty suffering a suspected heart attack and being attended by our Roving Patrol crewed by Deon ZS5DD and Dawie ZS5DDB  (Incidentally Dawie had only written the RAE on the Saturday preceding the race).  Deon reports as follows:

‘At approximately 12:35 pm whilst travelling Eastbound on the M13 approximately 100 meters before exit 28, we came across a cyclist that was lying on the ground.

‘He was being assisted by a bystander who had arrived in a vehicle that was parked next to the road.

‘We stopped to investigate and it soon became apparent that the cyclist was in serious need of medical assistance. We then requested medical assistance from Justin ZS5JW at Durban JOC.

‘We started assisting the bystander who had control of the scene, and who confirmed that the cyclist was breathing although his pulse was weak.

‘We assisted the bystander and after 5 minutes he pointed out that the cyclists pulse had stopped and that we should initiate CPR. We confirmed that there was no pulse and assisted with CPR, ZS5DDB, ZS5DD and the bystander taking turns.

‘Shortly after starting CPR a cyclist arrived (race number 2302) who clearly had medical training. He took over the scene and we continued with CPR under his direction.

‘We followed up with the JOC on the ambulance that arrived approximately 15 minutes later, and whose staff took control of the scene. The paramedics from ER24 defibrillated the patient and loaded him into the ambulance as it was extremely hot outside.’

“Unfortunately we learned later that the patient was declared deceased at hospital.  We extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends.

“The race Safety Officer, in conjunction with Ethekwini Disaster Management, made the decision to cut the race off at 12H00 outside Kearsney College in Botha’s Hill, and arrangements were made to supply buses to transport those competitors through to the finish at Suncoast Casino.

“Some of the resolutions taken at the debriefing:

  1. As a result of problems encountered on the 160Km route, this will be discontinued for next year, as the logistics required to manage this part are not sustainable for the number of participants that entered.
  2. Water table managers will be appointed by the organiser and not the water table sponsors, to ensure that sufficient supplies are on hand, as it is extremely difficult to move supplies between points once the race is underway”.

Keith thanks the operators that worked under extremely hot and uncomfortable conditions and in particular Willem ZS5WA, and Justin ZS5JW assisted by Kimmy ZS5KIM, who were put under extreme pressure, handling all of the requests, and who updated on incidents being reported through to the respective Pietermaritzburg and Durban controls.

The date for next year’s event has been confirmed as 18th October 2020.

Thank you for the full update, Keith.

Jim Wilson, K5ND, writing in the soon-to-be issued December QST Journal, reports on the 24th World Scout Jamboree, attended by 42000 scouts, both female and male, from 152 countries.

The theme was “Unlock a New World”, which was easy to do at the Summit Bechtel Scout Reserve in West Virginia. Among many other activities offered by the reserve, the Jamboree program activities covered a wide range of options, from exploring cultural differences, to working with robotics and technology, to examining sustainability programmes.

Amateur Radio has been a part of the World Scout Jamboree experience since 1947 in France with F9CQ/JAM. For 2019, the call sign NA1WJ was selected to demonstrate that this was a World Jamboree hosted by a North American team. The operation was hugely successful. Thirty-three staff members from Australia, Canada, Chile, Finland, Germany, Japan, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Zimbabwe came together to mesh different cultures and approaches to Scouting and Amateur Radio.

As a result, we introduced Amateur Radio to over 3,000 of the Scouts from around the world and completed over 4,000 two way contacts that covered 86 DXCC countries.

Scouts were given a brief overview of Amateur Radio and guided to an operating position, where a control operator took over to describe the equipment and the contact procedures. At that time, many stations in the ham community were standing by to provide the other side of the contact. Each Scout was able to get on the microphone, fill out a logbook card with the details, and receive a commemorative NA1WJ coin provided by Icom America on the way out of the tent.

We used the Icom IC-7300 for our HF stations, with their small footprint and easily viewed spectrum scope. We had separate stations for 40, 30, 20, and 17 meters. We also used Icom ID-5100A’s for 2 metres and 70 centimetres, working repeaters with Echolink and D-STAR. The IC-9700 was put into play for frequent satellite contacts.

Antennas included a rotatable 40-meter dipole, C3S triband Yagi, and a special 20/17- meter dual-band Yagi. In addition, we used dipoles for 30 and 80 meters as well as a 6-meter Yagi.

During the Jamboree, amateur radio direction finding, or foxhunting, activities were run, four pico-balloons with amateur radio payloads were flown, and a contact with astronaut Drew Morgan, KI5AAA, on board the ISS, was made.

The Scouts came away with a superb hands-on introduction to Amateur Radio. We hope that we planted seeds that will encourage them to investigate further the science, technology, fun, and magic of Amateur Radio when they get home.

Thanks to Jim, QST and the ARRL for this report.

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

HAMNET Report 3rd November 2019

Brian Jacobs, ZS6YZ reports that the Carnival City Macsteel Cycle Race took place over the weekend of 26th and 27th October 2019.

HAMNET Gauteng South was tasked with handling the communications for the event.

On Saturday 26th October, the Mountain Bike Race was run, starting and finishing at Carnival City. The Mountain Bike Race normally does not require too many resources and the team that handled the race consisted of Pieter ZS6PHS, Diederich ZS6DVL, Ettienne ZS6ET, Channette ZS6CAC, Neil ZS6NBX, Neil ZS6CKC, Henry ZS6IIX who ran the JOC, and Leon ZS6LMG. Even though it rained during the event, the day was successfully completed with no major mishaps.

Sunday 27th October saw a much larger team converging on Carnival City around 04:00 in the morning to set up the JOC and attend the briefing session at 05:15. The team was now Leon ZS6LMG, Linda ZS6LML, Johan ZS6DMX, Pieter ZS6PHS, Diederich ZS6DVL, Hannes ZS6EMS, Ettienne ZS6ET, Channette ZS6CAC, Neil ZS6CKC, Eugene ZS6ECJ, Brian ZS6YZ Don ZS6SSR, and Henry ZS6IIX.

Linda, Channette and Henry were responsible for handling all communications at the JOC, while the rest of the team manned the four water points, the 4 way stop on the Heidelberg road where the long and short routes split and later joined again, and the various roaming duties, such as following the lead cyclists, and responding to incidents along the route. Radio communications proved challenging at times including interference on the UHF repeater and keyed microphones being sat on. Despite these challenges the day was successfully completed with the HAMNET team sweeping the route and ensuring that even the last cyclist safely made it back to the finish.

Brian thanks all who participated and helped to make the event a success.

Now, here’s an unusual service that Amateur Radio can provide. News10 reports that local amateur radio operators will be staked out at bridges and overpasses over the Thruway across the Capital Region of New York State this Halloween.

The volunteers are trying to deter kids and young adults from throwing pumpkins on to traffic. Several cars and trucks have been hit in the past, causing injuries and car wrecks.

Hundreds of ham radio operators throughout the region are working with Troop T of the New York State Police to patrol those areas.

Episode 24 of TX Factor is a Hamfest 2019 special, reporting on some of the eye-catching products and services on display at this year’s event in Newark, says Southgate Amateur Radio News.

The videoblog investigates the current state of HF propagation, and celebrates 50 years of Nevada Radio, while Mike G1IAR tries out a few solder stations, and Bob G0FGX goes all soft over the Vintage Military Amateur Radio Society’s vintage AM radios.

And to cap it all, there’s a demonstration of the latest rig from Yaesu.

Google TX Factor, or search for it on YouTube, to view the programme.

MyBroadBand reports that South African car thieves are using sophisticated hardware and techniques to bypass vehicle security systems and steal cars in minutes.

A recent report from IOL detailed how a criminal syndicate in Durban used diagnostic key readers to steal cars that use transponder or chip keys.

After a spate of car thefts in the last few weeks, the police and the Amanzimtoti Community Crime Prevention Organisation (CPPO) arrested four men they suspected were behind the incidents.

The police also seized a load of car theft tools, which included 15 computer boxes, 35 ignition switches, and a walkie-talkie capable of scanning police radio frequencies.

Since the 1990s, many cars have used transponder or chip keys linked to their on-board diagnostics computers.

These keys contain a computer chip which is used for authentication. Once plugged into the ignition, the Engine Control Unit (ECU) transmits a code to the key.

A key with the correct code will respond with a message to the ECU that allows the car to start.

To program these keys, a number of diagnostic devices have been developed, which can be used to extract data from the vehicle’s computer box.

Variations of the devices are used by locksmiths to copy keys for customers who need to replace a lost key or remote.

It is worrying to note, however, that these devices can easily be purchased online.

A security company based in Gauteng told MyBroadband that car thieves in the province have been caught using similar techniques.

One of these techniques involves using old on-board diagnostic computer boxes.

The thieves pull these boxes from old vehicles in scrap yards or grab them from cars stolen in an earlier incident.

They then use the diagnostic key reader to extract data from the computer box and use this information to recode a stolen or purchased programmable key to link with the particular box.

When the criminals head out to find potential targets, they take the reprogrammed key and linked computer box with them.

Once they break into a car, they quickly switch out the installed computer box with their reprogrammed hardware.

After this is done, the reprogrammed key can be used to start the ignition, lock or unlock doors, and control the alarms.

If the criminals struggle to replace the computer box, they also often have a set of different ignition switches on hand.

Replacing the car’s ignition switch with their own simply allows them to use a key that already fits into the switch.

The security company added that police often find illegally-acquired hand-held radios in the possession of car thieves..

Certain versions of these devices are capable of receiving transmissions on radio frequency bands dedicated to emergency services like the police.

Purchasing one of these radios usually requires an amateur radio licence, but the security company noted that these could easily be bought illegally from several shops.

The report also has pictures of a collection of keys, computer boxes, ignition switches and hand-helds that were seized in Amanzimtoti.

Finally, HAMNET South Africa would like to congratulate the South African rugby team on winning the Rugby World Cup yesterday. It was a hard-fought final, and a fine end to a very entertaining rugby competition.

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