HAMNET Report 3rd May 2020

In amongst the pandemic news, we are also receiving news of heavy rains and flooding in a wide range of countries. The Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS) reported on Friday that Malaysia was experiencing strong rain, flooding and landslides, with more to come this weekend; Indonesia also experiencing heavy rain, affecting Java, Kalimantan, and the Northern Sumatra Islands, with resultant flooding and landslides; floods and flood warnings in Finland and in Georgia; heavy rain affecting most of Somalia states and territories, and parts of Ethiopia since the 20th of April; and then mopping up operations after Cyclone Harold struck the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, and Tonga last month.

Our planet seems to lurch from one natural disaster to another, doesn’t it!

The Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) has launched a major campaign — Get on the air to care (GOTA2C) — in association with the UK National Health Service (NHS) to help promote health and wellbeing within the amateur radio community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Now, more than ever, we need to optimize all modes of communication to help reduce loneliness and isolation within communities,” said Paul Devlin, of the NHS England Emergency Care Improvement Support Team. “Amateur radio provides a wonderful, unprecedented opportunity to help make this a reality.” The RSGB is urging radio amateurs in the UK and around the globe to get on the air to chat and “support each other across the airwaves.”

Radio amateurs can “get on the air to care” with a simple handheld transceiver.

RSGB General Manager Steve Thomas, M1ACB, said, “We want this campaign to inspire even more to get involved and also to use #GOTA2C when they share photos, videos, and news of what they’re doing on social media.”

Devlin said that GB1NHS, the UK’s National Health Service ham station, gives the NHS “the ability to reach communities anywhere in the world, regardless of geographic location or connection to domestic power supplies, land lines, cell phone, or internet services. It will be on the air as part of this campaign, so listen out for it!”

RSGB Communications Manager Heather Parsons said the campaign has attracted media coverage that included a spot on the BBC, plus a video of support from Spandau Ballet lead singer Tony Hadley. “We’re asking for photos and short video clips of support with the title #GOTA2C,” Parsons added, “and we’ll be using them in [the RSGB journal] RadCom and for our weekly Photo Friday on social media.”

Thanks to Heather Parsons, RSGB Communications Manager for these notes.

International Amateur Radio Union Region 2 (IARU-R2) says the response to an announcement of online emergency communication workshops was far beyond their expectations. Some 230 individuals have registered so far, and registration remains open. Given the degree of interest, the IARU-R2 Executive Committee has appointed Augusto Gabaldoni, OA4DOH, as workshops coordinator to set up processes for the initial group of workshop sessions and to develop and manage ongoing workshops for radio amateurs in IARU-R2.

Workshops will be available free of charge using the Zoom videoconferencing platform. IARU R2 says most workshops are already at or near capacity, but additional workshops are in development, along with a new online registration process. The recent schedule included WinLink 101 in Spanish, WinLink 101 in English, Satellite Communications 101 in Spanish, and, later, in English.

Those already registered will receive a confirmation email with the link and password for the event. Participants will be assigned to a workshop in the appropriate language.  Augusto Gabaldoni, OA4DOH, will handle requests for future workshop topics, volunteer speakers, or other comments or suggestions.

Thanks to the ARRL News for these excerpts from their newsline.

Phys.org reports that Chinese researchers have developed a plastic substitute, based on Cellulose Nanofibres which have excellent mechanical and thermal properties. CNF, which can be derived from plants or produced by bacteria, is one of the most abundant all-green resources on Earth. CNF is an ideal nanoscale building block for constructing macroscopic high-performance materials, as it has higher strength and modulus than Kevlar and steel, and lower thermal expansion coefficient than silica glass. Based on this bio-based and biodegradable building block, the construction of sustainable and high-performance structural materials will greatly promote the replacement of plastic and help us avoid the plastic apocalypse.

Recently, a team lead by Prof. Shu-Hong Yu from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) reported a high-performance sustainable structural material called cellulose nanofiber plate (CNFP) which is constructed from bio-based CNF and ready to replace plastic in many fields. CNFP has a high specific strength, four times higher than that of steel and higher than that of traditional plastic and aluminium alloy. In addition, CNFP has a higher specific impact toughness than aluminium alloy and only half of its density.

Unlike plastic or other polymer based materials, CNFP exhibits excellent resistance to extreme temperature and thermal shock. The thermal expansion coefficient of CNFP is close to ceramic materials, much lower than typical polymers and metals. Moreover, after 10 times of rapid thermal shock between a 120 °C oven and the -196 °C of liquid nitrogen, CNFP maintains its strength. These results show its outstanding thermal dimensional stability, which allows CNFP to have great potential for use as a structural material under extreme temperature and alternate cooling and heating. Owing to its wide range of raw materials and bio-assisted synthesis process, CNFP is a low-cost material—only $0.5/kg, which is lower than most plastic. With low density, outstanding strength and toughness, and great thermal dimensional stability, all of those properties of CNFP surpass those of traditional metals, ceramics and polymers, making it a high-performance and environmental-friendly alternative for engineering, especially for aerospace applications.

CNFP not only has the power to replace plastic (and save us from drowning in it), but also has great potential as the next generation of sustainable and lightweight structural material.

Now under normal circumstances, nursing can be a stressful profession. The COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbates it.

New research led by Marian Reven, a Ph.D. student in the West Virginia University School of Nursing, suggests that aromatherapy may reduce nurses’ on-the-job feelings of stress, anxiety, exhaustion and being overwhelmed. Her pilot study results appear in the  International Journal of Professional Holistic Aromatherapy.

“If we can improve our nurses’ emotional reserves and give them more resilience by using aromatherapy—give them a place to step back, to do some mindfulness—we’re doing a good thing at the other end of it by improving patient care,” she said.

Yes, well, compared to some of the smells nurses have to put up with as they tend to their sick patients, aromatherapy has just got to work!

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