HAMNET Report 29th August 2021

Hurricane Season continues to exert its effect on the Americas and the Caribbean. Some old ones are still around, some new ones are popping up almost on a daily basis. No serious category four storms yet, but heavy rainfall, and property damage evident in lots of countries and islands.

Henri moved up the eastern coast of North America this week, and came ashore between Rhode Island and Connecticut, and weakened as it crossed into Wisconsin. It was forecast to turn north-east and exit land via Massachusetts, dissipating in the north Atlantic.

Grace made landfall last weekend over the eastern coast of Veracruz, Mexico, as a category three hurricane, and caused 8 deaths, with many municipalities suffering damage. It was expected to last until about last Tuesday.

Hurricanes Grace and Henri drew the attention of weather spotters over the past week. The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN), which tracked both storms to gather weather data for the National Hurricane Center (NHC), was able to stop operations at 1800 UTC on August 22 after watching Grace make two landfalls in Mexico.

All told, the HWN racked up a combined total of 27 hours on the air — with two activations for Hurricane Grace and two for Hurricane Henri. Only one station reported from Mexico, but the net remained available to assist in any capacity needed.

Meanwhile Venezuela in South America was also suffering. Reports of heavy rainfall and widespread flooding started to emerge on Wednesday, and Greg G0DUB relayed a message from Carlos CO2JC, IARU Region 2 Emergency Communications coordinator saying that he had received information from Messrs. Alfredo José Medina Alvarez, YV5SF, president of the Venezuelan Radio Club and Luis E. González, YV5KKT, Chief of Operations of the National Emergency Network, that, since that morning they were activated to support communications to Civil Protection with the sectors of the state of Mérida that were affected by the rains, since they were cut off by landslides on the access roads and by telephone communications due to cuts in the electrical system. [They deduced] that the electric power plant was covered by mud.

They also informed Carlos that there were people missing due to the rains, which were still falling. The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela was coordinating aid to the affected areas.

At noon on Tuesday they were waiting for the state’s emergency care teams to arrive in the areas with VHF and HF communication equipment to be able to report on the condition of the residents of the affected regions.

Venezuelan colleagues were using 7135 kHz in the 40m band for communication with the affected areas.

On Thursday, a category one storm, called Nora was announced, on the Western coast of Mexico, moving North-west up the coastline with wind speeds of up to 120km/h, and threatening one hundred and sixty thousand people up that coastline.

Also on Thursday, a hurricane called Ida, was announced, with wind speeds up to 220km/h, moving North-west across the Caribbean ocean, and heading over Cuba in the direction of New Orleans, potentially threatening one and a half million people.

On Friday, Greg relayed another message from Carlos CO2JC saying that, taking into account the proximity, evolution and trajectory of the tropical storm Ida that threatened western Cuba, during the night and early morning the emergency networks of amateur radio operators were activated in the western provinces.

The province of Pinar del Río and the Special Municipality of Isla de la Juventud activated their networks on Thursday night and the provinces of Artemisa, Havana and Mayabeque did so early in the morning on Friday.

The National Emergency Network was to be activated at 12:00 UTC on the frequencies 7.110 MHz (priority) and 7.120 MHz (secondary), as well as on the repeaters and live frequencies of the provinces and municipalities in the 2m band.

After all that weather, I think we need a bit of contrasting news.

On Tuesday the 24th, Jan Rozema, PA0NON, emergency comms coordinator for the Netherlands, announced that their organization will be holding a JS8Call exercise next Saturday, the 4th of September, in two parts. Operating on 7078KHz on both occasions, there will be an hour long session from 08h00 to 09h00 UTC, and a second three-hour session starting at 10h00 and ending at 13h00 UTC. Their group name will be @solarf21, and their station call will be PI9D. Jan extends an invitation to all IARU region 1 operators to take part.

Here’s a problem that will never befall South Africa! It has to do with bullet trains. Patentlyapple.com notes that, when it comes to high-speed trains, China’s rail system is in a class by itself, according to the Railway Gazette International’s latest World Speed Survey. China’s fastest trains, the G17 and G39 trains between Beijing and Nanjing, reached a top speed of 317.7 km/h during their test period, slightly below their maximum speed of 350 km/h. But this data point doesn’t begin to capture China’s complete domination of the world’s high-speed rail race. Europe also has a number of high-speed trains. In the US, progress is slow but it’s beginning to happen throughout the U.S.

So now is the time for Apple to address the needs of passengers on these new high-speed trains and [this week] they were granted a patent titled “High speed train in new radio (NR),” that covers techniques for employing new radio (NR) communications for high-speed train environments.

[The problem appears to be that decent LTE coverage on a train travelling so fast is difficult to guarantee or manage.]

[So what is needed] is user equipment (UE) velocity-oriented mobility management for long term evolution (LTE) networks for high-speed trains capable of about 200 km/h or more. As more users increasingly take high speed trains as their first choice of travel mode, and more cities are being connected by high-speed railway, operators are trying to provide better coverage along the railway better to serve the users on high-speed trains.

Thanks to patentlyapple.com for these excerpts from their article.

I think we have a long way to go before connectivity on board trains becomes a problem in South Africa!

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

HAMNET Report 22nd August 2021

The 7.2 magnitude earthquake on the island of Haiti last week resulted in at least 1400 fatalities, about 7000 injuries, and 83000 houses damaged or destroyed. Assistance from various parts of the world is only starting to arrive now.

In the meantime, Tropical Cyclone Grace sweeping past nearby is complicating rescue efforts and the situation of those that have been displaced. Grace is moving more or less due west across the Bay of Mexico aimed directly at Mexico, with maximum wind speeds of 140 km/h, possibly affecting 3.7 million people in that region.

Tropical cyclone Henri is moving North East away from the east coast of North America, and last week’s Linda has drifted off from the West coast of Mexico in the general direction of Japan, neither causing much distress. Tropical Cyclone Fred has dissipated near the Florida panhandle.

The Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre, in conjunction with the South African Weather Service, is holding a training session on 1st September for Search and Rescue operators.

SA Weather Service has a function available on their Aviation website ( aviation.weathersa.co.za ) in which flight plan routings can be input and a weather summary generated. During an aeronautical SAR operation, where required, the ARCC will send out a generated report in PDF format to the On Scene Commander/Rescue Officer/Station Commander of the weather forecast. This is in an abbreviated format containing a lot of useful information. Ms Lauren Smith, Forecaster at the Cape Town Weather officer, SAWS, has kindly availed herself for an information session and will be going through a weather report to explain the information contained within.

The session will take place on the 1 September 2021 at 19h00 on Microsoft Teams. The Link has been shared with contacts in each SAR organisation.

Hamnet members have been encouraged in each division to register for the session, whereafter the virtual meeting details will be emailed to you. Please make contact with your Regional HAMNET Director if you haven’t done so already.

Sometimes amateur radio can help in most devious ways. Sometimes a call to the wrong number can end up going to the right people.

Bill Scott, a resident of California’s San Joaquin County, helped save his best friend’s life earlier this summer thanks to his trusty ham radio, CBS station KOVR reported.

Back in June, Bill — who has been an amateur radio operator for four decades — received an unusual call.

“I thought it was a prank call at first,” he told the outlet.

Eventually, Bill figured out that his friend Skip Kritcher, who lived 500 miles away in Oregon, had mistakenly dialled his number — and was in need of help. Bill’s wife, a retired nurse, was the one to realize Kritcher was having a stroke.

“The speech that he had was slurred and my husband couldn’t seem to keep him on task, he was skipping all over and confused,” Sharon told the CBS affiliate in Sacramento.

After realizing what was going on, Bill and his wife called 911. They were able to get Kritcher the help he needed. Afterwards, one family member told the couple that they saved the Oregon man’s life.

“She said that the EMT told her that he would’ve died within a couple of hours,” said Sharon. These days, Kritcher is on the mend — and is still in touch with his life-saving friend.

“Just a miracle that he called the wrong number and got us,” Sharon told KOVR, “and we were able to do something to help him.”

Thanks to uk.sports.yahoo.com for this report.

Now Imperial College London reports that the European Space Agency RadCube mission has launched with the aim of testing new technologies for monitoring potentially devastating space weather.

The RadCube mission is potentially the first step in a new era of monitoring space weather – the variations in the solar wind coming from the Sun, which can disrupt and damage satellites and infrastructure on Earth. On board is a miniature magnetometer instrument made at Imperial.

“We can’t wait to get our first data back on what we hope will be a step-change in our ability to monitor space weather”, said Dr Jonathan Eastwood

RadCube is a ‘CubeSat’ mission – designed to use smaller, cheaper and lower-power components than traditional space missions. CubeSat spacecraft are typically constructed upon multiples of 10 × 10 × 10 cm cubes, and RadCube is made up of three of these base units.

Space weather is a significant threat to infrastructure resilience, as it can affect power grids, navigation, and radio communications. Space weather is listed on the UK National Risk Register, and is increasingly recognised as a major issue, given the increasing role of advanced technologies in all aspects of everyday life.

The technologies in RadCube, if proven to work well in space, could be used in a range of future missions, such as constellations of multiple small satellites working together to measure the solar wind. A constellation of space weather satellites in near-Earth space would be invaluable for monitoring and forecasting space weather events, such as coronal mass ejections, solar flares, and geomagnetic storms.

Members of Imperial’s Department of Physics created a mini magnetometer instrument for RadCube called MAGIC – (MAGnetometer from Imperial College). MAGIC will measure disturbances in the Earth’s magnetic field caused by geomagnetic storms.

The individual detectors on MAGIC are less than a millimetre in size, and the total instrument sensor is only eight centimetres cubed, weighing in at just 23 grams. This is in comparison to the sophisticated magnetometers the lab builds for large and expensive space missions, such as the recent  Solar Orbiter mission and the upcoming JUICE mission, which are much larger and weigh several kilograms.

The MAGIC instrument also uses less than a watt of power, compared to up to 20 watts for the larger instruments. While MAGIC is not as sensitive as these larger instruments, as it is much cheaper to build and uses far less power, the technology could be carried on several spacecraft working in tandem. In this way, the lower-quality data is compensated for, by a much larger volume of data.

And so we come closer to understanding and predicting space weather.

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

HAMNET Report 15th August 2021


Now it is the turn of the Americas to get their share of the tropical storms. Given the unlikely names of Fred and Kevin, Tropical Depression Fred is currently moving North-west, and likely to be affecting Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and then Florida by now. At the time of writing this, Fred’s wind speeds had not reached 100km/h yet.

And Tropical Depression Kevin, is moving North-west in the Pacific ocean, parallel to the coast of Mexico, currently with wind speeds of about 95km/h. There is no danger to human life yet.

I don’t know about you, but I’m struggling to take a tropical storm named “Fred” seriously!

Flooding, however, is always serious. A report from Phys.org notes the causes, patterns and effects of disastrous river floods.  An international group of researchers led by GFZ hydrologist Bruno Merz has investigated this question in a review article published in the journal Nature Reviews Earth and Environment. The short answer: It’s complicated. What is certain, however, is that there is an opposing trend of property damage and personal injury. Since the 1990s, the number of fatalities from river floods has declined worldwide, but the amount of damage has risen sharply. The researchers attribute the decline in casualties to improved flood warning, technical protection measures and heightened hazard awareness.

Asia is the worst hit by floods worldwide: “More than ninety percent of the people affected by flood disasters live in Asia,” says Bruno Merz. The head of GFZ’s Hydrology Section cites a few reasons: “There are huge floodplains of large rivers there, and that’s exactly where many people live together.”

On a long-term average, 125 million people are affected by a disastrous river flood every year. They have to leave their homes, suffer financial losses, are injured, or are even killed. The most dramatic events are those where dams or dikes suddenly break, with flash floods such as the recent ones in Germany and Belgium. The global economic losses from flooding of about 100 billion USD result from both major flood disasters and many smaller, less dramatic events, i.e., as a cumulative effect.

As far as the causes are concerned, the researchers have identified a whole network of factors. These include socioeconomic reasons (poverty, population growth, and higher values in flood-prone regions) as well as natural ones, above all climate change. However, for an extreme weather event to become a disastrous flood, other conditions must be added, such as a lack of awareness of hazards or non-existent or failing protection and warning systems. “The primary focus must therefore be on reducing the vulnerability of communities,” says Bruno Merz. The decline in the number of victims worldwide in recent decades shows that progress is being made here, he adds.


At the other extreme, Algeria is struggling to cope with severe fires. Gregg Mossop G0DUB, reports that he has received a communique, which states that, following the extraordinary meeting of the ARA EC and the ORSEC commission held on Wednesday night by videoconference, an intervention plan came into effect on Thursday in Ouacif (Tizi-Ouzou), where an ARA team was dispatched to the scene of the incident, at which the communication network is very weak.
The role of the piloting station at the ARA headquarters is to communicate emergency needs between the mobile station currently located in Ouacif and the crisis unit in Tamda. The mobile station reports its movement in the areas affected by the fires to communicate the needs of the affected villagers.

Frequencies are 7110 KHz, 3650 KHz and 14300 KHz.
This report was sent by Afif Ben Lagha, 7X2RO ARA president.

Here’s a nice story from the Philippines where 20 dogs are about to begin training as rescue dogs. Enquirer.net reports from Ligao City that the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and the Philippine Coast Guard are training 20 Belgian Malinois Shepherds and Jack Russell terriers to turn them into searchers and rescuers during disasters.

“We want to be ready at all times when it comes to responding to emergencies particularly during the search, retrieval, and rescue operations,” Senior Superintendent Ricardo Perdigon, BFP Bicol director, said Monday.

He said the Search and Rescue Dog Training Course, which started Friday, Aug. 6, at the BFP training school in Tuburan village here, would make the BFP personnel more competent in disaster risk preparedness.

“These dogs will be very useful in looking for missing persons, things, etc., in preparation for the Big One (a major earthquake) and other disasters that might happen,” he said.

Fire Chief Inspector Glenn Rodriqueza, battalion commander of the BFP special rescue force, said the training of the dogs would last for six months.

“We would like to thank some of the private citizens for donating their dogs, which they considered as heroes,” he said, explaining that most of the dogs were donated.

BFP from Romblon, Zamboanga City, and Bicol region are participating in the event.

I like the idea of training Jack Russells – they can smell and find a discarded pork pie at about 10km!

If you’re in a hurry to get an answer back from an extra-terrestrial intelligence, to one of our broadcasted signals, I have bad news for you. Myrtle Frost, writing in The Cleveland American says that, if an alien technological civilization heard any transmission from Earth, it would take around 3,000 years to get an answer.

It is the calculation of the Harvard astronomers Amir Siraj and Abraham Loeb, who addressed the question – in a study published in arXiv , –  following the example of the Copernicus Principle, which establishes that humanity and the Earth are representative of the norm (and not outliers). Loeb recently launched an initiative to search for techno-signatures of civilizations in space.

In this study, Siraj and Loeb focused on a particular aspect of SETI, which they called the Search for Extraterrestrial Response Intelligence (SETRI). By this, they refer to extraterrestrial intelligences that would be motivated to send messages to Earth in response to the detection of technological activity on our planet. This addresses an issue of growing importance to the SETI community.

In short, does humanity ever have the chance to hear of a civilization in another world before ours collapses or is wiped out by a natural disaster?

Put another way: When can we expect our first cosmic conversation to take place?

Your guess is as good as mine!

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

HAMNET Report 8th August 2021

The drama for Rohingya refugees from Myanmar in refugee camps in Bangladesh continues as heavy monsoon rains battered Cox’s Bazar, in the Chittagong Division of south-eastern Bangladesh, over the last 10 days.

At least 21 people have died and over 21,000 refugees have been displaced. There has been extensive damage to refugee shelters, roads, primary health clinics, distribution points and latrines. International agencies and DG ECHO’s humanitarian partners are supporting the affected population, but damaged roads, flooding, and risks of landslides are hindering response efforts. There are concerns surrounding the risk of water-borne diseases and of course COVID-19.

Moderate rainfall with strong winds was forecast over Cox’s Bazar district again for Thursday and Friday.

Andy Tomaswick, writing in Universetoday.com last week, notes that the robotic arms of the ISS are some of its most useful tools.  The arms, designed by Canadian and Japanese space agencies, have been instrumental in ferrying around astronauts and shepherding modules to one side of the ISS.  However, the Russian segment lacked its own robotic arm – until a new one designed by ESA was launched last week.

The European Robotic Arm (ERA) arrived at the ISS on July 29th along with Nauka, the Laboratory Module to which it is attached.  With the help of 5 expected space walks, the arm will soon be commissioned and will start on its first tasks – getting Nauka’s airlock up and running so it can become a permanent part of the station, and installing a large radiator to help handle the increased cooling load of the station.

As part of those projects, ERA will get to show off its skills.  Those include acting like an inchworm, moving hand over hand around the Nauka module.  In addition, it is the first arm to be controllable from either inside or outside the station, and that control will allow astronauts and cosmonauts to move up to 8000 kg to within 5mm of a desired location.

In fact, that level of accuracy doesn’t even need to be manually controlled – the ERA is autonomous and can run strictly off written step-by-step commands.  Its seven degrees of freedom and 9.7 metre reach allow it to access even outside its home module.  Made of carbon fibre and aluminium, it is also strong enough to handle the wear and tear of space, and hopefully the impacts of debris that have affected other arms.

Such impressive specifications took a lot of effort – 14 years of development from 22 companies spread over seven European countries.  But it is part of a larger push to translate the ISS into a more commercially friendly space, with additional research bays, upgraded data links, and external research platforms.

ESA’s plan is to make the ISS relevant at its “mid-life” with the Columbus 2023 programme to perform novel experiments and tests on the station that would be impossible Earth-side.  The ERA is certainly a step in that direction, and the upgrades it will enable should make the ISS an increasingly important place to do research.

Now, a nice story from North Yorkshire, where a lifelong dream came true for a 98-year-old World War veteran when he took to the skies above North Yorkshire in a hot air balloon.

Ron Shelley, who is a resident at a Care Home in York, confided to staff that he would dearly love to take to the skies to mark his 99th birthday next month, so they set about making it happen.

Ron, who supported the D-Day landings 77-years-ago, was delighted when staff revealed the surprise.

On Monday he flew over the glorious North Yorkshire countryside with his son, Peter, after launching from York Racecourse.

He said: “I thought it would be a thrilling one-off experience, a once in a life-time trip, so I’m seizing the chance while I still can.”

During the Second World War, Ron was a wireless operator. He was sent to France six days after D-Day in 1944, aged just 22 and was involved in sending out false missives to “confound and confuse” the enemy.

Ron explains: “It worked.

“My dummy messages, which I sent from a radio truck, led the enemy to believe that there was a whole division of 3,000 men, too many to take on, so they didn’t attack.”

He was also involved with the famous Battle of Nijmegen in the Netherlands. Ron, who also spent time at Catterick Garrison, left the Army as a Sergeant, receiving a number of medals in recognition of his immense bravery.

He has enjoyed a life full of travel and adventure with army postings all over the world and continued his passion for radio as an amateur radio enthusiast.

During a posting to Hong Kong, he was in contact with the famed HMS Amethyst, which was caught up in the Chinese Civil War, the story behind the film The Yangtze Incident.

Thanks to Alexa Fox writing in the Northern Echo for these excerpts from her report.

Good news for DX’ers is that the Bouvet Island DXpedition may almost be on again, with DXpedition co-leader Paul Ewing, N6PSE, noting this week that a new charter vessel contract is in the offing. Braveheart captain Nigel Jolly, K6NRJ, had told the DXpedition in June that the Braveheart was being put up for sale, and he was cancelling its contract for the 3Y0J voyage.

Ewing said this week that the team has found a suitable and affordable vessel whose skipper is willing to take a group of a dozen DXers to Bouvet, and they are negotiating the terms of that charter contract at present.

“We have submitted a new application to the Norwegian Polar Institute,” Ewing said. The team leadership has been revised. David Jorgensen, WD5COV, will be a co-leader, responsible for operations and antennas, while Kevin Rowett, K6TD, will be a co-leader, responsible for systems/networks, procurement, and logistics, and Ewing as a third co-leader, will oversee planning, public relations, tents, and logistics.

A dependency of Norway, Bouvet is a sub-Antarctic volcanic island in the South Atlantic Ocean and number two on the DX most wanted list, after North Korea.

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

HAMNET Report 1st August 2021

Extreme weather continues to batter this troubled planet. The two Tropical Cyclones I mentioned last week have been followed by a third, Cyclone NEPARTAK, which made landfall on the 27th, and brought heavy rainfall over central and northern Hinshu, and southern Hokkaido Island. The Weather Bureau there issued a red warning for heavy rain, flooding and landslides over coastal Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures and over eastern Fukushima Prefecture. Luckily, wind speeds were never very high, and the cyclone’s strength dissipated as it crossed over land.

Meanwhile, the entire Pacific rim of fire has experienced Earthquakes, from high up near Alaska in the Bering Straits area, Mexico, Chile, Peru, the Solomon Islands, Tonga Islands, Vanuata, Australia, the Kermadec region, Japan and Indonesia.

But heavy rains and flooding seem to be even more widespread than the quakes, affecting, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, Philippines, the Japanese Islands as mentioned above, as well as Afghanistan, Yemen, and Italy.

And where it isn’t flooding or shaking, it’s burning. With severe hot weather, wildfires are reported in Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon, the Italian Island of Sardinia, Spain and Greece.

South Africans can count themselves lucky that they are not often exposed to any of these types of severe natural disaster!

The disastrous flooding which struck parts of the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany last week claiming over 200 lives and with around 150 people still missing, will have long-lasting effects on the region’s population and infrastructure with roads, railways and homes severely impacted.

Dailysportscar.com reports that, for now, the major efforts [in the countries] lie in immediate recovery and support for the local populace.

And it’s in that regard that the Nürburgring has been at the centre of the efforts of the emergency services and regional authorities, the circuit facilities now serving as a hub for all the required services and as a centre too for the collection, sorting and distribution of emergency aid and charitable donations of food, clothing and more or less everything else to be distributed by road and air.

A huge effort was underway to sort the vast array of donations very rapidly at the circuit, with distribution to those in need well underway.

With the Nürburgring facilities in rather more urgent use than that required for motorsport, a number of programmed events have been cancelled or postponed including the ADAC GT Masters event due on 7-8th  August.

Porsche meanwhile has donated a million Euros to the effort. The money is being used to provide emergency aid for flood victims and to help fund the work of the various rescue organisations in the affected regions with further efforts asking its employees for private donations.

“The images from the flood-hit areas have left me shaken. Our thoughts go out to all those who have lost family or friends in this catastrophe or who have lost their homes,” said Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board at Porsche AG. “It is amazing to see how people have come together in these extraordinary circumstances. Relief organisations are playing a key role in the response to the disaster. We are supporting these efforts so that additional support can reach people on the ground as quickly as possible.” Close quote.

Stephen G7VFY brought to the attention of Southgate Amateur Radio News an article written by Evgeny UA3AHM/OH5HM and Dieter DL1DBY, which notes:

“When going to an outdoor camping trip, we will find that in many parts of the world there is no cell phone service available in the back country. To make matters worse, in these areas there is almost never a VHF/UHF ham radio repeater in range when we need wide-area coverage. Apart from strictly local communications using VHF/UHF simplex radio, how do we send messages to friends and family over great distances? How do we call for help? A similar problem can even arise in an urban environment if a major disaster strikes like the break-down of the power grid.

“In activities like back country trips in areas without cell phone coverage or in a widespread emergency with the loss of our normal means of communication, we can use satellite phones, but this technology is very expensive, requires subscriptions and there is no guarantee that the complex infrastructure of satellite communications will work under all circumstances. The obvious solution for Ham Radio operators will be to switch to shortwave communication using battery operated radios and often NVIS modes of operation. NVIS stands for Near Vertical Incidence Skywave, which means transmitting with special antennas straight up to communicate with other stations 30 km to 300 km away with low power – which would be the most useful communications distance if help is needed. We could use SSB voice communications, but this requires that the person we want to reach is sitting constantly at his or her radio to be able to receive the message. This can be a problem: In a real emergency we probably won’t have time for this. We could instead use capable digital modes with automatic message handling capabilities like JS8Call, but these require notebook computers or other complicated setups in the field which consume a lot of energy and can be difficult to recharge off-grid on a reliable basis.

“Evgeny UA3AHM/OH5HM and Sergej UA9OV have developed another mode of digital shortwave communications, which aims to be easy to use, capable and – most importantly – friendly to the operator’s resources. Apart from a low power battery operated transceiver and a small digital interface, only an Android smartphone is needed, which can be recharged with cheap and readily available consumer-grade solar chargers. Evgeny and Sergej have created an app called “HFpager” which allows one to use the smartphone’s sound chip to encode and decode audio signals in the SSB audio passband of the transceiver – similar to PC based modes like FT8 and JS8Call. It uses rates of transmission of 1.46, 5.86, 23.44 and 46.88 Baud. Modulation is 18-tone Incremental Frequency Shift Keying (IFSK) with forward error correcting Reed-Solomon code RS(15,7) and a superblock by 4 RS blocks with interleaving.” End quote.

This last bit is Greek to me, I’m afraid, but I gather your Android phone will send tones to your HF rig via some sort of small interface, by means of which you can effectively use digital modes on a non-digital radio and without a PC of any sort. And the message can be stored and forwarded at the receiving end for later attention. Not too shabby, Nige?!

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