HAMNET Report 4th December 2022

A follow-up report from Indonesia after the earthquake on the 21st November says the death toll has risen to 327, there are 13 people still missing, and 68 people are still in hospital recovering from injuries. Over 108000 people needed to be evacuated from unsafe structures and areas.

Tremors are still being recorded, which, together with heavy rainfall since the time of the quake, contribute to an increased risk of landslides. Aid operations are ongoing.

Greg, G0DUB of IARU Region One Emcoms has invited the Emergency Communications Stations of all IARU member societies and stations of Emergency Communications Groups to participate in a Global Simulated Emergency Test on Saturday 10th December, 2022 14.00 – 16.00 UTC

The operation will take place on and near the emergency Centre-of-Activity (CoA) frequencies on 40 and 17 metres (+-QRM).

This is a short notice event to test how well emergency communications groups can set up networks from home or temporary locations. Messages will be passed in both directions so please keep notes of who you can work as you may be asked to relay outgoing messages to their destination.

The objectives of the test are;

  1. Increase the common interest in emergency communications.
  2. Test how usable the CoA frequencies are across ITU regions.
  3. Create practices for international emergency communication; and
  4. Practice the relaying of messages using all modes.

So, please remember that this is not a contest. Rather it is an emergency communications exercise to develop the skills we will need to provide an international emergency network.

Messages may be passed on voice (SSB) or CW modes.

Each participating station will send messages to the Control station formatted using the IARU HF International Emergency Operating Procedure which is available on the IARU Region one website. That page also has the message forms to be used for the exercise.

Stations should relay messages received towards the Control station for that band or mode. To comply with licence regulations, all messages should be addressed to a licensed radio amateur taking part in the exercise. Messages should be less than 25 words and *must not* include anything which would be considered as a ‘real emergency’ message by a listener.

So, a weather report at the station location, the number of operators available, or the availability of emergency power would all be acceptable messages.

The Control Stations will be standing by on 7110 and 18160 KHz, and stations are asked to move to a clear nearby frequency in steps of 5 KHz for contacts with others, as well as to limit their output power to 100 watts to create more realistic emergency conditions.

A log sheet for messages passed will be provided so that analysis of the exercise will be easier. Stations are asked to submit logs of the messages relayed, not the messages themselves.

That’s this coming Saturday the 10th December from 4-6pm Central African Time.

Radio Amateurs in the Langebaan area in the Western Cape, accompanied by some visitors from Cape Town, spent yesterday morning looking for a fox, skillfully hidden and transmitting on 145.350MHz, within a 20km radius of the start at the Laguna Mall.

Cleverly, they wished to award a prize not to the first person to find the fox, but rather to the person who was able to demonstrate by photographic evidence of his odometer readings at start and finish of his search, that he had travelled the shortest distance in pinning it down.

The fox was programmed to send a beacon for about 20 secs every 2 minutes. Eleven people took part, and by 11.30 everybody had been near the fox, but no-one actually found it. It was well disguised, and various decoys in the neighbourhood fooled the hunters well.

As usual, a post mortem was held afterwards, to discuss improvements to the process. Thank you to Charles ZS1CF for organizing the event and Michael ZS1MJT for the report.

Cape Town’s next foxhunt will take place next Saturday, courtesy of the Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre, ZS1CT.

Here is some more detail on that experiment with Nuclear Fusion I mentioned in the past. MyBroadband.co.za reports that The National Ignition Facility (NIF) at the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has recorded the biggest temperature and energy increase ever with a magnetised fusion experiment.

The NIF recently published its finding in the Physical Review journal, revealing its unique experimental setup increased the temperature of a so-called “hotspot” by 40%. It produced over three times the amount of energy of previous experiments.

Fusion power is the energy that fuels the universe’s stars, including our own Sun.

It is generated within the cores of these celestial bodies, where soaring temperatures and pressures result in explosions that produce more energy than necessary to sustain the process.

Energy scientists have long hypothesised that it might be possible to replicate this and gain a boundless source of clean energy. However, the community agrees that such an achievement could still be decades away — if it’s even possible.

The NIF’s fusion experiments initiate fusion reactions by shooting around 200 lasers at a tiny pellet of fuel made of heavier isotopes of hydrogen — like deuterium and tritium — to form “hotspots”.

The laser blasts create X-rays that implode the small capsule to produce extreme pressures and temperatures for the isotopes to fuse and release large stores of energy.

NIF senior scientist John Moody told Vice’s Motherboard that the applied magnetic field acted like a type of insulator.

“You have what we call the hot spot. It’s at millions of degrees, but around it is just room temperature. All that heat wants to flow out because heat always goes from the hot to the cold but the magnetic field prevents that from happening,” Moody explained.

“When we go in, and we put the magnetic field on this hotspot, and we insulate it, that heat stays in there, and so we’re able to get the hot spot to a higher temperature,” he continued.

“You get more [fusion] reactions as you go up in temperature, and that’s why we see this improvement in the reactivity.”

Through its experiments, the NIF has neared the brink of ignition — the point at which fusion reactions become self-sustaining in plasmas.

Clearly this will be the Holy Grail of fusion reactors of the future.

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