HAMNET Report 11th June 2023

Greg Mossop G0DUB of IARU Region One has been advertising a JS8Call Emcomm acivity period, the latest of which will occur today the 11th June between 12h00 and 14h00 UTC.

The exercise will initially be on the standard JS8call frequencies of 7078 and 14078 kHz. Stations should make calls using the group call @R1emcor and then attempt to make direct connection with those stations they hear, if possible exchanging formal messages, Both 40m and 20m are in use to test local and region wide communications paths.

Greg says that, as we move through the year’s activity dates, moving the activity frequency away from the JS8call standard frequencies to the Emergency CoA frequencies will be tried but first we need to have a core of stations known to be available on this mode.

The IARU Region One activity actually falls within the hours of the worldwide JS8 QSO party, between 19h00 UTC on Saturday the 10th, and 19h00 UTC on Sunday the 11th, and is not a contest, so all amateur bands are open for use. These parties are actually held every month on the second Saturday and Sunday of the month.

So, if any of you have an active JS8Call station, consider joining in on standard 40 and 20m frequencies during the IARU R1 activity today.

I have received a report of the Porterville Car Rally held 8 days ago, from one of the participants. Ian ZS1BR writes:

”Saturday the 3rd of June saw a dreary start to the Porterville rally. While the sun peeked through briefly in the afternoon, the general theme of the day was cold, wet, and muddy. However, it was a great exercise for marshals and radio operators alike to test their equipment and operating abilities in less than ideal conditions.

“As usual we had radio officials at the start and end of each stage, as well as one with the Clerk of the Course, and another in the zero car. Roger, ZR1AKK, manned control from a comparatively toasty Porterville high school classroom right next to a pancake and coffee station.

“Eighteen cars started the event, but poor conditions saw this number drop down to half that by the end of the final stage.

“The race was brought to a halt during stage 5 when one of the BMWs hit the concrete base of a gate, leaving the navigator trapped in the vehicle with a fractured ankle. Thankfully the ambulance crew were on scene in short order to assist. Both driver and navigator are reportedly in high spirits and on the mend. The car may take quite a bit longer to repair though!

“The stoppage caused a delay of approximately an hour, but thankfully there were no further incidents, and we were able to pack up and head home by 18:00.

“Special thanks go to Davy, ZR1FR, for briefly coming out of retirement and organizing the radio team. And thanks to the other operators ZR1AKK, ZS1CQ, ES, JFK, JM, and YT for braving the elements.”

Thank you, Ian for your participation, and for the report.

The Global Disaster Alert Coordination System daily report issued on Thursday refers to the devastating humanitarian and ecological consequences of the collapse of the Nova Kakhovka dam on the Dnieper River in Ukraine. Water levels have risen to 5m in the Kherson region, flooding 30 settlements. Water levels are expected to keep rising possibly reaching 6m, according to Ukrainian authorities.

GDACS says that, while evacuations of affected populations are underway, Ukraine has requested further support from the EU Civil Protection Mechanism in the form of equipment and machinery needed for relief efforts. Austria, Chechnya, Denmark, Finland, France,  Germany, Lithuania, and Poland made offers of assistance, including water pumps, filters, flood containment equipment, but also water purification and stocking means, as well as shelter equipment and generators.

EU humanitarian partners mobilised in the first 24 hours to provide immediate critical needs of the population, in coordination with the authorities. This includes supplying drinking water, food and non-food items such as hygiene kits. In addition, they provide emergency cash transfers, psycho-social support, legal assistance, as well as protection (including child protection) and mine risk education.  

Do note that GDACS does not concern itself with the merits or demerits of the cause of the collapse of the dam wall. GDACS is solely concerned with disaster relief.

In passing, there is no current danger to the nuclear power plant that gets coolant water from the Dnieper River, because it has a retention reservoir alongside the dam that supplies the water to the power plant. However, that reservoir gets filled from the river, and there may come a time when there is insufficient water in the river at that site to refill the reservoir immediately. The nuclear power plant has been turned off and is basically not generating power at present, so the high demand for coolant water is not being experienced now.

TechXplore reports that researchers at Flinders University have developed a low-cost thermal imaging lens that could be scaled up and brought into the lives of everyday people. Their findings are published in the journal Advanced Optical Materials. Until now, thermal imaging technology has remained too expensive to be used in consumer products.

The high cost comes, in part, from the materials used to produce the camera lenses. These lenses need to have special properties that allow them to be used with infrared radiation in a way standard lenses can’t.

Most glasses and plastics will absorb infrared radiation, so expensive materials such as germanium or zinc selenide must be used. Both materials can be difficult to manufacture and maintain; germanium is a critical element in short supply, and zinc selenide contains toxic elements.

The team developed a new polymer made from the low-cost and abundant building blocks of sulphur and cyclopentadiene (which is an organic compound that takes the form of a colourless liquid).

The cost of the raw materials for the lens developed is less than one cent per lens. In comparison, some germanium lenses can cost many thousands of Rands. The lenses could be integrated into consumer electronics such as smartphones, computers and home automation systems, to name a few. This would enable users to take thermal images or videos at any time from their phone.

Great news indeed – I’ve often wished I could afford a thermal camera.

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