HAMNET Report 18th June 2023

Since last Sunday, GDACS has been issuing warnings about Tropical Cyclone BIPARJOY-23 in the north Arabian Sea, aiming more or less at the coastal border between Pakistan and India. Threatening to cross the coast on Wednesday midday (local time), its winds were forecast to reach just less than 200 km/h, and 19 million coastal people were close enough to its bearing to be at risk from tropical storm injury. Heavy rainfall, strong winds and storm surges were forecast from 13th  to 16th June in the area. About 75000 people in India, and 82000 in Pakistan, had already been evacuated away from the cyclone’s direct path by Wednesday. Six deaths had been reported on by Wednesday morning.

And republicworld.com says that, as powerful cyclone Biparjoy threatens to cripple communication networks after landfall on the Gujarat coast on Thursday evening, authorities have turned to HAM Radio for smooth exchange of information.

Learning from past experiences, Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority (GSDMA) has deployed six HAM radio teams, two of them in Kutch, and mobile units for seamless communication after Biparjoy hits the shore near Jakhau port.

HAM radio is considered a reliable mode of messaging during emergencies when wirelines, mobile phones and other traditional terrestrial means of communication fail. 

Meanwhile, the south-western portion of this country has been battered by repetitive cold fronts, and heavy rainfall. City of Cape Town departments have been busy since Monday dealing with flooding events.

The City of Cape Town’s disaster risk management centre said on Wednesday that they were ready to respond to any weather-related incidents.

This was as more cold and wet weather was expected in the Mother City and some parts of the Western Cape over the following few days.

The city’s disaster risk management centre’s Sonica Lategan said that “The city’s disaster risk management centre and related city departments and external role players are on standby in the event of any flooding or other weather-related impacts that may occur.”

And since Thursday mountain passes have been blocked, rivers have overflowed their banks, and roads have been washed away in many parts of the Western Cape Province, as record rainfall has been measured in many areas.

The rain is not over yet, with another 36 mm forecast in Cape Town between Saturday and this coming Tuesday. On Friday, the Weather Service issued a Yellow Level 7 warning for disruptive rain leading to further flooding over already severely flooded areas over most of the Cape Winelands and Theewaterskloof Municipality in the Western Cape between Friday and today (Sunday).

A Yellow Level 4 warning for disruptive rain leading to flooding of roads, formal and informal settlements was also issued over most of the Southern parts of the West Coast, City of Cape Town, southern and western Overberg and the Langeberg municipality. Strong winds and heavy seas will lash the coast between Saldanha Bay and Cape Agulhas, moving on to Plettenberg Bay by Tuesday.

Anton Bredell, Western Cape Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning issued a warning on Friday to all to avoid all low-level water crossings and bridges in the Western Cape, for obvious reasons.

On the opposite side of the globe, where the weather is a little more obliging at present, radio amateurs are gearing up for the ARRL Field Day exercise, which takes place next weekend, the 24th and 25th of June. Multiple local newspapers in northern America are currently carrying stories of local clubs making preparations for this event. The Americans do this in style of course, having so many hundreds of thousands of licensed operators in their country, that, if even a small percentage of the operators take part, Field Day still involves huge number of clubs and club members. Folks install temporary stations in parks, hospitals, school grounds, farmlands and beaches, to prove the ability of ham radio to transmit messages in situations where they can’t be transmitted in any other way. The exercise also gives operators the chance to try out their portable power sources, radios, transmission lines, and portable antennas, plus any modifications made since last year, to assess the efficacy of said equipment.

Naturally, Field Day is also an excuse for some exceptional socializing, and linking up with old friends, either at the temporary station, or over the air, and a great time is had by all.

So for the rest of this week, the news-lines will be full of descriptions of planned stations, and next week, the same daily journals will be full of happy post mortems of how well or badly the exercise turned out. Of course, there is the small matter of kind cooperation on the part of the sun, which has the capacity to kill the fun, by drowning us in solar particles which ruin our ionospheric conditions and prevent good shortwave propagation. As I write this the Planetary K index is 6, and the shortwave bands are effectively useless. Luckily that can all change within 3 hours, so let’s hope good fortune smiles on the American Field Day Exercise next weekend.

The Radio Society of Great Britain is delighted to announce that Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan has chosen to donate the UK amateur radio equipment of His late Majesty, King Hussein of Jordan to the Society.

His Majesty was a great ambassador for amateur radio and, whenever his official duties allowed him, his radio call sign JY1 could be heard on the amateur bands. His Majesty always operated modestly, never announcing himself as King Hussein, always just ‘Hussein from Jordan’.

A permanent display is being organised at the RSGB National Radio Centre so that the equipment can be used to help inspire people to get involved in amateur radio, and promote communication, friendship and understanding throughout the many countries and cultures of the world.

The RSGB extends its thanks to Her Majesty for this generous donation.

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