HAMNET Report 26th May 2024

Kenya is again the victim of a tropical cyclone, this one called IALY. Heavy rainfall, strong wind and storm surge connected to the passage of the tropical cyclone IALY over the western Indian Ocean have been affecting the coastal area of Kenya over the last 48 hours, causing a number of severe weather related incidents, mainly due to the strong wind and storm surge that have resulted in casualties and damage.

Media report, as of 23 May, two fatalities and six injured people across the Kilifi county, south-eastern Kenya. In addition, media also report damages to infrastructure across the mentioned Kilifi county and the neighbouring Mombasa county.

Over the next 48 hours, more heavy rainfall with locally very heavy rainfall is still forecasted over the coastal area of Kenya.

The ARRL reports in its weekly newsletter that the 2024 National Convention at Dayton’s Hamvention was a huge success.

The convention theme, “Be radio active,” was played out in a variety of ARRL-sponsored exhibits, presentations, and activities. One particular focus area was on youth involvement in amateur radio. On Saturday, ARRL hosted a Youth Rally that drew dozens of young people for an all-day immersion into ham radio interests and activities. “It was great to see the kids fired up about ham radio,” said ARRL Education and Learning Manager Steve Goodgame, K5ATA. “They got to make radio contact with a parachute mobile station, learn about satellites, and really put radio concepts into action.” In his forum, “Youth Outreach Through Amateur Radio STEM Education,” Goodgame shared the keys to success ARRL has found in helping grow interest in radio among the next generation. A video recording of the forum is available on the ARRLHQ YouTube channel. In a follow-up to a previous bulletin, where I talked about radio jamming devices being declared illegal in the US, here’s a story of their misuse.

In Groves, Texas, officers were sent to a home on Wednesday, May 8, 2024, where police were told that four or five masked men were attempting to break in to a home, according to a news release. 

After officers found that the home had indeed been invaded, they spotted two of the suspects in a nearby field and arrested them following a brief foot chase.

Officers searched the suspects and found a radio “jamming device” in a backpack that they believe was being used during the burglary, according to the release.

Jamming radio signals is against federal law, according to the FCC website.

“Federal law prohibits the operation, marketing, or sale of any type of jamming equipment that interferes with authorized radio communications, including cellular and Personal Communication Services (PCS), police radar, and Global Positioning Systems (GPS),” according to the FCC.

I wonder whether would-be burglars in this country have become this sophisticated yet…

Newsonair.gov.in reports from India of a pioneering move towards reinforcing disaster communication capabilities, in which the Nagaland State Disaster Management Authority (NSDMA) has embarked on a ground-breaking initiative in collaboration with Open Source Classes for Amateur Radio India (OSCAR INDIA). Towards this, the NSDMA conducted a comprehensive mock drill exercise utilizing amateur radio technology on May 9.

This marks a significant milestone as the first-of-its-kind effort in enhancing alternative communication methods during emergencies. The state is also preparing to be the first disaster management authority in the country to enter into HAM Radio Technology for emergency communication systems.

Joint Chief Executive Officer of NSDMA, Johnny Ruangmei during a press briefing held at Nagaland Civil Secretariat Kohima today, informed that a mock drill was conducted which was also a first of its kind using HAM Radio technology, stating that it was a good lesson learned.

Phys.org is reporting this weekend of a potential forward leap in battery charging technology.

Imagine if your dead laptop or phone (or handheld radio) could charge in a minute or if an electric car could be fully powered in 10 minutes.

While not possible yet, new research by a team of CU Boulder scientists could potentially lead to such advances.

Published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers in Ankur Gupta’s lab discovered how tiny charged particles, called ions, move within a complex network of minuscule pores. The breakthrough could lead to the development of more efficient energy storage devices, such as supercapacitors, said Gupta, an assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering.

“Given the critical role of energy in the future of the planet, I felt inspired to apply my chemical engineering knowledge to advancing energy storage devices,” Gupta said. “It felt like the topic was somewhat underexplored and, as such, the perfect opportunity.”

Gupta explained that several chemical engineering techniques are used to study flow in porous materials such as oil reservoirs and water filtration, but they have not been fully utilized in some energy storage systems.

The discovery is significant not only for storing energy in vehicles and electronic devices but also for power grids, where fluctuating energy demand requires efficient storage to avoid waste during periods of low demand and to ensure rapid supply during high demand.

Supercapacitors, energy storage devices that rely on ion accumulation in their pores, have rapid charging times and longer life spans compared to batteries.

“The primary appeal of supercapacitors lies in their speed,” Gupta said. “So how can we make their charging and release of energy faster? By the more efficient movement of ions.”

Their findings modify Kirchhoff’s law, which has governed current flow in electrical circuits since 1845 and is a staple in high school students’ science classes. Unlike electrons, ions move due to both electric fields and diffusion, and the researchers determined that their movements at pore intersections are different from what was described in Kirchhoff’s law.

Prior to the study, ion movements were only described in the literature in one straight pore. Through this research, ion movement in a complex network of thousands of interconnected pores can be simulated and predicted in a few minutes.

“That’s the leap of the work,” Gupta said. “We found the missing link.”

And I’m quite sure this Professor Gupta is not a previously unidentified brother of the Guptas we have come to know and distrust in this country.

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