It was a great pleasure to meet and mix with the HAMNET leaders and members of Gauteng, particularly Gauteng South, at last week’s AGM weekend. Gauteng South is to be congratulated on their professional style and appearance, and we congratulate Glynn Chamberlain on being elected to the SARL Council. His representation on Council should protect and provide for HAMNET’s needs in the future.
And the interactions with my fellow news broadcasters, as well as seeing a stable Council being elected/re-elected, was most reassuring. By the end of the meetings and the dinner, I felt that the SARL is in good hands, in spite of what the doomsayers maintain.
Thank you to the Pretoria Amateur Radio Club for a weekend well managed!
“Girls Can Do ICT!” is the theme of International Girls in Information and Telecommunication Technologies (ICT) Day on April 26. An initiative of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), International Girls in ICT Day aims to “create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in the growing ICT field,” the ITU said.
International Girls in ICT Day is celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday of April. To date, more than 300,000 girls and young women have taken part in some 9,000 celebrations of International Girls in ICT Day in 166 countries.
“Girls in ICT Day will provide a much-needed boost to female participation in the ICT sector,” said ITU Secretary-General Dr. Hamadoun I. Touré. “With many countries now forecasting a shortage of skilled ICT professionals within the next 10 years, it is vital that we attract young women into technology if we are to sustain healthy growth rates for the industry overall.”
Girls in ICT Day encourages girls to let personal interests and talent, not stereotypes, define their career paths. “It promotes an interest in technology, computer science, new communication media, and engineering,” ITU said.
The 26th April is this coming Thursday.
Here’s news from the ARRL News Letter, in case you thought radio operators were all under-achievers. Brian Justin, WA1ZMS, in Virginia, saved the lowest band for last. On April 11, he completed a CW contact on the new 2200-meter band with K3MF in Pennsylvania, wrapping up a sweep of completed contacts on all 29 Amateur Radio bands. Justin is a bit of an old school guy — he worked K3MF on CW, and now he’s awaiting a QSL card. A paper QSL card.
“Wow!” Justin told ARRL. “Not an easy QSO. Had to use TMO reporting, but we did it as if it was an Earth-Moon-Earth QSO.” In TMO reporting, T = Signal just detectable; M = Portions of call copied, and O = Complete call set has been received. Justin used his Icom IC-7300 for his receiver. “I needed the AGC on to keep the static crashes from blowing my ears off,” he recounted. His antenna for both receiving and transmitting was a 160-meter dipole fed as a Marconi T antenna against ground. “A 2.5 mH variometer built on a 5-gallon bucket is used to tune the antenna to resonance,” he explained. “Ground impedance at 136 kHz is around 40 Ω, so most of the RF is lost as heat in the Earth.” Justin said it took several hundred dollars’ worth of ground rods and copper wire to attain the 40-Ω ground impedance, given soil conditions at his location.
“I started with 100 W,” Justin said. “K3MF had trouble hearing me — his QRM was 20 dB over S-9. So we set up a new sked. I added the kW amp on my end, and as soon as I hit 600 W, all of the smoke detectors in the house went off from the RF.” He said he had to stay at 500 W for the contact. Reception was a challenge as well. “All light dimmers need to be off, so I can hear anything,” he said. Input to the antenna system is one thing on 136 kHz. Effective radiated power (ERP) is another. Justin’s ERP was 500 mW, just 3 dB below the FCC limit for the band.
To consider it a valid contact, Justin said he used the New England Weak Signal Group guideline of at least a 1-kilometer distance on each band. “While at first this seems very easy, very few hams have even had a QSO across a benchtop on bands like 134 GHz, much less over 1 kilometre,” he said.
When 630 and 2200 meters became official last year, Justin had his work cut out for him. As one of the ARRL WD2XSH Experimental stations, he made quick work of 630 meters, working NO3M on SSB the day after the band opened for Amateur Radio work. His CW QSO on 2200 meters came last week — about 250 kilometres. He’s hoping to see the QSL card this week.
I’m sure you’ll agree that must have taken a lot of doing!
A little bit of good news on the drought situation in the Western Cape is that we’ve already had about twice the amount of rain in April than in all previous months this year. Only about 15mm, mind you, but better than nothing. More rain forecast for this week. Here’s hoping.
This is Dave Reece ZS1DFR reporting for HAMNET in South Africa.