HAMNET Report 24 February 2019

The Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS) reported on Friday at 12h50 our time, that a magnitude 7.5 earthquake had been registered 33 minutes earlier in Ecuador, at a depth of about 132Km, and in an area inhabited by 46000 people within a radius of 50Km. The quake’s epicentre was in the province of Pastaza, with 28 villages or small towns within the 50 Km radius. So far I have not heard of any casualties, but will be monitoring the agencies.

For those countries who do not have ‘disasters’, Greg Mossop G0DUB has reported on an event in Berlin which started at ~1300UTC on 19th February.

At that time, contractors in Berlin, Germany, working on a bridge hit 110kV cables cutting the power to 30000+ homes and removing heating from 5000 homes which were fed from a combined heating and power plant. A local hospital lost power and had to close their intensive care unit and bring in generators to provide power to 60% of the hospital building.

The fire and police services had to put units into the area for the public to call for help directly as mobile and fixed telephones were reported to have failed. Security systems also failed and a school hall was converted with 196 beds to allow people who needed somewhere warm to stay.

The event did not finish until 30 hours later when a repair was made to the cable to restore some power to the area.

This outage was caused by humans, not the weather or other natural reasons, and demonstrates how vulnerable systems are to a loss of electricity.

In a similar report, Michael Becker, DJ9OZ, says that schools, nurseries, waterworks and central heating works had to close down. Telephone-, mobile phone- and traffic light-networks and road lighting shut down as well.

The two hospitals in this area had emergency power supplies, but one went down after a while and THW, the national technical relief agency, supported with a mobile power generator. The other hospital evacuated their 23 intensive care patients for safety reasons to other hospitals.

Three mobile police stations and a disaster relief truck in front of the town hall had been installed to spread information to the public supported by mobile loudspeaker cars of the police patrolling through the wide spread area. Municipal transport services had been asked by fire brigades – acting in Berlin as disaster relief – to relay emergency calls of inhabitants via their 24h operating radio system.

Looting or other increased criminal activity was not reported.

“Our Berlinham radio emergency group put calls on hourly basis via a VHF repeater covering the affected area and on the direct emcom frequency, but no emcom traffic was requested”, says Michael.

Thank you to Greg and Mike for these reports.

Now interesting news from NASA.

Radio waves are still the main way to communicate with spacecraft, but that aging technology could soon get an upgrade that will allow faster data downloads from space. NASA is currently preparing to test out an X-ray communication system on the International Space Station.

The project, known as XCOM, will make use of equipment already onboard the ISS for different purposes. The Neutron-star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) is currently perched on the outside of the space station, where it’s scanning the cosmos for X-ray emissions coming from neutron stars.

But NICER is no one-trick pony. In 2017, NASA engineers demonstrated how the instrument could use data from millisecond pulsars as a kind of space-GPS, precisely calculating the position of the ISS to within 3 miles (4.8 km). It is this potential to pick up X-ray signals that makes it a good candidate for a receiver in an X-ray communication system.

To test the idea, at the other end NASA is using a specially-designed device called the Modulated X-ray Source (MXS). This device produces X-rays by first shining UV light onto a photocathode material like magnesium. That produces electrons, which are then accelerated into another material that in turn produces X-rays. Importantly, the MXS can be quickly switched on and off, encoding binary messages into X-rays that can be beamed to and deciphered by a receiver.

For the upcoming test, NASA installed the MXS on the outside of the ISS. There, it will beam X-ray messages over a distance of 165 ft (50 m) to NICER, which will attempt to decode them. The message itself will be kept simple at first, the team says, to ensure that the device can pick up exactly what was sent. If that works, a more complicated message may be transmitted in a later test.

If all goes to plan, X-ray communication could eventually be used to beam data to and from a range of spacecraft. X-rays have much shorter wavelengths than radio waves or even laser communication systems, which are also in development. That means they should be able to pack more data into tighter beams, effectively allowing faster data transfer rates. And considering the long delay that can come from communicating with distant craft like New Horizons, anything that hurries the process along can only be a good thing.

Another potential advantage is that X-rays can penetrate the hot plasma sheath that normally cuts off radio communications when a craft is blasting through the Earth’s atmosphere. X-rays could keep the crew in touch with ground control during this critical and intense period.

The XCOM tests are due to take place on the ISS in the next few months.

Thanks to New Atlas and NASA for the report.

For those of you interested in dabbling in geostationary satellite work, George Smart, M1GEO, has published a very comprehensive article on receiving the amateur radio transponders on the Es’hail-2 satellite. The article is available at https://www.george-smart.co.uk/2019/02/eshail2-rx/

I hope this will be off assistance to those ZS stations following the thread on the SARL forum on Es’hail-2, if they have not already seen it.

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

HAMNET Report 17 February 2019

Glynn Chamberlain ZS6GLN has drawn my attention to the fact that the report on the Value Logistics Cycle Race in last week’s bulletin was in fact written by Allen Herweg ZS6HWG, and not by Glynn himself. My apologies for getting the source wrong!

Gideon Jannasch ZS4GJA reports that on Monday 11 February, HAMNET Vaal was activated during the memorial service for the learners from Hoërskool Driehoek who passed away.

Gideon ZS4GJA was attending the service and was one of the security monitors during the service.  HAMNET was asked to stand by in case of any emergency which might occur.  The service was attended by approximately 2500 people and  high level officials, and anything might possibly have happened.

Most of the HAMNET Vaal members and other Radio Amateurs of the Vaal were monitoring from 14:00 from home or their work places, in case of any communication relay that might be needed.  Members close to the church were ready to be deployed should there have been an emergency.

No emergency occurred and the members were stood down at 17:00.

Our heartfelt condolences go to the parents and families of the four children who died, and the many who are recovering after this tragic event of 1 February 2019, when a concrete walkway collapsed on children at the school.

Thank you to Gideon for this report.

Radio is a powerful tool that continues to promote “dialogue, tolerance and peace,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a message on Thursday, marking World Radio Day.

“Even in today’s world of digital communications, radio reaches more people than any other media platform” explained the UN chief, adding that it “conveys vital information and raises awareness on important issues”.

“And it is a personal, interactive platform where people can air their views, concerns, and grievances” he added, noting that radio “can create a community”.

UN Radio was established on 13 February 1946, and since 2013, the day has been commemorated to recognize radio as a powerful communication tool and a low-cost medium.

“For the United Nations, especially our peacekeeping operations, radio is a vital way of informing, reuniting and empowering people affected by war”, said Mr Guterres.

Despite the rise of the internet, many parts of the world, especially remote and vulnerable communities, have no access, making radio broadcasting via transmitters, a vital lifeline. Joining a community of local listeners, also provides a platform for public discussion, irrespective of education levels.

Moreover, it has a strong and specific role in emergency communication and disaster relief.

“On this World Radio Day, let us recognize the power of radio to promote dialogue, tolerance and peace”, concluded the Secretary-General.

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) underscored “the unique, far-reaching power of radio to broaden our horizons and build more harmonious societies”.

“Radio stations from major international networks to community broadcasters today remember the importance of radio in stimulating public debate, increasing civic engagement and inspiring mutual understanding”, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said in her message.

Since its invention as the first wireless communication medium well over a hundred years ago, “the radio has sparked new conversations and broadcast new ideas into people’s homes, villages, universities, hospitals and workplaces,” she continued. “To this day, dialogue across the airwaves can offer an antidote to the negativity that sometimes seems to predominate online, which is why UNESCO works across the world to improve the plurality and diversity of radio stations”.

The UNESCO chief pointed out that radio has adapted to 21st-century changes and offers new ways to participate in conversations that matter, retaining its role as “one of the most reactive, engaging media there is”, especially for the most disadvantaged.

The Es-hail-2 narrowband transponder went live a couple of days early and now is open for Amateur Radio. Thursday, February 14, was Teleport Inauguration Day in Qatar, celebrating the opening of the new Es’hailSat teleport and the “official” opening of Es’hail-2, which carries the first geostationary Amateur Radio payload, a German P4A package. Es’hail-2 launched last November from Cape Canaveral. The two Amateur Radio transponders onboard what’s now known as Qatar OSCAR 100 (QO-100) became available on February 12 for general operation by stations within QO-100’s footprint. Emceeing the opening ceremony was Qatar’s former Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiya, A71AU, who chairs the Qatar Amateur Radio Society (QARS) and is a satellite patron.

A delegation from Germany — AMSAT-DL President Peter Guelzow, DB2OS; Achim Vollhardt, DH2VA, and Thomas Kleffel, DG5NGI, of the P4A team — went to Qatar to set up and commission the ground segment of P4A, which includes a club station that will operate under the auspices of QARS as A71A.

An AMSAT-DL ground station at the Bochum Observatory in Germany has been set up for QO-100, and operation via the satellite will be carried out using the call sign DL50AMSAT, recognizing AMSAT’s 50th anniversary.

The satellite transponder offers a 250-kHz passband for modes such as SSB, FreeDV, CW, RTTY, and other modes, plus an 8-MHz wideband downlink for digital amateur TV (DATV) modes. Downlink frequencies are at 10 GHz. The uplink frequency is at 2.4 GHz.

Stations located outside of the QO-100 footprint or lacking 10 GHz receive capability can monitor the proceedings using online WebSDR resources. In cooperation with AMSAT-DL, the British Amateur Television Club (BATC) will operate a WebSDR for the narrowband segment, and a spectrum viewer for the wideband (DATV) segment. The satellite is in geostationary orbit at 25.9° E.

Thanks to the ARRL letter for 14 February for this news.

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





HAMNET Report 10 February 2019

National Centres for Environmental Information (NCEI) scientists have updated the world magnetic model (WMM) mid-cycle, as Earth’s northern magnetic pole has begun shifting quickly away from the Canadian Arctic and toward Siberia, an NCEI report said this week. While the new WMM more accurately represents the change of the magnetic field since 2015, it has no impact on propagation.

Updated versions of the WMM are typically released every 5 years. This update comes about 1 year early.

“This out-of-cycle update before next year’s official release of WMM 2020 will ensure safe navigation for military applications, commercial airlines, search and rescue operations, and others operating around the North Pole,” said NCEI, which is part of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). “Organizations such as NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration, US Forest Service, and many more use this technology. The military uses the WMM for undersea and aircraft navigation, parachute deployment, and more.” Other governmental entities use the technology for surveying and mapping, satellite/antenna tracking, and air traffic management. Smartphone and consumer electronics companies also rely on the WMM to provide consumers with accurate compass apps, maps, and GPS services.

Airport runways may be the most visible example of a navigation aid updated to match shifts in Earth’s magnetic field. Airports around the country use the data to give runways numerical names, which pilots refer to on the ground. The declination has changed slightly more than 2.5° over the past 2 decades or so. Compasses use declination — the difference between true north and where a compass points — to help correct navigation systems for a wide variety of uses.

Thank you to NOAA-NCEI for this report.

On the weekend of 26 and 27 January 2019 members of the Gauteng South and Vaal HAMNET Branches once again assisted the Rotary Club of South Africa with the annual Value Logistics Cycle Race held in Meyerton.

Glynn Chamberlain ZS6GLN, National HAMNET Director reports that over 30 HAMNET members were involved in various tasks including the setting up of a Joint Operation Centre, Installation of Radios and Trackers in emergency and event vehicles and the linking of repeaters.

All control vehicles, ambulances and control points were able to communicate with the JOC and live tracking was provided visually to enable the event organisers to deploy vehicles and manpower to problem areas. This gave the organisers an up to date live visual representation as to what was going on, on the ground. Emergency and sweep vehicles were able to be directed to each problem area with ease.

Glyn ZS6GLN, the JOC commander, and his team kept the race organisers abreast of developments, accidents and incident within seconds of them occurring.

Unfortunately three accidents were recorded for the day where cyclists had to be treated and taken to hospital. Numerous other riders were treated for minor injuries by the roving ambulances while the HAMNET ground crew provided mechanical support to the riders.

The Vaal Team provided food and refreshments for the team during the course of the weekend. A communal braai was held for the members who stayed overnight.

Despite the serious injuries and damaged cycles, the event was deemed a success with over 3700 cyclists participating.

The Gauteng South and Vaal teams have a positive attitude and the commitment to always strive in deploying more technology to assist in the coordination of communication events.  New prototypes of APRS trackers were tested with success.  Further to this, the updated trackers and dual band radios fitted to the service vehicles were also a major contributor to the successful coordination of the activities.

From this model of operations, more systems are fine-tuned to allow other Hamnet teams to also expand their capabilities.  News of the Vaal trackers will follow in a couple of months allowing cheap and affordable APRS tracking for all radio amateurs.

Well done to all members who assisted. And thanks, Glynn for the report.

Meanwhile, here in Cape Town, HAMNET Western Cape helped to guarantee a successful “We benefit” 99er Cycle Tour yesterday, the 9th of February, in and around Durbanville.

Just short of 3000 cyclists rode the race, by far the majority choosing the 102km race, the rest opting for the 57km ride. The weather was good to hot, and the riders were happy to finish before 12pm, by which time the mercury was in the late 20’s.

Riders from Thinkbike marshalled the groups of cyclists and messaged in problem areas, and HAMNET provided 9 teams of roving marshals, patrolling consecutive portions of the race. All HAMNET rovers had APRS trackers, as did the 4 ambulances and one rapid response vehicle on the routes, and we provided a feed into the Metro bus which acted as the official medical JOC for the race. A temporary APRS digipeater was installed in the middle of the circuit, to improve beacons transmitted, and all trackers were visible in our HAMNET JOC.

We are aware of some minor injuries from a few falls, but no major calamities, and the cut-off times were very accurately planned, the back riders coming through each cut-off just before the gong, so to speak. So nobody except the voluntary retirees, were pulled off the race.

The organisers of the race were once again very gracious in their thanks to all volunteer groups, and HAMNET will be back again next year for our 12th participation in the event.

Thank you to the 14 operators who manned the JOC and did the roving. The organisers couldn’t have done  without us.

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

HAMNET Report 3 February 2019

Anthony Forteath ZS2BQ has written in to report that this past Sunday the 27th January saw the Hamnet and Border Radio Club team assisting with the Ironman 70.3 event in Buffalo City (East London).  Ten radio amateurs in total assisted the race organisers with their communications throughout the event, which started at 06:45 and the final competitor crossing the finish line at around 16:00.

A portable repeater was temporarily installed on the 14th floor of one of the beachfront hotels to assist with communications to those manning the VOC and points down on the actual beachfront.

All in all another successful event, but fortunately a much quieter day than some past events, which saw our members very busy passing on information throughout the day.

A special word of thanks goes out to those who gave up their Sunday to be part of the event, which has become an institution on our calendar each year.

Anthony is Assistant Provincial Director for HAMNET East London.

In Brazil, search crews are still looking for up to 300 missing people in south-eastern Brazil, after a dam at an iron ore mining complex collapsed last Friday, releasing a deluge of muddy mine waste that swallowed part of a town. Since then, the death toll has risen to 60, according to Brazilian media outlets citing the area fire brigade, and the safety practices of the mine’s owner have come under scrutiny.

“Authorities say many of the missing are likely buried deep in mud,” Catherine Osborn reports for NPR from Brumadinho.

Fears that a second dam nearby might collapse forced a new evacuation and the suspension of search efforts late Sunday. The delicate work continued after water and sludge was pumped out, and the all-clear was given.

When that potential risk spiked on Sunday, a siren blared an alert, further unsettling thousands of residents. But it seems that the public might have received little or no public warning of Friday’s catastrophe.

The Vale mining company tells The Associated Press there are eight sirens in the area around its dam that failed — but that “the speed in which the event happened made sounding an alarm impossible” on Friday.

And,  as the disaster’s toll continues to rise, residents and a relief official are calling for the government to improve how it manages the risk of dams collapsing at Brazil’s mines.

“Federal officials have pledged to make mining regulations more strict,” Osborn reports. “But for many, this disaster has laid bare the difference between pledges and enforcement.”

Thank you to NPR for this excerpt from their report.

And by this Friday, Mining.com was reporting at least 99 people dead, and another 250 still missing.

Southgate Amateur Radio News reports that the DKARS (Dutch Kingdom Amateur Radio Society) issues its own free PDF Magazine once every month. It contains articles written in English and Dutch.

In case you would like to receive the free magazine, please register via   magazine@dkars.nl   and you will automatically receive the magazine via an email with a download link.

This month the Magazine has 33 pages and presents lots of interesting articles and other news.

Spare a thought now for some US states, which are under more than a metre of snow, wind chill which has sent temperatures as low as -59C, and with North America now facing its coldest winter in 50 years. Blizzards have gripped much of the mid-western United States, leaving many people stranded at home with snow piling up more than a metre high. US weather chiefs have advised against travel and even talking too much, as breathing the blistering cold air risks severe health problems. Both hypothermia and frostbite are major worries when temperatures stretch into bitter minus figures, and this has prompted some local governments to declare a state of emergency.

The upper central and mid-west states have been some of the worst hit by the extreme weather. However, the cause of the freezing temperatures gripping the US is a polar vortex, which has journeyed to the country directly from the North Pole.

Polar vortices exist in the north and south poles as a large area of low pressure and cold air.

The term ‘vortex’ refers to the counter-clockwise airflow in the system which keeps it in place above the poles.

As the seasons change, however, the vortex is warped, frequently weakening and regaining strength which causes it to move.

The vortex gathers strength in the winter months and expands, sending cold weather to the south via the polar jet stream. The jet stream is a ribbon of air which ‘streams’ high up in the atmosphere and transports weather systems in a channel of winds flowing from 130 to 230kph.

Through this mechanism, the polar vortex spreads air straight from the North Pole over the northern US and Canada.

These Arctic blasts are regular in America, but this year temperatures are already descending to historical lows.

Meanwhile, BBC News reports that Australia recorded its hottest month ever in January, with average temperatures exceeding 30C for the first time.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, the extreme heat was “unprecedented” during the country’s summer period.

At least five January days were among the 10 warmest on record, with daily national temperature highs of 40C.

The heat has caused wildfire deaths, bushfires and a rise in hospital admissions.

Several wildlife species have also suffered, with reports of mass deaths of wild horses, native bats and fish in drought-affected areas.

A large swathe of the state of New South Wales bore the brunt of the fortnight of extreme heat, with temperatures also soaring in parts of Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and the Northern Territory.

“We saw heatwave conditions affect large parts of the country through most of the month,” climatologist Dr Andrew Watkins said.

Records were broken for both duration and also individual daily extremes, he said. Rainfall was also below average for most areas.

HAMNET Western Cape will be shepherding the cyclists around the 99er Cycle Tour in Durbanville this coming Saturday. Let’s hope we are dealt neither snowstorms nor heatwaves for the day!

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

HAMNET Report 27 January 2019

The ARRL Letter for 16 January reports that the Winter Field Day Association (WFDA) sponsors the 2019 running of Winter Field Day, January 26 – 27 (that is, this weekend). WFDA says that the ability to conduct emergency communication in a winter environment is just as important as the preparation and practice that take place each summer, but with some additional unique operational concerns.

“We believe that maintaining your operational skills should not be limited to fair-weather scenarios,” WFDA said in announcing this year’s event. “The addition of Winter Field Day will enhance those already important skills of those who generously volunteer their time and equipment to these organizations. Preparedness is the key to a professional and timely response during any event, and this is what local and state authorities are expecting when they reach out to emergency service groups that offer their services.” The event is open to all radio amateurs.

Members of the Warren County  Radio Club will activate Maxim Memorial Station W1AW during 2019 Winter Field Day. Club members will work a rotating 24-hour operating schedule to ensure the most band/mode coverage.

Grant ZS1GS sent me a piece from the South China Morning Post, reporting on  a giant experimental radio antenna on a piece of land almost five times the size of New York City, according to researchers involved in the highly controversial project.

The Wireless Electromagnetic Method (WEM) project took 13 years to build but researchers said that it was finally ready to emit extremely low frequency radio waves, also known as ELF waves. Those waves have been linked to cancer by the World Health Organisation-affiliated International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Although the project has civilian applications – officially it will be used for earthquake and mineral detection and forms part of China’s 11th five-year plan – it could also play a crucial role in military communications.

Scientists said that its transmissions could be picked up by a submarine lurking hundreds of metres under the sea, thus reducing the vessel’s risk of having to resurface to receive transmissions.

The project follows the construction of China’s first military-grade Super Low Frequency transmission station in 2009.

The next year, a Chinese nuclear submarine successfully communicated with the station from deep water – making China the third country in the world to have established such a submarine communication system, after the United States and Russia.

But the Chinese navy is eager to expand its capacity and has been pouring resources into the more advanced ELF radio technology, which allows submarines to communicate with the command centre from a greater depth and is harder to disrupt.

The Chinese government, however, has played down the importance of the facility, which occupies some 3,700 sq km of land, in information released to the public.

Apart from the need to protect an important strategic asset, some researchers said that the secrecy was to avoid causing public alarm.

The antenna would emit ELF signals with a frequency of between 0.1 and 300 hertz, the researchers said.

The exact site of the facility has not been disclosed, but information available in Chinese research journals suggests it is in the Huazhong region, an area in central China that includes Hubei, Henan and Hunan provinces and is home to more than 230 million people – greater than the population of Brazil.

Project WEM’s main surface structure is a pair of high voltage power supply lines stretching from north to south, and east to west on steel lattice towers, which form a cross that is 60km wide and 80km to 100km long.

At the end of each power line, thick copper wire goes underground through a deep borehole. Two power stations generate strong currents and electrify the ground in slow, repeating pulses, turning the earth underfoot into an active source of electromagnetic radiation.

The radio pulses not only pass through the atmosphere, but travel through the Earth’s crust as well, with a range of up to 3,500km, according to the project scientists.

A sensitive receiver within that range, which is roughly the distance between China and Singapore or Guam, would be able to pick up these signals.

The closer to the power source, the stronger the pulses.

The radar will be difficult for spy satellites to detect because it will appear no different to an ordinary power grid, although a radar expert said it might be possible to detect its emissions and use those to determine the location.

The inland location of the new facility would also make it harder for an enemy to attack, compared with a facility located on the coast.

But the project has caused concern among some academics, who worry about the possible impact on public health.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organisation, has previously warned that ELF waves are “possibly carcinogenic to humans”.

Numerous epidemiological and experimental studies conducted by researchers around the world have linked long-term ELF exposure to an increased risk of childhood leukaemia.

In a 500-page report constantly updated since 2007, the WHO has documented a large number of academic investigations linking ELF radiation to a range of illnesses including delusions, sleep deprivation, stress, depression, breast and brain tumours, miscarriages and suicide.

Though many results remain inconclusive, the WHO said the implementation of precautionary procedures to reduce exposure was “reasonable and warranted”.

China is not the first country doing this. Other countries conducted similar projects long ago.”

In 1968, the US Navy proposed Project Sanguine, a giant ELF antenna that would have covered two-fifths of the state of Wisconsin to enable undersea communications with submarines.

The project was terminated due to massive protest by residents.

The US Navy built a smaller transmitter, the Wisconsin Test Facility, with two 45km power lines in the Clam Lake area, a place with a low population density. The station emitted ELF waves at 76 hertz and was decommissioned over a decade ago.

In the 1980s the Soviet Union constructed Zevs, a considerably more powerful facility on the Kola Peninsula inside the Arctic Circle.

The Zevs antenna was powered by two 60km electric lines and had a main frequency tuned at 82 hertz. The radio waves it produced were believed powerful enough to reach Russian nuclear submarines hidden deep under the Arctic ice cap.

Unfortunately I don’t have a back garden big enough to accommodate an antenna 60km by 60km in size, so I don’t expect to hear these signals at my station!

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

HAMNET Report 20 January 2019

South Africa has won an extraordinary victory in space science with the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) being chosen to provide space weather information for the continent, the country’s ministry of science and technology said on Monday.

Minister of Science and Technology Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said SA was selected by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to become the designated regional provider of space weather information to the entire aviation sector using African airspace.

“This means that every aircraft flying in the continent’s airspace will rely on SANSA for the space weather information it needs to submit as part of its flight plan.”

Kubayi-Ngubane said: “Space weather, which can influence the performance and reliability of aviation and other technological systems, is caused by the Sun, the nature of the Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere, and the Earth’s location in the solar system.

“Space weather can lead to reduced signals from global navigation satellite systems, adversely affecting navigation, increased radiation, which can destroy human cells and tissue, especially during long-haul flights, and blackouts of high-frequency radio communications, which are critically important for the aviation and marine sectors.”

Kubayi-Ngubane said SANSA’s designation by the ICAO presents an opportunity to  use further the newly revamped space weather centre at Hermanus in the Western Cape.

The centre’s monitoring of the sun and its activity has been providing the country with vital early warnings and forecasts on space weather conditions, and these benefits will now be extended to the international aviation community.

The upgraded centre was unveiled by Kubayi-Ngubane in April 2018 and processes are currently under way to secure additional funding further to capacitate the centre for the huge task that lies ahead.

“The international community has supported South Africa’s ICAO designation, and has demonstrated confidence in SANSA’s ability to provide the services required. The process that SANSA underwent to achieve this designation has already enhanced South Africa’s reputation in the space science and technology field.”

She said since South Africa was the only African country with operational space weather capabilities, it would engage with other countries on the continent on data sharing, infrastructure hosting, training, product development, and research collaboration opportunities.

The country’s space science programme was feeding the knowledge economy and placing the national system of innovation at the centre of South Africa’s developmental agenda.

Thank you to the African News Agency for this report.

From the Jerusalem Post comes a report of a new Emergency Response Vehicle capable of providing fresh water to disaster zones. Watergen, the Rishon Lezion start-up known for its unique technology extracting fresh water directly from the air, has partnered with the Red Cross to develop the vehicle to provide fresh water to disaster zones.

Equipped with the company’s patented GENius-powered atmospheric water generator capable of producing 900 litres of water per day, the ERV will provide access to much-needed potable water supplies for communities far from population centres that are affected by emergencies or natural disasters.

“At a time when, according to international data, about two billion people in the world don’t have access to clean water, Watergen’s technology is a real lifesaver,” said Watergen chairman Michael (Micho) Mirilashvili.

“The new technological development is a breakthrough in enabling the technology to be mobilized and allowing access to clean drinking water so that it is available anywhere in the world immediately and without any installation.”

The vehicle was developed according to American Red Cross and Federal Emergency Management Agency guidelines. It includes satellite communication capabilities, power sockets for charging communication device batteries, emergency accumulators for the supply of power, and storage for medical equipment.

An external water tank carrying up to 1,500 litres of water, a 500 litre fuel tank for long operations, emergency lighting and WiFi can also be added to the vehicle.

The ERV has already been deployed, providing clean water for emergency services fighting the deadly and destructive November 2018 wildfires in California.

Thanks to the Jerusalem Post for that one.

In that this vehicle is able to condense water out of water vapour in the air, it should be made available in all areas of our country, to be sent to any disaster situation at a moment’s notice. Let’s hope it will!

Due to recent events involving drones interfering with commercial air travel, the US Federal Aviation Administration is developing a strategy to allow wider use of counter-drone technologies across airports. In times of heightened UAV threats, the SPYNEL IR imaging camera provides an innovative approach that guarantees the ability to detect, track, and classify all types of drones.

Writing in Sensors|Online, Mathew Dirjish notes that the SPYNEL thermal imaging technology  makes it impossible for a UAV to go unnoticed. Any object, hot or cold, will be detected by the 360° thermal sensor, day and night.

Driven by unique CYCLOPE intrusion detection software, the panoramic thermal imaging system tracks an unlimited number of targets to ensure that no event is missed over a long-range and wide surrounding area. SPYNEL is thus fully adapted to multi-target airborne threats like UAV swarming.

SPYNEL is a multi-function sensor with a large field of view, enabling real-time surveillance of both airborne and terrestrial threats at the same time. The CYCLOPE automatic detection software provides advanced features to monitor and analyze the 360° high resolution images captured by SPYNEL sensors.

The ADS-B plugin enables aerial target identification and the aircraft ADS-B data can be fused with thermal tracks to differentiate an airplane from a drone. With the forensics analysis offering a timeline, sequence storage and playback possibilities, it is also possible to go back in time to analyze the behaviour of the threat since its first apparition on the CYCLOPE interface. Moreover, the latest CYCLOPE feature makes 3D passive detection by triangulation available, when using several SPYNEL sensors at the same time. The feature consists in analyzing the distance and the altitude of multiple targets, creating a kind of “protective bubble” around the airport.

A key advantage of the SPYNEL detection system for airport applications is that it is a fully passive technology, meaning it will not be a source of disturbance in the electromagnetic environment of the airport. Indeed, a concern often raised by air-safety regulators is that anti-drone systems designed to jam radio communications could interfere with legitimate airport equipment.

I’m sure airports like Gatwick will be quick to install this kind of surveillance system.

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

HAMNET Report 13 January 2019

Here’s something I’ll bet you never thought you would hear about on a HAMNET Bulletin. The Japan News carried a post this week about frogs! Apparently, regularities seen in the calls of frogs can be used to improve radio communications systems, according to the findings of a Japanese scientific team led by Ikkyu Aihara, an assistant professor at the University of Tsukuba.

The findings were published in the British science journal Royal Society Open Science issued on Wednesday. The mechanism of the behaviour is expected to help avoid so-called packet collisions, a data communication failure in smart-phones and other devices, and could eventually contribute to energy savings.

Packet collisions occur when multiple devices simultaneously emit radio waves that interfere with each other, preventing the sending and receiving of data. The reduction of such collisions is key to improving telecommunication technology.

According to the team’s announcement, the scientists recorded and analyzed the sounds of three Japanese tree frogs. They found that a group of frogs delays, or “trolls,” the timing of their calls so as not to interfere with each other, and the group overall regularly switches between calling together and resting together.

Aihara, who specializes in mathematical biology, noticed the state of frogs’ singing can be likened to the transmissions of wireless communication equipment, and re-created the patterns of their trolling in mathematical formulas. The team used a computer to install the formulas into 100 devices and had them correspond with each other in a simulation.

Devices set next to each other began delaying the timing of their transmissions and avoiding packet collisions, just like the frogs’ trolling. Furthermore, the mechanism of calling in chorus, involving the repetition of simultaneous transmissions and rests, was seen among the devices as a whole. The team also found that the mechanism helped reduce power consumption.

“The sudden increase in IoT [internet of things] devices will cause packet collisions and massive power consumption,” said Keio University Prof. Satoshi Kurihara, who specializes in complex network science. “Many of the mechanisms possessed by living creatures are efficient, and can be useful for developing equipment that is inexpensive and has better energy-saving performance.”

I wonder whether this technique could not be employed by hasty users of our repeaters, to prevent doubling!

News from the medical front concerns the World Health Organisation’s drive to eradicate Polio throughout the world. In that Polio only occurs in humans, and can only be spread from human to human, all that has to be done is to isolate the last human case of Polio on earth, prevent any further spread, and the disease will be eradicated. Who’s Director General, Dr TA Ghebreyesus spent 4 days recently in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the last two countries where Polio cases were reported last year, and he highlighted Who’s commitment to its final eradication.

He said: “We must all give our best on this last mile to eradicate polio once and for all. My wish for 2019 is for zero polio transmission. You have full WHO’s support to help reach every child and stop this virus for good.”

Smallpox was declared eradicated in this way in 1980, after the last case was identified and isolated in Somalia in 1977. Like Polio, Smallpox occurs only in humans, and is transmitted from hand to mouth or by droplet infection from an infected person’s exhaled air. Polio immunisation in children is still given, but Smallpox vaccination is no longer required.

If you’d like to ogle stations of other radio amateurs around the world, consider logging in to the Facebook group called “Ham Radio Show and Tell” launched by Kevin Duplantis W4KEV in Tennessee. As you’d expect, it is a site to show off your shack, mobile installation, or anything ham radio that you’re proud of. So let’s see who’s going to be the first South African to feature the station he is proud of.

On Friday evening, the Southern Coast of the Western Cape was suddenly faced with three massive and very fast-moving fires. From videos seen, it even looked as though the intensity of the fire had generated firestorms, intense winds which further fanned the flames. There was a forecast for strong South-Westerly winds, and the fire and the wind seemed to combine to worsen the disaster.

Fires had been burning around the Southern tip of Africa ever since New Year’s eve, and fire-fighters have been fighting and monitoring hotspots ever since. Suddenly, on Friday evening, three fires flared up, and within hours, about 50 houses had been destroyed, countless vehicles burnt out, and entire coastal villages evacuated. Franskraal was badly affected, as well as Betty’s Bay, and suburbs of Hermanus ordered to be evacuated, as the flames neared them.

Grant Southey ZS1GS, Regional Director for HAMNET Western Cape ordered a net to be established amongst available operators in the Peninsula, and along the coast as far as Hermanus, in case help was required. Some areas consumed in the fires had lost power due to damage to wiring, and the possibility of no communications was rearing its head.

Very swiftly, some ten amateurs were to be heard on the 145.600 MHz repeater on Sir Lowry’s Pass, and HF comms were established on 80m. By about 21h00 on Friday evening, the chatter on the repeater had died down, and so had the fires a bit, thanks to some life-saving rain along the coast, which helped to dampen the strength of the fire.

Unfortunately the 145.725MHz  repeater outside Hermanus is not within range of the Peninsula operators, and the UHF link with the 145.600MHz repeater is unserviceable at present, so no contact was directly possible with Hermanus amateurs. Callsigns heard on 80 and 2 metres included ZS1DDK, ZS1SBM, ZS1KP, ZS1PDE, and ZR1FR, and ZS1OR and ZS1TR were also heard on 2 metres. Thank you to you all for being available. Thankfully, you were not needed.

Saturday’s social media were full of pictures and videos of the raging inferno. So far, no lives have been lost and the Overstrand Fire Authorities are reporting that the fires are under control and being monitored.

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

HAMNET Report 6 January 2019

In this, the first edition of the Hamnet Report of 2019, I’m very pleased to quote fully the greetings message from Greg Mossop G0DUB, the Emergency Communications Co-ordinator for the International Amateur Radio Union Region One. He wrote this as 2018 was drawing to a close on the evening of 31 December, and I quote:

“As 2018 ends I would like to thank all of you, and your families, for your support again this year.

“Looking back through the mailing list traffic, it has been quite a busy year, but we have not made a lot of noise about this 🙂

“There were a number of exercises held by you all, some looking at technological disasters like power failures, which have the ability to cause great disruption to the communications networks the public have become dependent on. I lost count of who has had this kind of exercise, but South Africa, Austria and Belgium come immediately to mind.

“Other exercises have had a very international feel with co-operation between the Netherlands, Poland and Germany testing their cross-border links. Others like Spain have had a sequence of exercises around the theme of Net Control which have been supported by the use of media like YouTube to spread training to their operators. We even had ARON in Slovenia streaming a training session live to the web, which set a good example for others to follow.

“We were always ready to respond to events, but there were not too many in our Region, so the focus again is on the countries around the world who are more affected by natural disasters, and the best help we can give is to raise awareness to give them clear frequencies.

“2019 begins with a fresh start as I begin to organise the next meeting of Emergency Communications Co-Ordinators in Friedrichshafen on 21st June. I will also be tidying up the mailing list, updating all the records I have for your countries and, now that there is some interest being shown from other Regions again, also thinking about the next GlobalSET, so we will have a lot to do 🙂

“I hope you all have a happy and healthy 2019.

“73 and Happy New Year,

“Greg, G0DUB.

Thank you, Greg, and your kind greetings are reciprocated from South Africa!

Now, further news of that tsunami I reported on last week comes from the Weather Network.

They report that  authorities around the globe are working on how they can prepare for the kind of freak tsunami that battered coasts west of Jakarta last month.

The Dec. 23 tsunami killed around 430 people along the coastlines of the Sunda Strait, capping a year of earthquakes and tsunamis in the vast archipelago, which straddles the seismically active Pacific Ring of Fire.

No sirens were heard in those towns and beaches to alert people before the deadly series of waves hit shore.

Seismologists and authorities say a perfect storm of factors caused the tsunami and made early detection near impossible given the equipment in place.

But the disaster should be a wake-up call to step up research on tsunami triggers and preparedness, said several of the experts, some of whom have travelled to the Southeast Asian nation to investigate what happened.

“Indonesia has demonstrated to the rest of the world the huge variety of sources that have the potential to cause tsunamis. More research is needed to understand those less-expected events,” said Stephen Hicks, a seismologist at the University of Southampton.

Most tsunamis on record have been triggered by earthquakes. But this time it was an eruption of Anak Krakatau Volcano that caused its crater to partially collapse into the sea at high tide, sending waves up to 5 metres (16 feet) high smashing into densely populated coastal areas on Java and Sumatra islands.

But the eruption didn’t rattle seismic monitors significantly, and the absence of seismic signals normally associated with tsunamis led Indonesia’s geophysics agency (BMKG) initially to tweet there was no tsunami.

Muhamad Sadly, head of geophysics at BMKG, later told Reuters its tidal monitors were not set up to trigger tsunami warnings from non-seismic events.

Scientists have long flagged the collapse of Anak Krakatau, around 155 km (100 miles) west of the capital, as a concern. A 2012 study published by the Geological Society of London deemed it a “tsunami hazard.”

Anak Krakatau had emerged from the Krakatoa volcano, which in 1883 erupted in one of the biggest explosions in recorded history, killing more than 36,000 people in a series of tsunamis and lowering the global surface temperature by one degree Celsius with its ash.

Some experts believe there was enough time for at least a partial detection of last week’s tsunami in the 24 minutes it took waves to hit land after the landslide on Anak Krakatau.

“The tsunami was very much a worst-case scenario for any hope of a clear tsunami warning: a lack of an obvious earthquake to trigger a warning, shallow water, rough seabed, and the close proximity to nearby coastlines,” said seismologist Hicks.

Thank you to theweathernetwork.com for these extracts.

With the start of the New Year, comes the need to round up volunteers for the early sporting events of the year that HAMNET supports. In the Western Cape, our first event is the 99er Cycle Tour around Durbanville, in the direction of Wellington, westward through Philadelphia, and via the N7 back to Durbanville. This event is organized by the el Shaddai Christian School in Durbanville, and takes place on Saturday morning the 9th of February this year.

HAMNET Western Cape is thus looking for the “Usual Suspects” to volunteer their services, and make contact with me in the next two weeks, so I can develop the Operations Plan. We usually have about 14 volunteers so please don’t be shy in stepping forward. We also welcome brand new amateurs, who may, if they wish, ride with an experienced operator to get the feel for these things, with a view to themselves becoming a rover in future years.

I’ll have more details of this in Wednesday the 9th’s HAMNET Western Cape Bulletin, which will be transmitted on  the 145.750MHz repeater at 19h30 Bravo that evening. Please feel free to call in during the bulletin to indicate your presence.

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

HAMNET Report 30 December 2018

Reporting on Christmas Eve, ARRL News said that radio amateurs in Indonesia’s Banten Province were in position to support any necessary emergency communications in the wake of a “stealth tsunami” on December 22, that struck without warning. Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency concluded that a volcanic eruption triggered a landslide underwater at Anak Krakatau.

The tsunami struck in the Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra, which connects the Java Sea to the Indian Ocean. Rescue and relief activities are under way. The death toll was expected to top 400, and many people were reported to be still missing. Fatalities occurred in the Pandeglang, South Lampung, and Serang regions of Indonesia. Some 1,500 people were reported injured.

IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Coordinator Dani Hidayat YB2TJV, said ORARI, Indonesia’s IARU member-society, would use 7.110 MHz for any relief and recovery communication. An ORARI CORE emergency team used a VHF repeater for regional communication.

ORARI reported that the LAPAN A2 satellite (IO-86) was being pressed into service for emergency communication purposes during the relief and recovery effort. IO-86 should not be used at this time for non-emergency traffic.

“ORARI Daerah Banten, immediately deployed the CORE ORARI Banten team to Cilegon and Serang where the disaster occurred to help the existing volunteer team,” said a report on the ORARI website.

“The disaster management agency warned that the death toll is likely to rise further,” Hidayat said. Some believe that high seas resulting from the full moon may have contributed to the force  of the waves. The disaster management agency said hundreds of buildings were damaged. Thousands of people were left homeless when the waves smashed homes on coastal areas of western Java and southern Sumatra.

Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the death toll had climbed to 429 on Tuesday with more than 1500 injured, and at least 128 still missing. Military troops, government personnel and volunteers were searching along debris-strewn beaches. Where victims were found, body bags were laid out, and weeping relatives identified the dead.

Express.co.uk says that a potential complete collapse of the Anak Krakatau volcano could trigger an unprecedented tsunami “at any moment” amid growing panic in Indonesia, which is still reeling from the first tsunami which killed more than 400 people last Saturday.

The threat level in Indonesia has been raised to its second highest, mandating a three-mile wide no-fly zone over the volcano.

Air traffic control AirNav said in a statement: “All flights are rerouted due to Krakatoa volcano ash on red alert.”

Scientists are concerned that the Anak Krakatau volcano could completely collapse – unleashing an unprecedented tsunami “without any notice”. Rosemarie North, from the Red Cross, told NBC News: “If the volcano collapses, you will not get much warning at all.”

The disaster last Saturday also took place without any earthquake activity beforehand. Indonesia is prone to natural disasters due to its location on what is called the Ring of Fire. The volatile region sits along plate tectonics underwater, causing earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Phys.org reports that the Indonesian volcano lost more than two-thirds of its height following the eruption which triggered the killer waves.

A section of Anak Krakatau’s crater collapsed after an eruption and slid into the ocean, generating the tsunami last Saturday night.

A visual analysis by the Indonesian volcanology agency found the volcano has lost more than two-thirds of its height, an official said Saturday.

Anak Krakatau which used to stand 338 metres high was now just 110 metres tall.

The agency estimated the volcano lost between 150 and 180 million cubic metres of material as massive amounts of rock and ash have been slowly sliding into the sea following a series of eruptions.

“Anak Krakatau is now much shorter, usually you can see the peak from the observatory post, now you can’t,” Wawan Irawan, a senior official at the agency, told AFP.

Before and after satellite images taken by Japan’s space agency showed that a two square kilometre chunk of the volcanic island had collapsed into the water.

The volcano, whose name means Child of Krakatoa, was a new island that emerged around 1928 in the crater left by Krakatoa, whose massive 1883 eruption killed at least 36,000 people.

Exactly a week later, that is yesterday, a magnitude 7 earthquake struck off the coast of the Southern end of Philippines, not far from last week’s undersea landslide and tsunami, and at a depth of 60 km. A tsunami warning was immediately announced, but by midday, the warning had been lifted. Only about 20,000 people live within 100km of the epicentre, so quake damage will be little. We hope there will not be a lot of major aftershocks.

Now, in an indirect way, I read of some good news this week. A Vancouver Canada company called  Indro Corp has developed a $70,000 handheld radio frequency pulse rifle designed to immobilize drones.

The Chief Technology Officer for the company, Philip Reece (unfortunately no relation of mine), says that the Drone chaos at Gatwick airport last week emphasises the need for a regulated defence strategy.

He says the main stumbling block to widespread use of the jammer is regulatory. He notes that Industry Standards regulate who is allowed to use the devices, which would make a huge difference if deployed around an airport like Gatwick.

Gatwick was closed between 19 and 21 December due to numerous drone sightings in the area, affecting 140,000 passengers and delaying over 1000 flights.

Thank you to Jane Stephenson writing in the Toronto Sun for this article.

Let’s hope it won’t take long to sort out regulations in all countries, and that our little airports can also be protected against such stupid behaviour.

Once again, it is my pleasure, on behalf of HAMNET South Africa to wish all our readers and listeners a very happy and prosperous 2019, with good health and success in all you endeavour! May all your signals always be 5 and 9!

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

HAMNET Report 23 December 2018

In depressing news of Humanitarian disaster, Aljazeera reports that The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has named the countries most at risk of being hit by humanitarian catastrophe next year, with Yemen, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan topping the top 10 list.

As wars, famines and other disasters loom over several countries, 2019 is set to be another arduous year for millions of people around the world.

The next 7 at-risk countries identified by the IRC’s emergency response experts are Afghanistan, Venezuela,  the  Central African Republic, Syria, Nigeria,  Ethiopia and Somalia.

The risks are human (from armed conflicts or economic collapse) as well as natural (from droughts, floods and other climate-related events).

Internal or external displacement is the defining trend in the IRC list. Around 40 million people have been displaced across the world, with the top 10 countries accounting for over half – or nearly 22 million – of those displacements.

The 10 countries also account for at least 13 million refugees, 65 percent of the global total, plus an additional 3 million people who have fled Venezuela.

According to the United Nations, nearly 132 million people in 42 countries around the world will need humanitarian assistance, including protection, in 2019.

Certainly food for thought, and it makes us realise that there are many people around the world far worse off than we are.

Now, from I4U News posted on 16 December, comes news that, on November 11, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe completed its first close approach to the sun. The spacecraft came as close as 15 million miles to the sun’s surface during that phase. This is far closer than any spacecraft has gone before. Now, Parker Solar Probe has returned first science data from this closest-ever solar encounter, which may help resolve decades-old questions about the inner workings of our nearest star.

“Heliophysicists have been waiting more than 60 years for a mission like this to be possible. The solar mysteries we want to solve are waiting in the corona,” said Nicola Fox, director of the Heliophysics Division at NASA. Heliophysics is the study of the Sun and how it affects space near Earth, around other worlds and throughout the solar system.

Launched in August, Parker Solar Probe is humanity’s first ever spacecraft to fly directly toward the sun. The small car-sized spacecraft will make 24 close approaches to the sun during the seven-year mission. With each flyby, it will get closer and closer to the sun, reaching within 3.9 million miles of the sun’s surface at closest approach. While zooming toward the sun, Parker probe will withstand extreme radiation and heat, thanks to its revolutionary heat shield, and allow scientists to explore the sun in a way never possible before.

The probe will study the sun’s outer atmosphere or corona in unprecedented detail. The corona is about 300 times hotter than the Sun’s surface. The atmosphere around the sun is not only unusual but also releases powerful plasma and energetic particles in all directions. The primary objective of the mission is to explore what accelerates these energetic particles as well as solar wind. The constant outpouring from the sun can create hazardous space weather events that impact life on Earth, disrupt radio communications and even interfere with power grids. This is the first time that researchers are studying the corona up close and personal. The resulting data could improve predictions of when major eruptions on the sun occur and how they affect the space environment.

“Parker Solar Probe is providing us with the measurements essential to understanding solar phenomena that have been puzzling us for decades,” said Nour Raouafi, Parker Solar Probe project scientist at the Johns Hopkins University. “To close the link, local sampling of the solar corona and the young solar wind is needed and Parker Solar Probe is doing just that.” End quote.

As this bulletin was being compiled yesterday, news came through of a Magnitude 5.5 Earthquake, which struck at 05h37 UTC in the North-Western regions of Mozambique, not far from the Zimbabwe border. The epicentre was 7.62km below the surface in an area with 930000 people living within 100km of it. The village of Chipinge in Eastern Zimbabwe felt the tremor badly, and vulnerable buildings were toppled by the instability.

Zimbabwe’s Meteorological Services Department said: “Most of the earthquakes that occur in this region are due to natural plate tectonics and this is attributed to the East African Rift System which extends into Mozambique.

“Manicaland in Zimbabwe is a seismically active region, evidenced by the many moderate to large earthquakes occurring each year.”

By the time we went to press last night, no news of casualties had been reported.

And, from the ARRL Letter for 20 December, comes news of a Christmas event.

As he’s done in years past, Brian Justin, WA1ZMS, of Forest, Virginia, will commemorate what may have been the first radio broadcast to include speech and music by experimenter Reginald Fessenden on Christmas Eve 1906. Justin will fire up his vintage-style transmitter operating on 486 kHz under Experimental license WI2XLQ to mark the 112th anniversary of Fessenden’s accomplishment. Justin will begin his transmission on December 24 at 1700 UTC and continue until December 26 at 1659 UTC.

Historic accounts say Fessenden played the violin — or a recording of violin music — and read a brief Bible verse, astounding radio experimenters and shipboard operators who heard the broadcast. For his transmitter in 1906, Fessenden used an ac alternator modulated by placing carbon microphones in series with the antenna feed line.

Justin’s homebuilt station is slightly more modern, based on a 1921 vacuum-tube master oscillator power amplifier (MOPA) design, using a UV-202 tube. The transmitter employs Heising AM modulation, developed by Raymond Heising during World War I.

Send listener reports directly to Brian Justin, WA1ZMS.

HAMNET South Africa wishes all its listeners and readers a Merry Christmas, where appropriate, and a safe, healthy and happy 2019. Oh, and please leave your radios on, monitoring the emergency frequencies in your area, to be available to help the people of this beautiful land if they need your assistance. Thank you!

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