REPORT 2016-08-07

As promised, we start with the report from Dave Higgs ZS2DH, on the VW rally held around the Bay West Mall on 15th and 16th July. This is an old favourite event in the Eastern Cape, and HAMNET Eastern Cape’s Deputy Director, Tony Allen ZR2TX is to be congratulated on the degree of planning he put into it. The Lady’s Slipper and Longmore repeaters were used on VHF, and the JOC inside the Bay West Mall used a UHF link to a cross-band relay in a vehicle outside the Mall to link to the repeaters.

Twelve stages, lasting from a few km, to 43 km in the Longmore forest took place, and all the mobile officials in the race, from Clerk of the Course to the PA van were manned by amateurs, as well as the start and finish of every stage, and even some mid points along the way. All in all, 30 operators assisted, some of them doubling up their duties at more than one spot. Some of the operators were brand new hams, having just written their exams and earned their licences.

Tony ZR2TX, supported by Patsy ZS2PTY, managed the Joint Operations Centre, and handled the ordinary traffic as well as emergencies, with aplomb. The race organisers thanked HAMNET EC and PEARS for their support over the last 34 years. Special mention was made of Bill Hodges, ZS2ABZ who has been involved with all but last year’s event, when he was ill. Well done, Bill, and congratulations to all the other operators too.

ZS2DH has also brought to our attention, the Trans Baviaans Mountain Bike race, which has grown to become a two weekend event, over the weekends of the 13-14th August and the 20-21st August. HAMNET and PEARS members provide communications via a digipeater network through the length of the kloof, with a Venue Operations Centre near Patensie, and a VHF/UHF repeater network for voice traffic. The Longmore repeater will again be involved, and matrixed with several temporary voice repeaters for awkward spots in the 230km race.

ZS2-land enjoys this wilderness event, with operators camping over at their various spots, and emergency traffic, times of arrival and departure of teams, withdrawals and general logistical communications receiving radio preference. APRS will be used to track the Medics and other mobile assets in real time at the Ops Centre. Good luck to all the Eastern Cape operators for these two weekends.

Keith Lowes ZS5WFD, from KwaZulu Natal, tells me HAMNET KZN will be providing the communications for the Kloof Conservancy Three Falls Trail Run, taking place today the 7th August, starting at the Forest View Primary School, through the Krantzkloof Nature Reserve, and ending at the school again, a distance of 18.6km. This is the fifth time the race is being run, and started at 06h30 this morning. There is a challenging river crossing, the river being swollen by the recent rains in KZN. Communications will be on the 145.625 Highway Amateur Radio Club repeater, with additional links via the Ezemvelo Wildlife repeater system to the Joint Operations Centre. Hopefully I’ll have a report-back for you in a future bulletin. Thanks Keith!

International news comes via Greg Mossop G0DUB, from IARU Region One, regarding Tropical Storm Earl, currently heading across Central America affecting the countries of Honduras, Guatemala, Belize and Mexico. IARU Region 2 has requested that attention is drawn to the following frequencies used by nets in North and Central America to track and deal with the consequences of these severe weather events. Radio Amateurs in Region 2 play their part in gathering and distributing information for the weather and emergency services as they do every year.

Radio Amateurs in Region 1 are reminded it is possible to cause unintentional QRM to these nets so please listen carefully if operating near these frequencies which have been activated due to Tropical Storm Earl:

Mexico: 7.060 & 3.690 MHz

Guatemala: 7.075 MHz

Belize: 7.177MHz

USA Hurricane Watch Net: 14.325 MHz

Greg has also notified us of further frequencies used in the Caribbean and surrounding areas during the Atlantic hurricane season in previous years, and asks us to think twice before calling inconsiderately on these frequencies. The list is quite long, so please go to the HAMNET website, at to see the complete list on the homepage. Thank you.

Then, for HAMNET Western Cape members, invited to a lecture at the Mountain Club of South Africa’s clubhouse, 97 Hatfield St, Cape Town, on Hyperthermia, and the management of the overheated athlete or rescue victim, please note that the date of the talk has been moved forward from the 10th August to Wednesday the 17th August at 19h00 local time. The talk will be given by Ross Hofmeyr.

Finally, HAMNET South Africa would like to take the opportunity to congratulate the new Council of the SARL on their election in the last two weeks, and wish them well, as they handle the nitty-gritty of running the affairs of the radio amateur community. HAMNET assures them of our total support, of course, and we will not hesitate to provide the emergency communications wherever we are needed.

HAMNET would also like to thank the outgoing Council for their years of service to the hobby. We hope to hear you all on the bands for a change, instead of beavering away at the administration all the time!

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