HAMNET Report 6 August 2017

Michael Muller, ZS6MLV/1  has invited all WSAR operatives in the Western Cape to attend a training lecture to be held on Wednesday 16 August 2017. This will be the first of regular training sessions to be held for WSAR operatives. Although these sessions will be hosted by the Logistics Component, all operatives will benefit from attending.  During this session, we will introduce revisions to the call out process as well as provide updates on current Logistics and Communications issues.

Peter Dekker ZS1PDE has reminded us that the Helderberg Mountain Challenge will be held this year on Sunday August 20th. That is only two weeks away. He says he will need four Ham operators, two at base and two who will have to hike up the mountain with a field medic. The mountain team will have to start hiking not later than 6 AM , because all teams have to be in place at 6:50. Base comms have to be operational by 6 AM.

News of an IARU Region 2 communications exercise in August has been released.

This Emergency Communications Exercise is aimed mainly at amateur radio stations in the countries of IARU R2 Area G: Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.

The objectives are firstly, to help radio amateurs in Area G acquire experience in Emergency Communications, measure response capacity and promote work and cooperation among operators; secondly to count on a database of radio amateurs interested in participating in Emergency Communications; and thirdly, to encourage the operation of stations operating with their own energy, low power, portable and mobile.

The participants will specifically be individual radio amateurs, radio clubs and institutions with a valid amateur radio license in Area G countries: Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, but also operators from other countries willing to join the Exercise.

It will take place on Saturday, August 26, 2017, from 21:00 to 23:00 UTC, and  bands, frequencies and modes will be in the 40-meter band, on 7.050 kHz SSB, and
in the 20-meter band, on 14.255 kHz, SSB.

Radio amateurs who, because of their category or equipment, don’t have access to these bands, can participate as listeners. We suggest that they contact a participating radio club or group to follow the exercise jointly with more experienced radio amateurs so that they begin to understand how traffic is managed within a Net.

During the exercise hours, a Control Station will be on the air for each Area G country, and they will operate as Net Control in an consecutive manner, in order to have coverage in the entire Area. The Member Stations from each country in the Area will be available to act as Control Stations, or should delegate this activity to another station, which will be reported before the Exercise.

Given that it is an Emergency Communications Exercise, the retransmission or “bridge” mode must be used whenever necessary, because if someone wants to be heard by the Control but cannot achieve this, it is important that its presence is acknowledged and its message arrives and is recorded, according to the objectives of the Exercise mentioned above.

Stations reporting in the Net will send to the Control Station their Callsign, Name and Location (location and province, department or region).

Thank you to Greg G0DUB, for distributing this information.

The weekly ARRL letter has a very interesting description of the research to be done during the eclipse next week.

Virginia Tech electrical engineering professor Greg Earle, W4GDE, is heading up a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded solar eclipse experiment dubbed CEDAR — Coupling, Energetics, and Dynamics of Atmospheric Regions. The experiment proposes to study the effects on the ionosphere of the August 21 total eclipse of the Sun, using a combination of GPS receivers, the university’s SUPERDARN (Super Dual Auroral Radar Network) radar system, HF Amateur Radio, and plasma modelling. Several graduate students and researchers, as well as the Virginia Tech Amateur Radio Association (K4KDJ) and the Amateur Radio community at large have been recruited to help.

“We want to understand how the ionosphere is affected by blockage of sunlight over a relatively short interval (~2 hours), understand how man-made systems are affected by the changes in the ionosphere, and use the data to improve our numerical models,” Earle told the ARRL.  Virginia Tech students Magdalina Moses, KM4EGE, and Xiaoyu “Harry” Han, KM4ICI, along with Virginia Tech electrical engineering professor Bob McGwier, N4HY, are among those pitching in.

Earle and his team  will use the data they collect to characterize ionospheric plasma density variations caused by the eclipse, measure HF scintillation, which are rapid fluctuations of signal phase and/or amplitude, during the eclipse, study the motions of plasma irregularities produced in both the E and F layers, and use numerical models to test cause-and-effect scenarios to compare with empirical data.

“The proposed study will utilize diagnostic capabilities that have never before been used to study a mid-latitude eclipse,” the CEDAR abstract explains. “Through this work we will answer several fundamental questions that remain unresolved, despite previous eclipse studies, and we will engage a huge cohort of non-scientists in gathering data that will constrain our models and enrich our understanding of ionospheric behaviour.”

That “huge cohort” includes participants in the Solar Eclipse QSO Party (SEQP), sponsored by ARRL and HamSCI. “During this event, radio operators will actively communicate throughout the eclipse interval over paths that transect the eclipsed region of the ionosphere,” the CEDAR proposal outlines. “These data will include information on the signal strength and maximum usable frequency in various HF bands, which are directly related to the density and altitude of the ionosphere.” The experiment will also draw on data generated by WSPR Net and the Reverse Beacon Network (RBN).

This research may aid understanding of Near Vertical Incidence Skywave propagation during short distance emergency contacts. Thank you to the ARRL for disseminating the advance information .

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