HAMNET Report 25 February 2018

HAMNET is shocked to read in ARRL News that the chair of the International Amateur Radio Union Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee, Jim Linton, VK3PC, of Forest Hill, Victoria, Australia, died on February 22 of thyroid cancer. For many years, Linton was a consistent and reliable source of news and information regarding Amateur Radio disaster response activities in IARU Region 3.

A Life Member of the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA), Linton received the G.A. Taylor Medal in 2011, the WIA’s highest honour, for his service to the WIA Centenary Committee and contributions to Amateur Radio over many years. Linton was involved in WIA’s communications, marketing, and publications efforts, and he served as the news editor for Amateur Radio magazine. He was a past president of Amateur Radio Victoria and was its public relations officer.

A veteran radio enthusiast, Linton joined the WIA as a teenager and shortwave listener. IARU Secretary David Sumner, K1ZZ, called Linton, “a tireless worker for the common good.”

HAMNET sends its sincere condolences to his family and to the Wireless Institute of Australia.

Cape Town DX and HAMNET enthusiasts went the extra mile to host the 3Y0Z Bouvet Island team, who got a warm welcome back to terra firma on February 17 upon arrival at Cape Town, South Africa, following their return voyage from Bouvet Island according to ARRL News.

The 3Y0Z DXpedition had to be called off due to adverse weather while the team was sailing within view of the sub-Antarctic island, which is #2 on the Club Log DXCC Most-Wanted List. The team’s vessel Betanzos also suffered an engine failure, and it was decided that, with just one engine, Cape Town was the closest safe destination.

Among the greeters in Cape Town was South African Amateur Radio League (SARL) President Nico van Rensburg, ZS6QL. A 37-foot ketch with a crew of South African hams on board met Betanzos outside the Port of Cape Town. The beleaguered 3Y0Z team had been at sea for more than a month, logging some 9,000 maritime mobile contacts en route.

“For some, this has been a difficult time, but now stability and dry land are on the horizon,” team co-leader Ralph Fedor, K0IR, tweeted as Cape Town came into view. “Thank you once again to all of you for your support during this difficult time.” The team presented a signed 3Y0Z banner to the Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre.

There is a ten minute insert in this week’s “Ham Nation” videoblog covering the 3Y0Z team’s arrival in Cape Town, with pictures and description of the Sunday buffet lunch hosted by the Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre at the Royal Yacht Club. Look up “Ham Nation 339” on YouTube, and skim to the 44th minute, to see the insert.

Further news from the (other) Bouvet Island DXpedition 3Y0I, is that Members of the expedition to Bouvet Island will be doing more than handing out contacts to the world’s community of DXers. According to the 3Y0I Bouvet Island DXpedition, this will mark the first-ever Polish-led expedition to Bouvet, and it will include geographical exploration of the island, a trek to the top of the island’s glacier, Olavtoppen, at 760 meters (nearly 2,500 feet) above sea level, and photo and video documentation of the team’s voyage to Bouvet and stay on the island, both for sponsors and the Norwegian Polar Institute. The DXpedition also will place what 3Y0I is describing as a “time capsule” on Olavtoppen. A dependency of Norway, Bouvet is considered to be among the most remote places on the planet.

“Such gigantic geographical isolation, combined with severe weather conditions, and a lack of communication channels in this region of the world, Bouvet Island is one of the least-visited places on Earth,” the 3Y0I website describes. “Fewer people have put their feet on Bouvet than on the surface of the moon. Our expedition is really an expedition into the unknown.”

Bouvet is #2 on the DXCC Most-Wanted List, right behind North Korea, from which 3Y0I DXpedition leader Dom Grzyb, 3Z9DX, operated briefly in December 2015. “Over 1 million hams from all continents are waiting for a contact with Bouvet. No wonder. The last time Bouvet Island was heard on the amateur bands was 10 years ago,” the team’s website said.

The DXpedition’s members face a voyage of up to 3 weeks on often-stormy South Atlantic waters. Grzyb has raised the possibility of live online video feeds from the trip, as well as social media exposure. The contingent of DXers will set sail from South Africa on a seagoing yacht adapted for extreme weather.

No dates for the 3Y0I DXpedition have been announced, but it will take place during the sub-Antarctic summer in the Southern Hemisphere.

Thank you to the ARRL letter of February 22 for these notes.

Returning to science for a moment, you will have noted the high Planetary A and K figures of the last few days as high speed solar wind streams reach Earth.

On 22nd February, a magnetic observatory in Lofoten, Norway, picked up unusually pure low-frequency magnetic waves rippling around the Arctic Circle.

Known as “pulsations continuous” (Pc), these rare magnetic oscillations can energize particles in our planet’s magnetosphere, boosting the brightness of auroras. Indeed, strong auroras are being seen right now in Scandinavia.

You may visit Spaceweather.com to learn what caused these Pc waves and to monitor the ongoing display. Even when the Sun has no spots or activity on it, it influences our ionosphere.

Continuing our thoughts on contact with Extra Terrestrials, world renowned physicist, Prof Michio Kaku, has said we will first discover extraterrestrials by “listening in” on their radio communications. He concedes there is no way of knowing what their intentions will be. However, he does believe there will be a major gap that renders communication impossible.

He was asked: “If we make contact with alien civilisations, then what? And how will we talk to them?”

Prof Kaku responded: “Let me stick my neck out. I personally feel that within this century, we will make contact with an alien civilisation, by listening in on their radio communications. But talking to them will be difficult, since they could be tens of light years away.

“So, in the meantime, we must decipher their language to understand their level of technology and their intentions. Will they be expansive and aggressive, or peaceful?” Only time will tell. Thank you to the Daily Star for these thoughts.

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