HAMNET Report 21 October 2018

Our National HAMNET Director, Glynn Chamberlain, ZS6GLN has announced that the SARL council has appointed Grant Southey (ZS1GS) as the new HAMNET Deputy National Director. Grant will also continue as regional director for HAMNET Western Cape as well.

Glynn thanks Grant for taking on this role and looks forward to his positive attitude and enthusiasm going forward, and hopes we will all join him in welcoming Grant to his new position and give him all our support!

The ARES E-Letter notes that more vehicles have non-steel roof panels constructed of fibreglass, aluminium, or carbon fibre these days. This makes placing a temporary mag-mount antenna on the roof difficult. We have run into this issue several times in the past when our radio operators were riding in Support And Gear (SAG), sweep, or pace vehicles during special events or riding along with a Jeep Patrol in the mountains. Recently, John  was assisting a neighbouring ARES region with a special event and was riding in a new law enforcement vehicle that had an aluminium roof panel. The solution was to use an HT Window Mount Clip. There are BNC, SMA, and female SMA versions of this clip so you can easily attach an HT antenna and get it outside of the vehicle. It is small enough to throw in a ruck sack if you know you will be operating from a vehicle other than your own. Operators may find other uses for this mount such as to get an antenna outside of a room, or to get some extra height for an HT antenna. It may not have the same ground plane effects of a mag-mount, but it definitely works.

Thanks to John Bloodgood, KD0SFY, for this suggestion.

News4JAX reports that the North Florida American Radio Relay League is looking for local amateur radio operators to help facilitated communication in areas of the Panhandle hit hardest by Hurricane Michael.

“During the first 24-48 hours after Michael made landfall, the only communications that were available in several of the impacted counties was through HF (high frequency) radio and amateur radio operators,” said Scott Roberts, with the NFARR.

Several counties with damage to critical infrastructure remain without any form of communication. In some areas, the only method of communication between shelters and emergency management is through ham radio.

A handful of volunteers were deployed from Duval County this week to assist at shelters in the Panhandle. But more are needed to help relay information and direct resources inside the affected areas.

“If they need cots, more food, or they’re running low on anything, they would pass that information over radio to the state emergency operations centre, or the resource centres to get them sent to the shelters,” Roberts said.

Volunteers could be deployed for as long as seven days. They will need to bring their own amateur radio gear, as well as food, water, a sleeping bag and other personal supplies.

The 25-meter Dwingeloo Radio Telescope in the Netherlands has received photos of the dark side of the moon, transmitted by the Chinese Longjiang-2 lunar satellite (DSLWP-B), Lunar-OSCAR 94 (LO-94). One especially dramatic image shows the far side of the moon with Earth in the background, taken by the Longjiang-2 satellite and transmitted by an onboard Amateur Radio transceiver. The Dwingeloo Radio Telescope had been restored by the C.A. Muller Radio Astronomy Station (or CAMRAS) PI9CAM group.

“This image represents the culmination of several observing sessions spread over the past few months where we used the Dwingeloo telescope in collaboration with the Chinese team from Harbin University of Technology, who built the radio transceiver on board Longjiang-2, and with radio amateurs spread across the globe,” a CAMRAS report said. “During these sessions, we tested receiving telemetry through low-bit rate and error-resistant digitally modulated transmissions, as well as the JT4G modulation scheme designed by radio amateur and Nobel prize winning astrophysicist Joe Taylor, K1JT, for weak-signal moonbounce experiments.” Other images are of the lunar surface, lens flares, and the starry sky as seen from lunar orbit.

The Longjiang-2 transceiver was designed to allow radio amateurs to downlink telemetry and relay messages through a satellite in lunar orbit, as well as to command it to take and downlink images. Some Earth-bound radio amateurs and sky watchers have already received images from the moon-orbiting satellite.

Longjiang-2 was launched last May into a lunar transfer orbit and deployed as a secondary payload with the Queqiao relay satellite as part of the Chang’e 4 mission. The satellite will test low-frequency radio astronomy and space-based interferometry; no transponder is aboard.


In preparation for the mission and discussion of the possibilities of the antennas and receivers in the radio telescope, MingChuan Wei, BG2BHC, and Hu Chaoran, BG2CRY, both of the Harbin Institute of Technology, visited Harry Keizer, PE1CHQ, and Jan van Muijlwijk, PA3FXB, of CAMRAS.
The Chang’e 4 mission will mark the first-ever attempt at a soft landing on the far side of the moon. The Chang’e-4 lander and rover are scheduled to launch in December.

The spacecraft transmits on 70 centimetres (435.400/436.400 MHz) with 250/500 bps GMSK using 10 kHz wide FM single-channel data, with concatenated codes or JT4G.

Thanks to this week’s ARRL Letter for the report.

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