HAMNET Report 26 May 2019

May I start this bulletin today by congratulating the 129 candidates who passed this May’s Radio Amateur Exam, and now find themselves licensed to be heard on the airwaves. Well done all, we hope to hear you all on the air soon, and hope that at least some of you will join HAMNET in your relevant province or division, to assist with emergency communications or sporting events. Please contact me for details of your local divisional director of HAMNET.

In the first Snow Report of the Winter for Southern Africa, mention was made on Tuesday the 21st of a light dusting of snow on the top of the Matroosberg near Ceres that morning. This followed the night after the first winter storm to hit the Western Cape brought  between 30 and 70mm of rain at least to mountain ranges and dam catchment areas in the Overberg and Western Cape region. Night-time temperatures have dropped considerably since the cold front of last weekend, but a fairly dry week and a half has followed the front, and no more rain is forecast here for another week.

Those ever-vigilant reporters at Southgate Amateur Radio News say that The Hindu reports that members of the Amateur Radio Society of Odisha (ARSO) want the state government to promote amateur radio.

The newspaper says the Odisha government should promote amateur radio enthusiasts in all blocks of Odisha to increase preparedness at the time of communication failure, especially during natural calamities, according to members  of the ARSO.

But ARSO laments that during cyclone Fani, Odisha government did not take their direct help, and preferred to use HAM operators from West Bengal and Hyderabad, who faced problems with respect to language and lack of knowledge of localities.

The group has 25 licensed HAM radio operators who regularly update the technology along with their operational skill. In February this year, they had tested their communication skills at an uninhabited island within Chilika lake to check their    preparedness for natural calamities like cyclonic storms.

During cyclone Fani, members of ARSO reached Puri on May 4 to provide support to the public after all conventional modes of communication had failed after landfall of the cyclone. Connecting to the internet in Berhampur via HAM radio, they were able to reach out to social media, asking  people living outside to provide addresses of their family members in the cyclone-devastated regions so that news about their condition could be checked and passed on. Hundreds of families of Puri and Chandanpur areas are said to have benefited from this.

Thank you to The Hindu for the follow-up on the effects of Cyclone Fani.

Scientists from Ireland and France announced a major new finding on Friday about how matter behaves in the extreme conditions of the Sun’s atmosphere.

The scientists used large radio telescopes and ultraviolet cameras on a NASA spacecraft to understand better the exotic but poorly understood “fourth state of matter”. Known as plasma, this matter could hold the key to developing safe, clean and efficient nuclear energy generators on Earth. The scientists published their findings in the leading international journal Nature Communications.

Most of the matter we encounter in our everyday lives comes in the form of solid, liquid or gas, but the majority of the Universe is composed of plasma—a highly unstable and electrically charged fluid. The Sun is also made up of this plasma.

Despite being the most common form of matter in the Universe plasma remains a mystery, mainly due to its scarcity in natural conditions on Earth, which makes it difficult to study. Special laboratories on Earth recreate the extreme conditions of space for this purpose, but the Sun represents an all-natural laboratory to study how plasma behaves in conditions that are often too extreme for the manually constructed Earth-based laboratories.

Postdoctoral Researcher at Trinity College Dublin and the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies (DIAS), Dr. Eoin Carley, led the international collaboration. He said: “The solar atmosphere is a hotbed of extreme activity, with plasma temperatures in excess of 1 million degrees Celsius and particles that travel close to light-speed. The light-speed particles shine bright at radio wavelengths, so we’re able to monitor exactly how plasmas behave with large radio telescopes.”

“We worked closely with scientists at the Paris Observatory and performed observations of the Sun with a large radio telescope located in Nançay in central France. We combined the radio observations with ultraviolet cameras on NASA’s space-based Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft to show that plasma on the sun can often emit radio light that pulses like a light-house. We have known about this activity for decades, but our use of space and ground-based equipment allowed us to image the radio pulses for the first time and see exactly how plasmas become unstable in the solar atmosphere.”

Studying the behaviour of plasmas on the Sun allows for a comparison of how they behave on Earth, where much effort is now under way to build magnetic confinement fusion reactors. These are nuclear energy generators that are much safer, cleaner and more efficient than their fission reactor cousins that we currently use for energy today.

Professor at DIAS and collaborator on the project, Peter Gallagher, said: “Nuclear fusion is a different type of nuclear energy generation that fuses plasma atoms together, as opposed to breaking them apart like fission does. Fusion is more stable and safer, and it doesn’t require highly radioactive fuel; in fact, much of the waste material from fusion is inert helium.”

“The only problem is that nuclear fusion plasmas are highly unstable. As soon as the plasma starts generating energy, some natural process switches off the reaction. While this switch-off behaviour is like an inherent safety switch, in that fusion reactors cannot form runaway reactions, it also means the plasma is difficult to maintain in a stable state for energy generation. By studying how plasmas become unstable on the Sun, we can learn about how to control them on Earth.”

And this report came from the website phys.org to whom we extend thanks.

Finally, Dayton Hamvention has come and gone, and your writer awaits with keen interest news of new equipment and technologies announced over the weekend. It is understood that a new SDR transceiver from Elecraft, and many new gadgets from MFJ Industries, are amongst the revelations. More news as soon as I acquire it.

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

HAMNET Report 19 May 2019

One of the strongest solar magnetic storms in recent years, which began early on 14 May and was forecast to continue through the evening, could have increased the possibility of spacecraft de-orbiting, and caused problems in satellite navigation and communication, the Lebedev Physical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (LPI RAS) said.

“In accordance with the developed scale of magnetic storms, level three storms have a noticeable impact on technology, especially in space, including causing [space] vehicles to de-orbit and creating problems with maintaining their orientation”, the LPI RAS Laboratory of X-ray Astronomy of the Sun said in a statement.

The lab added that interruptions in satellite navigation and problems with low-frequency radio navigation, as well as interruptions in high-frequency radio communication were expected. In turn, Russian State Space Corporation Roscosmos told Sputnik that it did not record changes in the work of Russian satellites [as a result of] the magnetic storm.

The most powerful geomagnetic storm seen in almost two years, caused by the solar activity, began on Tuesday morning, chief scientist of the Laboratory of Solar X-ray Astronomy of the Lebedev Physical Institute Sergey Bogachev told Sputnik.

“In comparison with the events of recent years, this is a major event. Over the past year and a half or two, this is the severest magnetic storm, an impressive event. This event forms aurora, and creates interference in radio communications”, Bogachev said.

According to the scientist, the geomagnetic storm can affect meteo-sensitive people too.

The storm began on Tuesday around 03h00 UTC and was expected to last through the evening, as this kind of event usually lasts up to ten hours. Normalisation of the Earth’s magnetic field was expected by the early hours of Wednesday.

Thanks to Space Daily for that report.

The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station team (ARISS) is pleased to announce that it has worked together with Hamvention again this year. Hamvention’s 2019 theme is “Mentoring the Next Generation”, and ends today the 19th..

ARISS’s mission is all about mentoring and inspiring. Tens of thousands of people have been touched by the programme: students, educators, community members, and new hams–all wanting to explore STEM and Amateur Radio through ARISS.

Hamvention’s support to ARISS began with approval for their first-ever ARISS Forum, held last Friday at 1:15pm local time. A group of speakers presented current and future lifelong learning activities for hams and students via ARISS SSTV, APRS, voice repeaters, radio experiments and robots.

Attendees heard about the next generation on-orbit hardware systems, updates on school activities, ARISS’s visionary initiative to fly ham radio on the human spaceflight lunar Gateway, how to maximize hams’ opportunities to make ARISS connections and listen to the ISS crew in home stations, and to meet special guests.

And that report came from the Southgate Amateur Radio News.

This week’s World Health Organisation report says that dementia affects around 50 million people globally with nearly 10 million new cases every year. Dementia is a major cause of disability and dependency among older people.

Here’s important advice for you: You can reduce your risk of dementia by getting regular exercise, not smoking, avoiding harmful use of alcohol, controlling your weight, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, according to new guidelines issued by WHO.

Strangely, there’s no mention of the important benefit to health of qualifying for and using an amateur radio licence. The authors must be chided for overlooking this important fact!

The dates fixed by NASA to return to the Moon are 2024, and 2033 to land on Mars, but, according to experts and industry insiders, reaching the Red Planet by 2033 is highly improbable, barring a Herculean effort on the scale of the Apollo programme in the 1960s.

“The Moon is the proving ground for our eventual mission to Mars,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said at a conference this week.

“The Moon is our path to get to Mars in the fastest, safest way possible. That’s why we go to the Moon.”

Amongst the psychological challenges facing the journey to Mars:

Well, from the design, manufacture, and testing of the rockets and spaceships required, to learning the best way to grow lettuce, all the groundwork remains to be done.

Just getting there will take six months at least, as opposed to three days to the Moon.

The whole mission could take two years, since Mars and the Earth are closest to each other every 26 months, a window of opportunity that must be taken.

Key tasks include finding a way to shield astronauts from prolonged exposure to solar and cosmic radiation, said Julie Robinson, NASA’s chief scientist for the International Space Station.

“A second is our food system,” she added. The current plant system ideas “are not packageable, portable or small enough to take to Mars.”

And then there’s the question of dealing with medical emergencies. Astronauts will need to be able to treat themselves in case of any accidents.

Techniques to exploit Martian resources to extract water, oxygen and fuel necessary for humans to live there don’t yet exist — and must be tested on the Moon by the end of this decade.

Finally there’s the most fundamental question: how will a group of people cope with the psychological stress of being totally isolated for two years?

It won’t be possible to communicate in real time with Houston mission control. Radio communications will take between four and 24 minutes between the planets, one-way. NASA plans to test out delayed-communication exercises on board the ISS in the coming years.

Artificial intelligence must also be developed to assist and guide the astronauts.

Thank you to Yahoo News for the report on this very formidable task awaiting NASA.

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

HAMNET Report 12 May 2019

HAMNET is shocked to learn of the sudden passing, on Thursday evening, of Dave Holliday ZS5HN, deputy director of HAMNET KwaZulu Natal. Keith Lowes ZS5WFD, Regional Director for KwaZulu Natal reports that he had spent Thursday evening working in his shack in the garage, but collapsed and died as he entered his house at 23h30 late that evening.

Keith writes in a Face Book entry that he was a very dedicated member of Hamnet and served as Keith’s Deputy Director for many years. He was also a long time member of the Highway Amateur Radio Club, and was responsible for lecturing many members in studying for and passing the exams to obtain their licences. HAMNET South Africa joins Keith in sending sincere condolences to his wife Cheryl, family and many friends. Rest In Peace, Dave.

Grant Southey, ZS1GS, Regional Director for HAMNET Western Cape, reports that the newly-acquired container for us to use as a storeroom, has been installed at Tygerberg’s Emergency Management Centre, and that he and two other stalwarts of the Western Cape, have transferred all the contents of the previous storeroom into the container. Painting and cleaning up will still need to be finished, but all is otherwise complete. Thank you to Doug ZS1DUG, Peter ZS1PDE, and Grant ZS1GS for doing this work on the afternoon of Voting day.

Grant has also notified us that he is still two radio operators short for the Jonkershoek Mountain Challenge trail run taking place next Saturday the 18th of May. So if you are able to assist with this event, please contact Grant at grantsouthey@gmail.com.

Anette, ZR6D, of HAMNET Gauteng South, has sent me the entire write up of the 100 Cycle Challenge event, that took place at Germiston Lake on Sunday past. You will have heard a mention on the HQ bulletin, and can find the report as a header on the SARL website, at www.sarl.org.za.

It appears that 24 operators, under the controlling eye of Glynn ZS6GLN, started installing APRS equipment in ambulances last Saturday afternoon, and helped deploy the speed fences to close off various roads on the routes early on Sunday morning.

There was a delay due to serious congestion at the start, but finally the three races were sent off, the short 50km race first, followed by the 100km regular race, and finally the UCI Elite riders, who set off at 11h00.

HAMNET members were instrumental in managing the intersection of the R23 and the R554 in Brakpan, and in getting all the Elite cyclists safely on to the N17 freeway.

They further assisted in opening some of the major roads, once the back riders were through, as well as following the slower riders safely back to the finish at Germiston Lake.

The Event Organisers were loud in their praise of the HAMNET Member’s contribution, professing that the radio operators had saved the day with their expertise and professionalism. The third of May 2020 has already been diarised as the date for HAMNET’s participation in next year’s race.

Thank you to the 24 operators who participated, and to Anette ZR6D for including me in the distribution of this report. For the complete story, don’t forget to look at the front page of the SARL webpage.

In The Vintage News, we read that “surprise” might be an understatement to describe amateur astronomer Phil Williams’ reaction upon being told that the ghostly radio signal he had detected was in fact coming from a satellite that had failed and disappeared decades ago.

Williams told Southgate Amateur Radio News that the signal he detected from his base in Cornwall seemed to cycle every four seconds, diminishing and returning to create an eerie repetitive sound.

It would later be determined that the fluctuation was the result of the long-lost satellite barrelling end over end through the void of space, causing variations in the light reaching the solar panels that Gunter’s Space Page says likely now power the depleted batteries of this 65 lb (30 kg) relic of the space age.

Scientists are unclear as to how the satellite continues to operate — Williams himself expressed some uncertainty as to how the craft might continue to function given the particularly harsh environment of space and its tendency to destroy electronic equipment.

The mystery is compounded by the fact that the propulsion system of the satellite, built by MIT’s Lincoln Lab and launched in February 1965, failed upon its launch and the craft was thought lost forever when it ceased to transmit in 1967.

After initially failing to reach its projected orbit, the satellite stopped communicating with its base for 46 long years before Williams’ discovery of its abrupt revival.

Some speculate that the battery’s demise may now be allowing power to pass directly from the solar panels to the computer, with human error in the wiring of the device to blame for its premature failure.

The satellite, named LES-1, was originally launched to test the United States’ capability to communicate via satellite after nuclear testing in the Pacific annihilated portions of the ionosphere and effectively halted high-frequency communications with their allies in Hawaii and New Zealand.

With parts of the ionosphere effectively turned into black spots, the US was suddenly without a vital communication infrastructure, and, as Mark Wade described in an article on Astronautix.com, the LES program was started to guarantee vital lines of communication.

In the case of the LES-1 satellite, however, the waters are still murky as to the cause of its demise and resurrection. Without physically recovering the craft, it is likely impossible to determine with any certainty what went wrong and how the craft’s deterioration led to it resuming its broadcast.

So unlikely was its self-recommissioning, that NASA was hesitant to believe it. From the moment of Williams’ discovery, it would be three long years before NASA was able to conclusively confirm suspicions that the mystery signal was emanating from the nearly 50-year-old LES-1 satellite.

Other satellites in MIT’s LES program successfully completed their missions, lending credibility to the assertion that the craft was robustly engineered despite its failed mission.

Today, LES-1 continues to tumble through the blackness of space, slowly disintegrating in the unprotected reaches of Earth’s orbit and giving off its last faint warbles as earthbound astronomers await the day it gives off its final transmission at 237MHz and falls silent for the last time.

Thanks to The Vintage News for that strange story.

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

HAMNET Report 5 May 2019

From World Vision come reports of Cyclone Fani-19, which formed as a tropical depression in the Indian Ocean near Sumatra. The Joint Typhoon Warning Centre in Hawaii first tracked the developing storm on April 26. As it drifted west, it began to strengthen, and, from April 30, it has been an extremely severe cyclonic storm, the first of the 2019 season.

Cyclone Fani made landfall on the Bay of Bengal coast of India about 8 a.m. local time on Friday, May 3. The storm hit Puri city in Odisha state with heavy rain and wind speeds exceeding 130 mph, equivalent to a Category 4 hurricane. More than a million people in India were evacuated from the coastal zone.

The cyclone tracked north along the north coast with diminishing force before reaching Bangladesh. Rain and possible flooding are expected to continue in Bangladesh throughout the weekend.

Storm warnings were issued for 19 districts of India’s Odisha, West Bengal, and Andhra Pradesh states, the most likely to be in the storm’s path. In Bangladesh, the national government sounded warnings for coastal cities, including Cox’s Bazar, home to more than 900,000 Rohingya refugees.

As of yesterday (Saturday), no reports of loss of life have been received. Perhaps the coastal evacuations, and the way in which the cyclone stayed just off-shore before disintegrating into a tropical depression at the Bangladeshi coast, accounts for the relatively minor effects of the storm.

Meanwhile, members of the West Bengal Radio Club, are en route to Odisha. Once there, they will link up with the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) control room in Bhubaneswar, and will also relay information to Delhi and Kolkata.

A team from Andhra Pradesh is also scheduled to join them later. They will be there to establish radio communication, when all other modes of communication fail following the cyclone. Initially they will be posted to set up radio stations in the OSDMA control room at Rajiv Bhawan in Bhubaneswar, Purim and Kendrapara which are expected to be hit severely. They will also visit the areas which will be worst hit after the cyclone comes.

Further reporting from Mozambique after its two Cyclones in the space of a month comes from the website BRIGHT, which notes that 38 people have been killed by Cyclone Kenneth. More than 35,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged.”

Cyclone Kenneth came just as hundreds of thousands of civilians, left homeless and hungry by Cyclone Idai — which turned huge swaths of the country into an inland sea — were starting to put the pieces of their lives together. World Vision estimates that flooding from both cyclones have affected nearly 3 million people and the death toll is said to exceed 843 people.

But many experts believe that the death toll from Cyclone Idai alone is much higher than the official figure since countless missing bodies have never been discovered and are believed to have been washed away, and many of the hardest hit regions remain unreachable.

As victims of the storms are struggling to come to terms with the scale of the tragedy, the biggest fear remains the outbreak of communicable diseases such as cholera. At least 1,428 people have been infected with the waterborne disease as government and aid agencies work around the clock to contain the outbreak.

The international community has been slow to react to the unfolding humanitarian disaster in what is one of the poorest countries in the world. So far, aid remains “drastically underfunded, with only about $88 million received of the $390 million needed”..

Here’s excellent news from the medical field. Univadis Medical News reports that the Government of Malawi has launched the world’s first malaria vaccine this week in a landmark pilot programme. The country is the first of three in Africa in which the vaccine, known as RTS,S, will be made available to children up to two years of age. The vaccine will be introduced in Ghana and Kenya in the coming weeks.

RTS,S is the first, and to date, the only vaccine that has demonstrated it can significantly reduce malaria in children. In clinical trials, the vaccine was found to prevent approximately four in 10 malaria cases, including three in 10 cases of life-threatening severe malaria. The pilot programme is designed to generate evidence and experience to inform World Health Organization (WHO) policy recommendations on the broader use of the RTS,S malaria vaccine.

This should be a space worth watching. Remember, you heard it here first!

From that master of digital modes involving RF comes a new brother to FT8, this one called FT4. It is available as part of Dr Joe Taylor’s WSJT suite and freshly announced this week. There is a YouTube video called “FT4 vs FT8 – A new mode: What’s the difference?” So if you are looking for advances in digital messages and new countries contacted, watch the video and see if it will meet your requirements.

Now, some news from the Western Cape Division of HAMNET.

Due to circumstances outside our control, we no longer have a storage facility for HAMNET radios, antennas, mobile masts, banners and the likes. We are also working towards acquiring a trailer to carry our kit to a call-out or sporting event of one or other sort. So the decision was taken at a recent Western Cape HAMNET meeting to acquire a 40 foot container, for these purpose. The Western Province’s Emergency Medical Service has allowed us to place the container in the grounds of the Provincial Emergency Management /Centre at Tygerberg Hospital, and it was delivered on last Thursday. Grant Southey, our Divisional Director, has encouraged all HAMNET members locally to join a work party after voting on this Wednesday, to spruce it up with some paint, install a lighting system, and transfer our possessions from their current storage.

The President’s Trophy Air Race took place on Friday the 3rd and Saturday the 4th of May, in an around the Saldanha air field, and HAMNET Western Cape was asked to man all the turning points of the races on the two days.

We mustered about 16 operators, who manned the beacon points at which the airplanes changed direction along the two routes, kept secret from the airmen until 20 minutes before they took off. Unfortunately, Friday’s weather was overcast and misty with variable rain and cloud height, and the day’s event was cancelled. Saturday dawned bright and clear, and the planes took off at short intervals, and were tracked by the HAMNET ops at each turning point, between 11 am and about 2 pm. Attempts to identify planes by their race numbers were not always easy, and more clear forms of identification will need to be implemented in future races. Nevertheless, a great weekend was enjoyed by all!

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

HAMNET Report 28 April 2019

The most important news in our country this week surrounds the heavy flooding in KwaZulu Natal, in which up to 280mm of rain fell within 12 hours on Monday. It seems the maximum rainfall was just South of Durban central, and the news media were full of pictures of parts of Amanzimtoti washed away, water coming down in floods from high-lying areas, and a slowly increasing death toll.

On Wednesday morning, Keith Lowes ZS5WFD, Regional Director of HAMNET KwaZulu Natal, reported that search and rescue missions were continuing around the Durban area.

Members from DBN Search and Rescue along with DBN K9SAR, Metro Police SAR, NSRI, RescueTech, Life Response EMS, IPSS Medical Rescue and DUT Emergency Medicine Instructors responded to 28 callouts ranging from Structural Collapses, Drownings, Mudslides and Entrapments, all related to the Extreme Weather conditions in and around the Durban area.

Keith reported that the Members had worked right through for a total of 38 continuous hours. On Wednesday morning members from Pietermaritzburg (PMB) SAR, and PMB and Umhlali K9SAR were mobilized to assist in the Rescue and Recovery efforts.

A total of 24 bodies were recovered and 15 people were rescued from life threatening situations. By that time there were still 3 people missing, presumed deceased at various places.

Later in the week, the death-toll was raised to about 50, and clearing of debris at collapsed sites, and on the local beaches, continues.

The most important news in our region this week, surrounds Cyclone Kenneth, which arrived from the East, and battered the Northern coast of Mozambique. Business Insider reports that Kenneth, classified at one stage as a category 4 cyclone, smashed into the northern parts of Mozambique on Thursday evening with wind speeds of up to 280 km/h.

Three people are dead in northern Mozambique after Cyclone Kenneth made a historic landfall late on Thursday, and flooding rain will put more lives and property in peril in the coming days.

Kenneth is the first tropical cyclone with the equivalent of hurricane strength to strike Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado since modern record-keeping began 60 years ago. According to the U.N., the strike by Kenneth marked the first time in recorded history that Mozambique has been hit by two powerful cyclones in the same season. Last month, the central part of the country was slammed by Cyclone Idai, which resulted in hundreds of fatalities.

The dangerous cyclone made landfall in Cabo Delgado, about 100 km north of Pemba, at the end of the day on Thursday, local time. Kenneth had 10-minute maximum sustained winds of 200 km/h, the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic or eastern Pacific oceans, as it moved onshore.

Meteo France estimates a life-threatening storm surge of 3-5 meters occurred along the coast, just south of landfall.

Red Cross teams in northern Mozambique are reporting serious damage in towns and communities that were struck by Kenneth on Thursday night. One woman was killed by a falling tree in Pemba, according to The Associated Press. Two other people were killed on Ibo Island. Prior to reaching Mozambique, Kenneth killed three people in the island nation of Comoros on Wednesday night.

About 90 percent of homes, which were mostly made of mud, may have been destroyed in the main village on Ibo Island, Mozambique. Ibo is located near where Kenneth barrelled onshore.

Electricity was cut on Ibo Island, where many residents also lost cell-phone service when the cyclone downed a tower. There are also reports of “extensive damage” to homes in Quissanga, according to AP. Four ships sank offshore of Palma, but everyone survived.

Significant power outages plagued Pemba, where winds gusted to 70 km/h weather-recording instruments stopped reporting.

While its strong winds have dramatically weakened, Kenneth will crawl through north-eastern Mozambique this weekend and continue to unleash downpours. More lives and property are at risk as the heavy rain can trigger new, or exacerbate ongoing, flooding problems.

“A flooding disaster can unfold in Cabo Delgado where Kenneth slammed onshore,” according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski. “Additional downpours into this weekend can push the AccuWeather Local StormMax™ to 600 mm of rain.

The heavy rain can cause streams, rivers and coastal waterways to flood neighbouring land and communities.

“This is a life-threatening situation as the hardest-hit areas can be put underwater,” Pydynowski warned. “Those needing to be rescued may only be able to be reached by boat or helicopters.”

Flooding downpours from Kenneth can also stream into eastern parts of the Mozambique province of Nampula, as well as graze neighbouring southern Tanzania.

Muidumbe, Mucojo, Nacaroa, Montepuez, Pemba and Nacala are among the communities facing flooding. All evacuation orders are to be followed.

Mudslides can be triggered and endanger those living on hillsides.

“A few thunderstorms can also rumble around Kenneth’s centre, which can further hinder rescue, recovery and storm clean-up efforts,” Pydynowski said.

Prior to Kenneth striking Mozambique, Reuters reports that around 30,000 people were evacuated to safer buildings such as schools.

“Aside from storm damage, the greatest risk will immediately be from flooding due to heavy rains. Rivers within this region of Mozambique may flood, especially as at least one of the dams is already close to full capacity, preventing flood water from being retained. This will make it almost impossible to distribute aid as roads will become impassable,” said Marc Nosbach, CARE Mozambique’s country director.

The areas being affected by Kenneth were largely spared from any of former Tropical Cyclone Idai’s destruction in March.

Kenneth first brought heavy rainfall to parts of Madagascar from Monday into Wednesday. The cyclone then lashed the island nation of Comoros, killing three people. Several other people sustained injuries, according to Reuters.

Thank you to Accuweather for these reports.

HAMNET South Africa is not aware of any activations of ham nets during the storm, but operators were asked to avoid frequencies around 7090 to 7100 kHz LSB in case they unintentionally caused QRM.

And finally, another shameless plug for vaccinating your children. Celebrated in the last week of April, World Immunization Week aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. Immunization saves millions of lives every year and is widely recognized as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions.

Yet, there are still nearly 20 million unvaccinated and under-vaccinated children in the world today. This year’s #VaccinesWork campaign comes at a critical time. It will involve all of us – from governments, to health workers and individuals, in our role as parents, teachers, family members or friends – to ensure every person is vaccinated at the right time, and that we remain protected together.

This is Dave Reece  ZS1DFR  in Division 5, reporting for HAMNET South Africa.