HAMNET Report 30 June 2019

The Sun is the largest source of energy in the solar system. This sphere of hot plasma occasionally sends out charged particles that can create havoc to electronics orbiting our planet, and are fatal for astronauts in space.

In order to get a closer look at such solar events, NASA has previously launched solar missions like ‘Parker’, designed to touch the star. The latest in line to map the Sun and its effects on space weather is ‘Punch,’ set to launch in August 2022.

PUNCH stands for the “Polarimeter to Unify the Corona and Heliosphere”. The aim of the mission will be to study the complex relationships between the Sun’s blistering outer layer, the corona, and the heliosphere, the Sun’s range of influence that extends up to Pluto. The mission will orbit very close to the Earth, only 350 miles up and will track and image solar wind leaving the Sun. The spacecraft is composed of four separate probes, each one no larger than a suitcase.

As the solar particles interact with Earth’s magnetic field, the impacted space weather can have a significant effect on radio communications and the Global Positioning System (GPS). With PUNCH, scientists hope to unravel these dynamics and also other solar weather events such as coronal mass ejections, which can find their way into the Earth’s path, hindering satellites and disrupting the power system.

According to NASA, PUNCH is a small mission, as per the space agency’s standards, not priced more than $165 million. One of the probes of the spacecraft will carry a narrow-field imager looking at the polarized light from the Sun. PUNCH will be the first mission with the sensitivity and polarization capability to routinely track solar wind in 3D.

NASA scientists believe that by studying this phenomenon, they will be able better to predict solar wind and prevent damage to technology and astronauts in space.

Along with PUNCH, NASA is also gearing up for a second mission “Tandem Reconnection and Cusp Electrodynamics Reconnaissance Satellites”, or TRACERS which will explore Earth’s northern magnetic cusp region and how it interacts with Sun’s magnetic fields.

Southgate Amateur Radio News reports that 14,300 people attended the Ham Radio 2019 event in Friedrichshafen, down from the 15,460 in 2018 and the 17,400 in 2009. A translation of the DARC post reads:

The 44th HAM RADIO event together with the 70th Lake Constance meeting ended on Sunday [June 23] with the conclusion of 14300 visitors. “That’s a very good value,” summarizes Petra Rathgeber of the exhibition project management. Anyway, this results in a generally positive picture of the weekend. We talked to many exhibitors, volunteers and visitors during the Sunday tour and consistently heard the statement “satisfied”.

The date for the 45th HAM RADIO and the 71st Lake Constance meeting has already been decided:  June 26-28, 2020, again at the Friedrichshafen Exhibition Centre. With that, Europe’s biggest amateur radio show returns to its traditional last weekend in June. We look forward to seeing you again on Lake Constance!

Reporting in Univadis Medical News, researchers say they have developed a new tool to monitor people for cardiac arrest contactlessly, by detecting agonal, or gasping, breathing using a smart speaker such as a smartphone or a device such as Amazon Alexa.

Using real-world audio of agonal breathing heard on emergency calls for cardiac arrests, researchers trained a support vector machine (SVM) to accurately classify agonal breathing instances. The researchers also trained the SVM to detect interfering sounds such as air conditioning as well as instances of abnormal breathing captured during sleep studies.

On average, the proof-of-concept tool detected agonal breathing events 97 per cent of the time over the phone from up to 6 metres away.

The team envisions the algorithm could function like an app, or a skill for Alexa that runs passively on a smart speaker or smartphone while people sleep. And they now plan to commercialise the tool.

Writing in npj Digital  Medicine, the authors said the increasing adoption of commodity smart speakers in private residences and hospital environments may provide a wide-reaching means to realise the potential of a contactless cardiac arrest detection system.

The website phys.org reports that scientists have finally found malaria’s Achilles’ heel, namely a neurotoxin that isn’t harmful to any living thing except Anopheles mosquitoes that spread malaria.

Progress fighting the disease is threatened, as Anopheles develop resistance to chemical insecticides used to control them. There is also great concern about toxic side effects of the chemicals.

An international team led by Sarjeet Gill, distinguished professor of molecular, cell and systems biology at UC Riverside, has identified a neurotoxin produced by a bacteria, and determined how it kills Anopheles. Their work is detailed in a paper published in Nature Communications.

“Identifying the mechanisms by which the bacteria targets Anopheles has not been easy,” Gill said. “We were excited not only to find the neurotoxin, called PMP1, but also several proteins that likely protect PMP1 as it’s being absorbed in the mosquito’s gut.

Clearly, the next problem is going to be finding a way to get the neurotoxin into every female Anopheles mosquito. Stand by with bated breath for the next episode in this developing story!

Another report from Keith Lowes, ZS5WFD, says that HAMNET KZN has been invited to a “Breakfast Session” being held on Monday 01 July 2019 to showcase the current technology and services provided by the Emergency Mobilising and Communication Centre, which is a 24/7 operation positioned within the Disaster Management Centre for eThekwini Municipality.

The Emergency Centre handles incoming calls and Despatch/Mobilisation in the various regions for the Fire Services, Metro Police unit and Disaster Management branch. Internal and external stakeholders have been invited to participate in this session that will involve presentations and a question and answer session.

HAMNET KZN will also have a display of Amateur Radio equipment in their dedicated radio room within the Disaster Management Operations Centre.

Thanks for that news, Keith, and good luck with the presentation.

This Dave Reece  ZS1DFR  reporting for HAMNET in South Africa.

HAMNET Report 23 June 2019

As an example of a newspaper cover of the Field Day exercise taking place in America this weekend, here’s a report from Fair Lawn, in New Jersey.

Members of the Fair Lawn Radio Amateur Club will be participating in the national Amateur Radio Field Day exercise, beginning  Saturday, June 22nd at 2PM and ending Sunday, June 23rd at 1PM local time. The venue will be Memorial Park, c/o Avenue of Heroes/Berdan Avenue  in Fair Lawn. The event is open to everyone and refreshments will be served.

This year’s theme will feature a weekend of science and technology focused on radio science. The club will offer working demonstrations and present visitors with the opportunity to look at the Sun through a solar telescope to learn about its impact upon radio communications on earth; a satellite station offering the opportunity to communicate with orbiting satellites (and, quite possibly, the International Space Station); a chance to “get on the air” and talk with others around the country; to see a high frequency radio alternative to local land-based cellular communication; and to watch demonstrations of both the latest and earliest forms of radio transmitting.

As usual, the club will partner with other ham radio operators across North America establishing temporary ham radio stations in public locations during Field Day weekend, to showcase the science and skill of Amateur Radio. This year the Fair Lawn club will feature four working radio stations. “Field Day”, an annual event since 1933, demonstrates ham radio’s ability to work reliably under any conditions from almost any location and create an independent communications network. Ham operators train and prepare to support emergency communications by providing radio links when other communications channels aren’t working. The previous year’s hurricane disasters in Puerto Rico, Florida and Texas highlighted the value of amateur radio, which provided communications lifelines when all other methods were disabled.

This year’s event  also showcases the club’s work in public service. “In disasters, we’ve learned that cell towers won’t work and ham operators play a huge role when that happens.” said Brad Kerber, President of the Fair Lawn club. “Ham radio functions completely independent of the Internet or cell phone infrastructure, and can be set up almost anywhere in minutes. That’s the beauty of amateur radio during a communications outage.” “Hams can literally throw a wire in a tree for an antenna, connect it to a battery-powered transmitter and communicate halfway around the world,” Kerber added. “In today’s electronic do-it-yourself (DIY) environment, ham radio remains one of the best ways for people to learn about electronics, physics, meteorology, and numerous other scientific disciplines, and is a huge asset to any community during disasters if the standard communications infrastructure goes down.” Amateur radio remains contemporary and more important than ever!

Thanks to the TAPinto Fair Lawn online news service for this excerpt.

Southgate Amateur Radio News reports that the Radio Society of Australia (RASA) has written to the Australian Government radio regulator seeking an increase in output power from 400W to 1kW for advanced class amateurs.

RASA Secretary, Dr. Andrew Smith, VK6AS, produced a research/ background paper on how the issues of higher power at HF and EMR/I/C limits are managed in other countries.

The paper concludes that:

  • there is no health or occupational health reason preventing power limits for (Australian) Radio Amateurs in the HF/VHF/UHF bands to be increased; and
  • there is little or no evidence that suggests that an increase in power will increase complaints of RFI.

This seems to me to be a very progressive step, and would bring Australian regulations in line with large portions of the Amateur radio world. Let’s hope the request is granted.

Now to Friedrichshafen, Germany, where Delegations from ARRL and the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) are currently attending HAM RADIO 2019, the popular international Amateur Radio exhibition. Each year, a contingent from ARRL attends HAM RADIO, greeting its non-US members and networking with other national radio societies. Billed as Europe’s biggest Amateur Radio convention, HAM RADIO 2019 takes place from June the 21st to the 23rd on the shores of Lake Constance.

Attending on behalf of the IARU are President Tim Ellam, VE6SH/G4HUA; Secretary David Sumner, K1ZZ, and past IARU Secretary and ARRL President (1995 – 2000) Rod Stafford, W6ROD.

This year’s event marks the 44th HAM RADIO exhibition and the 70th Lake Constance Convention of Radio Amateurs, sponsored by Germany’s IARU member-society, the Deutscher Amateur Radio Club (DARC). The convention theme this year is “Amateur Radio on Tour.”

DARC Press Spokesperson Stephanie Heine, DO7PR, points out, “Radio amateurs know no bounds and are on land and water as well as in the air with their mobile ‘ham radio shacks.’ They like having the option of being reachable all over the world on their expeditions and getting to know new friends.”

Thanks to the ARRL Letter for those notes.

The indefatigable Keith Lowes ZS5WFD and his band of men are at it again, gearing themselves up for an event. He writes:

We have had almost a week’s rest since the Comrades Marathon so before we get withdrawal symptoms, our next event is the Scottburgh to Brighton Sand & Surf Marathon.

HAMNET KZN provided communications for this event yesterday, the  22nd June 2019. The event covered 46.5Km starting at Scottburgh on the South Coast, a compulsory check in at the beach in Amanzimtoti, and finishing at Brighton Beach on the Bluff in Durban. This is one of South Africa’s premier ocean paddling races and is definitely a blue ribbon event on the surfski calendar. Having begun in 1958, the event proudly holds the title of the oldest long distance surfski race in the world.  The race started at 06H30 provided that it was sufficiently light to ensure paddlers safety. Were weather conditions to be deemed dangerous, today was to be the alternate date.

Categories included double and single ski’s, kneeboard paddlers, and runners on the beach.

14 Hamnet operators were positioned at key points along the route to be able to advise the control station at Athlone Park of any incidents.  Communications were maintained with Inshore Rescue Boats(IRB’s) via a commercial simplex radio channel.  This was a joint operation involving Hamnet, Lifesaving South Africa, NSRI and eThekwini Lifeguards.

A Control Station was established at Athlone Park in Amanzimtoti, giving full 2M simplex radio coverage of the event.

Keep up the good work, Keith – you and your team are certainly putting the rest of HAMNET SA to shame!

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

HAMNET Report 16 June 2019

We are again indebted to Keith Lowes, ZS5WFD, this time for a report on the Comrades Marathon run last Sunday. He says that this year’s event saw 29 operators positioned at selected refreshment points, along with 2 operators each at the Durban Disaster Management Centre and Scottsville Race Course JOC respectively, giving a total of 33.

“With the large number of operators required,  a joint operation between HAMNET, REACT (Radio Emergency Associated Citizen Teams using CB Radio on Ch 24 & 21) and LCCSA (Land Cruiser Club of SA) was implemented, with relay stations situated at strategic points to facilitate interoperability.  When all is said and done, we all have an interest in radio, and we were able to come together as a team and provide a solution.  My thanks to Guy ZR5GB who co-ordinated the assistance of the LCCSA members.

“Justin ZS5JW and Kimmy ZS5KIM were plunged into the deep-end this year and did an absolutely first class job of handling the Durban JOC, being operational from 04H30.  They managed all radio traffic from water tables up until Cato Ridge, when Keith ZS5WFD and Willem ZS5WA at the Pietermaritzburg JOC took over.   The Finish JOC only closed down at 20H00 after having had an early start at 7am.

“WhatsApp was used to great effect in support of normal radio traffic until around 16H00 when overloading of the cellular networks became a problem due to the large number of runners and spectators at the finish putting pressure on it.  This also had an effect on officials that were using PTT  radio systems reliant on the cellular network backbone. Good old fashioned VHF/UHF analogue radio did not suffer from this problem and continued to operate normally.

“I am pleased to report that no serious medical incidents were reported on the road, although an extensive medical plan was in place with Netcare 911 managing the event.  They had deployed 16 ambulances, 6 rapid response vehicles with Advanced Life Support, as well as 6 motor bikes with paramedics.  A helicopter was also on standby.  A full trauma centre was  established within the finish venue.  Quite a number of medical requests were made to their representatives in the JOC’s both at Durban and Pietermaritzburg and in a number of cases the runners had recovered sufficiently to continue with the race before they arrived.  Others just retired and were picked up by the rescue (bailer) buses. A number of requests for additional water and Arnica Ice for tired, aching and cramping muscles were received, but due to congestion on the route it was not possible to get additional supplies to these water points timeously.

“With over 20,000 runners and hundreds of spectators, it is always a  concern to respond to incidents on the route safely, and response times will never be as quick as would be achieved under normal road conditions.

“Justin ZS5KT at Essex Terrace in Westville had a number of issues at Table 3 with camera crews on motorbikes getting far too close to runners.  The directive issued had been to maintain a safe distance of at least 30 metres from runners.

“A bottleneck caused by major roadwork’s in the vicinity to 45th Cutting at Sherwood also resulted in large groups of runners crossing over onto the Durban bound carriageway of the M13 freeway which was open for normal traffic.  Video and still footage has been submitted by Justin and will be forwarded to the race organisers at the de-briefing.  These incidents were all reported to the JOC and logged accordingly.

“The initial plan was to link the Midlands Amateur Radio Club (MARC) 145.750 repeater to the Highway Amateur Radio Club (HARC) 145.625 repeater, but local interference was causing the 750 to lock up the 625.  Mike ZS5ML and Koos ZS5KDK were able to unlink them and we operated them in stand-alone mode.  Good use was also made of cross-band mobile repeaters, and a list with frequency/CTCSS tone allocations was circulated to avoid interference between users.

“Unfortunately due to my work commitments and the passing of OM Glen ZS5GD last year, who put in many long hours at the Expo with me in the past, we did not participate in the Comrades Expo that was held from 06 to 08 June 2019.

“Once again I extend my thanks to all of the operators that worked together to ensure the safety of all participants and spectators, as without you our task would be impossible.” Close quotation.

Thanks for the excellent report Keith. It looks as though the runners were safer because of your combined presence.

From SKA Global Headquarters, comes a report that the SKA Organisation has followed closely the recent developments towards creating constellations of satellites that aim to offer wireless broadband access in remote areas.

Prof. Philip Diamond, the SKA Director-General says “Innovation and societal impact are at the heart of our mission to deliver the world’s largest radio telescope, and indeed we feel some community pride that Wi-Fi itself originated as a globally-significant spin-off from fundamental radio astronomy research.

“Radio astronomers have been engaged for decades in the work of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) – a United Nations Agency – to regulate the international use of the radio frequency spectrum. Their efforts ensured a limited number of narrow bands of the spectrum received protection in the 1960s to allow radio astronomy to develop and conduct essential and unique research.

“Over the years however, there has been growing pressure on the spectrum due to the arrival of novel technologies. However, at the same time radio astronomy has developed extensively beyond those bands to remain at the forefront of scientific breakthroughs. In the case of the SKA, our eventual ability to observe the sky across a large part of the radio spectrum continuously, promises a wealth of discoveries in an extremely broad range of science disciplines.

“Whilst there is legislation in place at the two SKA sites in Australia and South Africa to protect the telescopes from ground-based radio interference at those frequencies, the use of air and space-borne radio communications is regulated on a collaborative international basis, often coordinated through the ITU.

“As a global project, we firmly believe in the power of collaboration. As a sector member of ITU, we are engaging directly with companies such as SpaceX to explore mitigation options and initiatives that could be applied  to ensure that the large-scale investments in the SKA and other radio telescopes, their discovery potential and the likely spin-offs coming out of their development, are safeguarded, while these new developments in telecommunications, with their obvious broader societal benefits, flourish.

“Recent public statements from SpaceX officials are reassuring in this respect and we remain optimistic that the development of such satellite constellations can be compatible with radio astronomy, preserving our ability as a society to continue advancing our knowledge about our universe.

“We look forward to further cooperation to evolve a radio astronomy friendly environment.” Close quote.

Perhaps the SKA and SpaceX’s goals ARE compatible after all.

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

HAMNET Report 9 June 2019

Keith Lowes, ZS5WFD, Divisional Director of HAMNET KwaZulu Natal reports that they provided support for the Standard Bank 70.3 Ironman held in Durban on Sunday 02 June 2019.  The race consisted of a 1.9Km swim, a 90.1 Km Cycle ride and finished off with a relaxing 21.1Km run along the Durban beachfront.

A total of 10 operators were stationed at points covering the route, with Justin ZS5KT on foot with the Race Director, who covered a distance of 22Km foot-mobile by the end of the day.  There were 2 operators in the VOC  (Provincial Director Keith Lowes ZS5WFD assisted by Ugo ZS5UGR), Craig ZS5CD at the cycle turnaround point at the M4/ Umdloti , whilst Geoff ZS5AGM and Val ZS5VAL were at the other end of the cycle route in Sandile Thusi (Argyle) Road.

Troy ZS5TWJ was positioned at the race penalty tent in the parking lot of Suncoast Casino, Wayne ZS5WAY was on the run route at Blue Lagoon,  Terry ZS5TB at the Pirates Surf Lifesaving Club, and Deon ZS5DD at Ushaka Beach.

90% of communications were handled on 145.525 Simplex, with the 145.7625 repeater used to communicate with Craig ZS5CD at Umdloti.

Keith reports no serious race casualties and thanks all those who volunteered to help with this annual race.

He and his band of merry men in HAMNET KZN are busy again today shepherding the Comrades runners on another up-run from Durban to Pietermaritzburg. We hope the weather is acceptable today, and the race goes well. Keith says he will send me a report on the Comrades for inclusion in this bulletin in the coming weeks.

Greg Mossop G0DUB, the IARU Region 1 Emergency Communications Co-ordinator, has released the schedule for the Emergency Comms meeting to be held at Friedrichshafen on the 21st of June.

After a welcome and a short region 1 report, Greg will lead a discussion on what use we can make of Satellites for Emergency Communications, including Low Earth Orbit and Geostationary satellites. This will be followed by another open discussion on HF conditions and weak signal message modes like JS8call.

Then Alberto IK1YLO will show a 6 minute film about the North East Italian Flood Exercise of 5-9 June 2018, followed by an update on their national DMR project.

Ron 4X1IG will talk about a contest as a drill, and then Oliver DL7TNY will introduce the attendees to AREDN data networks.

After a short open forum to answer any remaining questions and for guidance for new groups, Greg will discuss how EmComms would respond to a power grid failure.

All in all a useful meeting, and I’m sorry that we may not get to hear about the entire proceedings.

Southgate Amateur Radio News reminds us that the Hara Arena used to be the venue for the Dayton Hamvention before it took up residence at the Xenia Fairgrounds, also in Ohio.

This week, just days after the Xenia Hamvention was over, word was received that Ohio ARES was activated after a tornado badly damaged Hara Arena in Trotwood on US Memorial Day.

According to a report from WHIO TV, Hara Arena suffered extensive damage. Drone video showed that the roof and side of the structure had been blown off in several places. Hamvention relocated to the Xenia Fairgrounds in 2017, after Hara Arena shut down the previous year.

The Hara Arena damage apparently resulted from what CBS News called “a large and dangerous tornado” that struck Trotwood. Ohio Section Emergency Coordinator Stan Broadway, N8BHL, said ARES counties and districts activated that evening after nearly 40 tornado warnings were issued across the state.

It must have been a wild and dangerous time for the residents of Ohio.

Reporting on another disaster, the IOL website says that social media was the unsung hero of the 2017 Knysna fires and an independent disaster report released on Thursday recommends that municipality communications teams should make more use of social networking to improve communication with the public.

According to Richard Walls, who heads up Stellenbosch University’s Fire Engineering Research Unit (FireSUN), social media was extensively used during the incident. Walls, who delivered a slide presentation during the launch of the report, said that while “Facebook was used more by Knysna residents tracking the fire, Twitter was used more in the relief efforts that followed”.

The report, Minimising The Risk And Impact Of Another Mega-Fire In South Africa, recommended that “municipality communications teams must identify high-profile social media influencers and enlist their support in spreading messages and directing users to information sources”.

Another key recommendation was that insurers develop more affordable insurance products for the so-called missing middle, the households which are not sufficiently impoverished to be supported by government welfare, but which are not able to afford insurance. Communities could also join the local Fire Protection Association (FPA), the report said, and participate in setting up fire-wise communities. Residents and landowners should work with FPAs to map and monitor the extent and densities of invasive alien plant re-growth accurately.

This is fundamental to determining the amount and duration of funding required to control the massive regeneration of invading plant species after fires.

Other recommendations in the report commissioned by short-term insurer Santam included managing or controlling the presence of fire-prone vegetation and other combustible or flammable material on tracts of land, attending to all fire call-outs even if they don’t appear threatening, and focussing more on public education and awareness programmes on the risks associated with wildfires.

The Knysna fire was the worst wildfire disaster in South Africa’s history. The report found that its severity was caused by a cocktail of factors including drought, low atmospheric humidity, strong winds and abundant fuel.

Thank you to IOL for those extracts from the report.

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

HAMNET Report 2 June 2019

NewsHub reports that Elon Musk has enraged astronomers around the world, who are warning his SpaceX company is putting the future of astronomy at risk. Musk plans to encircle the world with 12,000 Starlink communications satellites, and launched the first 60 into orbit a few days ago.

The satellites are high-reflective, and they’re currently lighting up the night sky with a spectacular ‘train’ of lights. But scientists fear his plan for space domination could have dramatic adverse effects on their research.

A number of senior figures say the satellites will cause a massive spike in light pollution in the sky, affecting the use of large, sensitive ground-based telescopes. “The potential tragedy of a mega-constellation like Starlink is that for the rest of humanity it changes how the night sky looks,” Ronald Drimmel, from the Turin Astrophysical Observatory in Italy, told Forbes. “Starlink, and other mega constellations, would ruin the sky for everyone on the planet.”

Mark McCaughrean, the senior advisor for science and exploration at the European Space Agency, warns a drastic increase in visible satellites is a “chilling thought”. “The more I think about this, the more of a disaster it seems and not just for astronomers,” he tweeted.

“Just trying desperately to scramble for any possible way this can go well,” agreed science writer Mika McKinnon.

US astronomy student Victoria Girgis took a photo of what they look like passing in front of her telescope with a 25-second exposure. The result was a night sky smeared with satellites.

And Royal Institution of Australia lead scientist Alan Duffy, an astronomer at Swinburne University, warned the completion of the Starlink network will only make things worse. “A full constellation of Starlink satellites will likely mean the end of Earth-based microwave-radio telescopes able to scan the heavens for faint radio objects,” Duffy told ScienceAlert. “The enormous benefits of global internet coverage will outweigh the cost to astronomers, but the loss of the radio sky is a cost to humanity as we lose our collective birthright to see the afterglow of the Big Bang or the glow of forming stars from Earth”, he said.

Musk has defended his actions, variously arguing that the International Space Station also has lights, that his satellites won’t have any impact, SpaceX is working to mitigate any impacts, that even if they did have an impact it was for the “greater good”, and scientists need to upgrade their equipment anyway.

I, in turn, wonder what the effect on the Square Kilometre Array will be in Southern Africa. I am amazed that the concept of 12000 satellites, causing light and electronic pollution everywhere around the globe, got as far as the launch of 60 of them!

Writing for Phys.org, Mike Williams of Rice University says that wearable devices that harvest energy from movement are not a new idea, but a material created at Rice University may make them more practical.

The Rice lab of chemist James Tour has adapted laser-induced graphene (LIG) into small, metal-free devices that generate electricity. Like rubbing a balloon on hair, putting LIG composites in contact with other surfaces produces static electricity that can be used to power devices.

For that, thank the triboelectric effect, by which materials gather a charge through contact. When they are put together and then pulled apart, surface charges build up that can be channelled toward power generation.

In experiments, the researchers connected a folded strip of LIG to a string of light-emitting diodes and found that tapping the strip produced enough energy to make them flash. A larger piece of LIG embedded within a flip-flop let a wearer generate energy with every step, as the graphene composite’s repeated contact with skin produced a current to charge a small capacitor.

“This could be a way to recharge small devices just by using the excess energy of heel strikes during walking, or swinging arm movements against the torso,” Tour said.

“The nanogenerator embedded within a flip-flop was able to store 0.22 millijoules of electrical energy on a capacitor after a 1-kilometer walk,” said Rice postdoctoral researcher Michael Stanford, lead author of the paper. “This rate of energy storage is enough to power wearable sensors and electronics with human movement.”

The weekend of the 23rd to 26th of May was a busy time for the Peninsula Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR) teams. Four difficult rescues took place, two of them ending badly.

On the 23rd, a team responded to assist a climber injured after some rocks had fallen on him at Llandudno Corner. A helicopter lowered rescuers to the site, where two victims were found. A climber with a minor ankle injury was hoisted out and delivered to the landing zone, while a second more seriously injured patient was immobilised and packaged for safe hoisting and delivery to the landing zone.

On the 24th, a man was discovered just off a path in Newlands Forest to be deceased, and was carried off the scene down to a Metro Rescue Vehicle before being handed over to Forensic Pathology Services.

On the 25th, a climber became stuck on a ledge after sustaining an ankle injury above Woodstock Cave on Devil’s Peak. Again, a helicopter evacuation was needed, and two rescuers were lowered to the ledge. The hiker was secured in a special “nappy harness”, hoisted to the helicopter, and delivered to the awaiting ground crew at the landing zone.

And, on the 26th, a report was received of a cardio-pulmonary resuscitation being attempted on a person who had collapsed in Tokai Forest. Rescuers were able to drive along the forest jeep tracks to reach the area known as “level four”, near where a middle-aged man was found to have suffered a cardiac arrest while mountain biking with friends. Members of that group had immediately begun CPR while summoning help. After more than an hour, attempts to revive him were abandoned by the Metro Medical Rescue Technicians, and he was declared dead on the scene. Police Services attended to the removal of his body.

WSAR conveys its sincerest condolences to the families and friends of these two men.

HAMNET in turn salutes the work of the groups of volunteers comprising WSAR who took part in rescuing or retrieving the various parties.

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