HAMNET Report 27th October 2019

Anette Jacobs, ZR6D, has reported on the BACAR 7 Launch on 12th October 2019. She writes:

“A number of people spent really late nights doing final preparations in the week preceding the launch of the BACAR 7 that took place on the morning of 12th October 2019.

“Members of HAMNET GS were already up and on the road by 03:00 in the morning.  The HAMNET GS chase team consisted of Leon ZS6LMG, Johan ZS6DMX, Diederich ZS6DVL and Wilhelm ZS6WBT.

“There was quite a brisk breeze blowing and the temperature on the ground was quite chilly when the payloads were put in the order in which they will hang from the balloon, and connected together. Not long thereafter the balloon was filled with hydrogen and the payloads were attached.

“At just around 07:00 the balloon was released and the payloads gracefully lifted skywards. The balloon flew well and headed in the direction of the Kriel power station.

“The chase teams comprising of Secunda Radio Club and HAMNET Gauteng South members also departed, and then activity on the airfield seemed to slow down as everyone monitored their payloads, telemetry data, SSTV transmissions, transponders and APRS.

“The various groups were watching the activity and performance of the payloads. The Jeugland High School’s payload was a SSTV transmitter, and there was a scurry of activity as all the youngsters pointed their AMSAT SA dualband Yagi antennas towards the balloon to receive the signal and decode it on an App on their phones held close to the speaker of their handhelds.

“Time literally flew by and before long the flight was terminated and the payloads started to descend by parachute.

“At around 08:49 the HAMNET chase team, Johan ZS6DMX and Diederich ZS6DVL reported that they had found the payloads that had safely returned to the ground. All the payloads were safely recovered and returned to the airfield.

“The Balloon achieved a height of 26,586m according to the flight controller log that was analysed afterwards.

“The Troposphere is around 17,000 metres high in the middle latitudes, and the balloon reached a height of 26,500m which is well into the Stratosphere, so that is quite an achievement.

“While not all payloads performed as expected, this is exactly the reason why these balloon flights are so important. Any payloads may perform well on the ground under controlled conditions and temperatures, but how do they perform in a near space environment?

“A lot of discussions followed as the payloads were examined, looking for possible causes of failure, particularly those payloads that did not perform as expected. There were also lots of discussions about what can be improved upon on the next flight.

“Planning has already started for next year’s BACAR 8 flight that will again be in October, but this time the launch will be determined by the Moon so that the Moon can be photographed in black space.”

Thank you for the report Anette, and well done to the crews!

News from New Era Live is that Namibia has achieved global maritime safety standards by upgrading its Navigational Telex (Navtex) System. The Navtex project is considered a major milestone for Namibia as a coastal state and budding maritime logistics hub.

“I have no doubt that the investment into this state-of-the-art system will not only up our game in safety on our shores, but keeps us compliant with international standards,” stated Walvis Bay Deputy Mayor Penelope Martin-Louw.

Navtex is a navigational system used on board the vessels to provide short range maritime safety information on coastal waters. Navtex forms part of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) which was developed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in line with the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (Solas) 1974, to which Namibia is a party.

GMDSS was developed to save lives at sea by modernizing and enhancing the maritime radio communications system through satellite and digital selective calling technology.  Unlike the old maritime radio communication services, GMDSS provides a more effective distress alerting system by increasing the probability that an alert will be sent when a ship is in distress; by increasing the likelihood that the alert will be received; increasing the ability to locate survivors; improving rescue communications and coordination; and providing mariners with vital maritime safety information (MSI).

Namibia is located near major international shipping routes and, over the last 10 years, the country has witnessed an increase in both visiting and passing maritime traffic. Global seaborne trade is expected to triple in the next 30 years, which means Namibia will experience greater opportunities as a port and coastal State, but also greater risks of accidents and incidents at sea. Namibia is well poised to take advantage of future maritime growth.

A new way of removing carbon dioxide from a stream of air could provide a significant tool in the battle against climate change. The new system can work on the gas at virtually any concentration level, even down to the roughly 400 parts per million currently found in the atmosphere.

The device is essentially a large, specialized battery that absorbs carbon dioxide from the air (or other gas stream) passing over its electrodes as it is being charged up, and then releases the gas as it is being discharged. In operation, the device would simply alternate between charging and discharging, with fresh air or feed gas being blown through the system during the charging cycle, and then the pure, concentrated carbon dioxide being blown out during the discharging.

As the battery charges, an electrochemical reaction takes place at the surface of each of a stack of electrodes. These are coated with a compound called polyanthraquinone, which is composited with carbon nanotubes. The electrodes have a natural affinity for carbon dioxide and readily react with its molecules in the airstream or feed gas, even when it is present at very low concentrations. The reverse reaction takes place when the battery is discharged—during which the device can provide part of the power needed for the whole system—and in the process ejects a stream of pure carbon dioxide. The whole system operates at room temperature and normal air pressure.

In some soft-drink bottling plants, fossil fuel is burned to generate the carbon dioxide needed to give the drinks their fizz. Similarly, some farmers burn natural gas to produce carbon dioxide to feed their plants in greenhouses. The new system could eliminate that need for fossil fuels in these applications and in the process actually take the greenhouse gas right out of the air. Alternatively, the pure carbon dioxide stream could be compressed and injected underground for long-term disposal, or even made into fuel through a series of chemical and electrochemical processes.

Compared to other existing carbon capture technologies, this system is quite energy efficient, using about one gigajoule of energy per ton of carbon dioxide captured, consistently. Other existing methods have energy consumption which vary between one to 10 gigajoules per ton, depending on the inlet carbon dioxide concentration.

Thank you to the website Phys.org for this insert.

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