HAMNET Report 28th February 2021


Greg Mossop G0DUB, IARU Region 1 Emergency Communications Coordinator reports that he has decided not to organise a meeting at Friedrichshafen this year.

He says “Even with vaccinations and the many restrictions on movements in countries, the COVID pandemic is still causing disruption and uncertainty. For me to travel out of the UK at the moment, my employer would make me take the 10 day isolation required when I returned to the UK as time off or not be paid for that time… To meet the health requirements I would also have to have four COVID tests to meet the UK and German government requirements to get in and out of each country.

“For a three day event this is not realistic.

“Friedrichshafen has also had to rearrange the hall and conference layouts to meet health requirements in Germany and there is more pressure on meeting room space with proposals that some presentations would still be made by video link from conference rooms, [so] the large room we normally use is likely to be in great demand for other meetings. It felt better to take this decision early to help everyone plan.”

Duly noted, Greg, and I think you have made the correct decision.

Southgate Amateur Radio News notes this week that the organizers of this same International Amateur Radio Exhibition at Friedrichshafen are optimistic that they will be able to provide a meeting place for the industry from June 25 to 27, 2021. With German Amateur Radio Club e.V. (DARC) as the perfect sponsor, the course is now being set for the 45th edition of the Ham Radio show. “We are watching the situation closely, of course. At the moment we are assuming that we will be able to hold the Ham Radio weekend in accordance with an extensive, tried-and-proven safety and hygiene concept, and are looking forward to seeing everyone again at Europe’s most important trade fair for amateur radio,” explains Messe Friedrichshafen CEO Klaus Wellmann.

For the upcoming Ham Radio show, there will be a new hall layout for a variety of reasons. The commercial exhibitors and associations will be occupying Halls A3 and A4, and the radio amateurs will be able to make exciting discoveries at the flea market in Halls B1 and B2. In this way there will be plenty of space available for both exhibitors and visitors. Instead of taking place on the stage in Foyer West, presentations will be given in the conference rooms and transmitted via video stream.

“This year the Ham Radio Exhibition will again be presenting a wide range of measuring instruments, antennas, and electrical engineering equipment. However, the event will differ a bit from what was seen in previous years. For example, the number of live presentations is being reduced, and there will be no youth camp and no HAM-Rally. Tickets can only be purchased online,” Project Manager Petra Rathgeber says. DARC is currently pulling out all the stops to prepare for the 71st meet-up on Lake Constance. The Ham Radio is the world’s first amateur radio exhibition to be held since the pandemic began.

If it is held, it will be because a large number of Europeans will have had a vaccine by June, and June is almost mid-summer on Lake Constance, and social distancing and ventilation will not be difficult if the weather is good. However it is not all plain sailing yet. We wait to see.

News24.com reported on Friday that the NSRI has appealed to the public to avoid the Bos 400 shipwreck in Hout Bay, after three separate rescue operations at the site in a month. The site poses serious dangers to both the public and the emergency responders, said the NSRI. The latest rescue took place on Saturday the 20th, when a group of students was at the wreck.

“One member of the group, a young man, had suffered a non-fatal drowning accident, and was suffering from hypothermia. It appears that while swimming toward the wreck he was caught in currents that naturally swirl around the wreck,” NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon said.

The group admitted they had gone to the wreck to jump into the water from the crane and from the superstructure.  Earlier this month, in two separate incidents, a young woman and a young man were injured while jumping off the Bos crane into the sea.

“The concern is that increased recreational activity in and around the wreck may lead to something more serious and we are strongly urging the public to stay clear of this wreck,” he said.

The South African Maritime Safety authority has posted signage prohibiting the boarding of the wreck due to the corroding and collapsing metal infrastructure.

“Over the years, the wreck has corroded significantly. It is simply a matter of time before corrosion causes more of the crane and the superstructure to collapse, creating an extremely dangerous environment for the unsuspecting public, who, it appears, are being encouraged to use the wreck for recreational purposes,” Lambinon said.

It is also extremely difficult to conduct rescue operations in the area.

“As a result of there being limited cell signal coverage and reduced radio communications in the barely accessible terrain, rescue operations at the wreck have at times involved multiple rescue resources, at incredible cost, not only financially, but also posing risks to the rescuers themselves,” Lambinon said. He strongly recommended that the public avoid the serious dangers the wreck poses. The Bos 400 ran aground in June 1994.

Our National Director, Grant Southey ZS1GS has announced that the HAMNET Training Manual has been revised, and has been sent to divisional directors for their comments and corrections, before being implemented as HAMNET SA’s default manual.

In his communique to the Directors, he encouraged them all in turn to encourage their members to participate in the Hamnet 40 metre Simulated Emergency Contest on the 7th of March. This is a good opportunity to use one’s station disconnected from the mains, or out mobile or at a site in the countryside, to test one’s ability to be of use if a disaster strikes. Please see the SARL Headquarters’ news for the contest details.

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