HAMNET Report 29th August 2021

Hurricane Season continues to exert its effect on the Americas and the Caribbean. Some old ones are still around, some new ones are popping up almost on a daily basis. No serious category four storms yet, but heavy rainfall, and property damage evident in lots of countries and islands.

Henri moved up the eastern coast of North America this week, and came ashore between Rhode Island and Connecticut, and weakened as it crossed into Wisconsin. It was forecast to turn north-east and exit land via Massachusetts, dissipating in the north Atlantic.

Grace made landfall last weekend over the eastern coast of Veracruz, Mexico, as a category three hurricane, and caused 8 deaths, with many municipalities suffering damage. It was expected to last until about last Tuesday.

Hurricanes Grace and Henri drew the attention of weather spotters over the past week. The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN), which tracked both storms to gather weather data for the National Hurricane Center (NHC), was able to stop operations at 1800 UTC on August 22 after watching Grace make two landfalls in Mexico.

All told, the HWN racked up a combined total of 27 hours on the air — with two activations for Hurricane Grace and two for Hurricane Henri. Only one station reported from Mexico, but the net remained available to assist in any capacity needed.

Meanwhile Venezuela in South America was also suffering. Reports of heavy rainfall and widespread flooding started to emerge on Wednesday, and Greg G0DUB relayed a message from Carlos CO2JC, IARU Region 2 Emergency Communications coordinator saying that he had received information from Messrs. Alfredo José Medina Alvarez, YV5SF, president of the Venezuelan Radio Club and Luis E. González, YV5KKT, Chief of Operations of the National Emergency Network, that, since that morning they were activated to support communications to Civil Protection with the sectors of the state of Mérida that were affected by the rains, since they were cut off by landslides on the access roads and by telephone communications due to cuts in the electrical system. [They deduced] that the electric power plant was covered by mud.

They also informed Carlos that there were people missing due to the rains, which were still falling. The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela was coordinating aid to the affected areas.

At noon on Tuesday they were waiting for the state’s emergency care teams to arrive in the areas with VHF and HF communication equipment to be able to report on the condition of the residents of the affected regions.

Venezuelan colleagues were using 7135 kHz in the 40m band for communication with the affected areas.

On Thursday, a category one storm, called Nora was announced, on the Western coast of Mexico, moving North-west up the coastline with wind speeds of up to 120km/h, and threatening one hundred and sixty thousand people up that coastline.

Also on Thursday, a hurricane called Ida, was announced, with wind speeds up to 220km/h, moving North-west across the Caribbean ocean, and heading over Cuba in the direction of New Orleans, potentially threatening one and a half million people.

On Friday, Greg relayed another message from Carlos CO2JC saying that, taking into account the proximity, evolution and trajectory of the tropical storm Ida that threatened western Cuba, during the night and early morning the emergency networks of amateur radio operators were activated in the western provinces.

The province of Pinar del Río and the Special Municipality of Isla de la Juventud activated their networks on Thursday night and the provinces of Artemisa, Havana and Mayabeque did so early in the morning on Friday.

The National Emergency Network was to be activated at 12:00 UTC on the frequencies 7.110 MHz (priority) and 7.120 MHz (secondary), as well as on the repeaters and live frequencies of the provinces and municipalities in the 2m band.

After all that weather, I think we need a bit of contrasting news.

On Tuesday the 24th, Jan Rozema, PA0NON, emergency comms coordinator for the Netherlands, announced that their organization will be holding a JS8Call exercise next Saturday, the 4th of September, in two parts. Operating on 7078KHz on both occasions, there will be an hour long session from 08h00 to 09h00 UTC, and a second three-hour session starting at 10h00 and ending at 13h00 UTC. Their group name will be @solarf21, and their station call will be PI9D. Jan extends an invitation to all IARU region 1 operators to take part.

Here’s a problem that will never befall South Africa! It has to do with bullet trains. Patentlyapple.com notes that, when it comes to high-speed trains, China’s rail system is in a class by itself, according to the Railway Gazette International’s latest World Speed Survey. China’s fastest trains, the G17 and G39 trains between Beijing and Nanjing, reached a top speed of 317.7 km/h during their test period, slightly below their maximum speed of 350 km/h. But this data point doesn’t begin to capture China’s complete domination of the world’s high-speed rail race. Europe also has a number of high-speed trains. In the US, progress is slow but it’s beginning to happen throughout the U.S.

So now is the time for Apple to address the needs of passengers on these new high-speed trains and [this week] they were granted a patent titled “High speed train in new radio (NR),” that covers techniques for employing new radio (NR) communications for high-speed train environments.

[The problem appears to be that decent LTE coverage on a train travelling so fast is difficult to guarantee or manage.]

[So what is needed] is user equipment (UE) velocity-oriented mobility management for long term evolution (LTE) networks for high-speed trains capable of about 200 km/h or more. As more users increasingly take high speed trains as their first choice of travel mode, and more cities are being connected by high-speed railway, operators are trying to provide better coverage along the railway better to serve the users on high-speed trains.

Thanks to patentlyapple.com for these excerpts from their article.

I think we have a long way to go before connectivity on board trains becomes a problem in South Africa!

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