HAMNET Report 14th August 2022

The Philippines continues to be in the wars. A total of 3213 aftershocks has been felt after the magnitude 7 earthquake of the 27th July. Half a million people have been affected by the quakes, 53000 displaced, 29 cities or municipalities have been declared disaster areas, 35000 houses and 1500 public facilities damaged.

And to crown it all heavy rainfall has been falling since the 4th of August, affecting most of Philippines, triggering landslides, and causing floods that have resulted in evacuations and damage. Further rainfall continues.

I’m sure the whole country suffers from perpetual Post Traumatic Stress Disorder…

South Korea is not spared either. Since 7th August, floods caused by heavy rainfall have been reported across north-western South Korea, affecting particularly the Seoul area, the provinces of Incheon and Gyeonggi, and resulting in casualties.

Media report that at least eight people have died and six others are missing. Nearly 800 buildings in Seoul and nearby cities were damaged while at least 790 people were evacuated. Several roads and transportation services in Seoul have been flooded.

According to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA), the accumulated precipitation from the evening of 7 August to 8 August reached more than 450 mm in Sanbuk (Gyeonggi Province).

May I remind you that 450mm of rain is nearly 18 inches in the language we old wrinklies still remember! And all that in only 24 hours.

Meanwhile the forest fires in France and Spain continue. Towns and rural areas have had to be evacuated in both countries.

Southgate Amateur Radio News says that the International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 invited amateurs to come up with game changing ideas, which could lead to more licensed radio amateurs It has now announced the results.

Nestor 5B4AHZ presented a “Ham Radio Escape Room” project. The idea came during the Covid-19 crisis, when people needed to find a way to have fun remotely, while actual, physical escape rooms were closed. The radio-based escape room can be played in a very similar way to a virtual escape room with amateur radio themes/stories where teams playing the game can also communicate via radio rather than a webcam.

Christian HB9FEU tied with Nestor in first place with “A public database of fun projects for innovation”, which is a public database of fun projects for innovation and technology-oriented hobbyists with no or little experience and equipment. The project description may include an indication of the level of complexity and the required time, prerequisite knowledge, and required equipment, etc.

The 3rd place went to IU2FRL, Luca, and his team with their “UrgentSat” project, describing a simple carry-on luggage that can be transported to schools or public demonstrations, providing a brief demonstration of the incredible capabilities of the Ham Radio World, and how using cheap and second-hand tools can achieve great distances and reliable communications.

The transmissions are directed to the QO-100 satellite, a geostationary device with massive ground coverage capable of repeating SSB voice and both wideband and narrowband digital streams (including high quality video channels).

This project combines multiple sciences interconnected, creating an interesting environment to [attract] new users in the communication technologies at any level.

However, I tell you all this to give me the opportunity to congratulate Guy ZS6GUY, who wins the Youth Prize, with “A Workbook that will showcase various aspects of the hobby”. The proposed workbook is designed to help newcomers by increasing their knowledge of different aspects of our hobby and this workbook can become a valid tool for mentors to teach some of the most common amateur radio activities.

So congratulations to all the winners, and especially ZS6GUY!

Medical Xpress is reporting that a team of researchers from the University of Iceland and the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico City, working with a colleague from TU Dresden, has found evidence that suggests doctors may soon be able to measure recent stress levels in patients by measuring cortisol levels in their hair. The group has written a paper describing their research and have posted it on the open access site PLOS Global Public Health.

Cortisol, also known as hydrocortisone, is a type of steroid made by the adrenal gland. It serves a wide variety of purposes and is produced in abundance when people experience stress. Because of that, it has sometimes been referred to as the stress hormone.

In this new effort, the researchers wanted to know if cortisol winds up in the hair as it grows, and if so, is the amount related to stress levels. To find their answers, the researchers studied data in the Mexican Teachers and Icelandic Stress and Gene Analysis cohorts which included data on hair samples collected from 881 women living in parts of Mexico and 398 in Iceland. Each of the samples was yanked, not cut, so as to be able to test the root section as well. Each hair was also cut to just 3cm. The researchers noted that hair grows an average of 1cm per month, which meant each hair sample they studied represented the previous three months growth. Each of the women who volunteered to participate in the study also answered a short survey that asked them questions about how stressed they had been feeling over the past three months.

After testing the hair samples and analyzing the surveys, the researchers divided the results into five groups representing the stress levels of the participants, with number scores given to allow for comparison between the groups. In so doing, the researchers found a correlation between the amount of stress reported by the women volunteers and the amount of cortisol they found in their hair—the more stress they had been feeling the more cortisol they found in their hair.

The researchers suggest their findings indicate that cortisol levels in a person’s hair can serve as a biomarker representing stress levels in the recent past. They acknowledge that such a test would have to take into account other factors, however, that could have led to increases in cortisol production, such as the use of certain medications or the presence of benign tumours.

I note that this assessment won’t work in a large majority of half the population of the world, who have presumably experienced so much stress that their hair has already all fallen out. Personally, I can’t remember when last I had enough hair to make this test reliable!

This is Dave Reece ZS1DFR apologizing for an extremely gravelly voice, and reporting for HAMNET in South Africa.