HAMNET Report 18th September 2022


This last week has seen a flurry of cyclones appearing in the equatorial Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Tropical Cyclone MUIFA was expected to make landfall over the Chinese coast near Shanghai on 14th September, with wind speeds of about 140 km/h. By then over 1.3 million people would have been preventively relocated to safer areas.

By last Wednesday, Tropical Cyclone NANMADOL was threatening millions of people in Japan, and, by Thursday, its alert level had been raised to RED, as its expected wind speeds were raised to a possible 220 km/h. After approaching the Chinese coastline in a north-westerly direction, it is forecast to change direction to north-east today, and travel directly up the length of the main Japanese Island, making landfall over Japan this afternoon.

Meanwhile, Tropical Cyclone FIONA has arisen in the Atlantic, and preliminary forecasts predict it will threaten every country in the Caribbean with winds of greater than 120 km/h.

Jagersfontein and nearby Charlesville in the Free State experienced their mini-Laingsburg Flood last Sunday when the slimes dam wall associated with a nearby open-pit mine collapsed, and dumped a huge amount of slimy mud on the area. Initially three people were said to have died, and more than 500 animals were rescued, some having to be euthanized.

The Daily Maverick reports that the area of Charlesville was hardest hit. Houses, personal belongings and animals were washed away, cell phone towers damaged and roads affected.  Power and clean water supplies were cut off. Houses that remained were left embedded in mud, up to windowsill level, and the area has taken on a uniform grey appearance.

Unsurprisingly, The Gift of the Givers organisation has quickly rallied to help those left destitute, and the greatest concern is to supply clean drinking water to the marooned residents. Restoring power and cell phone communications will come next as dwellers are assisted with temporary accommodation.

HAMNET Western Cape has been asked to join the City of Cape Town’s Disaster Risk Management exercise taking place this coming Thursday at the Goodwood Centre. These are recurrent Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant Disaster exercises, held theoretically, and involving all the main agencies in the Peninsula which might be involved in dealing with an imaginary nuclear accident, evacuation plans, road routes, and planning for available food and safe drinking water, as inhabitants in the area are moved away, in theory..

No radio comms or actual vehicles will drive, but all the agencies will direct their “operators” virtually from the Disaster Risk Management Centre. I may have more news of this event next week..

The ARRL Letter of this Thursday tells us that a North Carolina ham Oscar Norris, will celebrate his 105th birthday next Sunday, and has been a member of his amateur radio club since 1979. Oscar lost his sight at age 24 in 1942, and this indirectly led to his amateur radio licence in 1949. He is currently most active on DMR using a handheld radio, and his club will be operating a special event call N1O from the 20th September to the 1st of October.

Hamnet salutes a grand gentleman on this even grander achievement! After all, he was almost ten when Queen Elizabeth was born!

In a follow up report by Southgate Amateur Radio News, we read that radio amateurs in Ukraine appear to be diligently maintaining radio silence as the state of emergency declared there just prior to the Russian military invasion remains in effect.

A February 24 decree from President Volodymyr Zelensky included a ban on the operation of amateur radio transmitters for personal and collective use. The Ukraine Amateur Radio League reported this past week that it has received many messages of encouragement from the worldwide amateur radio community.

The LRU informed international amateur radio organizations about Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, said the message from UARL Vice President Anatoly Kirilenko, UT3UY. To date, there have been many reports from radio amateurs around the world in support of Ukraine.

The IARU has adopted a neutral stance. IARU is an apolitical organization focused on promoting and defending amateur radio and the amateur radio services, the IARU said. The amateur radio service is about self-instruction in communications and friendship between people. IARU Region 1 has said it continues to monitor the development and expects all radio amateurs to follow their national laws and regulations.

IARU Region 1 also re-posted part of an advisory from the Deutscher Amateur Radio Club (DARC) HF Committee on February 27. Any radio amateur currently transmitting from Ukraine is risking his or her life. If you hear a Ukrainian station, do not broadcast its call sign, location, or frequency, whether on the band, in a cluster, or on social media. You may be putting lives at risk. The DARCs overarching advice: In the current situation is that the best we can do is “listen”.

Sound advice indeed!

Your writer has watched, on and off, and with amazement, the incredibly long queues of supporters of the British Monarchy waiting their turn this week, to file silently past the lead-lined coffin containing the mortal remains of Queen Elizabeth as she lies in state.

On Friday, it was reported that the queue had been stopped when it was 4.9km long, and further loyal subjects had been grouped together in a holding area beyond the end of that queue. Based on the speed at which the queue, divided into two streams when inside the building where she lies, moved, it was estimated that it would take those at the back of the queue 14 hours to get to walk slowly past her coffin, stop, turn towards her, silently bow, salute or curtsy, mentally greet her, and then turn, and walk stiffly out into fresh air. This process has apparently been going on 24 hours a day since she was brought to London from Scotland, and will continue until Monday morning, before her state funeral takes place.

And people are not perturbed by the thought of standing in a queue for 14 hours! I have been mesmerized by the collective amount of grief, sad thoughts, loyal devotion, and resigned acceptance that must be experienced by these thousands of mourners, not to mention of course the collective amount of vitriol gathered in the knitted brows of non-royalists who have done their best to be as far away from the location as possible.

Unquestionably, the British have developed the art of standing in a queue to perfection, and we will remember them all tomorrow as they formally say goodbye to undoubtedly one of the most influential women of the 20th century.

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