Radio amateurs need a mindset shift

Since its inception, amateur radio has moved with technological developments and often led some of it, for example the application of low orbit satellites. Low earth orbits were once considered of no practical use, yet today they are in great demand for GPS satellites and the internet constellation announced by Elon Musk of SpaceX. In […]

SA needs more citizen science – amateur radio can show the way

Citizen science is scientific research conducted, in whole or in part, by people interested in science but who are not professionally engaged or qualified as scientists. Citizen science is sometimes described as “public participation in scientific research”, and whose outcomes are often advancements in scientific research, as well as an increase in the public’s understanding […]

Amateur radio geostationary satellite to support disaster relief communication

While radio amateurs have been building and operating satellites since 1961, most were in low earth orbits until earlier this year when radio amateurs acquired access to a geostationary satellite. The Qatar Amateur Radio Society (QARS) secured the privilege to have an amateur radio payload as part of Es’hailSat-2. Discussions regarding the payload were held […]

Vertical vs horizontal antenna polarisation benefits questioned

Recent spectacular two-way communication between South Africa’s West Coast Radio amateurs and St Helena during good tropospheric propagation condition has raised the question whether horizontal polarisation (H-Pol) of the antenna would yield better results than a vertically polarised (V-Pol) antenna. Operating on the simplex frequency of 145,500 MHz making a two-way contact over a distance […]

Amateur radio societies concerned about the HF noise floor

The International Amateur Radio Union and many of its member societies are expressing serious concerns about the increasing high frequency (HF) spectrum noise floor and are making their voices heard. It was in June 2016 that the world started taking note, when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) office of engineering and technology technical advisory council […]

Digital transformation is fuelling weak signals communication

Marconi may be the big name when talking about the development of radio at the beginning of the previous century, but several radio amateurs have made their mark in the history of communication. One of them is Joseph Taylor, a farm lad from Philadelphia in the USA who is today leading the digital transformation of […]

Exploring long distance VHF communication

During the years in the eleven-year cycle with high sunspot numbers, we have often seen the maximum usable frequency rising above 145 MHz and resultant very high frequency (VHF) long distance (DX) contacts being made over distances in excess of 3000 km. This, however, does not mean that during the rest the 11-year cycle DX […]

A simple satellite antenna that took South Africa by storm

When South Africa was invited to host the International Amateur Radio Union’s Youngsters on The Air (YOTA 2018) summer event there were several challenges. The main one was: What could South Africa offer young people, aged between 16 and 25, coming from all over Europe and Africa that was different and something they had not […]