5MHZ ACTIVITY WEEKEND
SARL members are invited to take part in a 5MHz activity weekend dedicated to propagation research. The activity is focussed from 13:00 – 20:00 on each day and comprises various activities during designated time slots. The activity is open to all SARL members and to all radio amateurs living permanently outside the borders of South Africa.
The activity is devised into two segments, a serious segment for the first 30 minutes of the hour which comprises of listening to and logging the beacon signals on 5250 kHz using WSPR, PSK31 and CW and during the second half hour a fun component making as many contacts as possible on 5260 kHz.
Participants who send in logs take part in lucky draws for a free membership of the SARL for 2014/2015 and attractive book prizes. Even a photograph of you operating can win you a boo, as long as the picture sent in is high resolution.
Full details of the activity weekend can be downloaded here
ICASA AWARDS LONG TERM 5 MHz LICENSE TO THE SARL
Almost a year ago the South African Radio League obtained a license from ICASA to do propagation search on 5 250 and 5 260 kHz to support the World Radio Conference (WRC15) agenda item 1.4 which will consider a possible new allocation to the amateur service on a secondary basis within the band 5 250 – 5 450 kHz. To support the agenda item propagation conditions, frequency sharing studies on the impact to other services currently allocated in the band and in the adjacent bands will need to be carried out. Last year the SARL submitted a proposal to the Council of ICASA for the sponsorship of long term license The Council granted the license to the SARL last week. The SARL received the official license this week which is valid to 31 October 2015.
The Council of the SARL expressed its appreciation for the support from ICASA.
If you are interested in the mysteries of propagation then WSPR is the tool at your disposal. To experience this fascinating tool, all you need is an SSB transceiver, simple antenna, a sound card interface to connect the transceiver to your computer and internet access.
WSPR is short for Weak Signal Propagation Reporter and is pronounced “Whisper”.
It is important to note right away that WSPR is not a QSO mode. It is used to broadcast a position, call sign and power level and see who hears and decodes it. The receiving station can work out how far the signal travelled and how strong it is on the receiving end.
The mode that WSPR uses is called MEPT-JT. MEPT means Manned Experimental Propagation Transmitter. The JT part is Joe Taylor's initials. Joe Taylor K1JT also developed the mode WSJT which is used for “moon-bounce” communication. In 1993 Joe Taylor shared a Nobel Prize in Physics with Russell Hulse, for some work they did in their field of Astrophysics. He obtained his license as an Amateur Radio operator as a teenager and as a result became interested in radio-astronomy.
This tutorial covers the reception and decoding of WSPR only. TX will be covered in later tutorial. Download it here
Propagation research on 5 MHz some interesting results
Propagation Research undertaken by radio amateurs on 5 MHz shows some early and interesting results using the Weak Signal Propagation Reporter software (WSPR) . Read the article on the EngineerIT website. Put your browser here:
January Edition of 5 MHz Newsletter by Paul Gaskell, G4MWO
May edition of the 5MHz Newsletter by Paul Gaskell, G4MWO
STUDIES OF IONOGRAMS SHOW SUPREMACY OF THE 5 MHZ BAND
The ionograms generated by the South African ionosonde network clearly illustrate the supremacy of the 5 MHz band for short range, near vertical incidence skywave (NVIS) communications under certain conditions. These typically happens during the morning and late afternoon when the 7 MHz band does not support short range, sky wave communications and the 3.5 and 1.8 MHz bands suffer from high noise levels.
During the middle of the day the 7 MHz (and 10 MHz during high solar activity) band is typically the most effective medium for short range, sky wave communications.
Permanent access to the 5 MHz band will ensure that the amateur radio community can efficiently contribute to emergencies requiring short distance communications beyond line-of-sight as typically required in hilly and mountainous terrain.
The South African ionosonde network is unique in Africa and place South African radio amateurs in the very fortunate position to monitor reigning, short range propagation conditions and to improve their skills and experience accordingly.
An article by Hannes Coetzee illustrated with ionograms is available for download here
SARL Members will have access to 5 250 and 5 260 kHz as well as 472 kHz on registration requiring the completion of a registration form which can be downloaded here.
Once completed please email it to email@example.com. Processing time is a max three days.
All registered users will be listed here
The SARL has been granted by the Independent Communications Agency of South Africa (ICASA) access to two frequencies in the 5MHz band as well as 472 kHz . These pilot licenses are valid till 31 December 2013. It should be noted that use of these frequencies is limited only to Members of the South African Radio League
Maximum Bandwidth 3 kHz Maximum power 100 Watt
Preferred mode USB/CW
SARL members may however also communicate with amateurs in other countries outside South Africa with amateurs licensed to use 5MHz
5250 MHz has been set aside for various propagation research projects. Visit the this page for regular updates.
5260 MHz USB for general QSO's by
World-wide 5MHz frequency listing download
World-wide 5MHz frequency listing download here