With barely enough time to recover from the intercultural evening, the second day was kicked off with a presentation about South Africa, giving us an overview about this amazing country that we are barely able to witness otherwise, due to all the other activities planned!
Next up was the BACAR payload building. The five teams that everyone was split into yesterday came together for planning the project, selecting the components, building the payload, and modifying the software to fit their needs.
After lunch then came the first highlight of the payload building: The drop test. To ensure that all payloads survive the landing, each team had to drop their cube from several meters high onto hard ground. Fortunately, all team’s cubes survived that test, with only minor problems uncovered, which could fixed right after.
With the drop test sorted out, it was time for the second, important test: The shake test. Attached to the end of a broomstick, the payloads were swung and shook around, ensuring that both the ropes attaching them and the cubes themselves survive the possibly very violent wind conditions that can occur during their journey. As it turned out, the biggest bottleneck uncovered during the test was the connection between the broomstick and the ropes, sending some cubes flying through the room.
In the afternoon, we were given a presentation about South Africa’s first amateur radio satellite, Kletskous 1, including an explanation of both the transponder and stabilisation design. The current transponder prototype will also launch with the balloon on Sunday! To finish off the afternoon, there also was a presentation about how to actually work the satellites that are already out there circling our planet.
To finish off Friday, we had another session of the “Train the Trainer” theme. This time, we were sent off rather early, to catch some sleep for the big day coming up.
To start off the BACAR day, we all had to get up to 4AM, so we could arrive in Secunda around 6AM. When we arrived, it was literally freezing outside. When we were told before the camp that it was going to be 5 degrees outside at night, we definitely were thinking about +5!
After some warm soup and the sun coming up, some people made final preparations for the payloads, while the rest watched the balloon being set up and filled with hydrogen. When the balloon was filled up and started wobbling around due to the strong winds, the payloads were already lined up, so the balloon could be attached and let go, speeding off and almost hitting bystanders with the long chain of payloads hanging off of it.
Without losing time, we drove to the base station, the Secunda Radio Club clubhouse. From there, we tried to receive the signals from the various payloads, working through a list of exercises given beforehand. Even though some of the hardware on the balloon failed, there were still plenty of signals left to chase after with out antennas and radios.
With the payload landed and the chase team still underway, we had some time to fill. Armed with the antenna from Thursday and the knowledge from Friday’s presentation, we took chase on the satellites that happened to come by. Those transponders sure were kept busy during that time.
During the downtime, we were also given a practical demonstration of RaDAR – Rapid Deployment of Amateur Radio. Within a few minutes there were several antennas set up, and used for making QSOs with a portable rig.
In the early afternoon, the chase cars came back, with the payloads in the trunk. This meant that the time for enjoying the sun was over, and we went back to work, trying to get the data collected during flight, as well as preparing the presentations for later. Unfortunately, it turned out that none of the teams had GPS data from the complete flight, and one even lost their complete flight data due to an unknown issue.
Today the YOTA event kicked off!
We started the day with an early breakfast, and had the first presentation at 8:30,
this was about the the current status of the radio station.
After a 15min break, the SDR workshop started, everyone got a free DVB-T dongle so they can do some basic SDR receiving, the workshop helped youngsters install SDR# software, gave short introductions to APRS/AX.25, weather sat decoding, SSTV and satellite tracking.
The next workshop was even more hands on, building a 2m/70cm dual-band handheld Yagi, with injection moulded supports and CNC cut fixing holes, it was so hands on the organizers had to threaten participants with lions to get the participants back to their seats for the next presentation.
Train the trainer is all about how to get youngsters in the Hamradio hobby,
the main ideas are:
- ARISS contact
- Social media
- Basic license classes
- Starting youth club
- Fox hunting
- youngsters camp
- CBers, BOS paramedics
- Construction of stuff
- Scouts/field days
After lunch, we had a nice presentation about the preservation of Cheetahs, and even had one visit us!
A short break later, we were introduced to the BACAR (Balloon Carrying Amateur Radio) project, which is a whole story in itself, so we will come back about this later.
After dinner, it was time for the intercultural evening, where all the countries provide food and drinks from their country following camp tradition.
For the 8th World Radiosport Team Championship (WRTC) which took place in and around the german cities of Jessen and Wittenberg, the organisers gave the several youngsters the opportunity to attend the event as volunteers.
Due to this chance being offered on a fairly short notice and some even-shorter-notice cancellations of some participants this ended up with three youngsters attending as part of YOTA @ WRTC — Ljuba (YU5EEA), Sven (DJ4MX) and Markus (DL8GM).
Wednesday, the day of arrival, turned out to be slightly chaotic as we were trying to find each other in the crowded HQ hotel. The fact that we all arrived rather late didn’t really help with that either. On the bright side the hotel was full of radio amateurs (and most of them world’s top contesters at that!) so we could feel right at home. After finally having found each other (and the football match of course), we went to the youth hostel where our room was located. We stayed right at the famous Schlosskirche in Wittenberg within walking distance of the HQ hotel — with downtown Wittenberg being closed for cars walking was probably even faster than driving.
The next day we could finally start with the duties that we were given at the event. This consisted mostly of taking care of the DA0WRTC event station and helping operators that were unexperienced with either the radios or the software to get the special event station on the air. Of course, with many people being busy with their final preparations around that time, we had plenty of time here to make QSOs ourselves that day.
In the afternoon, we took a short walk over to the Exerzierhalle in Wittenberg where the opening ceremony was going to take place. There, we were tasked with various preparations for the ceremony and afterwards got the chance to attend it in person. As attendance was otherwise mostly limited to participants and referees, this was a rather exclusive opportunity for us.
On Friday, the day of the site drawing, we split up. Ljuba went with one of the Serbian referees, Goran (YT7AW), visiting several of the sites over the day. Sven and I went with the half-german Youth Team #3 (HA8RT and DK6SP) watching and helping with their setup, giving us an in-depth overview of how a WRTC station could look like. At this opportunity, I can also only repeat the compliments that the site teams have gotten over the whole event. The volunteers at “our” site were no exception, of course. Unfortunately, the site was about 1½ hours away from Wittenberg so we spent the whole day that way.
On the days of the competition itself our job mostly consisted of taking care of the HQ station, which was to be used by visitors trying to hunt the Y8 callsigns. However, we took the opportunity on Saturday morning to once again visit HA8RT and DK6SP for their final preparations until we (and everyone else at the site) had to wish them good luck and leave them to their own devices for the upcoming 24 hours of the contest.
After the contest was over on Sunday afternoon, participants and referees were slowly arriving at the hotel. As our station duty ended rather quickly after the contest we helped with collecting the participant’s logs before watching the football world cup finals together.
After all what happened over the past days, Monday was a rather slow day, consisting mostly of regaining some lost sleep and some preparations for the closing ceremony. Of course, we not only had the chance to attend the ceremony itself but also the dinner at the Stadthalle afterwards which provided us with a last chance to meet and take pictures with many of the participants, referees and other attendees. We also had the pleasure to meet up with the organizers who seemed rather relieved about the bulk of the event being over at this point. Many thanks again to Chris (DL1MBG – president of WRTC) and Micha (DL6MHW – vice president of WRTC) for making this unbelievable thing happen for us.
Overall, we had a great time at the event, and gained a lot of insight from both the participant as well as the organizers perspective for such a unique event. We sincerely thank the WRTC 2018 team for this opportunity, and hope for a similar chance at WRTC 2022 in Italy.
73 de Markus (DL8GM)
Teamleader YOTA @WRTC 2018
With only a few weeks to go to YOTA 2018 in South Africa, the SARL Events Team is hard at work to conclude preparations for a 7 day programme filled with a range of amateur radio related activities, excursions and lots of fun!
The event will be held in the beautiful central region of Gauteng at the Kopanong Hotel and Conference Centre easily accessible from the O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.
All teams and participants will be met at the airport with a traditional South African welcome and be transported to the venue.
Being in the Southern hemisphere and August in Gauteng, it will expectantly be a mild winter with sun-filled days with day time temperatures in the low 20 degrees C and will be a “pseudo-Summer” camp for the overseas visitors.
The week will offer many opportunities to learn more about amateur radio and getting to know fellow amateurs from various other countries.
Highlights planned for the week include learning about SDR technology with your own SDR dongle, build a mini CubeSat and experience launching it as well as tracking it into near space on a high altitude balloon. Learn about Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio (RaDAR) which is in essence amateur radio on the move and build a QRP HF transceiver kit.
A visit to a game reserve to view the Big Five including some cultural experiences like a traditional braaivleis in an open-air boma and operate the ZS9YOTA special events station.
The theme of “Train the Trainer” will be explored, to enable participants to return to their home countries, equipped and inspired to organize and promote radio amateur activities to other youth groups or ultimately starting a youth group.
Should you have any specific questions about travel arrangements, documentation or any other specific information, please do not hesitate to ask, we are happy to assist: [email protected]
The Events Team will keep participants informed in the next newsletter to be released soon. In the meantime bring your laptop, and if a licensed radio amateur your hand held radio and a copy of your amateur radio license.
We are looking forward to welcoming all teams in August this year!
On the weekend around the 22nd June the annual His Majesty The King of Spain SSB contest took place.
We (David, OE5DFL, and Benjamin, OE3BVB) had the chance to participate from EC2DX station in spain.
On Friday we flew to Spain and we were warmly welcomed by Imanol (EC2DX). After a two hour drive we arrived at the station and had some meal together. Since we arrived very early in EA-land we helped Imanol with some of his new projects. We helped to concrete the foundation for his new homemade tower and we also helped bulding his new 10/15m yagis.
After that we started to prepare for the contest. We errected the 80m fullsize 4-square, put the station together and did some first tests. Everything worked well.
After prepearing the station Imanol showed us some local spanish habbits also including drinking coffee at 11 pm. After a good dinner we went to sleep for the contest next day.
For the contest we were able to use EF0F, thanks to Jose EA7KW, URE and the EA5RS contest group for making this possible. We were active on 2 bands at the same time, sometimes also on 3 bands. Some stations could make contact with us on all bands 160-10m as well. The contest went very good but in the night we took a short break since there was almost no activity.
In the end we were able to achive a little bit over a million points and almost 2200 QSO‘s.
On our last day we visited San Sebastian and had a great time with the locals.
Thank you EC2DX for hosting us at your station, also a big thanks to his wive for supporting us.
Also thanks to IARU for making this possible with the YCP Program
73 de David (OE5DFL) & Benjamin (OE3BVB)
We got the opportunity by the WRTC organizers to be part of the ham radio Olympics 2018 in Germany.
The World Radiosport Team Championship takes place every 4 years in another country.
During IARU HF Championship contest 63 teams from all over the world participate to find the world champion.
Now we have the possibility to send 20 youngsters aged 16 to 26 to be part of the WRTC volunteer team at this mega event located in Wittenberg area. Meet some of the worldwide best-known contesters and have an eye to eye contact with them.
Use your chance and make it yourself a lifelong memory.
Be a part of the Youngsters On The Air team at WRTC 2018 in Germany!
If you want to join fill in the following link.
73 de YOTA PR Team
|Place||Youth Hostel Wittenberg|
|Time||11.07. (arrival) – 17.07.2018 (departure)|
|Costs||accommodation and breakfast covered|
|Application deadline||Friday, 29.06.2018 (2359 UTC)|
|DATE||TASKS and SCHEDULE|
|Whole time||Occupation of the HQ station in the Luther Hotel
(radio operation / support in shifts)
|11.07. or 12.07.||Meet youth teams|
Support of the organization of the opening event- — Evening
WRTC Academy – Open Format Competition and WRTC Training, Presentation and Workshops
Meet WRTC competitors especially youth teams
Support of the organization of the final event
|Special task for “Jugend forscht” science project||Implementation of remote operations for the WRTC competition, which can lead QSOs out of the Luther HQ Hotel with the WRTC stations during IARU HF Championship.|
HAM Radio 2018 was incredible, we have never seen so many youngsters and YOTA friends. We were proud to be part of the IARU booth for 3 days long. In our Flag ceremony at the mainstage the YOTA flag and key were handed over from the UK to South-Africa. And yes, YOTA ZS is coming closer! Florian (OE3FTA) and Lisa (PA2LS) introduced the audience to Youngsters On The Air and gave an overview of all activities and news, YOTA keeps on growing and developing its program.
The IARU R1 International Youth Meeting on Saturday was attended by a group of youngsters and youth coordinators. Koos (ZR6KF) and Nico (ZS6QL) updated of all youth activities in South-Africa as part of SARL (South African Radio League) and Hammies. Followed by a discussion of Alex (IV3KKW), Florian (OE3FTA) and Lennart (PD5LKM), who are part of the IARU taskgroups which are working on the future of amateur radio. Their work is still in a starting point and are going to use the input to their relevant groups working on education and outreach, it’s not an easy task, but an important one.
In the afternoon a train full of youngsters visited all IARU member societies, questioning, does your society have a youth program? We were happy to have Silvio (IZ5DIY) as our train driver.
On Saturday evening we had the famous YOTA dinner, attended by more than 60 youngsters and YOTA friends from more than 10 countries. The family keeps on growing!
And last but not least, we had the chance to think about new future plans and took the time to say thank you to many of our sponsors which were attending HAM Radio. Without them we are not able to host all our many activities.