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Thirty years ago, Owen Garriott pioneered amateur radio communication from Space on his historic STS-9 flight from the space shuttle Columbia. Launched on 28 November 1983, Garriott was part of the six man crew that performed 24-hours a day international science investigation on the STS-9 Spacelab-1 mission… (more)

Amateur radio has not lost its ability to innovate and move with the times. Although digital modes have been around from the day Marconi first transmitted radio signals in Morse code (which is a digital mode), the first digital communications date back to the 1940s when radio amateurs worked out a technique of connecting mechanical teletype keyboards and printers to their radios, using frequency shift keying and audio frequency shift keying… (more)

Going back in history, radio amateurs have not only lived through technological change, they have also meaningfully contributed to these changes, and by extension, they have adopted technological change faster than non-radio amateurs, perhaps because it was and still as a question of survival… (more)

Since the Independent Communications Authority of South Afrcia awarded two 5 MHz frequencies to the South African Radio League (SARL), there has been a lot of activity on 5260 kHz showing some interesting propagation patterns around South Africa and with amateur stations in Israel and the UK and USA. The SARL is now taking the studies to the next level with the introduction of an automated beacon system… (more)

Three South African radio amateurs were presented with the MTN Radio Amateur of the Year Awards on 4 July 2013 for innovation and excellence in their support of amateur radio in South Africa.
Deon Coetzee ZR1DE received the Garth Milne Technology award for the development of the space frame for the SA AMSAT CubeSat project… (more)

The South African Radio League’s theme for the 2013/2014 year is “Amateur radio embraces digital”, focusing on how the digital revolution is impacting on amateur radio and how it has opened up new opportunities for experimentation and development, from weak signal reception using digital means to applications of smartphone apps, digital modulation techniques and other software applications such as software-defined radio… (more)

In the early days of the development of radio communication all the efforts were on long wave and medium wavelengths but as Marconi and other early experimenters at the time realised the commercial opportunities they started making efforts to move other casual experimenters – the radio amateurs of the Marconi times to shorter wavelengths, which they considered were of no commercial interest… (more)

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has issued licences for experimentation on three new frequencies, 5250, 5260 and 472 kHz to the South African Radio League (SARL). The SARL has for many years been petitioning ICASA to allocate frequencies in the 5 MHz band for propagation research… (more)

Southern African Amateur Radio Satellite (SA AMSAT) does not have the R2-million needed to buy a satellite kit, so the team had to go back to the drawing board and design as many of its own components as possible… (more)

In some schools we have seen amateur radio playing a role in creating interest in science and technology, subjects the president also addressed in his address. It is about hands-on experience. To achieve meaningful experiential learning in the extra-mural space requires dedicated parents and support from companies… (more)

Radio amateurs worldwide will be dedicating World Amateur Radio Day on 18 April 2013 to disaster communication with the theme “Amateur radio – entering its second century of disaster communications”.
The first recorded use of amateur radio supporting communications during a disaster dates back to 1913, during severe flooding in he USA mid-west… (more)

In this monthly feature, Hans van de Groenendaal ZS6AKV, executive chairman of the South African Amateur Radio Development Trust (SAARDT), looks at various technologies and activities that drive amateur radio. SAARDT is dedicated to the development of amateur radio in South Africa with a special interest in the youth. The organisation is funded by donations and supports the South African Radio League and SA AMSAT…  (more)

There is a perception that because of cell phones and a plethora of computers and smart devices, that there is no longer an interest in amateur radio. However this is not so. Every year there are many who write the amateur radio examination to qualify for an amateur radio licence… (more)

In July 2002 the German Amateur Radio Satellite Association (AMSAT-DL) announced its plan to take amateur radio to Mars. The association was planning to build two spacecrafts to be named AMSAT-Phase 3-E (P3E) and AMSAT-Phase 5-A (P5A)… (more)

In this monthly feature, Hans van de Groenendaal ZS6AKV, executive chairman of the South African Amateur Radio Development Trust (SAARDT), looks at various technologies and activities that drive amateur radio… (more)

In this monthly feature, Hans van de Groenendaal ZS6AKV, executive chairman of the South African Amateur Radio Development Trust (SAARDT), looks at various technologies and activities that drive amateur radio. SAARDT is dedicated to the development of amateur radio in South Africa with a special interest in the youth. The organisation is funded by donations and supports the South African Radio League and SA AMSAT… (more)

In February 2012, at the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) a new world-wide frequency band for amateur radio was born: 472 – 479 kHz, destined to be known as the 630 kHz band… (more)

Scientists agree that radio wave propagation requires ongoing research as there are still many unanswered questions particularly when it comes to propagation on frequencies above 30 MHz. Radio amateurs are well known for their passion to explore the vagaries of the ionosphere, partially driven by the fact that they generally only have access to low power transmitters and moderate antennas but also for their passion for experimentation… (more)

Thirty years ago a group of radio amateurs in Johannesburg met to put together a weekly one hour radio programme about ham radio. And it is still going strong. Content and presentation is very different from the early days, but it still focuses on radio and technology… (more)

A group of radio amateurs recently travelled to Lesotho with the objective of heating up the moon – well, figuratively speaking. It was all about providing an opportunity for “moon bouncer” radio amateurs around the world to make contact with a new country… (more)

In August this year South Africa hosted the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Region 1 triennial conference. This was the first time since the formation of the international body that this important policy-making meeting has been held in SA and hosted by the South African Radio League (SARL)… (more)

The two satellites being built by students of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) include a beacon operating in the 20 m amateur band. The first of the two is a single CubeSat 10 x 10 x 10 cm with a mass of one kilogramme… (more)

The NASA Ames Research Centre in California, USA is working on a project to use a cellphone as the on board computer (OBC) on small satellites. The basic philosophy behind the project, called PhoneSat, is to utilise commercially available off the shelf parts to make ultra-cheap satellites… (more)

South African radio amateurs are set to join other amateur and university groups in the world to build and launch their own CubeSat. This was announced in a presentation at the recently held SA AMSAT Space Symposium in Durban… (more)

April 2010 saw the transfer of the control of the SumbandilaSat from Sunspace to the CSIR’s Satellite Application Centre at Hartebeeshoek. Sunspace will continue working on the commission for some time to commission the various experimental payloads which include the NMMU string experiment, the Department of Communication’s communication experiment and the VLF experiment from UKZN… (more)

“Innovation in amateur radio” is an 18-month project by the South African Amateur Radio Development Trust (SAARDT).  According to Hannes Coetzee, ZS6BZP, while amateur radio is one of the oldest and still the most rewarding of all the scientific hobbies, there comes a time when one has to look at innovation, new ideas and new technologies to keep the activities relevant and exciting… (more)

Let’s look back in history and see who the people were, whose work Marconi used to develop his wireless communication system. The library at the Villa Griffone in Bologna, Italy where Marconi grew up, housed the lectures of the brilliant English chemist Michael Faraday. Faraday made some of the most significant discoveries about the relationship between electricity and magnetism and had invented the first, tiny, electrical generator… (more)

Going to the edge of space is a concept that talks about sending up a balloon or series of balloons to test several aspects of radio communication, one of which is propopagation. The next dream is taking it beyond the edge of space and launching an Earth satellite to circle the globe… (more)

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