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SDR AMSATSA RF Noise Monitoring Project workshops in conjunction with SARL



P O Box 90438
Garsfontein 0042
South Africa
Tel:  012 991 4662
Fax: 012 991 5651






Gauteng SDR Workshop
presented in conjunction with SARL

Saturday 5 May 2018
09:00 - 13:00

SARL National Amateur Radio Centre
Sender Technology Park, Octave Street, Radiokop, Roodepoort

* Setting up your station to the server to automatically upload your data 

* What type of antennas to consider, an in-depth discussion with Vince Harrison ZS6BTY

* Introduction to GNU Radio  

* Open discussion, assistance with SDR software and setting up a dongle

Registration form here. Book before 4 May 2018

Anton Janovsky and Cor Rademeyer demonstarting the concepts of SDR



Who has registered to attend
Name SDR Workshop 5 May 2018 Callsign
Anton Janovsky  ZR6AIC
Anette Jacobs ZR6D
James Archibald ZS6NS
Garry Williams ZS6GRY
Brian Jacobs ZS6YZ
Hans van de Groenendaal ZS6AKV
Nico van Rensburg ZS6QL
Vince Harisson  ZS6BTY
Gerry Pieterse ZS6GER
Dick Coats ZS6BUN

Why Radio Amateurs should be concerned about the rising RF noise levels?
Worldwide the RF spectrum use is continuing to grow as technology progressively makes more use of wireless connectivity. The spectrum has become steadily more polluted as the number of non-compliant and faulty pieces of electronic devices including substandard equipment has also risen over the years.

The reluctance and short- sightedness of regulators in various countries to act against manufacturers of non-compliant electronic devices and equipment, leaves the radio amateur fraternity with no other alternative but to get involved in collecting the necessary RF noise floor data and to support initiatives for proper interference regulation and action against radio frequency pollution on a world-wide level. 

On 15 June 2016, the FCC office of engineering and technology technical advisory council opened a noise floor technical inquiry in the form of ET docket no. 16-191 to seek answers to the following basic questions: 

     Is there a noise problem?

     * Where does the problem exist? Spectrally? Spatially? Temporally?

     * Is there quantitative evidence of the overall increase in the total integrated noise floor across various segments of the radio frequency spectrum?

     * How should a noise study be performed? 

Unfortunately, most feedback was anecdotal and not accompanied with measured quantitative data.  This is largely because the responders did not have the instrumentation resources nor the budget to provide the quantitative evidence being sought. Despite the scarcity of quantitative data submissions, one clear outcome of this TAC technical inquiry is an unmistakable consensus among the responders: A noise floor study is not only needed but long overdue. 

In the USA and spreading to Europe radio amateurs and scientists have joined forces in Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation (HamSCI*), a collaboration between radio amateurs and scientists to advance scientific research and understanding through amateur radio activities. While the group is currently more focused on radio propagation, ionospheric studies and space weather, the concept would work well to make meaning full contributions to study the increases in the RF noise floor. 

It may sound complex but with the right software, a raspberry pi and a HF dongle it is very easy to create monitoring stations in many parts of the world, create a universal server where the data is upload and develop algorithms to review the data after a period of time.  

The SARL has a number of pilot stations operating and has configured a server to where the monitoring stations automatically upload their data. 

It is fully understood that there are issues, such as antenna and receiver calibration, that still need to be solved. Under the current pilot system each participating radio amateur can review his own data and monitor the changes in the RF noise level in his immediate area.  

The SARL is continuing to fine tune the software for the monitoring station. The diagram below illustrates the basic station setup