Sunday, 13 August 2017

CTARC International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend - 19/20 Aug '17

It’s that time of year again when CTARC prepares for the International Lightship and Lighthouse weekend. This year it seems a bit later in the month but actually it’s not. It is always the third FULL weekend in August. For us down in the Southern Hemisphere it’s a time of cold weather and storms which makes it even more challenging.

​Once again we have arranged to man the Green Point lighthouse from the Saturday morning of 19 August until mid-day Sunday of 20 August. We have repeated this so often now that our Lighthouse team manages to do the set-up and take-down with military precision but we still need manpower from our members, especially around 10:00 on Saturday morning in order to get our beam antenna raised.

Even if you are not taking part in the Lighthouse weekend, it would be appreciated if club members could come and assist with the set up at Green Point on Saturday morning 19 August 10h00 and for take down on Sunday, 20th August at 11h00. (Committee members will meet at the clubhouse at 08h30 on Saturday morning to load antennas and equipment).

We will be having our very popular and always well attended Sunset Bring n Braai on the Saturday evening so even if you are not planning to operate, please join us and bring the XYL along for this social event. Bring your meat, rolls and salads etc; along.

We need operators for the event so please pop in and grab a mike or key and make a few contacts with us, it’s always great fun.

If you are planning on staying over (the more the merrier,) then please do let me know soonest and I can arrange enough room for us all. We already have 5 staying over this year, which is great news.

See you there.

Rob, ZS1SA

Friday, 11 August 2017

CTARC Committee Meeting - 14 August 2017

CTARC Committee Members are reminded of the earlier-than-usual committee meeting that will take place on Monday 14 August 2017, at 19h00 at the CTARC Clubhouse.

The main purpose of this meeting will be the planning and logistics of the forthcoming International Lighthouse/ Lightship Weekend set to take place at Green Point Lighthouse on the weekend of 19 / 20 August 2017.

Thanking you in advance.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

CTARC ZS1CT Bulletin for 13 Aug '17

Please note that from Sunday 13 August 2017 onwards (for the time being), the SARL HQ and CTARC Bulletins will be transmitted on the 145.600 MHz repeater on Hanskop near Sir Lowry's Pass, at 08h30 local time.

There is a link to the 145.750 MHz repeater (albeit with reduced audio levels and signal strength) as well.

The bulletin will also be relayed (relay stations permitting) on 3700 kHz / 80m and 7086 kHz / 40m, both Lower Sideband (LSB).

We also hope to have an Echolink relay as well.

Thank you (in advance) to the relay stations!

Saturday, 5 August 2017

CTARC Ragchew August 2017

The August 2017 edition of the Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre's bi-monthly newsletter "Ragchew" is now published. Grateful thanks once again to Anne for another fine edition!

Download the PDF file [here].

Ragchew is also on our Newsletters page

Friday, 4 August 2017

CTARC Work Party Video - 29 Jul '17

On Saturday 29 July 2017, CTARC members met at the clubhouse to do some urgent repair and maintenance work on the clubs antennas.

More details will be added presently.

In the mean time, Chris / ZS1CDG shot a video of the work being done. Thanks so much, Chris!

The video is [here].

Sunday, 30 July 2017

ZS1DTM Silent Key - 30 Jul '17

It is with deep sadness we must announce that the key of Dennis Maastricht / ZS1DTM became silent on Sunday 30 July at 01h00, in Somerset West, at the age of eighty-nine years.

While not a member of CTARC, Dennis was well known to many of us in the radio amateur community, and will be sorely missed. He was a highly intelligent, insightful and generous man. Our condolences go to his sister, Mavis and the rest of his family.

CTARC ZS1CT Bulletin for 30 July '17

Please note that the SARL HQ and CTARC Bulletins will be transmitted at 08h30 B: on the 145.650 MHz on Sunday morning of 30 July 2017.

Monday, 24 July 2017

CTARC Antenna Work Party - 29 July '17

Following a decision made at the CTARC Committee Members meeting of 17 July 2017, a very necessary Antenna Work Party will be held at the CTARC clubhouse on Saturday, 29 July 2017, starting at 09h00 sharp.

We request all club members who are free that day to come and assist. We will be assembling and raising a new beam antenna for the club's station.

For those who may not have attended such a Work Party before, it's an ideal opportunity to learn all about antenna hardware, masts, wiring practise, and so on. Casual clothing is recommended.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

CTARC Annual General Meeting Photos - 22 Jul '17

Here are the photos from the Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre's AGM of Saturday 22 July 2017. For the written report, click [here].

Rob / ZS1SA reads the Chairmans Report.
This was followed by Anne's Secretary's Report

Danny / ZS1BL delivered his comprehensive Treasurers Report

Davy / ZR1FR of the Rally Group

Michael / ZS1MJT awards the Sports Communications Award to
Hendrik / ZS1EEE

Rob / ZS1SA awards the Wellie Awards to Richard / ZS1RIC (in absentia)

The prestigious Club Participation Award goes jointly to
Hans-Jurgen / ZS1HJH and Wolfgang / ZR1WLH

The CTARC's top award, the Buck Taylor Trophy, is awarded to Fred / ZS1FZ
(in absentia) for his dedication, commitment and involvement in a club project
that will be announced presently

John / ZS1AGH takes on the temporary mantle of CTARC Chairmanship
while the election of Chairman and Office Bearers takes place.
Rob / ZS1SA is re-elected as chairman

After the formalities were concluded, the chairs were re-stacked and our members
had the chance to chat and be sustained by Anne's excellent chicken soups,
breadrolls and a glass of sherry

CTARC Report on CTARC AGM - 23 Jul '17

Yesterday at 14h00 we held the CTARC’s Annual General Meeting of 2017 at the clubhouse.
(Photos are here).

The meeting was well attended. We counted over 30 heads in attendance.

The meeting was opened by the CTARC Chairman, Rob / ZS1SA and apologies announced. Then formal confirmation of notice of the meeting was obtained and a quorum confirmed.  A minute's silence was held for those Silent Keys who passed away this year.

Confirmation of Minutes of the previous AGM, held on Saturday, 23 July 2016, was obtained and matters arising from these minutes was briefly discussed

Rob then delivered the Chairman’s Report, covering the events of the last year and some future plans for the clubhouse and infrastructure. Anne then delivered her short but sweet Secretary’s Report. This was followed by the Treasurer's Report,comprehensively covered by Danny / ZS1BL and illustrated with PowerPoint slides of the figures. Approval of the accounts was obtained. A necessary (but moderate) increase in membership fees is taking place. This will be detailed in Ragchew and the Blogspot.

Then the pleasant task of presentation of Trophies and Awards was done by our Chairman, Rob. 

The Club Participation Award was given jointly to Hans-Jurgen / ZS1HJH and Wolfgang / ZR1WLH, for their great involvement this year with the club and technical development of its antennas;

The Golden Wellie Award, for attendance of Club Meetings and events through thick and thin was awarded to Richard / ZS1RIC (in absentia);

The CTARC's most prestigious award, the Buck Taylor award, was awarded in absentia to Fred /ZS1FZ, for his enormous involvement (in time, vision and funding) for a big project of huge benefit to our club, that he initiated, steered and is busy building, that will be clarified in greater detail presently;

The Sports Award was awarded by Michael /ZS1MJT, backed up by Davey / ZR1FR, to Hendrick / ZS1EEE, for the quality and depth of his involvement in radio comms for Sports Rallies this last year.

We then proceeded with the formal election of office bearers and activity conveners. Rob stood down as John / ZS1AGH took
over as temporary caretaker Chairman to call for nominations. 

Rob / ZS1SA was unanimously nominated and elected as the CTARC Chairman for the period 2017 / 2018. This was followed by the election of a new Working Committee and Bank Signatory Mandates.

The CTARC Committee remains (more or less) as before, with the following portfolios:

Anne is CTARC Secretary & Ragchew Editor;

Noel / ZS1FW is CTARC Vice-Chairman, Clubhouse Manager & Convenor of the weekly ZS1CT Net; 

Danny / ZS1BL is CTARC Treasurer;

Tony / ZS1TK is the new Bulletins Coordinator;

Paul / ZS1S is Western Cape Repeater Working Group representative (he's currently the Vice-Chairman of that organisation). He is also responsible for Clubhouse Security;

Paul / ZS1PXK is Meetings Logistics Coordinator;

Barry / ZS1FJ is QSL Manager - Cards;

Charles / ZS1CJO is QSL Manager - Digital;

Peter ZS1PGC is Club Assets Manager;
Nick / ZS1ZD is Website / Blogspot Manager & Club Photographer.

The following Committee Members stepped down:
Shaun / ZS1RA (former CTARC Public Relations Officer) has relocated from Cape Town;
Tony / ZS1TM (former Bulletins
and Hylton / ZR1HPC (former QSL

Appointment of Honorary Auditor:
As Barry / ZS1FJ has now joined the CTARC Committee, we require the services of a new honorary auditor. This non-onerous responsibility involves casting a proprietorial eye over the accounting figures of the CTARC's  finances.

With the office bearers duly elected, other business was attended to briefly and the Rob offered a votes of thanks to the committee members, new & outgoing. With that, the meeting was formally ended and refreshments were then served. CTARC Members and visitors had the chance to chat over tubs of delicious soup and the occasional glass of sherry.

Our Club's thanks are due to a number of folk:
  • Rob, for his leadership and vision through the past years of chairmanship;
  • Rob and Anne for organizing the logistics of the AGM event;
  • Special thanks to Anne and Elsabe for feeding us with scrumptious chicken soup, beef consomme and sherry and rolls on the cold winter afternoon; and also to Tony /ZS1TK, who made glasses of red wine available for a nominal contribution;
  • Thank-you to the CTARC Committee, for their work, insights and contributions throughout the year. Everyone has a role to play and it’s a great team;
  • Lastly, but certainly not leastly, thanks to all the CTARC members, for their attendance, support and contributions that make the CTARC the convivial fellowship that it is.
Things wound up at about 16h30. The following meeting at the CTARC will be the Antenna Work Party on Saturday, 29 July.

Photos of the event are [here].

Friday, 21 July 2017

CTARC Bulletins Frequency Change - 23 July '17

Owing to the temporarily limited local coverage of the Tygerberg Repeater antenna on 145.750 MHz, the CTARC Sunday morning bulletins (the ZS6SRL SARL HQ Bulletin and the ZS1CT Club Bulletin) that start at 08h30 S.A.S.T. will transmit instead via the 145.600 MHz repeater on Hanskop at Sir Lowry's Pass. This frequency change is effective from Sunday 23 July 2017.

That repeater may well be linked to other Cape Peninsula-area repeaters if possible.

The bulletin will also be transmitted via Echolink and, if relay stations are available, on 7086 kHz and 3700 kHz, both Lower Sideband.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

CTARC AGM 2017 - Membership Form

Extracted below is the application form for membership of the Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre for the period 2017/2018.

Download the PDF file [here].

CTARC AGM 2017 - Proxy Form

Extracted below is the Proxy Form for absentee members wishing to nominate a visiting member to vote for them at the CTARC AGM on 22 July 2017.

Download the PDF file [here].

CTARC AGM 2017 - Minutes of 2016

Extracted below are the Minutes of the 2016 July AGM at the Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre.

Download the PDF [here].

CTARC AGM 2017 - Agenda

Extracted below is the agenda of the CTARC's forthcoming AGM on 22 July at 14h00 at the CTARC clubhouse.

Download the PDF [here].

CTARC Forthcoming AGM - 22 Jul '17

The Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre's July meeting will be our Annual General Meeting.
It will take place, as always, at the CTARC clubhouse at 14h00 on Saturday 22 July 2017.

All members are encouraged to attend this important club meeting for the election of CTARC office bearers and committee, reading of club financial statements, reception of club awards and a good get-together in general.

Soup and sherry (served in separate vessels!) will be available for the delectation of the members.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Further details will be announced here, on the bulletins and in Ragchew.

Last year's AGM in 2016

Sunday, 2 July 2017

CTARC Ragchew July 2017

The July 2017 edition of the Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre's bi-monthly newsletter "Ragchew" is now published. Grateful thanks once again to Anne for another fine edition!

Download the PDF file [here].

Ragchew is also on our Newsletters page

Sunday, 25 June 2017

CTARC Photos of June 2017 Meeting - 25 Jun '17

The written report of this meeting is [here].

Rob / ZS1SA opens the meeting and reports on the recent Committee Meeting
Stephen Paine of the UCT Radar Remote Sensing Group started the lecture

Skippy Burger / ZS1SKP, who is involved with HF Surface Wave Radar

Form follows function: Some examples of different Radar antenna applications

Congested international aircraft flight paths require radar for ATC

The airways congestion in Europe is even more severe!

A basic block diagram of a Radar installation

The RCS (Radar Cross Section) determines how much energy is reflected from the target

An illustration (on right) of how Stealth Radar deflection reduces and redirects
reflected Radar energy. The civilian aircraft (on left) produces a far greater
Radar echo

The Doppler effect plays a huge role in Radar sensing technology

The difference in the phase of the received signal can determine its incoming angle

NeXtRAD, a netted coastal Radar system being used to detect
small vessels in rough seas.
Sydney Harbour Bridge. This image could have been obtained
at midnight, because it is a Synthetic Aperture Radar image.

Surface Wave Radar can be used to detect the direction of ocean currents
and their responses to changing weather conditions  in real time.
The SA Navy would also like to see what is going on off our shore line.

A three-node Surface Wave Radar system
Block diagram of a single Surface Wave Radar node.
The formidable Red Pitaya digital back-end; the core of the Surface Wave Radar node.
The Biconic radar antenna. You too can have one in your back yard!
A BiStatic Passive Radar Receiver uses two antennae: One for the reference signal and
the other for the actual tracked echo from the target. The more Surveillance antennae used,
the greater the accuracy of the system.
Front of the multi-tiered Passive Radar Receiver.
The symmetrical signal paths of the Reference and Surveillance channels

The two antennae of the Passive Radar Receiver on top of the RRSG building at UCT

Input signal of the received signal before filtering

All the clutter removed after filtering and amplification, leaving the pure signal

The formidable Ettus USRP N210 Software Defined Radio,
the core of the Passive Radar Receiver

Approaching and departing aircraft can be tracked as they enter the
Cape Peninsula region
Various radar plot maps show the position of an aircraft

Another plot map with an aircraft position (highlighted)

After the meeting begins the bunfight!
Skippy / ZS1SKP and John / ZS1AGH
Barry / ZS1FJ peruses some radio swops brought by Ian / ZS1SX
Among the swops are some battery charger units from Mike / ZS1FP

Frank / ZS1CM and Stephen. In the background is Justin, also involved at UCT's RRSG
More swops! This fine dual dipole galvanised SWL antenna is available
from Mike / ZS1PE, for a very reasonable price!