Saturday, 19 August 2017

CTARC ILLW Latest - 19 Aug '17

Things are humming at the Green Point Lighthouse right now. At 08h30 this morning (Saturday 19 August 2017) the CTARC members met at the clubhouse in Rondebosch and loaded up the radios, rotatable mast, beam antenna and other gear. Paul / ZS1S brought his trailer along, which enables transportation of the heavy gear with relative ease.

At about 09h45 we were at the lighthouse, and Noel / ZS1FW and Paul / ZS1PXK started assembling the beam antenna, which process goes quite smoothy these days. At the same time, Danny / ZS1BL and Rob / ZS1SA started setting up equipment in the Ops Room. Danny discovered a problem with the power cables and last-minute emergency repairs were effected. The 40 / 80 metre dipole was strung up by Matt / ZS1MTF and Rob. An intermittent fault was discovered and fixed on the dipole. Nick / ZS1ZD set up the 2m antenna and wandered around taking photos. Others were on hand to help as well, in the form of Barry / ZS1FJ, Keverne / ZS1ABU, John / ZS1AGH & Elsabe, Pieter / ZS1PGC, Lem / ZS1LEM, Chris / ZS1CDG (who is busy compiling a video of proceedings), Tony / ZS1TK and others. The beam antenna went up without a problem and the banners advertising our club have been mounted on the antenna stays and also on the top railing of the lighthouse.

From the start, there have been a number of interested enquiries from dogwalkers, passers-by and interested parties who are visiting in response to adverts they have seen or heard of this annual event.

The weather was spectacular in the morning to midday -  a maximum of 25 degrees and sunny. We hope that continues into the late afternoon as we will hold a braai at the lighthouse at about 18h00, which is always a great event.

The radio weather is also not oo bad, considering where we are in the solar cycle. Today's sunspot numbers (courtesy of Paul Herrman / N0NBH) are as indicated. The Planetary A-Index is a bit active at 21, and the K-index similarly active at 4, but the sunspot count has increased from its measly 12 of the last few days up to 41.

The ZS1CT /L station is active right now, on 20, 40 and 80 metres, with contacts being made this midday and afternoon with local stations in Divisions 1, 2 3, 4 and 6. Rob / ZS1SA made contact with a station in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and DX from Europe is coming in, too. We will see how well we fare this afternoon and evening, as we will be operating through the night.

Tomorrow (Sunday 20 August) we will dismantle the station and antennas at around midday, and would appreciate the assistance of CTARC members to help us take down the main antenna then.

The view from the top of the lighthouse (looking south) is always spectacular!
Looking north towards Bloubergstrand across Table Bay
The mast and gin pole are assembled on the turf
The HF directional beam antenna is attached to the top of the mast
Raising the antenna using the gin pole
In the radio room, Rob / ZS1SA makes a final tweak on the SWR meter
Seated (left to right) Chris / ZS1CDG, Matt / ZS1MTF and Paul / ZS1PXK
Paul / ZS1PXK gets going on 40 metres
Lem / ZS1LEM and Noel / ZS1FW