Monday 27 January 2014

CTARC Ragchew - January 2014

The January 2014 edition of "Ragchew", CTARC's monthly newsletter, has been published in PDF format.

You can download it directly from [here] or from the link on our Newsletters Page

Sunday 26 January 2014

CTARC Meeting - 25 Jan '14

Members of the Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre met at 12h00 on Saturday 25 January 2014 for a social gathering. The weather was great and we were treated to delicious hamburgers kindly prepared by Rob (ZS1SA) and Anne. Grateful thanks to Noel ZS1FW and Tony, ZS1TM, for braiing the burgers.The afternoon was a great success.

Later that afternoon we were treated to a flying display by Matt (ZS1MTF) of his amazing hexacopter!

Left to right: Mike (ZS1FP), Wolfgang (ZS1WHL), Hans-Jurgen
(ZS1HJH), Peter (ZS1MET) and Noel (ZS1FW)

Mike, ZS1FP and Richard, ZS1RIC in the clubhouse

This rather uneventful picture of the clubhouse interior
will at least show that it has recently been painted (by Fred, ZS1FK,
who rode all the way from St Helena Bay to do the job!

Mike (ZS1CO, Fred (ZS1FZ) and Matt (ZS1MTF) in deep discussion

The manne discuss the finer points of Amateur radio!

Tony (ZS1TM), Noel (ZS1FW), Rob (ZS1SA) and Anne
all helped to produce the burgers

Anne rushes the burger patties, piping hot, to the serving table

Hard work on a hot day! The stalwarts busy at the braai

Russel (ZS1VK) and Rob (ZS1SA)

Tony, ZS1TM

Noel, ZS1FW

The burgers, deftly served by Anne, were greatly enjoyed

Left to right: Matt (ZS1MJJ), Klaus (ZS1QO), Mike (ZS1FP), John (ZS1AGH), (Unid),
Rob (ZS1SA), Anne. (Unid), Barry (ZS1FJ) and Rob (ZS1BL)

The magnificent hexacopter, flown by Matt ZS1MTF

Note the V-Antenna on the top left of the copter

Future development plans for the copter include a paintball gun...
Now there is no place to hide!

CTARC members watch the hexacopter with great interest

The copter does a fly-past (at a safe distance) of the Club's beam antenna

The hexacopter can carry a video camera (with live feed)
and can stay airborne for about 20 minutes

Paul (ZS1PXK) and Matt (ZS1MTF) provide some idea
of the scale of the hexacopter

Paul (ZS1S), Anne and (below) Pluto.
Pluto managed to score TWO burger patties AND got
his ears tickled into the bargain!

Left To Right: Paul (ZS1PXK), Tony (ZS1HSF), Mike (ZS1FP), G3PXU, Hans (ZS1HA)

Tuesday 21 January 2014

CTARC Bullying of the Major Cape Town Radio Clubs by the SARL - 21 Jan '14

Extracted here below is an open letter to the South African Amateur Radio Community from the Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre and the Oakdale Klub (Amateur Radio):

Recently the Western Cape Repeater Working Group (WCRWG), the group that is supposed to serve the Cape Town radio clubs by installing and maintaining the repeater system in the Western Cape decided that they wanted to convert the existing wide-band (25 kHz FM deviation) repeaters to narrow-band (12.5 kHz FM deviation). There appears to also be some local Hamnet support for this.

The two largest clubs in Cape Town, the Cape Town ARC and the Oakdale ARC lodged a complaint with the WCRWG, for the following reasons:
  1. The repeaters in the Cape Town area are becoming less used than they previously were as our Amateur population in the area gradually ages and diminishes. Some repeaters go more than a day without any use. Therefore there is no reason to convert the existing repeaters to narrow band, which will only be necessary if we are going to add more repeaters.
  2. The WCRWG is continually seeking donations in order to maintain our existing repeaters. In fact, reports over the past few years have indicated that the WCRWG is operating almost hand to mouth and does not even have funds to properly repair a repeater building that is leaking rain into the building, let alone install (and maintain) additional repeaters.
  3. With the aging Amateur population in the area, mostly using reliable but older VHF equipment, having to convert their equipment to narrow-band is beyond the financial and technical abilities of many. Narrow-banding most of these older receivers is unfeasible. A substantial number of Radio Amateurs will then be off the air.
  4. The conversion to narrow-band will result in less available Radio Amateurs being able to assist in the event of a disaster, not more.
  5. There is no justifiable reason to convert the area’s repeaters to narrow band at this time.

Special General Meeting with SARL President

A special general meeting of the major clubs, WCRWG and the SARL president took place on 23 November 2013 to discuss the narrow-banding issue. It was noted that the SARL held the licences of the WC repeaters, although they had been financed by the clubs and individuals in the WC.

The SARL President stated that the conversion to narrow-banding the Western Cape repeaters would take place even though it was pointed out that this conversion was NOT a requirement of ICASA.
It was stated from the floor that this forced conversion would cause a loss of membership in SARL. The SARL president’s response was “They always say that”. Is that not shocking arrogance from our SARL President?

The SARL president also informed us that ICASA will not issue repeater licences to clubs or individuals that the SARL has not approved and the SARL will no longer approve of wide-band repeaters. It came out later in the meeting that these changes would be concluded by 2017, only three years away.

The Cape Town ARC and the Oakdale ARC have opposed the move to narrow-band at this time.

Regardless of the five very valid reasons set out above, the SARL intends on forcing us to convert. We believe there could be a hidden agenda behind these discriminating actions. We find their condescending behavior towards our members regrettable.


Noel / ZS1FW, Chairman Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre
Dirk / ZS1VDB, Chairman Oakdale Amateur Radio Club

21 January, 2014

Monday 20 January 2014

CTARC has a Blog! - 20 Jan '14

Welcome to the Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre's blogspot!

It is intended to provide the following:
  • Notification of forthcoming CTARC events;
  • Feedback and photos of past CTARC events;
  • Links to recent editions of Ragchew, the CTARC's bi-monthly newsletter;
  • Links to our club's history and archival publications;
  • (Hopefully) interesting articles and commentary on our club and the greater Radio Amateur community;
  • Remembrances of members and friends who have become Silent Keys
This CTARC blogspot differs from the CTARC Website in that here we can post time-specific notifications quickly, whereas the website is for more generic club information.

We welcome your contributions and photos of CTARC members and activities. Please e-mail them to the CTARC Secretary for the attention of the webmaster.

Both the website and blogspot be under perpetual construction, so please revisit both regularly.