Sunday 24 December 2017

CTARC Bernie Crockford ZS1BW Silent Key - 22 Dec '17

You will have heard the sad news of the passing of ZS1BW in the Sunday CTARC bulletin of 24 December 2017. Here follows a brief eulogy that was broadcast on that bulletin:
Bernie Crockford ZS1BW / SK
Bernie Crockford / ZS1BW
(Photo by kind courtesy of Dennis / ZS1AU)
On Friday 22 December, the key of Bernie Crockford / ZS1BW or “Boere Wors”, as he will be affectionately remembered, went silent. He was 88 years old.

Bernie was born on the channel island of Guernsey.
He saw service in the Royal Navy, and came out to South Africa in 1947 on the HMS Vanguard, which was considered then to be the most advanced battleship in the naval fleet.
The special white-painted royal train,
with the HMS Vanguard in the background
Also on board that ship were members of the Royal Family, including then Princess Elizabeth, on their post-war tour of South Africa.
Bernie liked our country so much that he returned here. He married Sylvia, who survives him, and in time became the patriarch of a large family that includes children, grand children and even great grand children who will all, like us, remember him with fondness.

Bernie worked for Gallo South Africa as a recording engineer, in a studio in Oranjezicht. Ted Baker (then ZS1RA) was the managing director. Bernie also worked later on for CNA and was the manager of the Wynberg branch when he retired.

His QTH was in Ferness Rd in Ottery for a number of years, where he kept a significant radio station with a TH6 beam antenna. It was from this QTH that he broke the South African record for DX contacts in the two metre band when he worked a station on a ship up in Luanda harbour on 144 MHz, taking advantage of unusual coastal ducting conditions. As far as I have been able to ascertain, that record still stands unbroken.

Bernie was an honorary life member of both the SARL and of the CTARC.  He served as CTARC Chairman and on the CTARC committee. He edited the CTARC newsletter, "Ragchew" for years and also diligently put together the "Acorn Times" newsletter of the Oakdale Klub-Amateur Radio. He also hosted the ZS1OAK Natter Net for some years. He also used to relay the transmission of these CTARC Sunday morning bulletins on the 80 metre band for a while.

Later, Bernie and Sylvia moved up to Langeberg Ridge, where he was not too far from Dave Perry / ZS1SG.

Bernie was one of the great characters of our hobby, broad in compassion, wise in his insights and not unafraid to puncture some over-inflated sacred cows where necessary. We shall certainly miss him. 
Go well, old man.

(The above eulogy was compiled by Nick / ZS1ZD in consultation with Paul / ZS1S and Rob / ZS1SA)

Dennis / ZS1AU submitted the following contribution about Bernie:
Bernie was a great radio amateur, a GIANT amongst GIANTS and did so much for all in this ZS1 area.

He held the SARL Jack Twine & Honorary Life Member Awards.

He served as Chairman and Committee Member of the Cape Town branch / CTARC & Oakdale Club  and was the editor of Ragchew (for CTARC) and the Acorn Times (for Oakdale Club).

Bernie was one of a kind and his XYL Sylvia stood by him in all his ham activities.

He was a popular and likeable human being and we will miss him for his contribution to amateur radio and his friendship over many decades.

My deepest sympathy to Sylvia and his large family.

He was 3 months younger than me and his passing was still unexpected.

Bernie had many interesting ideas and was a very busy and hard-working person.

May he rest in peace.
A private family memorial service for Bernie was held on 5th January 2018.

Grateful thanks to Dennis / ZS1AU, Mike / ZS1FP and and Nick / ZS1ZD for the photographs and articles below of Bernie.


Bernie was awarded the Len Wells Ham Spirit Award trophy
in both 1981 and 1989


Bernie at the mike of ZS1OAK

Bernie and Sylvia

Dave / ZS1DFR and Bernie / ZS1BW share a joke
at the CTARC fleamarket

Left to right: Alfie / ZS1HX, Bernie / ZS1BW and Mike / ZS1FP

Bernie receives his Honorary Life Membership of the CTARC
from CTARC chairman Bud / ZS1BW in 2003

Thursday 14 December 2017

CTARC Seasons Greetings! - Dec '17

To all members of the Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre, we wish you all compliments of the festive season and, where applicable, a very Happy Xmas! Enjoy the December holidays and stay safe.

The image on the right, by kind courtesy of FlightRadar24, was created by the pilot of an Airbus A380 (with the advanced foreknowledge, permissions and cooperation of the air traffic controllers!) which took off from Hamburg airport in Germany and flew along a predetermined path for five hours at an altitude of 40000 feet.

More on that event is reported on the Daily Telegraph website [here].

Monday 4 December 2017

CTARC Ragchew - December 2017

The December 2017 edition of the Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre's bi-monthly newsletter "Ragchew" is now published. Grateful thanks once again to our editor, Anne, for all her sterling work!

Download the PDF file [here];

Ragchew is also on our Newsletters Page


Sunday 26 November 2017

CTARC Photos of End-of-Year Function of 25 Nov '17

Here are the photos of the CTARC End-of-Year function held on Saturday 25 November 2017.

The written report-back on the meeting is [here].

Setting up beforehand. Grateful thanks to Jon / ZS1AGH and Elsabe
for use of the canopy

Paul / ZS1S sets up the solar powered MW receiver with loop antenna.
Works like a charm!

Left to right: Elsabe, Glynnis / ZR1GW and Anne,
our formidable catering ladies!

Welcome to Ivan / ZR1ICE and Maureen / ZR1MYB

Lem / ZS1LEM and Noel / ZS1FW
Dennis / ZS1AU and Frank / ZS1CM

The three musketeers: Keverne / ZS1ABU, Chris / ZS1CDG
and Lem / ZS1LEM

We had quite a crowd this year - around 65 people in all

Gerald / ZS1GRM

Various goodies (some new, some retro) on the Swop Shop tables

Karl / ZS1KC, Paul / ZS1PXK and Wouter / ZS1KE

Various widgets for disposal

Various handies and chargers...

Rob / ZS1SA considers the purchase of a microphone

This very nice Eton G3 SW multiband Rx (with BFO and ECSSB)
was, sadly, NOT for sale

CTARC Chairman Rob / ZS1SA having introduced Dennis / ZS1AU,
Dennis describes the LWHST to the crowd
Dennis / ZS1AU gives us the history, chapter and verse, of the
Len Wells Ham Spirit Trophy's recipients.

And the winner this 50th anniversary year of the LWHST is...
Fred / ZS1FZ / DJ3VV, who addressed us with a brief
speech of thanks

Fred receives his certificate from Dennis...

...and the Trophy. Well done!

Wolfgang / ZR1WLH won the raffle

The LWHST recipients (such as whom attended): Left to right:
Rob / ZS1SA, Anne, Mike / ZS1FP, Nick / ZS1ZD, Richard  ZS1RIC,
Dennis / ZS1AU, Danny / ZS1BL, Fred / ZS1FZ, Deon / ZS1ZL,
Glynnis / ZR1GW, Paul / ZS1S, Noel / ZS1FW and Hans-Jurgen / ZS1HJH

CTARC Report-back on November Meeting - 26 Nov '17

Photos of the event are [here].

The Cape Town Amateur Radio centre held its end of year function on the afternoon of Sunday 25 November 2017. The weather was mild and just right for the event.

At 12h00 the trusty members of the Committee arrived and started setting up shop. We were gratified to note at the committee meeting on the Monday evening before the weekend that that City Council had kindly removed the broken tree and branch debris left over from the Great Storm of July 2017, since which time what used to be the grass car park next to the clubhouse had been covered thigh-deep in branches and tree debris. After our chairman, Rob / ZS1SA had put in a diplomatic request, the City Council Parks and Forests kindly cleared it all up and we were able to park our cars and hold our end of year function and braai outside the clubhouse.

The tables were set up and and canopies erected. Anne, Elsabe and Glynnis started industriously cutting and prepping burger rolls and salad. The braai fires were assembled, fuelled and fired up. Tony / ZS1TM and Nick /ZS1ZD started cooking the burger patties once the fires were hot enough. Paul / ZS1S set up his finely constructed solar powered MW receiver with a loop antenna, which provided music from Magic 828 throughout the afternoon. Mike / ZS1FP set up the PA system as he kindly does each year. We all unpacked and redeployed the club’s plastic chairs in a ring outside for the benefit of the visitors. The members and guests started arriving.

At around 13h00, the official beginning of the event, the lawn outside the clubhouse was already filling up with members, XYLs, friends and visitors. At the height of the afternoon we were to have an estimated 60 guests in attendance, including new members who signed up to the CTARC. Welcome!

At about 13h45 Rob fired up the PA and introduced Dennis / ZS1AU, who had arrived in his James Bond attire (shaken, but never stirred) to announce the award of the Len Wells Ham Spirit Trophy. This being the 50th anniversary of the award (can you believe it?) we had put out a special request for all LWHST recipients who still could to attend the meeting.  What most people hadn’t seen were the efforts by ZS1AU and ZS1ZD beforehand, to get the certificate signed in sticky gold ink without giving the game away.

Dennis gave us a comprehensive account of the recipients of the Award over the past half-century, and finally announced the winner, who this year is Fred / ZS1FZ, who has made a significant contribution to the hobby, to our club and to ham spirit in general, not just this year but throughout the time we have all been fortunate to know him. So it is entirely appropriate that the 50th anniversary award goes to one of such stature in the amateur radio community, both locally and internationally. Fred received both a certificate and the magnificent trophy, and addressed us briefly on receipt of his award. His relationship with South Africa, Cape Town and our club goes back a long way.

That being complete, Rob then did the raffle draw, assisted by Paul / ZS1PXK. Wolfgang / ZS1WLH won that and walked off with two fine bottle of wine that had been donated.

At that point there was a rush on the food tables as hungry hams, whose nostrils had been tantalised by the aroma of roasting burger patties throughout Dennis’s speech, could now satisfy their hunger. Anne and the ladies were hard pressed to keep up with demand and Tony and Nick kept at it with the burger patties and other meats on the braai fires. Liquid refreshments were available and the afternoon continued in its characteristic spirit of conviviality.

Once hungry appetites had been satisfied with a burger or two, we gathered the LWHST members together for a historic photograph of those award recipients we had managed to gather into our midst for the occasion. That photo is [here] at the bottom of the article.

In addition to the chewing of the (proverbial) fat and (literal) animal proteins, there were other items for hungry hams to consume in the form of various bits of hardware that were set up on two tables and various car boots at the venue. As always, a number of hams went home happy with bulging car boots and (moderately) lightened wallets. And a number of forlorn rectangles of hardware flickered their meter needles with joy at the prospect of acquiring a new home and firing up their circuits, even if in modified or component-redeployed form. There were even generous freebies made available by kind courtesy of Deon / ZR1DE, and one individual walked off with bits of a fax machine that might be modified to print out the HydroSan synoptic weather chart broadcasts.

By about 16h00, the event was tailing off and we started packing things away; the chairs inside, the braai coals extinguished, the remaining ice distributed across the lawns. We packed everything away and locked up the clubhouse. Shook hands and wished each other well for the festive break. ZS1ZD was seen trundling off in a small vehicle filled to the brim with empty cooldrink bottles and cans.

That was it for the year of 2017. Once again, the Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre chairman and committee wishes all its members and friends everything of the best for the festive season, stay safe (especially on the roads) and we really look forward to seeing you all again next year for an exciting and innovative new year of amateur radio in 2018.

Photos of the End-of-Year function are [here].

Sunday 12 November 2017

CTARC End of Year Function - 25 Nov '17

Your Invitation To

The CTARC’s  End of Year Function!

Dear CTARC Member

Date: Saturday, 25 November

Time: 13:00

Venue: CTARC’s Clubhouse Grounds, Laidlaw Road, Rondebosch Cape Town.

Braai fires will be lit at 13h00 ready by 14h00. Complimentary beef burgers will be served to CTARC members and liquid refreshments will be on sale.

(You are welcome to bring your own meat to braai if you wish.) Spouses / partners are also welcome.

This year The ‘Len Wells Ham Spirit Trophy’ turns 50 years old!
We are inviting as many of the past recipients of the trophy as we can find.
Dennis / ZS1AU, will be at the function to meet them all once again.
We would like to arrange a large group photo of all the LWHST awardees.

Do try to join us at this special event!


Anne (CTARC Secretary and Ragchew Editor)

Cell: O 7 2 - 2 6 8 - I 2 O 7

Tuesday 7 November 2017

CTARC Committee Meeting - 18 September 2017

CTARC Committee Members are reminded of the committee meeting that will take place on Monday 20 November 2017, at 19h00 at the CTARC Clubhouse. 

We will discuss, amongst other agenda items, the forthcoming End-of-Year function for the following Saturday (25 November) .

Sunday 5 November 2017

CTARC Ragchew November 2017

The November 2017 edition of the Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre's bi-monthly newsletter "Ragchew" is now published. Grateful thanks once again to our editor, Anne, for all her sterling work!

Download the PDF file [here];

Ragchew is also on our Newsletters Page

Monday 30 October 2017

CTARC Forthcoming November Meeting - 25 Nov '17

Members of the Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre are reminded of our forthcoming End-of-Year function, to be held at the clubhouse at 13h00 on Saturday 25 November 2017. This will be our final monthly meeting for the year of 2017. It will, as always, be a social occasion in the form of a braai, with no formal lecture. It is a great opportunity to catch up and chew the fat with old friends. We will also hold the monthly swop-meet for hams to trade their surplus radio gear and widgets.

The club will sponsor beef hamburgers to members, and ice cold refreshments will be on sale, too. For those who would like to provide their own meat, braai fires will be available and will be lit at around 12h30.

At this November meeting, as per tradition, the Len Wells Ham Spirit Trophy is awarded to a worthy recipient by Dennis / ZS1AU. This year is a particularly significant one because it is the 50th anniversary of the award. So, all previous recipients of the award, be they members of the CTARC or not, are also invited to attend. We would like to be able to take a group photo of LWHST recipients at the occasion. Please RSVP to our club secretary, Anne, so that she can know the numbers for catering.

Dennis reminds us all that the deadline for nominations for this trophy is the end of October 2017. Prospective recipients (who need not be a member of the CTARC) should have shown some manifestation of True Ham Spirit during the year. A short motivation should accompany your nomination.

We look forward to seeing you all there!

The November End-of-Year braai of 2016...

Sunday 29 October 2017

CTARC Report-back on October Meeting - Pics 2/2 - 23 Oct '17

Here is Page 2/2 of the photos - . More Photos on [Page 1/2]. Back to the article [here].

There was a while-you-wait embroidery stall for T-shirts and caps

Paul /ZS1S and Nigel /G3TXF who together ran the ZD9ZS DX-pedition
to Tristan da Cunha in September 2014

Bob / KK6EK of the VK0EK DX-pedition to Heard Island (March 2016)
meets up with Paul again.

Harald / OZ8X, who visited Cape Town and gave a talk at the CTARC in January 2017,
with Xuan /JG1MRG of the Luso antenna company

Martin Atherton / G3ZAY of the RSGB, with Paul / ZS1S

The South African contingent were at Friedrichshafen too:
John /ZS6JON, Paul /ZS1S, Paul /ZS6NK
and (not pictured here) Deon/ZR1DE

You could (for a fee) even take a ride in a Zeppelin

A reunion with members of the VK0EK team in Lucerne

Scenic Switzerland

Vaduz, capital of Liechtenstein

The classical Gothic Cathedral at Ulm

No tour of Germany would be complete without
a visit to the iconic Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart

The Stuttgart Radio Tower. The resemblance to the Brixton Tower
in Johannesburg is not coincidental; it was based on the Stuttgart Tower

Backnang Technical Museum, for afficienados of all things mechanical!

Fred /ZS1FZ receives the Buck Taylor Trophy from ZS1SA

Some of the items the Bring 'n Buy Swopshop

Here are the photos - Page 2/2. More Photos on [Page 1/2]. Back to the article [here].