Sunday 29 October 2017

CTARC Report-back on October Meeting - 23 Oct '17

On Saturday, 28 October 2017 saw the CTARC holding its monthly meeting, which was well attended, at the Rondebosch clubhouse

Those who arrived early, for the 13h30 new .hams session attended an interesting talk / discussion held by Noel / ZS1FW on the topic of Ham jargon, which was most interesting.
Then, with the main event at 14h00, we were treated to a surprise double bill.

Rob called the meeting to order, and we first held a moment of silence to remember Hugo / ZS1HSF, who passed away in mid-September. We had heard of his passing at the September meeting, but hadn’t had time to formally acknowledge him, other than on air,  until our October meeting.

Then Rob have a report back on the recent committee meeting and various projects which are in progress. The antenna mast repairs are ongoing.

Rob then welcomed Gerald / ZS1GRM (a long-standing member of CTARC) to deliver a brief talk about a fine 2m antenna he has constructed. (For those who don’t know it, Gerald isn’t shy about the scale of projects he takes on. He built a gyrocopter in his garage. Not a model, but a real, full-sized working one, beautifully made. So we all pay attention when Gerald describes the construction of his projects.) His antenna, Called the “besemstock special”, uses a broomstick as the boom. Gerald built this compact 5-element  yagi with two cross-phase driven folded dipole elements, on a design first published  by Frank Judd of the UK. It has a gain of 10 dBd, and it has accompanied Gerald on several DX-peditions, where it has performed very well.

Gerald also showed us his “bazooka balun”, consisting of a quarter-wave stub of copper sleeving around a coaxial feedline.  It is a concept so simple to construct  that Gerald wonders why it is not in more common usage these days.

We then went on to the main topic of the meeting, which was a talk and PowerPoint presentation by Paul / ZS1S, on his recent trip to Friedrichshafen hamfest, near Stuttgart in Germany. This annual gathering of hams is certainly the largest in Germany, probably the largest in Europe, and on a par with other international ham gatherings such as the Daytona Hamfest in the USA.

As a guest of fellow club member Fred / ZS1FZ, Paul was able to visit this amazing event. The sheer scale of the Friedrichshafen event was conveyed to us by Paul's many interesting photos. Hall upon hall of radio ham gear and exhibitions were there for the browsing, including stalls with the latest rigs from the big manufacturers. Many of the big names in the ham equipment and DX scene were present. There were even link ups with a (small, but significant) number of ZS hams there too! A wide variety of ham radio organisations were also represented. You could even buy raffle tickets where you could win a high-end Elecraft rig or linear amplifier!

After the hamfest, Paul was (by kind courtesy of ZS1FZ) able to do a bit of sight-seeing in central Europe (Including a round trip through Germany, Switzerland, Lichtenstein and Austria - all in one afternoon!). His photos illustrated to us the thoroughly integrated and highly functional aspect of central Europe, particularly Germany. It was a once-in-a-lifetime trip and Paul received a well-deserved round of applause at the conclusion of his talk.

Finally it was Rob’s pleasant task to hand over the Buck Taylor trophy, our club’s highest award, to Fred / ZS1FZ, who was there in person to receive it for the first time since it had been awarded to him at our AGM in July, while he was overseas. We’re very glad to welcome Fred back to our midst. It was also good to see Dennis / ZS1AU and Richard / ZS1RIC, both of whom have suffered very sad losses of late, at the meeting.

Afterwards we had the usual chewing of the rag, skinner, eyeball QSO's, discussions and riffling through the numerous and varied items brought to the the swop shop. So, a thoroughly good meeting, once again. Thanks to Rob, Gerald, Paul and all who attended.

Photos are here: Page 1  Page 2.

Our next main members' meeting at the clubhouse (and the final CTARC monthly meeting of the year) will be the End-of-Year braai on Saturday 25 November. More details to be announced on the bulletins, in Ragchew and here on this blogspot.