Sunday 23 December 2018

CTARC Report-back on Fox Hunt of 17 Dec '18

Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre's first fox hunt in a long time was held on the public holiday of Monday, 17 December 2018

The event was attended by Jonathan ZS1ARB, Rob ZS1SA and Colin ZS1RS. The timing of the event on the public holiday seemed like a good idea a month ago but as it was, there were at least a half dozen apologies by members via WhatsApp before the event started, promising to attend the next one (which will take place sometime in March 2019 - final date still to be confirmed).

The fox was hidden by a volunteer and found in a parked car on a nearby street in Rondebosch. It was then moved and hidden again under the bushes near our club house. We were grateful as that is where we had left our cars! In both cases, Colin located the fox a good 5 minutes before the other hunters were on the scene, but we were close behind.

We learned quite a bit about the idiosyncrasies of our various antennas and hunting methods. For one thing, I learned to not put the fox’s frequency in a memory in the radio, and rather to use the VFO of the radio so you can tune off a few kilohertz when you are close, in order, to lower the signal into your receiver.

Great fun was had by all and we are looking forward to the next event with even more hunters on the trail.


Below, left to right are Rob ZS1SA, Jonathan ZS1ARB and Colin ZS1RS with their DF-hunting Yagis. Can you find the fox? it's in the picture - somewhere [the answer is below the photo...]

[ Click on the photo to enlarge. The fox is located behind the palisade gate,
discretely sitting on the ground, camouflaged with some leaves... ]

Saturday 15 December 2018

CTARC Seasons Geetings! - Dec '18

The Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre wishes all its members, friends and families best compliments of the festive season for 2018!

Thank you to all for your contributions to club activities and for your fellowship throughout the year.

If you hear unusual sounds late on Xmas Eve, be sure to check your antenna outside...

We look forward to seeing you all in the new year!

CTARC Fox Hunt - 17 Dec '18

Since there is no formal meeting in December we will be having our first fox hunt that month on the public holiday of 17 December 2018.

It is estimated that this foxhunt will take about 90 minutes maximum. The minimum equipment you will need is your 2 meter handheld and a directional antenna of some sort. A simple compass will also come in handy. Come as an individual or form a team with a friend.

If you are interested in taking part in this fun event please contact Rob ZS1SA and we can form a group to make final arrangements.

Please meet at the club house at 10h30 on Monday, 17 December for the briefing and the start.

Rob can be emailed on or WhatsApp to 082-551-5423.

Note: This even has now taken place. The report back is [here].

Saturday 1 December 2018

CTARC Ragchew - 1 Dec '18

The December 2018 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 excellent work in putting together this month's edition, and to all those who contributed articles.

Remember please, Anne is always on the look-out for articles to publish in Ragchew!

Download the PDF file [here];

Ragchew is also on our Newsletters Page

CTARC Antenna Work Party - 8 Dec '18

Hello Everyone

We have decided to have an Antenna Work Party on Saturday 8 December.
Paul, ZS1S, will be ‘Commander in Chief’ for the day!

We will be lowering the tower and repairing the Yagi antenna, and also installing the new Dipole antenna that Barry ZS1FJ kindly purchased for us from the USA.

All members are welcome if you can please spare an hour or two to have some fun whilst helping your club maintain the equipment. Do bring your own lunch.

If you’re able to help, see you at 09h30 on Saturday 8th December 2018.

With appreciation,

CTARC Chairman

Sunday 25 November 2018

CTARC Photos of End-of-Year Braai - 24 Nov '18

Here are the photos of the CTARC's End-of-Year Braai held on Saturday 24 November 2018.

The written report-back is [here].

Committee members start setting up shop at 11h00...
Left to right: Hylton ZS1HPC, Paul ZS1S, Tony ZS1TM,
Elsabe, Anne, John ZS1AGH

Hylton & John set up the naval pennant with a cryptic
yet convivial message

Left to right: Wolfgang ZS1WLH, Hans-Jurgen ZS1HJH, Paul ZS1S

By 12h00 the rest of the gang started to arrive

Left to right: John ZS1EQ, Danny ZS1BL and Alan ZS1DOG

Left to right: Alan ZS1LS, Andre ZS1AN, Paul ZS1S and Mietek SP3CMX

Left to right: Tack JE1CKA of the 3Y0I Bouvet Island Dx-pedition team,
and Lem ZS1LEM

Left to right: Mike ZS1CO, Barry ZS1FJ, Rob ZS1SA

Foreground left to right: Patric ZS1PDY and Davey ZR1FR

Paul ZS1S with Marcin SP5ES and Mietek SP3CMX,
both of the 3Y0I Bouvet Island Dx-pedition team

Noel ZS1FW and Tony ZS1TM delivered sterling service at the braai fires

OK, for those who can't read nautical flags, the message is:
"Splice The Mainbrace!"

Tom ZS1TA and Tony ZS1TK

Elsabe and Anne fed the multitudes with their delicious hamburgers

Fred ZS1FZ

Having cooked burgers for a chunk of the afternoon,
Noel certainly deserved his own one!

Grateful thanks to Elsabe and Anne for their magnificent catering work

Paul ZS1S's solar-powered amplified MW crystal set

Dennis ZS1AU arrived; all of us were glad to see him at the meeting
The trees provided cool shade and some shelter from the South-Easter...

...whereas others found a spot in the clubhouse

Tjerk ZS1J, Dennis ZS1AU and Andre ZS1AN discuss the forthcoming
DxPedition with members of  the Bouvet Island team

Elsabe and Dennis ZS1AU

It was a most pleasant afternoon, enjoyed by all

CTARC Report-Back on End-of-Year Braai - 24 Nov '18

On Saturday, 24 November 2018, the CTARC held its final event of the year, namely the End-of-Year Braai, as has become the tradition with our club.

At 11h00, committee members arrived to start setting up the gazebo, chairs, tables, braai grids and all the other paraphernalia required of the event. Although the weather was sunny and warm, a strong south-easterly wind had been predicted, and the sage decision to relocate the event to the leeward side of the clubhouse was taken. In addition to this there is a pleasant shady row of trees under which the chairs could be positioned for those wishing relief from the heat. This was to be the location of a number of discussions and meet-ups in the afternoon.

As in years past, Anne and Rob organised the catering and Anne, ably assisted by Elsabe, prepared and served up delicious burgers and liquid refreshments to all the visitors. Tony ZS1TM, Noel ZS1FW and Nick ZS1ZD manned the braai fires.

Paul ZS1S brought along his magnificent solar-powered amplified crystal set with its loop antenna, which provided free background music for the duration of the afternoon.

At around 12h00 the rest of the club members had arrived, the braai fires were going merrily and it promised to be a good afternoon. Our club chairman, Rob ZS1SA gave a brief welcoming speech, explaining that all awards (including the Len Wells Ham Spirit Award) will from now on be presented at the club's AGM in July each year.

With that, it was up to the assembled throng to meet and chat, queue (very briefly) for Anne and Elsabe's delicious hamburgers, slake parched throats with liquid refreshment and catch up on all the news.

We were very pleasantly surprised to be visited by an international team of three DX-ers who are going to Bouvet Island operating as callsign 3Y0I. They were able to take an afternoon off from their very busy training schedule in preparation for the mission ahead. We wish them and all their team the very best of luck on their entrepid endeavour.

Your humble correspondent had the opportunity to chat with Tom ZS1TA on his very interesting contact on two metres with St Helena Island recently. We're hoping he will write this up as an article for inclusion in a forthcoming Ragchew newsletter.

The braai continued into the afternoon and fortunately the wind didn't live up to its rather fierce predictions. At around 17h00 we began to wind down the event, pack away the furniture, clean up the litter, wish each other compliments of the forthcoming festive season, and wend our ways back to our respective homes.

This was the final formal CTARC event of 2018, although the Sunday morning bulletins and the Monday evening 2-metre nets will continue up to just before Christmas. Grateful thanks to all who assisted with the event, to all who brought gazebos, umbrellas, ice, cool-boxes, etc, and to all who attended. We wish all our club members good things for December and the festive season. Look after yourselves and your loved ones; stay safe.

We look forward to seeing you all again at our next meeting in on Saturday, January 26, 2019, details of which will be announced presently.

Photos of the End-of-Year event [here].

Saturday 10 November 2018

CTARC Forthcoming End-of-Year Meeting - 24 Nov '18

The CTARC’s End Of Year Function will take place on Saturday, 24 November 2018.

Time: 12h00

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

The braai fires will be lit at 12h00 to be ready by 13h00.

Complimentary beef burgers will be served to CTARC members and liquid refreshments will be on sale.

Spouses / partners are also most welcome to attend.

(You are welcome to bring your own meat to braai if you wish.)

The CTARC Committee has decided to move all awards presentations to the July AGM, therefore this year at the Year End Party there will be no speeches, no formalities; just a balmy afternoon under the trees ‘chewing the rag’ with like-minded folks and enjoying each other's company.

Do come along and enjoy the afternoon.

Anne Bareham
(CTARC Secretary and Editor)


Note: This event has now taken place. A report-back will be published presently.

Monday 5 November 2018

CTARC Committee Meeting - 19 Nov '18

CTARC Committee members are reminded of the forthcoming meeting at 19h00 on Monday 19  November 2018 at the clubhouse.

Please make an effort to attend as there are important matters to discuss regarding the CTARC end-of-year party for November that takes place on Saturday, 24 November '18, as well as other matters.

(If you can't be there, please remember to send in your reports and apologies to Rob or Anne.).

Thursday 1 November 2018

CTARC Ragchew - 1 Nov '18

The November 2018 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 excellent work in putting together this month's edition, and to all those who contributed articles.

Remember please, Anne is always on the look-out for articles to publish in Ragchew!

Download the PDF file [here];

Ragchew is also on our Newsletters Page

Sunday 28 October 2018

CTARC Report-Back on October Meeting - 27 Oct '18

The CTARC October 2018 meeting commenced promptly at the clubhouse on Saturday 27 October 2018. Standing in for our club chairman who couldn't attend that day, the meeting was opened by Noel ZS1FW.

At this meeting members were shown the official VK0EK Heard Island Dx-pedition video, by kind courtesy of Paul ZS1S.

After the meeting, members had the opportunity for eyeball QSO's over a cup of coffee and a biscuit or two.

Thanks to Paul ZS1S for showing the video, and to all who attended.

Our next club meeting of the CTARC, and the final one for 2018 will be the End-of-Year function held at the end of November. More details to follow.

Paul ZS1S introduces the video

Afterwards, chairs are packed away, the coffee urn is switched on...

Dennis ZS1AU, Fred ZS1FZ, Celso ZS1MYG and Deon ZR1DE

Tuesday 16 October 2018

CTARC JOTA Event 19 - 21 Oct '18

We still require a few members to assists us with Jamboree on the Air 2018.

This year it will be held on Friday 19th to Sunday 21st October 2018.
This year we will be setting up a station at the Sea Scout base in Muizenberg.

We need persons to help us set up the station on Friday 19th in the afternoon from 12h00 ish. (Please confirm time with Noel, ZS1FW  or John ZS1AGH. John’s e-mail: zs1agh at )

In previous years, we used the Girl Guide Hall in Bergvliet, but the Sea Scout base may be more suited to our purpose.

JOTA-JOTI is the largest Scouting event in the world with over 1.3 million Scouts participating across 150+ countries.

Scouts and Guides across the world connect with each other during JOTA-JOTI using the airwaves and the internet.

The event has traditionally been held the third weekend of October since 1957.

Monday 15 October 2018

CTARC Forthcoming October Meeting - 27 Oct '18

The CTARC will hold it's next monthly meeting on Saturday 27 October 2018 at 14h00 at the usual clubhouse venue in Rondebosch.

At this meeting, the main topic will be presentation of the official video of the VK0EK Heard Island DxPedition put together by Bob Allphin, K4UEE,  Bob Schmieder KK6EK  and hosted by Paul, ZS1S

The VKOEK team assemble on the bridge
just prior to their departure from Cape Town
Members will recall that the DxPedition assembled at Cape Town harbour before setting off on their epic adventure in March of 2016. Many of you met the Heard Island Group when they were here in Cape Town and this is the video of the entire trip.

 It promises to be a good video and, who knows, some of our CTARC members may see themselves immortalised in deathless video! Certainly, the CTARC and a good number of local hams were there to assist, helping to establish Cape Town as a very useful staging post for future DxPeditions.

Do go along early to get your seat.

Don't forget the usual bring-'n-buy Swop Shop of amateur radio gear that takes place after the meeting.

Note: This event has now taken place.

Sunday 14 October 2018

CTARC Huge e-Book on Antennae - 14 Oct '18

Below is a link to a website with a PDF e-book that contains an enormous amount of info on antennas and associated theory and practise.

Access the website via the link below; you will find the link to the PDF file (a compact 855kB) halfway down the page.

Thanks to Lem ZS1LEM for letting us know about this:

Understanding Antennas For The Non-Technical Ham
A Book By Jim Abercrombie, N4JA
(Jim Abercrombie

Illustrations by Frank Wamsley, K4EFW
Edited by Judy Haynes, KC4NOR
Copyright July 2005. Second Edition
Edited for the web, N4UJW

Editors Note: This is a book length web article provided by the author FREE for all hams.
It is to be used only for personal non-profit educational use.
It is HUGE!
Bookmark this page for future reading or see more options for saving at bottom of page!
The original book contained 60 pages and illustrations.
They are all here!
Many of the antennas described here are in project form on this web site.

Wednesday 10 October 2018

Report-back on September Meeting - 10 Oct '18

On Saturday 22 September 2018, the CTARC held its monthly meeting at the clubhouse. At this well-attended gathering, we were welcomed as usual by our club's chairman, Rob ZS1SA, who gave the members feedback on matters discussed at the recent September Committee Meeting held the previous Monday. Noel ZS1FW gave us feedback on the antenna work parties held to maintain and refurbish our antennas, and Rob also showed us the Fox transmitter and a DF antenna typical of those to be used in our club's forthcoming fox hunt activities.

Then we were treated to an interesting talk and slide show by Mike ZS1CO. He had the opportunity to visit family in California recently, and combined that visit with the opportunity to meet some of the US hams the CTARC had welcomed when they arrived by ship in Cape Town after their 3Y0Z Bouvet Island DX-pedition.

It was fascinating to see some of their equipment, fabulous antennas and facilities.

Following Mike's talk, Mike ZS1FP briefly showed us some ham bits and pieces he had found in his own excursions.

Then it was time for coffee, biscuits and eyeball QSO's, enlivened by recently advertised Swop Shop activities (ZS1TK's equipment featured heavily, as well as some rather nice green radios that were to be seen a little further beyond the clubhouse).

Thanks to all who took part, participated and attended the meeting. Our following monthly club meeting, held at the same venue on Saturday 27 October at 14h00 B: will include a screening of the official Heard Island DX-Pedition video, which should be well worth seeing.

Here are some photos of the meeting. We apologise for the fuzzy quality of some of them, which are obviously photos of photos projected on the wall!

The usual well-attended meeting

Noel ZS1FW gives feedback on the antenna work parties

Rob ZS1SA shows us the Fox tx

A shielded-loop DF antenna for 2m

Mike ZS1CO starts his talk with a recap of how he met the 3Y0Z team,
which provided the impetus for him to meet some of them in California later.

The 3Y0Z team and pennant at the Royal Cape Yacht Club function...

...the 3Y0Z pennant hangs on the CTARC wall now

The CV of Arnold Shatz is impressive

This rotatable az-el cluster of antennas is a "toolbox" for testing various signals

Digital activities are very much in evidence

Mike ZS1FP

Mike ZS1CO examines a surface mount resistor (...)

One of the green items that appeared at the Swop Shop after the meeting

...and yet another solidly built item