Monday 25 March 2019

CTARC SARL AGM Proxy Forms - Apr '19

Please see below the urgent message from the SARL to club members who are also members of the SA Radio League

Please be kind enough, if you are not going to the upcoming SARL AGM in Stellenbosch, to complete and sign the attached proxy form, and send by e-mail or by fax either to an attending member listed in the e-mail below, or in favour of the Chairman of the CTARC to the clubs e-mail address: and the Secretary will get your proxy to the member of your choice.

Please send us your signed proxy by the latest on Wednesday, 10 April 2019.

Download the Proxy Form as a PDF file [here].

Sunday 24 March 2019

CTARC Report-back on March Meeting - 23 Mar '19

Our March meeting, held at 14h00 on Saturday 23 March, was very well attended as Tom Ambrose’s talk on operating the LEO (Low Earth Orbit) satellites was a big draw card.

Many hams confuse working the more sophisticated SSB satellites with the simple FM birds. Tom explained how easy it was to work these flying FM repeaters with just a dual-band handheld radio or with separate 2 metre and 70 cm mobile radios. He went back to Sputnik and the evolution of satellites right up to today’s most recent birds.

Great software for tracking the satellites is available free of charge on the web for both PCs and Android devices. Tom gets excellent results with just vertical antennas mounted on his bakkie. He enjoys driving around RSA and working from various Maidenhead grid squares as many satellite operators collect different grid squares like a DXer does different countries.

A most interesting meeting and I am sure it will result in a few more ZS1 call signs being heard from space.


We were prepared for load-shedding...

Friday 22 March 2019

CTARC Antenna Work Party - 23 Mar '19

Before the main meeting on Saturday 23 March 2019, CTARC members were at work fixing the antennas at the clubhouse.

I would like to thank everyone who assisted with the repair of our tower rotator system on 23 March, and a special thank you to James ZS1ZKZ. While we were all enjoying Tom Ambrose’s talk about satellites James was busing working and welding outside repairing the club’s tower and had been working on it since much earlier in the morning. He refurbished the winding winch and cabling system for the mast and completed the coupling to the rotator. James bought the new pulley, the new pillow block bearings and supplied the welding rods and tools in addition to getting his brother in law to help. He insists that all of that is a donation to the club and he won’t take no for an answer. A big thank you from all of us James.


Report-back on Repeater Work Party of 21 Mar '19

On the public holiday of  Thursday 21 March 2019 several CTARC members gathered at the club’s repeater site to form a work party to repair the UHF repeater and mount the UHF antenna onto I.R. Pope’s new tower. The UHF antenna has been mounted on the wall of the repeater building below roof level since the previous tower had blown down in the major storm of June 2016.

The back-up batteries were cleaned and a spare cable was identified and readied to be installed up the tower leg to mount the UHF antenna underneath our existing VHF antenna. Upon inspection, Paul ZS1S discovered that the cable connecting our VHF antenna to its antenna had never been waterproofed! Paul checked the connection and installed the waterproofing. Unfortunately, before he could install the UHF antenna, the wind picked up making further tower work unsafe and he had to come down.

While we were there we also checked the SWR on the VHF antenna and found it to be extremely high. Using his antenna analyser, Peter ZS1PGC discovered there was a very bad connection within the repeater building. Upon inspection we found a badly corroded connection and repaired it. The SWR was now excellent and the repeater works much better than before.

I would like to thank Lem ZS1LEM, Paul ZS1S, Dave ZS1SG, Peter ZS1PGC and Keverne ZS1ABU for coming up the hill and assisting that day. We still need to get our UHF antenna up on the tower and planning is in progress for that.


Following on from this work party, this yesterday Mike ZS1TAF, Peter ZS1PGC and Paul ZS1F put our UHF antenna back on the repeater tower and it is now working fantastically. Now that our Force 12 beam, the new rotatable 40-metre dipole and the tower at the club have all be repaired, all of our equipment is back in perfect working order. What a relief! No more freak June storms please...




Tuesday 19 March 2019

CTARC Forthcoming Meeting - 23 Mar '19

This Saturday, 23 March 2019, Tom ZS1TA will be delivering the long anticipated talk on ‘Operating the Ham Satellites’.

This talk promises to be very interesting and informative, both for the aspiring satellite operator or those who would just like to know more about how it is done. Tom regularly makes satellite contacts around the country with just the 2 m / 70 cm FM radios in his vehicle.

And yes, we have made contingency plans for the scheduled load shedding that afternoon. Don’t miss this one!

See you all there 14h00 at the club house.


NB This event has now taken place. read the report [here].

Sunday 17 March 2019

SARL AGM Proxy Form - Mar '19

Dear CTARC member,

Please see the e-mail below from Rassie ZS1YT regarding the Proxy Form for SARL members who will not be attending the SARL AGM.

If you would kindly fill it out and sending it to your chosen member who will be attending the meeting that would be most appreciated.

At this point I know the following members of our committee have already registered and will be attending the AGM: Peter ZS1PGC, Paul ZS1S, Rob ZS1SA. (You are welcome to hand in your signed proxy form to ZS1SA or ZS1PGC or ZS1S at Saturday's meeting on 23 March at 14h00 at the CTARC clubhouse).

Download the Proxy Form PDF [here]


Morning Rob and Paul. I notice that you will be at the SARL AGM. Please ask your members(who will not be attending) for their proxies as we have to make sure that there is enough members and proxies present at the meeting otherwise the meeting is unconstitutional and needs to be called again at a later stage.


Rassie Erasmus ZS1YT

Tuesday 12 March 2019

CTARC Committee Meeting - 18 Mar '19

CTARC Committee members are reminded of the forthcoming meeting at 19h00 on Monday 18  March 2019 at the clubhouse.

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

Wednesday 6 March 2019

CTARC Forthcoming SARL Technical Symposium - 12 Apr '19


Unlocking Amateur Radio Technology


Date:     Friday 12 April 2019, 13h00 – 19h30, followed by cocktails

Organizing the 2019 SARL Symposium has now been underway for some time, and a lot of groundwork has been covered. We are confident that by now you are well aware of the events which constitute the symposium, which will take place on the 12th April 2019 at the Techno Park in Stellenbosch.

Unlocking Amateur Radio Technology promises to be a very exciting event that Radio Amateurs who want to get more from their hobby should attend.

Presentations on:
  • How to use your computer to receive radio signals with the aid of a low cost “dongle” plugin;
  • Development of a Reverse Beacon Network for determining propagation opportunities in the VHF bands;
  • The workings of the IARU and its importance to Radio Amateurs worldwide;
  • The latest 3U orbiting CubeSat built by CPUT;
  • The latest craze - FT8;
  • and much more!
We are also in the fortunate position of having representation by universities, industry and research organizations. This is the ideal opportunity for us to get together and share our experiences and broaden our outlook in what is happening in other related fields.

So, do not not let this opportunity slip by!

Please register timeously to ensure your seat and presence at the evening cocktail.
Book early - there are only 50 seats available at R250, after that registration will cost R700.

To keep Radio Amateurs abreast of developments, updates will be published in News Bulletins, on the SARL Website and in Newsletters and other media.

Deon ZR1DE


Tuesday 5 March 2019

CTARC Forthcoming March Meeting - 23 Mar '19

The CTARC will hold their March monthly meeting on Saturday 23 March 2019 at 14h00 at the usual clubhouse venue in Rondebosch.

Usually we don't hold another meeting in March because the annual flea market, which traditionally is held on the first Saturday of that month, is enough to occupy us for a while thereafter!

However, Tom ZS1TA has kindly agreed to give a talk on Amateur Radio and Satellites on the abovementioned date. Tom is well known in radio ham circles and recently distinguished himself by holding the first QSO on two metres between South Africa and St Helena Island. He was also featured on a recent SARL bulletin, making contact with the same station via satellite.

An exciting new development for radio hams is the geostationary Es’hail-2 satellite, launched in November last year. It carries amateur radio transponders and is now in a geostationary orbit at 25.9° East. These are the first amateur radio transponders to be put into geostationary orbit, and the coverage  is expected to link radio amateurs from Brazil to the West of us to Thailand in the East. South African hams have already started making international contacts through this bird.

It promises to be a most interesting topic. See you at the meeting. Come early to ensure your seat!


NB This event has now taken place. Read the report [here].

Sunday 3 March 2019

CTARC Report on Flea Market of 2 Mar '19

The annual CTARC Mega Flea Market was held on the lawn outside the CTARC clubhouse on Saturday 2 March 2019, under partly-cloudy skies.

At 11h00 the committee members arrived to set up the catering area, gazebo [kindly provided by John ZS1AGH], tables, PA system and braai fires. At 12h00 the sellers started setting up their stands and car boots filled with amateur radio gear, and at 13h00 [or thereabouts!] the main crowd arrived.

It was a successful, well-attended event, with some 30 sellers offering a wide variety of items ranging from high-end transceivers, test equipment and antennas, down to nuts, bolts, cables and hardware useful to radio hams throughout our widespread community.

Anne, Elsabe and others were kept very busy serving boerie rolls and liquid refreshment to the hungry and thirsty masses. Thank you for your sterling service, and also to John ZS1EQ who kept the fires busy until there was no more meat left to braai!

The South African Antique Wireless Association were represented on a stand manned by John ZS1WJ. We were also glad to see Almeiro ZS6LDP who had come all the way from Pretoria.

The flea market continued until late afternoon, with most attendees walking off with at least one or two serendipitously-discovered bargains.

We will do it all again next year!

Below are some photos kindly provided by Chris ZSCDG and others.

That frustrating period before the formal commencement of sales at 13h00...

...But one can always check out what's on offer in the interim!

Lots and lots and LOTS of goodies, waiting to be discovered

Packed full of freshness - and cable spools!

Fleamarket attendance is always hungry and thirsty work

Noel ZS1FW looks very chuffed with his latest acquisition

Lem ZS1LEM peruses the items on offer from Fred ZS1FZ

CTARC chairman Rob ZS1SA and another watch bemused as an unidentified ham
tries to tune up the nearby trapeze poles to resonate on 80m...

Wolfgang ZS1WHL and Hans-Jurgen ZS1HJH

As ever, the CTARC flea market was very well attended this year.

[Centre] John ZS1AGH and Louis ZS1LVH

Always the opportunity to meet up with old friends and have a good natter.

John ZS1EQ provided sterling service at the braai fires

Food and liquid refreshments provided efficiently, as ever, by the catering ladies

While interested parties visit ZS1FZ's table, Richard ZS1RIC on right tiptoes through the tetrodes...

Time and motion study: The man in the red hat [Dave ZS1DFR] spots a bargain...

... and swoops to secure it!

Tom ZS1AFS and his good lady Sue travelled across from the Overberg to attend

The Dreaded Eldred ZS1DJ assesses an 807 with a critical eye while Wouter ZS1KE passes by

Someone brought along a whole combi's-full of gear!

If the price of a rig on offer is too high, one may always resort to fervent supplication!

One man's spaghetti is another man's treasure!

Sumptuous QRO, beautifully constructed!

The clouds began to gather, but that didn't deter a continuing well-attended event

Eldred had some fine gear on offer

Once again, the CTARC mega-fleamarket was a great event, to be repeated next year!