Wednesday, 23 September 2020

CTARC Course for Radio Amateurs Examination - Oct '20

Chris ZS1CDG has been running a very successful Radio Amateurs Examination course for newcomers to the hobby, at the CTARC and at other venues. In the recent (August/September 2020) batch, Chris's RAE students achieved a 100% pass rate!

The next Radio Amateurs Examination will be held on 5 December 2020.

With the Coronavirus restrictions making classroom meetings difficult, we are pleased to announce that CTARC will be running a nine-week online course, which will start on Saturday, 10 October 2020. It will take place from 08h00 to 10h30 every Saturday morning. 

The HF assessment will be done on the same day as the examination (Saturday 5th December) so you only need to come into Cape Town once. Please contact Anne, the CTARC club secretary for course information zs1ct@ctarc.org.za

More general details about the Radio Amateurs Examination on the CTARC web site are [here].

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

CTARC Ragchew September '20

The September 2020 edition of the Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre's bi-monthly newsletter "Ragchew" is now published.

Grateful thanks to the editor, Anne, for another fine edition.

Remember please, Anne is always on the look-out for articles to publish in Ragchew! This is especially the case during the lock-down.

You can advertise ham-related items - for sale, swop or wanted-to-buy - in Ragchew, including colour photos, details and prices. To do so, please contact the editor [here].

Download the September Newsletter PDF file [here];

Ragchew is also on our Newsletters Page

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

CTARC Radio Amateurs Exam - 29 August '20

Prospective radio amateurs will be able to write the RAE (Radio Amateurs Examination), which must be passed in order to obtain the Amateur Radio License, on Saturday, 29th August 2020.

Chris ZS1CDG, who has conducted the current RAE course, will of course be present at the venue.

The venue is the hall next to Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre clubhouse (which is part of the same building), at the Belvedere Community Centre, located on the V.O.B. Sports Grounds, Keurboom Park, in Rondebosch.

Directions to the CTARC clubhouse.

There will be two sessions:
  • The morning session starts at 09h30 for 10h00;
  • The afternoon session starts at 13h00 for 14h00.
     

HF Assessments


In addition to passing the RAE, prospective radio amateurs must also pass the HF Assessment Test. For those who still have not done this (easy) test, there will be a final final chance to do the test at the CTARC Clubhouse between the morning and afternoon sessions of the RAE.

We wish good luck and to all the RAE candidates!

Saturday, 15 August 2020

CTARC RAE HF Practical HF Assessments - Aug '20

The RAE HF Practical assessment will go ahead under strict social distancing conditions on the 22nd of August 2020 at the CTARC club house.

Any RAE candidates who have not yet completed the HF assessment are welcome to join Chris ZS1CDG, the RAE course coordinator, at 10h00 at the club house.

Please ensure that you bring a mask.

CTARC members and other radio amateurs are very welcome to help us out - please listen out for "CQ CQ CQ ASSESSMENT THIS IS ZS1CT" around 7070 to 7090 kHz on the 40m band and work us! 

There will be many candidates so please be patient and remember many of these people may be quite nervous, remember your first time on the air? Help them out and show them what a great hobby we have.


Chris ZS1CDG

Friday, 14 August 2020

CTARC International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend - 22 Aug '20

The Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre will once again take part in the International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend, on the weekend of Saturday/Sunday 22/23 August  at Green Point Lighthouse in Mouille Point, Cape Town - but with a difference. Owing to the Coronavirus lockdown requirements, the Lighthouse's premises are unavailable this year. However, we may nevertheless do the following...

Going Ahead With Social Distancing...


Members are welcome to set up their own stations and operate parked from their cars near the Green Point Lighthouse and are free to use the ZS1CT/L call sign provided they fill out a Google form and ask Rob ZS1SA our chairman for formal permission.

What is the ILLW? Is it a Contest?

The event is NOT a contest. There are no prizes, certificates or other enticements to participate and therefore, participation is free. Each station's operators decide how they will operate their station regards modes and bands. Participants are not committed to being on the air during the entire period - only as much as they can. There are no restrictions on aerials or power. We wish operators to enjoy themselves and have fun whilst making contact with as many amateur radio stations as possible. We request that stations take time to work other lighthouses or lightships as well as the slow operator, or the newly-licensed or QRP stations.

How close to the Lighthouse do I have to be?


As most available space in many lighthouses is usually filled to capacity, our activity does not have to take place inside the tower itself. Field day type set-up at the light or other building next to the light is OK. Our guidelines require that the station must be AT or ADJACENT TO the lighthouse. Adjacent means next to or as close as possible. The intention behind this requirement is that the station should have a visible presence to the passing public who may be visiting the lighthouse over the weekend.

Please note that the exchange is CALLSIGN (ZS1CT/L), Report, and lighthouse reference ZA0006. Kindly send your call logs to Chris ZS1CDG.

To register your intention to setup a station kindly fill in the Google logging form here: shorturl.at/fhkmo

Note: There is no access to mains electrical power at the lighthouse this year, so operators must provide their own power sources / batteries.

Chris ZS1CDG

Monday, 10 August 2020

Government Coronavirus Website

https://sacoronavirus.co.za/
Following a recent announcement, every South African website must prominently promote
the South African Government Portal on Covid-19.

On this website you will find news, statistics, resources and contact information
about the Coronavirus in the South African context.

Here is the link:

Sunday, 9 August 2020

CTARC International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend - 22 / 23 Aug '20

Every year our club has activated the Green Point Lighthouse on Cape Town's western seaboard for the International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend (ILLW).

While the Coronavirus lock-down has imposed restrictions on access to the lighthouse premises and buildings, the CTARC Committee hopes to still take part in the event this year.

The ILLW takes place on the weekend of Saturday/Sunday 22/23 August 2020.

An announcement on the format of this forthcoming event, in compliance with the lock-down regulations, will be made shortly.

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

CTARC Indian Radio Kits - 7 Aug '20

DON'T GET BORED DURING LOCKDOWN! GET BUILDING...


INDIAN RADIO KITS: uBITX


The CTARC is organising an exciting construction project for interested club members:

A QRP HF transceiver covering the HF bands, with the following features:
  • Up to 10 watts PEP on lower HF bands, dips to 5 watts on 28 MHz;
  • SSB and CW modes;
  • Simple to build and align;
  • Minimal controls;
  • Based on Arduino Nano controller and a Si5351 for all local oscillators;
  • Double-conversion, superhet architecture
The cost of this HF radio transceiver is $209-00 (USD) = R3500-00 ZAR (at today's  exchange rates), excluding RSA taxes and VAT. The final costs  will be conveyed to purchasers on the kit's arrival in South Africa. We are hoping a bulk order will reduce these costs).

The full uBITX version 6 Kit is comprised of:
  1. The Main uBITX board;
  2. Main uBITX board with mounting hardware;
  3. TFT - Arduino Board with Display with mounting hardware for the front panel;
  4. Encoder with pre-soldered cable;
  5. Tuning knob;
  6. Volume control knob;
  7. USB extender cable;
  8. Mounting screws & nuts;
  9. Microphone;
  10. Power Supply jack;
  11. Speaker;
  12. Cabinet (box) - chassis, front, back & top panels.
Take a look at their website for all the specifications of the transceiver:

https://www.hfsignals.com/


TO ORDER, PLEASE CONTACT CTARC SECRETARY, ANNE BY E-MAIL WITH YOUR PROOF OF PAYMENT

 E-MAIL: ctarccapetownarc@gmail.com

PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU HAVE PLACED YOUR ORDER NO LATER THAN
31 AUGUST 2020

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

CTARC Fox Hunt - Aug '20

As our members will all be aware, actual meetings during the Coronavirus lock-down period have had to be cancelled owing to the stringent limitations on meeting logistics in our clubhouse.

However, there is still a meeting format that is possible, safe and legal, and that is the Radio Fox Hunt! The hunts we have organised at the CTARC in the past have been great fun.

The CTARC is planning to hold another fox hunt at or near our clubhouse (but not inside it!) in the near future. We would like, first, to get an idea of how many would be interested in  taking part in such an event.

If you would like to take part in a Fox Hunt at the CTARC, please e-mail our Secretary, Anne.

Saturday, 1 August 2020

CTARC Ragchew - Aug '20

The August 2020 edition of the Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre's bi-monthly newsletter "Ragchew" is now published.

This edition contains the Chairman's AGM report. Due to the Coronavirus lock-down, our club has been unable to hold a proper meeting, but will do so when circumstances permit.

Grateful thanks to the editor, Anne, for another fine edition.

Remember please, Anne is always on the look-out for articles to publish in Ragchew! This is especially the case during the lock-down.

You can advertise ham-related items - for sale, swop or wanted-to-buy - in Ragchew, including colour photos, details and prices. To do so, please contact the editor [here].

Download the August Newsletter PDF file [here];

Ragchew is also on our Newsletters Page

Friday, 3 July 2020

CTARC Online Course for Radio Amateurs Examination

Chris ZS1CDG has been running a very successful Radio Amateurs Examination course for newcomers to the hobby, at the CTARC and at other venues.

The next Radio Amateurs Examination will be held in October 2020.

With the Coronavirus restrictions making classroom meetings difficult, Chris is now offering this course online.

The next available course will start on Saturday, 8 August 2020.

Download the PDF with the course and registration details [here].

More general details about the Radio Amateurs Examination on the CTARC web site are [here].

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

CTARC Ragchew - July '20

The July 2020 edition of the Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre's bi-monthly newsletter "Ragchew" is now published.

Grateful thanks to the editor, Anne, for another fine edition.

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

You can advertise ham-related items - for sale, swop or wanted-to-buy - in Ragchew, including colour photos, details and prices. To do so, please contact the editor [here].

Download the July 2020 Newsletter PDF file [here];

Ragchew is also on our Newsletters Page

Friday, 12 June 2020

CTARC Charles Oertel ZS1CJO - Silent Key - 6 June '20

Dear CTARC Members,

It is with great regret and sadness that I have to inform you of the passing of our friend and fellow club member Charles Oertel ZS1CJO. As many of you knew Charles had been battling with cancer for a couple of years. Charles dutifully looked after our club's electronic QSLing responsibility for some time now and was always there to lend a hand at our annual Lighthouse Weekend events and functions. I think it was about two years ago that he came and gave a talk about Electronic Logging and QSLing at our club house.

Always a smiling face and a kind word for everybody. Charles will be well remembered and sorely missed by all who knew him. I would like to thank a past member of CTARC, and neighbour of Charles and Julie, Frank ZS1CM, for letting us know early today.

Rob ZS1SA
Chairman CTARC


Here is a message we received from Julie, Charles' XYL:
Our beloved Charles passed away on Saturday 6 June, at 18h10, losing his two and a half year battle to pancreatic cancer.

Due to current Lockdown restrictions, we will be postponing his Memorial until further notice.

This group is just to keep everyone informed. Thank you to everyone for your overwhelming support and love.
(You are welcome to message Julie on via her e-mail or cellphone, which information will be supplied on request by Anne, the CTARC Secretary.)


Here is another eulogy we received from Julie. It was read out on the CTARC Sunday Morning Bulletin of 08h30 on Sunday 14 June 2020, by Paul ZS1S:
Thank you for sharing your moments you had with Charles.

I am so glad he had the years he did with the club, before he became too tired and ill to participate. He really enjoyed the time spent with you all, learning new things along the way, building up his collection of ham radio equipment with the help and advice from you all, pottering around in his study and listening to the Sunday broadcast. My sons, who live with us, used to always smile when they heard all the strange bleeps coming from his study, and fondly say that Dad was communicating with his alien buddies again. He took such joy away from all the interactions he had, whether it was over the radio, at club meetings or club events, his life was enriched.

I think the last time he was involved with radios was when he was in the Antarctic as part of the SANAE team from Dec 1988 to Feb 1990 - his job was to film the Aurora.
He was, by training, a space physicist (a genuine Rocket Scientist - a good icebreaker when asked what he studied). He did his undergrad degree at Natal University and his honors at Wits in Applied Maths and Theoretical Physics, winning a gold medal, for being the top student. He then represented Natal University, as the one of the scientists on the SANAE team.

For many years he spoke of getting back into it and I am so glad he did, and am so grateful for all the club members that made his time with the club so enjoyable.

Charles packed more into his 56 years than most people do in a few lifetimes -

‘A flame that burns twice as bright, burns half as long’  quote by Lao Tzu

We are missing him terribly, but also know, that although, physically he is gone, he is still with us in every other way.
Our sincerest condolences to Julie and her family for their sad loss. We will all miss Charles greatly.

Monday, 1 June 2020

CTARC Ragchew - June '20

The June 2020 edition of the Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre's bi-monthly newsletter "Ragchew" is now published.

Grateful thanks to the editor, Anne, for another fine edition.

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

You can advertise ham-related items - for sale, swop or wanted-to-buy - in Ragchew, including colour photos, details and prices. To do so, please contact the editor [here].

Download the June 2020 Newsletter PDF file [here];

Ragchew is also on our Newsletters Page

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

CTARC Ragchew - May '20

The May 2020 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!

You can advertise ham-related articles for sale or swop in Ragchew, including colour photos, details and prices.

To do so, contact the editor [here].

Download the current Newsletter PDF file [here];

Ragchew is also on our Newsletters Page

Saturday, 2 May 2020

CTARC Morningstar's QO-100 Satellite Station - 2 May '20

A dish antenna to work the Es-hail 2 /  QO-100 geostationary satellite has recently set up at the CTARC's remote station at Morningstar. This amazing feature has been discovered by many of our club members, enabling them to work transcontinental DX via satellite. If you are a licensed radio amateur, you can too!

To gain access to this great feature, you need to be a CTARC member [details here] and have also taken out the annual subscription to access the Morningstar Remote Station. However, those with access to Morningstar get free access to the QO-100 Satellite transceiver as well.

Working the Satellite has a learning curve - you need to be able to ensure that activating QO-100's linear transponder doesn't transmit downlink signal on the wrong frequency! Therefore all those members with Morningstar access who would like to also us the QO-100 feature need to contact the CTARC Secretary [here] to register. She will then send you links to an instructional PDF by Tjerk ZS1J and video by Chris ZS1CDG that explain how the system works.

Friday, 24 April 2020

CTARC Next RAE Course - 8 Aug '20

The next available RAE [Radio Amateurs Examination] course begins on the Saturday 8th August from 10h00 to 12h30 at the CTARC clubhouse at the Round Table / Belvedere Community Centre off Laidlaw Lane, Rondebosch.

For all people in Cape Town who would like to take their Radio Amateurs Examination, Chris ZS1CDG will run a nine-week course.

At the end of the course, candidates will write the Radio Amateurs Examination, successful passing of which is required to obtain the Radio Amateur's License from ICASA.

The next Radio Amateurs Examination takes place in October 2020.

For further details, please contact the CTARC Secretary [here]. A PDF file of the course details and curriculum will be sent to the applicants.

Should the Covid-19 lock-down require a change in dates or venue, these will be announced in due course.



Monday, 6 April 2020

CTARC New Membership Form for 2020 / 2021

The Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre continues to grow. New members are always welcomed into our sociable community!

Membership of the CTARC has many benefits, including:
  • Fellowship with like-minded radio enthusiasts and involvement in the CTARC's interesting meetings, bulletins, radio nets and activities;
     
  • The CTARC's bi-monthly newsletter, Ragchew;
     
  • Access to people highly experienced in amateur radio technology, radio station assembly, construction and operating skills;

  • Use of the CTARC's amateur radio station ZS1CT [for licensed radio amateurs];
     
  • Optional access to use the Remote-Controlled Station at Morningstar [for licensed radio amateurs];
     
  • Access to our regular ham radio equipment Swop Shops and car boot sales;
     
  • And much, much more...

The Application Form for membership of the Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre, for the period 2020/2021, details current membership fees in the document.

Prospective members are requested to download and fill in the application form and return it to the Secretary, Anne or to hand it in to the CTARC chairman, Rob ZS1SA, at one of our monthly meetings.

Download the correct Application Form PDF file [here].

Saturday, 4 April 2020

CTARC RAE HF Assessments - 9 May '20

While the Coronavirus lock-down continues to curtail CTARC Club meetings, the activities and planning continue. Chris ZS1CDG plans to hold an HF Assessment morning for non-course RAE candidates. This is scheduled to take place at the CTARC clubhouse on the morning of  Saturday, 9 May 2020.

We would be grateful for radio hams to kindly assist this event by replying to these candidates' first calls on the air via the ZS1CT station.

Of course, this event's chances of taking place will depend entirely on the 21-day Lock-down period [which, at present, is currently scheduled to end at midnight on Thursday16 April] being lifted before any public gatherings may happen.

Further details woll be announced presently.

Monday, 23 March 2020

CTARC All Club Meetings & Events Cancelled - 23 Mar '20


Dear CTARC Members

Reminder: This Saturday, 28 March, Monthly Meeting Cancelled.

I am sure you will have heard by now either on the Sunday bulletin or on our blog spot that this Saturday's meeting has sadly been cancelled due to concerns over the current Covid-19 virus outbreak.

The Chairman and his Committee have decided that all CTARC events, workshops and meetings will be cancelled; this will include Committee meetings and work parties, until this current crisis is over.

Update: With the recently announced national lock-down from 26 March to 16 April, any club-related activities that would take people out of their homes are restricted anyway.

We wish you all well and please be safe, looking forward to chatting with everybody over the air.

Kind regards & 73

The CTARC Committee

Sunday, 15 March 2020

CTARC Committee Meeting Cancelled - 23 Mar '20


CTARC Committee members please note that the committee meeting scheduled  for 19h00 on Monday, 23 March 2020 has now been CANCELLED owing to the Coronavirus situation.

The decisions that need to be made will be done by e-mail & WhatsApp instead.

With apologies for the sudden change in plans, but we live in interesting times...

CTARC Forthcoming March Meeting Postponed - 28 Mar '20

Following a considered decision by the CTARC Committee, the planned members' meeting for Saturday 28 March 2020 at the clubhouse at 14h00 has been POSTPONED. We apologise for the last-minute decision.

It is believed that the rapidly spreading Coronavirus is reaching the stage where it would be too risky for many of our members, many of whom are in the "target zone" age profile, to attend the meeting in the closely-packed clubhouse.

Also, large gatherings are now a potential risk too.

When the meeting does indeed take place, Lem ZS1LEM will do a presentation on Satellites and the equipment radio amateurs use to work them. It promises to be very interesting.

Further details will be published via the usual channels presently.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

CTARC Ragchew - Mar - April '20

CTARC Ragchew 2020 March & April
The March / April 2020 edition of the Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre's bi-monthly newsletter "Ragchew" is now published.

This edition is a bumper one, with three separate PDF files:
  • The CTARC Newsletter "Ragchew", edited by Anne;
  • A supplement on Operating the Morningstar Remote-Controlled Station, by Tjerk ZS1J, with Alan ZS1LS contributing;
  • Another supplement on Operating the QO-100 Satellite via the CTARC's Morningstar station, by Tjerk ZS1J, comissioned and mentored by Fred ZS1FZ and Alan ZS1LS, as well!

Very grateful thanks once to our editor, Anne, for all her excellent work in putting together this month's bumper edition, and to all the other contributers.

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

You can advertise ham-related items - for sale, swop or wanted-to-buy - in Ragchew, including colour photos, details and prices. To do so, please contact the editor [here].

Download the March / April 2020 Newsletter PDF file [here];

Download the Operating the Morningstar Remote-Controlled Station PDF file [here];

Download the Operating the QO-100 Satellite PDF file [here]

Ragchew is also on our Newsletters Page



Sunday, 8 March 2020

CTARC Yet More Photos of CTARC Fleamarket - 7 Mar '20

The catering zone gets set up
Peter ZS1PC kindly sent us his photos of the CTARC Flea Market.

Here they are.


Tom ZS1AFS, Sue ZS1AFR & Andre ZS1AN
Hans-Jurgen ZS1HJH [centre] had some high quality gear on offer.

Table groaning under the collective weight of fine test gear on offer

A variety of rigs, test gear, PSUs...






An MFJ antenna analyser didn't have to wait too long
to find a new owner...

Nick ZS1ZD, Peter ZS1JX, Leon ZS1MM and Barry ZS1FJ






The catering was up to its usual high standard, thanks to
Elsabe and Anne

Centre: Rob ZS1SA, Lem ZS1LEM and Celso ZS1MYG







Elsabe, Anne and John ZS1AGH

All the boerie rolls were sold!



Mike ZS1FP [centre right] kindly brought along his PA system
for the announcements.


Some legacy Quad audio gear at Paul ZS1S's tables

John ZS1EQ scored a hefty variac transformer!