ZS1MO is an amateur radio station based in Cape Town, South Africa. My QTH is in the suburb of Newlands, on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain close to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and about 2km to the south west of the Newlands Rugby and Cricket stadia.

My Maidenhead grid locator is JF96fa, CQ Zone 38, ITU Zone 57

I have a good clear view from the south west, through east, to the north. The 800m high cliffs of Fernwood and Hiddingh buttresses of Table Mountain are about 500m to my west. This seems to have no effect on propagation in that direction, as I have had good comms to Gough Island (ZD9GI), which is 3000km through/over Table Mountain from me.

Two poles, four antennae, one dipole. Ladder line leading to the feed point of the random length dipole on the left. 2m/70cm ZS1KA on top of the nearest pole. On the other pole in the background is the astroplane 10/11m skirt antenna. The top of each pole is 12m above ground level.

Currently the equipment consists of a Yaesu FT-857D multi-mode, multi-band radio as the primary transceiver. This is connected to the ZS1KA 2m/70cm antenna and through a SGC SG-239 antenna coupler and an open feedline, to a 22m long random length dipole. The top of the dipole is about 12 meters above the ground and about 150 meters above sea level.

Closeup showing the skirt of the astroplane used for 10 and 11m. The insulator of the dipole is clearly visible to the right of the top of the pole.

I also use an Icom 2200H for 2 meter FM work. The 2200H is normally mounted in my Hilux bakkie, but can be used at home, or on Nolwandle.

I also have Yaesu VX-7R handheld transceiver which goes everywhere and I have used it a lot on Nolwandle for the past year.

Feed point of the astroplane at the top of the 6m aluminum pole, with the insulator of the one leg of the dipole going to the right. The blocks (pulley) system for hoisting antennas are also visible.

There is also an Icom M710 Marine MF/HF radio installed in Nolwandle. This uses a long wire (backstay) antenna about 12 metres long fed through an Icom antenna tuner.

Nolwandle’s Icom IC-M710 MF/HF set – ZR6942 is her marine callsign. The plugs on the chart table are for a pending pactor tnc installation.

Nolwandle is also equipped with a Uniden MC610 marine VHF set and an Icom M88 marine VHF handheld.

At the QTH I have a two six meter aluminum poles mounted at 6m on the north and south peaks of the house. The tops of the poles are 12m above the ground. On the north pole is the 2m/70cm ZS1KA antenna and on the south pole is a CB (citizen’s band 27MHz) astroplane skirt antenna. Between the top of the poles and a tree in the garden is strung the 22m long dipole.

The ZS1KA antenna has line of sight to the Constantiaberg (145.700MHz), Kanonkop (145.750MHz), Jonaskop (145.600MHz) and Hawequa (145.650MHz) repeaters. I can also open the Jonaskop (145.675MHz) and sometimes the Piketberg (145.625MHz) repeaters, which are not in line of sight.

The 2m antenna designed by ZS1KA is very effective on simplex, our furthest QSO being over 200km from Woodstock to Sias in Lamberts Bay. From Newlands I have also spoken on simplex to Tobie (ZS1TSK) Gansbaai, which is behind a substantial mountain range and about 150km from here.

2m Antenna at my QTH, built by ZS1KA

ZS1MO BEFORE AUGUST 2011

The following information applied when my QTH was in Woodstock, ie before August 2011:

ZS1MO is an amateur radio station based in Cape Town, South Africa. My QTH is in Woodstock, on the slopes of Devil’s Peak, which is the peak to the east of Table Mountain. I have a good clear view from south east through north to the west.

My Maidenhead grid locator is JF96fb, CQ Zone 38, ITU Zone 57.

Currently the equipment consists of a Yaesu FT-857D multi-mode, multi-band radio as the primary transceiver. This is connected to the ZS1KA 2m/70cm antenna and, through a SGC SG-239 antenna coupler, to a 20m loop antenna in the ceiling of my flat (apartment). The 20m loop is about 15 meters above the ground and about 75 meters above sea level.

I also use an Icom 2200H for 2 meter FM work. The 2200H is normally mounted in my Hilux bakkie, but can be used at home, or on Nolwandle.

I also have Yaesu VX-7R handheld transceiver which goes everywhere and I have used it a lot on Nolwandle for the past year.

There is also an Icom M710 Marine MF/HF radio installed in Nolwandle. In the last few weeks this has been upgraded and is now working well. I have replaced the earth linking the radio to the Icom AT-120 antenna tuner and to a through hull, with 75mm copper tape. This is starting to help increase the groundplane and I will also be connecting the toerails, lifelines, pushpit and bimini frame to the same earth which should increase signal output. I have already made a number of contacts on 40 meters and hope to be on other bands as well.

Nolwandle’s Icom IC-M710 MF/HF set – ZR6942 is her marine callsign. The plugs on the chart table are for a pending pactor tnc installation.

Nolwandle is also equipped with a Uniden MC610 marine VHF set and an Icom M88 marine VHF handheld.

At the QTH I have a six meter aluminum pole mounted on a wall on the balcony of my flat. The top of this pole has line of sight to all the repeaters in the Cape Town area, with the exception of Constantiaberg (145.700MHz). I am however able to open and receive from Constantiaberg. I can also open the Jonaskop (145.675MHz) and Piketberg (145.625MHz) repeaters, which are not in line of sight.

On top of the pole I am currently using a 2m antenna designed by ZS1KA. Keith’s antenna is very effective on simplex, our furthest QSO being over 200km to Sias in Lamberts Bay. I have also spoken on simplex to Hermanus, which is behind two substantial mountain ranges from here.

2m Antenna at my QTH, built by ZS1KA

I have built a few homebrew HF antennas and can report the following progress:

I have put a 20 meter loop in the ceiling. This is about 15 meters above the ground level. It is connected to a SGC SG-239 antenna coupler and the FT-857D. This antenna has already surpassed my expectations with a string of DX contacts to Europe, the Azores and the US on 20, 15 and 10 meters. I still have to properly cut the loop so that it resonates on 14250, or so. I am hoping this will increase the fun some more! The loop is not very successful on 40m

I also have a half wave dipole sloper for 20 meters sometimes connected to the  SGC-239 antenna tuner. This is a bit better than the loop on 40m, but not much. I have also tried a long wire antenna, but the 20m loop is performs far better.

I have put some information on the VX-7 Commander software and file with frequencies here.

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