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11 October 2011

Setting up and testing an emergency amateur radio station: Mossel Bay ( 5 October 2011)

The purpose of erecting the emergency amateur radio station was to contact as many other amateur radio stations as possible and to learn to operate in abnormal situations in less than optimal conditions. We practiced emergency operations by running the equipment from a battery on the back of a "bakkie". No generators, tables or the luxury of tents and shelters. The aim was to use the minimum amount of accessories and radio equipment to get the message out.

We setup a 3 band antenna for 40,30 and 80 meters. (Manufactured by Nico ZS4N) Radio equipment consisted of an Icom78, CW Key, Laptop Computer, Inverter and a 100 AH battery source. Nico ZS4N who was on holiday in the Southern Cape installed the antenna and checked the SWR readings to ensure optimal performance. It took us 15 minutes to install the antenna and other equipment and we were ready to make contact with the "outside world". Several contacts were made with radio amateurs in South Africa. The antenna performed excellently and several HF Igates were heard on 30 Meters. All present agreed that this antenna is ideal for emergency radio communications as it lends itself to 3 bands and is much shorter than the original 40/80 Rally Trap antenna. If you into emergency radio communications than this is the antenna for you.

To cover the other bands we used a Watson Mobile antenna which covers the 80, 40, 20,15,10,6 and 2 Meter bands. We decided to test the 10 meter band. Johan ZS2I brought along a Vidi special CW (Morse Code)key and it did not take long to make contact with a Russian Amateur Radio Station. Johan ZS2I managed to get the message out!!

We had a most enjoyable day and were happy with the end result. We achieved all our goals and decided to do this more frequently in the future.

Images: Johan van Aarde + SAWDIS  (Click on images for larger view.)