15 September: In spite of many apologies, we had a good turnout for our AGM, which was followed by a sumptuous club sponsored braai. A new committee was elected. There are two new committee members: ZS5DU and ZS5ANT
8 September: We lost power at the Estcourt repeater at Griffin's Hill during our first spring storm. The circuit breaker probably tripped again inside the Eskom building and we are waiting for staff to reset it when next they are in the area.
21 July: We held our bimonthly meeting again at 11h00, which was followed by a most informative talk "Tracking Wildlife" by Ben ZS5BH. It's fascinating how quickly the technology evolves wit the tracking equipment!
10 June: Comrades 2018. Some of our members, together with HARC members, helped Hamnet again with radio comms on the down run. It was an early and cold start. Willem ZS5WA did duty as the Pietermaritzburg JOC, later handing over to the Durban JOC in Moses Mabida stadium, where ZS5GD, ZS5WFD and ZS5LT were on station. Both JOC stations handled the net professionally. A big thank you to all who helped on the water tables along the route!
Peter, ZS5PL, chairman from HARC writes:
3 June: After ZS5ML reprogrammed the wireless link to Alverstone, Andy ZS5CEY managed to reprogram the settings on the DStar repeater at Alverstone to get it linked again. Thanks Andy!
31 May: Ant and Koos were at it again - sorting the 750 repeater at World's View :) The tx antenna has been moved back onto the tower in it's original spot. The tx signal is once again restored and strong! The "old" Kenwood repeater was also replaced. The audio is now lower, but left there for comments so that final adjustments can be made later on.
29 May: The link to Alverstone was re-established today. The uhf repeater is now linked to the repeater network, and should come in handy for emergency comms during the Comrades Marathon.
The repeaters linked at the moment are:
28 May: Koos, ZS5KDK replaced the 750 repeater at World's View with the repeater which was recovered from the old Richmond site, in order to improve the audio. Please test and send back feedback. It is linked and will hopefully improve emergency communications during this year's Comrades Marathon.
26 May: Koos, Andy and Fred reinstalled the DStar and UHF repeaters at Alverstone. The UHF frequency is 439.325 / 431.725MHz with 88.5 tone. Well done OM! The wireless link has to be re-established for an internet connection.
15 May: The new club fees are shown below, and are due by 31 May 2018:
26 April" Ant ZS5ANT: "Right, the cavities are tuned and ready to go for the 750 we will install them in due course."
18 April: Ant ZS5ANT: "Quick status report. The Groenekloof DMR 225 has been reset and working again. The Worlds View DMR 300 antenna has been installed up on the tower below the two 750 antennas. 750 is online but need to tune the two cavities and see what the notches are doing and possibly add the other two from the store room. Will try effect this ASAP. Will also have a look at the noise floor when I have 5 mins as there is a lot of rfi up there. Thanks Koos for the help"
17 April: ZS5ANT: "Worlds View ground maintenance done. Groenekloof still closed off to construction. They have now built a building where the gate is so don�t know how to get in". Thanks to Ant and Koos for the garden maintenance!
14 April: Ant ZS5ANT: "A very big
thank you to a Koos and Brian for their assistance today. Have got the
300 DMR up and running, just need to finalize the home for the antenna
on the tower the. This week will finish the 750 then World�s View is 99%
some. Thanks guys. Still lots of man hours ahead but looking good".
1 February 2018: ICASA has informed
the SARL that the licence fee will be increased by 5.3% on 1 April 2018.
The new fees will be
22 November: ZS5DDM, Des Mullen, became a silent key in Northdale Hospital after a heart attack. Condolences to Gwen and family. A memorial service was held on 24 November at Rural Metro, where they rang the fireman's bell 8 times to mark his final shift.
16 September: MARC held it's AGM,
which was well attended. It was followed by a braai, with the
usual additional Lynwood club potato bake, salads etc.
Here are the cup awards:
15 September: Craig Smith, ZS5AV, was brutally murdered on his farm in Mid-Illovo. RIP.
14 September: ZS5KDK met up with Eskom at Estcourt and restored the 145.700 repeater power
15 June: Bob, ZS5CU, was awarded
honorary life membership last year in September, but we have been unable
to hand over the certificate to date. ZS5KDK and ZS5DDM met him at
his house today and handed him his certificate.
4 June: Today was Comrades, an up-run this year. The linked repeaters worked well. Unfortunately the Hilton repeater was still down, so the Pmb JOC needed to use the World's View repeater with the lower audio level. It was a busy day for all radio operators, who helped today, especially our MARC members, who manned many of the last busy tables.
2 June: The Hilton 145.6625 repeater went off line at 21h38 due to a power issue at Hilton SAPS.
31 May: The linked repeaters are
working well. At times the audio breaks up a bit on the 145.625
repeater due to the cell internet link, but generally everything is
working well. The audio levels of the Hilton and World's View
repeater still need to be adjusted, especially the World's View
repeater, which has a low audio,
1 April: All ZU licenses are now null and void for holders who are 25 years or older. This is an ICASA ruling. Also, all unpaid licenses from 1 April are also cancelled, according to ICASA.
25 March: At the HARC
meeting this week, their members voted to disconnect our loaned MARC
repeater from the network for a limited time. Listening to them on
air, a few reasons for this was heard, which include that some don't
want to listen to MARC's conversations, don't like the fact that hams
world wide can connect to the network via Echolink, and also to improve
the voice quality.
19 March: MARC loaned HARC a vhf
repeater with an Allstar module. It was installed recently, and
was connected to the internet last week, enabling MARC members to
participate and chat to the Durban guys as our repeaters are now linked
to the loaned MARC repeater on 145.625MHz.
The new fee structure for Amateur Radio
licences has been announced, by ICASA. The fees for 2017 will come into
effect from the 1st April and are as follows:
If paying for a multiple year licence, you have to inform ICASA in writing.
Warning: ICASA also warned that if licences are not paid by 31 March, your licence will lapse, and you will have to reapply for your licence, even if you pay only 1 day late!
19 October: From our Chairman, Koos
08 October: The committee held a
meeting and allocated the following portfolios:
17 September: The AGM was held.
The same committee was retained, with the addition of Willem ZR5ZS.
The portfolios will be determined at the next committee meeting.
10 September: ZS5MAB organised a station at the Air Scout weekend, based at the Wartburg Kirchdorf High School. There is a lot of interest from the scouts. From the left, Des, ZS5DDM, ZS5MAB (that's Mike, who organised the radio side of the event), Richard ZS5RB, Charlie, ZS5DU, and one other)
1 September: The cross-band repeater for 145.625 has been powered down to test whether it was responsible for interference on the Highway 145.625 repeater.
7 June: The Estcourt repeater lost power again at 06h40 :(
5 June: The Estcourt repeater lost power on 23 May. ZR5S sent Eskom a message about this a few days ago, and the repeater is up and running again as of 03h22 this morning :)
29 May: Some of our club members
helped Hamnet with radio communications for the Comrades marathon.
It was a down run, so it was an early morning for those who manned the
stations in the beginning of the race, like Willem, ZR5ZS, who was JOC
21 May: Our monthly meeting was well attended. Koos handed out the Comrades paraphernalia (stickers, shirts etc) for the next weeks event. Charlie ZS5DU then showed showed us his antenna setup for us in apartments and in the field. It was interesting to see how he made his coils and fittings, and the presentation was most appreciated!
4 May: ZR5S reprogrammed the World's View RTCM and reinstalled it. The 750 World's View repeater is connected once again. Thanks Shaun! The audio levels still need to be finetuned.
24 April: Hamnet still requires radio marshal volunteers for the Comrades Marathon on 29 May. If you can help, please contact one of our Hamnet or committee members.
31 March: Your ICASA licence is due
today. Chances are that you have not received your renewal
licences from ICASA - they seem to be late again in sending these out
this year. This should not present a problem though as all you
need is your licence number to use as reference when making your payment
via eft to the ICASA account. Alternatively, you can pay your
licence at the Post Office. The code for ICASA is 0026. The
licence cost is R126. If you want to save and pay R525 for a 5
year license instead, send an email to
request a conversion from a 1 to 5 year license.
20 March: ZS5KDK sorted the Estcourt
Repeater. The link was restored on Friday, which means that the
repeater is up and running, and linked. Have not heard Tony from
3 March: Replacement RTCM and APRS Digipeaters have been ordered and paid for. Hopefully they will not take too long to ship, so that the World's View repeater can get back on air.
26 February: A few of our members helped with the Maritzburg Marathon, which was concluded without a major hitch. Here is a pic from the vehicle of ZS5GEL and ZS5ML showing the lead vehicle with the lead runner on the second round at table 4:
23 February: Koos, ZS5KDK, went to Groenekloof to cut the long grass. Here are the before and after pictures - it looks much better now, thanks Koos!
It was also discovered that someone tried to break into the shack. Luckily they were unsuccessful.
20 Feb 2016: We held our first meeting at Lynfield Sports Club. Various issues were discussed in the committee meeting, like replacing the ageing fence at Groenekloof. The general meeting was not well attended (one extra member joined the present committee members) and the meeting adjourned not long afterwards.
20 December: The SARL Diary of Events for 2016 can be downloaded here.
5 December: The club held it's year-end function at Lynwood Sports Club. In spite of many apologies, about 30 of us attended with family members. A good time was had by all, and the catered braai was as good as always!.
29 November: Lightning strike at 16h42 at World's View damaged the RTCM on the 145.750MHz repeater. ZR5S and ZS5ML went up on Monday morning, and found that there was a lot of other damage as well to the others on the tower. It looks like the damage came through the electrical supply, rather than from a strike on the tower. It will take a few weeks to get a new RTCM unit, as they need to be imported. The 750 will be down until then.
6 November: The new committee has decided to keep the portfolios the same as last year, with the exception of Louis Friedemann, who became silent key last month:
September: The DMR radios eventually arrived and some portables have already been distributed to club members.
19 September: The AGM was well attended. The same committee was elected. The committee portfolios will be elected at the next committee meeting. A braai followed the AGM - very nice facilities!
8 August: Shaun moved the DMR repeater to Groenekloof for testing. The city centre is shielded from the Windy Hill tower, and the uhf signals were not good there. First impressions are that signals in Pmb are now stronger from Groenekloof. More testing is required.
17 July: DMR communications have been
disappointing, as we battled to trigger the repeater. We hoped
that this was due to a faulty antenna. Also, the routing problem
was still there as we could not be heard on the Durban DMR. We
(ZR5S and ZS5ML) went to the repeater this afternoon armed with
connectors and another second hand antenna.
10 July: Our chariman, ZR5S writes: At short notice, I decided to go up to the Windy Hill high site to install our new Pietermaritzburg MotoTRBO DMR repeater. I was lucky to have ZS5ML Mike to join me. We had it fired up within an hour. On the trip back to Pietermaritzburg, I tried many times to work someone but was unsuccessful. Later that evening it started working and I spoke to ZS6MSW and ZS5GR with crystal clear audio for over an hour using just 1W on a portable from Blackridge (25Km).
Today, I spoke to various hams around the
world and to Div6, but the Durban DMR repeater does not repeat my
transmissions. So I cannot quiet say that all is well, but these
teething problems should be sorted out in due course. It is just an
internet networking routing issue.
Either way, digital voice is the winner, and is here to stay. FM repeaters will diminish like the first analogue cellphones did. Who remembers SPACE TV, our first satelite TV service. The picture went grainy when overcast because it was analogue. Digital DSTV packs in so many more channels with less drop-out.
Note in the picture, Mr HAM guy, ZS5ML plugging away at his laptop getting the network configured. An image of the modern HAM.
On a side note, I think Kenwood's NEXEDGE and Yaesu's SYSTEM FUSION are two digital voice modes that will not take a foothold. A bold attempt to stay with the leaders, but too little too late. They should rather sell a radio that will be compatible with DMR. It is after all, an open protocol for anyone to use.
5 July: ZR5S, ZS5RT, ZS5S, ZR5BR, ZS5SK and ZS5ML travelled up to our Richmond repeater to separate the antennas, hoping to eliminate the RF feedback problem at this repeater. Shaun (ZR5S) and Terry climbed the tower and raised the top antenna to the top, after the "ground crew" fitted a new longer cable with new connectors to the top antenna. We also changed the connector on the lower tx antenna.
It looked like the problem was solved and it looks like we were receiving the repeater signal better on the way back to Pmb. Later, however, the interference returned. The next plan of action will be to tighten the squelch settings.
20 June: We had a very interesting meeting at Lynwood Sports Club, where Pravin, ZS5LT presented an interesting talk about his balloon launching. He was accompanied by Chris, ZS5CGW.
2015/6 membership fees will be due by the end of July - our year end is 30 June. Here are the subscriptions for the next financial year:
Members' Antenna Analyser location: 3 December, ZS5S
1. The Amateur is always
2. The Amateur is
3. The Amateur is
4. The Amateur is
5. The Amateur is
6. The Amateur is
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At MARC we are always looking for a new challenge, whether it's looking for new repeater sites to increase our footprint, helping new/old hams set up their hardware/software or simply finding a way to get away from work/family to spend some time with friends with the same technical interest!
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