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TABLE MOUNTAIN DECLARED ONE OF THE 7 NATURAL WONDERS OF THE WORLD on 11 November 2011.
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MY PERSONAL WEBSITE IS OUT OF DATE BUT THERE IS ENOUGH TO KEEP YOU BUSY FOR 1/2 HOUR>>>www.qsl.net/zs1au <<<
This is my 63rd year on the air, being licenced 26 July 1950 as ZS1AU. In 1970 to 1979 as ZS4AU in Bloemfontein. During this period, the call ZS1AU was taken over by Ian McGregor, who came to live in Cape Town, after having held the call ZE1AU in the then Rhodesia. When I returned to Cape Town in 1980, he very sportingly handed the callsign ZS1AU back to me & he acquired the callsign ZS1A which had become available & as a CW man this was what he was very happy about & so was I, to get my old callsign back. !!!!!!
Sadly, Ian Mac Gregor ZS1A, became a Silent Key in 1992.
I have been blessed with the most wonderful experiences & memories over the past 63 years, 1950 to 2013 & counting ????
My father LEN WELLS ZS1AU became a SK rather tragically at the young age of 45 yrs, on 13 April 1950. I was licensed ZS1AU, 3 months later, July 1950.
The LEN WELLS Ham Spirit trophy in the CTARC is in memory of my father & also to recognise & promote Ham Spirit. It is awarded at the end of each year to a radio amateur in the greater Cape Town area, who has displayed true ham spirit during the year. It was awarded for the first time in 1967 to one of our finest radio amateurs, Ray Alexander ZS1IM, who was the Chairman of the Cape Town Branch as it was known in those days. Ray was awarded the Jack Twine Merit Award in 1971 & a short while after, sadly, Ray joined the ranks of the Silent Keys.
In 1966 I received an illuminated address " for services rendered & regular attendance over a period of 20 years ", from the then Cape Town branch of the SARL, now known as CTARC. The Chairman was Theo Karlsson ZS1P & the Secretary was Rolf Kersandt ZS1VM.
In 2003 elected Life Member of the Cape Town Amateur Radio Center. The Chairman was Dr Bud Voortman ZS1B & the Secretary was Peter Henochsberg ZS1PMH.
At the 2006 SARL AGM in Durban, elected Life Member of the South African Radio League.
Awarded the LEN WELLS Ham Spirit trophy in 2007. Chairman was Dr Dave Reece ZS1DFR & Secretary was Peter Henochsberg ZS1PMH.
In 2008 I was appointed as the Custodian of the LWHS trophy by the CTARC, who also proposed that the trophy be made available to any radio amateur in the Cape Town area via one of the local Clubs. It is now my duty to arrange the presentation of the trophy & a certificate is also awarded to the winner, at the last function of the year of the winners Club. The LWHS trophy was awarded each year & the year, 2012 was the 45th year. This is the nicest job I have ever had to do. !!! The trophy is still in beautiful, shiny condition, indicating that every winner from the past has displayed it in a very safe place & looked after it with pride. I can assure you all, that Ham Spirit is still very much alive amongst us & this makes our hobby so enjoyable & special.
IN THE YEAR 2013 IT WAS MY PRIVILEGE TO PRESENT THE LEN WELLS HAM SPIRIT TROPHY TO NICK CURWELL ZS1ZD, WHO GAVE OF HIS TIME & GENEROSITY FOR A FELLOW RADIO AMATEUR WHOSE LIFE WAS AT STAKE. THAT IS THE QUALITY WE RECOGNISE IN A RADIO AMATEUR, WHICH WE CALL HAM SPIRIT. !!!!! NICK IS A GENTLEMAN & CREDIT TO THE CTARC. HE IS SPONTANEOUS IN HIS HELP FOR OTHERS.
It was a privilege to have served on the Cape Town Branch / Club committee, from 1946 to 1966, as a committee member, vice-chairman & chairman. I was elected & served as a councillor on the Council of the South African Radio League, 1966 to 1970 with one of the greatest SARL Presidents Willy Wilson ZS1BF,who was President for 12 consecutive years. In 1970 I was then transferred to Bloemfontein for 10 years as ZS4AU.
In 1993, I was diagnosed with lower colon Cancer. After major surgery I was given 2 months to live & to get my house in order. !!! Chemo from the USA, & eventually all of 54 litres was administered over a period of a year & now almost 20 years later I am still enjoying my retirement. Deo Gratius & also grateful thanks to the worlds finest Surgeon, Oncologists & medical staff, also the most reliable supplier The Cancer Association of SA., for Stoma fittings, to allow my recovery to make for an almost normal life & is proof that CANCER CAN BE BEATEN. !!!
Served on the committee & was vice-chairman of the Amateur Radio Section of The Oakdale Klub during the years, 1995 to 2008. The greatest event in the club was the assembly & erection of the 3 stacked TELREX monoband beams, 5 elements on 20m, 5 elements on 15m & 6 elements on 10m, on top of the the 40 meter Eiffel Tower at the Oakdale Klub, by a group of radio amateurs who worked tirelessly for 5 years to see it happen. !! The beams were very generously donated by Sidney Smith ZS1PF ( who has now retired from the hobby ) to The False Bay Amateur Radio, Electronics & Computer Club, who passed it on to ZS1OAK on a permanent loan basis & to share. !! IT IS A SIGHT TO BEHOLD. !!!
Pearl Harbor 1941, was on 7 th December, on my 13 th birthday. My father was already a radio amateur when I was born in 1928, so I had no option as I thought Amateur Radio was part of life.!!
My father was the first person, be he a boy scout, to hear Mr J.S. Streeter A1A & O-A4Z., transmit the first voice over the ether around 1914, in the suburb of Observatory, Cape Town, South Africa. I have the headphones which picked up the very first words of Mr Streeter A1A, hanging in my shack. Mr Streeter is credited with starting amateur radio as a hobby from that moment. !! When I was around 4 yrs old, I watched my fathers every move & eventually I was even allowed to hold wires & learnt to solder. I spent all my growing up days in the shadow of my father when he was constructing a CW rig using Crystal controlled 6F6 - 6L6 - 807 - pair T20's into a center fed dipole with 6 inch spreaders at some 40 feet above the ground. It was strung between two buildings, one being a double storey owned by our landlord. Len's first DX on CW was G5RI in Northumberland in the UK. I can recall a few early model receivers being tried & eventually the NC100 with the green "magic eye" proved to be very good. My father being a professional CW man spent a few years on CW & eventually built a modulator using an Astatic D104 mike into a 6SJ7 - 6J6 - pair of 807's, into a pair of T20's in the Final, running 100 watts input. In 1938 my father was transferred to Pretoria on promotion in the Cental Telegraph Office ( CTO ). We lived in West End Pretoria as ZS6FB until W W 2 closed down amateur radio in September 1939.
In 1940 my father was transferred to Windhoek, South West Africa ( now known as Namibia ) as Chief Clerk I/C of Telegraphs. Due to the war he was not licenced as a ZS3. !!! In 1945 he was transferred back to Cape Town & in 1946 was re-issued his old callsign ZS1AU, in Wynberg, Cape Town.
On 1 July 1947, I became a member of the Cape Town Branch of the SARL together with my friend Artie Perold ZS1HL. We now enter our 66th year & counting. !!
In my early years I was the jnr engineer in the shack & did all the upgrading of rigs & antennae. On 12 April 1950, my father, LEN, suffered a massive stroke & became a Silent Key on the following day, the 13 ApriI 1950, at the young age of 45. I was devastated, but realised that I had to pass the required CW & get my licence & my father's callsign.
I have done RTTY, SSTV, PSK31, Digital Voice on HF ( first in the Southern Hemisphere ), Satellite comms & built a mobile AM rig & whip. In later years I upgraded to a FTdx100 & a Hustler whip & was the first to work mobile to mobile, continent to continent & was awarded the Barney Joel, Mobile Trophy in 1973. The trophy was shared with ZS1ANT operated from a MOBILE snowcat by Brian Van Zyl, at the South Pole. Brian is now licensed ZS1BVZ & is also a member of our CTARC.
I have been blessed with amateur radio all my life & it is the greatest hobby one could ever have. Thanks to my XYL Joan, who has been my best friend for 60+ yrs ( met in 1950 & married in October 1955 ) & she has supported me in all my AR activities & many milestones.
In 1981 one of the finest DXers & conversationalists I have ever known, Dave Tremayne, ZL1AV, of Rotarua New Zealand persuaded me to upgrade from my Mosely TA33 to the 204BA @ 15m ( the same as Dave was using ) & I added the DB1015, a few years later. It got me climbing the DXCC ladder. My tower & 204BA is my monument to Dave who became a Silent Key on 28 July 2008, at the age of 70 years.
Dave was a popular Radio Inspector for New Zealand & had achieved the DXCC # 1 HR with 318 DXCC entities, on 20M SSB in the 80's.
I have met or have spoken to many great radio amateurs all over the world. Amongst the greats are Senator Barry Goldwater K7UGA, King Hussein JY1, Bob Allphin K4UEE one of the greatest DXpeditioners, NASA Astronaut Dr Chuck Brady N4BQW / KH9 / VP5, who operated on BOUVET Island as 3Y0C & many Islands in the Pacific.
I had the very wellknown & famous VK3MO Ian Williams & XYL Ruth & daughter Rachel, visit me in Dec 2012. This was such a pleasure after having chatted on 20m for many years.
I will never forget our own SUNSAT satellite. www.sunsat.ee.sun.ac.za Seeing it on the workbench in Stellenbosch University, where it was constructed & then dispatched to Vandenberg in the USA for launching into space & a few months later, talking to other radio amateurs, using a hand held on 2M, while it was over our foot print area. The greatest moment was arranging for Chuck Brady 3Y0C who used a hand held walkie talkie on Bouvet Island, to contact Cape Town radio amateurs, ZS1AAZ & ZS1DFR in an historic first, in the year 2000, via SUNSAT satellite using the parrot repeater method on 2 meters.
Joan & I have visited several friends overseas & some have been to visit our home. I have many interesting stories to tell & the one that stands out in my memory was reacting to a MAYDAY call from the SANAE base in the Antarctic, where one of our own countrymen was seriously injured in an accident & medical assistance was sought over the air. This was successfully done but sadly he died from his injuries a few hours later.
Three months of being the Pilot for Chuck Brady N4BQW / Bouvet Island 3Y0C ( read the 3 Yankee Zero Charlie story on my website www.qsl.net/zs1au ) to the sea rescue in the Indian Ocean of a Russian craft drifting a few hundred miles off the coast of Australia ; supporting that great yachtsman Bertie Reed ZS1LP /mm around the world yacht race & aeronautical mobiles flying around the world. Then to make contact with the great DXpeditions such as the Scarborough Reef BS7H of 2007, & Peter 1, 3Y0X of 2006, was a sense of achievement & great satisfaction. Many VISITORS to my shack can be seen on my WEBSITE : www.qsl.net/zs1au under Image Gallery in the index. Amongst these are Astronaut Dr Chuck Brady 3Y0C / N4BQW & Bob Allphin K4UEE our world famous Dxpeditioner with over 50 DXpeditions that he has carried out all over the world. Bob was inducted into the Hall of Fame in the USA. I was privileged to have had these great radio amateurs visit me in my shack.
SK SK SK SK SK SK SK SK SK SK SK SK SK SK SK SK SK SK SK SK SK SK SK SK SK SK SK SK SKSK SK SKSK SK SK SK SK SK SK SK
My Father Len Wells, ZS1AU & (ZS6FB 1937 to 1939 ), became a SK at the age of 45yrs on 13 April 1950. He inspired me & set an example to put a good clean signal on the air. Maybe this has been my driving force to enjoy DXing as he had lost 6 yrs during the WW2 yrs. > RIP DAD <
Sadly I have had to say farewell to many of my lifelong & DX friends with whom I had regular contact & skeds over a period of up to 60 yrs, who have joined the ranks of the SILENT KEYS:
My personal best friends, Ray Alexander ZS1IM, Chris Stiekema ZS1YP, Ian Mac Gregor ZS1A, Howard Keanley ZS6XK, John Doull VE1WC, Joe Vilardo K4EQC, Frank Pelegreno W0OKC, Dave Tremayne ZL1AV, Alfred Sass VE3AS, Norman Gulde ZL1PV, Bertie Reed ZS1LP/mm, Ron Marlow ZS1RON. Chuck Brady ("my brother") N4BQW / 3Y0C became a SK on 23 July 2006., Bud Voortman (Dr) ZS1B, who saved my life in 1993,became a SK so suddenly in August 2008. On 6 April 2011, my DX friend & one of the Greatest YL DXers in the World, Dianna Killeen KB6NAN, 6 Band DXCC & Honor Roll, became a Silent Key. Dianna was the QSL manager for many DXers & also QSL manager for our personal friend, the late Chuck Brady N4BQW/3Y0C.
On 2 December 2011, a Gentleman & one of the greatest radio amateurs in the world, was still active until the end, at the age of 96 yrs, became a Silent Key. Bert Howes ZS6HS ( first licensed as ZS1AL in 1934 in Cape Town ) will also be remembered as a pioneer in UHF & VHF, a brave soldier ( Colonel in WW2 in North Africa) & was a member of the SARL for an unbroken period of 79 years for which Bert was honoured with the Presidents Award. On 19 January 2012, Bert's ashes were placed on top of Table Mountain @ 3500 feet asl. RIP Great Warrior.
Buddy McCullam ZS1MP who was my friend from 1944 & one of the foundation members of the CT Branch in 1946, SK on 22 November 2012. On 24 June 2013, Phil (Ben ) Bennett ZS1AAQ at the age of almost 92. Great in everything, RAF in WW2, pianist & tuner, story teller, CW man, Chief broadcasting & TV Engineer, a Gentleman & wonderful husband to his wife Audrey (SK) & a fine friend. Above all Ben was a dedicated Radio Amateur. His ashes weretaken to RIP with Audrey, in England. I recently learnt that another old friend, from the 1950'sMac McClure ZS1VN, became a Silent Key at the age of 92 in Somerset West,near Cape Town, shortly after his return from the USA where he & Merida, his XYL lived for many years. In those far off days Mac relayed the SARL & Branch bulletins & was awarded the Jack Twine Merit Award for his sterling work & a fine amateur radio gentleman.
Some very special CERTIFICATES & AWARDS which were accumulated over the years ;
I have been a member of the ( SARL ) South African Radio League since 1947 & as from January 2011, joined the ( ARRL ) American Radio Relay League as a token of appreciation of the support & the work they do for DXers & for what is recognised as the greatest DX award, the DX Century Club with THE HONOR ROLL as being the pinnacle of the DX achievement in THE WORLD.
Some of my proud awards are ; The WAZL ( only ZS ) , The CALGARY Stampede City Award ( only ZS ) , Christ Church Garden City Award ( only ZS ), the first Mobile to Mobile / Continent to Continent & awarded The Barney Joel Mobile Trophy in1973.
Hunting Lions. 5th in the WORLD in 1990. In 1991 the Top Local Official of Lions International, BOB OPPERMAN ZS1ABO, informed me that I was lying 1st in the WORLD, when it was ruled a "NO CONTEST " due to loss of the logs in Argentina & subsequently placed 1st in ZS.
Several SARL contest awards ; AKYAB, Fred Mills 1989, Joseph White Trophy 1958, 1959 & 1967, & SSB Contest Winner Division 1, in 1989.
Winner of The Leeb Du Toit trophy in the Mobile section of the SARL PHONE contest in 1960.
RADIO ZS AWARD ; Gary Immelman ZS6YI RA Heritage Trophy & Gold Pen, in 2008.
On 26 July 2011, it was a thrill when ARRL DXCC published ZS1AU # 36267 on the HONOR ROLL :
18 September 2013 DXCC AWARD Phone 357. Mixed 358 & 327 on 20M Phone. DXCC Honor Roll 339. I worked XZ1Z for #339 on 13 Aug 2013 & NOW for my last DXCC entityVK9MT / Mellish Reef for 340 & a # 1HR. in April 2014 ??????
My 1st DXCC application in my 60 yrs of DXing came about as a result of our South African Awards Manager & ARRL Field Checker Tjerk Lammers ZS6P twisting my arm to submit my QSL cards for scrutiny & it is through his supporting me all the way & thanks to Tjerk, that I achieved this honour.
In December 2011, I received my last QSL card from Rhode Island, W1KDA, to qualify for WAS ( Worked All States ) all on 20M SSB. # 56,939
ALL MY AWARDS CONTACTS WERE SUBSEQUENTLY CONFIRMED WITH BEAUTIFUL HARD COPY QSL CARDS, ALL 357 OF THEM.!!!
My 1st AM to SSB Contact was with the USA in 1951.
I wkd 99 countries on CW in my first year & over 100 DXCC countries in 1950 / 1951. I tried hard to get the 100 in my first year on the air, but it was not easy in those days using an HRO & a homebrew XTAL controlled AM / CW rig running 50 watts into a dipole at 30 feet & being shrouded by Table Mountain at 3500 feet asl. There was no DX Cluster or PC to assist DXing as it is today. QSLing also took a long time Direct or via the Buro & there was no LotW. !!
In January 1996, a well balanced group of operators, experienced in working DX pile-ups in SSB & CW, all members of the CTARC spent a weekend on the now famous Robben Island, as ZS64RI. They were ZS1FJ who is now also 9V1FJ, ZS1B, ZS1X, ZS1BW, ZS1AAX, ZS1ACH, ZS1YT, ZS1HSF & ZS1AU, on the DXpedition to Robben Island, ZS64RI, IOTA SA-064 in 1996. This operation was awarded THE SLY FOX DX AWARD for demonstrating to all, the ingenuity & skill of a world class DX station. The citation goes on." We wish more amateurs had your passion for international friendship & understanding while working DX. Now you are officially a sly fox. We know your clever & crafty ways will inspire others in the perserverance of DX." signed John KD0VL. 26 January 1996.
In 1970 to 1980 was licenced as ZS4AU in Bloemfontein. Returned to Cape Town in 1980 & retired from Telecommunications Dept in 1989. I also operated special event stations, in 1983 as ZS1WPR for the centenary of Western Province Rugby 1883 to 1983. In 2003 as ZS03CWC for Cricket World Cup. In 1996 operated as ZS64RI on Robben Island.
Served on the Committee (vice Chairman ) of the Oakdale Club Amateur Radio Section, who applied for the SPECIAL LICENCE ( request to ICASA for ZS1RSA ) to permit "our local boy", MARK SHUTTLEWORTH, from our suburb, Durbanville in Cape Town, the SECOND Civilian Astronaut in SPACE, to operate AMATEUR RADIO from the ISS ( International Space Station ) on the 2 meter band.
The callsign ZS1RSA was apparently considered as being an "aircraft " in space by ICASA, so the # 1 was dropped & it became ZSRSA.
Cosmonaut Mark Shuttleworth spoke to scholars in his old school ( Bishops ) & local radio amateurs in Cape Town, South Africa, on 2 M FM asMark passed over CapeTown in the ISS. This received NEWS coverage, including LIVE TV in South Africa & the World.
If I had to single out 2 very special contacts & the QSL cards to confirm it, it would be, firstly ZL4AQ, OM Tom, in Dunedin on 14 mhz & me using a homebrew AM rig & a GP antenna, in October 1952. ZL was considered to us the rarest of them all & this contact made us in South Africa aware that New Zealand was now a possibility. I now have in excess of 1000 ZL's in my log, nearly all on SSB & most of them remarked that it was a first with ZS & some after being on the air for 40+ years. !!! The oldest radio amateur in ZS at the time & one of our pioneers of broadcasting, Peter Gilmour ZS1K, in his 90's, heard the QSO & told me that it was the 1st New Zealand station he had ever heard & my father in his years had never heard one. !!! The path from Cape Town to New Zealand, 160 degrees over the Antarctic, 0700z & 1900z, on 14 mhz!!
The second very special contact & only recently in March 2011, with Sable Island CY0/N1SNB/N0TG, was also VERY SPECIAL. !! I needed CY0 / Sable Island to get on the Honor Roll. My PC had crashed & I had no DX Cluster or means of e-mails, so I used ESP. !!! At 1900z on the 11 March 2011, I gave a very short call for "Randy" on 14190, a true SHOT IN THE DARK, because I had no idea where they were. !!! Sable / N1SNB & N0TG was listening at that precise moment & the contact was made on Simplex. MANY THANKS to Randy & Jeff for this much needed entity & being on the right freq at the right moment. !!!
It was so SPECIAL that Randy N0TG has told THIS STORY at DX conventions in many parts of North America, during his talk on his successful DXpedition to SABLE Island, after their several attempts, due to aircraft problems & then very bad weather. This contact was a thrill of a lifetime. !!!
On 10 August 2004 at 11;16 am, ZS1AN & ZS1AU, with technical support from ZS1AX & monitoring by ZS1TX & ZS1BSD, made the FIRST successful DIGITAL VOICE contact using HF, in the SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE using the 10m & 15m bands. Other contacts followed with signals on 20m being copied in Europe & by ZS6BUJ. A report can be found on www.first digital voice on hf ( see a Southgate amateur radio club website)
DXing & ragchewing are now my main interests at the tender age of 84 (on 7 December 2012 ) My activity is to encourage DXing in Southern Africa, with news gathered from various sources especially with the support of our great DXer, DXpeditioner & editor of QRZ DX, Carl Smith N4AA .
>>>>>>SEE the beautiful City of CAPE TOWN from a LIVE webcam across the bay, daylight hours in ZS. <<<<<< NB
LIVE CAM >>> www.tablemountainview.co.za << CLICK HERE & SEE ONE OF THE 7 NATURAL WONDERS OF THE WORLD which was declared on 11/11/2011. If you cannot see Table Mountain across the bay then try another time when the weather will allow you to have a clear view. !!
THANK YOU FOR READING ALL THE ABOVE & I HOPE TO HAVE A QSO WITH YOU ONE DAY. ?
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