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ZS6AI South Africa flag South Africa

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QSL: eQSL (AG) LoTW or Direct with SAE and Postage

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Ham Member Lookups: 64446

 

Hello and thanks for looking up my call.                                           Website: www.zs6ai.co.za

Since childhood I have always been fascinated with radio. I built my first crystal set when I was about seven years old, and since we lived close to the BBC transmitter at Bell Bar I could listen to broadcast stations very easily although selectivity was not great! My Dad had a Heathkit Mohican which he built from a kit and we spent many hours listening to the shortwave bands and especially to the radio hams.

When I was fourteen I started evening classes for the Radio Amateur Examination at Southgate college on a Friday night. I went to about four or five classes but being a teenager I was easily distracted by the opposite sex and Friday night became the night out after I discovered girls, rock and roll and motor bikes! So my ham classes were put on hold for a few years. When I left school I studied Radio and TV servicing, first at Borehamwood college for a year, and then at Welwyn Garden City for four years. I served my apprenticeship with Rank Bush Murphy and went on to work for Visionhire TV Rentals.

In 1975 I had the opportunity to help set up Visionhire in South Africa, and there I met a lot of new people including a few radio hams. I was on a course in Johannesburg and met Abe Maran, ZS6GV. Abe and his brother Morris, ZS6BON owned Modern Radio, a business in President Street Johannesburg. This prompted me to study and finally take the South African Radio Amateur Exam which I passed in 1977. I had my first licence in 1978 with the call sign ZR6MO, and after passing the CW test a few months later I obtained my Class A licence and the call sign ZS6AI. I also wrote the City and Guilds Radio Amateur Exam in 1978 and obtained the UK call sign G4HCY. My CW mentor was Mike Sherman, ZS6IW (SK), who was an excellent CW operator. I put up a 12m tower and a Mosley TA-33 tri-band antenna which I bought from Mike. My first rig was a Yaesu FL-50, FR-50, FV-50 combination. I was very active in those early years on all bands, CW for the first year (a licence requirement) and then later SSB.

My shack around 1978 My Shack 1979

I started experimenting with packet radio in the early 1980s and it wasn't long before I had a packet BBS up and running using the call sign ZS6AI / ZS0CLP. My station was part of the ZS Packet Network in Johannesburg and my BBS had an HF gateway forwarding to 9Q5XO, Bill in Kinshasa and UA6LQ, Boris in Rostov-on-Don.

Living in Johannesburg has its problems - lightning! My first lightning strike destroyed my Icom 720A HF rig, Yaesu 2m and 70cm rigs plus my computer and packet TNCs. Within a few months I had managed to replace all my gear and was back on the air. A few years later on New Year's Eve lightning struck again, destroying everything in my shack. I was so upset I locked the door and didn't go back in the shack for over a month. I completely lost interest in amateur radio and turned to the Internet for my fix.

November 2013: I had been absent from the airwaves for about eighteen years, then a few months ago I got the bug again to get back on the air. I built a 5 band CobWebb antenna and bought a Kenwood TS-480SAT and after working a few DX stations the excitement returned. I still have a 3 element 15m monoband Yagi on a 10m tower but that has been up there for over twenty five years and needs to come down and be checked over; a project for later.

April 2014: I've been busy the last few months; I have installed another tower, an 18m crank up and on top I have a home brew 4 element 10m monoband Yagi. I'm using a Yaesu FT-920 running 100 watts output and since November 2013 I have worked over 140 countries and need just 8 more States for my 10m WAS. Contacts have been mostly on 10m SSB but a few on 10m PSK, a new mode for me. I'm really enjoying the hobby again!

November 2014: The 15m Yagi was taken down and checked over; only the coax had perished, that's not bad for a 30 year old antenna; they don't make them like that anymore!  I have installed another tower, 14m high and with the help of Stephen, ZS6SKY the 15m Yagi is on top along with a new 4 element 6m Yagi - watch out DX here I come! With 10m WAS complete now the next goal is 15m WAS. I have 176 countries confirmed for LoTW DXCC.

December 2015: It's been a busy year and I'm really enjoying the hobby again. I've been chasing DX on 15m and I have 148 countries confirmed on LoTW. On 10m I have 174 countries confirmed; I won't get into the history books but I'm really excited! I also have my 15m WAS. I managed first place for South Africa in the 2014 ARRL 10m Contest which was a great surprise. My 4 element 6m Yagi has proved to be a success. 6m is a fun band but openings are very scarce; I have managed to work 21 countries and I have 13 countries confirmed on LoTW. The digital modes have been fun especially with the poor band conditions. In October I started playing with JT65 and I can't believe the results I've had with just 10 watts. I have 101 countries confirmed on digital mode and 214 countries confirmed on mixed mode for LoTW DXCC.

December 2016: I couldn't have come back into the hobby at a worst time! Propagation has been terrible, we are at sunspot minimum and nobody seems to point their beams to South Africa, we are always off the side of the beam! Having said that I managed to rack up a few more countries for my DXCC. I now have a total of 220 countries confirmed on LoTW. On SSB I have 209 confirmed and 118 on Digital. On 15m I've managed 191 confirmed countries, 186 on 10m, 79 on 12m, 56 on 40m and 51 on 20m. I have a homebrew rotatable dipole on 20m that's only 6 metres off the ground so I can't expect great results on that band. I want to put that antenna on top of my 10 metre high tower; I'm just waiting for a volunteer to climb the tower for me! For 40m I have a homebrew inverted V antenna which seems to favour NE and SW best. I plan to put up another inverted V for 40m which would favour the U.S. and help me get my final 9 states I need for 40m WAS. I have 50 states confirmed on 15m and 10m SSB and on digital I just need Alaska on both 10m and 15m. If any Alaskan ham wants to make a sked on JT65, please let me know! I haven't worked anyone on 6m this year, not the fun band it's meant to be! You'll hear me most days on JT65, which now seems to be my main mode, not through preference but due to poor band conditions.

May 2017: I put up another 40m inverted V antenna and a homebrew 40m vertical antenna, but the band seems to have closed for winter! I need just 3 more states to complete my 40m WAS; MT, VT and WY. It looks like I’ll have to wait until the end of the year when the 40m band opens up again for DX. I also put up a new 20m homebrew inverted V antenna. I use this antenna most of the time as it seems to work better than my 20m rotary dipole, probably because it’s up much higher. Last month I found by chance that my 15m monoband Yagi loads up nicely on 17m. I've never worked on 17m before but the band seems busy with lots of DX stations. Since 15th April I have 51 countries confirmed on 17m, I think that’s pretty good for just over two weeks of working the new band. My total countries confirmed on LoTW now stands at 224 mixed, 211 phone and 139 digital. On 20m I now have 101 countries confirmed on LoTW, all worked on my wire antennas. On 12m I've been sitting on 99 confirmed for about the last 4 months, I just can't find that last country for 12m DXCC!

September 2017: After a quiet winter the bands are finally beginning to open again, and a new digital mode has arrived, FT8. It seems the whole ham community has gone FT8 mad; the new buzz word is FT8! In just under 2 weeks I've had over 700 FT8 QSOs, I've worked 46 U.S. states on FT8 and I just need HI, AK, VT and ND to complete my FT8 WAS. It's been wow! Thank you to RI1ANO; I finally have my 100th QSL for 12m DXCC. The 17m band continues to amaze me, I have 80 countries and 26 states confirmed on LoTW. I managed to work a few new countries during the winter, and that brings my LoTW count to 227 confirmed. Total countries confirmed including LoTW and paper QSL cards are 241. I worked Montana State on 40m FT8, so that just leaves VT and WY to complete my 40m WAS.

 

LoTW Summary
         
DXCC Award Total QSLs   WAS Award Total QSLs
Mixed 227   Mixed 50
CW 1   40M 48
Phone 213   20M 44
Digital 147   17M 26
160M 1   15M 50
80M 2   12M 32
40M 81   10M 50
20M 109   Phone 50
17M 80   Digital 50
15M 197   JT65 50
12M 100   FT8 46
10M 188      
6M 14      
Challenge 773      
         

                                                                    

 

                                 My Antenna farm!

                                                                                                        

                                     

                                

 

 

 

 

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8475128 Last modified: 2017-11-26 08:15:16, 23415 bytes

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QRZ Logbook Summary for - ZS6AI
Latest Contacts for ZS6AI at QRZ.com
dedateband mode grid Country op
OG4X 2018-01-15 17M DATA KP10CH Finland Jaakko Silanto
W1ZS 2018-01-12 40M FT8 FN32ru United States BURTON F ELDRIDGE
ZS1EQ 2018-01-12 40M FT8 JF95FX South Africa
VU2EEI 2018-01-12 40M FT8 MJ88LL India ANIL KUMAR VELAYUDHAN NAIR
JA2JDY 2018-01-12 40M FT8 PM85nf Japan Oi Kiyoshi
ZS6EA 2018-01-12 40M FT8 KG44CH South Africa VIctor P du Preez
YB0EIN 2018-01-12 40M FT8 OI33jt Indonesia MA'MUR JACHJA (TATA)
3B9FR 2018-01-12 20M FT8 MH10rg Rodriguez Island ROBERT FELICITE
EA8AKN 2018-01-12 17M FT8 IL28GC Canary Islands ANTONIO (TONY) de ARMAS
AB4Z 2018-01-12 17M FT8 EM95 United States RONALD G UNDERWOOD, JR
HI3T 2018-01-12 17M FT8 FK49tl Dominican Republic Ted Jimenez
OH2FNR 2018-01-12 17M FT8 KP20il Finland Jarkko
9H1TN 2018-01-12 17M FT8 JM75ew Malta Trevor Newstead
9M2DRL 2018-01-12 20M FT8 OJ05ek West Malaysia DR.LEE CHUN CHEOW
UT5EL 2018-01-11 40M FT8 KN78mk Ukraine Yuri P. Gorets

Book Totals: 16561 qso's   10308 confirmed Get a free logbook at QRZ.COM


c
United States Counties Award#409
Granted: 2016-07-19 04:20:02   (ZS6AI)

Endorsements:
  • 100 Counties Digital
  • 250 Counties Digital
  • 500 Counties Digital
  • 100 Counties Mixed
  • 1000 Counties Mixed
  • 250 Counties Mixed
  • 500 Counties Mixed
  • 100 Counties Phone
  • 250 Counties Phone
United States Award#961
Granted: 2015-03-24 16:30:02   (ZS6AI)

Endorsements:
  • 10 Meters Digital
  • 40 Meters Digital
  • Mixed Digital
  • 10 Meters Mixed
  • 15 Meters Mixed
  • 40 Meters Mixed
  • 10 Meters Phone
  • 15 Meters Phone
DX World Award#1551
Granted: 2015-03-24 16:25:02   (ZS6AI)

Endorsements:
  • 5 Band Digital
  • 10 Meters Digital
    12 Meters Digital
    15 Meters Digital
    17 Meters Digital
    20 Meters Digital
    40 Meters Digital
    Mixed Digital
  • 5 Band Mixed
  • 10 Meters Mixed
    12 Meters Mixed
    15 Meters Mixed
    17 Meters Mixed
    20 Meters Mixed
    40 Meters Mixed
  • 10 Meters Phone
  • 15 Meters Phone
Grid Squared Award#3450
Granted: 2015-02-15 20:12:41   (ZS6AI)

Endorsements:
  • 5 Band Digital
  • 10 Meters Digital
    12 Meters Digital
    15 Meters Digital
    17 Meters Digital
    20 Meters Digital
    40 Meters Digital
  • 5 Band Mixed
  • 10 Meters Mixed
    12 Meters Mixed
    15 Meters Mixed
    17 Meters Mixed
    20 Meters Mixed
    40 Meters Mixed
  • 10 Meters Phone
  • 15 Meters Phone
  • Mixed Phone
World Continents Award#3958
Granted: 2015-02-15 13:55:04   (ZS6AI)

Endorsements:
  • 5 Band Digital
  • 10 Meters Digital
    12 Meters Digital
    15 Meters Digital
    17 Meters Digital
    20 Meters Digital
    40 Meters Digital
  • 5 Band Mixed
  • 10 Meters Mixed
    12 Meters Mixed
    15 Meters Mixed
    17 Meters Mixed
    20 Meters Mixed
    40 Meters Mixed
  • 10 Meters Phone
  • 12 Meters Phone
  • 15 Meters Phone
  • 40 Meters Phone
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