ZS1AU Station and Equipment


My station is located in the village of Durbanville, which is nestled in the hills 30 km East of the port city of Cape Town. The major part of Cape Town lies in the flat areas of the Cape Peninsula and other parts of the city are built on the slopes of the surrounding mountain ranges. Durbanville is located on top of one of these ranges and the base of my tower is 923 feet above sea level. Although my house is not directly on top of the mountains, the take-off in all directions is perfect for DX.

HF Station

Most of my time on the air is spent on HF and I have always strived for a decent signal. My favourite transceiver is a Kenwood TS440S which I normally use barefoot with great success. The microphone I use with the TS440S is the standard Kenwood mic supplied with the radio. When conditions are difficult, I switch in a Yaesu FL2100Z linear amplifier which I run at 400W. My standby transceiver is a Kenwood TS430S. I also have two older Yaesu transceivers which are seldom used these days.

VHF Station

I usually switch the 2m transceiver on when I am in the shack to hear what is happening around town and the radio I use is a Kyokuto 2016E with a second Kyokuto as a standby transceiver. I decided to join the locals on the satellite after Sunsat was launched and this lead to the acquisition of an Icom W32E VHF/UHF handheld transceiver. My mobile operation consists of popping the Icom into my pocket when required.

Antenna System

If you cannot hear them, you cannot work them, and that is why my antenna is more important than my linear amplifier. I have HF antennas for 20, 15 and 10m on top of a 50 foot tower. The triangular tower is constructed of tubular steel with the base section at 1m wide and tapering to the top. The tower is free standing on top of 3.5 tons of concrete. A Ham IV rotator is mounted inboard in the tower and rotates a 14 foot tower extension pole on which the antennas are mounted. The 20m beam is a four element, full size HyGain 204BAS and the 15/10m beam at 60 feet is a three element HyGain DB1015. Above the HF antennas is a 5/8 groundplane for VHF.


The computer in the shack is a Pentium machine running Windows 98 and is used for satellite predictions and general office applications. I enjoy locating information on the Internet and find email extremely useful.

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