Last weekend Sunday April 14th Berry and I took a drive to the Rietvlei Dam and Game Reserve in Irene. This is about a 45 minute drive from our QTH. I reckon it is further to drive than to Krugersdorp Game Reserve. After a drive around and viewing a group of 4 Rhinos with their horns cut off (see pics below) we settled near a waterhole and bird watching area on the east side of the park. This is also a pleasant braai area. Not great from a field radio perspective since the area is quite small and crowded with picknickers. Would be great during the week I think. The entrance fee to the park is R40 each.
I deployed my efhw into a tree about 5 meters high and strung the wire along below a partial canopy of trees. I was QRV at a picnic bench after about 10 minutes at approx 12 noon. Again I noticed total stability in SWR when I touched the coax and rig. It is clear to me that as long as the tuner is a few feet max from the ground that the configuration is stable. When I was at Leopard Creek I had the tuner suspended in the air and up about 6 feet agl. This was when it was not stable. I immediately was in QSO with om Monk ZS4SF who was monitoring the frequency and for which I am truly appreciative. We had a nice ragchew for about 40 minutes. he gave me a 579 report. I felt like propagation conditions were good but that my QTH and deployment were not great.
I also copied 2 beacons ZS2VJ and ZS0BOT on 7027Khz and 7052Khz. Neither moved the needle but both were easily readable.
In conclusion. Rietvlei will be a good place to deploy during the week but crowded at the weekend. We did not get a chance to explore the lake areas which may be better. There are also cottages for hire. These need to be explored also.
|Ragchewing with ZS4SF. Thanks Berry for the pic|
|Weird guineafowl protecting chicks. Willowfeather farm Irene. Nice lunch spot|