17 April 2013

Rietvlei Dam and Game Reserve

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

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