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1) How did you get involved in Hamradio and how many years are being a ham now?

I was introduced to ham radio at a young age of 10 years while at Scouts. 

I wrote my exam in 1985 when I was 23 years old.

 

2) What attracted you the most in being a hamradio operator?

As a youngster I was always attracted to radios. 

Then in 1978 when CB became legal in ZS-land, my father bought me my first radio. 

I had a very good mentor who was a qualified radio technician and he taught me an enormous amount about

antennas, propagation and also introduced me into the world of ham radio.

 

3) What is your favorite mode and/or band?

My home call sign is ZS1HF,  I chose it as I enjoy HF. 

I also specialize in commercial and military HF system, hence the HF in the call sign. 

Bands?...That depends on where I am and what I have access to. 

Back in South Africa I am more of an emergency communications practitioner, so my station at home vehicle

is more NVIS orientated. 

I intent to change a few things when I return next year, like installing a decent Yagi.     

 

4) What equipment do you use?

I try and use the best equipment out of each brand, but I really enjoy the Icom brand.

For APRS I use a TM-D700 and D710, but will looking at the D-Star range from Icom when I return. 

As for HF, I am using an Icom IC-7000 and 7200. 

My Transworld HF linier is being used on Gough Island by John ZS1FH / ZD9GI. 

I will be installing a SteppIR BigIR in November once the construction crew departs for Cape Town.

 

5) Do you hold DXCC and what is the score?

I only started conducting DX once I arrived on Marion Island and I am really enjoying it. 

At this stage I have 114 countries.

 

6) What has been your most memorable story related to hamradio/or you work on Marion so far?

About three weeks ago I was working a pile up into Europe and I was struggling to work IZ8DDL. 

We had tried on numerous occasions but were not successful.

The pile up was very rough with some Italian and Spanish operators taking over the frequency and verbally

abusing each other. 

This day was a low point in me operating ZS8M. 

I sat back listening to the disrespect for each other and announced that I was closing the station. 

Twenty minutes later I received a phone call from Italy, non other that IZ8DDL asking me to make a contact. 

I was actually having dinner at the time. 

I stood up and walked back to the radio, QSY-ed to a clear frequency and we make a good contact. 

Now that contact between ZS8M and IZ8DDL will remain as someone who used his brain and initiative to secure

a contact!  Well done!

 

7) Do you think CW had it's best time since you don't need it anymore to get a license?

I think CW still has so much to add, especially operating techniques and it will remain and continue to grow. 

I respect an OM who is CW proficient.

 

8) How would you explain our hobby to someone not familiar with hamradio?

Ham radio is a phenomenal hobby which allows you to grow with technology, constantly challenging you to learn

something new about radio and electronics. 

It encompasses computers, out door life and skills, geography and general knowledge, not forgetting human

integration techniques. 

 

9) Do you have other hobbies besides Hamradio?

I enjoy the out door life as well. 

Louise ZS1ONI, my wife, and I are 4x4 and nature people, enjoy camping, walking and hiking. 

This life style allows us to see nature, wild animals, birds, flowers and the beautiful country we live in. 

I enjoy reading and exercising and my other passion is serving in my Reserve Force Signal Unit, 71 Signal Unit.

We have a group of 10 hams in the unit and I am a technical instructor and look after the technical side of our telecommunications.

 

10) Any final words to the people reading the interviews?

Not only with reference to the ZS8M Dxpedition, but for future Dxpeditions, conduct and operating techniques by

certain operators needs to be questioned and upgraded. 

Too many operators watch the clusters and then climb on the identified frequency and create serious QRM

without even being able to hear the DX station. 

I urge all operators to read and practice the guide lines on www.dx-code.org

 

73, Pierre/ZS8M