Saturday, June 18, 2011

Youth Day Amateur Radio Outreach

The plan for Youth Day (16 June) was to set up a heap of amateur radio gear at the school in Sutherland & have kids from the town come along & try communicating with others around the world via ham radio.  

It was a Great idea, just a pity about the utterly miserable weather!  Torrential rain & howling wind, interspersed with sleet & profound atmospheric gloom...

None the less, the guys had set up an antenna next to the kiosk by the rugby field the day before & power was to be leeched from Vic's trusty Pajero.

Not everyone made it to the school before the crack of dawn & all involved questioned their sanity more than twice before a round of coffee became available.  But once all the toys were set up & the crackle of radios filled the icy cold air, it seemed we just might survive this insanity afterall.

Our "education station" had the call-sign ZS3OBS (for Observatory), but the subtle alusion to Old Brown Sherry was not lost...  Given the horrendous cold, the Oscar Bravo Sierra ended up being a great emotional comfort on the day!

Before anyone gets enraged by the idea of having alcohol on standby at an outreach event, let it be known that No One in their right mind was ever going to haul their children out on a public holiday in weather like that!  Only poor little Melissa & Charlize, whose dad happens to be one of the SALT radio nuts, got to experience the full force of our good intentions.

Around 10am we eventually accepted that no one was going to show up - a unanimous decision to relocate to Valhalla was followed by a hasty pack-up & an even hastier retreat to higher & warmer ground.

The ducks were left to enjoy themselves, paddling around on the flooded rugby field...

With a much better antenna & reduced hypothermia risk (thanks to the OBS finally being applied to the problem), things improved substantially & the girls enthusiastically chatted to a few people around the country.

Later in the day, an expedition into "the forest" to hunt for waterfalls & mushrooms confirmed that the morning's events had done these 2 no harm whatsoever :)

The drive back down to CT on Friday was Spectacular with raging torrents & huge waterfalls rushing down the Verlatekloof Pass!

Not a typical Karoo scene...

Our own mini Augrabies Falls!

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