About Me

Coffee with ZS6ALU

Coffee with ZR6LU (ZS6ALU)


Good Day! Hope the day finds you well. You are now through to the general Johannesburg area in South Africa. Weather-wise very nice, and some nice people too.

I’m very much into the more modern data-oriented operating modes but I do a bit of HF. My previous rig was an old Yaesu FT707. I loved it to bits but it started drifting like crazy and I had to upgrade. Currently I use a Yaesu FT-840 for data, running about 50 watts through a MFJ-929 IntelliTuner up to an antenna that looks like an inverted-Vee with 2 legs. I bought it at a flea-market and apparently it is a commercially manufactured multibander called a “BroadGun Travelling Wave” and it seems to work well. For voice I fall back to my Yaesu FT-857D on a 83meters horizontal loop between the trees, with or without a linear depending on the conditions. Sometimes I switch to a G5RV.


My QTH Information:

Address: 15 St Andrews Rd
Glenadrienne (near Sandton in Johannesburg)
2196 South Africa
Grid location is KG43av (S 26.099011, E 28.023281)
QSL via LoTW Please! I’m chasing some awards! But it is also ok on QRZ or eQSL. Cards will be sent when requested
Software used is HRD, on an old HP laptop that should be retired
CAT cable and Interface is home-built and works very well!

You can leave messages in the comments form, or my mobile is 082-573-5580 if you want to make a sked. Or mail me at ZR6LU@yahoo.co.za or even have a look at QRZ for more information. I’d love to chat!

My Toy Collection


  • Kenwood R1000. It is a shame, but this old man is not being used much and is gathering dust. There is a long story behind this one. One day I have to sell her
  • Sony ICF-SW35 all-mode all-band all-purpose portable on batteries. Was used a lot during my travels in Africa, but has lately been relegated to local FM station duties
  • My car radio :p
  • Tranceivers

  • Yaesu 747 GX – a very good HF SSB radio but it can’t do digital and will be sold shortly
  • Yaesu FT-840 – On HF it is a perfect digital radio and it also has superb audio when working SSB. I should have two
  • Yaesu FT-857D – now we’re talking. All rounder, can do just about anything and doesn’t complain. I struggle with audio quality sometimes because I don’t always get the settings right
  • Xiego X1M HF and QRP radio, somewhat of a low power toy but brings a lot of happiness when working WSPR
  • Yaesu FT-480R 2m all-mode. A classic 10 watt old machine but sits nicely on the bench for ragchewing. Retro-fitted with a 88.5Hz tone kit from Magalies CLub to access the local repeaters
  • Wouxon KG-UV920P dual-band 2m/70cm radio for the car – good value for money and used a lot
  • Baofeng hand-held. It works.
  • Antennas

  • Surmen NR-770R dual-band antenna, a K412 lip-mount bracket, and a Surmen SC-ECH 5 meter RG58 body mount harness for the mobile
  • Diamond CP22E outside for 144MHz, gives good results (going to do WSPR soon!)
  • Diamond magnetic-mount MR75SJ for 2m/70cm radio in the car. Useful but not very high gain, due to the puny little black wire sticking out the top with a curly thingie in the middle
  • 3MHz – 30MHz wire dipole believed to a Broadgun Travelling Wave antenna, low SWR actross all bands and a fairly good receiver. Is often used as a reference antenna and never needs a tuner
  • G5RV Junior 40m and up, a MFJ-1778M. Can handle the linear and is a good reference to compare against, where it is currently installed. Tuned with a MFJ-941E which seems to handle more than 300 watts if the SWR is not completely random
  • 83m wire horizontal loop with a 4:1 balun and short coax into the shack. Works perfectly every time. Most often tuned with a MFJ-929. This is my combination if I work competitions because it simply works and works well
  • Home-built aluminium 7.6m (25 feet) vertical, currently tuned with the Yaesu FC-40. I’m struggling to understand what I have here, and I’m busy making measurements. Doesn’t tune on 20m
  • A 9.1 meter piece of wire strung into the nearest tree. It was my first antenna and worked well with the FC-40 ATU. I don’t know why I pulled it down
  • A “No Counterpoise” antenna, about 15 meters long, sloping into a tree. Busy testing it on 20m but it seems rather deaf. The jury is out on this one, I don’t think it is going to stay
  • A portable vertical consisting of a 7.6m fibre-glass rod onto which a wire is clamped, tuned at the bottom with something to be decided yet
  • Antenna Matching Units or Tuners, and measurements

  • An old CB Midland SWR meter, my standby, except the one meter needs to be tapped occasionally when it sticks
  • Another one, swopped for a morse key, needed new diodes and works well now.
  • MFJ-16010 long wire 200W matcher, passive, must be used sometime, maybe with the vertical
  • YY-817 QRP tuner – cool, with built-in SWR LED, works well with X1M
  • Yaesu FC-757. Slow, HF bands only, but works well with FT-747/FT-840 radios
  • Yaesu FC-40 that came with the FT-857D. Supposed to be awesome. I like the tight integration but that is also a hindrance
  • MFJ-941E manual tuner. This guy is the most understated, best-value-for-money unit ever
  • MFJ-929 Auto-tuner. I luvit, because it just works first time every time
  • Home-built EFHW Hi-Z tuner. Still making changes to it and playing with different toroids. This is an interesting experiment
  • Digital Interfaces

  • G4ZLP DigiMaster Pro 3 … it doesn’t get any better than this one
  • SignaLink. So-so, there are better choices
  • Jaco’s home-built interface
  • Philip’s home built interface
  • Genuine Yaesu USB interface for FT-857D
  • Hybrid home-built interface for X1M
  • Power Supplies

  • 35 Amp British-built and robust
  • 30 Amp (with 45 Amp toroidal transformer) repeater supply. Going to be rebuilt soon
  • 22 Amp Switcher with nice front guages
  • A standard 12v 1.5A wall-wart adapter or whatever it is called for the X1M
  • Yaesu FP-7 the old standby that never dies. I think I must sell it because it is not getting any work here
  • Extras

  • HLA 300 Plus Linear Amplifier, good for legal limit and a bit extra
  • Weather Station with Raspberry Pi and La Crosse sensors (Weather Undergrond node IGAUTENG115)
  • Instruments

  • You mean, apart from my yellow DVM?
  • My favourite instrument is a MFJ-259B. I don’t know how to use it but I like the look of awe in people’s eyes when I take it out of its box
  • Other Stuff

  • Weather Station with Raspberry Pi and La Crosse sensors (Weather Undergrond node IGAUTENG115)
  • I have a wine collection we can talk about if the above is boring?
  • 73s