Sunday, 7 February 2016

Alcohol backpacking stove

EVERNEW Titanium alcohol stove
This might be of interest for my outdoorsy friends.

I bought this little alcohol stove a while ago and I am still very impressed with its performance.

The stove weighs only 34 grams. Yesterday I did a few tests to determine the efficiency of the stove.

I carefully measured out 20 ml of denatured alcohol (methylated spirits) and set it alight.
It took around 1:30 for the flame to burn as it should from both sets of holes.
A pot containing 500 ml cold water (+/- 10 Celsius) was placed on the stove at 1:30
The water boiled furiously at 7:15
All the fuel was consumed at 8:00

    IMHO this is quite remarkable and efficient.
    One can thus state that 20 ml of fuel is sufficient to heat water to have a noodle meal, couscous or oats and a cup of tea/coffee. 

    Assuming 2 hot meals a day would mean 40 ml/day lets round that up to 50 ml/day. In other word a 5 day hike would then require only 250 ml i.e. only 250 grams of weight to carry.

    The only disadvantage I can see. The flame is almost invisible when it burns during daylight. It is very difficult to know if the flame is burning or whether it has been blown out by the wind. For the record that has not happened to me yet. I am planning to make a lightweight windscreen partly for obvious reasons and secondly to concentrate the heat onto the pot so as to increace the efficiency further.

    The image below was taken at dusk, the flame is near invisible in day light. 

    The EVERGREEN Titanium alcohol stove

    Saturday, 5 December 2015

    cheech and chong up in smoke

    I had a lightning strike the day before yesterday. I was sitting in the shack working on my computer and looking out for new band / slots on the DX cluster. All of a sudden the heavens opened up with a heavy downpour of rain. The next moment there was an almighty thunder clap. Normally there is a delay between seeing the flash and hearing the clap, but not this time it happened at the same instant of time. 

    The earth leakage relay tripped and All the power was off. I expected the worse, thinking the computer would be fried. 

    After reseting the power supply I was much relieved to see that the PC appeared to be working. The IC-756 P3 seemed OK, but the ADSL line was down. 

    I have subsequently discovered that the IC-756 has no RF output, all other functions seem to be working as per normal. Strangely the Expert 1K-FA was also in the line ahead of the transceiver is unscathed. That is a huge relief......

    The YAESU G-1000 DXA rotator is acting strange. The panel illumination is rather dim.  It appears as if the rotator is turning freely in both directions, albeit much slower than normal. The calibration is way off. I am hoping it might be something simple like a voltage regulator that has gone faulty. 

    The image below is of the thick-wall aluminum mast. It looks as if the lightning either entered or exited the mast at this point. This spot was some 2 meters from where I was sitting. 

    This is much like the movie  "Cheech and Chong up in smoke", but not nearly as funny. 

    Add caption

    Monday, 14 September 2015

    SARL FD Sep 2015 – Golden Gate National Park

    I set up a field station on the veranda of our highlands retreat log cabin, situated in the magnificent Golden Gate National Park some 4 hours drive from my home . The views to the east and north were awesome.

    I used a telescopic fibre glass mast and erected a link dipole for 15, 20 and 40m. I used my trusty Elecraft K2 transceiver and Begali HST paddle.

    I started calling CQ on 40m CW, after 20 minutes I gave up in disgust, I did not have a single reply. IMHO CW is in danger of becoming obsolete in South Africa.

    I tried my luck on 20 and 15m, but the propagation was simply too poor to enable any QSOs with my QRP setup.
    I had no option, but to revert to using the ‘muggle’ mode. I really don’t enjoy using SSB…..

    I was looking really looking forward to the field day event and I had high hopes that the event would be well supported, but alas that was not to be.

    All this effort to end up with only 22 QSOs in the log :-(

    Overlooking the log cabins

    Mast errected even befor we were unpacked

    Shack with a view......

    Saturday, 22 August 2015

    AFRICA-DX 2015 contest results

    IMHO the inaugural AFRICA-DX contest was a success. A total of 123 logs were received.

    We had some issues with overlap with the RSGB Commonwealth contest and a few minor issues with the log checking process. Igor UU0JC the author of the “LogChecker” has been very accommodating with our requests for software features.

    Next year we hope to gain momentum, with a bit of luck the AFRICA-DX (all mode) contest will become popular for the contesters and the DX hunters alike.

    Thanks to all those that participated, the next one will be bigger and better.

    The next contest will be held on Friday 11 March 2016 starting at 1800 utc and ending on Saturday 12 March 2016 at 1759 utc

    The certificates ready for posting

    The results listed by ITU zone