ZS6EZ's Profiles of Leading Southern African DXers

Last updated: 2015-05-26

Notice: © 1994 to 2015, Chris R. Burger. This document may be reproduced as required for personal use, and may be freely referenced from other Web sites. However, publication elsewhere requires express prior written permission from the author.

The tables of operating awards can be very impersonal, simply listing dates and callsigns as they do. I therefore decided in the mid-Nineties to include a short profile on each of the operators in the SA Band Country Survey. The intention was not only to put some "faces" to the callsigns, but also to give the reader an indication of how active each of these operators is. Clearly, while a few are retired and have enough time to play radio, the majority hold down jobs, raise families and generally spend time pursuing other interests. The odd spell of DXing certainly doesn't seem to preclude balance!

During 2000, I decided to separate the profiles from the Survey. This document is the result. If you have more information on those listed that we might include, or if you can suggest additions, please let me know.

You'll notice from the descriptions that I know many of these operators personally. This is no coincidence; many years of rubbing shoulders in the pileups must eventually arouse some curiosity to become acquainted. Making the effort to meet the people behind the callsigns has allowed me to meet some of the most interesting people I know.

The resumes are brief. If you have more information that we can include in your own or someone else's paragraph, please let me know.

3DA0CA: Jon Rudy operated from Swaziland between about 1995 and 1999, where the family was posted for Mennonite missionary work. They then went back to the USA, where Jon and his wife Carolyn completed their post-graduate studies. They then proceeded to the Philippines, again as missionaries, where Jon was active as DU9/N0NM. They are now permanently in the USA. During his stay in Swaziland, Jon racked up respectable scores on each of the bands. He left just as 50 MHz started producing some sparks, and I dropped off a radio lent by Hal Lund ZS6WB. Unfortunately, the radio had a technical problem that prevented Jon from getting in on that action too.

V5/W8UVZ: George Taft operated for only a week or so in 1997, from a lighthouse near Luderitz. The operation produced contacts with 56 countries on Top Band. Almost 20 years later, this score is still in the Top 20 for southern Africa. George is a top-notch low band DXer back home in Battle Creek, Michigan. He is also one of the three volunteers that made the Battle Creek Special antennas available to DXpeditions. Charlie Dewey W0CD (SK 2014) and George Guerin K8GG complete the trio.

ZS1A: Johan Sevenster is retired from the intelligence services. He travelled extensively to install and maintain electronic systems in South African embassies. Johan now provides IT services and enjoys off-roading in his 4X4 vehicle. During 2012, he started a concerted effort that culminated in a 7BDXCC. Johan operates mostly Phone, with occasional Digital and CW activity.

ZS1AU: Dennis Wells is a long-time Phone DXer, who was only coaxed into submitting a DXCC application during 2010. Dennis later also completed his Worked all States. His is now the top station in South Africa on the Phone DXCC list, with his large number of deleted entities. Dennis worked his last country in 2014, becoming only the fifth South African and the first ZS1 to achieve this milestone.

ZS1C (ex ZS1REC): Raoul Coetzee is an electronic technician who sells measuring instruments for a living. His main interest is in 1,8 MHz, where he achieved the first DXCC in ZS1 in 2011. Raoul has managed to string together some effective wire antennas for the low bands on a city lot.

ZS1EL: Vidi la Grange is an old timer and a FOCer, who prefers CW ragchewing around '025. Most South Africans probably remember his previous callsign, ZS6AL. A concerted nagging effort convinced him to start chasing some DX, and he is gradually improving his single band scores. Vidi is a retired engineer who spent his working life with the CSIR and Iscor.

ZS1FJ: Barry Fletcher is a retired accountant and university lecturer. He now lives in Singapore and consults internationally on tax affairs. After a lifetime of mountaineering, Barry remains mobile and vital in his eighties. He occasionally visits Cape Town to work some DX using his ZS1 callsign. Barry was the first ZS1 to achieve DXCC Honour Roll status. After relocating to Singapore, he fell off the list, but rejoined the list in 2012. He has operated from many countries, especially in the Pacific. Most recently, during 2012 he operated from a string of Caribbean islands, mostly the newly-created FJ and PJ entities. In the same year, he joined the NH8S operation from the newly-created DXCC country of Swains Island. Barry announced plans for an operation to South Sudan in 2013.

ZS1LS: Allan Saul runs a successful RF engineering company. He is a relatively recent arrival on the DX scene, and prefers digital modes. However, he has made stellar progress on all bands, and has completed 8BDXCC. His Digital score has shot up the rankings, and he is a serious contender for the top spot on this mode in South Africa.

ZS2DL: Donovan van Loggerenberg was a late bloomer. Despite being exposed to amateur radio since childhood, he did not get bitten by the DX bug until after 2000. Don is in the radio business, and his interests are mostly on the high bands. He does CW, SSB and RTTY and holds the ARRL WAS Triple Play award. Don's 5BDXCC was the first one issued to a ZS2. He has gone on to claim 8BDXCC, and is actively pursuing a DXCC on 1,8 MHz.

ZS2EZ: Barry Murrell started as a VHF DXer in Johannesburg before relocating to Port Elizabeth. He traded ZR6DXB for ZR2DX and then ZS2EZ. His main interest is in digital modes, where he has been the leading South African for some years, but he has healthy scores on both CW and SSB too. Barry was the first South African to obtain the ARRL WAS Triple Play award.

ZS4TX: Bernie van der Walt is my prime DXing and contesting buddy. Until recently, he had a serious contest station outside Bloemfontein. He now operates mostly from ZS9X, in contests and remotely. The two of us represented Africa at WRTC 2000 in Slovenia in July 2000, and at WRTC 2002 in Helsinki, Finland. At WRTC 2006 in Brazil, Bernie lead the African team while I had to take care of other commitments. He was a referee at WRTC 2014 in New England. Bernie's emphasis has moved away from DXing to contesting in the past few years, but he has maintained his place at the top of the DXCC Honour Roll through several entity additions. Previously, he was mainly active on the low bands. More recently, he has produced some spectacular action in contests on the high bands. Bernie holds DXCC and Worked all States on 1,8 MHz, but his crowning achievement must surely be his Worked All Zones award on that band. Bernie completed all zones within five years of starting on the band, becoming the first African to complete a full house. Bernie holds 10BDXCC and has all countries on Mixed and Phone DXCC. He is eagerly awaiting a North Korean station to complete CW too. He is the managing director of Mainserve Africa, a telecommunications company.

ZS5K: Greg Smith relocated to New Zealand as ZL3IX during 2000. He concentrates mainly on 1,8 MHz, from an impressive station with only home-built and self-designed equipment. Greg taught me the basics of low band DXing and serious low band contesting in the late Eighties, when he was ZS6BPL. He was the first to show the way in major contest efforts on 7 MHz from this part of the world, using a full-sized Yagi. From New Zealand, Greg has worked over 200 countries on 1,8 MHz.

ZS5LB: During 1999, Bert Lausecker moved into a retirement home. Bert Lausecker was the first South African with 5BDXCC, 5BWAS and 5BWAZ. He followed up this feat by being the first to earn DXCC, WAS and even All Africa Award on 1,8 MHz. For the first few years of the SA Band Country survey, Bert was the undisputed leader in the 10 Band and low band categories. As the area around his house developed, Bert had to resort to smaller and smaller antennas. From 1999, he was restricted to a small loop antenna of about 1 m diameter, below roof level. There is a full profile of Bert elsewhere on this Site, listing some of his operating achievements. Bert died on 2015-05-26 at the age of 94.

ZS6AJD: Tom Curry is another Old Timer, who had a spell of activity in Pretoria until 2005 or so. Tom squeezed his DXing into a busy retirement. Tom's track record includes having been a prime contender (with ZS5LB) for early 5BDXCCs, a quest that was interrupted by a transfer to the then Rhodesia. He is a retired broadcast station engineer, who home-brews most of his station accessories. He also has an impressive collection of Royal Dalton china.

ZS6AOO: Jim de Almeida was very active on the five "classic" bands, on SSB only. In the late 1990s, he emigrated to Portugal with his bride, and his scores have been stationary ever since. Even now, his scores on several bands are not to be sneered at. He is intermittently active as CT1HGS.

ZS6AVM: Norman Scully died in December 1999, after a very successful WARC band DXing career. His scores will stand proud for many years to come. His son Dave now uses the same callsign, and is also fairly active on the HF bands. Perhaps a new ZS6AVM listing will emerge in due course.

ZS6AXT: Ivo Chladek is a retired RF engineer and a UHF moonbounce afficionado. During solar cycle 23, he regularly descended to the depths of LF to make an appearance on 50 MHz. Ivo enjoys full time ham radio. Ivo became the second African ever to obtain DXCC on 50 MHz. He has not resumed his 50 MHz activity in cycle 24. However, given the poor quality of this cycle, his score will remain competitive for at least another decade. As of mid-2015, his score is still second highest in South Africa behind ZS6WB.

ZS6BTE: Ian Roberts has been a keen listener and VHF experimenter for a long time. He entered the 50 MHz listing from scratch during Cycle 23. During Cycle 24, he passed 100 countries worked. He is also interested in Moonbounce. I can attest from personal experience that Ian also plays a mean game of squash.

ZS6EU: Franz Taschl is now active only with a QRP transmitter, and only on CW. He was once one of South Africa's prime low band DXers, when his callsign was ZS5MY. Franz became interested in radio around 1950. He was an active short wave listener from the early Fifties, and learned Morse in the Austrian military around 1958. After two decades pursuing other interests (of the female persuasion...), Franz was licenced as ZS5MY in 1979. He earned DXCC in 1979, 5BDXCC in 1986, 5BWAS in 1988 and 5BWAZ in 1989. The first half of the Eighties were spent in Swaziland as 3DA0BK, operating 3,5 to 50 MHz and handing out a lot of DX in the process. He moved to Nelspruit in 1995, but only became active again as ZS6EU in 2005. He is now active with an Elecraft K2, a CW-only radio with less than 10 W output.

ZS6EZ: When not entangled in generating amateur radio paperwork like this, I work as a researcher and pilot. I spent many years with Nanoteq, an information security systems provider, and am now with the CSIR, our national research organisation. I am also a perennial part-time student, having been enrolled at university for something like 28 years in a variety of disciplines including engineering, language, astronomy, theology and psychology. I established a small flying school around 2003 and ran it for a decade, finally selling it as a going concern. I flew as a volunteer VIP jet pilot for the South African Air Force for some years. Since about 2000, my amateur radio had to take a back seat to the realities of making a living and raising my daughter. Since 2011, I've had the opportunity to work some DX again. I hope to get back into the odd bit of contesting again one day, probably on the low bands. My hilltop station has decayed as the site is being developed for a new housing estate. I'm left with just a tribander and some wires, driven by a small amplifier. DXing is still a lot of fun, but not half as much as it was with tall towers and big antennas! On the other hand, the Logbook of the World has added an exciting new dimension of instant gratification. Gone are the days of waiting years for a bureau QSL to confirm those routine new counters. My main pursuit right now is working new countries on RTTY and various bands. I hold 10BDXCC, 8BWAS, 5BWAZ, 9BAAA and the first-ever WAZS-500. I have all countries on Mixed and Phone, and need only North Korea on CW.

ZS6IR: Uli von Aswegen is a German citizen who spent some years in South Africa, and then returned for a series of semi-regular vacations in this country until 2002. He is now DF7EF in Bonn. He is a retired science teacher, and has travelled widely. He holds 5BDXCC and a number of other awards.

ZS6KR: Hans Kappetijn runs his own one-man electronics firm, developing various subsystems and gadgets and repairing radio and TV equipment. He claims to be semi-retired. He chases DX mainly on CW, on the "classic" bands only. He has achieved excellent results, including 5BDXCC, with a very modest station. Hans entered the CW DXCC Honour Roll in 2011, only the third South African to do so. As of 2015, he needs only five countries.

ZS6LW: Until 2002, Van van der Watt was the only South African ever to have worked all countries. He occupied the top spot on the DXCC Honor Roll throughout the Eighties. He died in July 2000. His interest in HF DXing waned in the last years of his life, but he did remain reasonably active on 50 MHz, and was one of the main contenders for the first DXCC from South Africa on this band. Unfortunately, he did not keep track of his single-band scores on HF. He would surely have been a serious contender on 14, 21 and 28 MHz.

ZS6NJ: Fanie was formerly ZS2NJ. During 2010, he retired to an antenna farm near Rustenburg, where he gradually raised a crop of serious antennas. He has accumulated respectable single-band scores, especially on the WARC bands. As of 2013, he is back in an urban complex with limited antennas.

ZS6NK: Paul Smit is a retired Air Force colonel. His station has Moonbounce capability on 50 and 144 MHz. His Polokwane location is some 300 km north of most of us, just enough to drive us all wild with envy when propagation just doesn't make it down to Gauteng on 50 MHz. Paul was the fourth South African, and the sixth African overall, to claim DXCC on 50 MHz. He continues to add Firsts by working countries that have never been worked on 50 MHz from South Africa before.

ZS6P: Tjerk Lammers is retired from an Automotive Climate Control Centre ("car air conditioner workshop" to us normal folks), and plays DX from an impressive station near Pretoria. A 7BDXCC hangs on his wall. I have guest-operated his station on 7 MHz, and can testify that the three element Yagi at 30 m works. He is mainly on Phone, and also dabbles in digital modes. He is active in amateur radio politics, as past chairman of the local radio club and long-time Awards Manager of the South African Radio League. Tjerk is a Life Member of the South African Radio League.

ZS6UT: Ed Willers was mainly on CW and on 1,8 MHz, but at times played on several other bands too. Ed has settled in a rural location near Cullinan, and is hoping to build some decent low band antennas again. He is retired from Eskom, the national power utility.

ZS6WB: Hal Lund retired in phases starting in 2000. For many years, he worked in the computer consumables and peripherals business. For some time, he ran the SARL's QSL bureau from his home. His main operating interest is 50 MHz, which he monitored continuously during the higher parts of sunspot cycles 21 to 23. When the solar cycle winds down, he plays on HF too. Indeed, for many years he was second on the all-band listings of the SA Band Country Survey. Hal is a long-time regular on the 50 MHz band, dating back to many Caribbean DXpeditions in the Sixties. In 1998, he became the first African to obtain DXCC on 50 MHz, despite stiff competition from stations further north. Hal lived on my farm for about five years, and our antennas were separated by only about 50 m. Before that, we spent many evenings planning DXploits over a meal. Hal is a source of equipment and assistance for many 50 MHz operations. In the past, activity has happened in exotic spots like 3DA, 7P, A2, C9, V5, ZD7, ZD8, ZS0, ZS8 and ZS9, mainly through Hal's nagging and assistance. Hal's activity during this cycle has been hampered by a noisy location. During 2015, he moved into a better location that promises to provide better DXing opportunities.

ZS6YQ (later ZS6M): Bushy Roode died in May 2005, a few weeks after a massive stroke. He had spent most of his operating time on SSB. On the 2000 DXCC Honor Roll, he was the top South African on Phone and second on Mixed. He was mainly a 14 MHz specialist--only two countries remained unworked on that band at his death. Bushy worked all countries, but never managed to get DXCC credit for his Yemen contact. He was a collector and restorer of Collins equipment, and only started playing with bells-and-whistles Icom stuff in his last few years. Bushy was as active in his church and its welfare programme as he was on the amateur radio bands.

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