Author Archives: Ray - VK6ZRW

VK6RCT – Cateby has new battery power

Cateby has recently had a couple of site visits. For quite some time the batteries at Cateby have been in a poor state and the 2m voice repeater went ‘off air’. APRS data showed that the battery voltage (particularly overnight) was very low. Thanks to Ray VK6ZRW who donated a 180Ah battery for the site. The battery was installed by Matt VK6MRG on his way through to Parabardoo. After a Low Voltage Cutout reset, the voice repeater came alive again and was usable for aproximately 50km north on the Brand Highway. Within a couple of days, it was noticed that the 2m repeater wasn’t accessible again. Ray VK6ZRW called in to the site on his way back from Canarvon to find that a coax lead from the Cavities to the Rx had failed. Since the cable was replaced with a new purpose built one, signal reports indicate 2m voice ‘back to normal’. Many thanks to all involved.

Fremantle (VK6RFM) has a new antenna.

The Fremantle repeater VK6RFM now has it’s new antenna installed thanks to Bob VK6KW.

Coverage and Signal reports so far show a significant increas in the repeaters coverage compared to the temporary discone antenna.

Some have reported that the signal is better than the previous repeater location, whilst others have reported that it’s slightly lower. This is to be expected as it’s physically in a different geographical location, as well as using a new antenna with different gain and radiation pattern.

We plan to do some more testing/tweaking on the Cavity Filters to improve on the repeaters performance.

Please let us know any signal/coverage reports.

Echo/IRLP is also back online. It was ofline for a short period as the Echo/IRLP ‘node’ couldn’t access the repeater with it’s temporary antenna.

MAY AGM

We have the AGM comming up on May 12th.

The AGM is also WARG’s ‘financial year’ which means that anual membership subscriptions are due.

Get your payments in early to enable you to nominate for a committee position and/or vote for who you want on the committee.

The Anual Newsletter formally detailing the AGM will be going out in April so keep an eye on your mailbox.

Ask all of your HAM buddies if they are a WARG member and encourage them to support a good cause.

WARG Practical and Information sessions – Meetings

WARG is changing the way meetings are run to include more informational/practical sessions. We’re considering bi-monthly General Meetings, where the alternate month will involve informational/practical sessions. We’re also looking at the restructure of formal General Meetings to ‘compress’ the formalities to enable simular informative sessions to follow.

Please let us know any topics you’d like to learn about related to Repeaters/AR.

Some Ideas we have so far…

Meeting:

Radio measurements – Bring along your mobile/HT radios and we’ll test things like audio levels, deviation, power output, frequency shift etc.
Learn how/why different stations sound different via the repeaters

Meeting:

Roleystone site visit – Come along and see what a repeater site looks like.
Learn about all of the devices required for a repeater, how they connect, and what they look like.

Meeting:

WARG network and features – Learn what repeaters are out there and what features they have availabale to users.
APRS network – Learn what APRS digipeaters/gateways are out there and what features they have availabale to users.

Meeting:

sweep/tune a complete set of new cavities for Tic Hill
sweep/tune/test other cavities in container
test/refurbish spare antennas in container

Meeting:

Repeater theory – Learn how a repeater works, what parts there are, what functions are available
building up spare repeaters

Meeting:

Program up APRS digipeaters x3
Manufacture/mount APRS enclosures x3
presentation on APRS graphs/monitoring

Meeting:

Brainstorming/presenting smart controller features for smart linking
old network design
current network design
future network design
System Expansion planning
System refurbishment planning

Meeting:

Build new DC distribution boards x3
testing of old Walliston Batteries

Fremantle VK6RFM’s new QTH – Echolink/IRLP

The Fremantle repeater VK6RFM has now settled into it’s new home.
Coverage from the new QTH i currently limited due to suspected cavity issues (thanks to a lightning strike) and being run off atemporary discone antenna.

March should see the cavities either retuned or replaced, and see the installation of a new co-linear antenna which should see the repeater back to full operation.

Due to current coverage limitations, the Echolink/IRLP access node hosted by VK6DN can’t get into the repeater so use of this service is currently ‘out-of-order’. It’s expected that with the work on the cavities and the new antenna that Echolink and IRLP services will return to operation.

Thanks to Don VK6DN, James VK6FJA, Bob VK6KW, Anthony VK6AXB, John VK6JAH and Heath VK6TWO for their wok on the relocation and getting the repeater back into service.

23cm DSTAR Digital Voice now on air!

Perth now has 23cm DSTAR Digital Voice coverage from the Roleystone repeater site thanks to the purchase of a 23cm diplexer.

Coverage on 23cm from this site is yet to be field tested but computer generated coverage plots show that it is quite healthy.

Members are encouraged to purchase Icom ID-1 23cm DSTAR/FM mobile radios or an Icom IC-9100 (with 23cm and DSTAR options fitted) to utilise. DSTAR home brew is also becomming quite popular so perhaps give this a try too.

Thanks to Rob VK6LD for spotting the cavity purchase opportunity, and VK6TWO for the purchase and installation.

Victoria Park 70cm Repeater

The Vic Park 70cm repeater VK6RVP was returned to the Vic Park area in 2011. The repeater is currently only running on a Discone antenna so the repeater range is quite limited. When time/equipment permits, The repeater will have a dual band co-linear(previously used for this repeater) installed which should help improve it’s coverage. The new location is less ideal than its location over the past few years, and with a lower mast, though it’s expected that it will still be sufficeient to give coverage to the CBD as was it’s original purpose.

Thanks to William VK6KWT, VK6TWO and VK6FMON for the installation.

APRS Telemetry scripting

Rob VK6UFO has been busy working on a script to configure the reporting of telemetry data from the Argent OT2 APRS units at WARG sites. The telemetry reports and graphs information such as battery voltage and temperature. With minimal ancillary hardware, other information can also be ‘beaconed’ such as RF output, SWR, Current etc. These additional features will evolve to our sites where the existing repeater hardware supports it.

Many thanks to Rob VK6UFO for his work on this.

Roleystone Working Bee – 18th Feb 2012

Another productive ~5hr working bee at Roleystone on Feb 18th. Tasks carried out were:

New Cavities swept, tuned and tested on 146.700
Old Cavities swept and tuned (then returned to service – new ones will now go to Tic Hill)
Foliage under Guy Wires removed
Foliage around Shacks removed
Foliage around HF Beacon Antenna removed
Foliage along driveway removed
Mute levels adjusted
re terminated 23cm coax connector
took measurements in preparation for cable tray between mast and shack.
Took several photos
Consumed Coffee
Consumed Muffins
Consumed Smartie Choc Chip Cookies
Suffered many prickles/thorns/splinters from bushes.

Thanks to those who gave signal reports at the time. We’d appreciate if everyone could give an indication of access coverage since the changes.

Sweep plots were captured and will either get published on the WARG website or emailed out on this list. (please contact me if you would like me to send you a copy directly)

We will require another working bee at some stage in the near future to:

Install cable tray
recover coax/ethernet cables from Mast
Possibly swap main antenna (pending changes to coverage reports)
Commission 3rd run of LDF5-50 (already installed)
remove foliage around perimeter/fire break
Level checks on audio interfaces (repeaters and news link)
Sweep DSTAR 2m Cavities
General tidy up of cable routing within shack
Possibly recommission VK6BBR
Document cables/connectors/interfaces for all equipment (for site database)

Many Thanks to VK6TWO, VK6FMON, Bruno, VK6AIF, VK6ZRW, VK6DB, VK6AXB, VK6LV, VK6JAH, VK6ZMS