Category Archives: APRS

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.

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

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.

Warradarge – New site for coverage to Geraldton

In November, Martin VK6ZMS, Heath VK6TWO and Monique VK6FMON traveled to a potential new site in Warradarge to assess the suitability for extending 2m Voice and APRS coverage up to Geraldton.

Warradarge is aproximately 260km north of Perth along the Brand Highway, and about 180km NLOS SSE of Geraldton.

A 10m mast was raised to enable some propagation/coverage testing from the 290m HASL Warradarge Hill.

The VK6RPT  2m APRS Digipeater was installed, along with 4.5dB antenna, deep cycle battery and 80W solar.

APRS packets from Warradarge have been received by VK6RCT, VK6RTH, VK6REX and VK6RAV.

Performance from the site has been much less than expected so a higher gain antenna will replace the current one to better assess the site for suitability.

Great thanks goes to Craig VK6FLAM who did a lot of the prep-work for this trip, but unfortunately had a last minute emergency which stopped him from attending.

It’s expected that 2012 should see permanent APRS and 2m Voice in this area, enabling coverage from Geraldton through to Cateby.

Cataby VK6RCT Working Bee – APRS

December 2011 saw a working bee at the Cataby repeater site.

Party consisted of Craig VK6FLAM, Graham VK6LV, Heath VK6TWO and Monique VK6FMON.

Activities consisted of:

APRS installation – Antenna/Coax/TNC/25W Radio/Lightning protection

2m Voice – Cavity Sweep/tune, Lightning protection, 5w handheld into antenna to reach VK6RAP.

Batteries – voltage/charge monitoring

Mast – Inspection

The Batteries were identified as requiring replacement. APRS voltage beacons indicate that overnight the voltage is reaching as low as 12v, then rising during sunlight hours.

Foliage in the area has increased significantly since the last visit so some fire prevention maintenance may be required.

VK6RAV – Hoddy’s Well (Avon Valley) – 2m + APRS

Hoddy’s Well, ~100km East of Perth now has APRS and 2m FM Voice repeaters.

Coverage ranges from Perth to the East right through to Kellerberrin.

Voice Repeater consists of the old VK6RAV from Northam.

APRS equipment consists of an Argent Data OT2 Digipeater coupled to a 25W radio.

The VK6RAV 2m Voice repeater can be accessed on 147.275+

APRS on 145.175

Both services were fully operational as of Aug 2011

Many thanks to Jim VK6CA, Craig VK6FLAM, Rob VK6UFO, Heath VK6TWO, Martin VK6ZMS, Monique VK6FMON.

Kellerberrin VK6RKN – On-Air!

Kellerberrin, ~200km East of Perth now has APRS and 2m FM Voice repeaters.

Coverage is approximately a 50km+ radius, from Cunderdin to the West, through to the East of Meerredin.

Voice Repeater consists of two PRM80 25W radios controlled by an NHRC repeater controller.

APRS equipment consists of an Argent Data OT2 Digipeater coupled to a 25W radio.

The VK6RKN 2m Voice repeater can be accessed on 147.325+

APRS on 145.175

Both services were fully operational as of Nov 2011

This sites extends the coverage from Perth to the East for almost 300Km.

Many thanks to Bruce VK6LAW, Craig VK6FLAM, Peter VK6FUN, Heath VK6TWO, Martin VK6ZMS, Monique VK6FMON.

Perth-Geraldton site propagation testing

Xmas/New Years period will see a week of propagation testing from potential site ~345m HASL up in the hills about 170km south of Geraldton, 75km north of Cateby. Temporary equipment including APRS 145.175 and VK6RLM 146.750 repeater will be running from the site from 26th Dec 2010 till ~2nd/3rd Jan2011. APRS will consist of a Digipeater and frequent beaconing (25W & 50W). Equipment will be powered by 120W solar panel, with antenna mounted on a 15m mast. Keep an ear out on both frequencies and let us know on warg @ warg.org.au if you hear anything.