Working Bee – VK6RCT 28/9/14

After some time off the air, sitting in silence, it is now time to continue the work at VK6RCT to re-instate the repeater, give the site a spring clean and overhaul in time for the summer months.

The proposed date for this is Sunday 28th September 2014, with the plan being for an early departure from Perth with an arrival time allowing us to (all going according to plan) complete the required work and site clean within the day. As with all our repeater sites, we rely on the time and effort of our members and the wider amateur community as a whole and given the remoteness of this site all available hands that could be mustered for the day would be greatly appreciated.

A suitable meeting point and agenda for the day will be arranged and distributed when tasks are confirmed and we have an idea on numbers. Site manager Craig VK6FLAM is coordinating the effort on the day and will be conducting a briefing before work starts. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact VK6FLAM directly on (vk6flam at g mail dot com) via email, or advise on the Sunday morning nets in the weeks beforehand. (The net is on VK6RLM at 1030 local).

For those who haven’t attended a site working bee for a while, or who haven’t been to Cataby site, the information below refers:

WARG will appoint team leaders or co-ordinators for the working bee to ensure everyone goes home safely – these person/s will be identified to you on the day, please follow their instructions.

The Cataby repeater site is on private farmland, and prior permission is required for access. No entry for pets or other animals. Leave all gates as found, and take care not to disturb livestock, damage any crop or contaminate water supplies (eg: no hand washing in stock troughs or similar). Even though it is a lower risk time of year, fire precautions should also be taken. All rubbish and waste items must be removed from the site at the conclusion of the works.

Cataby is located some two hours north of Perth. Those attending the site need to have adequate fuel for the journey to & from, and ensure their vehicles are in good order and suitable for country driving, including gravel roads. The repeater site itself is not readily accessible by 2WD vehicle. Therefore arrangements will need to be made with the working team beforehand so everyone has suitable transport from the base of the hill to the site if required.

The site is unattended, with no mains power connected, and no toilets or other facilities of any kind. It is your responsibility to bring with you everything you will need for the day, including food, and water for drinking & washing, etc. There is little indoor space to shelter from the elements, so hats, sunglasses & sunscreen, or rain wear etc should be carried, depending on the weather forecasts. Other personal protective equipment (PPE) such as boots, hardhat, gloves, safety glasses, earplugs etc may be required, depending on the work we are doing – if you have your own PPE, please bring it along. Likewise bring a first aid kit if you have one, although some first aid supplies will be available on site.

The Cataby site is shared with other users, and their equipment & presence must be respected. There are no services on site which pose an EMC or radiation hazard at ground level, but keep the usual distance from antennas and equipment you are not familiar with. Some structures on the site may contain asbestos, the usual precautions should apply here. Radio masts shall only be climbed by appropriately qualified or experienced people with the correct safety equipment.

The site is in a scrub/bushland setting, and – especially in summer – care must be taken not to do anything which may start a fire. Extra care must be taken with the use of gas soldering irons, power tools, or clearing work likely to cause sparks. Smokers should be especially careful – or preferably, quit! (At least for the day…)

In addition there may be the usual hazards associated with bushland, including spiders & snakes – wear long pants and closed shoes, preferably safety boots. Take care when moving near bush areas.

Besides your tool box, multimeter, SWR meter and handheld radios, useful items to bring to a repeater site working bee could include: insect spray; stepladder & garden tools for trimming tree limbs and clearing scrub from guy wires; rags, brushes and cleaners for removing dust from equipment; camera & notepad for documenting things; heavy cable ties, black electrical tape, silastic sealant; coax joiners & adaptors….  this list is not exhaustive. In the end, what you bring to a working bee is limited only by your transport, imagination and what’s in your shack – but remember it is your responsibility for keeping track of items you bring to site, and making sure you get them back at the end of the day.

Pets & small children should not be part of a working bee. If you are caring for children and have no choice but to bring them, it is your responsibility to supervise them, keep them out of harm’s way, and prevent them becoming a risk to others.