Due to the previous location of VK6RFM being unavailable in the future, there was a requirement for it to be relocated this year.
On Sunday 12 July VK6RFM was transferred from the QTH of VK6KW to the “Equipment Enclosure” at the Wireless Hill Museum, installed in the VHF Group’s Beacon Rack, connected to the shared (with VK6BBS) collinear antenna and switched on at ~ 15:10H.
Subsequent tests all the way home to VK6KW proved that it was working as expected.
The mains power supply is a Yaesu FP-700 which draws 31W supplying 14v09 on idle/standby and 182W supplying 14v03 on Tx Hi. – It had been proving for ~72 hours and all seemed very happy together just warm enough to prevent condensation.
It was noted that there is some annoying local interference on the output frequency but the repeater seems happy on air.
Report thanks to Bob VK6KW
A big thank you to the WA VHF Group for providing WARG with a new home for the VK6RFM Repeater.
Just uploaded a new page for repeater coverage maps. At this stage for the Perth Metro area only, but more will follow shortly.
Also going to try and embed a google maps interface so you can zoom in on any sections you wish to see more detail for an area.
You will find the link at the top of the “Repeater” page via the menu. The repeater page has also been upgraded to provide a better view of all repeaters and services in the one place. It also makes it easier to manage from a web site point of view 🙂
A short notice to members just reminding all that a working bee has been scheduled for Tic Hill, by Site Manager Bob VK6POP. The Bee is scheduled for Friday May 15th 2015, Meeting is at 0930, Liason Frequency for the morning will be the star of the day, Tic Hill (146.800). If you are planning on attending to assist, please notify Bob via the reflector.
A number of tasks require attention including installation of solar panels (if anyone is able to climb a mast, please contact Bob), installation of a regulator, servicing of the batterys and a general site cleanup and tidy.
For those who haven’t attended a site working bee for a while, or who haven’t been to the Tic Hill 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 repeater site is on private land, 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.
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 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 site is shared with other users, and their equipment & presence must be respected. 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.
As there have been ongoing problems with the VK6RWN DSTAR Gateway server, it’s been removed from site and connected at Heath VK6TWO’s QTH for remote maintenance by the DSTAR Guru’s.
To assist in getting Perth DSTAR users back ‘online’, Heath VK6TWO is in the process of building a standalone DSTAR Repeater Node which will enable registered DSTAR users to ‘connect’ to the worldwide DSTAR network.
Testing is currently in progress and it’s expected that the node will go live late July.
Negotiations are in place for a new WARG repeater site. Coverage is expected to be the majority of the Perth are.
It’s expected that the site will be used for hosting VK6RLM after a long period without a home. Once installed, Echo/IRLP is expected to be connected up to the repeater to enable a broader coverage Echolink/IRLP round Perth.
Bringing RLM back on air will enable all of the regular ‘nets’ to relocate back to 146.750, allowing VK6RAP to be free for general/mobile voice traffic.
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.
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.
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…
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
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.
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.
sweep/tune a complete set of new cavities for Tic Hill
sweep/tune/test other cavities in container
test/refurbish spare antennas in container
Repeater theory – Learn how a repeater works, what parts there are, what functions are available
building up spare repeaters
Program up APRS digipeaters x3
Manufacture/mount APRS enclosures x3
presentation on APRS graphs/monitoring
Brainstorming/presenting smart controller features for smart linking
old network design
current network design
future network design
System Expansion planning
System refurbishment planning
Build new DC distribution boards x3
testing of old Walliston Batteries
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.