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.

Equipment Check day – Sunday June 23rd – all welcome

WARG will be hosting a “Check your equipment” day at our usual venue, Peter Hughes Scout Communications Centre, on Sunday 23 June 2013, starting at 11am.

The purpose of the “Check your equipment” day is an opportunity for Amateurs to bring along their own equipment to be tested using professional-quality calibrated instruments.
Testing will focus on the usual RF parameters, so if you are wondering about your rig’s deviation or modulation limits, S Meter accuracy, receiver sensitivity or the like, now you can find out for sure. Likewise your other station equipment – whether your SWR-Power meter reads correctly, or your dummy load is a good 50 ohm match on all the bands; and so on.

WARG will supply professional quality test equipment and knowledgeable people to drive it. We will also provide the usual 13.8V DC and mains AC power supplies

You will need to bring your equipment, and all accessories required for it to operate on test,like the power cables, microphone, and any other specialist items. If you’re bringing one or more handhelds, ensure the batteries are well charged.

We’ll be set up to fully check equipment operating from 160m through to 70cm, mainly in analogue-based modes, such as SSB or CW, and FM, and RF power levels from QRP to the legal limit.

We will be able to check function and basic accuracy of RF power and SWR meters, and impedance match and frequency response of dummy loads or RF filters. We can also do resonance sweeps of some VHF/ UHF antennas, .

We may be able to test other things … if you aren’t sure, bring it along! As long as it can be safely powered up on the bench, we can advise on the day. Or if you can offer to test certain equipment, please let us know.

For each item tested we will give you a written summary sheet, outlining performance.

Note that we won’t be geared up to to repair or realign equipment – but we will be happy to give advice if we find anything amiss. (If anyone wants to consider working on their own gear, there may be a corner available – but BYO tools and everything…!)

Cost of all this is only a gold coin donation per tested item (depending on how many bands you want tested – thorough tests of multiband/mode rigs will take longer, and will thus warrant additional donation). WARG members – or those who join WARG on the day – can have some items tested free. (WARG membership is still only $25.00).

With events like the RD contest and Hamfest not far away, June 23rd is a good opportunity to put your gear through its paces

The equipment check day will start around 11 am, and we need to be packed up by around 4 pm. A sausage-sizzle lunch, soft drinks, tea and coffee and afternoon snacks will be available, all at reasonable prices, Funds raised will go into keeping our repeaters on the air

We would appreciate RSVP, for catering purposes, and also to get an idea of how much equipment we have to test. Also we are looking for volunteers to help on the day – whether you have professional-grade radio comms test setup you can bring – or are willing to help on the day, cooking the sausage sizzle etc, all assistance would be appreciated.

Email us through the Contact Page, or call in to our on-air net, Sundays at 10:30 local on VK6RLM, 146.750.

So, we hope to see you at WARG’s “Check Your Equipment” day, June 23rd, Sunday, 11am to 4pm, Peter Hughes Scout Communications Centre, corner Gibbs St and Welshpool Rd East Cannington.

BR & 73,
Anthony VK6AXB

New DSTAR Repeater in Perth

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.

VK6RTH – Tic Hill – Site Working Bee – Wed 11th July

A successful working bee at Tic Hill was carried out on 11th July.

Work carried out consisted of:

APRS antenna stand-off replacement (to keep antenna vertical)

INOX placed in batteries and placed on high charge (via 2KW petrol Generator)

Reconnection of all 6x Solar panels (total 350W) with each pair isolated

Current measurement of all/individual equipment at site (Standby, power-up and TX)

WAFN antennas/cabling/equipment replacement/tidy up and new solar pannel/batteries installed (not independant power system)

Thanks to 6POP, 6JAH, 6TWO,6ZRW, 6FLEX,WAFN

Pogo-Stick Antenna Working Bee – Saturday 14th July

Saturday morning 14th July will saw a club working bee to manufacture our famous ‘Pogo-Stick’ antennas for sale at the Anual Perth Hamfest.

Mass production of all of the ‘parts’ took off quite quickly, however the assembly hit a ‘road block’ when it came to optimising/refining the design. Several hours were spent ‘tweaking’ and testing with very expensive test equipment till we came up with a final build which enabled the antenna to be usable across the entire 2m band.

Along with several saussages in bread, the assembly line was back in full swing.

~20 antennas were completed and individually tested.

Thanks to 6HRB, Dot, 6ZRW, ZRW-Jr, 6AXB, 6JAH, 6FMON, 6TWO, 6LV, 6FLEX, 6BDO, 6FJON, 6KMC, 6ZMS,TOM.

 

Anual Perth Hamfest – 5th Aug 2012

WARG will again be attending the Anual Perth Hamfest.

As usual, the ‘WARG Shop’ will be selling Coax (213 & 58), connectors and antennas.

WARG welcomes any members to bring along any gear you wish to sell on the WARG table  (please let us know how much you intend to bring so that we can manage table space).

As always, the WARG Membership Officer will be present which will be a great opportunity to join the club, or renew your membership.

New Perth Repeater Site – VK6RLM

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.

Video Webconferencing Trials

In 2011 Heath VK6TWO started researching the use of ‘WebConferencing’ for use at committee and planning meetings. This was brought on by several key active members often working away from the Perth area which made attending/arranging meetings rather difficult.

Given recent discussion and interest in the idea, further research has been done and the committee have trialed several solutions for suitability for GM’s, Practical sessions, Committee meetings and planning meetings.

It’s expected that we may end up with two soltions aimed at differnt uses. First being a featureful and interactive solution to enable effective planning and committee meetings, and the second being for general meetings so that members can ‘attend’ via webconference.  This should enable more time to be spent on ‘making progress’ instead of driving in the car to/from meetings.

Further testing will continue by the committee, potentially for some initial ‘planning’ and once the best solution is decided on, the GM preferred solution will be sent out to enable members to remotely attend meetings.