REAST AGM and 2017 Committee

Last Sunday REAST held it’s AGM. A modest number of members attended and reports from President, Secretary and Treasurer followed by reports from Ex-Officio officers. Members heard that the Association is currently started a path of change with an increase in activities and further changes will occur this year as a result of the changing lease arrangements and introduction of NBN at the clubrooms. The financials for the Association were in good shape, with a loss for the year attributed to the purchase of new assets.

A committee was elected, with the only change from last year being Scott VK7LXX appointed as secretary as Sean VK7FAZE has stepped down for the year to focus on other projects. Congratulations to all members of the incoming committee. The REAST Committee for 2017 is:

President:            Ben Short VK7BEN
Vice-President:       Justin Giles-Clark VK7TW
Secretary:            Scott Bragg VK7LXX
Treasurer:            Alan Jeffrey VK7KAJ
Committee Members:    Larry Hower VK7WLH
                      Barry McCann 

Draft Minutes for the AGM & reports will be placed on the members only section of the website shortly.

From Maxwell to Marconi – A History of Electrical Radio

February Presentation by Mike VK7MJ

February Presentation by Mike VK7MJ

Last week REAST held it’s first major presentation for the year with Mike Groth VK7MJ taking the audience through a history of radio from Maxwell up until the time of Marconi, where signals were largely generated in the form of electrical spark and modulation of the spark. This was the time of spark gap transmitters and who knew it would be so interesting!

Mike presentation took us through how a spark transmitter was tuned, how a coherer, magnetic, electrolytic and crystal detectors worked, and the role wireless played in the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. We learnt about the early attempts at wireless telephony, the development of the HF alternator and the infamous Pousen Arc converter, and Fessenden’s pioneering Christmas broadcast of 1905.

For those who missed the presentation, we will soon have it up on our Youtube Channel, so watch out for that!

NBN to Improve Member Services

Contractors installing conduit

For those visiting the REAST Clubrooms in the last couple of weeks, you may have noticed that there have  been some rather significant trenches being dug outside and down the hill. This has been to install the conduit for the National Broadband Network (NBN) Fibre.

There have been quite a few difficulties in being able to install the NBN to the REAST clubrooms given the location on top of the Queens Domain – The eventual solution has been an aerial installation of the fibre along  powerlines that come near to the clubrooms before completing the distance with underground conduit – no small feat considering that after about 2 feet you hit solid dolomite rock!

The NBN will allow us to provide many new and exciting services to members via the internet, mainly through the much improved network speeds that will enable the ability to use many of the online streaming services to provide live streams. The REAST Committee also have a few other tricks up their sleeve so be sure to watch this space!

 

LCA2017 Open Radio Mini Conference

LCA Casino by @taniawalker

Last Monday members of REAST were proud to be able to take part in and present at the Linux Conference Australia 2017 as part of the Open Radio Mini Conference at Wrest Point Convention Centre.

Linux Conference Australia is a weeklong event, with a number of 1 day mini conferences held over the first days of the event followed by 3 days of main event and selected presentations.

There were a number of fantastic talks at the event on Satellites, Getting into Amateur Radio, HPSDR, 10GHZ EME, Hamlib along with a panel discussion. One of the fantastic things about LCA was that all the sessions have been recorded and placed on Youtube, with the links below:

 

All Sessions were well attended with anywhere between 30 and 50+ people sitting in the room listening to the presentations

Also at the conference was Steve Conklin AI4QR who presented as part of the main conference on the Phase 4 Geosynchronous Satellite Efforts in progress with AMSAT. This was a fascinating presentation and can be found by following this link.

Special thanks to Scott VK7LXX who was the organiser of the successful mini conference. Scott was also one of the core conference volunteers being responsible for mini conference liaison and maintaining the Linux.conf.au Website. Well done Scott!

 

Saying Adieu to DATV Studio

Last Wednesday evening a small group of members gathered at the REAST club rooms to disassemble the DATV studio, in preparation for the rear shed being redeveloped by Tasmanian Maritime Radio (TMR) to move their operations hub into.

Amateur Television has played a large part of REAST, with the first broadcasts occurring from VK7OTC in 2005, in a makeshift studio, before moving to it’s own studio in 2010. Broadcasts started out as analogue before moving to DVB-S then DVB-T transmissions.

Digital Amateur Television broadcasts are planned to make a return in 2017 with the studio relocating into space currently used by TMR after they move to the redeveloped rear building. It will be an exciting time with the opportunity to rebuild the studio.

REAST club rooms will continue to open on Wednesday evening with other activities including satellite communications, software defined radio and homebrewing, along with all the regular show-and-tell and discussions you know and love!

AMSAT-VK National Net December 2016

The last AMSAT-VK national radio net was held tonight with VK7LXX and VK7BEN participating via Echolink. They were greeted by regulars Judy VK2TJU, Bob VK2AOR and George VK2WEL.

Tonight’s net saw discussion about the new Chinese satellite being launched on December 26 with the designation BY70-1. The 2U Cubesat will have a V/U FM transponder with an uplink frequency of 145.920 MHz and a downlink frequency of 436.200 MHz. Further information can be found on the AMSAT NA Website.

Additional activity discussion centred around SO-50 operation and techniques to access it. Scott filled the group in with his progress in making a SatNOG base station and Ben discussing the recent attempts being made at the REAST clubrooms by Justin VK7TW and Danny VK7HDM.

Thanks to Judy for hosting the national net, and we will do it all again in February 2017!

Interest in Satellites is Blasting Off!

20161124004318-5ff90c6cIn recent months an interesting phenomena has been occurring on Wednesday evenings at the REAST clubrooms. More and more you see one or more members huddled around a radios while pointing Yagi antennas at the sky and gently bobbing the antennas around as if they were fly fishing. Irrespective of the mean comments that these members may have gone a bit batty, there is indeed increased interest in making contacts via a number of orbiting satellites as they orbit the Earth.

Interest started growing around August with Larry VK7WLH bringing allow his hand held Arrow Antenna for Low Earth Orbit (LEO). This piqued the interest of several members and soon saw the purchase of more LEO type Yagis to work the Satellites. Wednesday nights have been largely spent trying to work out the optimum passes for the most well known satellites and then trying to hear the Beacon, or more recently establish a 2-way contact with other operators through the satellite. Below we have a video of Justin VK7TW listening for satellite beacons:

Are you interested is working the ‘birds? got to get some satellite satisfaction? Why not come up to one of our Wednesday night meetings to find out more, or visit the AMSAT Australia website for even more information and signing up to their mail list.

Saturday Member Day 8/10

SDR PresentationWe had another fantastic Saturday member day up at the clubrooms!

Martin VK7MA was quick to show off his CW skills that he has been working on along with his Morse key using the club radio and was quick to make a QSO. In a hobby that is seeing so much progress being made in new digital modes such as FreeDV and WSJT, seeing people learning one of the first forms of radio communication is fantastic!

Ben VK7BEN brought up his home radio, a Yaesu FTDX-1200 which has recently had an FFT-1 board installed in it, with the promise of it being able to decode CW, PSK and RTTY on the radio, along with waterfall display.

Definitely the highlight of the day was Scott VK7LXX giving a practice run to attendees of his upcoming Ruxcon security conference presentation on using the popular RTL-2832 based TV tuners for computers as software defined radios and how they could be used for decoding LIPD signals, pager messages and many other signals heard in the spectrum! Thanks Scott!

We’ll be opening the clubrooms again on 29th October from 11am. This is around the same time at the CQWW SSB Contest starts, so we might try and operate the club station VK7OTC for part of the contest!

See you there!

October Presentation – Antarctic Communication and Science Programs

AAD PresentationKim Briggs VK7KB gave a fantastic presentation on support the Scientific Program run by the Australian Antarctic Division with some communications references as well.

Kim started off with the Aurora Australis ship and the many different aspects that it is used for and how it is used. It is a very versatile ice-breaking science platform that is leased from P&O.

Throughout the talk there was references to the many many projects and programs that Kim has been involved in – from camera mounts, trawling, echo sounder refits, operating maritime mobile, calibrations, battery packs, data collection, whale recorders, Conductivity, Temperature, Depth instruments, etc. Kim has been involved in it!

We ran out of time for the communications presentation so we have booked Kim in for that presentation next year.

We finished of with many questions and ran a video from one of the trawl camera showing the sea bed at a variety of depths down to over 500m.

A huge thanks you to Kim and we look forward to the sequel.

The talk was videoed and will be played at this Wednesday night’s DATV Experimenter’s night.

(73, Justin, VK7TW)