REAST and the DATV QSO Party 202

Friday 28th August 2020 saw the Digital Amateur TeleVision (DATV) QSO (Contacts) Party/Gathering.

This took place virtually via Zoom with Peter Cossins VK3BFG as the Master of Ceremonies from locked-down VK3!

The celebration was due to Peter and Amateur Radio Victoria having VK3RTV back up and going after it’s move from the Dandenongs to Mount View / Mt Waverley.

The Friday night focused on contacts from around VK (Australia) with the following stations participating:

VK2CRJ – Gary, VK2LGW – Luke, VK7OTC – Justin, VK7AX – Tony, VK3BCU – Neil, VK3CH – Mick,
VK3ATV – John, VK3WV – Dennis, VK3CSJ – Clint, VK3WWW – Jack, VK5BD – Bevan, VK5KJG – John,
VK5YYY – Roger, VK5MSD – Steven, VK5DMC – David, VK5ALX – Alex

Each station zooming into Peter VK3BFG either directly or via their local ATV repeater which was then linked via Zoom. Each station had a couple time slots to show a wide variety of activities, equipment, events, etc.

  

Peter VK3BFG shared a segment from one of the local VK3 Amateur Radio Clubs about the DATV QSO Party – Extract from NEVARC News

REAST Returns to the Clubrooms

Members were greeted to a friendly message on the whiteboard thanks to Paul VK7FPCL – our wonderful Clubroom’s Officer who has been ensuring that everything is wiped down between meetings and keeping us COVID -safe with supplies. A huge thank you to Paul.

Last Wednesday night was a joint welcome back to the club rooms and Presentation Night on the ICOM IC9700 Experiences and Learnings. We had about 20 people along to the presentation in person and had over 20 on the streaming channel. It was a group effort with input from Rex VK7MO, Richard VK7ZBX, Hayden VK7HH, Alan VK7KAJ and Larry VK7WLH all of whom have IC-9700s. 

A video of the presentation is available to the REAST Youtube channel – https://youtu.be/nYM5kgTF4SA.

Rex started with an outline of the IC-9700 functionality and comparison with the IC-910H. This led to whether you could effectively operate the rig out of the box. Some impressions where shared, the question of frequency stability was explored and the various GPS Locking options were explored with Rex, Alan and Hayden. Then Rex continued with 23cm operation, Digital/EME operation and Linear/Transverter operation.

Richard then took the audience through a comprehensive outline of using the IC-9700 for satellite operation including a recording taken of a contact with VK4MIR.

The presentation then moved to key configuration items that can be/need to be tweaked to improve including – Rex outlined the HM-36 Mic Mod and Hayden did a promo for his digital modes setup and firmware update videos.

https://youtu.be/rhu6fRz6Z3g

https://youtu.be/crYCBeu1yR4

Hayden then took the audience through the Remote Operating Software from ICOM – RA-BA1.

https://youtu.be/Mkhekwg0UE4

Larry finished up with a description of the WIN4ICOM software which also has remote control capability.

We then took questions from the audience and stream and retired to enjoy the clubrooms again!

Thanks to Rex VK7MO, Hayden VK7HH, Alan VK7KAJ, Richard VK7ZBX and Larry VK7WLH.

A great return to the clubrooms.

73, Justin VK7TW on behalf of the REAST Committee

REAST Virtual Club Gathering – DSTAR

The REAST club virtual gathering for June 2020 focused on Digital Smart Technology over Amateur Radio or DSTAR thanks to Clayton VK7ZCR and Scott VK7HSE.

Clayton and Scott covered a short history and we learnt that DSTAR is an ICOM proprietary system using the AMBI chip set that predates DMR.

If DSTAR users wish to use gateways then a user is required to register using the ICOM registration system, this enables a user to talk through repeaters and gateways.

There are four DSTAR repeaters around VK7 – VK7RCR, VK7RAD, VK7RRR and VK7RJG and access to all repeaters and gateways are available via these repeaters.

Scott covered DPRS which is the DSTAR equivalent of APRS or Automatic Position Reporting Service – most DSTAR radios have GPS within them and can automatically report position at a user defined interval.

The DSTAR equipment available is mainly ICOM equipment including: ID1, IC2200H(with DSTAR option), ID51, IC9700, IC7100, IC5100, IC4100 and Kenwood D74. All these transceivers will work with VK7RCR out of the box and they can be updated to include all the other DSTAR repeaters.

Some of the traps were – the GPS beaconing regularly and wiping out the voice channel and changing to CQ mode and the repeater telling you the repeater information every time following a transmission.

There were some great questions from the audience and a huge thank you to Clayton and Scott for the presentation.

The sites included in the presentation are below:

 

REAST Virtual Club Gathering – DMR

VK7HSE on DMR
 
Our second whole of club virtual gathering was a focus on Digital Mobile Radio with Scott VK7HSE.
 
Scott focused on the Radioddity GD77 handheld which is very popular in Southern Tasmania. Scott started with a short recap on DMR terminology then dived into exploring Roger Clarke’s OpenGD77 firmware and the features of this firmware enhancement.
 
This firmware update sits on top of the normal GD77 Firmware and provides many more features and the ability to download the user database for your area which then presents the callers callsign instead of their DMR identity number.
 
Scott took the audience through where to get the firmware update from GITHUB and then how to load the firmware on your GD77. Some of the features of the loading software were also covered.
Scott and Clayton VK7ZCR then took questions from DMR, FM and Chat channels. A huge thank you to Scott and Clayton.
 
Some helpful links mentioned in the video below:

The code plug that Scott VK7HSE refers to in the video can be found here: OPENGD77_VK7_FM_DMR_ZONE80_REV1

The above code plug has been prepared by Scott VK7HSE. This code plug is offered without any warranty or liability from both REAST and Scott. You may use at your own risk. Please be aware you will need to update personal details in the codeplug before uploading to your Radio. These details will be your DMR ID and callsign. Please note this code plug will only work once the GD77 has been upgraded with the above firmware.

The presentation was recorded and can be found on the REAST YouTube Channel at:
 
This presentation took place on the Zoom platform thanks to Hayden VK7HH.
 
 

REAST Virtual Club Gathering

Wednesday night – 15th April saw the REAST club hold its first virtual club gathering using the marvels of the Zoom meeting and collaboration software.

The night attracted 16 members and comments about the gathering were good.

We kicked off with a run down from the members of the REAST Committee on what we planning with the zoom trial from Richard VK7ZBX and Larry VK7WLH and then moved to a “What has the REAST Committee been up to” segment with Tony VK7VKT and Hayden 7HH.

There was then a broad discussion on the various virtual gatherings that take place that included:

  • The 4:30pm Net on the 6m repeater (TX 53.825MHz RX 52.825) each day
  • There are a group of people who monitor the 1296.15MHz during the day and so you will most likely get someone come back for a chat.
  • There is the 1296.15 QSO Party each Sunday after the Broadcast that you heard about earlier.
  • There is the Sewing Circle Net that us now on 3.64MHz from 5:00-6:00pm each day – http://meetthevoice.org/meet-the-voice
  • There is Dave VK7OB’s Trout Net on 7.115MHz from around 5:00 pm each day.
  • There is a 10m on 28.680MHz and 20m 14.230MHz Slow Scan Television cam hosted here in Southern Tasmania and this is monitored by Steve VK7OO’s and Rob VK7MAG’s SSTV Cams at:
  • There are many Talk Groups on DMR at Global, National (TG-5) and Local (3807) that there is usually someone you can talk with.

We also discussed having short presentations on subjects of interest for our virtual audience and some ideas were floated.

The members of group who usually attend the Wednesday afternoon group were particularly excited about being able to meet face-to-face again via the zoom facility.

We then opened it up for attendees to put in comments and there was some great feedback, ideas and comments.

We thank Hayden VK7HH and the University of Tasmania for allowing us to host the meeting using the Zoom platform.

We look forward to seeing you there next time.

(73, REAST Committee)

REAST Now Much More Energy Efficient

On Monday 16th March 2020 two Heat Pumps were installed at the REAST Clubrooms.

We thank the Tasmanian Community Fund for their generous grant donation of over $5,000 that enabled this to happen. 

We thank Scott Hutchins VK7HVK and his dedicated team who installed these units following the successful TCF grant application to make the REAST clubrooms much more energy efficient.

We also thank the heritage team from the Hobart City Council for their assistance on the placement of the external units to maintain the heritage value of this historic building.

There is a large unit in the main clubroom and a smaller unit for the operating room and DATV Studio.

Main Clubrooms Heat Pump

Operating Room Heat Pump

These units will greatly increase the energy efficiency of the clubrooms and lower our power bill. They replace the three 3kW resistive fan heaters. They will also provide cooling in summer as well as heating in winter.

A huge thank you to the Tasmanian Community Fund, Scott Hutchins and Team, and the Heritage and Asset Management Teams at the Hobart City Council.

REAST Clubrooms Closed – COVID-19

Given the recent advice from the Australian Government and Health Authorities about indoor events need 4 square metres per person, the committee has taken the regretful step of closing the clubrooms until further notice.

This affects the Wednesday afternoon group and the DATV Experimenter’s Night.

As things develop we will keep members in the loop through regular email and broadcast updates.

(73, REAST Committee)

REAST Members visit the ABC Hobart Studios

REAST Members at ABC Hobart

A huge thank you to Damien VK7SD and Alan VK7KAD who were our fantastic hosts for the tour. Both Damien and Alan are technical support staff at the ABC and welcomed and showed us around.

We started in the live music recording studio which was being upgraded and then moved to radio studio 703 and were shown the control surfaces and control screens that make up an ABC radio studio. Everything is configurable and can be personalised for any presenter in the studio. Next door the ABC Radio Hobart presenter and producers were busy with the evening program.

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REAST Members learn about Virtual Reality

Ian Mackintosh Explaining Virtual Reality (Photo VK7TW)

It was standing room only and we had a visitor in VK2 Bob VK7BS who has moved down here and is about to become a member of REAST.

The room was setup in a theatre of the round configuration with a big table in the middle with three different Oculus Rift headsets (DK1, DK2 and CE1), computers, high power video cards, controllers and cameras.

Ian then took the audience through the video games that pioneered 3D and VR with Doom and Quake. We started to see standardised 3D gaming engines that most manufacturers adopted.

Ian Mackintosh started with a presentation on Virtual Reality (VR) Archeology. Starting in 1965 with Ivan Sutherland and Ian took the audience through the development of computer graphics and specifically three dimensional computer graphics. The VR boom took off in 1970-80s with Atari with arcade games which overtook the military applications and development. The game that took Atari to another level was Star Wars with vector graphics and Ian bought along service manual for this game. The 1990 saw NASA put resource toward VR along with Nintendo Virtual Boy and SEGA cockpit arcade game. But unfortunately each manufacturer would custom build and develop the hardware and software. Most of these were commercial failures. Ian then went through the VR Recipe including 3D hardware, multi-thread multi core processors, six degrees of freedom, 3D audio, etc.

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Some TLC for REAST Antennas

VK7ZMS attaching new repeater Antenna

Over the last couple of months there has been a noticeable degradation of the VK7RAD 2m Analogue FM repeater, with increased noise and crackling on the audio, and people requiring more power to get in to the repeater.

Additionally the club had been loaning a Bushcomm SWC-100S Antenna from VK7FAZE for 3 years, but it’s power limitations for non-SSB transmissions meant it was also time for a more permanent antenna to be procured and the loan returned.

A TET Emtron ED-52c was purchased as a replacement multi-band HF antenna and a Diamond X50N and these were installed last weekend, where it was discovered that the Heliax feed line to the repeater antenna was damaged, and it too has been replaced.

The New Antennas
VK7ZBX Adjusts 6m Antenna

All up, a good 3 hours was completing the necessary maintenance and has been well worth it, with many users of the repeater mentioning the improved quality of the signal and Dave VK7DM is also reporting that where he used to need 40 Watts to get into the repeater with a clean signal, he now needs only 1 Watt!.

Thanks to VK7s SD, ZMS, ZBX, ZCR, FPCL and BEN for their assistance on the day with the maintenance work!