VK0PD and his Antarctic Adventures

November Presentation

We have been fortunate to be able to secure a presentation from Paul Daniels VK0PD / VK2PAD who gave us an illustrated talk on his experience spending the winter at the Australian Antarctic Division Casey station. Paul started with some background on his interest in radio and Antarctica.

Paul did a site survey once down at Casey and the RF noise was not good but found a location for the antennas and operated from the Hobby Shack. Paul took a IC-7300, an IC-705 and HLA-305 PA and ATX converted SMPSU. Paul built a foot switch from workshop rubbish and showed his operating position in the hobby hut.

Paul showed the weather forecasts in Antarctica and the snow storms/blizzards engulfing and breaking the antenna regularly. It emphasised that there are relentless wind and blizzard conditions that saps your enthusiasm over time.

As the building services supervisor he visited the past radio antenna installation however all the V beams were broken and tower installation was condemned.

He outlined some fun stuff they get up to namely a sauna for 25m then into an ice bath for about 10m – yeah right!

Paul outlined an engineering job he undertook to improve safety and there is constant maintenance that is required to combat the relentless weather and this included some RF engineering work on the tandem delta with the comms tech.

Paul played a video of the first plane coming in along with the fog and it couldn’t land! But then an RAAF C-17A came into the next day and Paul got to come back on a nice big RAAF transport plane – nice!

Paul then took questions.

Do you realise that a job in Australia takes three to ten times longer in Antarctica!

Paul talked about operating radio and the polar flutter and outlined that he was operating radio down there not to make quick contacts but to operate radio and have conversations.

Paul described the size limits for the hardware that you can take down to Antarctica and the need to take down things to keep you busy.

Paul answered some late questions about heading south to work for the AAD and the opportunities that working for the AAD present. He finished with the comment that the AAD is a very supportive organisation to work for.

A huge thank you to Paul for this presentation and to Hayden for liaising with Paul.

There is a recording that is available from the REAST YouTube channel.

73, REAST Committee

Military Radio and Antennas

October Presentation Day

It was a standing room only presentation from Peter, Kim and Denis on 3rd October 2021.

Peter VK7KPC started with FSE-58 section radio from Germany with Helmet antenna – It is crystal locked – mode is FM and runs at 24 Volt – Batteries are a 4 x 6 volt NiCd batteries. Peter shared the Italian schematics with the audience. This radio is cold war era.

https://greenradio.de/e_index.htm

We then went across the channel with a Clansman PRC-50 VHF section radio comes with handset or headset, flexible or rigid antenna and is currently on the local 6m repeater transmit frequency. There is a whisper function – low audio level and power. 14V NiCd or C-Cell battery packs.

Peter then showed a Clansman PRC-351/352 VHF manpack with carrying frame – NiCd battery pack – either 4/20W with remote antenna, similar function to the PRC-50. Comes with a hand generator and can link to a vehicle, remote operation, etc. There was also a ground spike antenna demonstrated.

https://greenradio.de/htm2/e_prc351.htm

https://greenradio.de/htm2/e_prc352.htm

We then went to a PRC-320 HF manpack. Similar batteries and functions to the PRC-351. Has a built-in ATU, comes with a leg morse key, 5/30W power settings with many aerial options. Wire antenna with tunable counterpoises, elements with metric distance/frequency tags. There was also a carry backpack and is only on USB and there are modifications available on the net.

https://greenradio.de/e_kp1j.htm

Over to Kim VK7KB – with an Australian AWA A-510 – 1940/50s AM/CW HF valve set in two boxes on your hips with interconnecting cable, crystal locked – four crystals, handset or headset, toolkit, light communicator, many dipole antennas.

https://www.qsl.net/vk2dym/radio/A510.htm

Over to an early 1960s Racal SquadCal manpack in a plastic case that actually floats! Came with handset, 5W power, HF AM/SSB/CW and was one of the early manpacks from the UK. 

http://www.salbu.co.za/salbu/Squadcal_RT14_Thrower.pdf

The next manpack was the 1970s RACAL Sencal 30 with synthesised operation – decade dials to set frequency – similar functionality to the SquadCall and was a very popular radio. There were many antenna options and some built in ATU. NiCd battery pack that screws on the base and the radio came from the Royal Australian Air Force.

https://www.recelectronics.co.uk/syncal30.htm

Move to more modern radios – the QMac HF-90 – HF radios – 1990-2000s – these are built as a system much like earlier radios with sets of antennas, batteries, tuner, etc. 12-28V operation. The ground connections are interesting where the manpack actually capacitively couple to the person carrying the radio for connections to ground.

http://hfradio.com.au/codan_%20barrett_qmac%20hf_radio_information/RADIOS/Qmac_HF90.htm

Kim then moved to an American – General Dynamics GRC-106 mobile radio with RTTY terminal option, 400W power amplifier, receiver/exciter – fully synthesised HF radio. Kim pointed out they use surface connections with no pins. Known as RattRigs by the Americans. Runs on 24-28V built in late 1960-early 70s.

https://armyradio.com/GRC-106-400W-SSB-Synthesized-HF-Transmitter—Receiver.html

Denis Jackson then showed the back-up radio from boat – Morana – this is 1939 AWA WS-101 ex-military valve radio featuring a door at the base of the radio that opens to access all the eight valves – low HF frequencies and built in morse key. There was the accompanying power supply converter with vibrator DC-DC converter and battery box.

http://pa0pzd.com/army-navy/australian-army-navy/ws-101/

Denis then moved to the 1945 – 122 set – this was a transportable radio with separate vibrator power unit. It has two bands: 2 to 4 MHz and 4 to 8 MHz. The transmitter could be either crystal or VFO controlled.

https://www.radiomuseum.org/r/radiocorp_wireless_set_no_122_ws122.html

We then moved to the Domain compound for a demo of some of the accompanying antennas by Peter and Kim.

There is an accompanying video showing high resolution photos of each radio and video of Peter VK7KPC talking about some of the military radios –

A huge thank you to Peter, Kim and Denis for showing us their collection of radios.

73, REAST Committee

P25 Emergency Services Network Build

September Presentation Night

The first Wednesday night of September it was standing room only in the REAST COVID-Safe clubrooms for a presentation on how to build a statewide P25 based Emergency Services radio network given by Andrew Johns VK7AJ.

Andrew covered all aspects of a P25 Network and its use within a dispatching organisation like Police, Fire and Ambulance. The topics covered included – What is it, its benefits, comparison with its competition – TETRA, services and trunking.

Andrew then went on to architecture, interfaces, voice & data calls, encryption, the future and then took a look at the local environment.

A huge thank you to Andrew Johns and the respective organisations for the presentation.

73, REAST Committee

Community Radio Station Technical Support

Opportunity for Amateur Radio operators to become involved

Being an experienced amateur radio operator gives you some unique experiences, knowledge and skills. Ranging from operating computers & computer control, to integration and interfacing, through to knowing and applying radio transmission theory, radio frequency measurement, design and construction; it is an end-end skill set that is highly valued in many technical circles. 

These are skills that are very valuable to a Community Radio station.

There are over 450 Community Radio stations operating around Australia, including 14 in Tasmania. Most operate through volunteer presenters and technical assistants who give their time and knowledge as a community service to enhance and reflect the diversity within our community. For more information take a look the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) website

https://www.cbaa.org.au/.

Are you interested in taking your hobby of amateur radio to a new level and assisting Community Radio stations in a technical capacity? Contributing your skills, knowledge and experience to assisting organisations that are providing an important service to the community.

Keeping a Community Radio station on the air 24/7/365 is not a small undertaking and involves many different roles and responsibilities. On the technical side there is much computer based work like scheduling audio playout on automation systems, establishing and maintaining computer networks, and building and imaging PCs. It also involves audio, computer and communications interfacing and integration, equipment maintenance and occasionally high power radio frequency engineering work.

Technorama is a national support organisation assisting Community Radio technical volunteers. They run training programs and provide other services and their website is worth a look.

https://technorama.org.au/

If you are interested or just curious then we suggest you get in contact with Jim Parish on email – [email protected] for more information.

73, REAST, Committee

REAST – R2 Repeater Link Update

From the REAST Repeater coordinator we hear an update about the R2 linking.

Please note the new permanent link arrangements between the Domain and Mt Nelson repeaters. VK7RAD 2m repeater on 146.7 is now permanently linked to VK7RDS 70cm repeater on Mt Nelson. 

VK7RDS operates on 439.750MHz with a minus -7MHz input (note the new input frequency of 432.750MHz). No tone is required, however a 141.3Hz tone output is provided for those wanting to mute the tail and ident. 

The VK7RDS repeater provides good coverage over greater Hobart and down to the Kingborough and Channel areas. VK7RDS operates at 50w into a Diamond X-50 vertical, with a permanent 2m gateway to the Domain. We are hopeful this will increase coverage to those that struggle with the Domain. 

For those previously using VK7RDS to monitor 23cms, can now find this temporarily on the Snug Tiers 146.850 repeater courtesy of Brian VK7BW.

Feedback and reports are welcomed.

73, Damien, VK7SD

REAST Repeater Coordinator.

REAST Foundation Licence Training Playlist

Reg VK7KK and Justin VK7TW – our REAST assessors are proud to announce the release of ten YouTube videos that follow the Foundation Licence Syllabus (Version 10).

These videos were recorded in November 2020 at a REAST Foundation Licence training and assessment day.

They use the slide packs that were developed by Justin and Reg for REAST Foundation Licence Training.

These video are not meant to replace the bimonthly face-to-face sessions however, they provide relevant material covering each area of the syllabus that would assist prospective candidates with training information in a self-paced format.  

Video titles are:

  1. Introduction
  2. Nature of Amateur Radio
  3. Licence Conditions
  4. Technical Basics
  5. Transmitters & Receivers
  6. Transmission Lines & Antennas
  7. Propagation
  8. Interference
  9. Safety
  10. Practical

It is recommended that you view these videos along with The Foundation Manual – Your Entry Into Amateur Radio. This manual is produced by the Wireless Institute of Australia and available online (WIA – Foundation Manual) and is available in Hobart (thanks to Clayton VK7ZCR) from the Caltex Service Station – corner of Main Road and Amy St in Moonah, Tasmania for $40 cash.

The WIA also provides an online Foundation Licence assessment tool.

The Foundation Licence Training Playlist can be found in the REAST YouTube Channel.

Enjoy

73, Justin, VK7TW and Reg VK7KK

SSTV, Cams & Mag Loops with VK7OO

Did you miss Steve VK7OO’s presentation on Slow Scan TV, Cams and Magnetic Loops?

It is now available on the REAST YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ya_-iSjuX5c

In summary Steve covered: 

  • Commencing SSTV back in 2007 with an SSTVCam
  • What is needed to run an SSTV station and an SSTVCam
  • What are the challenges of SSTVCams
  • How much power do you need?
  • What does 13 years of propagation look like?
  • Steve’s favourite contact was with VK5HJS and best DX was FM5CD in Martinique.
  • Working SSTV from the ISS is easy and Steve explained how.
  • What antenna’s did he use overtime from a G5RV, Beveridge, EFHW and magnetic loop.
  • Steve then went into his experiments with magnetic loops including building a VK5SFA 160/80m mag loop.
  • Steve moved to using his VK5JST Pex-Aluminium-Pex (gas pipe) loop from the AR magazine published design.
  • Steve summed up with SSTV in 2020 and took questions from the audience.

A huge thank you to Steve for the presentation.

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: