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!
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!
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!
In 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.
We 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!
Kim 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.
Thursday night saw a good group at the front door of the ABC next to the Railway Roundabout and we were welcomed by Damien VK7SD and Alan VK7KAD who were our fantastic and very knowable hosts for the night.
We started in one of the radio studios with producer Dave who took the group through the preparation of radio segments using the various tools that are used to edit and queue radio promotional segments around Australia. Thanks Dave.
There is currently a lot of activity going on around the back of the club rooms as the garage continues to be cleaned up.
Over the last week Barry VK7TBM and Dave VK7DM have been working on establishing a new tower for repeater antennas at the rear of the garage that replaced the large mast at the front of the garage which was damaged by strong winds awhile ago now. The new tower boasts a tilt-over capability and telescopic pole extension that will make overall maintenance on the tower and antennas much easier.
In coming weeks the repeater infrastructure will be relocated into the club rooms from the garage.
The club wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for our many fantastic volunteers. Be it from the club committee to presenting to other members, volunteers are very important to the activity levels of the club.
When we conducted our Member Survey a couple of months ago, many members indicated that they were willing to volunteer, but due to the anonymity of the survey, we had no idea who was offering their time and resources! We have now created a volunteer register. If you are willing to donate your time to help the club in any way, from it being a presenter to helping keep the club rooms clean, please follow the link to the Volunteer Register and fill out the form!