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!
What a great day it was up at the Clubrooms on Saturday! The weather was typically Tasmanian, scratching the idea of a lunchtime BBQ, but that didn’t seem to bother the dozen people who came up to the Clubrooms.
After obtaining one of the less usual Female N-Type to SO-239 adapters, VK7BEN replaced the HF antenna yet again, but this time yielding much better results – this antenna can now be used with the club’s HF radio with minimal tuning required, and that’s a big win.
Scott and The SDR Special Interest Group also spent the day installing Linux on laptops and Raspberry Pis along with all the fun that RTL-SDR receivers have to offer. Richard VK7FLCS spent the day helping Rex VK7MO with his GPS time locking on his laptop – which is pretty important for the microwave stuff that Rex works with!
We are scheduled to open the clubrooms again on Saturday 24th September from 11am and all members are welcome!
Coax doesn’t last forever. Water ingress, years in the sun and oxidation will all take it’s toll on this valuable part of your radio infrastructure. This is bad news for your signal getting out there, with increased line loss and SWR. Isn’t it time to put that aged piece of cracking RG-213 out of it’s misery? Do you want to help your club while getting a great deal on low loss coax?
REAST is seeking interest in a bulk purchase of of CNT-400 at a price of $4.50/metre for the amateur radio community. Not only is this a great price that is lower than retail but part of the money will help cover the costs to replace the ageing feed lines at the club rooms! At this price, the coax will be strictly pick up from club rooms only.
We’ve already had a lot of interest from people when we have floated the idea, so if you are interested, please Contact Us, advising how many metres you would like to purchase! Orders will likely be placed before the end of October.
We are pleased to announce that REAST members can now enjoy a 10% discount off all purchases over $25 at any Jaycar store. For further information on how to take advantage of this, please log in to the members area and then visit the member discounts page.
We’re currently looking for great deals for our members, so if you have any ideas, why not let us know and we’ll see if anything can be done!
A lot of work has gone into the design and layout of the new site, which will not only make it easier for you the reader to navigate, but also provides the ability for a lot more people to contribute to the website. We would like to thank Ben VK7BEN, Justin VK7TW and Scott VK7LXX for the many hours involved in getting the new site together and editing content.
We would like to also thank Peter VK3US who has for over the past decade hosted the REAST website at no cost. Peter is now retiring the infrastructure that has hosted the REAST website for all these years which has meant an opportune time to update the site and relocate.
Take a browse around the site, and if you spot any issues, We’d love to hear from you so we can fix them!