If you have not been around the Clubroom,or had the chance to use VK7RAD recently you may not be aware that work has started on the upgrade of REAST’s Repeater Infrastructure. Recently Damien Styles (our new Repeater officer) installed a Spectra MX-800 Repeater, replacing the trusty old Phillips 814 that ha served for many years. Word has it that the more modern hardware has resulted in a noticeable improvement in audio quality. Don’t take my word for it – get on air and give it a go !
For those of you asking about the Yaesu DR-1 – we are (still 🙁 ) waiting on the license variation to get additional frequencies for this and when we have the OK from ACMA we will be getting that up and running to !
REAST member Vince Henderson VK7VH has written in with this excellent article on how he is using Pocket RxTx, an Android application, to remote control his Ts-2000 Radio.
A couple of years ago, I looked at the remote radio control Android app, called Pocket RxTx. It had many teething problems. I left it alone until it showed signs of being reliable.
The latest beta version caught my eye. The result is that I am now using the latest beta version of the app. It works very well. The app is written by Dan Toma, an Amateur Radio operator, YO3GGX. Full details of the app are available at his website www.yo3ggx.ro
The details of my set up are as follows –
TS2000 – CAT connection from radio rear com connector to PC RS-232 serial port. This is a straight type cable. Audio in/out and PTT is via an interface that connects to the 13 pin ACC2 port on the back of the radio. PTT via pin 9 PKS and pin 8 GND, mutes the front mic. Audio in (from interface) via pin 11 PKD and pin 12 GND. Audio out (to interface) via pin 3 MANO and pin 4 GND.
The Pocket RxTx website lists the radios that have been tested with the app. You will probably find your make and model of radio, in the list.
Wow, Rex Moncur VK7MO gave us a four part illustrated presentation on his 18,000km journey on his recent 10GHz Grid Square chasing EME DxPedition. Rex traveled far and wide into VK3, VK5, VK6 and VK8.
Rex started with a short presentation on the VK6 Northern Corridor Radio Group as he was very impressed with this club and the things they get up to. Rex then moved to a tutorial on EME propagation and then moved to his grid tour and get OK1KIR up to over 100 grid squares on 10GHz EME. These grid squares were from the OH, OG and OF grid fields. There were a few interesting and frustrating things that happened along the way but Rex achieved his goal!
Sean VK7FAZE has recently been experimenting with NOAA APT weather Satellite reception and shares his experiences with us in this article
False-colour image taken from NOAA-18 showing east coast of Australia
There is not much more fascinating than getting pictures from space. And with a but of smarts and some cheap bits and pieces it’s possible to do this quite easily.
One of the display pieces at REAST’s stand at this years Festival of Bright Ideas was a display showing how to receive weather satellite photos using some fairly easily obtainable bits and pieces – a computer with a ‘USB TV Dongle’ as the now classic Software Defined Radio, a simple but impressive looking Quadrafilar Helical Antenna, and software freely downloadable from the Internet.
The antenna is built out of PVC electrical conduit and a few fittings, some 75mm PVC storm drain, and some old co-ax cable left over from an old TV installation. Some cutting and drilling, PVC glue and a couple of lazy hours on a Saturday afternoon and its done.
The software was a current version of Ubuntu Linux and the latest copy of GQRX fresh from the authors repository, with a little gentle post-processing using WxToImg to produce the ‘false colour’ images. I used the ‘gpredict’ program to track and display the various satellites passing overhead and on the day it went down quite well.
REAST Secretary Scott VK7LXX signs sublease with Barry McCann of TMR
Earlier this week members of the REAST Management Committee met with a representative from Tasmanian Maritime radio to sign a long term lease, securing access to the building for ten years, with an additional ten year option.
The signing of the lease ensures that members will be able to enjoy the clubrooms that have been the home of the WIA Tasmanian Division and then REAST for over 25 years.
Particular thanks goes to Barry McCann who has been instrumental in negotiating and securing the lease with the Hobart City Council and ensuring that the interests of REAST members were maintained.
Wow standing room only for our REAST member Ron Cullen’s presentation on some very impressive radio control kit.
Ron started with some history of his Radio Control (RC) journey starting in 1979 when he was in the Air Force and they had an Aero modelling club and even showed and RC controller from that era.
Ron was posted all over Australia and he took his RC planes with him. Zoom to 1998 and Ron left the Air Force and shelved his interest in RC. A couple of years ago he started to get back into it. The night Walrus was his first purchase and some VR google was he first foray back into RC. This included some interesting innovations including a Visual Approach Slope Indicator for his RC planes and this mirrors the use of this technology at commercial runways.
We had a great roll up to our forum with many people coming along with show and tell.
Notable there was a large 1.8m AZ/EL dish that was trailer mounted that Richard VK7ZBX brought along – more on that later.
The night was all about sharing people’s experiences. We started with Rex VK7MO who took us on a picture journey of his adventures in dish mounts starting with 1296 and working through each iteration of the mounts and heading into the 10 & 24GHz telescope mounts with milling machine table used for accurate azimuth adjustment. Rex’s show and tell included the azimuth and elevation measuring devices. Thanks Rex.
We have just been advised that due to planned hazard reduction burn being conducted by the Hobart City Council & Tasmania Fire Service, access will be restricted to the upper domain on Wednesday & Thursday, dependant on weather.
In the interests of general safety and member comfort we wish to advise that the REAST clubrooms will be closed on Wednesday 15th March.
We apologise for the short notice and inconvenience this may cause.
Don’t think that because the Amateur TV experimenters group is having a break while waiting for a new studio to become available that things on a Wednesday night have slowed down. This past Wednesday saw a cracking display of activity at the club rooms.
Every Wednesday evening the REAST clubrooms are open for members to attend, being up their projects to work on, or just sit down and have a bit of chat about the week with friends.
Tom VK7NTK was busy tuning an analogue filter to boost frequencies in the 1000Hz – 1500Hz range. It is hoped that this board will help improve the attenuation issues being seen with the raspberry pi based IRLP node that is a whole tale in itself!
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 VK7BENVice-President: Justin Giles-Clark VK7TWSecretary: Scott Bragg VK7LXXTreasurer: Alan Jeffrey VK7KAJCommittee Members: Larry Hower VK7WLH Barry McCann
Draft Minutes for the AGM & reports will be placed on the members only section of the website shortly.