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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Last Sunday (23/02/2020) we welcomed Anthony VK7ZTA as a new participant. In all, 12 stations participated from Hobart and one from Launceston to equal our previous record of 13.
In addition, Richard VK7ZBX completed his first QSO up to Launceston with Peter VK7PD. Congratulations Richard and Peter.
The 23 cm QSO party is held each Sunday morning at 10:00 am immediately after the broadcast on 1296.150 FM. At 10:30 am we beam north to Launceston on 1296.2 MHz with the digital mode QRA64-C. Hobart stations transmit first period.
A great turnout on 23cm today with 10 participants! Many of the people were using their newly constructed yagi antennas built at the workshop at VK7MO’s last week. There was much interest in comparing signals with the new antennas.
By all reports, everyone has seen definite improvements in the receive and transmit signals, with many commenting on being able to hear people they couldn’t before and reports of the strongest signals from people in many months. VK7TU commented that is may also be due to the heavy rain yesterday causing the hills to be wetter and therefore more reflective of the signals.
From L-R VK7’s OO, BEN, ZBX, HRS and HH with their antennas. Photo: VK7MO
While many people enjoyed southern Tasmania’s Hobart Show public holiday, Rex VK7MO played host to a group of amateurs building antennas for 1296Mhz (23cm).
VK7s OO, BEN, ZBX, HRS and HH all attended from early in the morning to build Yagi’s suitable for 23cm. While most were content to built antennas with 18-21 elements, Richard VK7ZBX set himself a challenge in building a 70 (yes 70) element yagi, with a boom length of 6 metres!
The work is not over though, with building to continue on Saturday.
Wednesday the 16th October saw 14 people visited the Lion Drinks & Milk Company at Lenah Valley.
Firstly a huge thank you to Dale Barnes VK7DG who is the chief engineer and David Goodrick VK7FABE who is a Dairy Technologist at the factory.
We all assembled in the lunch room and kitted up with personal protective equipment including glasses, dust coats hair and beard nets and shoe covers. A wash of the hands and we entered one of the cleanest factories you will ever see! The maze of food grade stainless steel pipe work is a wonder to behold!
We started at the loading dock where the B-Double milk trucks back in and unload into the refrigerated holding tanks. We then went into the valve matrix room where the milk is routed from the tanks into the various pasteurises. The valve matrix is fully PLC controlled and Dale explained the Profibus system and how it is used to control valve, motors, etc.
We then headed into the pasteurising area where the milk is heat to 76 degrees for a certain period of time then chilled back down through heat exchangers. This was also the room that contained the Central Processing Unit for all the process control throughout the factory. Many screens showed the processes going on throughout the factory.
It was then into the carton and bottle filling lines. These are highly automated processes where bottles are flying in from conveyor systems into the fillers and capping processes and then moved out into milk crates where they are automatically packed and sent to the cold stores ready to be shipped out. The milk carton folding, filling and sealing machine was fascinating.
It was then up to the pasteurising room where there are 10 tanks and a valve matrix switching arrangement that takes four input and 10 tanks or outputs and can switch any input to any output based on what the PLC is telling it via the touch screen – operator control panels. The array of sensors in use is mind boggling, these all tell the PLC when different parts of the process are starting and finishing, radar units telling depth of liquid, interrupt sensors and many others.
We finished in the power and motors control room with an array of switch gear and PLC control panels for the various motors used within the plant.
We looked at our watches and wondered where that two hours went! We thanked Dale and David and headed home and I am sure we will not look at that litre of milk the same way again!
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.
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.