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.
Over the last couple of months there has been a noticeable degradation of the VK7RAD 2m Analogue FM repeater, with increased noise and crackling on the audio, and people requiring more power to get in to the repeater.
Additionally the club had been loaning a Bushcomm SWC-100S Antenna from VK7FAZE for 3 years, but it’s power limitations for non-SSB transmissions meant it was also time for a more permanent antenna to be procured and the loan returned.
A TET Emtron ED-52c was purchased as a replacement multi-band HF antenna and a Diamond X50N and these were installed last weekend, where it was discovered that the Heliax feed line to the repeater antenna was damaged, and it too has been replaced.
All up, a good 3 hours was completing the necessary maintenance and has been well worth it, with many users of the repeater mentioning the improved quality of the signal and Dave VK7DM is also reporting that where he used to need 40 Watts to get into the repeater with a clean signal, he now needs only 1 Watt!.
Thanks to VK7s SD, ZMS, ZBX, ZCR, FPCL and BEN for their assistance on the day with the maintenance work!
The observant will have noticed that our last post was in November 2018. This certainly doesn’t mean that the club has been shut down since then, there has been a lot going on and we just haven’t had time to update you on the website!
That is now changing, and we will be getting you up to date with all the happenings over the coming weeks!
Today REAST held a Radio and Electronics car boot sale and BBQ as an opportunity for members to sell some things to raise funds for the upcoming Miena Hamfest as well as being an opportunity to acquire some treasure as well.
It was fantastic to see some 16 sellers on site today, having on offer a huge variety of wares including a variety of vintage/classic radios, some more modern radios (there was an IC-7300 and flex SDR gear on offer), along with a variety of accessories such as components, power supplies, microphones and more. The only thing missing were buyers, with sellers trading between themselves for some part. Some real bargains were missed out on!
The BBQ was a huge success, selling out of all the meat on offer and also raising funds for the Association.
It was clear that based on the activity today that Radio and Electronics Car boot sales may have to become a more regular event to encourage more people to come along.
On Wednesday evening, ABC Radio Hobart contacted us through our Facebook page wanting to know if someone would like to talk about the experimenters night and what happens at REAST.
Justin VK7TW made a detour from his regular sojourn to the club rooms to visit the ABC studios and give an interview on the things that have been happening recently on Joel Rheinberger’s Evening’s show.
With permission from ABC, we can share the audio of the interview below.
On Wednesday, REAST repeater officer Damien Styles VK7SD commissioned the new Yaesu DR-1X digital repeater much to the excitement of the gathering of people at the Wednesday evening experimenters group. While the repeater was purchased some time ago, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that frequencies have been allocated by the ACMA for it’s usage.
The Yaesu DR-1X is capable of both analogue and C4FM digital voice and automatically switching between the two modes. Soon an additional module will be acquired to provide DMR, DSTAR and p25 digital voice capabilities.
This repeater is on air right now, with an output frequency 438.675Mhz with a 7Mhz negative offset for the input on 431.675Mhz.
Our repeater officer would be most interested to hear signal reports from you. If you are able to access the repeater, please let Damian know by emailing [email protected]!