Working Bee Willalooka

After meeting President Peter at Penola on Friday 12/10/18 at 8:00AM to collect the antenna analyser and climbing harness, we refused to have him in the car as he appeared to be near death with the flu. We sent him home to bed.

Our working beeĀ  began in earnest at Naracoorte to remove the backup antenna from the tower at VK5RNC. Tom VK5NFT climbed while John VK5DJ manoeurved the ropes and avoided a nose bleed caused by climbing higher than 1 metre.

Once at Willalooka we were joined by Alan VK5ZLT with his recently (that morning) finished 2* 5/8. A quick test with the club’s antenna analyser showed a nice broad banded response with SWR less than 1.2VSWR across more than 5MHz and relatively low reactance across the same spread.

So with the aid of his ladder Alan ascended to a lofty height of 6 metres to temporarily attach the antenna. The antenna replacement was necessary as we currently have intermittent problems with the main antenna losing signal strength at a distance and mixing interference from an AM station near Horsham. We suspect a poor connection at the antenna or damaged coax. The working bee was held to establish a test if the main antenna/coax is the cause of the problem.

Unfortunately an interference problem at one site has an effect on the whole four linked repeaters. We now need to monitor for a few weeks before tackling the next step.

Results as Tom and John travelled south indicate we haven’t lost much (if any) range as a result of the low antenna, although toward Kingston it may well be shaded by the tower.

Tom and Alan examine the new antenna
Alan VK5ZLT works on the installation

What’s next? Once we know where the problem lies we’ll get a tower climber to replace the old antenna and install better coax than the existing RG213.