At the January business meeting, Peter VK5BE sought club support to investigate building a repeater at Portland to support our members there. The club agreed to the investigation.
Since then Peter and Col Vk5dk travelled to Mt Eckersley, just north of Heywood to see what might be possible.
While there they were able to access our Channel 6 repeater on The Bluff from ground level using a 1/4 wave antenna on the roof of Peter’s car. This gave the group some hope. The distance is 100km.
Col had brought along a yagi for 70cm and using that they were able to work the repeater via the UHF links at The Bluff. Signals were noise free and it should be understood that the UHF beams were pointing to Naracoorte and Mt Benson, not Mt Eckersley. So a link will not be a problem.
This gives strong hope that a repeater at Mt Eckersley would be a good proposition for both linking and providing coverage to the area. The view from the top was very impressive.
While there they spoke to the farmer and he was positive about hosting the repeater on his farm.
Further updates will be made when more progress is made. No final decision on proceeding with the project has been made, it’s investigations at this stage.
Three of our Members have spent nearly eight hours up at the Clubrooms this week replacing and tuning the eighty and forty metre dipoles for the Club Station.
A fault in the co-axial cable proved very elusive but was finally tracked to a lack of contact between the earth braid and the little metal collar that bears up against the connector to complete the earth contact. Once located it was fixed by removing a little of the outer sheath and soldering the braid to the collar. This made it behave properly.
The team then started on the laborious process of analysing the antennas, lowering them to adjust the length, raise them again to full height and retest the s.w.r.
This took quite a while to get right and accounted for most of the time spent.
Because of the location of the tie off points for the support ropes this was a very tedious job as the mounting points must be kept at a height where passing children, (and others), who may have a streak of sabotage in them can drop our antennas as the Club is located next to a Primary School and alongside the Mt. Gambier Community Garden. Barbed wire also presents a hazard as the tie off points at one end are on top of a security fence surrounding the Community Garden which is part of the Old Gaol Complex.
A very big “Thank you” goes out to Tom, VK5EE, Owen, VK5HOS and Trevor, VK5NC for their patience and persistence.
Naracoorte repeater The repeater is now up and running again, thanks to Peter VK5BE for making two trips to Naracoorte. On arriving at site on Sunday, Peter found that the battery and charger were operating as they should. The various receivers and transmitters also seemed to be working well. The problem was traced to the controller. Recently the Naracoorte repeater was locked for two days, so to save the TX I decided to turn it off by remote control to save wear and tear. Well that turned out to be the wrong thing. Unfortunately there was a bug in the software (nope, not the 6 legged variety) which resulted in once a transmitter was turned off it was not possible to turn it back on from the same receiver. It would have been possible to do it through the links but we didn’t know that until later.
So Peter brought the controller to my QTH where I had a spare ready to go but in the meantime I was able to identify the problem on the spare and use the plug in keypad to recover repeater control if it was turned off. So when Peter arrived here it was just a matter of telling the controller that it was OK to work the repeater and it could be returned to site with the warning to me not to turn off the repeater by remote control until I had killed the bug. When we install the antenna which is now ready to go (just waiting on personnel and the crane), I will reload a corrected version of the software.
So Peter then drove back to Naracoorte, re-installed the controller and all was well again. While he was there he has turned the mute off a little harder as it was on the edge of noise. That should sort the noise problem.
Thanks Peter. I have disciplined myself accordingly, a couple of quick slaps on the wrist.
Problem in software found and fixed. Will update both Naracoorte and Bluff when next on site. Cheers John
At present Naracoorte is not responding. A few days around Christmas time it was locked on with receiver noise and this is usually either interference or low volts. As it went on for a couple of days I think the unit was losing power. Probably the battery charger.
At present no-one is going that way with a key so it will be off until further notice. I think the links are down too.