Progress Report 8/3/20
Since the inaugural meeting on 16th February at Denis VK3VET QTH, much has been achieved, and still plenty more to be done.
On the RF side of things, John VK5DJ & Brian VK5VI are progressing well with the Tait 2m Repeater and the TAIT UHF equipment for each end of the link, together with a repeater controller for Heywood, plus a new custom controller for The Bluff.
All the VHF & UHF antennas have been acquired and tested, with sufficient coaxial cable (LDF4-50), with N type connectors, lightning protection, & earthing etc. The cavity filter / diplexer has been acquired, but has yet to be tuned.
A 30ft tilt-over Southern Cross windmill tower has been donated by Ian VK3DNQ, and he is currently refurbishing it with new galvanised bolts and replacing some sections with new steel-work. Ian will arrange the shipping of the tower to the Mount Eckersley site.
Norbert VK5MQ has offered to assist with the design & installation of the Solar panel system, together with the controller & battery.
Following our request to the WIA for frequencies for the 2m repeater & the 70cm UHF link, we have received a response back from the WIA, seeking our preference for a call-sign, to add to the request for the frequencies. We have responded requesting VK3RSW as our preferred call-sign
Progress regarding the hut is still stalled. As the preference is to build a brick or masonry block structure on a concrete slab, we have not yet received a final answer on whether a Shire Council permit is required. If a permit is not needed for a structure less than 10 square metres of floor area, then we can proceed quite quickly, BUT, if a permit is required, then it may take some time before construction commences. The hut size will be determined partly by the roof area needed to mount the three solar panels, although advice from Norbert is that some overhang is permissible.
Phill VK3FDAA has offered to lay the concrete slab, and Andrew VK3LTL has generously offered some bricks to build the hut. We are still searching for a brick-layer prepared to construct the hut. I have been trying to contact Brad Koenig, a bricklayer in Heywood, but he is not answering my calls.
Similarly, if the tower requires a Shire Council permit, then it too will stall things until we receive council approval.
Gus McLean, the property owner at Mount Eckersley, has agreed to assist with the laying of the slab, and construction of the hut by providing a concrete mixer and a water cart. He also will erect a fence around our facility, that will include a gate donated by Ron VK5AKJ. Gus also has offered to assist with the standing up of the tower using his big 4WD tractor.
Thanks to Paul VK3HJV, the Portland & South West Radio Group facebook group has been created, and is working very well. As it is a closed group it is restricted to people contributing to the project. If that describes you then simply request to join to allow you to read or comment on the project.
Finally, at the SERG General Meeting held on February 21st, the SERG members present voted unanimously, to allow for up to $3000 expenditure of SERG funds for the project.