VK5RMG tower test

Due to the blocking of the 2M signals in the Mt Gambier direction at The Bluff, the club sought permission to put the 2M antenna for VK5RMG onto a different tower.

These photos show the working bee on 12  Jan 2024 when Leith (VK5FLAR), Peter (VK5BE), Nick (VK5NJS) and Col (VK5HCF) installed the twin folded dipole array on the ‘new’ tower. The tower is a guyed one and is currently used by a local FM radio station. We appreciate that the tower owners have allowed this experiment.

Our antennas are at about the 40m mark and have an excellent view towards Mt Gambier, Millicent and Naracoorte. Nick was the extraordinary tower climber while Leith provided the safety backup climber. Peter provided technical encouragement while Col was chief photographer.

 

Leith shouting encouragement to Nick above the second set of guys.
Ground crew: Leith and Peter
Dipoles in place

A further working bee on Wednesday 18/1/24 took place and the coax was run from the bottom of the ‘new’ tower to the VK5RMG room and connected to the cavities. Initial results in all directions are very positive and it seems to be similar to the signals obtained when we were on the Azicom tower. Mobile operation from Mt Gambier is again very usable. Reports are very welcome.

VK3RSW reconnected to network

We (Peter and John) spent a couple of hours at Mt Richmond today (6/12/23). We put a notch filter cavity in the receiver to remove the APRS. It didn’t work despite attenuating the APRS signal by 50 dB.

We put a passband cavity in the transmitter line to meet ACMA requirements.

We installed an improved FX365 tone decoder set to 91.5Hz into the controller.

By turning on the CTCSS for the repeater receiver we have been able to completely stop APRS from opening up the transmitters. This is working very successfully and it’s also stopping some occasional noise bursts from firing up the transmitters.

So the bottom line is that the repeater is now sitting there quietly. Peace at last!

The only downside is that everyone coming in on VK3RSW frequency will need to set CTCSS 91.5Hz in your transmitter. Most may already have this set because it is the standard for Australian repeaters.

VK3RSW is again connected to the SERG repeaters, we’d love to hear you come on and say “G’day”.

Interference on 2M repeater system

The interference you hear is due to APRS on Mt Richmond getting into the Portland repeater due to overload on the site.

Peter has tuned up a notch cavity and a bandpass cavity but due to the Hill Climb responsibilities we can’t do anything about it for a week or two. I’ve also modified a new board for the CTCSS to install when we go over there.

Here is a note I put on the Portland Facebook page.

We’re having trouble with the APRS getting into VK3RSW 2M repeater. This afternoon we’ll turn off the link to the rest of the system as it’s making the system over here unusable. We’re flat out with the hill climb at present so it may be a couple of weeks before we can get over there to put an extra filter in. We’ll also set up VK3RSW for the standard 91.5Hz tone access. At present a tone is not setup properly. We have a cavity filter tuned up for the receiver to try to overcome the overload situation, hopefully this will be all that is required. Another technical difficulty is that the APRS is radiating a 91.5Hz tone and this may make setting the tone on as an added precaution ineffective. If VK3 users would rather, we can turn off Mt Richmond altogether until we get over there. I’d appreciate your advice. For the Sunday broadcast we will turn on the link so people can hear the broadcast. The joys of setting up a new repeater, but I’m sure we’ll get there. Thanks for your patience.

VK3RSW installed

VK3RSW Mount Richmond 2m repeater now on air.

On October 15th, after almost 4 years of planning, negotiations and testing, the VK3RSW 2m repeater at Mount Richmond, NW of Portland, has been finally commissioned. With a RF link to The Bluff, the SE network has now been greatly expanded to include the coastal towns of Portland & Port Fairy, and inland to Heywood and Hamilton. This now extends the coverage area to over 400km from end to end.

The following are some of those that have contributed to this project.

  • Peter     VK5BE                 Project leader
  • Nick       VK5NJS                 Steelwork, fabrication, welding and painting
  • Brian     VK5VI                   Assembly of 2m repeater and link equipment
  • John      VK5DJ                   Repeater controller and cavity tuning
  • Steve    VK3ZAZ                Donation of stacked dipole antenna
  • Leith     VK5FLAR             Donation of link yagi antenna
  • Owen    VK5HOS               Donation of solar panels and batteries
  • Ron        VK5AKJ                Donation of solar controller
  • James   VK3JBM               IT support
  • Tim         VK3TIM               Site coordinator

Also, we wish to thank the following businesses

  • Multi-Metals for supplying all the steelwork
  • Aussie Broadband for the donation of the low loss coaxial cable
  • Baxter Hire for the use of their cherry-picker

Early signal reports indicate that the coverage has exceeded expectation.

We now look forward to an increase in traffic on the expanded linked network.

VK3RSW 2 metre FM repeater operational on Mt Richmond VIC

Mt Richmond 24-9-23

On September 24th, Peter VK5BE and Nick VK5NJS travelled to Mount Richmond to install the new coaxial cables to the antennas.

A trench was dug (by hand) from the Comms hut to the tower, then 2 new coaxial cables installed in conduit in the trench before being back-filled.

The site is now finally in readiness to relocate the repeater from the Clubrooms, where it has been “on test” for over 3 years, to Mount Richmond.

A date is yet to be determined, but hopefully in the coming weeks. Peter is considering Sunday 15/10/23 to coincide with a Portland Club Picnic at Mt Richmond.

Trench closed to satisfy requirements of site owner. Photos by Peter VK5BE
(Did you think about planting daffodils Peter?)

A.G.M. AWARD PRESENTATIONS.

At last Friday’s Activity Meeting President Peter, VK5BE, made the Award Presentations that he was unable to make at the A.G.M. because he was elsewhere.

He derived a great deal of pleasure in awarding the Roy Goodwin Award to Nick, VK5NJS, for his outstanding contributions to the Club over the last twelve months.

Nick has been very much involved in getting the Mount Richmond Repeater Site infrastructure built and installed, (and almost ready to be commissioned), as well as helping out with various car rallies and other projects.

His efforts have proved to be invaluable to the Club.

Next up was The President’s Trophy.

After a lot of head scratching a clear winner emerged in the form of Tim, VK5AV.

Tim has helped many Club Members in obtaining a brand new Amateur Licence and Call Sign over the years and has gone “Over and above” in making new members feel relaxed and welcome.

A thoroughly well deserved Award.

We congratulate Nick and Tim on their efforts.

Well done.

Visit to Mt Richmond 31/8/23

On August 31st, Peter VK5BE and Nick VK5NJS made another trip to Mount Richmond.

This time, with the aid of a 15m cherry picker, generously supplied by Baxter Hire, they removed all the old obsolete antennas from the top of the disused Victoria Police tower and installed the new SERG antennas for the linked 2m repeater.

A dual stacked folded dipole array for the 2m repeater together with a 16 element yagi for the 70cm link were installed on a new support pole that was attached to the existing tower.

As the old existing coaxial cables tested faulty, new cables were installed & tested OK. Brief testing was done over the path from The Bluff to Mount Richmond using the new antennas with results better than expected.

Further work is still to be done in the coming weeks to complete the cabling from the tower to the Tx hut, followed by the installation and commissioning of the repeater itself.

Thanks go to Tim VK3TIM for his ongoing support for this project.

Nick removing the old antennas
Nick has installed the 2M antenna (top) and the link to The Bluff (bottom)

Peter checked the link to The Bluff (VK5RMG) successfully with 5W and also worked The Bluff via the 2M antenna.

Progress at Mt Richmond 26/6/23

Another very successful visit to Mount Richmond today.

  • Solar panel mounting frame completed and set to the “winter” position.
  • Solar panels wired in a series/parallel configuration, with isolating diodes.
  • Mini-rack placed into position and batteries installed.
  • New solar controller installed and tested OK.

Photos attached showing progress.

Both the 2m repeater antenna, plus the 70cm link yagi now left on site for the riggers.

Still a few minor low priority tasks still to be completed before final commissioning, but all is now ready to deploy the repeater once the antennas are installed.

Regards,
Peter VK5BE

Solar panels on adjustable mount
Power supply (includes low voltage cutout)

Rally on 27th May 2023

Thanks to all that assisted with the combined Clubs car rally on May 27th. With a total 26 cars entered, everyone was kept busy keeping Rally Control informed of all the cars’ locations and their issues. Thanks to Tim VK5AV, Col VK5HCF, Lyndon VK5LRB and Nick, Greg and Gabi VK5ZGY, and Andrew VK5VKC

The weather was not too cold, and luckily the rain held off until after midnight, when it bucketed down.

James VK3JBM brought along his “Vehicle Tracking System” which greatly assisted those in Rally Control to track the location of a number of cars. This system is still being developed, but showed huge potential.

A demonstration of his system is planned at an Activity Night in the near future.

The Club’s portable 2m repeater was deployed on a hill in the Myora Forest as communications in the rally area have, in the past, proved difficult, but this time it worked a treat.

The next Rally is not scheduled until September 9th.

Peter VK5BE

The vehicle tracking system in Rally Control
Peter VK5BE (Comms) and Andrew VK5VKC (Tracking)
Portable car tracking repeater

Letter from ACMA re licensing

Assessors received the following letter from the Australian Maritime College of the Uni of Tasmania. The AMC holds the deed for certain amateur services.The move to Class Licensing has led to a decision by AMC to remove their involvement from 2024.

As a result the ACMA will take over functions and continue to use volunteer assessors. In our club that’s currently Tim VK5AV and John VK5DJ.

The attached file is one sent to all assessors. It explains the new proposal in greater detail but be aware that this must go to public consultation before the new processes can be introduced. The letter explains this.

John
on behalf of SERG assessors