Whether you enjoy writing software, getting hands-on with practical equipment, developing new technology or simply want to use what’s already there to communicate with others across the world, you’ll find all of this – and more – within amateur radio. It is also great fun.
Why not try it, click onto to the link below to go to WIA and find a Amateur Radio Club under Radio Clubs and hopefully their is one near you. https://www.wia.org.au/
I started originally from the old days on 11 metres, known as the CB Radio Band, I know quite a lot of Amateurs of today started there too. Well I found this video on the net and guess what, it’s all about CB Radios and probably a lot of us out there can relate to this video. Why did I put this on the listing to view, well anyone coming to our website and who doesn’t have a amateur licence could use this as a stepping stone into the hobby. I hope we can use this as an introduction from CB Radio towards Amateur Radio.
I hope you enjoy this video as there is some good reference material towards amateur radio.
I stumbled across an interview on the internet of one of SERG’s members that was done late last year and thought I would share it with you. Really inspiring about amateur radio and how you would do it back 40 plus years ago and to think how advanced the hobby is now. I hope you enjoy the interview, I did.
On Sunday Tom VK5NFT, Alan VK5ZLT and I (VK5DJ) travelled to the Willalooka site. An 8:15AM departure was a bit much for DJ but he managed it. Tom drove and we arrived on site at 10:20AM. We were pleased to have a police escort for a little while – most appropriate for such an important visit.
The aim was to find the cause of the mixing product from 3WV, identify the changing signal strength on the Willalooka transmission and fix the noise that occasionally opens the Willalooka mute and propagates around the whole network. Not a bad list.
What did we find? Not much.
With the aid of his antenna analyser Tom checked the two repeater antennas, viz. the main one near the top of the tower and a temporary test antenna lower down. Both tested with an SWR of 1.2 at the TX frequency but about a MHz higher the SWR was 1:1. So the SWR favoured the RX rather than the TX. The sweep was broad so we decided that the antennas were near enough for government work.
One possible problem found was the antenna coax going into the cavities. It seemed to rotate within the plug. Further examination revealed threads of outer that may have been shorting out to the inner. Tom re-terminated the coax and tightened the nut, we felt much better about that. We checked all plugs for firm connections. Next John got out his DSA815 spectrum analyser/tracking generator and used it to sweep the cavities. The passband and notches checked out and when the cavities were reconnected to the TX and RX no receiver de-sense was evident. VK5ZAI at Kingston reported favourably on access.
The repeater was re-assembled, connectors tightened and put on the original antenna. The mute was tightened a whisker to avoid noise opening the mute. It may be a little tight and cause chopping but better than noise holding up the network. We left the site about 1:30PM.
We thank Tony VK5ZAI for providing test signals during the day’s exercise. It makes a big difference having a distant station.
The above Youtube clip provided by Tom doesn’t apply to our cavities as ours are passband with a notch. Ours are more critical to tune, however it does give an idea about what is necessary for passband only.
Our cavities have a passband for the RX and TX but they also have a notch in their response 600kHz away. TX cavities have a notch on the RX frequency to remove transmitter noise, while receiver cavities have a notch in their response to remove the carrier. The video does show how to adjust the impedance match of the links and I haven’t done this in the past just adjusted the links for least loss. It might mean the same but in the short term I’ll practice this before next having to do this at a site. Never too young to learn.
At the meeting on 1/2/19 I described how we might use the club’s antenna analyser to best effect.
An important part of using the analyser is to understand the idea of standing waves.
I found this good illustration on youtube:
Hang in there, it’s a little slow moving but the illustration towards the end gives a really good visualisation of standing waves when there is a correct load and an open circuit.
How to tell if your SWR bridge is misleading you. Have on hand an extension length of coax. It should be a ¼ wavelength long for the band you are experimenting with. After measuring your SWR, insert the extra length in the line – this moves your testing point 1/4 wave along the coax to a different point on the standing wave.
Here are some useful lengths:
6M band use a length of 1 metre, 2M band use 340 mm,70cm band use 13cm.
It’s not too critical. Now if your two SWR readings are similar (e.g. 1.2 and 1.3 then you probably don’t have a big problem but 1.2 and 2 would be unacceptable and require more investigation.
To actually calculate the length of the 1/4 wave section the formula is: 75*0.67/freq in MHz and the answer is in metres.
e.g. for 2M it’s 75*0.67/144.0 = 0.348 metres
I’ve used 0.67 as the velocity factor, this is true for many coax cables. Heliax is more likely to be 0.8.
Recently a number of South East Radio Group members have been tracking weather balloons here in South East South Australia.
A balloon is released automatically from the Mount Gambier Airport each Monday and Thursday morning at 10.45 a.m. local time and if some unusual weather conditions are expected, at any time.
We watch the predicted flight path on Hab Hub Predictor and then track the actual flight path on Hab Hub Tracker. Sometimes the two plots agree and others not very well.
The prediction for yesterdays balloon originally had it landing somewhere near Hamilton but this was revised to a spot just East of Strathdownie in Victoria.
Charles, VK5HD rang me at about 11 a.m. and asked if I was going to chase it or if I might be interested in doing so. As it was not going to be very far from the Mount I suggested that I ring Tom, VK5EE, and invite him as well. Charles agreed and Tom and I met up with him at his home in Mt. Gambier at 1 p.m. and off we went.
After crossing the border on the way to Casterton we turned right onto West Strathdownie Road and then turned right onto McGrath’s Road. We travelled along McGrath’s Road for a short time until our GPS indicated that we were getting close to the landing area.
Charles had his hand held on and tuned to 401.500 Mhz. and right on cue we started to hear the signals from the Sonde. It had landed pretty much exactly where the tracker had placed it. We turn off McGraths road and drove a few hundred metres up along the Western edge of a stand of pine trees and parked.
After climbing over the fence into the paddock Charles thought he could see the Sonde but it turned out to be the wool from a sheep carcass.
Col, VK5HCF thought that he saw it just a bit to the North and so we changed direction and carried on walking. Bingo. There was the Balloon, (in tatters of course), and the parachute. Col traced the flimsy line from the tangled mess of the Balloon back to the actual sonde. The line was surprisingly long, maybe 30 metres or so.
All good. Charles coiled the whole mess up and we carried it all back to the car pretty happy with such an easy recovery.
We were only away for about an hour or so which meant minimal disruption to our day.
SERG’s 1296 beacon located on Mount Graham is currently off air due to antenna issues. The site was visited by some of the clubs repeater volunteers led by Col VK5DK and assisted by Leith VK5FLAR, Niv VK5NC and Tom VK5NFT. Eventually after a couple trips it was verified a antenna issue. This will be attended to in coming weeks.
Peter VK5BE and John VK5DJ visited the VK5RMG site on Monday 7th January 2019. This followed a visit the previous day to install the new link chassis and filters.
The link receiver from Naracoorte was program damaged (it lost its default frequency). A quick burst with the programmer at home and all is sweet. The whole system is now working with a somewhat faster ID. That’ll test your CW skills.