Portland repeater project

Heywood Repeater Group inaugural meeting – 16th Feb 2020

On Sunday February 16th, and held at the QTH of Denis VK3VET, the inaugural meeting was held to plan the Heywood repeater project on Mount Eckersley.

In attendance were Peter VK5BE (Chairperson), John VK5DJ, Brian VK5VI, Denis VK3VET, Paul VK3HJV, John VK3FJET, Peter VK3HEW, Steve VK3ZAZ, and David VK3HAQ.

Apologies were received from Ian VK3DNQ, Phil VK3FDAA, Colin VK5DK, and Gus McLean (Land owner)

Peter VK5BE opened the meeting with a summary of the progress made so far, outlining that a site sharing agreement had been secured, all RF equipment such as 2m repeater, 70cm link, all antennas, cabling, and a tower had all been (or being) acquired through SERG members including Brian VK5VI, along with the 12V DC solar power supply. Subject to club approval SERG will create a project support budget.

A letter has been forwarded to the WIA Frequency recommendation group requesting frequencies for both the 2m repeater and the 70cm link. Those present agreed that we apply for VK3RSW as an appropriate call-sign.

Discussion then followed on the topic of the type of hut to be constructed. It was agreed that a small brick and concrete hut be built on site subject to the acquisition of suitable material.

For the purposes of securing possible government grants, the Portland group will consider reactivating the dissolved Portland and South West Amateur Radio Club This will also enable the repeater to be a “WIA repeater licenced” device ensuring the licence is paid annually by the WIA in accordance with their policy of supporting one repeater licence per club.

All the VK3’s present agreed to form a repeater planning group, led by Denis VK3VET, to coordinate the construction phase of the project, and will hold planning meetings at Denis VK3VET’s QTH, with possible remote members sitting in via Skype.

Paul VK3HJV agreed to create a private face-book group for the project to keep everyone informed.


Peter VK5BE

SERG President


Investigation for a Portland repeater in our network

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.

Current users’ tower on the other side of the fence, the boundary fence can be seen

–Mini TS-100 Soldering Station–

Hello and welcome to another post.

Today I have for you this quite a remarkable little old soldering iron. Well you might say its just another soldering iron, looking at it for the first time you might think so but wait there is more.

Click on to the you tube to find out more about this little beauty.

Click onto links below to find out more;

TS100 Product Link:

Spare and alternative tips:

Different colour casings:

Iron stand for TS100:

Helping hands: 

How to update Firmware

Please read the instructions on how to flash the firmware, and download the latest firmware (ts100.hex) from the releases page.

Firmware Page Link: 

Make sure you select TS100_EN.hex; The EN refers to english and the text will be displayed in english and not some other language.

Enjoy and have fun with Amateur Radio.

Cheers and 73’s from Tom VK5NFT


——-The sign of the times——New Open Spot 3 by Shark RF

Hello  and welcome to the start of 2020 and here I have a new device called the Open Spot 3 that will be available for purchase later January 2020.

Attached you-tube of Eric KJ4YZI presenting this new device and its capabilities. Thank you Eric for this video, hope you enjoy.

Want to find out more about this product  cost and availability then click onto the link: OpenSpot3 .

Enjoy and have fun with Amateur Radio.

Cheers and 73’s from Tom VK5NFT

Dipole repair day.

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

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.

Naracoorte down

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.


Repeater coordinator

Congratulations Kevin. VK4UH


South East Radio Group Club former President and Club Patron Kevin, VK4UH, has broken the Australian 3.4 Ghz distance record.
On Saturday 23rd. November 2019 Kevin completed a two way qso with Stephen, ZL1TPH, portable who was in Cape Reinga in New Zealand which set a new Australian 3.4 Ghz record.
We understand that Kevin was operating from his front verandah.

A video of the event can be found here.

Our congratulations to Kevin.
An outstanding effort.
We wish he was still here but appreciate that he would probably not have been able to do this from Mt. Gambier.

2019 S.E.R.G. Christmas BBQ

Once again we were extremely lucky.

The weather turned out perfectly.

The site was excellent. (Thank you John, VK5DJ)

The company was, as usual, fabulous.

A great time was had by all.

Many thanks to Chris, VK5MC, and the Millicent Rotary Club for providing an extra BBQ and the transporting of it to and from.

A number of our VK3 Members made the effort and travelled quite a distance to join us – namely Ian, VK3DNQ and wife Helen, (Coddrington. Vic), John, VK3FJSN, (Hamilton side of Casterton, Vic.) John, VK3FJET, (Portland).

It was also great to see Millicent Member Gilbert, VK5FGIL, as we rarely catch up with him.

Tom, VK5EE, set up his portable station and a few contacts were made on 40 metres much to the interest of all present.

John, VK3FJET, had a problem with his two metre rig in the car. It appeared to be stone deaf. A number of Club Members had a crack at finding the problem until Tom, VK5EE, suddenly realised that it was the power supply for John’s reversing camera that was obliterating all signals. He unplugged it from the cigarette lighter and the problem disappeared. Well done Tom,

Here are a few pictures from the very enjoyable day.

I have to apologise, as I was supposed to have taken a Group photo but, you guessed it, I forgot. (However, no one reminded me either.)

Christmas Barbeque

Whoops, Col and I were both preparing a note at the same time. So here’s some extra info but see Col’s post for the fine detail.

Great Crested Grebe

We are booked in. Bring your own everything. Be prepared for a nice walk around the Lake, plenty of wild birds to be seen and maybe even a wallaby or two.

Australian White Ibis

Here’s a map of the location, use + or – to zoom or mouse to shift map around.