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.

Peter VK5BE

Solar panels on adjustable mount
Our little corner of the building awaiting the repeater and link
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.

on behalf of SERG assessors

Working bee at Mt Richmond

1/5/23 – Peter VK5BE and Nick travelled to Mount Richmond to install the newly constructed steel work on the bunker wall that will support the 4 solar panels.

Firstly, an off-set support frame was attached to the bunker wall, then a tilting solar panel mounting frame was attached. The frame tilts to the optimum positions for maximum efficiency for either summer or winter.

During the next site visit, it is hoped the 4 solar panels will be mounted and cabled into the hut.

Nick hard at work welding up the frames
Nick fastening the frame
Finished frame

Low antenna at VK5RSE Mt Graham Repeater

The VK5RSE repeater is currently running on a low antenna – about one metre above the hut. In addition it is below the height of two nearby buildings in the direction of Mt Gambier and Millicent. Signals will be down. It may still be OK towards Kingston and Naracoorte.

This is an experiment to check if the clicks appearing on transmissions into the 2 metre repeater are a result of antenna fault. We also know that the SWR is very high (4:1) and the antenna analyser is coming up with some strange readings. The bottom line is that we’ll need to replace the main antenna. For the moment this temporary setup will confirm the clicks are coming from the main antenna.

I have had to reduce the power out of the repeater to prevent the desense resulting from having an antenna within 4 metres of the repeater.

John VK5DJ : repeater coordinator

Coffee mornings a success

The SERG Thursday morning “Coffee Club” continues to grow and grow with 11 members this week enjoying some social chat. Was great to see Dale VK5DA and Gary VK5JR join us for the first time.By chance, we all watched the tracking on our big screen of a weather balloon from the Airport on the club’s new balloon tracker that was configured by Andrew VK5MAS. Join us every Thursday at 10am at the Clubrooms.
(Photo by Peter VK5BE)

Trevor Niven’s funeral

Trevor Niven VK5NC (22nd January 1944 -17th February 2023)

Trevor with the Ross Hull Trophy

Trevor had many friends around Australia. His funeral service in Perth WA will be live streamed on the 27th February at 10:25AM, (W.A. time), on the following link.

Click here for funeral service

A recording of the service will be available for 90 days using the same link for those who were unable to view the live stream.

Note 10:25AM WA time is 12:55PM SAST and 1:25PM EST

The download is the Silent Key Report to WIA – Amateur Radio Magazine prepared by Chris VK5MC

Mt Richmond Paint Working Bee

Here are some notes from Peter. But first a big thank you to Nick and Peter for their work on Wednesday 15/2/23

Nick and I went down to Mount Richmond and completed the following :

  • Removed the rust from the hut.
  • Applied cold galv primer to any bare metal areas.
  • Spray painted the first of 2 coats in Heritage Green.
  • Obtained details and measurements of the proposed repeater installation.
  • Gathered info to build a frame to support the solar panels.
  • Took numerous photos.

Since arriving home, I have received a phone call from Tim VK3TIM thanking SERG for today’s work. He has become very supportive of the project and is now offering more support. I have received his permission to hold the keys to the site until the project is complete.
Tim is offering to get an arborist to the site to remove some trees that may cause some shading to the panels.
The equipment rack was measured up today, and unfortunately the blue cabinet is too tall to fit into the hut. Therefore, the mini-rack that I built, (which is at the Clubrooms) will now be pressed into service, but a new solar control panel will need to be built. I have Tim’s permission to mount it on the wall above the repeater rack.
Today I spoke with Andrew VK5VKC, who will ask his boss if we can borrow a 15m cherry picker, as the mono-pole is 12m high and we may be able to do our own antenna work. This activity has been pre-approved by Tim VK3TIM.

Mt Richmond home to VK3RSW with its new face

Weeds at Mt Graham

Things are a little overgrown at Mt Graham. Technicians take their lives in their hands when they visit, not to mention other parts while climbing over the barb wire. The sacrifices of people who work on repeaters.

Access to VK5RSE repeater and beacons