Gippstech 2019

I attended Gippstech 2019 over the weekend of 12-14 July 2019 along with five other VK7s which is a record number of VK7s for the event. Thanks to Hayden who passed on the group photo.

L2R: Rex VK7MO, Justin VK7TW, Richard VK7ZBX, Murray VK7ZMS, Larry VK7WLH and Hayden VK7HH.

The weekend was cold and wet but the presentations were inspiring as usual!

Starting with David VK5KK, Iain VK5ZD and Tim VK5ZT and their 5800km Epic Microwave DXPedition. This was a humorous presentation of the trip up through Victoria, NSW, Queensland and South Australia over 12 days. They took every microwave band up to 122GHz and made many contacts with the locals in the area and set a few records along the way.

Then the Doug McArthur VK3UM (SK) award for last year’s best presentation went to Jim VK1AT and Alan VK3XPD’s Microwave Enthusiasts Award went to Stefan VK4CSD.

Coffee break and some nice goodies from Brian VK3YNG – thanks Brian.

David Smith VK3HZ then gave us a presentation on his experiments on an Azimuth finder. This uses the Real Time Kinematics (RTK) – Carrier Phase tracking feature available in some GPS modules and communicates between the modules using the 900MHz ISM band. It uses the NEO-M8P – C94-M8P02 evaluation kits and with a 3-4m baseline it gives 0.2 degrees accuracy and better than 0.1m with a baseline greater than 5m. This was used in ZL by Rex VK7MO for extending the 10GHz EME world record.

Mark Spooner VK5AVQ gave a wonderful presentation on Non-Ionising / RF Radiation Safety. Mark’s presentation simplified the elements of the ARPANSA RPS3 standards and how to interpret and apply these standards in amateur radio scenarios. The comment was this would normally be a 5 days course that was condensed into 45m! Great work Mark.

Peter Schrader VK4EA – a first time presenter gave a fascinating talk on the way that VK4RBB derives its frequencies for all the microwave beacons up to 10GHz by some interesting mixing of base GPS locked frequencies and mixing them all the way up to 10GHz.

We then enjoyed a yummy lunch.

The first presentation after lunch was Dale Hughes VK1DSH with an automatic satellite ground station for satellite telemetry reception. Dale has been experimenting with the Fox and Funcube satellites and how to use their respective data capture, logging and upload applications. Dale has also built a nifty azimuth controller for his yagi which is fixed at 45 degrees. This system uses an Arduino, magnetometer and some control circuitry. Dale has also build a nice user interface using NatSemi’s LabView development environment.

Yours truly then presented the next instalment of his 10GHz Microwave adventure covering the updating of the White Box transverter to a GPS Locked ZLPLL, low noise preamp and 3watt Power Amplifier.

Peter Pokorny VK2EMR then gave a most humorous outline of how we end up with the Leap Second and the Status of UTC. This started as a very serious expose of what leap seconds were and why they are needed and then a bureaucratic nightmare of Utopian size developed with more and more organisations becoming involved until Peter put the following slide up….

Peter then referred to his book of acronynms to decode and display some of the key relationships from the diagram. A most entertaining presentation.

A coffee break with more raffle tickets and goodies!

Rex Moncur VK7MO then presented how he and the ZL team extended the 10 GHz EME World Record from ZL to the United Kingdom. The talk covered how Rex managed to get a 1.13m dish from Australia to ZL in suitcase!

Roger Harrison VK2ZRH took the audience through an interesting presentation on the mechanisms of sunspots and the conveyor belt that powers the sun and creates and presents sunspots. The important question was pondered – namely “Are We There, Yet?” with a bottomed out sunspot cycle and the scientists are still unsure and much of the current thinking was presented.

We wrapped up the day and retired to a nice dinner at the Morwell Club.

On Sunday the first presentation was given by another first timer at Gippstech – George McLucas VK4AMG entitled – GPS Disciplined Frequency Reference – traps for Young and Not- So-Young Players. George took the audience through some thought provoking aspects of building a GPS Disciplined Oscillator and many of the things you need to take into account. This included the errors when generating a frequency, overcoming those errors and some other factors that need to be addressed. George then took the audience through his development of his frequency generators for a range of rigs and how they can be GPS Disciplined.

Our last coffee break and last chance for raffle tickets, goodies and books from Pages of Cobram, thanks to Peter VK3FPSR.

Tim VK5ZT then gave a quick talk on the 3.4GHz panel documentation that he has created which runs to over 60 pages about the panels and their modification and this is available of the EARC.org.au website.

Glen English VK1XX then presented the issues with the ICOM IC-9700 (in)stability and showed his work on developing an oscillator that can be GPS Disciplined for the IC-9700 to improve the stability of the rig for narrow band weak signal work on the microwave bands.

Another Gippstech first timer presenter Wayne Pearson VK5APN gave an entertaining presentation on Grid squares which then lead into his experiments with an independent location finder that gives a range of data including Maidenhead to 10 digits.

Yours truly finished up the presentations with a K3NG based AZ/EL GPS rotator for 10 GHz EME. This showed the applications and the equipment along with the easy of configuring. Pictures showed the Arduino based controller including GPS module that can be used to determine your location and the CCTV AZ/EL based mount to track the sun and moon.

We then retired to the common room for the raffle draw before enjoying pizza and heading in many different direction following another enjoyable Gippstech.

73, Justin, VK7TW

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