Gippstech 2016

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Peter VK3PF the Conference convener welcomed everyone and reminded them that the WIA bestowed many awards on people who are regulars to the conference.

Dale VK1DSH – GA Taylor Medal, David VK2JDS – Ron Wilkinson Award, David VK3QM and Lou VK3ALB – Technical Excellence Award and Ron VK3AFW received a President’s Commendation.

We remembered friends who were no longer with us – VK1WJ, VK1VP, VK3UM

=======================

David VK5KK started the presentations with an excellent expose on his VHF and microwave SDR adventure.

He started with his experiments with the mCHF from M0NKA which is a KX3 equivalent and used this HF SDR transceiver to drive the UHFSDR by WB6CGR.

David used the SDR2GO software with the WB6CGR board. David also experimented with the STM-32-SDR and SDR2GO software but shelved as other options became available. David uses a DDS as a VFO with a optical step encoder with 600 steps. David claims he gets 2-4dB better SNR on an SDR than an FT-817.

The mcHF is still in development out of Germany and uses the I/Q signals into NAP65.

This is primarily sad a User Interface for the UHF SDR board. He uses external DDS – from Minikits (si570PLL) or the PLL boards from VK3XDK. You do need 144/432 helical filters for block filtering and uses a Mitsubishi module for a 2.5W PA from Minikits. The DDS is a AD9951 up to 160MHz and uses the 2 phase shifted outputs to double up to  288MHz for 144MHz SDR.

There was some noise from the user interface and needs a shield between the PCB and shielding the CPU. Sequencing was done in software through UI libraries available. Another SDR was the Russian Tulip SDR – all in Russian! David also mentioned G0ORX and the piHPSDR available from GitHUB. PI3 using Hermes board. Definitely follow-up on that one!

LimeSDR is the next BIG thing – US$289.00!! about AU$400 and this is a game changer for us  and will enable microwave operations as an SDR. The next generation apparently goes to 10GHz!

========================

The next presentation was by Alan VK3XPD for the Microwave Enthusiasts  Award which went to Doug Friend VK4OE.

Very impressive glass engraved plaque that lights up!

========

The next presentation was by Joe VK3YSP and Julie VK3FOWL and was on the Schools Amateur Radio Club Net activity on ANZAC day with the SARCNet school kids, scouts and volunteers. This event included a high altitude balloon launch and Joe and Julie took us though the technical aspects and the colour and movement they have added to make a balloon launch appealing to primary school kids. This included the ability for the kids to track the balloon on their smartphones via the web.

The SARCNet has a website – SARCnet.org.au and has been setup to inspire primary school age kids who are at an age where they must differentiate from parents and peer group – the ANZAC day celebration provided a great day of combined activities to showcase amateur radio.

The schools program also run a grade 5 elective for soldering where they build a LED flasher kit which goes into owls eyes. There is Morse Code, First Aid – CPR Course, the High altitude balloon launch. There was also ARDF on the day. Murray Taylor VK3MJT helped with the Scout side.

They demonstrated the colour and movement of the HAB launch including strobe – beeper and count down!

There were over 300 HABS around the world – huge event. The balloon regs currently allow up to 50grams with no approval BUT the  law is changing on Sept 29.

Joe used an interesting techniques of working the PSK numbers out on a spreadsheet for the function to create the lookups table in the Arduino that was used to transmit the PSK. Joe then went through the process of uploading the data on the notebook into the HABHUB website for tracking using DLFLDigi

The story will be in the August Issue of AR has the Anzac Day event

==============

The next talk that Joe and Julie did was the AIS Saves Lives presentation. This is the automatic identification system on ships around the world.

There are many AIS black spots and amateurs can help to fill the black spots – on 162MHz and is easily decoded and uploaded to the 5 websites that display this information. All Class A vessels over 300tonnes are required to have AIS and it’s optional for class B below 300 tonnes.

You can use a cheap RTL SDR and even an early RaspberryPi  version will work and it can be stand alone. Need to calibrate it using the local Cell tower 900MHz signal but this is easy to do using some Linux programs. (Linus – Kal -2 GSM900, Kal -c 15, RTL AIS software)

==================

The next presentation was by Glenn VK1XX on the next generation of semiconductors that are hitting the market – Gallium Nitride and Silicon Carbon devices.

These devices have very low capacitance and therefore are excellent for microwave frequencies and the SiCs have high breakdown voltages and high power levels and can run hotter than most silicon and germanium devices.

The SiC are high voltage – 1200-1700V 100A on resistance of 50milliohms!

The current LDMOS will be around for a while but will be soon overrun by the GaN and SiC – the devices are Broadband = no capacitance = less matching required and are more efficient and therefore less heat sinking for equivalent power levels. These are Game Changers in the high power microwave space

===============

The next talk was by Roger VK2ZRH about where regulation is going. Roger started by mentioning that VK amateur numbers have actually increased from 14035 in 2014 to 14144 in 2015 whereas in Germany and Canada they have dropped. There is SIGNIFICANT change ahead for the industry, Technological Change is upon us and demand for the spectrum is increasing incredibly.

The WIA’s position is we cannot go backwards with conditions, bands, modes, etc as they start the negotiation.

The Q&A afterwards showed the need for Digital Modes for Foundation licensees, that the Curriculum will need to change and the WIA is waiting on ACMA/Act Review results, Regulation will go to the industry in the new world order, Power assessments are SAR based – Technical standard needs work – ARPANSA sets this and the regulator is responsible for setting the standard, Global EME band plans are not aligned – IARU pushing the relevant regulators in each country, ACMA wants to make their life easier therefore functionality will Probably come to WIA, Amateur service is competing for spectrum along with all the other users that need spectrum and 5G is coming along with IOT, etc. Bill for the new act is out there and ACMA digesting – caretaker has stopped progress. Watch this space!

===========

Great lunch as usual!

===========

The first afternoon presentation was David Rowe VK5DGR on his open source – SM-2000 VHF SDR with embedded FreeDV. David showed the evolution of the SM-1000 an then the development and progress on the VHF SDR radio – SM-2000.

He was accompanied by Brady KC9TPA  from the US who has been helping David with development. There was a demonstration of the latest FreeDV modes and SSB signal in dodgy conditions and then the fully digital chained SDR and the results were remarkable from 3/1 to 5/9.

David passed around the SM-2000 PCB and it is a great development board with the discrete RF and radio blocks accessible and understandable. These boards, circuitry and software are all open source  – great work David! There was a plea from David for more people to get involved with the team and actually help with different aspects of the project. This presentation was videoed and is available with last Year’s FreeDV video.

===========

Joe VK3YSP and Julie VK7FOWL  then did a presentation on a. Homebrew Speech synthesiser for the FT-817

Joe took that audience through the process of using the Arduino and voice synthesis chipo to take the various settings on the FT817 the voice used was the  British female voice nicknamed Rachel. Enough Said!

================

The next presentation was by Glenn VK1XX on the near effects of ground on your field day setup or repeater site.

Glenn took us through the theory of Fresnel zones, wavefront and Ray diagrams and the different diffraction patterns

The key principle demonstrated was the Knife edge diffraction attenuation through the blocking of the various fresnel zones.

Glenn applied this knowledge to Rex’s 10GHz operation and concluded that on flat ground Rex really needs to be on top of his vehicle to improve performance!

For field day operation with a tower and 6/2/70cm Yagis it would actually be better to put the 6m yagi on the top of the tower to clear the fresnel zones unless on a cliff or steep sloping ground.

============

The last presentation for the day was Tim VK5ZT with his alternate 3.4GHz Panel mods

These panels have been made popular by the Geelong ARC and Tim has improved on the modifications and simplified them.

VK5ZT mod doesn’t require as much mod as GARC. Tim also reprograms the Microcontroller ATMega  with the help of VK3HZ who disassembled the code. Tim uses an Arduino Nano to the ISP port to the on board ATMEga to reprogram the on board ATMEga8 – use io pin 10 for reset to the on board atmega8.

Tim finished up with the faults and issue with the boards that he has seen – Yellow boards worse than green versions – be careful.

=========

Gippstech Dinner – Morwell Club

==========

Sunday 10/7/16

Rex VK7MO presented about QRP EME on 10GHz

Rex took us through the intricacies of his tests with Charlie G3WDG and the EME low liberation path which enabled them to drop the power to 5W between the 77cm and 3m dishes. Rex then used a neat feature in WSJT which allows you to introduce random noise that degrades the SNR to test what level you would be able to receive the signal at and Rex estimates that it would be in the order of 2W when moon liberation is low.

===================

Julie VK3FOWL and Joe VK3YSP – az-el satellite antenna rotator

Joe and Julie took us through the project they built for an az-el portable satellite antenna mount.

Joe took us through using an $11 accelerometer as a gravity meter, etc module with an Arduino which is mounted on the boom to calculate convert the position to Az-El and that enable you to feed the positioning servos with power to position the boom of the arrow 2/70cm satellite antenna at the satellite and track it through the sky. Joe uses GPredict on Linux to drive it and the Hamlib Libraries. Joe took us through the mechanical challenges and the operation.

======================

Roger Harrison VK2ZRH – Norfolk Island microwave jaunt

Roger took us though a pictorial collage of the 3.4GHz microwave activity on Norfolk Island during the WIA AGM weekend using the GARC modified 3.4GHz panels.

======================

Dale Hughes VK1 DSH – Arduino SSTV TX/RX

Dale took us through his project to build Arduino Robot20 SSTV transmitter and receiver using Arduinos. He related some of the coding issues he had and some interesting solutions like self aware adjusted timing to ensure the horizontal sync was in the right place. Dale promoted this project as a possible advanced STEM project to introduce students to TV technology.

======================

Rex VK7MO – Update on WSJTX

Rex gave us a look at the latest version of WSJTX and its performance improvements and some of the great built in features of the program – system performance testing, and being able to predict how little power would be needed for a contact. And even some nice programming Easter eggs that Joe Taylor K1JT has included in the program.

======================

Dave Hardy VK2JDH Android phone controlled Arduino via Bluetooth

Dave showed how to use an online tool to built Arduino based control code that can be down loaded to an Arduino and controlled via android webpage controls via Bluetooth. Dave originally used this for controlling and monitoring an Engel fridge in the car and thought this has application for amateur radio and demonstrated the control of an IC706 via the CI-V port. This has some great AR applications and is easy to use.

===================

Three themes were prevalent at Gippstech 2016 – Software Defined Radios, Arduino controllers and Coding – we are seeing the predicted transition from soldering to programming for homebrewing!!!

Raffle – I was lucky enough to win two prizes!

We had our traditional Pizza lunch and then back to Tullamarine to fly home, thanks to Rex our wonderful driver!

73, Justin, VK7TW

Advertisements
Posted in Amateur Radio, Conference, Gippstech Microwave Conference | 5 Comments

VK7/SC-008 – Grey Mountain & VKFF 1149 – 28 March 2016

Easter weekend – time for a combined SOTA and VKFF activation. This is a reprise for the author who activated Grey Mountain (VK7/SC-008) back on 20 January 2015 by walking in from the other direction. I have since found out that you can drive up to the gate at the base of the Mountain and walk the last (steep) kilometre up to the summit.

The track starts on Cradoc Hill Rd (between Huonville and Cygnet) heads up to the Cradoc Hill Abattoir where you go straight on along Bells Rd and this comes to a four way junction (5 way if you count the powerline easement) head up the track to the right of the powerline easement and the track rapidly becomes a (steep in sections) four wheel drive track. This track eventually comes to a tee junction with a locked gate on the track up Grey Mountain. The other track takes you into the Snug Tiers Nature Recreation Area (VKFF-1149) and ends up at the end of Van Morey Rd in Margate via some challenging 4WD tracks!

IMG_3543

Track up to Grey Mountain looking South East toward The Neck on Bruny Island.

Weather was good with some grey rain clouds threatening in the NW. We setup at the Trig point and deployed the hootchie which nicely fits the base of the trig point. Reuben wanted to try his recently homebrewed portable 2m yagi and the author started on 40m. Conditions were fair and some contacts with other parks and amateurs (VK1, 2, 3, 5 & 7) made.

IMG_3545

Trig point Hootchie with Reuben VK7FREU operating on top of Grey Mountain.

IMG_3547

Linked dipole and 2m portable yagi next to the impressive commercial antenna array.

We then moved to 15m and made two contacts into VK4 and called for a little while but alas no one else. We headed back to 40m and made a summit to summit with VK1RX/2 and VK1AD/2 (thanks) and a few more contacts with VK3, 5 & 7. Reuben made some 2M FM contacts with the portable yagi but we need to do more work to get it higher and away from ground effects.

IMG_3549

Panorama from South to North.

We were watching the rain roll across the surrounding hills and decided to call it quits and head back to the car. On the way back down Reuben spotted some very interesting beetles on the side of track.

IMG_3560

Iridescent blue beetles on the track.

With the author’s original activation and this activation we almost have the requisite 44 contacts for the VKFF and had fun reactivating the summit for SOTA.

Thanks to all who contacted us.

Hear you on a summit soon.

73, Justin, VK7TW

Posted in Amateur Radio, SOTA Activation, Uncategorized, VK7 Association, VKFF Activation | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

VK3/VW-020 – Mt Zero – 10 February 2016

On a recent driving trip back to my home state of VK5 I decided to break the trip and activate a summit on the way. A quick look at the SOTA map and Mt Zero seemed a logical option. At the end of the Grampian Mountain range it is easily accessed just after Dadswells Bridge (the big Koala!) along the Wonwondah-Dadswells Bridge Rd, on to Winfields Rds and then Mt Zero Road and follow the signs to the Mt Zero Picnic area.

The day I chose put me at the picnic area around 11am and it was already 30 degrees centigrade! Plenty of water, hat, sunscreen and covering and I set off along the very well marked track.

IMG_3387

Sandy track up Mt Zero

The track heads up through the sandstone rocks and is easy to follow with yellow triangles painted on the rocks marking the track. It is steep toward the end with natural sandstone steps. The direction cairn is the first feature you come to and further along the ridge line is the trig point. Caution is required on top as there is a scary cliff face that you are next to along the ridge line. I decided to operate from the cairn as there was a tree I could velcro the squid pole to and it was within the activation zone.

IMG_3391

Direction cairn commemorating Major Mitchell who explored this area

I started on 40m and scraped up four contacts as conditions were not good. I then move to 15m and called CQ for about 15 minutes and out of the noise came AI0L Mark from Colorado with a 5/7 5/7 contact. This proved to me propagation is always open….to somewhere! We talked for a short while and completed the contacts and I called but no one else came back on 15m.

IMG_3392

Panorama from Trig point in 180 degree to ridge line toward Flat Rock

IMG_3395

Panorama in other direction showing the olive plantation

I went back to 40m and conditions had improved and I worked VK2, 3, 5, & 7 including Murray VK7ZMS/3 who was on the Spirit of Tasmania with me and was helping to drive to Port Douglas with a mate, thanks Murray.

IMG_3397

Looking toward Flat Rock from Mt Zero – huge monoliths of sandstone.

With 13 contacts and the temperature in the middle of the day rising I decided to call it quits and made my way back to the car and continue driving to South Australia. I had lunch just down the road in Horsham and was in Adelaide by about 7pm. I slept well that night…HIHI.

Thanks to all who contacted me.

73, Justin, VK7TW

 

Posted in Amateur Radio, Bushwalking, SOTA, SOTA Activation, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

VK7/CH-020 – Mt Rufus – 26 January 2016

Australia Day 2016 saw Reuben VK7FREU, XYL Helen and myself VK7TW rose early and head off to Derwent Bridge at the start of the Derwent River. Derwent Bridge is 174km (about 2.5 hours)  along the Lyell Highway which ends up at Queenstown on the West Coast of VK7 (Tasmania).

We called into the Walker Registration at Lake St Clair (parks pass required) and registered the short walk from Rufus Canal Rd via Gingerbread track to Mt Rufus and then back to Lake St Clair via Mt Rufus track. We also checked the track wasn’t closed due to the fires.

Then we went through Derwent Bridge and west down the Lyell Highway 8.6km to the Rufus Canal road. Head down the Rufus Canal Rd about 2km until a bridge and just after the bridge there are painted poles marking the track on the eastern side of the road. This is the start of the Gingerbread track. It was already smoky from the West and NW coast fires.

The walk in along the Gingerbread track to Mt Rufus is about 6.5km and is a series of rises to button grass plains then around the Spur and across to Gingerbread Hut and then a steep ascent to Mt Rufus.

IMG_3319

Button Grass plain – yes it’s marked with road markers – nice and reflective!

Gators were essential walking through button grass and some muddy patches. It was mostly dry though. This is normally a muddy and wet track! We came across a Copperhead snake skin that was not very old as it was still flexible and estimate it would have been at least a 1.2m snake with a 16cm circumference in the middle of the skin. Fortunately we didn’t see the owner of the skin!

IMG_3354

Copperhead snake skin (300mm ruler) estimate over 1.2m with tail and head included.

The first landmark was Joe Slatter hut which is looked after by the Wellington Ski Club. This hut is large and sleeps 14 in bunks. It is well looked after, we signed the log and continued on.

IMG_3321

Joe Slatter Hut – sleeps 14 – great hut

Vegetation varies from Myrtle Forest to Tea tree forest, button grass plains, pandani groves, low scrub to cushion plants and alpine vegetation up the top.

IMG_3326

The last saddle up to Gingerbread Hut then up to Mt Rufus.

IMG_3328

Gingerbread Hut

This hut is much smaller and would sleep 4-5 at a squeeze upstairs in the roof – emergency accommodation only – signed the log book and followed the snow poles up to Mt Rufus, this was steep in sections.

IMG_3332

Panorama looking back down the Mt Rufus ridge line whilst descending the Mt Rufus Track

On top is a large stone man-made square cairn that can be seen from way off. Plenty of spots to plant the squid pole and setup and operate. There were many people passing through doing the Mt Rufus Circuit down to Shadow Lake who were interested in what were doing. Reuben and I each made 10 contacts from around Australia on 40m. We tried 15 & 10m but had no-one come back so after 45m on summit we decided to make our way back. Thanks to all who contacted us.

Mt Rufus straddles the Franklin Gordon Wild Rivers National Park and the Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park. We decided to give out Wild Rivers VK Flora and Fauna Award (VKFF) numbers – VKFF-0185.

IMG_3340

Mt Hugel through the Smoke

Mt Hugel is the closet summit and is only 2.5km away but it’s a steep climb and has to be negotiated from the Northern slopes up from Shadow Lake and Little Hugel. The smoke was thick and the other summits were a distant silhouette.

IMG_3350

Mt Rufus escapement with Little Hugel and Lake Solitude in middle background. Mt Olympus in the background.

The Mt Rufus track from the Summit to Lake St Clair is 7.5km and is a constant descent starting with Alpine vegetation, low scrub, snow gums, tea tree, pandanis, sword grass and Myrtle forest.

IMG_3352

Ancient Myrtle Forest – really dry!

It took us about 3 hours to walk out and were back at the carpark with Helen about 4:30pm. Thanks to Helen and all who contacted us. Another great SOTA activation and another first peak activation in VK7. 2.5hours back along the Lyell Highway and we slept well that night 😉

Hear you on a peak somewhere!

73, Justin, VK7TW

 

Posted in SOTA Activation, Uncategorized, VK7 Association | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

VK7/SC-002 & 006 – 31 December 2015 – 1 January 2016

The UTC year changeover holds special significance for SOTA activators! It’s SOTA Double Points Day…HIHI.

Reuben VK7FREU and myself setoff early for Collinsvale and then into the Myrtle Gully track (starting 0639). Unfortunately, part way up the track Reuben VK7FREU wasn’t feeling to flash and he decided to abort. Fortunately his mum was able to pick him up. Reu has been fighting off an upset tummy and went off to the Doctor after that. Thanks Reu and Mum for letting me continue on.

I continued up to the Collins Cap Fire Trail seeing a White-lipped Snake on the track just before the trail. I then walked across to the East-West Fire trail. There was low cloud over Collins Bonnet the whole day.

IMG_3261

Looking along the Collins Cap Fire Trail toward Collins Bonnet in cloud

Managed to get to the Collins Bonnet track at 0805. Headed up through the cloud to the trig point. Cloud was thick enough so you could only just see the next snow pole through the cloud!

IMG_3265

Rock hopping in the clouds – Collins Bonnet track and you could only just see the next snow pole indicating the track!

First setup the hootchie over the trig point to keep the wind and moisture from the clouds off everything. Temp was about 17 degrees so not cold! It was interesting in the cloud as the ground and trig point were not wet however anything at a cooler temperature condensed water.

IMG_3272

Hootchie using the Trig point

Standing in the cloud my polar fleece would progressively become white with small droplets of water. The vertical coaxial feed line to the antenna and squid pole was dripping with water.

IMG_3270

Water from the clouds condensing on the coax.

Made many contacts (in 2015) mostly with other summit stations around Australia leading up to 1100 when in UTC time it became 2016. I then proceeded to contact many of the same stations. Ended up with two pages of contacts. That was an easy 20 activations points! Thanks to all who contacted me.

IMG_3266

Set off from Collins Bonnet back down the East-West then Collins Cap fires trails back to Collins Cap and was on summit at 1349. Collins Cap was free from low cloud and setup the antenna and started making contacts.

IMG_3279

Collins Cap selfie – no cloud therefore no hootchie required – just sunscreen HIHI

Radio conditions were a little more challenging and I tried a few different bands to rouse up about half a page of contacts. At our last activation of Collins Cap a week earlier – ten metres was excellent and we made many contacts. Unfortunately this time 10m propagation was fantastic into VK4  (5/9+ both ways) however I only made a couple of contacts. Proved to me that propagation is always open to somewhere however there may not always be people listening!!

IMG_3283

Panorama on Collins Cap looking toward Collins Bonnet which is still in cloud.

Started down about 1548 and was back at the car at 1700. All up about 11km of walking and climbing. A great day of SOTA’ing and the weather was perfect – not too hot, wet or cold.

Thanks to all who activated on the UTC changeover and the many chasers. Another successful SOTA activation.

73, Justin, VK7TW

Posted in SOTA Activation, UTC Year Changeover, VK7 Association | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

VK7/SC-006 – Collins Cap – 27 December 2015 Reprise

With the UTC year change over looming large Reuben VK7FREU and I decided to reactivate Collins Cap given neither of us have activated it in 2015.

The reason was two fold – firstly we needed to time how long it took us to walk the Myrtle Gully track from car park to East-West fire trail and secondly to activate Collins Cap in 2015 prior to reactivation on 1 January 2016.

IMG_3237

On Collins Cap Fire Trail about to head up the track to Collins Cap.

On UTC year change over we are intending to activate Collins Bonnet (VK7/SC-002) and we did not want to take the Myrtle Gully – Collins Bonnet track as last time it was very overgrown and you were pushing through scrub for about 40% of the hour long walk!

There are two alternate routes – East-West fire trail or come in on the Big-Bend to Tom Thumb Track. Given we want to activate Collins Cap again in 2016 on the way back from Collins Bonnet – the East-West Track was the logical choice. It is slightly longer but a much easier walk.

IMG_3240

LtoR: Collins Bonnet and Trestle Mtn with Collins Cap Fire trail.

It was great weather and it was a pleasure to walk. The wind on top of Collins Cap was cool and we setup the Hootchie (for the first time!) and sheltered behind it. There are plenty of small trees on top that you can lash the squid pole to.

We had lunch and then started operating on 40m and conditions were difficult and thanks to those who persisted. We did make a S2S with Matt VK1MA/3 which was excellent. Reu then suggested 10m and that was a great choice with many stations from VK2, 3, 4, 5 & 7.

IMG_3248

Panorama – LtoR: Hobart, Mt Wellington, Collins Bonnet and Trestle Mtn.

IMG_3245

Panorama – LtoR: Mt Wellington, Collins Bonnet, Trestle Mtn and Mt Marian.

IMG_3243

Panorama – LtoR: Trestle Mtn, Mt Marian, Mt Charles and rain over New Norfolk.

A great half day walk and activation and thanks to all who contacted us and we are looking forward to our UTC year changeover activation.

Speak to you soon from a summit somewhere.

73, Justin, VK7TW

Posted in Amateur Radio, Bushwalking, SOTA, SOTA Activation, VK7 Association | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

VK7/NE-026 – Knockup – 28 November 2015

My wife is a harpist and had rehearsals in Launceston in Northern Tasmania. Whilst she was rehearsing, Reuben VK7FREU and I decided to see what SOTA summits were available for a “quick dash”.

A month ago we surveyed  Knockup however did not have a high clearance vehicle and the rain was falling heavily so, we gave up and decided to try again later.

The 28th November was more successful. Heading out of Launceston on the road (A3) to Scottsdale you go past Myrtle Park and Targa and head up into the Sideling Range. On a hairpin junction you find a forestry track – Weelaty Road (sign posted) that heads into the Sideling Plantation. A short way up this road there is a cross road where you turn into Eagle Road (-41.27361, 147.41533) this is a rough forestry track that need a reasonably high clearance vehicle but doesn’t need 4WD.

Eagle Rd heads up past a quarry to a tee junction (-41.27272, 147.4067) sign posted Eagle No.1 and Eagle No.2 – we parked the vehicle at the tee junction off the road and walked the 10 minutes up the summit along a rough bush track which could be driven with a 4WD.

IMG_3210

Track up to summit – easy walk/drive

There is a solar powered microwave link tower on the summit and plenty of spots to operate from. Whilst finding stones to pile around the base of the squid pole I came across a Copperhead skin.

IMG_3203

Nice Copperhead skin fortunately the former occupant was not seen!

We setup and was listening to a conversation on 40m with VK2HRG on Mt Mogood and suddenly the receiver in the FT-817 went deaf. I thought this was a antenna issue and we checked everything and nothing wrong – low SWR on transmit too – thinking the band was dead I put out a call and about a minute later got a mobile phone call from Peter VK3PF confirming something was wrong! I was getting out but not able to receive.

IMG_3202

Reuben VK7FREU operating next to microwave link tower

I was about to do a factory reset on the FT-817 and suddenly I was hearing signals again. It’s a mystery!! We started making contacts I ended up with 9 contacts on 40 and 15m including a S2S. Reuben put out calls on 146.5MHz but was not able to raise anyone so, we shared 40 & 15m. Thanks to all who made contact with us.

Time was running out and we had to be back in Launceston to pick up Helen so, we packed up and headed back to the car.

IMG_3197

Panorama looking toward Mt Barrow from Knockup

A great day and a nice quick activation in the Sideling.

Hear you on a summit someday.

73, Justin, VK7TW

 

Posted in Amateur Radio, SOTA Activation, Uncategorized, VK7 Association | Tagged , | Leave a comment