National Field Day – 23 October - initial reports
Please Note :A downloadable powerpoint presentation with photographs of a number of club displays can be found at the bottom of this news release.
Jim Linton - VK3PC
The Midland Amateur Radio Club (MARC) in central Victoria enjoyed the 'Tune-In To The World' day being set up at the Discovery Science & Technology Centre Bendigo. A highlight was the unveiling of a prototype mobile communications tower trailer that has potential for emergency communications use, which has a a wind up tower where multiple antennas, including heavy duty antennas, can be installed. Antennas for 40m, 20m, VHF, UHF and 2.4 GHz were installed. Amateur Television was demonstrated by receiving programming sent by a local amateur via the VK3RBO ATV repeater. Echolink was also demonstrated allowing the public to speak to international Amateur Radio stations. While numbers were down at the Discovery Centre due to the Bendigo Show, participating club members agreed that many positives came out of the day, including testing the prototype trailer, and a visit from a council member who learnt much more about Amateur Radio and the Midland Amateur Radio Club. The event was promoted with interviews on Radio KLFM, Easy Listening Victoria, and a follow up photo story in the Bendigo Advertiser. MARC thanks Discovery Science & Technology Centre Bendigo for the use of its facilities, and looks forward to 'Tune-In To The World' 2011!
The Maryborough Electronics and Radio Group (MERG) had bright sunlight and a gentle breeze for its portable station on The Green, Chifley Place, Adelaide Street, Maryborough. The WIA-supplied media materials did their job with MERG scoring mentions on ABC local radio, in the Fraser Coast Chronicle, and the filming of activities by Channel 7. Geoff Emery VK4ZPP reports that the local SES Controller visited the MERG display and discussed amateur radio support in emergency operations. The MERG experience certainly supports the WIA aim of showing amateur radio to the community. The club is looking forward to National Field Day 2011.
Melbourne's Eastern & Mountain District Radio Club activated club station VK3ER from the foyer of the Scienceworks Museum at Spotswood. With 1,500 visitors on the day, the science and technology museum features a range of hands-on exhibits, live science related demonstrations and various activities for young people and their families. The club is very appreciative of the support, assistance and encouragement provided by the museum’s management including roof top access for antennas. VK3ER transmitted on HF, VHF and UHF, making numerous contacts throughout the day and put some very young voices on the bands. A highlight was the tracking (via computer) and contact with the South Australian balloon repeater VK5ZBR. Onlookers were fascinated to see the displayed coverage footprint and hear a contact made with the repeater when it came into radio range. The WIA calling CQ brochure in conjunction with an "About Amateur Radio" information sheet were given to those visiting the Display. The club gained at least three candidates for its next Foundation licence training course.
The Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Club had around 15 members set up a station a HF, VHF and UHF station at the Eden Hills Primary School Strawberry Fair. Club Secretary, David Clegg VK5AMK says many interested people stopped at the display, some used the radio for a contact, while others were interested in training courses with some Foundation Manuals sold. The Member for Davenport, Iain Evans, assisted by Club President, John Elliott VK5EMI, went on air to experience amateur radio. The balloon with a cross-band voice repeater launched on the day from Mt Barker by Adrian Snell VK5ZBR was a hit, and provided lots of interest. David VK5AMK describes it as a successful day, and providing a learning experience for club members in mounting public displays.
In Perth’s southern suburbs, the Hills Amateur Radio Group (HARG) set up at Wireless Hill Park, the site of one Australia's first coastal radio stations. Club publicity officer, Martin Stretton VK6ZMS said it’s an ideal location, a very popular picnic and BBQ spot, and also has a telecommunications museum. HARG opted for a solar power set-up with Heath Walder VK6TWO kindly donating his solar trailer consisting of a number of panels, regulators and a heavy duty battery. Antennas included a long-wire and dipoles support by trees. A 9-meter squid pole with an auto tuner and radials was also swung into action. HF conditions were not as good as hoped for but contacts achieved. A display of radio transceivers, and did attract public attention who stopped for a chat. One young visitor in particular was fascinated by the radio technology on display. The WIA’s Calling CQ brochures came in handy to help explain amateur radio to both him and his father. That encounter and others are likely to result in members of the public contacting Ham College, Perth's Amateur Radio training group, and the Foundation Licence course. HARG publicity officer Martin VK6ZMS declared the day a success and being worthwhile, with the club willing to do it again if it becomes an annual event.
Despite the rainy and windy weather, Amateur Radio Victoria VK3WI reports that the aims of the day were achieved, and it provided a learning experience for all participating. A team of seven lead by Amateur Radio Victoria’s Events Coordinator, Terry Murphy VK3UP, set-up and ran the display at Point Gellibrand Coastal Heritage Park, Williamstown. The operation was from a tent annexe with the solar powered transceiver just outside it, and the ATV facility from the boot of a station wagon. The field station ran from 10am to 4pm, involved a number of non-licensed persons speaking on amateur radio via VK3WI, a few of them likely prospective radio amateurs. A number became aware of the event through media coverage in two newspapers. Members of the emergency services also attended and learnt about amateur radio. A highlight was the involvement of the Member for Footscray, Marsha Thompson, who is also the Minister for Minister for Information and Communication Technology. After a chat with the Southern Peninsula Amateur Radio Club Secretary, John Ross VK3BJR at the SPARC field day station VK3BSP, she stayed to see video of her involvement being sent via the digital amateur television repeater VK3RTV.
John VK3BJR reports that SPARC the Southern Peninsula Amateur Radio Club was set up in the rotunda on the Rye foreshore which provided imperfect shelter from the weather. The station was closed a bit earlier than anticipated due to a dwindling number of public. SPARC members learnt from the exercise, enjoyed the day, and may do things slightly differently next time.
A couple of radio clubs planned to set-up their field stations at a local Bunnings Warehouse. One of those was the Lower Murray Amateur Radio Club in South Australia. LMARC President, David Box VK5DB advises that the day was a mixed bag with radio conditions far from good and adding to that was noise and rapid QSB at times. However VK5ALM did manage 23 contacts almost exclusively on the 40 metre band, because by 1620 hours local time, both it and 20m seemed empty and the station closed. The amateur radio station was set-up in the car park near entrance to the Murray Bridge Bunnings, however the customers appeared to be pre-occupied with their shopping. The club found it disappointing that only some were inquisitive about the display, took copies of the Calling CQ brochure, despite it having been promoted in the local newspaper.
The Redcliffe and Districts Radio Club setup a station on the Redcliffe foreshore, right next to the main jetty. Its yellow and red 6 x 3 metre instant marquee sure stood out amongst the green grass and blue Moreton Bay backdrop. Power for the station came exclusively from 2 x 80W solar panels. Operational for most of the day was a HF station running into a doublet strung up in the huge hoop pine trees. Club Treasurer, Peter Schrader VK4EA has announced that successful CW and phone contacts were made on the 10, 15, 20 and 40 metre bands. Traffic on the local EchoIRLP capable 2 metre repeater also kept us busy. VIP visitors for the day were Councillor Rae Frawley (Moreton Bay Regional Council) and the Honorable, Lilian van Listenberg (State MP for Redcliffe). An added bonus was three new club members who expressed an interest in obtaining their licence. A most enjoyable day, says Peter VK4AE, with early plans are already underway for next year's event. He suggests that perhaps some consideration for a date a little away from JOTA.
The Peel Amateur Radio Group has a good response from the public after setting prominently in the rotunda on the on the Mandurah foreshore with the antenna supported by the club’s trailer and mast. Club Treasurer Rex Hickling VK6SN said the presence of an operating amateur radio station "caused quite a stir" and resulted in plenty of inquiries about how to get a licence. Some still thought that Morse code was a licence requirement but show interest when the facts were explained and the Calling CQ brochure was handed out. Unlike the south-east corner of Australia, there was blue skies and a temperature of 28 degrees. Propagation was more favourable with HF contacts to Spain, US and New Zealand, while plenty of contacts available on 2 metres via ILRP and Echo link. Members of the public spoke over the radio on all bands. Rex VK6SN said there were inquiries about club meetings and how to get involved in amateur radio. It was a very good day and a lot of people suggested it become an annual event.
The day at Ulverstone on the Northwest Coast of Tasmania started out very cold with a stiff breeze, and rain threatened, said Cradle Coast Amateur Radio Club President, David Spicer VK7EX. CCARC chose “Otto’s Grotto”, a very popular BBQ site and part of the HMAS Shropshire Park, a naval memorial park from WW1 to present. With a squid pole antenna and an end-fed antenna in the trees, the sun began to shine late morning and the public arrived. The bands started to open up and other registered stations on the mainland were worked. David VK7EX thanks club members Wayne VK7FWAY, Keith VK7KW, Scott VK7FTTT,
Steve VK7ZSJ, Mike VK7MH, Dick VK7FORF, Steven VK7FXXX and the newest member, Steven Terris who is studying for his Foundation Licence. The XYL’s and harmonics that made it a very enjoyable fun day. CCARC hopes the event becomes an annual event.
The Oxley Region Amateur Radio Club VK2BOR was set up under annexe of the club's communication caravan in Port Macquarie's Town Green. Club President Henry Lundell VK2ZHE describes how a great deal preparation was undertaken to ensure the event presented amateur radio in a most resting way to the public as possible. The WIA press pack helped create a media release that resulted in at least one newspaper article adn two mentions on ABC radio. The eye catching Field Day posters were excellent. Clubs members gave it strong support and at any time during the day at least five were on duty to operate the station and talk to visitors. Unfortunately HF radio propagation was particularly poor so most of the guest operator contacts were made on VHF. Public interest was not as great as hoped, but the day resulted in at least one very likely prospective Foundation Licence candidate.
The North East Radio Club VK5GRC set up in the carpark of the Golden Grove Village Shopping Centre at Tea Tree Gully, in the North Eastern
suburbs of Adelaide. The centre management cordoned off 11 car parking spaces for the display
amateur radio station display operating on the 40m, 20m and 2m bands. Three antennas, all various manifestations of squid poles. There was general interest from the public as they walked by, with many taking brochures, but very few showing a lot of interest, except for one couple who were enhusiastically keen to know more.
The Rockhampton and District Amateur Radio Club set up at the popular Rockhampton Heritage Village, and put to the test its brand new new five element triband yagi, enabling it to truly "tune into the world". Les Unwin VK4VIL reports that Contacts were made on 20, 15 and 10m including a number of overseas calls. Among the club members actively involved were seasoned DXer Mike VK4LMB, ably assisted by our youngest member Cory VK4FCMP, operating under the callsign VK4CHV or VK4 Capricorn Heritage Village, a permanent station at the tourist attraction. Others members fielded questions from a good number of visitors, some of whom were delighted to be able to be guest operators and make radio contact with other stations. Of particular interest were a couple from Switzerland who were keen to know if they could ever call their home country on these rigs. Yes, amateur radio certainly gets people talking.
The Elizabeth Amateur Radio Club set up a field day station in Salisbury Square in the northern suburbs of Adelaide. President Keith Gooley VK5OQ explained the the location was selected because of its pedestrian traffic between nearby shops. A few stopped to ask what was happening, enabling an explanation of amateur radio to be given along with information brochures. Posters and banners supplied by the WIA did the trick of attracting attention. HF stations on three bands, plus VHF and UHF were set up. The Project Horus Balloon flight was monitored. Described as a disappointing aspect of the day, by Keith Gooley VK5OQ, was that in spite of invitations being emailed Mayor and all City of Salisbury councillors, none accepted. However, it was an enjoyable day and helped to put our hobby in the public eye.
Raymond Buck VK4ZW and a few friends set up their field day station at prominent location in the Rocks River Park, in the western suburbs of Brisbane. He explains that while the station and display was modest, there was a strong commitment with the team feeling it needed to participate in the nation-wide public relations event. It was up and running by 10.30am, complete with posters and display material. The bands seemed particularly quiet. While there were few visitors to the display, Raymond VK4ZW said the team is all willing to participate if the event is repeated in the future.
In a report from a portable station operated for the national field by two radio amateurs in the ‘private’ category, Gail Lidden-Sandford VK4ION paired up with Daniel Aitken VK4MAX to operate a totally battery power station. Located at VK4ION’s home QTH in Avondale about 25km north of Bundaberg they operated for the 12 hours with Yaesu FT857D transceivers, taking the opportunity to turn it into an emergency communications preparedness exercise. Homebrewed emergency kit antennas comprised 40/80m ENVIS (Emergency Near Vertical Incident System) dipole at 1.8m above the ground. Gail VK4IOD hailed it as the success story of the day with excellent signal reports from Mackay to Geelong and even over to Guam as evening fell. Other antennas were a 40/80m vertical, actually a converted old CB Stationmaster, plus a 20m ground plane antenna. Propagation was so poor, but local club members popped into for a visit. And why not run a ‘Public’ category station, well Gail VK4ION explains that Bundaberg doesn’t have a suitable public place.
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