Amateur Television history made.
On Wednesday evening, 23 February 2011, Digital Amateur Television signals from Victoria were received in the northwest of VK7 by Winston VK7EM. After noting the band conditions improving with a lift in the 70cm beacon strength and the appearance of Community TV Channel 31, Winston monitored VK3RTV, the Melbourne Digital ATV repeater.
Winston Nickols - VK7EM
At around 5.30pm the set top box tuning indicator changed from red to green and shortly after, colour bars appeared. Then with liaison with Peter VK3BFG on 147.4 Mhz simplex, who had made sure the repeater was activated, live pictures were organized, with Peter proudly showing off his equipment with a very professional ‘on camera’ appearance. Word spread and other stations… Neil VK3BCU, John VK3DQ, and Jack VK3WWW joined in. At one stage there were two independent pictures arriving, John 3DQ on one channel, VK3RTV1 and Peter 3BFG on VK3RTV2, both in contact with each other. John spent much of the time with his back to the camera as he hunted for his other camera or memory card. Peter explained how 10 watts of power on Mount Dandenong was shared between 8 antennas with only two really favouring Tasmania.
Neil switched his uplink video signal between analogue and digital for a comparison. Peter then ran a very professional video showing the history and the building of VK3RTV. This was followed by close-up shots of his equipment, even to the fine print on his FT101E dial. Jack showed a video taken while cycling to the MDRC Hamfest, with a bike mounted camera, and later cycling along Beach Road Sandringham.
As the VK3 WIA broadcast was about to begin at 8.00PM, signals on VK3RTV began to fade. It was only then that a separate receiver monitoring 1250Mhz suddenly came to life with a perfect colour bar signal. A call on 2 metres established that it was Rob, VK3TRX who chatted and then held up a 10 gig. antenna he will use in the forthcoming ATV field day. These pictures on 23 centimeters analogue FM, became quite noise free. The equipment used by Winston consisted of home-brew yagis on each band to a K7MEM design, masthead mounted Minikits pre-amplifiers, fed into, on 70 centimetres, a Teac SDB451 Digital Set Top Box while for 23 centimetres a Drake ESR 700 satellite receiver.
Credit must go to Peter VK3BFG for his tireless work over almost 40 years in firstly establishing VK3RTV and then bringing it into the digital age and believing it may be possible to receive a picture in Tasmania.
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