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Amateur Radio May 2008

6 May 2008


Club cooperation

It is interesting to observe that some clubs can usefully cooperate. One example of this is the Centre Victoria Radiofest, which has seen Amateur Radio Victoria, Central Goldfields ARC and Midland ARC running a large successful “hamfest” event this year and last. I am sure that there are other examples to be found.

One example that is developing occurs close to home, for me at least. Gippsland is a large area of eastern Victoria, being the area east of metropolitan Melbourne and south of the Australian Alps. To my knowledge, the region is currently serviced by three amateur radio clubs.

In December last, a Foundation training course was conducted by the Eastern Zone ARC (EZARC) in Churchill. Most participants were happy with the outcomes of the assessments held on the Sunday, with most gaining their Foundation licence and one successful completion of the upgrade to Standard. Amateurs from Bairnsdale, Drouin, Longford, and Leongatha, as well as the locals from the Latrobe Valley, assisted over the weekend, including the assessment event.

In the middle of April, the East Gippsland Radio Group held an assessment event at Longford. This time it was the turn of two of the EZARC amateurs, including me, to return the favour. It was a reasonably long day for all.

After an initial briefing, we started with the Regulations paper for all attempting Standard, and the Foundation paper. After marking the papers and giving all feedback on their efforts, the group decided it was time for lunch.

Some of the candidates organised a barbeque, including plenty of food for all, for lunch. A very social break was the result. After lunch, it was down to work again. The Standard candidates tackled the theory paper and our Foundation candidate completed the practical assessment. More paperwork, more feedback and finally congratulations to all involved from both sides of the event.

The result, by now, should see one new Foundation callsign, one new Standard licensee and three upgrades to Standard. Two others were successful with the Regulations paper. One candidate was happy with having gained some more experience in tackling formal written assessment tasks and will be back after he spends some more time with the books and the Radio and Electronics School learning materials.

With a large geographic region, only three clubs and a small number of Assessors and Facilitators, the only way that we can hope to encourage newcomers to the hobby is for the clubs to cooperate. Perhaps groups elsewhere should consider how they can work together for better outcomes for the hobby?

Broken Hill and the AGM

Planning on attending the WIA AGM later this month? I am sure that the team will have an excellent overall program arranged by the time of the event. Plans are moving towards their final shape and registrations are mounting rapidly. Immerse yourself in the history of Broken Hill, the Royal Flying Doctor Service, and the School of the Air. With after dinner speakers available on both Friday and Saturday evenings and organised activities during the day on Saturday morning and afternoon and Sunday morning, there is plenty to do. Even if you are not interested in all of the organised activities, there is plenty to offer in this regional centre. But book soon, as there are a limited number of places available.

I look forward to catching up with those attending. I am planning to attend, driving up on Friday and returning with an overnight stop in Mildura on Sunday, making it a four-day weekend. With a trip like this, perhaps it is time for me to consider mounting a HF antenna on the vehicle and to use the lower bands over the weekend – at present, I rarely venture down to the HF bands. I may even include a Yagi and mast for two metres, and see if I can work some stations via meteor scatter in the mornings, before the organised activities begin. I must remember to not play radio too long on Sunday morning, as I am told that there will also be a guest speaker at Sunday breakfast.


Peter VK3KAI

Cover photo:
Duncan Raymont VK2DLR showing young Aaron VK2FUNN and Kendall VK2FISH the wonders of amateur radio at Summerland ARC’s Slim Jim building day. See story on page 33.
Photo by Robert Broomhead VK3KRB

Table Of Contents


Amateur television – SA style Barry Cleworth VK5BQ
A WIA grant at work in East Gippsland Bob Neal VK3ZAN
WIA awards seventh G A Taylor Medal in 20 years
The John Moyle Field Day Reports Jack Bramham VK3WWW, Alan Devlin VK3XPD, Gavin Bazukiewicz VK6VKS, James Fleming VK4TJF
The CEPT licence Bob Whelan G3PJT
Scanning Amateur Radio Will McGhie VK6UU
SOTA Australia asks: Are you up to the peak challenge? Paul Stampton VK3IH
IOTA - Islands On The Air Aubrey Bannah VK4AI.
FLM Mk II now available!


A collett for holding square rod in a 3-jaw lathe chuck Drew Diamond VK3XU
The ‘RF mate’ Dale Hughes VK1DSH
A screw-plate Drew Diamond VK3XU

Amateur television – SA style

Barry Cleworth VK5BQ

Consider what it would take to link up eight operators, all remotely located, for a round-table video conference? And full duplex, at that! Look on page 13 for this fascinating article by Barry Cleworth VK5BQ.

This article is as much about microwave propagation and repeater exploitation, as it is about TV. Five, repeat five, different amateur microwave bands were in constant use, plus two other bands for intercom and system management. And all the stations were at least 60 km apart, some by as much as 87 km.

Read about how this complex network took advantage of a period of excellent propagation conditions, and how the potential problems, like audio feedback, were anticipated and controlled. Barry says it was a most gratifying achievement, and after reading what it took to make it happen, we can well understand how he feels.

Club antenna build days

Summerland ARC: Slim Jim building day (cover story)
John Alcorn VK2JWA

An antenna is something that any amateur could construct at home. For the FL people, and for anyone else interested, a training session was held recently for antenna builders. Duncan VK2DLR led the group through the construction of a simple Slim Jim vertical for 2 m, built using 300 ohm ribbon. Construction details are included in the report.

Eastern & Mountain District Radio Club
David Ryan VK3LOZ

The Eastern & Mountain District Radio Club (EMDRC) also held a well-attended instruction day late last year. Three antennas were built and tested by members, and that included the related baluns. The photos are there to prove it. The session included testing methods, test equipment and some general antenna theory.

The ‘RF mate’

Dale Hughes VK1DSH.

In his usual sparkling and technically thorough style, Dale presents a mighty useful piece of test equipment to check out the RF performance of your station. It is called the RFmate, and you can build it from scratch yourself – that might be half the fun.

Detailed information is given on which measurements the RFmate can make, exactly what procedures to follow and the precautions you should observe. You don’t often get in-depth and practical guidance like this, from someone who has been there and done that. Even if you do not build one of your own, this advice will always be a useful reference for your future measurement projects.

For those who plan to construct the RFmate, the circuit diagrams are provided and commented software is available. Also available is the circuit-board artwork. Advice is given on sourcing the few special components. The circuit operation is explained, as well as the procedures for calibration.

This is a processor-controlled multi-test unit with most of its functions automated. It can be linked to a host computer to display, store and analyse measurement data. It would be a powerful and versatile addition to any radio shack.

Mechanical hints

Drew Diamond VK3XU this month presents two articles giving hints on mechanical methods used in construction:
A collett for holding square rod in a 3-jaw lathe chuck, and
A screw-plate.

Both articles are up to Drew's usual high standards.

Advertisers Index

 55 Av-com
 16 WIA Bookshop
 12 City Online (Hamshack)
 35 Com-an-tena
 28, 29, OBC Icom
 55 Small ads
 9 TET-Emtron
 17 TTS
 IFC Vertex


Files For Download

File package for the RFmate by Dale Hughes VK1DSH (1.4 MB)

Part 2 of package for the RFmate by Dale Hughes VK1DSH (1.8 MB)

Summerland ARC news and VK2DLR Slim Jim article

Page Last Updated: Monday 19 May 2008 at 10:11 hours


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