NERG Open Day 2005
Sunday October 16 saw a beautiful Spring Day in Melbourne for the opening of the North East Radio Group's permanent home and opportunity to promote amateur radio in the local community. (a series of pictures of the day have been posted below)
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Until now the NERG have been housed in a series of temporary venues, all generously provided on a casual basis by other organisations but none could offer all the needs of a radio club. The NERG is most grateful to all those who provided us with accommodation over the past 21 years but now we are fortunate in having a permanent home that offers most of what any Radio Club desires.
The "NERG HALL" is an old Army hut made of corrugated iron that is fully lined and air-conditioned inside. There is a small room for exclusive club use adjoining the main hall that will seat more than 200 comfortably and a fully appointed kitchen. NERG HALL is actually the Briar Hill Community Hall and is situated on a ridgeline giving good line of sight to most of Melbourne and the Dandenong ranges, so ATV and UHF will be excellent from this location.
The NERG are indebted to the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Banyule and their dedicated staff. It was by their acknowledgement of what Amateur Radio can offer the Community that we were provided the hall we now call home. It was also at their suggestion that we initiated our Open Day so that the community at large would be aware of our existence and see what Amateur Radio has to offer.
Planning for the Open Day displays was a breeze - without exception everyone approached to assist in demonstrations said yes and went ahead putting together spectacular displays without any prompting, such is the spirit of all who participate in our hobby. Publicising the day consisted of notices in the Council's newsletter, articles and photos appeared in both local newspapers, posters were distributed widely within the community, and by our president, Greg Williams, spoke on our two local community radio stations. The events was also widely publicised in the amateur community though the assistance of WIA and VicLink news broadcasts and electronic media.
NERG HALL was officially opened by Banyule Councillor, Jenny Mulholland in front of an enthusiastic crowd of amateurs and locals who had come to see what AR was about. Visitors were not disappointed either, as inside the hall we had Michael Owen, President of the WIA, and Robert Broomhead, Director of WIA, manning an excellent WIA display complete with books and monogrammed clothing for sale. Jim Linton, President of ARVic, manned a table on behalf of Amateur Radio Victoria.
WICEN Victoria Secretary, Mark Dodds (VK3XMU), and WICEN members John and Andrew Weir (also NERGs) showed off WICEN capabilities with displays both inside the hall and out. Inside they had emergency communications equipment including a portable repeater and packet radio setup. Next to them the Mitsubishi Pajero 4WD Club had displays of the recent Pajero Challenge where WICEN provided safety and logistic communications. The Pajero Challenge looks like becoming a popular annual exercise for WICEN. This display highlighted how amateurs can assist in community activities while honing their emergency skills and having a lot of fun.
Grant Stowell (VK3HFS) from VIC.LINK (Victoria's WIA News segments) set up a recording studio in the hall, recording several interviews and promo's which you'll be hearing soon on the WIA news broadcasts. NERG showed off it's enthusiasm for outdoor activities with videos of last years John Moyle Field Day, Amateur Radio Direction Finding, and Friday night Foxhunting competitions. NERG is also keen to promote amateur radio in local schools by it's involvement in forthcoming ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International
Space Station) links with the local primary school.
NERG members set up a display of old and new home brew valve radio gear and were called upon by a local neighbour for advice on resurrecting a WW-II army radio he's fitting in a restored jeep. In contrast, the next display by WANSARC member Michael Ampt (VK3CH) was a state of the art fully operational home brew Amateur Television set-up. Next to that, NERG member Jim Baxter (VK3KE) was running a digital mode contest station in the JARTS WW RTTY contest, and David Aston (VK3THY) demonstrated satellite tracking software.
Outside the hall more displays were accompanied by the wonderful aroma of sizzling sausages on the BBQ. WICEN set up their portable 60ft wind up tower, complete with triband HF beam for Jim's digital contest station to point towards Europe. Steve Warrillow (VK3SN) made many contacts with his solar powered backpack QRP radio (as appeared in the September issue of Amateur Radio magazine), and a 4WD vehicle from the VKS737 organisation demonstrated the outback HF radio network for travellers. Ewen Templeton and the VK3OW team's fully decked out Fox Hunt Vehicle was obvious by it's array of directional antennas, and visitors were encouraged to have a go at finding a 80m fox transmitter hidden in the area with a hand held sniffer.
All displays were without exception, excellent, and were further enhanced by the knowledgeable one on one discussions performed by all the demonstrators. The NERG wishes to thank all participants and the Amateurs who came to wish us well in our new home. We see our entry into NERG HALL as a new beginning for the many NERG activities that had to be foregone whilst in temporary accommodation. We can recommend this type of event to all clubs who want to promote the hobby but would suggest it be held with a community festival as this will attract a broader range of attendees and in turn becomes good PR for the clubs themselves.
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