Friday, July 14, 2017

GippsTech 2017 summary

Had a great time again at Gippstech, put faces to some more callsigns, good lectures and displays, learnt lots. A bit cold on the monday drive back, -6 deg out in far east Gippsland, but at least no rain and snow.
There was a bit snow on the roadside near Nimmatabel on the Friday drive down.
Did some on-air microwaving again from carpark and also from Powerworx hilltop on Sunday afternoon at conclusion of Gippstech, Ralph gave us a 10GHz contacts.
Tested 23cm, 9cm and 3cm gear.

Friday, June 2, 2017

GippsTech 2017 - 1st and 2nd July 2017

registrations for GippsTech are now open today, as it only 1 month away until its on again, 1st and 2nd July.
I driving down again, taking 23cm and 9cm equipment for some live contacts on the weekend. Maybe 10GHz.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

RF site testing at QF46qu on Easter Sunday, 16th April, 2017

Doing some site testing at a friend's farm at QF46qu at Gowan, north west of Bathurst NSW.
my GPS estimated 950m ASL mostly cleared, with almost 360degress of clear horizon, good for playing radio. As it was Sunday morning I made use of the fact that the WIA morning broadcast was one reason to listen for it on various known frequencies including 2metres, 70cm and 6metres.

I could hear 146.775 Newcastle, 146.725 Somersby, 146.850 Maddens Plains, 146.975 Knights Hill,  53.650 Maddens Plains, 146.950 Mt Ginini.   Could not hear anything from Dural. This was using quad band radio (TYT TH-9800) and quad band vertical from the vehicle. Should be much easier with some yagis up a mast.

Looks to be excellent site to run microwave equipment from (23cm and upwards).

 a little bit of trees to north east,
 looking to north coast & mid north coast NSW, all clear.
 looking to Newcastle through Sydney, all clear
Looking back to Bathurst
 Looking to south and VK1
Looking to VK3 & VK5 all clear.
Looking west, a couple trees
Facing to north west, highest point where these pine trees are.
 Looking north, a few sparse trees, but nothing Roundup or a chainsaw can't fix
Good flat area, for parking, camping, whatever.

Field Portable QF46pu Gowan NSW

For Easter weekend, April 2017, was visiting QF46pu, to get on 2m,70cm, and 23cm AE nets in the mornings. Did some testing on 23cm gridpacks and dish against the Dural beacon 1296.420. Did not hear any other 23cm beacons.
 This is small gridpack looking back towards Newcastle.

 This is a larger gridpack, certainly slightly better than the small gridpack
 IC-910H was hooked up to 2m yagi, 70cm yagi and 23cm  running from solar panels and batteries
 The 3metre diameter mesh dish with 23cm feed, aimed towards north coast NSW
 Smaller gridpack aimed at Sydney Dural 23cm beacon (approx 180km)
Looking towards Melbourne in the gap between trees
 Looking toward VK1, worked VK1KW and VK1DJA on 2m SSB
 2metre and 70cm yagis

I took 3.4Ghz and 10GHz  but did not get time to flash it up.

Best activity was working Compton VK2HRX who was SOTA portable up the Warrumbungles, worked him on 2m SSB, 70cm SSB and 1294.000 FM

Aiming to the right of the big tree to work Compton VK2HRX/p at QF48mr SOTA spot CCW001 a distance of 209km, not bad on 1294 MHz FM as Compton was using a 1w handheld.
and screenshot from VKLogger

For next time,  remember take my portable generator.

Motorola GM-339 and Tait 8110

Just some ex-commercial radios  we playing with for 2m and 70cm

Motorola GM-339 UHF mobiles, and Tait 8110 VHF mobiles.  Excellent radios.

23cm portable 8th to 10th December, 2016

I did  a trip to Canberra on 8th December, 2016,  first stopped at the carpark at southern end of Federal Highway, (QF44qu) where it rises up from Lake George, so I could try to work Dave VK2JDS at QF46pu, it was extremely windy and difficult to keep grid pack still or even hear the radio, so we were unsuccessful. It probably should have worked and I was aiming up the lake, above the water.
On 9th December 2016, I visited Mt Ainslie (QF44nr) to try and work Rod VK2TWR at Nimmitabel, but he already packed up, but I did hear Gordon VK3EJ at Cobram on 1296.150 MHz via AE, working Rob VK1KW, nice strong signal from Gordon before quickly fading out. At least this proved my IC-910H and 23cm Gridpack were working.

on 10th December 2016, came up to Mt Ainslie (QF44nr) again and tried on the northern side of the hill, to try and work Grant VK2MAX at Kempsey via AE on 1296.150 bu to no go. Also tried to receive Dural beacon 1296.420 but no go.

Then I moved around to western side of Mt Ainslie (QF44nr) to try Grant VK2MAX again but no good AE path available.

Monday, December 19, 2016


update from Colin VK5DK
Advising that all the VK5RSE Beacons (144.550, 432.550 & 1296.550) are now back on air after a power supply replacement. Any reports most welcome to either VK5DK or VK5DJ.
144.550MHz Beacon has CW plus two Digital modes JT4D & JT65B, 
432.550MHz has CW & JT4D digital mode  
1296.550MHz has CW & JT4F digital mode.

Monday, November 21, 2016

DMR radio

I been doing some more playing with DMR using my TYT MD-380  UHF handheld. Since I first started playing with this, there is now a second network operating locally,   the original DMR network here in VK

and the other network or referred to as DMR-BM,

which is very interesting  as it comprises of homebrew repeater equipment, such as the MMDVM repeater which is based on Arduino a kit and interface board, which does more than simply DMR, they also doing C4FM   and planning on P25 support.  Also DV4mini doing Dstar, C4FM and DMR

Just in the Sydney basin, we now  have VK2RCG  439.500  (Sydney city),  VK2RWW 438.100 Dural, VK2RLE 438.425 Heathcote, VK2RHP 439.750 (Horsley Park),  VK2RAG Central Coast and one planned up Newcastle.
And of course the DMR repeaters in pretty much all states now, including Canberra VK1RBM.
What this means is since they share Talk Groups, you can be travelling around Sydney and switch  repeaters and maintain the same  Talk Group QSO. You don't have to chat via a public Talk Group, you can setup a private QSO with another person.

In summary,  a whole different concept compared to the old fashioned FM analogue repeater, it takes a bit of thinking to get used to the idea, but once you understand the concepts, then you soon realise the benefits of it. As it grows, you will see  a lot of multi-mode digital repeaters and gateways appearing.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

some instructions from Alan VK2ZIW for configuring serial port to be able to run FPP software to program the PRM80:

Notes on running PRM80 FPP programs on Linux
Fedora 23 x86_64 on ASRock QC5000 system (Low Power AMD Kabini)
with FTDI Serial USB dongle ID 0403:6001, it's TTL to the radio

Radio: PRM80L S E0
     PRM8025 - 9502 810 10869

Reason: Conversion to 6m with VK3SMB's eprom, subtracts 20MHz
from the eeprom stored channel frequency, 68MHz becomes 48MHz.

The FPP DOS program does horrible things with the USART so
run "dosbox" with a network serial port. Use "netcat" (nc)
to connect to the FTDI serial port.

Edit ~/.dosbox/dosbox-0.74.conf
Setup the DosBox serial port:

serial1=nullmodem port:5000 transparent:1 rxdelay:1

After your "MOUNT" command for C: add:
cd prm80pmr

Save your "dosbox-0.74.conf" file.

Setup the serial port, "stty raw" - most important
as you don't want any control characters interpreted.
"clocal" to ignore Carrier Detect. 4800 baud, 8bit, no parity.

#============ shell script rundb ==================
sleep 2 < /dev/ttyUSB0 &
stty raw < /dev/ttyUSB0
stty 4800 clocal cs8 < /dev/ttyUSB0
sleep 1
dosbox &
sleep 2
 nc localhost 5000  < /dev/ttyUSB0 > /dev/ttyUSB0
#============== script end ==============

Monday, August 8, 2016

70 MHz submission by WIA

The WIA has lodged a submission with the ACMA concerning interest in an amateur allocation in the 70 MHz band.