Thursday, October 18, 2012

new APRS digi

I bought and supplied a TinyTrak TT4 as a digi for VK2JDS-1, it covering the area well, plus  identified issue with VK2ABP-1 digi,  a poor Rcvr, we'll sort something out that in the future. Probably a better location for that equipment one day.

Friday, October 5, 2012

DX Farm October longweekend post mortem

Last weekend went well,  the trip up yielded good APRS track all the way to the farm via APRSDroid on my phone, as Optus has improved 3G coverage at Monkey Hill, so now have 900 Mhz 3G signal along the road and now have data feed from the farm, as opposed to only having coverage from top of the mountain previously, as in the past, we relied on Mt Canobolis for Optus coverage. Telstra signal already there, so not an issue. Did discover there is no Vodaphone coverage on the farm, except for the mountain top.

Mt Canobolis also provides 2100 MHz Optus 3G service, could run a directional yagi from the mountain top if required to access that service, otherwise, it is just the 900 MHz from Mt Aquila and Monkey Hill that provide 3G feed whilst at the farm. Anyway, this time, we had good data service so I can access the vklogger and other DX clusters and of course email. Telstra run 850 MHz 3G service from Mt Aquila and Monkey Hill too. I forgot to run Speedtest on both services to see how they compare. As for Bathurst, too many high ridges in between, so no service from Bathurst.

APRS on RF, Sydney to Lithgow fine, but limited coverage past that, next to nothing in Bathurst, as Bob VK2ABP's digi suffering interference and is deaf. Once the new APRS digi is on the mountain we should be good.

First day, did some EME chasing, worked Brett VK2CBD on 1296.070 on JT65 via the moon.

The farm now has antennas on the mountain top covering 160m through to 23cm, predominantly horizontal polarised for DXing. Made use of the 80m loop for 80m and 40m, mainly sitting on 7045 LSB to keep in contact with club members back home, such as Rob VK2MZ, Horst VK2HL/m, Ted, VK2FLB, Greg VK2VGM/p

2m SSB, missed the Sunday morning AE net on 144.200, as we slept in, but on the Monday morning did get up early enough to get on the AE net on 144.200, worked a good handful of stations, Rod VK2TWR in Nimmitabel, Ian VK1BJ and Rob VK1KW in Canberra, Col VK2KOL in Sydney, Colin VK2BCC in Blackheath, Gordon VK3EJ in Cobram and Mark VK2EMA in Tottenham. This time was running close to 150w into the 8el yagi via 10m of coax, last year only getting 40w. Also attempted a contact into VK5 without success.
It was very breezy and had a hard time keeping the yagi pointed in the correct direction, the issue there was that the TH3 HF yagi is above and gets pushed around by the wind.  Damned cold in the morning with -3 deg C, at night it was down to 4deg C, making it hard to keep warm in the tin shed.

Other times, gave some calls out on 144.100 but nil activity. Did not get around to trying 432 MHz.

Monitored 50.110 MHz, but quite dead.  Nothing on 52.525 MHz either. Although 10m was flying.

We spent a good part of the time fixing an old car and getting it running, taking the girls driving around the farm, motorbike riding, etc. Thanks to Carmel VK2CAR for providing me with a battery to go in the old car.

Looking forward to next visit. I want to build a 1296 MHz Xvtr to do some terrestrial DXing for the mountaint top.

Adding some more photos  to Flickr.