4 Dandaloo Street, Kariong NSW 2250
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ISSUE No 12-31 8th. September 2012

In this Issue:

  1.  ILLW Mini Report.
  2. Shazada Mini Report.
  3. New Committee.
  4. Proposed (mini) projects.
  5. Promoting Amateur Radio to the public.
  6. License exams and education
  7. Used HF antenna for sale.
  8. ISS contact with Paramatta school this Sunday.

1. ILLW Mini Report.

August was a BUSY month as far as radio goes! One of the highlights was the CCARC participation in the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (August 18th – 19th) at Nobbys Head Lighthouse in Newcastle. After some months of negotiation we were actually allowed to use one of the old lighthouse keepers cottages. The cottage itself was however rather “basic” in a bad state of repair with only power and light as its only benefit, so we were told we needed to bring our own tables, chairs and heaters for the cold night (we ran for 26 hours from midday on the Saturday). For sleeping I told everyone to bring their own camp beds or airbeds, but then I actually hired a luxury camper van for the weekend, so that we had beds, cooking facilities and even a shower and toilet within the van.

This was a combined action with the Hellenic Amateur Radio Association of Australia, so both teams brought their own radio gear and antennas. The HARAOA team had some issues and were a little delayed  however the CCARC VK2EH/P station was on the air as planned at noon on the Saturday. We were running my old Yaesu FT757GXII into my simple SRC X80 multi-band HF vertical antenna and Karen VK2AKB made half a dozen contacts on 20m in the first hour or so. Once the HARAOA stations were installed however (2xKenwood TS-590S and amplifiers feeding two SteppIR vertical antennas) we found it very difficult to operate despite using high quality bandpass filters on all systems. Other stations could hear us but the front end of the FT757GXII could not handle the strong local signals and Carlos (VK2KTS)’s more modern FT847 fared only a little better. The two HARAOA (VK2CL/P) Kenwood TS-590S systems worked perfectly alongside each other. Like any event we learn from our experiences and in this case we need to consider the front ends of systems when operating with antennas and rigs so close together.

As the main reason for the event was to interest the public, we made the most of Sunday when the grounds were open to the public and indeed we had many people visit the stations and talked to probably 20-30 interested people. We’ll have to see what comes out of this but in any case we took part in this worldwide event and got the CCARC name out to the public.


2. Shazada Mini Report.

This was a Shazada like no other of recent memory. All five days of the event were fine and sunny if a little cold or breezy occasionally. Bob VK2ZAR excelled as usual with the organisation pre-event and with updated information each morning as required. The new permanent premises for the operational base is first class and the old collapsing squashed-in shack of previous years is almost just a memory except that it is still next door being used as a storage shed. With the kind load of a solar cell from Karen VK2AKB, the repeater station was running at full power and full sensitivity on 13V supply for the complete 6 days of operation and as usual this fine piece of hardware worked flawlessly putting out a strong signal not only over the St Alban’s valley but also back into the Central Coast and further afield (we had a stray VK1 mobile call in by mistake at one point).

All checkpoints were well manned and some people who hadn’t operated base before got to perform that function as well. We had enough people to be able to easily handled the changed schedules that were thrown at us from time to time and the few incidents that occurred were all handled professionally and efficiently – a very good show from WICEN CNC with help from WICEN Hunter and WICEN STS.

A fuller report with pictures is planned for the next  Smoke Signals  magazine.

3. New CCARC Committee.

August also saw the CCARC Annual General Meeting (AGM) where a new executive and general committee were elected – to see who does what now – please go to the list of committee members and roles here.

4. Mini Projects.

One action of the new committee is to activate the club members and to do this it is planned to have a series of small (or mini) projects rather than the large ones we have had previously. It is expected that more members will be interested in taking part if they know it’s only going to take a few weeks to complete a project rather than a few months. Several suggestions have already been made, however if you have some suggestions of your own, please contact Sam VK2ZZ or Chris VK2YY and I’m sure they will take them into consideration. Projects should be simple or medium complexity taking only a few weeks of construction at perhaps 3 hours per week and should be a project that will interest several members. Short project meetings on a Saturday as well as the Friday night ones have been discussed as these may be more convenient for those members who cannot drive at night or are simply too tired at the end of a long working week to travel to Kariong.

5. Publicising our hobby.

The club needs to be more visible to the public. The ILLW (reported upon above) was one example as will be the annual JOTA support for the Scouts and Guides in October but the actions need to extend to more than just these “scheduled” events to more ad-hoc operation in public places as the good weather is now starting. Doug VK2MDC has already been doing some of this good work always with the club banner, some brochures and a willingness to talk to the public to explain our hobby. How about more members getting involved in these kinds of events?

6. Amateur Radio license education and examinations.

How about taking that upgrade you’ve been putting off? Do you know of someone who wants to get their foundation license? Following last weekend successful Standard License upgrade (congratulations Doug ex-VK2FGUN) Chris has already had a request to run a course and exam for three new prospective new Amateur Radio operators. Provisional date is Saturday 29th. September. If you want to add to the group please contact Chris VK2YY directly under vk2yychris @ gmail.com.

7. FOR SALE:  Gap Titan DX Antenna.

One of our members – Jason (VK2WAR) has just moved house and is looking to sell this antenna. It does need a little attention due to transport modifications that had to be made to shorten its length and some bolts need cleaning up or replacing as they have tarnished. The price will reflect this. This high-performance, high-quality, high power (up to 1KW) antenna originally cost in the $1200-$1300 region but Jason is just looking for some money to offset the cost of buying a new (more stealthy) antenna – so make him an offer! For details of this high performance well constructed multi-band HF antenna you can check out the eHam reviews at http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/315 and contact Jason via email on VK2WAR @ rocketmail.com for further details if you are interested.

8. Local ISS contact – why not listen in via VK2RAG’s IRLP repeater?

On Sunday September 9, 2012 at 08.50 UTC, which is 18.50 local time in NSW, an ARISS contact is planned with Tara Anglican School, North Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia.

This will be a telebridge radio contact operated by ON4ISS in Belgium. Downlink signals from the International Space Station will be audible over Europe on 145.800 MHz FM.

For those with Echolink, the contact will also be broadcast on EchoLink AMSAT (node 101 377) and JK1ZRW (node 277 208) Conference servers, otherwise why not access it via the VK2RAG IRLP server? Select  the IRLP Discovery Reflector on DTMF code 9010.

Further information on the background of why this school was chosen can be found at Southgate News.

CCARC online links

Upcoming events of interest to the CCARC

Club calendar has had several updates.

For what’s coming up in the next few months at the CCARC, please check the club calendar, accessible from the header on any page on the website.


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