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Today images have been released of NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft finally arriving at its destination:
a lumpy, diamond-shaped space rock called Bennu, orbiting the Sun between Earth and Mars.
It's taken 2 years for the bus sized probe to catch up with asteroid called Bennu, and it will circle closer over the next 18 months. It's final amazing leap will be to shimmy down, stir up some surface dust, scoop that up... and return home.
This is the officeal NASA OSIRIS website with all whole story, for those who have an interest in space.
Of course everyone is focussed on the InSight Mars lander, and rightly so, it did a mighty job in slowing in a thin atmosphere and landing softly
But the true heroes are the two briefcase-size Mars Cube One (MarCO) spacecraft,
which launched along with InSight this past May.
The MarCO duo were tasked with showing that cubesats can explore interplanetary space, and NASA hoped the tiny probes would also be able to relay data home from the lander during entry, descent and landing activities today.
It is this 'relaying home', data and images where Radio leaps to the forefront of science again. Makes us proud.
This is the link to Space.com with the InSight story and first pictures.
While it is true that the new printed panels are not (yet) as efficient as the glass/silicon panels it's a work in progress.
We wanted to share this ABC-News article for those interested in just how you could print a solar panel on flexible material and lay it out to catch the sun.
The article is at this ABC News Renewable Energy story. It's a great story and we encourage you to read it.
It explains how they make them and just how quickly they're 'getting better', making them more efficient week by week.
President: Ross Orpin VK4JRO
Treasurer: Margaret Beimers VK4FHAM
Secretary: David Nebe VK4DN
Committe Members: Dan Aitken VK4OH
and Darrall Harvey VK4FABF
Dan VK4OH activated the Club Station for the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend.
Club Station Event for the RD Contest.
RD is short for Remembrance Day and a weekend where we remember all the Radio Operators who serve in times of war.
(The date is important too.. it's the commemorative date for ceasing hostilities in the Pacific in WWII).
Typical of Hams, we've turned the weekend into a 24 hour Contest and points are awarded for each contact made.
These images show Gary VK4MDZ, Ross VK4JRO and David VK4DN at the Buxton overnight camp.
The was time to sit around the fire and have some dinner, before settling back into the shelter for the night shift
Four intrepid members made the trip up to the mountain on a bright July day...Ross VK4JRO, David VK4DN, Jim VK4UO and Gail VK4ION
What makes you think some of them had been there before and knew about the temperature difference up there?
At 9am it was 7 degrees and by noon it was 11, David kept pretending it was just air-conditioning.
Thanks to our four members who made the trip and worked pretty hard.
The new Whipper Snipper was a great help, but let's not let it get that overgrown again.
Some Club members visited the Bullyard solar power plant, owned and operated by the Bundaberg Regional Council.
Ross VK4JRO, David VK4DN, Lorraine VK4FCCW andHeinz made the trip and turned it into a great day out.
The tower and array at the top, all powered by solar with extensive battery storage onsite as well.
Thanks to Ross VK4JRO for organising the visit.
We have a display of radio equipment to entice the visitors into our stand.
It is the Yesteryear Rally after all and we certainly have an array of fabulous old gear to show them.
The rain has stopped, the sky is blue, and although it may be a little wet underfoot we're hoping for a great display weekend.
The club thanks David VK4DN and Ross VK4JRO for their hard work in setting up the display, throwing antennas into the trees and spending time chatting with the public.
We've always admired other organisations banners, now we have our own.... and just in time for the Tegege Yesteryear Rally coming up this weekend.
They're large; 2M high, heavy duty, and suitable for outdoor use.... (well excluding cyclonic winds of course)
Come on out to Tegege this weekend to say Hi to David VK4DN and admire our new acquisitions.
It was an overnight stay for members, on a property about 25km North of town.
As the station was running on battery power the points for each contact were doubled.
They made about 140 contacts in the 24 hours, and tested out some rough and ready, but very efficient, antennas.
For those of you who enjoy the radio-electronics side of our hobby, this site may be of interest.
It's called Maker Pro and has hundreds of projects for Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Home Automation etc.
I've placed a link on our links page as well so you'll always be able to find the site again later.
The full calendar of events has been uploaded to our site.
August is a BIG month for the Bundy club.
This year members decided to go portable for the RD [Remembrance Day] contest.
They found a property North East of town and camped the night.
Then it was the ILLW [International Lighthouse & Lightship Weekend] so it was off to the Burnett Heads Historical Lighthouse to play radio again.
Members enjoyed the sitting in the sun and chatting at both events.
Following the successful launch and recover earlier this month we've finally got some photos on the webpage for the HABE2 launch.
This is the HABE page link
Sadly the club has lost a great friend and mentor in Ron Graham VK4BRG.
Ron joined the Bundaberg club in 2009 but was friends with many members for quite a long time before that.
He was a true friend and inspiration to us all.
Ron was always there when we had technical questions and gave up his time to run the fortnightly tech-net for many years.
Last year Ron and Sue moved back to the Mackay area to be with their family and we've missed them.
On behalf of the President, the Management Committee and all members we offer our sincere condolences to Sue and the whole family, and while we couldn't send a representative to the service we sent flowers and our sincere best wishes.
The eulogy from Ron's funeral has been uploaded to our resource/documents area.
Ron Graham SK.
The photo at right shows Ron doing what he did best, teaching us something new.
Club (and WICEN) members VK4JRO, VK4DN, VK4NEU and VK4ION went on the annual pilgrimage to Clarkeys Petrolhead Paradise to provide the Comms for the Curtis Coast Trail Riders annual "Clarkeys Reloaded" event.
Two days of motorcycles, mud and mayhem and it was fun.
More images are being uploaded to the WICEN News page so do check them out.
You'll see that Clarkeys really is a paradise; in the hills up behind Lowmead. You never know, you might be tempted to come camping with us next year.... play a little radio... sit in the sun... take photos.... go for a bushwalk.... or just relax with a good book.
To save on travel this year the crew decided to camp on the Saturday night and after a great bush dinner they sat around the fire, chased a few satellites with handhelds and solved the problems of the world.
Club members VK4JRO, VK4DN, VK4OH, VK4FABF, VK4ION, VK4FCCW & Heinz had a great day on the mountain.
The day started out bright and sunny.
The ground crew sent up tools and juggled antennas, while keeping watch for falling hazards.... Darrall was prone to dropping things.
As members know the weather can change in an instant up on the mountain.
Lorraine & Gail scrubbed the shack and packed the shed.
There is now plenty of room in the shack for an additional 19inch rack and years of accumulated tools and fittings were sorted.
The shed now has all the ground maintenance requirements as well as tower fitting that aren't required very often.
All in all a very productive day and thank you to the members who once again gave up a Sunday to work for the benefit of BARC.
The club is most grateful to David VK4DN for once again taking on this project.
He carried the gazebo and equipment, set up the display and camped on site this year.
David did also manage to showcase the Balloon Project with posters and information so visitors could see that the club encompasses the past and the present.
There was one special visitor too, a young man travelling with his family from Brisbane.
At the grand young age of 10 meet VK4FBGR; yes he's 10 years old and has his Foundation licence, how exciting.
We thought Cyclone Debbie had passed us by but she took some revenge up on Mt Goonaneman.
Ross VK4JRO was travelling up for his work and Gary VK4MDZ wanted to do some checks on the shed... This is what they found when they started their walk up the hill...
Although the mains cable down the pole was ripped from the pole, it was still connected and delivering power to our switch board. (Yes It was Alive)
They rang Ergon to report the power line down, which in its self was a battle because they couldn't get to the meter to get the number and repeating that they were a customer named called Bundaberg Amateur Radio Club, but the service was "near Biggenden" was doing the operator's head in.
They went off to work at the shack hoping that Ergon weren't tied up elsewhere with Cyclone Debbie priority maintenance.
On the way down the mountain about 2.30pm they met the Ergon team... YAY!!!
It was certainly an unusual situation because the power wasn't cut so our equipment couldn't give us any indication there was a problem.
If Ross had made it up there the previous week, as scheduled, we wouldn't have known about this dangerous situation until our next working Bee at the end of the month.
Ross is beginning to think there is some overall good plan to the universe..
As the old saying goes, we dodged a bullet but our friends to the North and South were not so lucky.
Our operators are no longer in Alert status and we thank them for their vigilance during the past 4 days.
Water in the Burnett River is due to peak at Bundaberg Sunday 2nd April with readings well below minor flood levels.
The links we used during this alert are;
Bundaberg Regional Council - LATEST Update 31st March 4.30pm
Bureau of Meteorology: BOM - bom.gov.au
To view the current weather warnings for QLD
River watch - Qld river systems - select the 4th group of rivers - Burrum, Burnett, Kolan - to check the river gauge data
Whilst not a threat to our region, Cyclones can develop and change direction, shifting the zone of influence. It was a timely reminder that hams should ensure their 12volt batteries are charged and equipment tested.
We've begun work on our portable storage shed up on the mountain and it's going to be a monumental project...
We toyed with designs like...
Late last year we had some heavy-duty distance record action happening between club members.
For those who aren't familiar, you might like to check out our contests page, you'll see we have a few different contests for members.
With David VK4HAX travelling to NZ, our HF members were in a chase to contact him and claim a HF distance record.
Two new records were set... there was no prize.... just bragging rights.
This is the link to the DISTANCE RECORDS.
You should all know this picture, it has hung in the shack ever since SES was built.
It became the logo and has adorned our backs... well the back of our T-shirts for many years. It was time to take it out of the frame so we could have it digitized to make new shirts.....
Look what we found as packing behind the masonite! It's a real time-capsule.
The newspapers are "The Sunday Mail" [Brisbane paper] and "Sunday Truth" both from February 2nd 1964.
There are the cartoon and kids pages and a wonderful column called "The Pen Pals Club" where people advertised their profile and hoped others would write to them.
You'll be pleased to know you could buy a Hoover Scrubber-polisher for 27 Guineas and why should you rake up the grass when you can buy a new invention! The rear catcher mower for a mere 63 Guineas.
In the "Round-up" section there was news from this area, about a morning tea in Rocky.
I love old newspapers - we'll store these at the shack so you can all take a look.
Our WICEN team has begun the 2016-17 storm season training, and it's been gratifying to have 5 new members join the ranks.
At this time of year there is some revision of the training manual, then they get down to the interesting work, learning to use the portable stations to efficiently sent and receive communications.
November training was a 4 station hook up using the Yaesu and Icom gear, and proved successful and a lot of fun..
Prior to the December gathering there will be on-air training from the Members own QTH, so listen out for them on Wednesday evenings on Mt Watalgan 70cm repeater.
It was a very interesting "Show and Tell" session! - Peter VK4FPDG discussed some of his projects as well as demonstrating the SDR Play hardware and software.
Ross VK4JRO gave a very interesting presentation about different antenna designs and had some interesting electronics on display.
David VK4HAX gave a brief introduction to Arduino boards and shields - All who attended enjoyed the afternoon with plenty of questions about the items discussed.
There were over 450 lighthouses registered for the event this year, and 26 of those around Australia's coastline.
Dan and the members made a total of 46 contacts over the weekend.
We're very grateful to the Burnett Heads Progress Association for allowing us to use their Hall situated beside the lighthouse. It meant a quick set up and take down for our gear and we were still attached nicely to the historical lighthouse.
Welcome to you all
We get on well with our Brother Club from Hervey Bay so it was time to travel to a mid point and meet them for a Barbie.
We went to the park on the esplanade at Woodgate.
We only had 6 members attend and were well and truly outnumbered by HBARC.
Thanks to Keith VK4KDS & Judy for the photos
Sunday 3rd July and the launch from the Roma area - a successful launch and recovery.
Members who made the journey out to Roma for the launch
And some photos lifted from the onboard video camera - yes, that's SPACE folks.
And a view looking back to earth, after the balloon burst.
The payload was tumbling before the parachute opened and the temperature was minus 50 Celsius.
We have a new webpage dedicated to this project
What a great workshop!
Members made coax traps for use on HF antennas and everyone went home with a pair... tested and complete
Thanks to Ross VK4JRO for the work in setting up and running the workshop and to everyone who attended.
In May each year the Curtis Coast Trail Riders club hosts a Motorcycle event at Clarkeys near Lowmead.
Anyone who knows that terrain can appreciate that the club's CB radios wont work over the 38km track through the bush so they call on us to come up and provide the comms.... and we love it.
That's Darrall operating the Base station.
For the full story and photos visit our WICEN NEWS page.
It was time to trim the lawn and install some new equipment and climb the tower for inspection and repairs.
That's Darrall and Brett nearing the top of the tower.
Our team was lucky enough to get a tour of the Broadcast Australia facilities.
On Sunday 21st June we travelled up to Mt Goonaneman to officially commission the upgrades that have taken place over the past 2 years.
We were fortunate to have the Honorable Stephen Bennett, Member for Burnett, and Councillor Lynne Forgan and Gil Forgan, make the trip with us to officially turn on the repeater and inspect the upgrades.
Funds from a Queensland Government, Gambling Community Benefit Fund financed the replacement of 30 year-old equipment with modern Repeaters, Controllers and ancillary equipment to see us into the future.
President Ross Orpin VK4JRO thanked the Queensland Government for the grant and explained the workings of our flagship repeater site. Stephen was awed by the panoramic Woowoonga National Park and was a quick study in understanding what the Club and our WICEN group had accomplished.
Stephen made mention of how our Club had put Grant funds to such good community use and Lynne acknowledged WICEN's role in Council's Disaster Coordination plans.
Stephen then used the appropriate DTMF tones to officially switch on the VK4RBU Repeater Site.
It was a brisk 10.5 Celsius on the mountain this morning so we were all rugged up against the chill but the breathtaking views made the morning trek well worth the visit.
Lynne Forgan and Ross Orpin VK4JRO (left). Joe VK4FDJB and Dan VK4OH emerge from the rainforest into a shaft of sunlight. (right)