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BARC NEWS

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Last update: June 2022


LATEST NEWS FOR MEMBERS - 2022

JUNE 2022 - BUNNINGS SAUSAGE SIZZLE

Club Fundraising Event

If you've read previous stories on this News page you would know that we have some heavy expenditure from time to time.
The club has always kept our membership fees low so we thought a fundraising event might offset some of the rising costs and top up our bank account.
There is nothing more Australian than a weekend sausage sizzle at Bunnings in fact it's become a tradition Australia wide.
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We submitted a request to the Bunnings Community support committee and received a slot for a Sunday in June. So it was all hands on deck to bring it all together.
We had perfect weather for the day and our sausage sizzle fundraiser was a huge success.

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It was an early start and once we were setup we quickly had a steady flow of customers wanting their snags on bread (with or without onions) and with the sauce of their choice.
The Bunnings 'hints & tips sheet' was pretty vague about 'usual quanities' and we thought we had ample supplies, but as the trade was brisk we ran out of everything and Marg had to make several trips to the shops to purchase more supplies.
We wanted to work with 2 shifts to spread the work load with VK4DAV, VK4WTZ, VK4DN, VK4WZ, VK4FCCW, Heinz & Tony on the early shift and with VK4JRO, VK4JAF (with Debbie) and Marg VK4FHAM on the later shift.
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Doing the shift changeover with a long line of waiting customers proved a bit of a struggle, but with both Davids & Keith working both shifts we soon managed the transition. Those extra hands kept the flow going and ensured the crew had everything they needed.
Several club members had previously worked the BBQ for other groups (Scout groups / schools etc), so they knew the drill and what needed to be done, and we were quite efficient.
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We sold our last snag a few minutes before closing so was a good finish to the day.
Thanks to all the volunteers who helped on the day and their family and friends who came along to support our club.

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BARC - hard at work selling Sausage Sangers



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Bunnings have a great set-up of 3 gazebos which they give to the Clubs free of charge.
Everyone is happy with a good sausage sanger.


We simply can't thank our volunteers enough. Your support in this event ensures a stronger financial position for the club.


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MAY 2022 - MT GOONANEMAN UPGRADE

New Antenna and Battery Installation.


Sunday May 29, Ross VK4JRO, David VK4DN, David VK4DAV (and XYL Natalie) together with Brady and Will from Luxfield Communications, ventured up the mountain to replace an antenna and bring our 2Meter VK4RBU 146.800MHz repeater back to 100% strength.

On a previous trip Ross discovered the antenna had been hit by a lightning strike and was able to swap in a small temporary Yagi, lower down the tower, as an intermediate fix.

Luckily the lightning damage was limited to a single antenna on the tower and the shack and repeater were not impacted, but it was painfully obvious that the repeater was almost unusable for the couple of months while a permanent solution was undertaken.

The Club is fortunate to have a great working relationship with Luxfield Communications and they provided a replacement colinear antenna at cost-price for this major repair, then all we had to do was arrange for a tower climb and the install.

That turned out to be easier said than done and although we scheduled several trips, the weather forecasts of high winds, heavy rains etc kept delaying the mountain trip and the project completion.

Finally a free Sunday for the BARC members and Luxfield technicians along with a positive weather outlook and the job could be undertaken with blue skies and little wind.

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Rusty bolts!. The tower repair schedule included replacing some corroded bolts in the jointed-sections. Ross was able to source them and once the remedial work on the lower tower was complete, Brady could scale the full tower to install the new antenna.



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That's Brady heading to the top of the tower. We had a ground crew who fed the antenna to the highest portion of the tower where Brady was waiting to attach it, and we were good to go....


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Ooops... Testing told a different story!
Ross had meter readings off the scale indicating a serious problem in the transmission line, confirming that we had sustained more damage in that lightning strike than first thought.

Members may have heard Ross say things like, 'belt and braces' where he outlines his love of redundancy and so it was that we had a spare coax on the tower... just waiting for such a day. Brady was able to relocate that spare coax to the newly installed antenna and we tested again.
By the way that's why that temporary Yagi was on the tower... you never know when you're going to need a spare, spare.

The second SWR tests showed 1:1 so VK4DN put out some calls using his Yaesu handheld. The signal reports started coming in from Bundaberg and surrounding areas of full-scale deflection from the repeater.
Mission Accomplished and our VK4RBU 2Mtr station was back online!

The long period of wet weather has reinforced that Solar is wonderful when the sun shines, and that we had better have some extra battery backups available for the cloudy days.


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The team carried new batteries up the mountain track. It's a long haul and batteries are heavy but Ross found a nifty fix for that, although he did have to lay down on the cold cement floor to hook the battery bank together.

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We now have a total of 800AH of backup power for the equipment in our shack.

Thank you once again to our volunteers who undertake the drive and mountain trek to keep the club equipment at peak efficiency.





MAY - THE WICEN TEAM GOES BUSH - GETS BOGGED - AND RESCUED!

Sometimes doing the right thing can be very scary.

The Coral Coast Trail Riders Club asked WICEN to provide comms for their annual trail ride weekend, near Ubobo in the Boyne Valley.
This would be our 7th year supporting the event and during a quick trip a couple of weeks ago we grabbed all the GPS points so we could deploy our network to best advantage.
They need our assistance as the Sweep Riders' UHF/CB radios can't reach 'Base' from some parts of the track but with WICEN checkpoints the sweeps can use us to relay messages quickly to Race Control.

It's a great training exercise for our group while also providing a vital link helping to maintain the safety of the event.

The full story and more images are on our WICEN NEWS page.

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Our camp at Ubobo 2022, it's very wet but we're keeping warm and dry.

WICEN members, VK4ION, VK4DN & VK4UO, travelled up on the Friday & set up camp... The weather forecast for Ubobo was 10-20mm over the 2 days, which wasn't a problem as we had wet weather gear. What we didn't expect was 48hours of torrential rain, violent winds, a flooded creek crossing, a quagmire of black, oozy mud and no liklihood of rescue utill 'next week'.

With no mobile phone, internet or data at the site, we reverted to HF and made contact on 40m to get some urgent messages out.
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When all else fails call CQ

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4WD mule - we want one!

Check out the full Ubobo2022 story at the WICEN NEWS page.


APRIL - WORKSHOP WE ARE 'FLOWER POT MEN'

The Flower Pot Antenna is a thing of beauty and if you've never built one, perhaps this will inspire you.

The club held a workshop in early April to construct the Flower Pot Antenna, a versitile and easy to make vertical, which costs about $10 to construct.
It was the first time the club has used our new clubhouse/workshop in North Bundy for a workshop and it was a huge success with members/guests VK4DN, VK4JAF, VK4TTO, VK4KEL, VK4WZ (Keith VK4KDS’s new callsign), VK4WTZ, VK4UO, VK4WK and VK4JRO in attendance.

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The build went very well, and checking with an antenna analyser showed them all to be resonant on 2Mtrs and 70cms with almost perfect SWR readings of 1 to 1.1 across the bands.So it proved to be a fun day and a great success for the hobby.

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Several of our newer members attended and enjoyed their first experience of antenna building. For newcomers to the hobby it was important to learn the tricks of careful measurement and the use of soldering irons to treat the heat shrink while securing the coax and shielding in place. Their practical experience has now been bolstered with these skills, so congratulations on your efforts.
In all, six Flowerpot antennas were made.

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VK4DN arranged the shed for the workshop, providing plenty of benchspace and even refreshments which members willing repaid into the Tip Jar.

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The basic construction of this antenna is a piece of pvc tubing and some coax cable cut to specific length, the whole thing wrapped in a shrink tube.

All it takes is a length of PVC, a little coax and some tender loving warming of that shrink wrap to secure the lot.


Thanks to the members who attended the workshop, to build or to assist others, and incidentally we're not all flower pot men, the club has around 10% women members and they're 'flower pot men' too.

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We look forward to our next workshop in the next few weeks.


MARCH - CONTESTING IN THE "JOHN MOYLE"

We set up our portable station at Wyper Park

The contest recognises the life, and dedication to Amateur Radio of John Moyle, and we worked 143 stations over the weekend, working every state in VK and even one ZL station, running on batteries and solar power.

Ross erected a 20/40/80 dipole between the trees and the SWR was almost 1:1 in the middle of the Band.

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We weren’t trying to win the competition - just to have some fun playing radio with friends and it was a great club event.

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We had a lot of club members drop in over the weekend to say g'day too.

Thanks to everyone who came along VK4DN VK4JRO VK4TTO VK4OH VK4JAF VK4WTZ & VK4KDS

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The gang was all there, tuning around and listening for contacts and enjoying David's home made curry


SERIOUS SLEUTHING ON MT GOONANEMAN

Troubleshooting intermittent fault at repeater site

Mount Goonaneman repeater site was experiencing mains power dropouts, sometimes lasting several hours, and the telemetry equipment was texting alerts about the unstable power situation. This meant a trip to the mountain to investigate.

An "intermittent" fault is the worst type of fault so our troubleshooting had to consider the recent heavy rain and even Ergon's mains power link to the mountain... something was causing these "brownouts".

Ross, VK4JRO, David VK4DN, Keith VK4KDS and Dave VK4DAV travelled up the mountain on Saturday morning (March 12th) to investigate.

It was a process of elimination and Ross began with the AC Voltage coming into the building (239VAC so all good), then testing the fuse box, circuit by circuit. Everything was fine with all equipment online, and no sign of a fault.

As a final test Ross dropped the mains power - a quick switch off and then on again. This was it, we had zero mains power into our building and all the equipment had switched to the 12V battery backup power.

Checking backwards we found the meter box was dead and while drastic, it confirmed it was an Ergon Energy problem and we could call for a repair crew.


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There was time for VK4DAV & VK4KDS to grab a quick bite to eat.

It's a remote location and took 2 hours for the Ergon truck to arrive but they quickly took advice from Ross about what he'd tested and got right to work.
First the tech climbed the pole and replaced the fuse assembly but that didn't restore power.

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Up the pole they went but it wasn't the fuse.

Next they checked the high-voltage transformer fuse assembly (11,000V) and a close check resulted in a spark that shouldn't have been there. The cable was not making a solid connection and a new fuse assembly was installed to fix the problem.

Ross and David checked everything in the shack, dropping the mains power again for a surge test - this time, it all came back to life.

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11,000v transformer fault found & fixed.


We were very lucky that our equipment is resilient and survived the faulty power episodes. Also good news that Ergon could fix the problem at no cost to the club.

We have reliable mains power again at Mount Goonaneman.

Thanks very much to the club members who came along to help with this important maintenance job.


NEW MEMBERS AT FEBRUARY MEETING

We Welcome Two New Members

At the February General Meeting we welcomed two new members. Nicolas (VK4NIC) and Ron (VK4ADU). Nicolas has recently completed his Foundation training with the club and is now undertaking his Advanced study.
Ron was an Amateur many years ago and has reactivated his Advanced call and hopes to get into club activities with us.
A warm welcome to you both.

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President Ross VK4JRO presents certificates to VK4NIC and VK4ADU and then it's hand sanitizer all round.


WE BEGAN 2022 WITH SOME REPAIRS

Let's get this party started - we head into 2022

The Committee will begin their meetings, after a well earned break, and we took care of some work at our SES shack.

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The antenna array was holding up well at height, but the connection where it entered the building had come adrift in the high winds and needed to be repaired. Sincere thanks go to Ross VK4JRO and David VK4DN for giving up their spare time and undertaking the work so that our shack remains in peak condition.


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It's a long way to the top if you want.... to get the shack's HF antennas reconnected. Ross, VK4JRO, does the hard work of climbing, reconnecting and testing.


The old equipment you see in front of Ross is used for training students. Our trainees learn to make manual adjustments and understand how things actually work, rather than flicking a switch on the newer Yaesu and Icom transceivers.
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Now that our HF array is tuned again, it's time to begin Foundation Training courses for the year. We trained 11 last year and hope to improve on that in 2022.
If you know anyone who may be interested have them contact the Club. It's a cost effective way to learn all they need to know and take their first steps in our hobby.


These are the news updates for the current year.
If you're looking for older stories, check out the link to Old News Stories.

If you're looking for more substantial stories which have their own pages, check our Links Page


Contact Us

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Bundaberg Amateur Radio Club
PO Box 129
Bundaberg Qld 4670

Email:
secretary@barc.asn.au