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Jamboree On The Air 2021 at Wyper Park, just south of Bundaberg.
We set up displays, hands on stuff and played radio with Scouts from all over the region.
The family of Rusty VK4JM and Joscelyn VK4JJ, generously donated their tower to the club
All we had to do was come and take it down.
Rusty & Joc had been great supporters of the club and Scouting over many years and the tower will be erected at the Scouts Wyper Park grounds.
Each year we attend the JOTA - Jamboree on the Air, with the Scouting groups and we will erect the tower out there so we have a permanent station set up.
It was a huge thanks to VK4DAV & VK4DN for making and fitting a new door to our workshop.
The clubs formed in September 1961 and this year we celebrated our 60th [Diamond] Anniversary.
Due to travel restrictions it was a relatively low key event this year however we did manage a great luncheon and a open BBQ to welcome visitors to our new workshop/shed.
Bundaberg Regional Council maintains a great BundyNow service to bring news to our local community and they featured the club in a news article.
This is the link.
We had much pleasure in attending Avoca State School one last time for the ARISS Project.
We presented the school with the finished model of the ISS.
The 1:144 scale model was sourced from Germany, and constructed/painted by Club members.
The model came without the recent ISS addition of the Cupola, so David had an enterprising friend with a 3D printer who found the plans, whipped up the missing piece, and now the ISS is up to date.
Commemorative certificates were presented and the school intends to build a cabinet to keep the model on display.
This project has now been finalised and we look forward to the next adventure.
Thanks to Avoca School for sharing their Assembly with us and thanks to members VK4DN, VK4FCCW, VK4ION and Heinz for attending and representing the Club.
We created a display for the Mens Shed Wellness Expo at the multiplex.
The event was well attended and we were happy to show off our WICEN case and chat to attendees.
We had 4 students undertake the Club's Foundation Training Course over 2 consecutive weekends.
Club Training coordinator, VK4ION took the 4 students, aged from 19 to 45 years, from all walks of life, through the Foundation Training course that she has developed.
Each candidate will now practice some theory at home and request their examination when they are confident.
It's been a busy year for training with about 10 students requesting the club's assistance to become licenced, since the COVID restrictions eased.
Gary joined the club and WICEN.
Team of 5 WICEN operators headed up to Ubobo
Ubobo is near Calliope, South of Gladstone and our role is to provide the bush comms for the annual Curtis Coast Trail Rider's 2-day mountain bush-bash.
It's a superb location for breeding brahman cattle and for riding trail bikes in the bush.
We set up a camp and had a great time. It's a very safe event and we had minimal work to do (but that is a good thing!) just a few breakdowns and minor scrapes.
We packed for the cold weather but it was quite mild really and that tall Mount Robert (at 1000m) split the rain clouds away from us.
Sincere thanks to the following club members who participated; VK4JRO, VK4DN, VK4FCCW, VK4ION & VK4JAF.
There are some more images on the WICEN NEWS Webpage.
12 Avoca State School Students spoke to the ISS astronaut Colonel Mike Hopkins
On 11th March we successfully communicated with the ISS and 12 lucky Avoca State School Students spoke for over 11 minutes with Colonel Mike Hopkins.
The full story is at the ARISS Project webpage
David VK4KPM is a ham from way back, while VK4JAF and VK4DAV have just completed their foundation training with the club,
and received their first callsigns. We welcome them all.
Also at the February meeting....
Michael VK4JAF has been active with the club for several months, joining in at all working bees and club functions and we were delighted when he put up his hand to join WICEN.
We kicked of 2021 with another trip to the mountain to complete some new installations. The work included a new rack and some electronics that so we can remotely monitor security and the health of all our equipment (power status/solar charging system etc).
It was another early start for our intrepid helpers - Ross VK4JRO, Isaac VK4NEU, David VK4DN, Michael VK4JAF and David Rose as well as Brady Baldwin and Will from Luxfield.
While we were at it we attended to some risk management items and replaced the fire extinguisher as well.
Thanks to all who attended and helped the club in such a positive way.
Captain's Log Saturday December 5th;
Leaving Bundy at 4AM on Saturday morning - We had Ross VK4JRO, Dan VK4OH, David Rose, David VK4DN and Keith VK4KDS and the most essential workers on the day, Brady from Luxfield (the rigger on the tower!) and his off-sider Wes.
It was a scorcher! 35 degrees in the shade and Brady did an amazing job up on the tower.
He replaced 8 aging guy wires with new stainless steel ropes and shackles - they are the crucial element to the stability of our Tower - while the ground-crew fitted them off.
And let's not waste a day up the tower, Brady set up some experimental microwave equipment for Luxfield.
They're going to test a link back to their base station in Bundy and as a side-benefit this gives the club internet access up on the mountain, and with some tweeking we can use the internet server to monitor temperatures / voltages / equipment status and security cameras.
An exciting next step for the club will be the installation of a digital repeater station on the mountain as well - a project for another day.
David VK4DN put on a sausage sizzle for the crew so it's a big thanks to everyone who came along.
Luxfield have always been a great supporter of the club and we thank them for providing the essential crew on the day.
Jaycar supports the club - giving us some prime real-estate on a Saturday morning
David VK4DN and Dan VK4OH set up a display for the public and Jaycar customers which included the old familiar radio gear, right up to the new IRLP Raspberry Pi which Isaac demonstrated.
The aim of these events is not to sign up new members but rather to show the public that we're out there and while some may just want to chat and reminisce about fathers and grandfathers being into that 'Ham' stufff... others took a brochure and filed the information away for when they're looking for an exciting hobby with so many diverse parts to it.
Jaycar are the Club's supplier of components and we encourage all our members to join the Jaycar loyalty program to accrue points on their purchases, we'd really love to keep this great business in town.
Thanks to David, Dan, Isaac, Jim, Ross, Gail, Michael & Margaret for making the effort to represent the club.
What's the golden rule about Amateur Radio... it's meant to be an experimental medium where we learn and improve our knowledge of communications. That's exactly what we're doing at the VK4BW shack.
Isaac VK4NEU and David VK4DN spent the day upgrading the shack and hooking up the APRS and IRLP into the dedicated Telstra internet feed.
An impromptu trip to the 4BU Transmission Site.
The Bundaberg 4BU AM station has been broadcasting since 1935 and invited members to view the decommissioned equipments. There was certainly a lot of history there and all the original valve transmitters are still working and it was a real treat for members.
Keith Evans - (the Tech from 4BU) give our club a special tour of the soon to be de-commissioned 5kW AM radio station.
The images below include the tower, the original Valve Transmitter / switch boards as well as some of the more modern rack-mounted equipment to keep the station on the air.
Sincere thanks to the Bundaberg 4BU people, and Keith Baldwin VK4KEB for sharing with the club members.
The Club has learned of the death of our foundation member, John [Rusty] McGrath.
We send our sincere condolences to Joscelyn VK4JJ and Rusty's family.
You can visit a club page which remembers our friend Rusty McGrath VK4JM SK
Amateur Radio is an old hobby... but we adapt...
BARC is clearly focused on the future and although we need to stay safe during the Covid Pandemic, we still have 'club business' to attend to, so the Management Committee is using Zoom Video Conferencing to hold their meetings.
An interesting aside, when we last updated the club constitution we added clauses to include "using appropriate technology", (instead of mailing letters). Who knew how important it was going to become to see & engage with other people.
On a fine November morning we headed for Mt Goonaneman. Stu VK4FSTU kindly used his drone to inspect and photograph our tower, antennas and guys wires.
It was an early start so the drone could cruise-about before the winds picked up.
We also installed our Solar Panels to power the battery chargers.... which maintains our back-up batteries at the right charge... because they power our equipment when the electricity supply fails.
We had a great trip and the drone was the coolest thing ever. :-)
And this is what the DRONE saw...
Thanks to Ross VK4JRO, Stu FK4FSTU, Jim VK4UO, Gary VK4APP and David VK4DN for installing the solar panels to power the battery chargers.
The two panels are 300Watts each and we have a 60AMP Solar charge controller (this will charge the batteries if mains power goes down)
We ran Good quality DC Cables (about 10Mtrs) from the panels to the Charge controller which was mounted inside the shack - the panels were at 30 degrees facing NORTH/SOUTH for the best possible chance to get sunshine throughout the year.
Stu took over 50 photos of the tower with his drone… (we needed to get there at 5AM so that there would be very little or no wind which would have made the Drone more difficult to handle). There was a little interference to the drone from the transmitters on the tower but Stu was able to work around it.
In September 1961 the club was formed, and to celebrate our 58th Birthday we created a display in the Library.
Thanks to the Bundy Library staff for giving us space for a 2 week static display.
We placed our banner there, and used the glass cabinet for the display.
The 4 shelves begin with Morse (where it all began), then we give visitors some idea of radio gear, QSL cards, Foundation Training as well as a little about WICEN and our HABE project.
We even created a QR code to take interested people direct to our website and placed Club business cards in a holder for people to take away.
Thanks to David VK4DN and Gail VK4ION for creating the display to showcase the club
In May each year the Trail Riders spend a weekend in the bush and our WICEN members provide the comms in the rugged bush setting.
This year is was at Ubobo about 1 1/2 hours north of town, and our crew of;
David VK4DN, Isaac VK4NEU - Bundaberg Club, Chris VK4FBDR from Gladstone and Len VK4WAL from the Rocky club, set up the stations and camped overnight.
Another successful community operation, thanks to our members and friends who attended to assist the Curtis Coast organisers
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
On a bright July day, 4 intrepid members made the trip up to the mountain
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.
Here's what it looked like before.
And just to keep everyone on there toes...
The new Whipper Snipper was a great help, but let's not let it get that overgrown again.
Thanks to our four members who made the trip and worked pretty hard. Ross VK4JRO, David VK4DN, Jim VK4UO and Gail VK4ION
Bundaberg Regional Council's Bullyard solar power plant.
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 it was a great day out.
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 finally stopped, the sky was blue, and although a little wet underfoot it was a great display weekend.
Many thanks to 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.
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.
This year members decided to go portable for the RD [Remembrance Day] contest, on a property North East of town, where they 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 always there when we had technical questions and gave up his time to run the fortnightly tech-net for many years.
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.
Some surprises up on Mt Goonaneman
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 LIVE)
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..
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.
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.
In 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)