Saturday, February 16, 2008

Wyong field day 2008

HomeBrewDisplay.jpgJust returned from another excellent Wyong field day. I'm sure attendance is going up again - despite a rather threatening sky.

This year I participated in the NSW Home Brew display and was proud to show off my little 40m Direct Conversion receiver. Amongst all the vendors selling little black boxes it's great to see there are still a few of us wielding the soldering iron.

Attended a talk on the new digital radio system D-STAR. Although the presenters were very enthusiastic about it and their demo, which included talking to a bloke in England on a little hand held, went well - I can't help worrying that this system is based on a proprietary audio codec and that there are no manufacturers except Icom at this point.

When a bloke expressing interest in software defined radio applications asked about the codec, the presenter dismissed the question by saying "it's not proprietary, you can just buy the chip" so I don't think he gets the point.

There are also some signs that the engineering has a way to go, it was stressed that we must leave four seconds before replying so the system can do some handshaking, and further if you accidentally "double" with another station the repeater will go off air for several minutes!

I didn't come away empty handed, picked up a book on receiving antennas and also a wonderful Tektronics 2246 100MHz CRO which will be a great help with the kids science homework..

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