Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wyong field day 2011 report

One of the most exciting days of the year is the ham radio field day at the Wyong race course. Aside from the diminished parking, this year was a great show. The home brew group had a wonderful display as always.

Home brew display

There was lots of excellent junk to pick through.


Some amazing pieces of gear including this light wave communications system.

Morse sender

The car boot sale area was full of interesting stuff tastefully arranged.

Boot sale

The historical radio display had some early marconi triodes I hadn't seen before.

Historical radioDr Naomi McClure-Griffiths gave a riveting talk on radio astronomy in Australia, she really covered much of the galaxy and how we observe it - a big topic.

Milky way

Today I learned (TIL) that Australia is uniquely placed for the square kilometre array telescope and there is so much good science to do that we must all support this venture.

Dr McClure-Griffiths is a great presenter and answered all our questions - I wanted to know how they measure the magnetic polarisation of bodies far off in space. She showed fantastic movies of radiation from the sky animated by frequency of the H1 line (due to doppler shift) - I'd love to see these as a 3D frame.

I bought a few things: egg insulators, other antenna hardware, a balun core, and Nigel kindly gave me a reduction drive. Jaycar were selling a huge amount of products which had been returned to them as faulty. I paid $10 for a remote weather station with a base that has a USB port to send readings to a computer. Although returned as faulty it worked out of the box for me.

Weather station

It measures temperature, pressure, humidity, wind speed, wind direction and rainfall.

Weather station

Also I picked up a few books, "QRP Basics" by Rev. George Dobbs, G3RJV, and "HF Antennas for all locations" by Les Moxon, G6XN.

The biggest purchase was a Mizuho TRX-100 40m CW transceiver. It's a kit from the 80s and 90s, rather hacked about by the previous owner by the looks of it but mostly seems to work.


Thanks to all the hard working organisers for a great day out. I always enjoy getting tea from giant pots and eating crackers with cheese cubes.

Tea pot

Behind the scenes at VK2WI

After a satisfying lunch with ABC engineering folks on Friday, Matthew kindly drove Nigel and I out to Dural for a "behind the scenes" tour of the VK2WI site conducted by regular broadcaster Tim, VK2ZTM.

Matthew and nigel

The star attraction, for me, is the new solid state pulse duration modulation 160m AM transmitter that has been commissioned in the last few weeks and sounds excellent.

160m TX

If all else fails there is standby communications equipment on hand:

Tin cans

Although I've been to Dural many times, I've never been up stairs in the new shed. There is a display of equipment.

Equipment display

A modern station setup.

Station setup

And an extensive library.


Thanks to Nigel for lunch, Matthew for the drive - (particularly entertaining to have a car radio with short wave), and thanks to Tim for the tour.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

For reliable broadcasts during disaster, turn to short wave

Screen shot 2011 02 03 at 1 10 18 PM
Great to see the ABC Emergency page promoting Radio Australia's short wave services. They say: "* TV and radio transmission interruptions are occurring. Reliable broadcasts are available on short wave radio: day 9710kHz, and night 6080kHz or listen live below."Having noted that, it's amazing how much Twitter is being used to gather breaking news from eye witnesses these days.Long live short wave broadcasting! Looks like it's getting out pretty well too.

I can confirm that 9.710Mhz is booming in here in Sydney S9+30db at 8pm local time.

Keep pedaling Nigel!