Branch 50 NZART at Maker Faire 2019

Branch 50 members, were present at the 2019 Maker Faire which took place at Queen’s Wharf in downtown Wellington on 20 October (10am – 4pm) . We participated in the NZART stand, along with members from branches 42 and 63. NZART brought amateur radio to the people. We gave away brochures about the branch, engaged with a wide range of people and talked about our hobby.

Note that there was no regular branch meeting in October, due to the Faire.

Phasing two antennas & TX/RX switching – Shed Workshop – 6 October 2019

Bernard ZL2BD gave a talk on how to safely switch between RX and TX antennas on your rig and demonstrated the circuit (which is probably not suitable for break-in keying). This circuit would allow us to use our active antenna  or mag loop antenna on RX and our standard antenna on TX. The MFJ unit above is an alternative approach.

He also demonstrated a simple phasing circuit that works with two RX antennas to reduce noise levels or to peak a signal.  Steering of a two antenna array throughout 360 degree is possible.   Two active antennas can be used, or in fact, any two antennas spaced less than 1/4 wavelength apart can be steered (on RX) to reduce unwanted noise and maximise forward gain.

The following articles relate to the workshop:

Shed Workshop 4 August

Bernard talking about fake transistors, discovered during prototyping of the Active Antenna Kit

Bernard ZL2BD and John ZL2XJ launched the first of a pair of shed workshops covering the construction of an active antenna.

Bernard discussed why amateur operators should be interested in active antennas, the basic design elements that underpin the electronics, and the nature of the kit construction that members will be undertaking.

The designs all incorporate a FET followed by a bipolar transistor. They must transfer the very high impedance of a short whip antenna to the 50 ohm input of a typical receiver. They may also include filtering to reduce broadcast interference (BCI). They are fed using 12v over the coax, so they require a filtering system to separate RF from DC back in the shack.

We will meet on 1 September from 2pm -4pm since it will be Father’s Day and some may want to go out to lunch with family. We will be constructing our devices, so members will need to bring a soldering iron. The kits will be provided free of charge to members. If you didn’t attend the first session, please contact one of the committee to confirm you are coming to be sure we have sufficient kits available.

Upcoming regional events

  1. Saturday 27 July 9am start – Branch 42 Used Equipment Sale – Onepoto Speed Boat Club (Onepoto Road). For more information contact ZL2ABC (Bruce Packer)  zl2abc@gmail.com  or by phone to 04 938 7147.
  2. Saturday 3 August 2019: 9.30am – noon – Winter DV Talk by John ZL2TWS Start Time: 10:30 am (clubrooms open 9:30 am – morning tea/coffee at 10:00 am). At Upper Hutt Clubrooms Branch 63, Park Street, Upper Hutt.A registration fee of $5.00 applies to cover expenses. Please register with mark@foxtrot.co.nz Finishes no later than 12:00 pm. Learn about D-Star G3 Plus2 and ircDDB variants followed by a demonstrations of BlueDV for D-Star, DMR and Yaesu System Fusion (YSF). Instant D-STAR registration available on the day for new users of Peanut or BlueDV. The talk will then continue about Hotspots and Dashboards. Following the session many of the group will have lunch at the Cosmopolitan Club (pay your own way).
  3. Regional Councillor Meet Up at Branch 42 Clubrooms in Titahi Bay – Date and time to be confirmed – The combined regional meeting will be on either Tuesday 10 September or Wednesday 11 September. Both ZL2 councillors are expected to be present.