October Meeting: Blackwood Cup

Blackwood CupIt was Blackwood Cup time again on Wednesday 21 October. Four members brought along home brew projects they had completed over the last 12 months and gave a brief talk on them.   John ZL2HD somewhat surprised himself by winning the competition, and taking away the cup.   Of course the winner gets to go and get the engraving put on the cup base!

John’s construction was a clock inspired by a clock he acquired from the estate of the late Bill Hamer ZL2CD.  However, this one is controlled within microseconds of the real atomic time and sources its time via an arduino and a GPS chip.   In a sign of the times, most of the project time was spent in writing the Arduino “sketch” or program that controls the clock.  Well done John!

The runner up in the competition was Col ZL2COL who produced a rugged lightweight box for his FT857, power supply, tuner and other bits and pieces, including a swivel out light for the portable shack!   This was put to the test on the South Coast at Karori Rock Lighthouse in the International Lighthouse Contest.

Other entries included James ZL2ET application of a Raspberry Pi to a miniature transmitter deployed on WSPR service.  Don’t know what that is?  Then come along to the February meeting to receive a full explanation and to see it demonstrated!

Ted ZL2TB showed us a very well constructed home brew interface between his rig and the sound card in his computer.   No RF in the computer with that one!

The fact that we are still getting a muster of entrants every year means Wellington branch members and still doing some home construction!

WARC expands mesh to Mt Climie thanks to Upper Hutt Br 63

Mt Climie small

James ZL2ET, Doug ZL2AOV, Ted Zl2TB and Mike ZL1AXG were up on Mt Climie on Saturday 26 September at the invitation of Branch 63.   We installed a temporary 20dBi Airgrid M2 at the site pointing towards Colonial Knob.

We were somewhat surprised to find that the radio lock in (at least intermittently) with the tell-tale red light showing on the Airgrid.  

However, we had issues in connecting a PC at the “shack” end. The cold and sleet meant we didn’t pursue this any further when we had trouble removing the Airgrid from its extension shaft.

On arrival back in Wellington it became clear that the Airgrid was actually connecting intermittently with the Ngaio node.  This had not been anticipated or we would have aimed the dish in a slightly different direction!

It is hoped to install an Airgrid soon at Colonial Knob to connect more reliably with Mt Climie.

Mesh update – 19 September 2015

The Broadband-Hamnet mesh network is continuing to attract interest and new amateur operators.  The committee of the Wellington Amateur Radio Club Inc has purchased two Ubiquiti Nanostation M2 devices

  • one to be installed on Colonial Knob facing north to open up the mesh northwards to the Kapiti coast.  Expansion in this direction is required to provide a path back to Wellington for a remote HF station (a QHUG project).  An OM from the coast is already interested in linking up.
  • the other to be used as a portable unit at monthly meetings and in testing the mesh.   This will be able to be borrowed by members (talk to our equipment custodian James ZL2ET)

A special interest group (SIG) meeting on 17 September, at the Tawa Community Centre, was again well attended and included new faces.  John ZL2HD, James ZL2ET and Mike ZL1AXG, all WARC committee members, talked about existing services on the mesh.

Things to check out:

  • Saturday 19 September, 7.30pm –  Teamspeak 3 QSO party on celestial.
  • Every Saturday, 8pm – UHF National System Mesh Net
  • WLG Mesh node view from James ZL2ET here.

Wrights Hill and Mt Cook historical perspectives – 16 September 2015

Don Beswick ZL2BL spoke on underground activities at Wrights Hill, the possibility of an underground tunnel complex in Mt Cook (under the former Dominion Museum) and the No. 10 set used at the end of the second world war (and which was installed in several locations around Wellington).

 

Under Wright’s Hill, Karori

Doug McNeil ZL2AOV noted in his report of the evening:

“Don Beswick ZL2BL entertained and informed members with a wide range of photocopied images from the Wrights Hill project and the No 10 set – a valve-based eight-channel multiplexed voice transmission and reception system operating around 4500MHz. He also outlined his research into what the military and/or civilians built under the Dominion Museum building in Buckle St, Mt Cook. Don is convinced there are still tunnels down there; though public records point only to several air raid shelters. Don is writing a book on the topic – “there’s a lot more down there than we’ve been led to believe” and is seeking Massey University (the site’s occupiers) support to excavate spots on the site. Don’s talk, and members’ comments, extended to similar developments at Palmer Head and elsewhere in New Zealand.”