After discovering there were a number of amateur radio enthusiasts that attend LCA, I figured I'd get in early this year. I myself have never been to Victoria, let alone Ballarat, so there's a lot of information I do not know.
Last year, people might've recalled seeing someone looking like a postie with a bike downgrade, the bike itself resembling an echidna with a 2m/70cm whip on the back, a rather large (40Ah) battery and a FT-290R II on board. That was me. :-) I'll be sans bike, but I plan to at least have some sort of station with me, and hope to make some contacts while I am down here. --Stuart Longland 09:35, 4 December 2011 (UTC)
I'm planning on bringing a Codan 2110 Manpack for some HF fun some of the nights. Hoping to sling a long-wire into a tree and work some DX. Maybe something to run at the same time the amateur astronomy guys do their stuff? --Mark Jessop 10:22, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
I've got an 80m dipole, ladder line, mast, rope, FT-757GXII and FC757AT auto-tuner. I'm not staying overnight (I live less than an hour away) however I'm hoping to find a location that allows me to erect/pull down the station with ease. - Joshua Mesilane, VK3HGI, email@example.com - 17th Jan
I brought an FT817, some portable power and a tuner/longwire. - Terry Dawson, VK2KTJ
Information for non-Hams
Amateur radio is a hobby that has been around for over 100 years. More than just "talking around the world", it encompasses electronics, radio propagation theory, modulation techniques, satellites, even television.
Morse code (known as CW or continuous wave) is no longer a requirement, but naturally you can learn it if you wish to.
Getting on air
Depending on where you're based, there are different ways of joining us:
The first point of call should be the Wireless Institute of Australia which is the national body for amateur radio. They look after, amongst other things, call sign allocations and examinations.
The best bet is to look through the clubs listing for one in your local area, and visit that club. From there, the people at that club can put you in touch with someone who can assist in training.
- Foundation: Gives you entry-level access to amateur radio. You have 10W of transmit power, can use FM, CW, AM, DSB and SSB, and you've got access to 6 bands.
- Standard: More power (100W PEP, 30W average), you get access to a few more bands (20m, 6m, 23cm, I think one other microwave band too), you can use any mode (including digital) and make your own kit
- Advanced: Even more power (400W PEP, 100W average), *all* the band allocations in Australia.
Advanced licensees for a 12 month trial can also apply to get approval to use 1kW PEP.
(This section is a stub, please expand.) Amateur radio is handled by the New Zealand Association of Radio Transmitters.
(This section is a stub, please expand.) Amateur radio is handled by the Amateur Radio Relay League.
(This section is a stub, please expand.) Amateur radio is handled by the Radio Society of Great Britain.
The WIA Repeater Listings have the following listed for Ballarat:
|146.65||146.05||VK3RBT||Green Hill||Ballarat||O||-||-||-||VBA||91.5||First choice?|
|439.9875||434.9875||VK3RBA B||Mt Buninyong||Ballarat||X||25||750||3||VBA||-||D-Star|
|1298.7||1298.7||VK3RBA AD||Mt Buninyong||Ballarat||X||10||750||-||VBA||-||D-Star|
The one highlighted in green is the one I'll probably try first. I've highlighted the "non-operational" (according to the WIA) ones in red — although I note often "operational" repeaters (according to the WIA) sometimes aren't, and "non-operational" repeaters sometimes work, a local will know more, and can add to the list.
A note with the VK3RBT repeater on 2m: It has quite a short time-out (2 minutes or so, maybe shorter), and does not take kindly to people going over that time-out … as in due to a glitch, it momentarily goes off-air. I found I had no problems with my station, which has a time-out of 1 minute, but a couple of the locals got caught out by it. Apparently the 145.525 is a frequency that gets used locally too, so we may find we hear locals on that frequency too.
I don't have D-Star, I suspect others will be in the same boat.
There is also the 145.525MHz FM simplex frequency that a few people used during the conference in Brisbane.
Ballarat Amateur Radio Group BARG
- Tuesday Night at 8 pm VHF NET on 146.650 Mhz - VK3RBT
- Thursday Night at 8 pm HF NET on 3.508 Mhz
- Australia-Wide Night-Owl and Insomnia Net: 3590kHz LSB Friday Evening from 2200 UTC+10
- Queensland WICEN Net: 7075kHz LSB Sunday Morning from 0830 UTC+10
We will be meeting outside the Caro theatre immediately after the close of LCA 2012. The exact format of what will happen is yet to be decided, but two options are being considered:
- Go into town and share a meal
- Go into town and bring a meal back to share
No doubt some electrons will be mildly inconvenienced during the activity that follows.
BARG have a social on Friday night at the BlueBell Hotel in 1216 Howitt Street, Wendouree (Google Maps) starting at 18:30 local time. If people are planning on attending, could you please let me know ASAP so that I can warn them in advance. It would be good if I had an idea tonight, and how we can get there (I don't have a car).