3 November Update

OurĀ AREC meeting on Wed night (30 Oct) proved very interesting on many fronts. It was more in the nature of general discussion with many highlights.

NEWS

Our AREC meeting on Wed night (30 Oct) proved very interesting on many fronts. It was more in the nature of general discussion with many highlights.

CDEM DMR Network

CDEM are currently working with a local business to roll out a VHF DMR network with IP linking across the whole of Otago. Many sites are operational but there are roadblocks at some locations where co-siting agreements are being be re-written.

When the network is bedded in, we should be able to enter into an access agreement to enable us ready access to the network and CDEM locations throughout Otago

Stephen ZL4SLG reports:

Otago Rally 2020: Is likely to be run to the south of Dunedin

Lawrence Rally next Sat: 

Rally info will be emailed this week and Wed night we will have Garth along to explain our roles at start and Finish locations

Unifone

Stephen is discussing ideas with Travis, some involving AREC and some related to his Education Charity re access to cheap internet via Unifone’s wireless network

CIMS 4: 

Both Stephen and Hamish took part in CIMS 4 training recently.

Good work guys. CIMS is a management tool for running SAR operations which are controlled principally by NZ Police. This is a good step up for AREC and our main operatives and will allow them deeper involvement in SAR Ops.

ECU

Some discussion on ownership of this vehicle. Apparently it was (and may still be) a bare leased vehicle. At the outset, the Alexander McMillan Trust funded the construction of the rear cab for AREC so we really do have a vested interest in the ECU. There is still no internal radio fitout though this is planned one day.

Current plans are to transfer ownership to ORC as a Regional asset.

SAR Training next Tues night: 

Mini SAREX at top of Gardens. Stephen to arrange ECU. Start time 1630 Hrs

Other topics from the Meeting

Publicity: Some discussion re publicity for the Club and AREC in particular. Kay suggested Brenda Harwood, Bruce Munro was also mentioned. TT suggested an ODT feature jointly between Us, LandSAR, MSAR Surf etc. 

TT is going to continue work to expand the NEWS page on this website. (He refuses to interact with a prominent social media outfit due to the positively malicious way they treat their users and sell their personal data for their own commercial gain). 

One of our Sunday Net participants suggested we train disabled people to use radios for safety purposes. This will boost our capabilities and also our potential for funding for future projects.

And then he audaciously suggests a Podcast to get across the ideas behind our Resilience Project and the reasons we are doing it!

Thanks Terry, great ideas. Now who might like to help to plan and make this happen?

2 Metre Repeaters 685 / 6775 and Linking 

Bill ZL2BGX and I visited Russ ZL4JW in his lair in Qt on Monday last week.

He has gear ready to deploy at Mt St Bathans to switch to IP Linking. He has an important repair job to do so this may happen quite soon. 

Then he will do the same for 685. Another hike up to his Remarkable’s site should see the saga of RFI affecting these services at an end. 

We will get a tail back and need to use 88.5 Hz CTCSS tone on both channels as well as our local cross-bander. 

More Resilience Presentations

TT talked about his recent presentations to BR64 (North Otago) and the AGM for Otago Maritime VHF Assn.

The latter Assn is interested to bolster their 4 repeater Maritime network along the same resilience lines. Currently the Assn is in talks with CDEM with a view to a joint project to solarise the MM60 and ESB75 CDEM repeaters above Corstorphine. The Site owner is happy in principle. We are at the stage of measuring up and then taking design proposals to the Landlord and maybe consents process.

Now Stephens eyes lit up. He is interested to explore installing EE122 DMR up there. The site illuminates a lot of the City and Taieri, perhaps the ideal site?

I’m happy to open dialog with the site owner with a view to AREC co-siting EE122. CDEM are happy with the idea but it will take some work to make it all happen.

The next step at the Corstorphine site is to plan what we need and start work on a joint 3 party agreement and consult the Landlord.

While talking to Glenn at Emergency Management Otago last week, he is very happy to hear we have plans and are making things happen.

“A refreshing change after making many presentations to the people of Otago and seeing NOTHING happen to prepare for the inevitable BIG EVENT”. 

We have added a new Resilience Project page to ZL4AA and I will add to it when possible. 

The whole resilience thing is really cascading!!!  

VHF DMR

Stephen is about to experiment with Dan ZL4DE’s portable equipment on 2m. This kit uses 2 x TM8110 radios and a PI and can pass FM, DMR, D Star, P25 or Fusion digital modes. The key objective is to be able to handle tracking data from the SAR Tait handhelds. This has caused constant frustration as the LandSAR handhelds support tracking but the EE122 DMR equipment at Highcliff does not seen to. The over the Air interface is more or less standard for all DMR radios but the IP interface in behind has no standards and is handled quite differently between manufacturers.

There are very few Hams with VHF DMR radios due to the complexity of programming of the dozens of different makes/models. The lack of tracking capability is a compounding factor.

I have seen Dan’s portable unit, it is compact, and very light on standby power. This would also fit well with our Resilience ideas as every milliamp of current drain equates to 8760 mA-Hours of solar and battery capacity per year.

Used TM-8110 Radios

T E Radio has taken delivery of some used TM-8110 radios, some are committed to LMR customers and others we would like to see deployed for individual Resilience projects for Otago Hams.

TT proposed a possible joint project between AREC and Branch 61 (Central Otago) to finance one Radio, Antenna and solar kit for a Central Otago Ham. When this project is finished as proof of concept we use this a a springboard for funding for more such across the Otago Province. The TM-8110 radio consumes 75mA, which is very much less than any other LMR Mobile I know of. Also it has a DB15 connector for external connections (audio, gate & PTT) and would make an ideal unit to use with Winlink for email style messaging. This is a real plus for our resilience ideas as we would have a standard hardware interface and will add future value in case we get to installing a Winlink gateway for the South to support CDEM.  See https://www.winlink.org/

Lastly: The new Solar array is up

The array was assembled on Saturday, raised on Monday with Neills winch propelled 4WD. Wed we hope to complete the lateral bracing and fit  more Bandit strapping to hold it all in place, preferably without bracing the cables!. Last jobs are to fit a junction box to make connections to the PV array, run the cable into the hut, install TT’s DC Distribution panel to hold the regulator with fuses & relays to allow us to remotely power up/down a few services at the hut and finally work out how/where to locate a battery bank. Our poor wee hut is starting to bulge at the seams. This needs committee approval to purchase batteries and finish the project, hopefully by Xmas.

Bede visited us on Monday and was looking into forced ventilation of the hut. The commercial clients radios are running hot which could lead to unplanned failure. A fan on the roof and a vent in the door are the current plan.

Other work undergroud: Allan is to work with the new regulator so we can broadcast site data over APRS and Bede is keen to sniff the reg with his SpecAn to evaluate what RFI it might generate.

Many thanks to all who assisted, Dave ZL4SB, Allan ZL4MD, Graham ZL2CHAR, Bill ZL4OE, Neill ZL4UC and Mike Laba, our resident solar expert. 

STOP PRESS

I visited James this week and I have their Invoice for the 11 x 90 watt PV’s and also the bigger 50 Amp regulator

He is all lined up for the Home Resilience meeting night on 20 Nov.

I also confirmed our interest in the 10 x 100 watt PV’s he has in store. 6 are committed to people already at $114.00 each incl GST

Told ya this would turn out to be much much more..

73 Terry T  ZL4TAE 


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