December 2019 Updates

NEWS: December 2019

Branch 30 annual Afternoon Tea: An excellent event with about 40 people attending. Sincere thanks to all who helped out especially Allan, Rona n Neill and Kay n Harold. Great to see 4 EV’s in use. 

Plenty to catch up on at the Branch 30 afternoon tea!

Branch 61 annual Xmas Social function: Held this year at the home of Randolph ZL4WAN in Wanaka.

AGM: This will be held at the Clubhouse, Wed 4 Dec from 1930 Hrs. There are some constitutional amendments to shift our Balance date. All Members welcome.

Next Big Event: VHF Field Day. ZL4AA will be out again at Mt Cargill. Visitors welcome from 1300Hrs, especially if you can help rig some aerials!

We have been doing VHF FD for about 13 years now. Best 2m DX: ZL2GSG, Turoa Ski Field. Lets hope the early signs of life on 6 follow thru on the day. Our best 6m DX: Mexico.   

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 agreement to access 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: Done and Dusted, another very successful event.

Unifone

Stephen is discussing ideas with Travis, some involving AREC and some related to his Education Charity re access to 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 fit-out though this is planned one day.

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

From the Nov AREC 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 YOUR 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 

Russ ZL4JW has visited both sites in the past week and…. Mission Accomplished! We have tails back and please use 88.5 Hz CTCSS tone on Tx for both channels and our local cross-bander. Our Ranfurly correspondent confirms it’s all good to go.

More Resilience Presentations

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

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 update as things happen. 

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 install a Winlink gateway for the South to support CDEM. 

See more about Winlink here.

Lastly: The new Solar array is up

The array was assembled on Saturday, raised on Monday with Neills winch propelled 4WD. Last jobs are to fit a junction box to make connections to the PV array, feed the cable into the hut, install TT’s DC Distribution panel to hold the regulator, fuses & relays to allow us to remotely control 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.

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

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


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