Been a while … lots to say (or not) …

Been a rather long 3 months since my last update on my radio happenings.  After a while things keep on getting busier and busier, so in the end, I will have to pass on some of my current activities to others to take on,  such as the membership chair of the Manitoba Repeater Society, so I can focus on the items that need more attention from myself.  A good few years doing what needs to be done in support of the society – learned alot and met alot of very knowledgeable people.

When I get the chance, it’s always fun to take things apart — assuming we can get all the pieces back together again.  Following that line, I had a loose connector on my APRS VHF tracker unit.  This is a rather unique integrated device – it combines a GPS receiver (SiRF 4) with an ATMEGA board design, a 1 watt VHF transceiver, bluetooth, thermometer and sdcard storage into one small package about the size of a pack of smokes.

at510 description
at510 description
pieces
pieces

 

All good – back to normal again and connector reseated 🙂

 

On another front – our local digital group has a member that does not have direct line of sight to our main site, so with the help of another member, he rigged up a couple of connections to bounce-around and get what he needs :

connectivity ...
connectivity …

One of the benefits of having our VA4WAN system operational is that we get to support the local radio groups needs, such as the senior’s need for telephony and internet access.  Once it was open again, we were able to go in and help give it a good cleaning, and analyze at how we can wire-up the rooms with their own VoIP phonesets – to do that Derek was hunting around to where the lines came in and found the junction in the back room — wow – this has been around a while:

old-style to new style ..
old-style to new style ..

Thanks to Les from Les.Net for all his assistance, support and provisioning over the past while.

During the Christmas break, I was also able to have some hardware vacate the house.  I don’t have the same need for a rack full of servers and switching gear, so my son was able to re-purpose the rack and network gear, servers, etc to good use – part of the gear below:

gonzo ...
gonzo …

My Mikrotik router had issues — apparently with bad ‘caps’, so Colin was great enough to re-do the caps one evening – he certainly knows how to do this and has quite the experience.  So, better working unit now:

caps gone wild ...
caps gone wild …

Sad news this past while, one of our founding members of Radiosport Manitoba, and our treasurer, recently passed away.  Ed Henderson VE4YU, a very well-known and well-respected radio amateur, contester and all-round nice guy.  During the most recent contest, our group all gave out “Ed”‘s name as our contact exchange.  Ed always had a smile on his face.  73 Ed.

73 Ed VE4YU
73 Ed VE4YU
VE4YU
VE4YU

 

Our local guys Dick VE4HK and Cary VE4EA spent a lot of time organizing and taking care of his items.  When it was placed on the swap and shop, I was able to purchase some of his gear – all in excellent top-quality shape.   I now posses his TS590S, RS30M, paddles and studio mic.  It’s already making a significant difference in my experience —  I am now operational on HF digital 🙂

gear
gear

On one of my coffee trips to the usual joint, Jim and I were joking about how many handhelds we have .. so, we decided to bring (most) of them …

woo hoo
woo hoo

different digital radios, mult-bands, etc … quite the collection.  In the end, I ended up selling about 4 over a month … guess I don’t really need 3 digital radios 🙁

Spring is in the air and it’s time to re-group and identify what we need to get done on our VA4WAN project to continue building it out.  We had another group session with Derek VE4HAY, William, VE4VR, Colin VE4CST  and myself Dan VE4DRK (I keep on taking the pictures) …

decision time
decision time

One thing we want to do is assist more hams to get on the air with the VA4WAN system and expand it’s coverage to serve more groups and provide services.  A local student was asking for assistance so we were more then happy to help and were able to donate a 5GHz antenna for him to try out.  Now, we’ve been having issues (off and on) on our 5GHz omni on our main site, so this didn’t work out too well for him — so William put together a 2.3GHz station to get him on the air — a few days later and his call shows up on the system 🙂  We’ll also be fixing up the omni to ensure it’s working properly as well.

We were surprised to receive a nice donation from Walter VE4VB for a sector antenna – will be good to put  more in operation:

sector!
sector!

Over the past while we’ve been able to secure a significant number of 3.4GHz cards as well as some 2.3GHz bullets and miscellaneous items – like Router boards/enclosures etc .. so work needs to progress now on building the sites up.  Speaking of sites, we’ll soon be preparing to set up the site on Dugald road and provide coverage to the eastern part of the city fairly soon.  To top it off, we’ll also be installing the MRS test system for radio linking via VoIP — a great opportunity.

I was also able to upgrade my 9 port router to a more recent 10 port router a RB2011UiAS-RM – which also has gigabit ports to boot!

RB2011
RB2011

I’m really impressed with these routerboards and Mikrotik controllers — they are very impressive in what they do.  I still have some networking setup to accomplish on it to integrate the various networks in the house now, a few bumps, but it’s coming along.

The last thing to write about today is the meet up we had this past Saturday, April 2.  Radiosport Manitoba in conjunction with the Winnipeg Amateur Radio Club, co-sponsored a day long session called “Discover the HF experience” — in which esteemed radio amateurs local and remote are brought in to discuss all things ham radio and what’s going on today.  We were able to bring in Tom VE3CX as well as Gord VE6SV and remotely  have both W1VE and Doug K1DG do presentations.  Locally, we also had Ed VE4EAR and Leor VE4DXR also give presentations.  All in all, we had a great attendance at the event — almost 50 from what I was counting and packed the room quite full.  Was great participation from all members of Radiosport Manitoba in assisting with the event.  Thanks to Cary VE4EA for coordinating what will hopefully be a most impressive annual event.

Discover the HF experience
Discover the HF experience

During these winter months, it was not good for my antennas again!  This time, two of my coax cables got chewed up by rabbits!  So – -after discussing with those in the know, I’ll be looking at enclosing them with some wrap and burying them under the ground — at least worms don’t have big teeth!  So my RF experience as of late has been diminished and I really do need to run more cable — time is ripe.

73, Dan ve4drk