Progress Through Activity

WESTLAKES
Amateur Radio Club Inc.

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The Westlakes Weekly Broadcast.

The Westlakes news broadcast is transmitted 
every Sunday at 9am on 2 meters at 146.775 MHz


 

 

 

WARC News Broadcast 21-5-2017

Welcome again to the Westlakes Amateur Radio Club weekly news broadcast.

The club had an excellent turnout yesterday although the numbers did dwindle for a short period, while the new Club Committee met for its first committee meeting of the year. Our new President Barry, VK2FIN, chaired the meeting. The meeting was quite productive, with the committee agreeing that firstly, the aim should be to keep the club on the even keel that Dave, VK2RD, and his committee set over the past few years and secondly, to identify and act on new initiatives to improve the club for existing members and to grow club membership. As our President will be overseas from next Friday for a month, our Vice President Barrie, VK2QG will preside over the coming monthly meeting.

Although the Club Committee identified a number of initiatives to enhance the club experience for members, all members are encouraged to send in any suggestions on how you think the club would provide better experiences and value for all.

In the news broadcast last week it was announced that the June meeting would be held on the third Saturday of the moth, 17th June because of the long weekend earlier in June. Additionally, this meeting will begin at 1300 hours rather than the usual time of 1330. Some members have suggested that an earlier starting time would be preferred so the new starting time will be implemented from the June meeting.

As usual, there was considerable discussion in various groups (almost evenly split between the shack, the common room and the lecture room) on issues ranging from the technical details of radios old and new, to the state of the Australian Tax Office and the Whitehouse. Norm, VK2KNC and Col, VK2YP worked on realigning an MFJ antenna tuner in the activity room. Despite what some say about this gear, the tuner appeared to be beautifully made, a real quality piece of equipment…. The unit was taken to the shack where a number of tests using the large loop, were conducted by Dave, VK2RD with all declared OK and fully operational. The tuner was last seen in the hands of Jeremy, VK2FROT where he will be conducting testing on his new antenna system. Thanks gentlemen.

All gathered, however, at around 1330 hours for the big event of the afternoon – the drawing of the meat raffle. And the winner was Geoff, VK2GW. Hope it is to your liking Geoff…

Last Thursday we learnt of the passing of a long time member, John Macarthur, ex VK2EV, late of Toronto. John has not enjoyed good health over the past 2 or 3 years and sold up his station a year or so back. A celebration of John’s life was held 2 weeks ago at Ryhope Lawn Cemetery. He was 88 years of age.

VALE’ John MacArthur.

It was good to see our retired President, Dave VK2RD relaxing and socializing yesterday. Hopefully all retiring committee members can enjoy their free time knowing they have done their bit for the Club. Perhaps Dave can get back to designing and playing air guitars….

As a way of spreading the workload, various roles will be shared out to willing participants in coming weeks. The first of these will be Norm VK2KNC and Lloyd VK2XAA, who have agreed to be the Caretakers of the Activity room and associated equipment. A big job to be done at first, but these two knowledgeable gentlemen should have it under control in no time.

Whilst de-centralization is an often-mentioned political football, at Westlakes we are doing the opposite. Efforts are being made to ensure that all Club records and files are on hand at the Club. If you have any club documents or similar club property, please forward them to the secretary at the club or via email at secretary@westlakes.org.au.

As always, please let the Committee know of any ideas for lectures, activities, money making initiatives or any other input you wish to offer, yes even negative or critical comments if necessary.


Foundations of Amateur Radio

The hobby that we call Amateur Radio has been around for over a century. During that time we've seen it evolve from capacitors, inductors, through valves, then diodes and transistors, through to integrated circuits, chips and surface mount components. Along the way we collected a vast body of knowledge and experience which combine to make the hobby what it is today.

You might have noticed that the progression of our hobby didn't stop with surface mount components, it's still evolving through software and the next frontiers are already tentatively being explored and offered for sale to curious amateurs.

In my day job I'm a software engineer and I adopted Amateur Radio as my hobby of choice because it was technically diverse, had a rich history, a large community and had little to do with my day to day pursuits in computing and information technology. How wrong was I?

This morning I started writing code to visualise audio, specifically in my case to make a video version of this weekly segment, but also to experiment with how we as humans use our senses to decipher information. As I was buried inside the decoding of audio it occurred to me that what I was doing was the equivalent of soldering together a circuit for the purposes of learning more about some aspect of my hobby.

This in turn made me realise that as we dive deeper and deeper into the software defined radio universe, more and more of what we as individuals can do will be based on computers, algorithms and maths.

On the face of it, this is an enormous shift in perspective, but I'd hazard that it's no different from moving between a spark-gap transmitter and an AM transmitter, or moving from AM to SSB, or the introduction of transistors. Each of those changes now look pretty small with hind-sight, but at the time that they occurred their impact must have been immense.

I made contact with the software defined radio community a few weeks ago and in between my work I'm slowly beginning to explore this new universe that is beginning to unfold.

Of course, as this evolution happens, while we're in the middle of the transition, as-in right now, there'll be discussion about the difference between digital and analogue, between hardware and software, about the benefits and pitfalls, no-doubt mirroring prior discussions that have been had across the past generations of amateurs.

A new dawn has come and the future is here, come and join the fun.

I'm Onno VK6FLAB
 

Well that’s all the news from Westlakes that I have for this week.

  

 

 

 

 


Westlakes Amateur Radio Club Inc. York Street, Teralba NSW