Solar Data




A WIA Learning Facilitator

The other week I filled out paperwork with the help from my local radio club to become a WIA Learning Facilitator. On the weekend I sat down and did some reading and the online assessment. On Monday 1st August 2016 I received an email from the WIA telling me I've passed the assessment and will be issued with my Learning Facilitator's ID. On Tuesday 2nd of August 2016 I recieved the email with my Learning Facilitator's number.

As of today, Tuesday 2nd August 2016 I can now help with the assessments of people wanting to get an amateur radio licence or simply people just wanting to upgrade their current licence. I can't run an assessment as I must have an assessor with me but I can help with setting up and filling out paperwork and marking the assessment.

I've always been happy to help others and me becoming a Learning Facilitator I can help those in my area that want to get into this wonderful hobby. Amateur radio is a wonderful hobby and unlike CB radio it's regulated and without the usual idiots. Of course there can be idiots on the amateur bands but they don't last long.

I'm happy to help anyone in the Mildura, Ouyen, Robinvale/Euston, Swan Hill, Kerang and of course Balranald. I already have a couple of people waiting to do their upgrades and hopefully they'll be able to do their upgrades much sooner now. In the past if someone, say, living in Swan Hill had to wait until someone from Mildura could come over to Swan Hill to conduct the assessment. There is an assessor in Swan Hill but you need two people to run an amateur licence assessment. They can be either two assessor's or one assessor and one Learning Facilitator but it can't be done with two Learning Facilitators. Mildura has one assessor and a couple of Learning Facilitators. Now with me being a Learning Facilitator people don't have to wait until someone is free from Mildura. I can help the assessor in Swan Hill. This of course will save time and hopefully allow assessments to be done much quicker.

I'm hoping to complete my assessors training so once I do my upgrade to advance I will become a WIA assessor and be able to hold assessments. Currently to be an assessor you must hold a top level amateur licence, Advance. To be a Learning Facilitator you can hold a Standard level licnece which is what I currently hold. A Learning Facilitator can hold an advance licence if they only what to be a Learning Facilitator.

So if you live in my area and would like to sit for your amateur radio licence regardless of the level, Foundation, Standard or Advance I can get things started for you. I look forward to helping anyone that wants to join this wonderful hobby.

WIA Learning Facilitator No. LF-090


Remote Antenna Switch

Today I finally got to finish one of my projects, my antenna switch. This switch is so I can switch between antennas once I get my tower up. I'm planning to have 3 antenna up on the tower, well in fact I will have 4 antenna but one of them will be my FM broadcast antenna so I can receive out of area FM broadcast services from Swan Hill or Mildura. The other 3 antennas will be for 2m, 2 will be 10 element yagis. One for vertical signals which will be FM and another yagi horizontal signals mainly for SSB use. I will also move my current vertical omni-directional antenna which will be on the very top of the tower. So I need to be able to switch between these three antennas from inside. Doing this will also save me a bit of money as I won't have to have three runs of RG213 coaxial cables running into my shack, I will only need one length. 

So today I finally got to finish this switch. Well I've built the box and installed the relays. It's not totally finsihed as I still have to install one more relay and purchase a switch so I can use inside my shack. 

I have got some big plans but most of them I need to rely on others to help and this is when things seem to fall down. Like I've said before, before the tower can go up I need to build a second 10 element yagi and work out how I'm going to be able to turn the antennas without using a rotator. Once that's done I then need to get the base of the tower fixed so it can be installed. Then and only then can I start the works of putting the tower up. It's going to be a big day when it happens and I can't wait. It will make my station much better and give me much bigger coverage.

With the tower project I won't be removing or pulling down my current antenna mast which currently holds my CB radio antennas. My 27MHz and UHF CB antennas plus a couple of receive only antennas and a couple of UHF test antennas. The tower will only be holding my 2m (VHF) antennas at the start and then I might install a testing antenna for VHF but I'm not sure at the moment. it's something I'm still thinking about it. So currently it will be only holding 4 antennas, 3 yagis and one dual band (2m & 70cm) omni-directional antenna.

So things are slowly coming together. Just doing little things at a time as it's not like I have a money tree in the backyard. I wish I did thou :) 



VK2RBL Project Shelved

I have been thinking long and hard over this and I think it's time to say enough is enough, so to speak. I have decided to drop my 2m repeater project until I can find the money myself to purchase equipment. 

Currently this project has been sitting at one point for more than a year now. I still really can't get all the info as to what's happening and my emails have gone unanswered. So I have decided to put this project on hold. This does not mean I've given up on it and any help I received will be wonderful but in it's current form the project is dead.

I have been thinking long and hard about this and after the weekend I feel this is the only way to go unless I can find the funds and do it all myself. 

I will be moving my time to my other project, bring a Self-help Triple J transmitter to my town. I have a meeting to go to next month where I'll be talking at it to get help with government grants for this project. I think this project will be completed much quicker than my repeater project. I hate having projects sitting around not going anywhere. 

This is why the VK2RBL page has been removed from my website



Being a FiM (First In Maintainer)

I have been a FiM for both BA (Broadcast Australia) and BTS (Broadcast Transmission Services) since November 2015. Since then I've had a few jobs, mre than I expected. My first job was after a full town outage when after the power came back on a couple of the TV services didn't. We had the ABC TV services but SBS and all the commercial networks were off the air. After about 30 minutes waiting to see if things would just come back on a decided to ring the tech for WIN TV and report it. When I did that they said they will get their local guy out which I said that's me lol. After about an hour we had all the TV services back on the air, all was good. A simple 5 cent fuse was the issue for one transmitter and the other, well that turned out to be a little costly. The UPS (backup power supply) failed. 

Then while I was down in Swan Hill I received a call from BA saying the ABC TV service is off the air. The fault report they were seeing was a satellite input error. So I was looking at changing out the LNB on the satellite dish. Fun and games. When I got on site it turned out everything was off, no power. Here we go again, another UPS? yes. So now BA is having to replace another UPS unit here. One good thing is this was a different site to where the other one failed. At the moment I'm now waiting on a work order to have works completed as the new UPS unit needs a 15 amp power outlet. The old one only needed a normal 10 amp outlet. To get this work done we need a shut off request order so I can switch off the power to the site so the power works can be completed safely. Power off mains transmitter off and no ABC TV for the town. These are the fun and games you have to do just to get some things done. Safety first, ALWAYS.

When I first became a FiM I was told I might see about 2 or 3 jobs a year, so far I've had that many in the first few months. It's great being able to do this as you also leanr as you go along. They are always welling to show you as much as they can. The tech's are friendly and like I said willing to help you out. 

Being a FiM you are just the eyes for the tech on the phone. You tell them what you see or don't see and they guide you through anything that needs to happen. They have photos of the site so while your at the site they can tell you what you should or should not be seeing. It's not hard but you have to be able to do what your told to do. You can't just go off and do what you think is needed to be done. You are only their eyes and hands.

My first job was interesting but it was my first job and I now know what to expect when I get onsite. I now know what's going to be said and what is needed from me. I did stuff up but I've learnt a lot from it. In fact the tech I spoke to on that job was great and even said it was great to speak to a FiM that knew what they were talking about.

It's great to be able to learn. Getting back into amateur radio again was a great move. It's helped with my depression and I've meet some wonderful people. Always welling to help others out. That's what amateur radio is all about :) 

I little back ground. BTS is a partnership between WIN TV and Prime 7. They look after all the WIN TV and Prime 7 transmitter around the country. They also handle some ABC & SBS trasnmitter and also handle some Southern Cross 10 transmitters. Here in Balranald BTS look after only ther commercial TV networks, WIN, Prime 7 and Southern Cross 10. Broadcast Australia or BA as some might know them as look after, just about all ABC & SBS TV and radio transmitters around the country. They also to handle some commercial networks. BA have many very big transmission sites around the country. These sites house some of the country's most powerful transmitters. 200,000 watt transmitters are very common.

Below are there websites. Opening up the links will open up a new browser window.

Broadcast Australia

Broadcast Transmission Services 


FaceBook Amateur Radio Groups

It's been a while since my last post, this is because I really haven't been up to much.

I've done a little bit of work on my HF antenna, replacing the mast that holds it up and general maintenance. I've been getting on the air a bit more and joining in on a couple of nets. I'm a member of a couple of amateur radio Facebook groups and we've only in the last few weeks got a weekly net up and running for all to join in on. I'm also now admin of a couple of these site. If your a VK amateur operator you are all welcome to join. Just search for the groups below.

VK Entry Into Amateur Radio

VK Amateur Radio Club

All VK Amateur Radio

All amateurs, new and old and even those looking at joining in this wonderful hobby. We are all there to help anyone wishing to get into amateur radio. We have a few licensed assessors that can help you with any issues you might have. 

These groups have just changed management, so to speak and with this change comes some wonderful people. In fact I've never meet a great bunch of people like we have in these groups. Just like the hobby itself, we are all friendly. 

So if your into amateur radio or want to be please drop into these groups and join in and have some fun.