Yesterday Karl VK5FOSS and I VK5FNET, worked through the check list to do a test set up for the 2 meter portable rig. The aim was to get all the kit together for operating in the field. Why would we do that you ask? Well last year I wasn't really quite ready for either of the rallies that we worked at. The ROSA and the Classic Rally of Adelaide. Both time Karl and I worked as radio operators. The main function of the role is to record information on the stage and pass this information as 'messages' to Rally Control.
HAM radio operators work under the banner of WICEN. WICEN is an organisation for emergency radio communications to help in message passing for the emergency organisations like the Country Fire Services, Police, Ambulances, etc. The aim here is for radio operators to work well under pressure to get messages through under tricky conditions. I've been told that despite the technical problems I had at the rallies, I did a good job and should continue working in this field. So once I am confident I have useful portable kit I will join WICEN and do more formal activities with them. Here is a summary from the de-brief of the last rallies.
Anyway, so yesterday we made a list of things we are missing and working to narrow that down. Along with places to find said missing items. Things like; good rope, large non-black tent pegs, tubing for another mast, extra RF patch cables, another dummy load, a good box on wheels that can be pulled or pushed like a sack truck and fix my SWR meter.
So later in the day we put together a couple more patch leads and a 7.5watt dummy load for Karl. I have also spent a fair bit of time working on the SWR meter. I looks good to me, but I think I'll follow up with some of the local HAMs to confirm that its accurate as I had to repair the input connector. Which meant disassembling the whole thing and rebuilding it again, which means it will need re-calibration.
Was planning some more study for the next exam today, but a long list of around the house jobs are yet to be done. You know the ones, mowing, digging, weeding, tidying... Maybe tonight =)
The main reason I need to push to get these exams out of the way is that I really want to work packet at the next rally. This is where my radio/linux/networking/computing interests all meet. There is so much stuff to explore in this space, thankfully it doesn't seem to change very fast, so I will have a chance to catch up =) Then I can start work into the areas of HF and 2 meter packet radio with some of the local guys. Not sure where that will end yet =)