Winlink Project

Winlink hut coming together

Site preparations well under way

Toyota loaded to the gills with gravel, about 1.5t. Decided to put 100kg of concrete powder on bonnet to help hold front wheels down for traversing steep road

Mick VK4NHX fitting new hoses to machine

Mick up and running building a new piece of road to negate the existing steep sections on the access road

The crew digging the foundation holes. From left, Les VK4FLES on shovel, Chris VK4FGKO also on shovel, Bob VK4FRC on the water tank hose, Ray VK4XXX on the Dingo digger, arguing with the tough digging work. Ground is harder than concrete!

When the digging gets tough, add more weight 🙂 from left, Mick VK4NHX, Trevor Bell, Chris VK4FGKO and Ray VK4XXX

Mixing starts, from left is Les VK4FLES (our resident concreter) and Chris VK4FGKO on shovel!

From left, Jack VK4JRC and trusty Dingo pouring in the mix, Chris VK4FGKO observing, Les VK4FLES guiding the mix into the hole and Mick VK4NHX (our resident foreman) supervising!

Les VK4FLES finishing off troweling around the foundations.

VK4LM Jack Picasso handy work 🙂

At left, Mick VK4NHX, Les VK4FLES and Trevor cutting out insulation on tray of Landcruiser.

Chris VK4FGKO and Ray VK4XXX installing insulation.

It’s up and bolted down 🙂 Now to start the fitout.
From left Chris VK4FGKO, Mick VK4NHX, Jack VK4JRC and Les VK4FLES.

Winlink site from the air.

Winlink site from the air.

View of winlink shed and what appears to be an abandoned vehicle 🙂

Ray VK4XXX chief solar engineer at work!

From left, Les VK4FLES, Mick VK4NHX (Project Works Foreman) Ray VK4XXX laying out panels on mounting hardware.

Today’s finished job! Battery installed, solar charger installed wired and working great. 19in cabinet in place awaiting equipment install. Loop antenna up and ready for some RF

From left Mick VK4NHX, Merv VK4DV, Ray VK4XXX, Les VK4FLES (Concrete engineer) Neil VK4NJR. Taking advantage of cooler weather to get some more site works completed. Installation of the antenna feed point pole, for the sky loop antenna. Coax to shed has been laid underground in conduit. The RT-600 antenna tuner will be mounted on the pole and supplied with 12volts via a bias-t from the solar system.

Chris VK4FGKO holding ladder for Ray VK4XXX as he slides the remote ATU enclosure up the pole. The enclosure final mount point at top of pole. Concreting Wireless Internet and VHF beam mounting pole and conduit into trench.
Neil VK4NJR slaving over a hot shovel! Ray VK4XXX on shovel Jack VK4LM and Chris VK4FGKO working out 4G panel antenna mount.Les VK4FLES checking 4G panel antenna mounting. Jack VK4LM feeding cable into conduit. Kay VK4FKJW supervising work, Ray VK4XXX sorting cable into conduit
Chris VK4FGKO and Les VK4FLES taking a break.

You can see the 4G patch antenna installed on the pole to the left, at this stage the yagi top left of shed is in use. We are modifying, updating and testing a number of things to make this gateway the best it can be.

A view from a bit higher up. You can just pick out the VHF (vara fm) yagi atop the pole

Ver 1

Ver 2

VK4LM Winlink node is online and installed in it’s final site.

System is scanning dial frequencies 3571 7041 10141 14081 modes Ardop Pactor VARA HF and Winmore with a IC7200 connected to a Chameleon CHA SKYLOOP antenna. FT8800 on 144.075FM mode VARA FM on a home brew 3E horizontally polarized yagi. The PC stick has been getting a work out with concurrent connections on Pactor  HF and VARA FM VHF with out a problem.

We have been getting connections from ZL1 ZL2 ZL4 VA VK1 VK2 VK3 VK4 VK5 VK8 JA K7 SA6 as well as our local test team VK4JRC and VK4FLR on most bands and modes with good reports. Jack has been giving 160M a work out mobile also with great results (160M currently offline). Been able to maintain connections mobile on Mt Morgan range as well as Mt Morgan CBD. Capricorn Highway Burnett Highway and Gracemere CBD also work fine. Rockhampton CBD noise floor is a bit much. I have also used the gateway from the mobile on 30M in the CBD during the Emergency Services Day 2019. Watch this space for more mobile and field deployment testing.

Please Note: VK4LM is running VARA HF 3.0.7 and VARA FM 3.0.9

On the 30th June 2020 we will be updating to VARA HF version 4. V4 is NOT backward compatible with V3.0.X. If you are planning to be away from the internet on this day download the new VARA now ready to install on the 30th, otherwise your system will not connect to VK4LM using VARA HF V3.0.X

The system will fill a big hole in the coverage of VKs East coast and the Pacific Ocean. It is a hybrid gateway so if the internet is down emails will be forwarded via HF radio to a node with internet it will then forward emails to the CMS.

 Quick demo of Winlink and Pactor. 2574Km on 10W

System has had real world testing and it passed! 4186Km north east of us. Emails collected and sent via Pactor 3.

email addresses deleted for privacy reasons

Mobile testing 160M Pactor port

Winlink Training day 2020

Hands on Winlink training was conducted at the Livingstones Local Disaster Coordination Centre Beaman Park Yeppoon on 16/02/2020.

  • Started with the an Introduction and safety briefing. Jeff VK4NJB
  • Demonstration of ham mesh network and VOIP by Frank VK4FLR and Kent VK4KWS
  • Morning tea.
  • Set up of members portable stations and connecting to portable Winlink station setup and supplied by Jack VK4LM.
  • Lunch.
  • Continuation of Winlink training with plenty of hands on connections with members own portable stations
  • Completion of training and tidy up of room.

Members in attendance

Jack VK4LM, Richard VK4FRIK, Frank VK4FLR, Brian VK4MBG, Bob VK4FRC,            Jeff VK4NJB, Merv VK4DV, Don VK4BY, Ray VK4XXX, Kent VK4KWS with a visit from David VK4FAAW

Great to see so many make the time to bring their gear to get it up and running. Best thing to do now is use your new found skills, give VK4LM VHF link a work out. Don’t be scared, if you think you might break it, its what we want to test the system. If it does break we will fix it and hopefully correct any errors for when we really do need to use VK4LM.

Big thank you for the great support as well as the great food by Mrs NJB

Operation Isa Keppel LDCC 231019

Local Disaster Coordination Centre

The nerve centre of Operation Isa KeppleJeff VK4NJB CQARA Emcomms coordinator at the ready Frank VK4FLR (behind desk) in control of Winlink email system.

Not forgetting the team on the ground supplying Emcomms to the cyclone shelter as well as schools and nursing homes. Ray VK4XXX Bob VK4FRC Geoff VK4AGB Leigh VK4YLW Shaun VK4NSP. Last but not least Jack VK4LM/VK4JRC for the foresight, expertise and funding of the local Winlink HF Gateway. Must not forget the CQARA members involved in the construction of the infrastructure, hardware/software setup and ongoing monitoring.

Winlink Website