I attended the ARNSW Trash and Treasure, and the following Homebrew Group technical meeting today.

The trash and treasure was mostly trash :), but I did pick up a handful of variable capacitors for $10 - actually the bloke (Bob VK2CAN) selling them wanted only $2 for them, but I insisted on paying him a bit more because of their relative value to me. I also got a length of RG-213 with two silver plated N connectors (for the connectors) and two VHF receiver boards of some description with 10.7 MHz crystal filters on them (and dual-gate FETs) for an extra $2. For $12 I was happy with the loot:

Loot from the Trash and Treasure

The Homebrew Group was great. I met Peter VK2EMU who I've been wanting to for a while, and a whole bunch of other swell gentlemen that I will no doubt eventually learn the names and callsigns of (sorry, I am just terrible with names, takes me weeks to learn them). "Show and tell" contained some very interesting stuff, an LC meter and dipper in particular that I want to talk to the builder about, hopefully at the next meeting at the Maccas in Parramatta. Show and Tell also answered my questions about The Homebrew Challenge; Peter clarified that the transmitter must be AM (i.e. A3E), at least 20 Watts, and be self-contained in the one box PSU wise. Peter was also kind enough to give me a 3.6864 MHz crystal gratis, as I mentioned I only had a stock of colourburst ones.

After "Show and Tell", Tony VK2ZLT lead the group in a practical demonstration of satellite TV reception. This was quite a lot of fun, I haven't played with parabolic antennas in many years.

Working with the C-band Dish
Pointing the small offset-feed Ku Band Dish

The VK2WI Dural site is quite impressive. I had never been there before. The antenna farm is something I can only dream of, being a home unit occupant. The shack is amazing, with *big* AWA tube-based transmitters in massive cabinets. It was great to finally see the broadcast booth, after so many years of listening to the broadcast and wondering where all the action came from. The site is quite out of the way for me though, taking almost 3 hours to get to by public transport. The last 2 km are by pick-up arrangement from someone at the site, in this case Bob VK2CAN picked Tanya and I up from the highway and drove us to the site which was greatly appreciated, saving a hike in sweltering sun. Fortunately the club provided sunscreen for everyone, but I must have missed the tip of my nose and one side of my neck, which are now peeling angrily.

One of the towers at VK2WI Dural

For the return trip, Ross VK2VVV was extremely nice; driving Tanya and I all the way back home. This is considerably out of his way and saved us at least 2 hours - thanks again Mate!

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Parent article: "2007 80m Homebrew Challenge".