Winterfest Ham Radio Meet

Peter VK2TPM was kind enough to give me a lift to the meeting. I had actually forgotten completely about it and owe him for the reminder as well as the transport! Peter and I haven't seen each other for a while, so it was a great chance to catch-up anyway.

This year the meeting was at the Penrith VRA Rescue Squad headquarters. I had never been to this particular site before, a shorter trip than the previous meetings up in the foot-hills of the Blue Mountains.

Arrival at Winterfest

Apart from all the HAM geeky goodness, I was rather taken by the display of knot types on the wall of the hall.

One of tree panels of Knot demos

The ARNSW Homebrew group was there.

ARNSW Homebrew Group

I didn't bring anything for the table to display, but Peter brought his recently constructed "Retro 75" 80 metre AM kit with a nicely printed circuit diagram for all to study. Also on the Homebrew table was a Triode/CRT demonstration unit I recognised immediately... I have one just like it in my garage. The high school I went to gave me theirs when they were throwing out all their "old" science gear. You can see it in operation in the video "dx2hunt" made at the event.

Triode & CRT Demo Unit

Right next to the Homebrew table was a very nice collection of Morse keys, including semi-automatic "bugs".

Morse Keys Display

There were of course the commercial sales of appliance transceivers and antennas, and the endless junk/treasure out the back.

Junk Sales "Out The Back"

Also out the back a 10 GHz microwave transverter was demonstrated; very interesting unit with GPS disciplined local oscillator source. I don't think the IF radio was similarly referenced?

Microwave Transverter Setup (Horrendously bad picture, I know, the lighting sucked)

Junque wise I picked up some PCB material cut into convenient pieces for "experiment" scale RF circuit construction. I also got three Mercury thermometers that range up to 200 C in nice brass tubes. Naturally there were some $10 grab-bags of assorted electronic components, I cherry-picked one that had some fairly-rare RF adapters in it - along with a lot of electrolytic caps I can add to the enormous collection I already have!

$10 Grab Bags

Once again I forgot to build and take along a device to test moving-coil meters. There were (rather familiar-looking) buckets of meters, but without a way to test them I wasn't going to take the risk. At Wyong the same seller was honest and up-front about their as-is state, and almost all of the units I bought worked fine, but I did end up with two dead ones... Next time I WILL be prepared!

Box of Meters (another abysmally composed and lit picture)

One gentleman tried to convince me the current price of Copper exceeds $24/kg, asking $75 for a 3 kg spool of enamel coated Copper wire. He was not impressed when I told him the current price is closer to $10/kg and that I recognised the supplier from the spool it was on - he was being rather coy about "his supplier" - some people! Otherwise his telescopic mast products are very good and I know a lot of HAMs use them, but the price-gouging on the Copper wire and his suggestion to use it for antennas was most amusing.

Cu Wire Spools

Unlike the previous day where I missed-out on my sausage at the national elections (grumble!), there was an efficient and well organised sausage sizzle available. Very tasty too and cheap at mates-rates.

Sausage Sizzle

All in all a great day. Thanks again Peter for taking me along.