High Resolution Field Day Drone Photos

David VK4ICE bought his DJI Phantom 4 along to the ORARC field day this year and took it for a fly – here’s the results:

The images are all 4000×2250 pixels in size, so if you’ve got a big monitor make sure you go full screen for maximum effect.  The images are naturally large, so be patient when flicking through them – each one is around 1MB or just over.

The drone also took video footage of the flight, which we hope to see on YouTube shortly – when we do you’ll see it here.

If you’re wondering about the marvel of technology that took these shots (and they are a marvel), have a look at the DJI Phantom 4 product page here.  So much want!

July Oxtales

July Oxtales has been released and it’s another packed edition thanks to the lengthy writeup and results of the ORARC Field Day.  Note the emailed copies will have included the usual AGM forms for the upcoming AGM on August 5th.

Our regular thanks to John VK2AYQ and Trevor VK2TT for another excellent read – and thank you to all contributors.

Members should now have received their copy by email, but website copies of the current and past editions can always be found here.

Historic flight reaches New Zealand

From the WIA, original post here.

Date : 08 / 07 / 2017
Author : Jim Linton – VK3PC

The around the world Project Earhart flight has left Sydney to cross the Tasman Sea to New Zealand.  Pilot and radio amateur Brian Lloyd WB6RQN, 62 of Texas, is marking the flight by Amelia Earhart 80 years ago.

Brian in his small aircraft, flying by visual flight rules, had a minor transgression by nudging restricted air space, but after correction landed without incident at Warnervale about 95 km north of Sydney at nightfall.  After a rest and feed he stopped at the local radio station for an interview before preparing for the flight to Sydney International Airport.

A problem with an antenna tuning unit meant little Amateur Radio activity wasn’t possible until it was fixed.  As Brian WB6RQN explains, as soon as he got to altitude he radioed Sydney.  That caused some confusion at first, but soon the penny dropped that he was on his way.  He said: “Sydney is a big airport with nothing but airliners. I doubt they have seen anything as small as Spirit in ages.  I landed and they even sent out a follow-me truck to guide me where I was to meet the customs and immigration people.  Sure, I could have navigated there by myself but the truck gets me there without any possibility for error.”  Brian WB6RQN continued: “The guys from customs and immigration were excited to see me and said I was a celebrity in Australia.  First I’d heard of it.  Anyway, they signed and stamped all the paperwork so I could be on my way.”

He took off for New Zealand into beautiful clear-blue sky, about an hour late.  But a 45 knot tailwind soon had his groundspeed up over 200 kts so the projected arrival time came back to its original schedule.  Then Brian encountered thunder snow but used a Stormscope to navigate a path.  At a lower altitude he had warmer air, no snow, no lightning and no icing.  He landed at Hamilton Airport on the North Island of New Zealand.  There he was greeted by officials and showed them he had the correct spray cans to kill off any ‘imported’ insects.  There he will stay for a week, hoping to fix the ATU and do some maintenance on the single-engine 1979 Mooney 231 aircraft before the big flight across the Pacific.

The flight began on June 1 in Miami Florida taking him across the Atlantic Ocean to South America, through Africa, India, South-East Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

Busy time for Project Amelia Earhart flyer

From the WIA, original post here.

Date : 03 / 07 / 2017
Author : Jim Linton – VK3PC

The commemorative Amelia Earhart flight by Brian Lloyd WB6RQN reached Darwin to enjoy local hospitality and some Territory Day celebration events that included a fireworks display.  When the 62 year old Texan landed at Darwin airport on July 1 there were so many aircraft there he had to put his single-engine 1979 Mooney 231 aircraft in the ‘boneyard’ for no longer needed aircraft.

Greeting his arrival in Australia was Stuie VK8NSB, who had been in contact with him on the 20 metre band and via a satellite phone while he was in the air, having left Bandung Indonesia.  During an earlier news conference in Bandung, Brian WB6RQN told of his around the world flight, the achievements Amelia Earhart who disappeared in 1937, and how he was looking forward to seeing Australia as a tourist.  Stuie VK8NSB found that most of the time he talked about mutual interests in radio, flying, and in telling Stuie’s two young children of his adventures so far.  He hoped to return to Australia later.  “With Brian now part of the family, we headed to the Territory Day fireworks at East Point Darwin, had dinner there … spending about two hours before heading home.”  Brian WB6RQN was very grateful for the hospitality after his 10 hour flight.  Spent time answering emails, updating Facebook and other Internet requirements, and off to sleep.

As Stuie VK8NSB explains the flyer was cooked a ‘big breaky, bacon and eggs with a full spread’, then taken to the Casuarina shopping centre for an Australian phone card.  He had planned to fly out of Darwin at lunch time Sunday, with Stuie VK8NSB willing to assist in many ways including seeing that the aircraft was refuelled.

“I helped him push his plane on to the taxiway, wrote a welcome to Australia message and signed the wing, and oh, helped him stick the flag of Australia on the plane – each country he goes to he puts the sticker on, in order.”  Stuie VK8NSB found the whole experience very rewarding, and putting on the Australian flag was a “very cool to be part of that with Brian”.

During the meeting Brian WB6RQN revealed that he “plans to drop a wreath of flowers when over Howland Island in memory of Amelia Earhart.”  That was where the famed aviator and author Amelia Earhart, and her navigator Fred Noonan, vanished July 2, 1937.  He told Stuie VK8NSB it was his belief that both were “safely on the beach on remote Gardner Island (Nikumaroro) and attempted to radio for help, but ran out of fuel and died”.

After taking off from Darwin on Sunday he was worked on the 20 metre band by Mike VK8MA who had him near Katherine on the away to Central Australia’s Uluru (Ayres Rock), involving a five hour flight.

Many VKs worked him on this leg.  News of the event was well known with Facebook chatter, the WIA website, the Sunday morning VK1WIA broadcast and in general.  On reaching Uluru, Brian WB6RQN said: “I got some good shots of Ayers Rock.  Now it’s off to Birdsville for a quick lunch and then on to Bundaberg.”  The Australian flight plan ends in Sydney where a TV interview was planned.  After Sydney across the Tasman Sea comes Auckland, then the Pacific for Suva, a fly-over of Howland Island which has no runway and where a flower reef will be dropped, to Hawaii, then ending the two month flight.  Earlier the flight has took him across the Atlantic Ocean from Miami, to South America, through Africa, India, South-East Asia, and to Australia.

Brian WB6RQN is on 14.210, 14.346, 18.117 or 7.130 using a 125 watt transmitter on SSB.

ACMA re-sets US General Licence equivalency

From the WIA, original post here.

Date : 03 / 07 / 2017
Author : Jim Linton – VK3PC

Following a public review the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has re-set the US General Class Licence as equivalent to Australia’s middle grade Standard Licence.  This change has been made to the ACMA ‘Tables of Equivalent Qualifications and Licences’ which lists Australian equivalents to overseas amateur qualifications.  Visiting radio amateurs and those from overseas who are residents in Australia, are granted an Australian licence based on their overseas qualification identified on the ACMA website.

In another review, the ACMA in September last year re-set the US Technician Licence to be equivalent to the entry level Foundation Licence.  It had ruled that the qualification equivalency of the US Technician Licence granted after 22 September 2016, be that of the entry level Australian Foundation Licence.  Previously it had been granted the top class Advanced Licence.  Among those agreeing with the ACMA re-set was the American Radio Relay League that stated that the US Technician Class Licence was very close to the Foundation Licence, but not higher (It was downgraded in 1999).  Existing licensees who obtained their Advanced Licence based on the US Technician Licence were grandfathered and the ACMA would allow them to continue to operate at the Advanced Level. Continue reading →