|Busselton was by far WARG's biggest and
most difficult project that was researched and built in the early
Amateurs Beth and Alan own the farm that the tower is installed on and gave permission and considerable help in the construction of the site, along with family members.
Once the prospect of using the site was agreed upon tests were done to find out the coverage area. There was a large tree almost where the tower is today and that was used to pull up a pipe support and antenna for coverage tests.
A crossbow was used to run a string over a bow on the tree and once a rope was secured someone winched them self up to secure a mechanism for the pipe tower to be pulled up. Can not remember who this person was but a brave one for sure.
Using a Crossbow to run a line over a tall tree at VK6RBN
Climbing the tree at VK6RBN in preparation for raising the test antenna
Hauling up the pipe mast and test antenna at Busselton VK6RBN
The test antenna up and running at Busselton. Note the person standing at base.
WARG's portable repeater VK6REE was used at Busselton to test out the coverage. The high antenna was required to clear the high trees at the site. The test antenna reached a height of almost 60' (19M) and was an impressive test installation.
The 6 guy points and center point for the tower were a major part of the construction process. A trailer compressor was hired in Busselton and towed to the site for use with the jack hammer. It was primarily used to drill down into the rock and dynamite used to break open the rock. See the video on the video page.
Powering the site.....
The original power run was a story all on its own. Some 6 kilometers of copper wire was run along the fence line back to Beth and Alan's farm. The distance was 1.5 kilometers but each leg of the circuit was double run making the total of 6 kilometers. Remember this was way back, when solar panels were about 3 times the price (in real terms) that they are today.
At one location the power run had to be buried due to a farm gate access. The cable was placed inside plastic pipe and run under the gravel road between the gate posts.
The wire was attached to porcelain insulators and was tensioned in sections by using a 4WD to pull the cable tight before it was attached to the insulators.
The total circuit resistance was about 6 Ohms from memory. 40 Volts DC was supplied from the farm house and a regulator at the repeater end produced 13.6 Volts to float charge a large 100 AH battery. Due to the line resistance, the maximum current available was about 4 Amps, which was more than the site needed. Remember the power was available all the time.
This was a unique way to power the site and was hard work but a lot of fun running the copper wire attached to insulators. There was an electric fence wire on the fence, which had to be avoided, but an interesting effect was while running and attaching the power run, a mild shock could be felt while touching the power cable due to coupling from the electric fence wire into the power cable run.
The cable run worked for a few years but breaks in the wire due to the poor condition of the fence, and cows brushing against it resulted in the installation of solar power and the DC power run disconnected. All in all quite an accomplishment and looking back I wonder how we managed to do it.
I do not have any photographs or video of this part of the construction. It must have been we were all flat out and did not take the time. There were people strung out for 100's of metres pulling wire and fixing insulators ready to attach the wire.
All concrete for the site was mixed on site in two petrol driven mixers. Everything for the 7 one cubic metre guy points had to be brought onto the site including all the water for the concrete. About a dozen people worked from Sun up to Sun down to complete all the concrete work, including a floor for the shack. It was a perfect mild day with some drizzle, ideal for concrete work.
The first concrete guy point, all one cubic metres.
VK6EL Beth (Site owner)
VK6ZWH Alan (Site owner)
Gavin (Beth & Alan's Son)
Grandad (Beth & Alan's Father)
Shane (Beth & Alan's Son)
VK6NLZ Cliff (now VK6LZ)
Christine (now VK6ZLZ)
Most of the regular workers traveled from Perth (200 KM) over many months. It was estimated that a total of 40,000 KM was traveled all up in total by all the workers. Sounds incredible I know but for example if 5 cars traveled from Perth 10 times then this would equal 20,000 KM, sure adds up! Some people made more than 10 return trips from Perth.
photo shows the site as it was in 1989. There has been a commercial shed added
then and a few more antennas.
The large white vertical at the top is a 6dB omni for the voice repeater, and the two 10 element beams an off air link direct from Perth for the WIA news.
system is also on site and uses a
vertical antenna about 2 thirds the way up
It is pity that more photographs were not taken at the time, in particular the running of the low voltage power fed, but we all concentrated on the work in hand and found it difficult to remember to take photographs. However there are considerable videos of the construction and they will appear on the site soon.