|VK6RLM Lesmurdie has an interesting history operating in a variety of
configurations. Being located at the QTH of Will VK6UU it was easy to
trial several new circuits and ideas.
The 3 second time out
When the repeater was first placed on air it was as a calling repeater with a very short time out of 3 seconds....Yes 3 seconds. The idea was rather than monitor a busy repeater you could monitor a "calling repeater" where an amateur would put out a call for a contact or a contact with a particular amateur. Once a reply was received both amateurs would QSY (change frequency) to another repeater or simplex channel.
The idea worked well and ran for several months. However some amateurs used the calling repeater as a QSO repeater and managed to have a contact simply by saying what they wanted in less than 3 second bursts and then resetting the 3 second time out. As difficult as this would appear some amateurs mastered the ability to have a fairly normal contact. Place a problem in front of an amateur and they will find a way around the problem.
After several months it was decided to change the time out to 5 minutes and VK6RLM became a normal voice repeater.
The next innovation for VK6RLM was as a HF Gateway. A proposal had been put before the Federal WIA for them to approach the ACMA to allow HF Gateways. A new idea in Australia but not in the USA. They are called remote bases in the USA.
The concept is to cross connect a VHF (or UHF) normal voice repeater to a HF simplex SSB radio. The frequency WARG were looking for was in the 40 metre band. However this proposal went nowhere, despite considerable effort at the highest level in the WIA, the WIA Federal Convention. There was misconception as to just what a HF Gateway was and how it operated. It is difficult to represent a concept to the ACMA when those presenting the concept don't fully understand it.
The equipment to provide the HF Gateway had already been put together, a Yaesu FT757 HF transceiver had been modified to interface with VK6RLM. The Gateway worked well and was used on the VK6 WIA Wednesday night nets. Stations on VK6RLM 2 metres were re-broadcast onto 80 metres and stations on 80 metres re-broadcast onto VK6RLM 2 metres. The system was automatic and required no manual intervention.
For a few years VK6RLM was cross connected to a 29MHz FM simplex gateway. The HF Linking setup as described above was simply switched to 29MHz FM. The simplex frequency used was 29.120MHz. This system was licensed and a number of these 29MHz FM Gateways began to come on air around Australia. The system required a CTCSS tone input to VK6RLM to activate the re-transmission onto 29MHz as some license holders on 2 metres were not licensed for 29MHz.
A 2 metre receiver was added to the system to automatically re-transmit the WIA News onto 29.120MHz FM. The WIA news was taken off air from VK6RAP .
29MHz FM Gateway attached to VK6RLM and WIA News to 29.120MHz.
An interesting situation resulted with several 29MHz Gateways, they would automatically link to one another and as such link a VHF (or UHF) repeater on one side of Australia to another. This was a very efficient way of linking repeaters over such large distances. The link would only be there when propagation allowed and during the time the 29MHz Gateway was in service there was good Sun spot activity and Gateways often linked across Australia. This was not legal but a lot of clever amateur know how.
The 29MHz Gateway was discontinued after a couple of years, mainly due to 29MHz interference as the input to 29MHz was noise mute only and did not require a CTCSS tone.
Link to VK6RUF
VK6RLM was also linked to VK6RUF for the WARG Sunday morning net. This link was DTMF controlled and ran for many years. The link provided not only the link to VK6RUF, but when VK6RUF was linked to VK6RMS at Mt.Saddleback, the WARG net went out via VK6RMS as well, so amateurs in the Saddleback area could participate in the WARG net.
After 27 years, VK6RLM was re-located to the new site at Walliston, which is also in the suburb of Lesmurdie and at a higher height but further back from the edge of the scarp. A new commercial repeater, a Yaesu Vertex, replaced the old FM880 VK6RLM.
Unfortunately after two years the Walliston site was lost to amateur radio and VK6RLM is awaiting a new home.
During 2012 the VK6RLM callsign moved to a site a few hundred metres from the VK6RAP repeater site. This site is where VK6's first repeater (VK6RAP) was housed in 1971.The new VK6RLM is a commercial repeater.