International Lighthouse & Lightship Weekend 15/16th August

illw-net

This annual amateur radio event was started in Scotland by John Forsyth, GM4OOU, and the late Mike Dalrymple (GM4SUC), both members of Ayr Amateur Radio Group (AARG). Through the years the event has grown probably far beyond what John and Mike envisaged for it all those years ago. The fact that some 85 countries have been represented in this event since inception clearly shows that it is well on its way to becoming a premier event on the ham radio calendar.

The basic objective of the event is to promote public awareness of lighthouses and lightships and their need for preservation and restoration, and at the same time to promote amateur radio  and to foster International goodwill.The Lighthouse weekend is fairly relaxed and usually has a decent turn-out of chasers and participants. It is genuinely a good fun day out!

VK5ARG at Marino Rocks Lighthouse

Image courtesy http://www.weekendnotes.com/marino-conservation-park/

Bob VK5FO is organising a station to activate VK5ARG from Marino Rocks Lighthouse. The plan is to meet at the Carpark at the end of Nimboya Rd, Marino, at around Midday on Saturday 15th. From there, we will set up in the park up towards the lighthouse, in the Marino Rocks Conservation Park – which also qualifies for the SANPCPA.

The station will consist of a 40M inverted V and a FX-4A QRP tranceiver for the VK contacts and a pair of phased Verticals on 20M beaming long path Europe using an Elecraft KX3.

The plan is to operate the station until dark on the Saturday before finding somewhere local to eat before driving home. Please let Bob VK5FO know if you are planning on coming out to operate the AREG station. Note if you do want to come, you dont need to bring anything except a chair.

Note: The ILLW event does does co-incide with the RD Contest.  While VK5ARG will not be participating in the RD contest, we will give out numbers to those who are :).

 

FreeDV QSO Party Weekend – September 12/13th

f-layer2The Amateur Radio Experimenters Group would like to invite all amateurs interested in HF digital voice communications to join us on the weekend of September 12th and 13th in a FreeDV Codec2 digital HF voice QSO Party! AREG in conjunction with David VK5DGR, one of the co-creators of FreeDV, will be activating a FreeDV HF station across the weekend under the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) special event call-sign VK100ANZAC. The aim is to encourage as many amateurs as possible to “come and try” this new digital HF mode, joining us and as many other FreeDV operators as possible in making contacts via digital HF voice around Australia and across the world.

Bands and Times?

Various bands will be used, with the primary call channels being 14236kHz +/-QRM and 7175kHz. The VK100ANZAC net control station will be listening and intermittently calling on FreeDV on the following bands:

  • Saturday evening September 12th from 1130UTC (9pm Australian Central Standard Time (ACST)) beaming short path North America on 20m (west coast).
  • Sunday morning September 13th from 2130-2330UTC (7am-9am ACST) on 20m beaming long path North America (east coast)
  • Sunday morning from 2230-0130UTC (8-11am ACST) will see local VK contacts targeted on 40m
  • 0430-0730 UTC (2-5pm ACST) will focus signals towards Europe Long Path as well as VK on 20m.
  • 0530-0830 UTC (3-6pm ACST) will see 40m targeting VK/ZL again
  • During the middle of the day on Sunday we may activate on 15m as well targeting Asia/Japan/Northern VK. Keep watching the AREG blog for details.

What is FreeDV?tiki-download_file

So, what is FreeDV you might ask? It is a new digital voice mode developed by an international group of amateurs, led by David Rowe VK5DGR. David was recently awarded the Ron Wilkinson Achievement Award for his work on Codec2 and FreeDV by the WIA. FreeDV operates at very low bitrates and narrow bandwidths using an open source digital voice compression algorithm (Codec2) developed by David. As such, it is ideal for use on HF. What’s more, being completely open source, it can be reproduced and adapted/extended by anyone who is prepared to follow the open source philosophy, unlike some other systems which have proprietary elements that limit experimentation.

Why is AREG Sponsoring this?

Why may you ask are we doing this? Like all new modes in their early days, like the early SSB developments in the 1960’s, finding like minded stations to make contact with can prove a little difficult. The aim behind this global event is to gather multiple FreeDV stations on air so that beginners in the mode can find others to make contact with, as well as providing support and help via SSB for those struggling to get the new technology to work. It is the perfect opportunity for you to dust off your radio-PC interfaces or finally wire-up your SM1000 digital voice adaptor and give this unique mode a try!

How do you get involved?

sm1000_enc_smHow do you get involved? There are several ways to get on the air with FreeDV. The most common is to download and install the FreeDV GUI application on your PC, and use a PC to HF radio interface, and a USB headset. More recently the stand alone SM1000 digital voice adaptor has become available which eliminates the need for a PC. Details of how to set up your station to run FreeDV can be found from the FreeDV project’s website http://freedv.org/ .

Technical support during the event will be available via Internet Relay Chat (IRC) via the #freedv channel on irc.freenode.net. (http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=freedv )

The VK100ANZAC Link

The idea behind operating the FreeDV QSO party net vk100anzaccontrol station using the special event callsign VK100ANZAC was to provide a little extra incentive for amateurs to come and try this new HF digital mode. It will certainly provide a unique QSO opportunity! The weekend in question is also one of significance for the ANZAC story as it commemorates the 26th Infantry Battalion’s arrival at Gallipoli and their subsequent deployment to Taylor’s Hollow on September 12, 1915. Part of the event will commemorate those who served and the sacrifice they made.

Conclusion

We look forward to making contact with you over the weekend! If you want more information, keep watching the AREG website for regular updates and blogs of the weekend’s events as well as for information on operating FreeDV at www.areg.org.au.

All contacts made will be recorded in ClubLog. Qrz.com will also be updated with the latest QSO information. We will also QSL any cards received either via the Bureau or via EQSL. SWLs will be eligible for a special card if they can confirm a full two way QSO.

Plans are also being worked on for a test and tune event the weekend beforehand. Keep watching the AREG website for details. See you on the air!

VK5RSB 23cm is back !

repeater tower clipartThe VK5RSB 23cm repeater is now back online.

After a couple of hectic weeks Colin VK5ACE has made the necessary repairs to the 23cm repeater and put it back on the hill.

If any users observe the repeater doing something odd please contact us on the email addresses (here).

Many thanks to Colin for all the hard work getting this service back on the air again.

73, Matthew VK5ZM

VI5MCP – On The Air – Saturday 18th Activity

11738029_10153032284891188_7409133067033900305_nThe special event station VI5MCP has been very active today with a large contingent of operators from the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group braving the cold but clear conditions to operate portable from the top of Morialta Conservation Park.

The station consisted of an inverted-vee on 40m and a portable hex beam for the higher bands. Operators included Bob VK5FO, Ray VK5RR, Ben VK5BB, Andy VK5AKH, Theo VK5MTM, Matt VK5ZM, Mark VK5QI, Lionel VK5UP, Kym VK5FJ, Dennis VK5FDEN and Peter VK5KX. Gary VK5FGRY was also on hand to record the events as well a number of other members.

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Multiple HF bands have been activated today including 40m and 20m. Details of the contacts will be put into the logs online shortly. Keep watching here for updates. In total so far we have logged 150 contacts and 28 DXCC countries, and with another week to go for this special event call, there is still time for you to make contact with VI5MCP!

The activation will continue tomorrow (Sunday 19th) with plans for the station to be active at the conclusion of the WIA broadcast.  Plans are afoot to operate on 2m tomorrow as well to give some local VHF operators the chance to put this special event callsign in the log.

Picture Gallery – Saturday July 18th 2015

AREG AGM – New Executive 2015

AGM

The AREG held it’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Friday the 17th of July. This was followed by a talk from Chris VK5CP about RTTY Contesting and a general members meeting.

As a result of the AGM there is a new executive and committee, with a few familiar faces.

This year Scott VK5TST moves into the position of club Secretary, with Mark stepping down back to the committee. We thank Mark for this hard work over the past three years in this role.   Grant VK5GR has stepped up from the committee to take on the role of club treasurer, welcome Grant to the exec team.  Ben VK5BB and Andy VK5AKH will carry on as committee members.   We’d also like to welcome Josh VK5JO who has volunteered to join the committee team.  I was more than happy to continue on as president.

So the AREG executive team for 2015/2016 can be found here (click)

Thanks again for your support and we look forward to planning a new technical talk and activities program for our members pleasure.

73, Matt VK5ZM

VI5MCP Update

AREG Members have activated the VI5MCP callsign 3 times so far.  The members have braved the elements and been out to get the station on the air.

Saturday 11th, Bob, VK5FO and Ray VK5RR set up and operated on 20M and 40M logging 5 countries and 19 contacts with 5 DXCC entities.

Sunday 12th, Bob VK5FO, Ray, VK5RR and Andy, VK5AKH Operated on 40, 15, 30 and 20M  A further 21 contacts were logged and 1 more DXCC entity.

Wednesday 15th the 100 year anniversary day, Ben VK5BB operated 40M and 2M adding a further 15 contacts to the log.

Take a look at the VI5MCP QRZ page to see the last 50 Entries in the logs.

More activities are planned and all are pending wx

AREG activates VK100ANZAC as the WIA National HQ station in IARU Contest

On the weekend of July 11th and 12th, the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group will be activating the WIA special vk100anzacevent callsign VK100ANZAC as part of this year’s IARU HF Contest as the official WIA Headquarters station.

The IARU HF Championships encourage amateurs to contact as many other amateurs, especially IARU member society HQ stations, around the world as possible using the 160, 80, 40, 20, 15 and 10 meter bands. Operation will begin at 1200 UTC Saturday and ending 1200 UTC Sunday (July 11-12, 2015).

Look for VK100ANZAC / WIA during this weekend and give us a call! Better still, why not give the IARU Championships a go yourself. Details are available on the ARRL website

 

VI5MCP Special Event Station

 

MorialtaCP_QSL_Card_2

VI5MCP QSL Card

Between the 11th and the 26th of July Members of AREG will be activating a special event station VI5MCP.

The Special event is in celebration of the 100 years of Proclamation of the Morialta Falls Pleasure Resort, which we now know as Morialta Conservation Park.  The 100th anniversary of the park is on Wednesday the 15th of July 2015.

Morialta CP is located in the Hills to the East of Adelaide and is a popular location for Portable operations.  Activations of this park qualify for the SANPCPA – South Australia National Parks and Conservations Parks Award and also for WWFF and VKFF as VKFF-783

The Aim of this special event station is to celebrate the 100th anniversary and to  further promote awareness of portable operations and awards.

We are planning on Activations  from the park over the 2 week period and at the moment we have some confirmed and some tentative activations scheduled, please keep an eye on this post as we will update the schedule in the coming days.

VI5MCP Calendar July 2015

Planned activation dates and frequencies/bands

DATE LOCAL TIME / UTC BAND/FREQ NOTES
Saturday 11th
Sunday 12th 10:00 / 00:30UTC 7.140 SSB /147.500 FM then 14.240 or 14.310 Around 2 hours
Monday 13th
Tuesday 14th
Wednesday 15th 10:00 / 00:30UTC 7.140 / 10.130 /14.240 or 14.310 Around 2 hours or longer if a lot of chasers
Thursday 16th
Friday 17th
Saturday 18th 13:00 -17:30 / 03:30 – 08:00 UTC 14.240 or 14.310 and
7.140
Looking for EU DX on 20M * running a 2Element on 20M
Sunday 19th 10:00 / 00:30UTC 7.140 SSB /147.500 FM then 14.240 or 14.310 Around 2 hours
Monday 20th
Tuesday 21st
Wednesday 22nd 10:00 / 00:30UTC 7.140 / 10.130 /14.240 or 14.310 Around 2 hours or longer if a lot of chasers
Thursday 23rd
Friday 24th
Saturday 25th
Sunday 26th 10:00 / 00:30UTC 7.140 SSB /147.500 FM then 14.240 or 14.310 Around 2 hours

*Note Mode will be SSB unless specifically noted as otherwise.