River Paddling Marathon 2016: Operator Briefing 8pm Thursday 2nd June

Matt VK5ZM running the 164MHz commercial net

Matt VK5ZM running the 162MHz commercial net

The River Paddling Marathon 200 is about to be held again in 2016 over the June long weekend. The Amateur Radio Experimenters Group in conjunction with the Riverland Radio Club is pleased to again be offering communications support to the Marathon Canoe Club of South Australia. Preparations are almost complete and it is now time to have the final operator briefing.

This year the briefing will be held on Thursday evening, June 2nd, at the Reedbeds Community Hall in Fulham (Adelaide). The start time will be 8.00pm (due to prior hall bookings). All operators are asked to attend if at all possible.

There are changes to some of the procedures for this year’s event that you need to learn about. We will also be distributing your checkpoint information and logging packs and will discuss the communications protocols for this year (including the trial 6m packet AX.25 score collection system).

Martin Finn - Race Director

Martin Finn – Race Director

We will have representatives from the Marathon Canoe Club present and time permitting there will also be a controlled net communications exercise held across the hall (bring a handheld).

If you have any questions, please contact either Grant Willis VK5GR (logistics) or Matthew Cook VK5ZM (Safety Officer).

Next Meeting: Transmitting Magnetic Loop Antennas for 160-40m

The AREG is pleased to announce that our guest speakers for our next regular monthly meeting will be Steve Adler VK5SFA, Leigh Turner VK5KLT and Paul Lawson VK5SL. They will be talking about their work on Transmitting Magnetic Loop Antennas for the lower HF bands including both the theory and practical aspects of their operation and construction.

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VK5SFA 160-75m Transmitting Magnetic Loop Antenna

Steve has been using one very successfully on 160m and was kind enough to loan the AREG SPDX RTTY contest team his 40m one for use up at Morialta this past weekend.

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VK5SFA 40m TMLA (used by AREG in the SPDX RTTY Contest)

These are fascinating antennas in the way they work and in the way they perform. Their noise immunity is something in particular to consider in urban environments where amateurs are space and electrically environmentally challenged.

Full details of how to build these antennas and the theory behind them are available via Steve VK5SFA’s website.

When and Where?

You can meet Steve and the team who designed and built them in person at our next meeting on Friday May 20th, starting at 7.45pm (for an 8.00pm start). You can find details of where the AREG meet on the contacts page.

Visitors are most welcome to come along! A short business meeting will be held after the presentation.

AREG Member Training Day for the RPM200 Comms Event – This Saturday!

The Radio operator training day for the River Paddling Marathon 200 event which AREG supports in June, will be held on the eastern banks of the Murray River, just north of the Swanport Bridge by the boat ramp on Saturday April 30th 2016! This training will coincide with the running the Marathon Canoe Club’s Back-To-Back event held along this part of the river each year.

The operator training day will pitch checkpoint team against checkpoint team to see who can spot the most valid number of canoes.

Operators will need to get to the river by 12.00pm. The first paddlers are due around 1.00pm . (It is typically only an hour’s drive up the freeway).

BacktoBacktrainingDay-finished

Everyone will be broken into teams of two. You will need to bring “optical magnification” apparatus, pens and something hard to write on (folding table and chairs recommended). You will be presented with paddlers from the Marathon Canoe Club’s Back to Back paddling event and will be asked to track paddlers, numbers, descriptions and will be graded in friendly competition with your fellow spotters spread out over the boat ramp park.

Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy a day by the river watching (intently) the world float by! It is recommended that participants bring binoculars, chairs, snacks and insect repellent.  There is not much shade, so umbrellas, hats or marquees  will make the day more pleasant.

Just Visiting?

For those who don’t want to spotting canoe’s but want to come for the social day, there is room to also set up HF portable by the river!

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Evening BBQ at Swanport Sailing Club

At the end of the event, we will adjourn back to the Swanport Sailing Club for a BYO BBQ dinner and a chat/de-brief with the Marathon Canoe Club. It is just a short drive back over the Swanport bridge.BBQ After the event

Please note:  No dogs allowed at Swanport Sailing Club, so please leave the hounds at home!

Conclusion

If you are participating in the RPM200 in June, we would very much encourage you to come along on the 30th of April as well! Accurate canoe spotting is an important aspect of providing the safety net at the RPM200 so this training/practice is vital to improve the way AREG supports the main event in June. Hope to see you all there!

AREG Participation in the SPDX RTTY Contest: Report

RYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRYRY
CQ SPDX TEST DE VK5ARG VK5ARG KK

The AREG team tried something new on Sunday April 24th 2016, operating portable from the Morialta Conservation Park just east of Adelaide hexbeamin the Polish Radiovideography Club’s SPDX RTTY contest . A lot of fun was had by those members who operated and visited us during the activation. 29 valid contacts were made including 5 out of 17 Polish provinces. Andy VK5AKH provided the bulk of the station equipment and was assisted by Grant VK5GR, Dennis VK5FDEN, Gary VK5FGRY and Mark VK5QI in setting up the station in the early afternoon.

By the time we were ready to go, long path Europe was already open, and the first station we called answered on the first try. We were running an IC7600 at about 90W FSK power with the HexBeam and the Fl-Digi software for RTTY. We also experimented with the GRITTY software which has some advanced decoding capabilities.

vk5akh-working rttydx

40m Loop Antenna

40m-loop-vk5sfaSteve VK5SFA also brought along his new 40m magnetic loop antenna for us to experiment with. We were very impressed with it’s noise performance and efficiency for such a small antenna. While we were working 20m RTTY long path EU, Matt VK5ZM, Gary VK5FGRY and Mark VK5QI experimented with the loop. Contacts on it were had across SE Australia, including 10W to 10W to Chris VK5CP who was portable in Parachilna in the Flinders Ranges.

(Stay tuned – a talk is planned at the next AREG meeting on these very unique antennas).

Contest Progressed

As the RTTY contest progressed, the team attempted 15m as well with limited success before returning to 20m to close out the EU LP opening.

We were then treated to the “AREG Catering Service” in the form of Sharon VK5FSAW who brought up baked potatoes and condiments, which were very welcome considering it was getting quite cold as the sun went down.

Finally we dropped down to 40m and put the loop to use on RTTY. We picked up a contact with the USA – after spending a while learning how to tune it! (It is only ~3-4kHz wide).

40m-rtty-cq

Who we worked

While we were not competitive we had a lot of fun working RTTY stations in Europe, and we are sure we helped a few polish stations with a continental multiplier. The stations we worked were:

VK5ARG SPDX RTTY Contest 2016 Log
FREQ CALL MODE BAND SRX STX
14.088579 ZM2B RTTY 20m 8 1
14.088994 RK4FD RTTY 20m 334 2
14.094806 UW1M RTTY 20m 426 3
14.095387 SQ9UM RTTY 20m G 4
14.094271 SP9AQF RTTY 20m G 5
14.08749 EA2VE RTTY 20m 163 6
14.085171 UA6CE RTTY 20m 593 7
14.084399 DL1T RTTY 20m 498 8
14.092477 SV1JG RTTY 20m 130 9
14.094658 UT5EPP RTTY 20m 592 10
14.095691 SP2ZIE RTTY 20m F 11
14.095449 OK2FD RTTY 20m 46 14
14.098943 SP7IIT RTTY 20m S 15
14.08126 YL3CU RTTY 20m 393 17
14.086001 F5GFA RTTY 20m 145 18
14.085327 SP7SEW RTTY 20m S 19
14.087931 PA2IP RTTY 20m 15 20
14.093317 F6CBL RTTY 20m 180 21
14.095971 OH9UFO RTTY 20m 407 22
14.097749 SP5UUD RTTY 20m R 23
21.086017 YD9SBP RTTY 15m 62 24
21.088753 JA8UON RTTY 15m 2 25
21.088585 JA2GHP RTTY 15m 19 26
21.088585 JR3UYY RTTY 15m 13 27
21.088585 JA9LX RTTY 15m 5 28
14.096619 SP6GW RTTY 20m D 29
14.085329 PI4CC RTTY 20m 5 30
7.041585 VK7BO RTTY 40m 49 31
7.041585 K1MK RTTY 40m 796 32

This has certainly whetted our appetite to try another attempt at RTTY later in the year (perhaps the CQ WW or CQ WPX RTTY contests).

A big thank you to everyone who participated and in particular to Andy VK5AKH who brought his portable HF station.

VK5ARG to participate in SPDX RTTY Contest this weekend!

Several keen members have asked to activate the club callsign, VK5ARG in this weekend’s Polish RTTY DX Contest. Andy VK5AKH and Grant VK5GR will be setting up portable from the Morialta conservation park, at the end of Moores Rd.

teleprinterThe plan is to arrive around 1pm and have the station operating before the EU Long Path opening around 3pm on Sunday April 24th. The contest finishes at 9.30pm ACST Sunday night.

This is Andy and Grant’s first attempt at a RTTY contest so mayhem and pandemonium will most likely eschew, but we will have a lot of fun trying! If you would like to come and pay us a visit, give us a call on 439.900 (VK5RSB).

You can find us here: 

 

 

WIA VK5 Inwards QSL Bureau – New Operational Details Announced!

The Amateur Radio Experimenters Group is wia-logo-image_1_hirespleased to announce that it has finalized the new arrangements for the WIA VK5 inwards QSL bureau. Chris VK5CP has volunteered within the AREG to lead the coordination of this service. The club will be following the existing WIA QSL policy and will continue to encourage all amateurs that use the QSL Bureau to join the WIA.

areg-collage

Specifically, the arrangements will be:

  • Australia_Post_box-smallAll outgoing WIA member QSL cards are to be sent to the national outgoing QSL address (the AREG will not be handling outbound cards):
    WIA Outwards QSL Bureau
    P.O. Box 66
    Boolaroo
    NSW 2284

    • Incoming cards for WIA members are to be sent to the national incoming QSL address (not the AREG PO Box as previously advised by the WIA)
      National Inwards QSL Bureau
      P.O. Box 2040
      Bayswater Vic
      3153 Australia
  • WIA members will continue to receive cards in the mail once a year
  • WIA members can nominate a club to receive the cards for distribution on their behalf every quarter, provided four or more members of the same club are WIA members
  • AREG members can also collect their cards at an AREG club meeting
  • WIA or Non-WIA members can collect their cards at a club meeting by prior arrangement (please give at least two weeks notice so that we can ensure that your cards are at the meeting for collection). Email vk5bureau@wia.org.au if you wish to pick up your cards at an AREG meeting this way.
  • All changes of address or club destination are to be made in writing by email to vk5bureau@wia.org.au
  • The AREG will not enter into any private arrangements with individuals (members and non members) as per WIA policy
  • Non-Member cards will be retained in the bureau for a period of one year before being disposed of. If non members wish to have their cards posted, it will be a requirement that they become members of the WIA to access the postal services of the VK5 bureau.

The AREG will also endeavor to make the QSL bureau cards available for collection at nominated major events (such as the Adelaide Hills Buy’N’Sell) to provide an extra opportunity for non members to collect cards.

The Amateur Radio Experiments Group is very pleased to be able to offer this service to the South Australian Amateur Radio community, and again wishes to thank Stephan VK5RZ for his previous work. If there are any questions about the bureau, again please email vk5bureau@wia.org.au with your enquiries!

AREGFirstQSLBureauSort

Andrew VK5XFG, Sharon VK5FSAW, Gary VK5FGRY and Andy VK5AKH sorting cards with Chris VK5CP and Grant VK5GR

 

Next Meeting 15th April: HF Communications for New (and old) Hands

The next monthly AREG meeting is coming up on Friday April 15th, starting at 8.00pm.

Our presenters for the evening are Chris VK5SA and Andrew VK5AKH. They will jointly be talking about HF communications, giving insights into how the HF bands work, and how to get the most out of them from your everyday station.

April-2016

Africa in 1997 – Chris will talk to this

Chris VK5SA’s segment is primarily targeted at for Foundation members who are struggling to understand HF propagation, and also Z-calls who have finally embraced these frequencies 🙂 He originally gave it in Kenya nearly 20 years ago for native African NGO radio operators who needed to be shown what frequencies and antennas did what.

hfantenna

Grant VK5GR (ex VK5ZWI’s) new shiny HF Antenna (now how to I talk to someone on these bands?)

Chris will explaining what you need to do to reliable HF communications and relate how this was explained for an operator sitting by his ‘phone in Cape Town.

Andy VK5AKH will follow that with a practical guide to getting started with HF operation. Topics covered will include what band, what mode, what time and for those lucky enough to be putting up a new hex beams what azimuth!

Andy will also discuss some tools to make life easier with identifying band/Dx activity, so that you can make the most of your work/ham radio/life balance.

Meeting Location

Our meetings are held at the:

Reedbeds Community Hall,
Phelps Crt
Fulham

Doors open at 7.45pm with the meeting starting at 8.00pm

Visitors are always welcome, so this month, in particular if you are one of the newly licensed foundation calls, why not drop in and meet the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group!

AREG develops kit which allows real time display of Antenna radiation pattern

The Amateur Radio Experimenters Group, one of  Adelaide’s leading Amateur Radio groups is pleased to advise that after months of research and experiments at a secret location, it has developed and perfected a process whereby the radiation pattern of any HF antenna can be displayed visually, full size in real time.RfPatternSmoke-AprilFools

The kit includes a canister of particles which are sensitive to E and H field radiation. The particles are suspended in harmless nitrogen gas which, once released near an antenna will align to show you the radiation pattern of that antenna whilst it is transmitting. When the particles are charged by the E and H field radiation they become opaque, arranging themselves along the lines of maximum intensity of the emitted electromagnetic field. The end result is a real time ‘Smith Chart’ like representation of the Antenna radiation pattern.

The deluxe version of the kit uses a laser, guided by a PC controlled mirror arrangement, to display a grid pattern for calibration purposes, which will allow you to take a photograph for storage and future analysis.

A patent application has been prepared for lodgement, after which time the proposal will be presented at the April Monthly meeting. Kits will be funded through the “StartKicking” process in due course.

Dateline: April 1st 2016
Contributors: VK5CP, VK5ZM, VK5FGRY, VK5GR