AREG RD Contest 2016: Member Activity Report

RD Contest Trophy

RD Contest Trophy

The Remembrance Day Contest for 2016 has come and gone. AREG was well represented this year with a number of home stations as well as three portable efforts making their presence felt across the bands.

Three members, VK5AKH, VK5MTM and VK5GR banded together to form a three station team this year. Named “AREG: Mostly Harmless!”, it gave the club an avenue to participate in the contest whilst also allowing individuals to also work for an individual score. It will be very interesting to see how they placed!

A further three members, VK5WTF, VK5QI and VK5KX also gave it a go! The following are the stories from those who took part:


Andrew VK5AKH – Portable Sedan

Andrew headed out to a remote site and set up a formidable station. He finished up with 286 contacts and 294points. it was a fair effort to built this station as a single op on Saturday morning and as hard as he was pushing he missed the start of the contest. The 3.5+ hours of assembly had its toll later in the evening when he was a little tired. Next time antennas will be set up on the Friday leaving me fresh for an evening. A good time was had…

TfJuOjR

Power

Station was powered by a Honda EU20i Generator with extended run fuel tank. Generator did not stop the whole contest.
62YRlvL (Medium)

Home Away From Home

Tent and Camp Kitchen Setup.
Ob7ZYbv (Medium)

Operating Station

Radio IC 7600 Amplifier KPA500 Logging MBP with Second monitor (for band Scope that did not work 🙁 ) Rotator Controller Linear Power Supply. Not Shown:  Foot Switch Flightcom Headset (that worked very well 😀 ) 500W blower heater to attempt to keep feet warm. F Pile of empty Coopers Dark Ale and FUIC Strong Cartons.

Antenna 20m

Folding HexBeam with Rotator

QxAlxnP (Medium)Antennas Low Bands

Foreground: SFA special, elevated feed vertical tuned with SGC230, with 8 tape measures as the radials. Background: 40m Inverted Vee on new Fibreglass Push Up.
VATH1r7

Grant VK5GR – Portable Tickera (Spencer Gulf)

Grant set off Friday night from Adelaide and arrived in Tickera, on the eastern shore of Spencer Gulf around 8.00pm. Station setup began bright and early Saturday morning. By 9.30am the basic station was running, so the extra time was put to use adding 160m dipole elements to the 80/40/20m mix. This was the multi-band resonant dipole’s first outing and it proved to be a very good field performer. After the contest it even allowed a quick PSK31 contact to Reunion Island on 20m no less!

During the contest, Grant made a point of operating for as many hours as possible, stopping only for ~1.5hrs around 5am for a quick nap. The effort paid off with 469 contacts and a total of 664 points (thanks to the graveyard shift multipliers). 160m paid off handsomely as well, with 41 contacts and almost a worked all VK Call areas in 8 hours (except for VK1 who didnt appear on the band). This was the first time Grant had operated on 160m and with luck now wont be the last!

Grant also experimented with RTTY this contest. While there were very few RTTY stations around, those he did work certainly helped his score, including his first 160m digital contact into VK4!

vk5gr-stats

VK5GR Contest Statistics


Theo VK5MTM – Home Station

Theo managed a Personal Best of 286 QSO’s/300 points. Operating from home, he had to battle solid S9 noise on 40m during the daytime and plasma TV noise 80% of the time on 20m (neighbour’s TV). Even so, a very respectable score was achieved!

VK5MTM-RD


Marcus VK5WTF – Portable Red Banks Conservation Park (near Burra)

Marcus (ex VK3TST) also headed out portable, but took a different slant on things. His intention was to go QRP phone from the get go, but to build a bigger than usual station. He also made the decision not to stay up, and admits that probably hurt his score, a lot, 83 points were gained in the hour before 6am.

Marcus’ Score was:

Contacts / Band
Band Number
160m 23
80m 71
40m 98
20m 38
QSOs: 230 Points: 313

His radios included a Yaesu FT-817 (not the ND) and a Yaesu FT-857D.

Antennas: 80/40 fan dipole, 20/15 vertical, 20m sloping yagi (supposedly pointing west), 160m EFHW. As far as antennas went, the poor attempt at a sloping wire yagi was full of fail. It must have been so close to the ground that it turned into an inverted-V. Marcus is thinking of making a 20/15 moxon for next time.

He also indicated that the highlight of his contest was a 160m contact with VK2IO, both portable in parks running QRP! A distance of roughly 1100km.

The ability to run a second radio was thanks to VK5QI who loaned him a 100A AGM battery. The rest of the station (817 & laptop) coped with 2x 12Ah SLAs a few Li-Ion pack to top up the batteries and 10+18W solar system. The 857 was the only thing hooked up to the AGM battery.


Mark VK5QI – Home Station

Mark decided to try out his new antennas and amplifier to see how he went. His tally was

Contacts / Band
Band Number
160m 10
80m 49
40m 249
20m 47
QSOs: 355 Points: 365

Mark commented that he was surprised:

  • That I could actually work people on 160/80m. The long-wire does actually seem to work! (Now to find a SG-235…)
  • The beam wasn’t that useful on 20m. I kept having to swing it around between VK6 and VK1/2/3/4, which got a bit annoying.
  • 400W certainly makes it easy to be heard – If I could hear someone, I could work them!

Peter VK5KX – Home Station

Peter admits his was a token effort – but he had fun (which is the main thing!)

Contacts / Band
Band Number
160m 1
80m 24
40m 85
20m 18
15m 1
10m 3

Overall, AREG was very well represented on the bands, and most of all everyone had fun!

See you next year on the Remembrance Day Contest!


Acknowledgements: Thanks to VK5AKH, VK5WTF, VK5GR, VK5MTM, VK5QI and VK5KX for their individual photo and text contributions to this article.

AREG Members entering RD Contest 2016

Members of the Amateur Radio Experimenters

RD Contest Trophy

Group are banding together to form teams to participate in this year’s Remembrance Day Contest to be held on Saturday August 13th and Sunday August 14th 2016. The contest starts at 0300UTC and runs for 24hrs.

Andy VK5AKH, Theo VK5MTM and Grant VK5GR are forming one of the AREG teams. They will be operating from Sedan, Mansfield Park and Tickera respectively. Their team team is “AREG: Mostly Harmless”. We are hoping to field at least one other team as well!

Several of us are planning on operating in the mixed modes section as well, using both RTTY/CW and SSB. All participants are encouraged to listen for RTTY contacts throughout the contest.

Full details of the contest can be found on the WIA Website.

Next Meeting: August 19th – HF Digital Modes for Beginners

The next general meeting of the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group will be held on Friday August 19th. Doors open 7.45pm with the meeting starting at 8.00pm.

The topic for the evening will be “Introducing Digital Modes on HF – how to get started – from a beginner who just has”. I will be taking you through what can be achieved on a fairly modest HF station using digital modes, including what software you can use, what hardware you need and what some of the more “exotic” modes are that you can play with on HF digital, including:

Feld-Hell-decode

Feld Hellschreiber Signals on 20m

  • RTTY
  • PSK31/63/125
  • MFSK16
  • Olivia
  • Contestia
  • Hellschrieber
  • JT65/JT9 and WSJT
  • SSTV
MFSK16-VK2YQA-with-images-2

MFSK16 from VK2YQA/4 on 20m

I will also discuss calling techniques, frequencies and contesting on HF as well as logging on rig integration.

I don’t profess to be an expert on these modes either – this is all relatively new (apart from RTTY) to me too (despite being licensed since the 1980s) as until March this year I had never had my own HF station. Having said that, even with a modest 100W station I have managed to work 62 countries using a variety of these modes, even in the relatively poor conditions on HF that we have seen over the last 6 months.

sstv-MMSSTV Program

MMSSTV Software

SSTV Pictures on 40 and 20m.

After the presentation there will be a light supper followed by the monthly business meeting.

VK2YQA/4 MFSK16 Picture from QLD on 30m

VK2YQA/4 MFSK16 Picture from QLD on 30m

Oceania DX Contest 2016: Planning Meeting FRIDAY 29th July

OceaniaDXContest-in-CenturyGothic-horiz-930

AREG is again planning on participating as a Multi-Multi portable station in this year’s OCDX contest. Planning for the station has been quietly underway for some time, however now that we are only a couple of months out, it is time to get serious!

To move things along, an AREG OCDX planning meeting will be held at the Clubrooms, Reedbeds Community Hall, Fulham starting at 6pm on Friday 29th July (tomorrow). The meeting is open to anyone who wishes to come along and contribute to the station construction or operation. A group collection to fund Pizza and the room hire will be conducted at the start of the night.


Contest Countdown!

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High Altitude Balloon Launch WEDNESDAY 27th July with Willunga High School

AXxwbdB

Andy VK5AKH and Mark VK5QI preping the balloon

Willunga High School undertook a high altitude (well, not so high this time…) balloon launch Wednesday the 27th July, with some tracking support provided by AREG’s Project Horus flight team.

Willunga Balloon Prediction July 2016

WHS Balloon Flightpath Prediction

This flight was organised mostly (gas + balloon + payload + CASA) by a science teacher from the high school, with assistance from myself (telemetry + recovery). The launch being mid-week certainly doesn’t make it easy from our side, so at the moment the tracking crew consists of myself, Gary, and the Adelaide division of IBM Ozlabs (Joel Stanley and Andrew Jeffery).

The flight carryed a GoPro plus the usual tracking & cutdown payloads, beneath a 300g balloon. We expected a burst altitude of around 20km, with a predicted landing zone to the east of Swan Reach:

This was a fairly long distance flight for the predicted altitude, but the predicted flight path holds the promise of some pretty good video of the Adelaide area (assuming the ‘partly cloudy’ prediction happens). The VK5QI chase crew was on the road to Swan Reach roughly 30-45 min prior to the launch time, to get in position to both cutdown (if required) and recover.

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During the Chase and recovery


Update: The Flight was a Success!

The flight has been a success and the payload was recovered (albeit a little further away than planned, about 10-15km south of Waikerie). Here was the actual track route from the chase:

Flight Path

Flight Path

The AREG crew helped with filling the balloon as well at the School. Here are their ground crew efforts

The following gives you an idea of some of the frames collected by the camera for the school!

And the following is the recovery action

Thanks to Gary VK5FGRY, Mark VK5QI and Andy VK5AKH for the photos!

VK5ZM’s Hilux Rebuild

For those that listen on VK5RSB regularly they would have overheard that Matt VK5ZM has been rebuilding the engine in his Old Toyota Hilux.

Well Matthew has finally put a blog post together over on rfhead.net so interested Amateurs can find out why Matthew’s not been on drive time this past week.

With luck he’ll be out and about over the weekend driving about the place, keep an ear out on VK5RSB.

Welcome to the AREG Committee for 2016/17

The Amateur Radio Experimenters Group held it’s Annual General Meeting last night, Friday July 15th. At the meeting, all positions were declared vacant and Chris VK5CP presided over the process of selecting a new committee for the forthcoming year.

Nominations were received and in the absence of any competition, the following people were elected to the committee for 2016/17″

Position Name
President: Matthew VK5ZM
Secretary: Scott VK5TST
Treasurer: Grant VK5GR
Committee: Ben VK5BB
Mark VK5QI (Minutes Secretary)
Josh VK5JO
Andy VK5AKH
Kim VK5FJ
Theo VK5MTM

Welcome to the new members on the committee in Kim and Theo!