VK5ARG Oceania DX Contest 2015 Results

Well, the AREG has wound up it’s activities sidebannerat Para Wirra
Recreation Park for this year’s contest. A great deal of fun was had by everyone to participated, even by those who operated under physical duress (two members could hardly walk).

A big thanks to everyone who took part and operated or provided support for the event. In particular (and if we’ve missed you out please let us know and we’ll add you to this list) those who took part in operating the station included: VK5AKH, VK5ZM, VK5QI, VK5KX, VK5FSKS (who flew in from VK3), VK5GR, VK5JO, VK5MTM, VK5UP, and we believe that VK5FGRY was spotted sitting at a few consoles however we’re not sure if he transmitted or not this year (*grin*).

With the Para Wirra CP being so close to Adelaide we were also fortunate to have a large number of visitors which included; Kim VK5FJ, Arno VK5ZAR, Paul VK5JG and Dennis VK5FDEN, Cary VK5CD, Peter VK5APR, Louis VK5FLY and Jess, Wendy, Dean VK5FAIR and Sally VK5FSAM,  Brenton VK5BZ, Ben VK5BB, Darin VK5IX and Glenys plus boys, Sharon FSAW and the Moo, Allan VK5MAK, Bob VK5FO and Ray VK5RR.

We also must thank Arno VK5ZAR and Gary VK5FGRY who helped keep the troops fed manning the BBQ and keeping the ants at bay as well as Sharon VK5FSAW who provided dinner on Sunday night.   We must also thank all of the visitors that rang ahead and checked if we needed anything, with the weather so warm the bags of ice, drinks and loaves of additional bread were gratefully received.

A big thankyou again to the rangers of Para Wirra Recreation Park (Steve and Mel!) who graciously allowed us to conduct the event inside the park for the 3 days. To find a site so close to Adelaide with such a low HF noise floor is a wondrous thing.

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The Results?

Overall our tentative scores were:

Total QSOs Total Multipliers Provisional Score
1058 544 1739168
Band Contacts Multipliers
160m 23 QSOs 7 multipliers
80m 34 QSOs 12 multipliers
40m 244 QSOs 65 multipliers
20m 373 QSOs 233 multipliers
15m 346 QSOs 202 multipliers
10m 38 QSOs 25 multipliers

Band by Band

80/160m: With changes to the radios this year, it was fantastic to see the contacts and multipliers achieved out of the low band station. Peter VK5KX and the low band crew achieved contacts into ZL on 160m and into the USA on 80m. Well done!

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40m: was hard going this year. We lacked enough punch to be heard often in Europe and that cost us many contacts in the early hours of the morning. We did get a few contacts into that part of the world but often it was through multiple repeats and perseverance. The auto keyers got a work over and between Josh VK5JO, Andy VK5AKH, Grant VK5GR, Matt VK5ZM and Mark VK5QI plus other relief operators, we ground out a solid score. The tube amp and dipole did well to the USA – but the fixed orientation wasn’t helping our cause for Europe. More work and ideas planned for this station next year :-)`

20m: at times flew and at others was a grind. Again, punch to get over the European QRM made prefix chasing hard work although a solid result was still achieved with the Elecraft K-line and the Hex Beam. With 40m and 20m being co-located teams were taking turns at each station making further contributions to both stations.

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15/10m: The surprise this year was 15m. We again had a Elecraft K-line and a 3-band Spider beam which we ran for the John Moyle Field Day. With that setup and the ionosphere playing the game the crew manning 15m had a huge amount of success. Long runs of Japanese stations as well as a beautiful opening into Europe Saturday night brought a sparkle to Matt VK5ZM, Theo VK5MTM and high band crew’s eyes.

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All in all, a great result, a lot of fun and look out for AREG again next year!    Meanwhile, ideas for improvements to the station are already circulating, and we wait with bated breath to see how we placed.

A big thank you to the OCDX contest organizing committee for staging the event too. It certainly gave our club the excuse to get out and play portable “Amateur Radio” for the long weekend.

73’s de VK5ARG

VK5ARG entering Oceania DX Contest: Oct 3rd/4th PORTABLE


11080486_10152772912846188_3502356878582205362_oNext Weekend is the Oceania DX Contest, SSB section. Members of the AREG will be activating the Club Call sign VK5ARG for this event from the Para Wirra Recreation Park, north east of Adelaide. The OceaniaDX contest provides a great opportunity for Oceania stations to get on the air as there is lots of activity in our region. Whats more, the DX chasers from around the world will be actively looking for Oceania! Hopefully the propagation will favour VK5. More information on the OCDX contest can be found via the WIA website.

Contest Times: 08:00 UTC (17:30hrs ACST) Saturday 3 October to 08:00 UTC (18:30hrs ACST) Sunday 4 October 2015  (Yes Daylight savings starts this weekend too!)

AREG welcomes all amateurs with an Para Wirra Park Mapinterest in portable field stations and contesting to come on up to the park and visit us over the weekend. Entry to the park will cost $10 / vehicle for a one time fee for the weekend.

While the park closes at dusk, the radio club has sought and obtained special permission from the park rangers to remain in the park overnight. To find our operating location, enter the park from the main gate off Humbug Scrub Road, proceed past the the park office then past North Oval until you reach the toilet blocks, picnic shelters and open paddock at the end of the bitumen.OCDX-StationLocationMap-2015

More than just contesting!

Saturday Afternoon prior to the contest AREG will be having a HF activity afternoon with a mixture of SSB and FreeDV operation on both 20m and 40m. This will be another great opportunity to test FreeDV. The VK5ARG team will be monitoring the FreeDV QSO finder, and posting regular blog updates as the afternoon evolves. Activity is planed from 1500-1700 Local time but may start earlier depending on interest.

Theo VK5MTM operating 20m

Theo VK5MTM operating 20m

Update: Friday 2nd October – Construction Begins….

The crew have arrived and are studying their blank canvas. Hmmm how to decorate this paddock with antennas? Lets put up the 40m antenna over here!



VK5RWN DSTAR – Operational Future secure until June 2016

VK5RWN D*STAR Repeater’s FUTURE without the WIA?

In November 2014, the AREG took over VK5RWN2Mover the full maintenance and financial support the VK5RWN D-Star repeater system in Adelaide after it was originally co-sponsored by the WIA. Since then, AREG has been working to reduce the operating costs of providing this service to the Adelaide amateur radio community.

Currently VK5RWN is the single largest operating cost the AREG currently has on its budget (the power bill alone is ~$600/year). Insurance, license fees, maintenance and rent nudge this figure closer to $1000/year.

At this stage, the AREG committee has agreed that the club has sufficient reserves to be able to support the system until the end of June 2016, at which time the system will again be reviewed. In order to maintain it beyond this time, the AREG really needs the registered DSTAR users to offer their ongoing financial support. As such, the club is now actively seeking yearly donations or preferably more of the D*STAR user community to become members of AREG.

If you are a registered user of this system then please consider joining AREG and throwing your support behind it’s continued operation. Alternatively, you can also consider making a yearly donation.

What is AREG doing to try and secure the systems future?

DStar_Radios_2014102402Users should be aware that AREG has not been sitting idle in trying to find ways to keep the system running either. So far, the following strategies have been implemented:

  • The ADSL Internet link and associated phone line have been replaced with a microwave system and donated internet bandwidth from a club member (This was the single biggest expense to running the system).
  • The system power supplies were replaced with more efficient switchmode ones

These changes yielded an operating cost reduction of around $1000/year. The next areas being tackled include:

  • likely closure of the 1299.7MHz 128kbit/s data port (which records show hasn’t been accessed since being commissioned)
  • review whether the 1273.7MHz port remains on air considering it’s very low utilization.
  • replace the current PC with one that consumes a LOT less power

These changes will occur over the next 6 months, and will go someway to overcoming the operational costs of the site. None the less, it will still remain the most expensive to run site on AREG’s books.

Next Meeting FRIDAY 18th Sept – Starting out with Arduino Micros

Arduino, Teensy 2, the TI MSP430, Arduino_Uno_-_R3
the Picaxe, Raspberry Pi’s, Banana Pi’s, Beagle Bone Black, Cubie Boards, PC Arduino’s, these are some of the myriad of micro controller or micro computer boards.

Confusing? Are you interested in learning to use or play with micro controllers and don’t know where to start?

Well, come along to the next AREG general meeting this coming Friday evening, the 18th of September and Matt, VK5ZM, will give an introductory talk on micro controllers with an emphasis on,  “Getting started in Arduino”!

The evening starts at 7:45 pm at the Reed Beds hall, Fitch Road Fulham.

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The invitation is open to all persons with an interest in amateur radio and for this evening, Arduino! So come along all,  join in with AREG members and learn a bit about the Arduino, meet members of AREG and enjoy the evening with a dynamic group of like minded amateur radio enthusiasts.

Coffee, tea and cake will be on for a light supper whilst everyone has the opportunity to mix, mingle and discuss your interests of the evening.

FreeDV QSO Party – Activity Log for the 12/13th September 2015

5.00pm – Wrapping Up

Well, that about ends our FreeDV experiments for today. It has been great to see stations across VK and the world come and try this new mode. It was disappointing that the ionosphere ‘flamed out’ when it did but this is not going to be the last time we rally FreeDV users to come together and have a go, so if you missed out making a contact today, stay tuned for the next event.

We would like to thank all stations that took part or listened in and hope to see you all next time!

Regards, The team from the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group!

3:30pm – Now beaming LP Europe on 14236kHz

We are now attempting contact with Europe long path using FreeDV 700B. OE3GBB is reporting 70% copy and S4-5 – unfortunately we cant hear his responses as we have S9 noise here. Still, it is impressive that we are being heard!

Update: we did achieve contact with OE3GBB using a remote receiving station!

2:00pm – back from lunch and working some locals

40m is working into VK2 this afternoon on FreeDV 700B mode with contacts to VK2KDK and partial contacts to VK1KV. We will continue to have VK100ANZAC calling CQ beaming east this afternoon on 40m.

11:45am – all quiet – unfortunately

Well, our attempt here in Australia at getting the VK100ANZAC callsign out on freeDV is not going real well. The ionosphere coupled with local power line noise (which has sprung up today) have combined to make 40m and 20m very quiet (or should I say very noisy) indeed. We are still calling CQ with the keyer on 40m (7175) in 700B mode and are intermittently calling/listening on 20m (14236) in 1600 mode, but we are not working many stations.

We will press on in the hope conditions improve as the day progresses.

11:00am – worked VK3DBP on 40m

One station that has been actively working us is VK3DBP who has made several contacts including one around 11am ACST on 40m. Congrats for your enthusiasm for this new digital HF voice mode!

So, what’s this700B mode you are talking about?

On August 25th, David VK5DGR released a new version of the FreeDV software labelled version 1.0.0. This new low 700bps bitrate mode has better signal to noise characteristics than the original 1600bps mode but lower quality audio.

You can get the latest version and give 700B mode a try from these links:

10:10am – worked VK2DGH on 700B

Great signal now heard from VK2DGH on 700B mode. Also getting good SNR reports from VK1MTS (Rx Only) of 10dB SNR to VK100ANZAC – thanks for listening and joining in!

09:47am – contacts into VK4

VK4CAG has just had a great contact with VK100ANZAC on FreeDV 1600 – SNR 15dB – excellent signal into Mannum (SA) today and VK1MTS reported decoding VK4CAG on IRC.

Sunday 13th: 09:35am ACST – QSY 40m 7175kHz

80m NVIS into Adelaide was fading so we have moved to 40m in anticipation of the end of the WIA broadcasts around the nation. Look for VK100ANZAC calling CQ on that channel.

Sunday 13th: 09:00am ACST

Now also worked VK5APR on 80m. Also getting good reports from Michael VK5ZEA in Port Lincoln and Jeff VK5IU in Murray Bridge

Working VK5KDK on FreeDV 700B on 80m 3634.5kHz


Sunday 13th: 8:30am ACST – Experiments on 80m

This morning we are trying our luck with 80m. Currently VK100ANZAC is calling on 3.634.5 to give the local VK5 stations an opportunity. We have worked VK5IU on 700B mode and are continuing to call CQ.

Michael VK5ZEA has been hearing us in Port Lincoln.

We will be on 40m, a little later in the morning right after the Sunday morning WIA broadcast.

20m activity has been attempted USA longpath but no joy and nothing heard. The ionosphere is still not cooperating.

The operation continues…..

Sunday 13th: Look out for VK100ANZAC FreeDV on 80m as well

Following the relatively poor HF conditions we have set up one of the FreeDV VK100ANZAC stations to now also operate on 3635kHz. We will intermittently operate that frequency today (particularly early in the morning). If you want to attempt a contact with us on 80m chat with us on the FreeDV qso finder or on the FreeDV IRC Channel online!

Status Update: Saturday 12th September 9pm-12am ACST

The day has arrived and we are on the air with VK100ANZAC for the AREG FreeDV QSO Party. Unfortunately the ionosphere is not being very cooperative tonight with our first planned activation and so far no contacts have been made on 20m. Very little is being heard on the band at all, but we are there listening and calling none the less.

We also are listening to 40m around 7177kHz. Contacts were attempted with VK6 on 40m, and while faint signals were being heard, no decodes were achieved.

Discussion on the FreeDV QSO Finder shows that there is a lot of interest around however with a number of US stations attempting contacts between themselves. If nothing else, this increased activity meets the goal of getting people to come and try FreeDV!

1150pm – just tried a contact with K5WH on 700B mode – might have detected a few syllables but that’s about all. The ionosphere is not playing nice tonight…

Earlier in the day Saturday 12th

6 contacts were achieved earlier in the day on 40m with local Australian stations. Most of those were achieved using the newly released 700B mode. 5 stations succeeded in contacting VK100ANZAC using it. This lower bitrate mode has proved much more resilient in the poor HF conditions being seen this weekend. So, if you have an older version of FreeDV installed, then consider upgrading to the latest version and give the new 700B mode a try. (see www.freedv.org for details)

(Note: unfortunately 700B mode isn’t supported as yet by the SM1000 hardware adaptors so to use it you will need the latest PC software).


Keep watching this web-post for updates on progress!

FreeDV QSO Party – QSL details for VK100ANZAC control station

The FreeDV International QSO party is coming up this weekend. Activity begins Saturday evening on the following schedule:

Bands and Times?

Various bands will be used, with thetiki-download_file2 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.

Many stations are already gearing up to take part and the operator team is getting ready to head to the station of Chris VK5CP for the weekend where the activity will originate from.

I’m a Foundation License holder – how can I get involved?

One of the very recent questions however was “How can Foundation Licensees take part in this event? While it is true Australian Foundation License holders can’t transmit FreeDV, they can still receive it. So why not have a go at installing the software on your PC, connect your radio’s audio output to your PC soundcard and have a listen around the bands for FreeDV signals!

You can provide feedback to the FreeDV operators during this weekend via Internet Relay Chat (IRC) on irc.freenode.net. (http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=freedv) via the #freedv channel.

The FreeDV QSO Finder will also be used during the weekend. You can take a look and monitor the action here: http://qso.k7ve.org/  Note that the login system for this page uses the HamQTH Callsign Database, which doesn’t have many newer Australian Callsigns. If you get a “Callsign not found” error, you will need to register at: http://www.hamqth.com/register.php If you are listening only, you can log in as “SWL”.

You can also send us an SWL QSL Card via www.eQSL.cc! When a user sets the SWL/HAM checkbox in his Profile to SWL, it automatically forces all incoming and outgoing cards to say ‘Confirming SWL Reception’ instead of the usual ‘This Confirms Our 2-Way QSO’. If you are an SWL, just make sure to go to My Profile and set yourself up as an SWL. If you are a ham, when you send an eQSL to an SWL, it will automatically put the correct wording into the card.eqsl-header

VK100ANZAC QSL Cards for this event

All amateurs can also receive a QSL card for working the VK100ANZAC freeDV station. The WIA VK100ANZAC QSL card policy is as follows:

QSL cards are softcopy only via:

vk100anzacLooking forward to working you all during the FreeDV QSO Party this weekend!


VK5ARG ILLW Activity 2015

On Saturday 15th Members of AREG participated in the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend event. AREG reserved the Marion Rocks Lighthouse – AU-0118 to operate as VK5ARG, while Peter VK5KX went over to Edithburgh on Yorke Peninsula and activated Troubridge Hill lighthouse.

Marino RocksDSC_6285

Bob, VK5FO and Ray, VK5RR arrived onsite at around 1pm in the cold and light rain. They took a walk from the carpark up to the Lighthouse in the Marino Conservation Park looking for a suitable place to set up the station.

DSC_6293A 5 minute walk up the hill to the Lighthouse – which is in a fenced enclosure in the middle of the conservation park, a bit of a walk around to admire the view to the West across the Gulf and to the North along the coast towards Adelaide, they could see that the rain was clearing. There was a suitable spot to set up a portable station about 50M from the lighthouse overlooking the Gulf.

Back at the Carpark, Gary, VK5FGRY had arrived and everyone made their way back up and set up the station. The station for this operation was a KX3 and an inverted V on 40M and also a 1/4Wave vertical on 20M

As we were setting up the weather cleared and we were lucky enough to have even better views towards the city and across the Gulf.


Peter VK5KX at Troubridge Hill (Yorke Peninsula)

Once set up, we started looking over the bands and came across another Club Member – Peter, VK5KX who was at Troubridge Hill Lighthouse – AU-0105 and made the first contact for the day at 0455UTC

2015-08-15 10.31.26

Peter VK5KX operating from Troubridge Hill near Edithburgh

2015-08-15 15.30.58

Peter VK5KX Station

Even though the bands were busy with the RD contest it was fairly steady going – conditions were only average.  The staion mainly worked 40M and tried 20m for a little while at around the time we would expect and EU activity – but only worked a single station on 20M.

Across the afternoon we had a relaxed time and worked a total of 18 stations with the mix of 2 RD contest stations, 7 other ILLW stations and 9 chasers.The team worked the following Lighthouses: AU-0105, AU-0029, AU-0017, AU-0107, AU-0110, AU-0079 and AU-0007 before packing up around 5pm local time.

All up a fun day was had by everyone involved. It was a great opportunity to undertake some portable operation from some unique landmarks! Congratulations to all involved who braved the wintry weather!

Photo Gallery

Gallery Photos courtesy Gary Hamilton VK5FGRY