AREG June Meeting tomorrow night!

The June meeting of the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group will be held Friday June 15th, starting at 7.45pm. There will be no formal presentation this month. Instead, after the business meeting to be held at 8.00pm there will be an opportunity for a members show and tell.

Bring along your latest gadget and give people a chance to look and see!

The meeting will be held at the Fulham Community Centre, off Phelps Court, Fulham. Hope to see you there!

New FreeDV 700D HF Digital Voice Mode

Many amateurs are experimenting with various digital voice modes, such as Yaesu System Fusion C4FM, D-STAR and DMR etc, mostly on the VHF and UHF bands. Did you know, however that there is also a digital voice mode for HF radio operation that was specifically designed by amateur radio experimenters?

FreeDV, based on a fully open source codec known as Codec2, has been created by David Rowe VK5DGR in collaboration with a team spread across the globe.

FreeDV is enabling amateur radio enthusiasts to experiment with new open source digital based voice transmission techniques on the High Frequency (HF) bands.  While text based HF digital modes are common, FreeDV is the first new VOICE mode for HF since SSB was introduced in the 1950s and 60s.

New version of FreeDV – 700D announced

Over the past 18 months or more, David and his team have been busy working to improve the lower bit rate versions of FreeDV. The original system, released as FreeDV 1600, was based on a 1600bits/sec data stream, but was a few dB off being equal with SSB. Now, David is pleased to announce that the new FreeDV 700D mode is ready for wider trials.This new version uses a 700 bit/s speech voice codec, powerful forward error correction, and a new modem to send digital speech over HF radios.

What is really exciting however is that testing of FreeDV 700D has demonstrated that it is outperforming SSB on poor channels! Here is a demo of SSB, followed by FreeDV 700D, on a poor quality 3,200 km path between Adelaide and the Bay of Islands, in New Zealand.

Where can I get it?

You can run FreeDV using any PC set up for digital modes, using the FreeDV 1.3 GUI program, which you can download from freedv.org.

Where can I find FreeDV activity?

Australian FreeDV activity is typically on 7.177 and 14.236 MHz. You can also coordinate FreeDV QSOs using the FreeDV QSO finder at qso.freedv.org

So why not try the new FreeDV 700D mode, and join us in experimenting with it on the HF bands!

Next AREG Meeting Friday May 18th – RF Connector Myths Dispelled

Like most Amateur Radio operators your shack probably contains a plethora of different RF connectors linking radios to tuners, antennas, amplifiers, receivers etc. Have you ever wondered why there are so many varieties? Have you ever wondered which ones are the right ones to use in a given situation? Do you run high power and have you considered whether your connectors are up to the task, especially if you are dealing with high VSWR leading towards your tuner?

Our guest speaker this month is Matt VK5ZM, who will take you through the different types of connector and provide an insight into their design and the criteria to consider when choosing them for your installation.


The meeting will start at 7.45pm at the Fulham Community Centre, off Phelps Court in Fulham (formerly known as the Reedbeds hall) with the presentation starting at 8.00pm. Following the meeting, tea coffee and cake will be served followed by a club business meeting.

Visitors are most welcome to come along – the meeting is open to everyone. We would love to see you down at the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group!

River Paddling Marathon 200: Practice Day This Saturday!

In preparation for the RPM200 there will be an opportunity to run through the practice for checkpoints at Murray Bridge this Saturday the 5th May.

Why are we getting together? We are honing our skill at spotting paddlers on the river for their back to back event, which in turn is a practice for the RPM. Getting the opportunity to practice scribing the paddlers numbers while they are on the far side of the river will help prepare us for tracking at checkpoints. This event will also help us understand what equipment we will need for the RPM. An afternoon sitting  beside the river isn’t a bad thing either, with a sausage or two sizzling on the BBQ.

What time: Arrive at the reserve at 12:00pm for the BBQ, with the first paddlers arriving around 1:00pm, through until around 4pm.

What to bring;

  • Lunch, offerings to the BBQ, drinks etc.
  • Hat, sun screen, jumper
  • Table and Chair
  • Optical amplification, ie binoculars
  • Pen & paper
  • Hand held radio

Where will you find us? Under the shelter at the Murray Bridge Foreshore Reserve;

Liaison on 439.025MHz FM Simplex.

If you are coming to participate, please let us know; kimhawtin@gmail.com

IRLP Node 6214 back on air!

The AREG IRLP node 6214 via VK5RSB 70cm is now back on air and available for general use.

The IRLP nodes “new” computer is now a Raspberry Pi 2, with modifications to the IRLP board to allow for operation on 3 volts as is used by the Raspberry Pi.

During both the morning and afternoon drive times, Monday to Friday, the node 6214 will be off line. It is available all the time Saturday and Sundays.

Weekday morning:

  • off at 07:00am
  • on at 09:30am

Weekday afternoon:

  • off at 3:00pm
  • on at 7:00pm

Access for IRLP operation still requires the current issued access code.

(details may be found at  http://www.areg.org.au/activities/irlp-node-6214)

DTMF “0” is the only “free” access to advise the status of the IRLP linking.

I will write up a blog report with photos for the AREG web pages in due course.

Feedback on the IRLP operations is most welcome, might need to make some level adjustments???

Ben VK5BB

AREG IRLP Node 6214 Administrator

AREG Members Decoding SSTV from Space!

Captured by VK5QI SatNOGS gateway

AREG members across VK5 have been enjoying the latest series of SSTV broadcasts from the International Space Station this week coming from RS0ISS. The following from the AMSAT UK website tells more:

ARISS Russia is planning a special Slow Scan Television (SSTV) event April 11-14 from the International Space Station in celebration of Cosmonautics Day.

The transmissions are to begin on April 11 at 11:30 UT and run through April 14 ending at 18:20 UT.

Supporting this event is a computer on the ISS Russian Segment, which stores images that are then transmitted to Earth using amateur radio, specifically the onboard Kenwood TM-D710E transceiver.

Transmitted images will be from the Interkosmos project period of the Soviet space program https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interkosmos

The transmissions which were coordinated with the ARISS scheduling team, will be made on 145.800 MHz FM using the PD-120 SSTV mode.

The pictures here were captured by Theo VK5MTM, Graham VK5EU and Mark VK5QI in Adelaide on the 144MHz band using FM receivers.


Photos captured by Theo VK5MTM

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Photos Captured by Graham VK5EU

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April Meeting: Project Horus Update

The next meeting of the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group will be held on Friday 20th April starting at 7.45pm. The presentation will be given by Mark VK5QI on the latest developments with the new telemetry systems and modes that are being developed and show how you can become involved. The talk will cover:

  • Results of the recent THOR16 test flight
  • A progress report on modifying the Bureau of Meteorology RS41 RadioSondes
  • An introduction to the new MFSK modem being developed

Members will also be introduced to a new proposed member payload launch program. It’s aim is to encourage experimentation and technical development among club members in the area of high-altitude balloon payload development.

Visitors as always are MOST WELCOME! You will find us at the Fulham Community Centre, Phelps Court, Fulham!

APRIL FOOLS: AREG Launches new “World Wide Car Parks” awards program!

Are you an Awards chaser?

An urban worker?

Have a young family that takes up all of your waking weekend hours ?

Do you find you just don’t have the time to go bush or climb
those lofty summits to participate in programs like WWFF or SOTA?

Then this new award is for you!

Many amateur operators today live in situations that prevent them accessing the great outdoors either during the week or the weekend. Perhaps your commute is your only radio activity, or maybe you are lucky and you’re “mobile” whilst at work but only have 2m/70cm FM on board. So much of our lives are spent driving to and from car-parks that there has to be another way to have the same amount of fun as the park and summits activator. So, the “Awards Team” at AREG put their thinking caps on and asked themselves – how can we enhance the amateur radio experience for those who find themselves in such circumstances?

Introducing the World Wide Car Parks Award!

The aim is to contact at least 42 points worth of contacts to qualify the car-park for an award. Points are awarded per contact based on a number of factors outlined in the rules below. The more car parks you qualify multiplied by the sum of all contact points accumulated then contribute to your leader-board score. It is as simple as that!

Once you have made and logged the contacts, you can submit them to our new awards site (details below). Once your contacts are confirmed you will automatically be emailed your award.

The Rules

VALID CONTACTS

  1. you must be located in a car park when making the contact to qualify for the award. Car park in this definition means a formal area/building set aside for parking cars that is not part of a street or road. (I.e. must be in a parking station – street parking is not accepted). There is an exception however to this rule which is if you are on a designated freeway (where parking is not normally permitted) and are moving at less than 5 kilometres/hour (3.1miles/hour).
  2. a contact must use some form of Amateur Radio somewhere in the process of communicating and include an exchange of call-signs, signal reports and car-park identifiers.
  3. a car park identifier will simply consist of the program prefix for your country, the first 4 letters of your grid square and then the street address of the car park. For example, VKCP-PF95-67FranklinStAdelaide+07. (we thought of serialising each car park like they do in WWFF however there are so many that we felt we would never keep up). The last number is important as it is the level of the car park you are operating from and affects the points awarded.

CONTACT POINTS

This is where the challenge lies. How many contacts you need to make to qualify a car park depends on the type of car park you choose and how you make the contact.

4. You get a bonus points for the type of car park and the floor number you operate from. So a contact made from an indoor parking station earns you:

  • Level 5 and above is worth 1 point
  • Level 4 is 2 points
  • Level 3 is 3 points
  • Level 2 is 4 points
  • Level 1 is 5 points (this is the ground floor)
  • 1 level below ground is 10 points
  • 2 levels below ground is 20 points
  • 3 or more levels below ground is 50 points

If you make a contact from an open air ground level car park each contact is only worth 1 point.

Contacts from a freeway moving less than 5km/h (3.1mph) count for 2 points always unless they are in an underground tunnel in which case they are worth 10 points x the length of the tunnel you are travelling through in kilometres.

5. Multipliers are available based on the nature of the contact. Scoring is then calculated based on the number of points total multiplied by the sum of all multipliers.

(a) Simplex contacts are worth 2 multipliers

(b) Use of repeaters, Hotspots, Echo link etc is allowed but do not add any multipliers.

  • in addition, the use of a DMR/Fusion/DSTAR hotspot over cellular provided internet to make the contact will only qualify where the car park in question does not have a cellular in building coverage antenna system inside it.
  • use of EchoLink only qualifies if connected over Cellular Internet and there is no in building cellular antenna system in the car park.

(c) The sum of all DXCC worked per car park can be added as a multiplier. (Note a special talk group on DMR will be established for the awards program plus new Fusion, DSTAR and Echolink conference channels so that the program does not impact day top day repeater operations).

6. Additional multipliers are available for the following activities:

  • Getting Locked in the car park over night – 50 multiplier points
  • Using car park infrastructure as an antenna – 20 multiplier points (Note 1)
  • Operation on MF from an indoor car park – 100 multiplier points (Note 2)
  • Operation on HF and 6m from an indoor car park – 10 multiplier points (Note 3)
  • The following is then a sliding scale as you move up in frequency:
    • 2m = 1 multiplier points
    • 70cm = 3 multipliers points
    • 23cm = 5 multiplier points
    • 13/9 and 6cm = 10 multiplier points
    • 3cm and above = 20 multiplier points
  • Car park to Car park contacts are worth 2 multiplier points

Note 1 – setting off the building fire alarms when transmitting using car park infrastructure will result in a disqualification!
Note 2 – only qualifies if the contact made from levels that are below ground
Note 3 – double points if doing this while driving in the car park and NOT destroying car park lighting infrastructure

AWARD ENDORSEMENTS

7. Special endorsements are available for types of vehicle and transmitted power level as well. These are expected to be sought after additions to your awards certificate.

  • RV and Van category – but only if the applicant has made indoor car park contacts from these vehicles without damaging car park infrastructure. (Indoor Car parks with high clearance are rare hence the value of this endorsement)
  • Motorbike MF category
  • QRP Category – less than 5W
  • Self Powered QRO Category – more than 100W PEP
  • Assisted Power QRO Category – more than 400W PEP – only valid from Tesla charging stations – see notes earlier about the fire systems
  • Hi-Rise Rooftop Parkour assisted Handheld Operation (qualifies for a special Hi-Rise on the Air (HOTA) award endorsement)

LOG SUBMISSION AND CERTIFICATES

To obtain your award, you need to work the required contacts and submit a log to the following web page. http://www.areg.org.au/Logs

If your log is accepted you will be emailed your certificate of achievement!

All logs must be received before April 1st each year in order to be considered for each year’s Honour roll so get cracking and see how many stations you can work!

Good Luck!

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

A. AREG is in no way to be held liable for your actions or behavior in a car park. You are expected to follow the rules of the car park operators at all times and always comply with the directions of security staff. If you have the SWAT team called on you for suspicious activities that is your issue.

B.AREG is not liable for any car parking fees you incur in acquiring contacts for this award. All parking costs are your own responsibility.

C. Self spotting is permitted. The committee is considering a bonus points scheme for the number of social media outlets one individual can find to alert people to their presence. There is a special trophy available if you manage to self spot by calling a commercial radio talk-back show and talking about what you are doing provided you get your operating frequency broadcast over the respective AM or FM station concerned.

D. Disputes with award scoring or validity will only be considered by the AREG committee once a year on April 1st before midday. Disputes must be forwarded to the correct galaxy and be filed in the cabinet at the bottom of the broken stairs in the draw above the one marked beware of the leopard in order for them to be considered by the committee. Don’t forget to take a torch as the light is broken.