Next Meeting: 28th October – Digital 70cm ATV


NOTE: CHANGED WEEK THIS MONTH – 4th Friday – 28th October

The next meeting of the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group will be held on Friday October 28th, at the Reedbeds Community Hall, Fulham in Adelaide. The meeting time has been moved back one week in October and November this year due to the availability of the hall.

Digital Amateur Television on 446.5MHz


Steve Adler, VK5SFA will be giving a presentation of his experiments this year setting up a DVB-T ATV transmitter on the 70cm band. The discussion will include how others can get involved in these experiments, including how to receive the 446.5MHz Digital TV signals.

The system that Steve is experimenting with is using the same modulation standards as the main broadcasters. This means that at least some current TV sets can directly tune to the channel, while for others, the purchase of a cheap set top box from one of several retailers (for <$100) will get you access to Steve’s signal.

So why not come along and find out all about digital ATV?

The hall will be open from 7.45pm with the meeting starting at 8.00pm. Visitors are most welcome

AREG going to the Adelaide Maker Faire!


The Amateur Radio Experimenter’s Group is going to mount a display at the Adelaide Maker Faire this year. This will be a huge opportunity to promote Amateur Radio to School and University age people and their parents as a fun challenging activity to get your collective creative juices flowing in.

Members are currently in the process of constructing our display. If you want to get involved, contact Kim VK5FJ who is coordinating the event for the club


AREG Members Help out! Thanks from VK5GR

Being a member of a radio club has many advantages. Once of the not so obvious is when it comes time to engage in some mast construction. Grant VK5GR discovered just how helpful fellow club members were prepared to be today when over 10 members volunteered for the “Olympic Concrete Wheelbarrow Pouring Tryouts” at his QTH as the footings were finally poured for his new tilt over tower.

Having had the hole dug with an auger the day before, assistance came from many directions within the club, from a member welding up additional leveling steel-work for the base to the concrete laying relay team and the concrete finishing team who helped put the final touches on what in about 4 weeks will become a new HexBeam HF station.

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Digging the hole

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Pouring the Concrete

Membership of the club put Grant in touch will all of these helpers. So why not give it some thought. There is more to being a member of your local radio club than just attending meetings and using the club repeater systems

Thanks to VK5FDEN, VK5SA, VK5ZM, VK5BB, VK5FJ, VK5IX, VK5KX, VK5JG, VK5TST, VK5FGRY and VK5FSAW for all of your help and support. It is very much appreciated!

Report: AREG Participation in OCDX SSB Contest

Oceania DX Contest VK5ARG Field Day station Cancelled

Despite the weather, AREG members still made sure that the club call-sign VK5ARG was heard on the bands for the Oceania DX Contest, albeit from the QTH of one of our members and not from the planned portable operation. The unprecedented weather system that rolled through South Australia in the days before the contest, coupled with the storms that arrived Sunday meant that the field day activation simply wasn’t possible this year.

Courtesy Bureau of Meteorology

Courtesy Bureau of Meteorology

Relocation to the Murray Mallee activated as plan C

In order to get VK5ARG on the air, a hasty retreat was made to the Murray Mallee where Chris VK5CP has his remote station. There we had access to two stations covering 20-10m and 40-10m respectively. On the Friday afternoon we also erected a temporary antenna to give us access to 80m and 160m for the contest!

Getting ready to raise the 80/160m dipoles from the top of the cliff (Photo courtesy VK5MTM)

Getting ready to raise the 80/160m dipoles from the top of the cliff (Photo courtesy VK5MTM)

Most of the crew who planned to activate Para Wirra Park made the journey out to the Mallee and so we were able to man 3 stations when required. Those who participated were:


The contest itself was also hard going. The sun and the ionosphere did not cooperate well. This was reflected in the score achieved. At one point during the contest the T-Index map looked like this:

T-Index Map during the OCDX Contest 2016 (courtesy BOM Space Weather Division)

T-Index Map during the OCDX Contest 2016 (courtesy BOM Space Weather Division)

It made for some peculiar propagation. 15m was open for a time when no contacts could be had on 20m during the day on Sunday. At night, we also had some great signals on 80m including contacts to the US West coast and the Mariana Islands. 40m however was our standout band, having extended openings to the USA Saturday evening and to Europe Sunday early morning.


Campfire during OCDX 2016 (Photo Courtesy VK5MTM)

Campfire during OCDX 2016 (Photo Courtesy VK5MTM)

Overall, a great time was had despite the difficult propagation. Everyone enjoyed themselves.

The final score achieved was:

AREG Oceania DX Contest Points (Provisional)
Band QSOs Pts Pfx Pt/Q
1.8 9 180 4 20.0
3.5 37 370 14 10.0
7 448 2240 254 5.0
14 104 104 63 1.0
21 213 426 109 2.0
28 2 6 1 3.0
Total 813 3326 445 4.1
Score: 1480070
1 Mult = 1.8 Q's

A very special thanks must be expressed to Chris VK5CP who bailed us out when the weather threatened to scuttle our participation completely. Thanks also goes to all of the contest organizing committee, band captains, operators and support crew who did make the trek out to the Murray Mallee to operate and support VK5ARG, including: VK5AKH, VK5ZM, VK5XFG, VK5GR, VK5MTM, VK5KX, VK5QI, VK5IX, VK5FGRY, VK5FSAW and last but not least VK5CP!

Thanks also goes to everyone who worked very hard preparing the station over the preceding 3 months. Don’t fear, your efforts have not been in vain as a suitable activation of the park will be planned in the near future (so that all of the work can be put to the test).

Till next year! 73s de VK5ARG!

Oceania DX Contest: VK5ARG will still be on the air!

Given the weather and park access situation we are faced with, the AREG has taken up the very kind offer from one of our members to still participate in the Oceania DX Contest from his remote QTH.

You will still find VK5ARG on the bands, although with fewer transmitters than originally planned. Hope to hear you on the air calling CQ DX CONTEST!

VK5ARG/P Para Wirra Park This Weekend Cancelled

AREG OCDX Contest Field Day Event


Due to the unprecedented weather in SA over the last few days, National Parks South Australia have advised that Para Wirra Park will again be closed today. This has lead to AREG making the decision to cancel the planned activities in the park.

Operation in the contest will still go ahead but from a private location. See further reports for updates.

The Amateur Radio Experimenters Group is again entering the Oceania DX SSB Contest over the October long weekend (October 1st and 2nd).

The club is once more mounting a major portable operation from Para Wirra Recreation Park. VK5ARG will be active on all bands from 160-10m during the contest using 5 QRO (high power) stations.

Station Visitors Most Welcome!

As has been the case the last couple of years, the station construction will commence from Friday morning, with the aim of having the major components operational no later than midday Saturday. This provides an ideal opportunity for members, but more importantly general amateurs and members of the community, to come along and “have a try”. AREG will be turning the station over to all takers for the hours before the contest so that people can experience operating the station.

To come and visit, you will need to head to Para Wirra Recreation Park, You will find us here. For those who pre-register, there will be catering available on a “Pay as you Go” basis for modest prices. The station will be active for the full 24hrs from 0800 UTC Saturday to 0800UTC Sunday. Visitors should call the station on 2m (146.550) when you reach the park.


Para Wirra Park Map

The Station: VK5ARG/P

The station will be substantial with full size rotatable dipoles on 40m, a 3 element beam on 20m, a Spiderbeam for 15m and 10m and full size dipoles on 160m and 80m. All stations will be running 400W. It is certainly impressive to see the arrays of antennas in use during the event…..

Qualification of World Wide Flora and Fauna park: VKFF-1739

Back in May 2016, the Para Wirra Recreation Park was redesignated a conservation park, and so it now qualifies for the world wide flora and fauna awards program as well. As the station is operating in the OCDX contest we wont be conducting the usual publicity of a parks activations. However, contacts with VK5ARG/P will still qualify for the VKFF-1739 park! We will ensure the log is uploaded to the Parks and Peaks database at the conclusion of the activation. You may also find us on air testing from as early as Friday night through to Sunday night.

So look out for us calling CQ during the contest, and if you are in the Adelaide area, come on up to Para Wirra Conservation Park and say hello! We would love to see you!


10/15m Station illuminated at night – Starlapse by VK5GR


Horus 37: Flight Success!

We are pleased to report that the high altitude balloonhorus-logo-black flight of Horus 37 has been a success. The AREG Project Horus launch crew carried out the flight for Launchbox, a group which engages with the STEM programs (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) in schools across the state.

Lift off was from Mt Barker High School at 10.00am, with landing occurring approximately 15km east of Mannum about 3 hours later.

8 payloads went aloft this flight. 5 from Launchbox and 3 from AREG. The new one for AREG was the experimental SSDV transmitter, which delivered live images from the balloon for a portion of the flight.


Launch was conducted under challenging conditions with squalls and wind gusts arriving about 20 minutes before liftoff. This caused considerable consternation from the launch team who were for a few minutes at risk of loosing or damaging the balloon before we had even gotten off the ground. However, through the skillful handling of the balloon by the AREG team, catastrophe was averted.

Once the balloon payload train was assembled, the countdown got underway. The weather eased and the flight finally got away safely.

Images from the Flight Ground Preparation and Launch

The Flight

The flight itself went well, although it had to be terminated earlier than planned. The team did not want it landing in the River Murray.


Flight Track from half way through the flight


Final Balloon Track –

Lots of stations participated in the telemetry collection (thank you for your contribution).

SSDV Experimental Payload – ‘Wenet’

As indicated above, this flight carried a first time payload for AREG. Mark VK5QI and David VK5DGR have been working on a slow scan digital image payload for the balloon system which alternates between 19.2kbit/s and 115kbit/s on a new downlink channel. This system makes uses of the UKHAS SSDV server to stitch together images from packets uploaded by multiple receivers. To help this along during this flight, Andrew VK5AKH and Scott VK5TST headed to the back of the Mt Lofty ranges after launch and collected as much of the SSDV picture feed they could for relay to the internet.

Andrew VK5AKH and Scott VK5TST’s setup for SSDV

The SSDV capture software currently runs under Linux, with a screenshot of it running in a Virtual Machine on VK5QI’s CarPC below. The software is open source and can be found on GitHub. 

(courtesy Mark VK5QI)

In this case, the modem software is still very much under development, without any FEC capability currently. David VK5DGR and Mark VK5QI are continuing to develop the system and you may see it fly again in the near future with some enhancements.

The following is the Gallery of the shots taken by the camera received on SSDV during the flight:

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The following are some of the pictures downloaded from the camera after the flight:

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Landing and Recovery

The chase crew were lucky this time and were able to see the payloads land from about 400m away. It landed in a patch of scrub on the edge of a wheat field. After about a 1km hike we were able to successfully recover them. They landed in a patch of mallee scrub, so there was some judicious nudging required to bring them safely to the ground.

At the end of the day, here was the crew that undertook the payload recoveries


Flight Statistics

Horus 37 - Launchbox STEM Flight September 2016
Metric Result
Flight Designation: Horus 37 – LaunchBox STEM Sept 16
Launch Date: 18/9/2016 00:46:14 UTC
Landing Date: 18/9/2016 02:57:10 UTC
Flight Duration: 2 Hours 11 Minutes
Launch Site: -35.07628 138.85695
Landing Site: -34.9198 139.4287
Distance Traveled: 55.1 km
Maximum Altitude: 27,917 m


AREG would firstly again like to thank Launchbox for the opportunity to be part of the STEM program in schools. We also want to thank all of the team who came out today in somewhat cold and wet conditions to get the launch off the ground. The team included: Matt VK5ZM, Mark VK5QI, Grant VK5GR, Andrew VK5AKH, David VK5DGR, Scott VK5TST, Kim VK5FJ, Gary VK5FGRY, Josh VK5JO and Scott VK5TST.

Thanks also to the amateur ground stations who made the effort to receive telemetry and provide it to the tracking data pool online:


Without you these flights are that much more difficult!

73’s de Project Horus

AREG FreeDV WIA Sunday Broadcast not going to air this week

AREG wishes to advise that the FreeDV HF digital voice WIA Broadcast relay will not be run this week due to the team being fully engaged with the Horus balloon flight. Service should resume next week at 10am ACST on 7177kHz.