A bit of history behind AREG – Written by Adrian VK5ZBR August 1998
I remember back in 1994 when Rod VK5UDX and I went on a radio service trip in the far North of South Australian. One town we did visit was Woomera,the town of space and rockets. After work we visited the local rocket museum and we were inspired to build something. Reading a US 73’s magazine back at the Eldo motel room we saw a story of how American hams were launching balloons at high altitudes with radio payloads, we must try this!!!
Back at work a week later we talked about what we saw and what we would like to do.You had to be there, to see a group of technicians jumping with idea’s. Ben VK5ABE (now VK5BB) suggested we involve schools, they could building scientific payloads for measuring upper atmosphere conditions. This way us hams could play around with what we really liked, RF!
Ben named the balloon idea as Project Skyhook. We still needed a name to recognise us few hams as a group. One suggestion was the Amateur Radio Satellite Experimenters. This didn’t go down well after we had looked at the acronym ARSE.
Well the next idea was much better, Amateur Radio Experiments Group, this had a ring to it, we did like this! Ben commenced in the investigation of insurance for such a group, no body wanted to insure a house brick floating at 100,000 feet “Sigh now what”.
Ben did find out, the weather bureau were willing to allow us to put a small payload on board one of their sonde balloons. The deal was that we would pay for the extra gas need for the extra lift.
Mean while Roy VK5ASY had idea’s of a live CCD video camera on board, Steven had other idea’s, he was more interested in making a rocket to carry the payload. Mark Grebe had even more ambitious thought, Why not build a satellite!!!
I did build a small light weight transmitter for Skyhook called AREG Phase One, but this became a test transmitter for my fox hunting kit. As you can see such a simple idea’s was becoming Sputnik. Sadly the idea did die, we all moved on to different to new projects.
Late 1996 the AREG club idea was reborn with an interest by Matt VK5ZMC (now VK5ZM), Grant VK5ZWI (now VK5GR) and Peter VK5TZX. Lots of electronic designs started to have the AREG logo, a group was needed to bring together all our skill into one working force. AREG was Incorporated in July 1998. There were 7 people that day that founded and joined the AREG.
Adrian VK5ZBR, 26 August 1998