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

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!

HORUS 48 Balloon Flight: Sunday 10.00am ACDT

As per the previous announcements on the AREG website, there will be a (small) balloon launch occurring this weekend. The current predictions for Sunday have the payloads landing to the south-east of Mannum (hopefully not in the river!).

Currently the prediction for Sunday looks the best in terms of recovery/distance/bakery factor, and also leaves Saturday free for some last-minute preparations! As usual, we’ll aim to launch around 10AM CDST, with the launch being conducted from the Mt Barker High School Oval.

This will be a fairly low-key launch, with a tiny balloon and tiny payloads, but visitors are still welcome! We’ll be on-site from around 9-9:30AM, and should have an ear out on VK5RSB 70cm.

The current prediction (noting this will probably change between now and Sunday!!) has us landing near Palmer just after 11AM – a very short flight! We’re using a 100g Totex balloon, so the expected burst altitude is only 11-12km.

UPDATE: We will now be using a 1000g Hwoyee balloon, but with a minimal amount of helium. Depending on what ascent rate we achieve, we may terminate the flight early for a landing near Mannum, or let it ascend to a potential height of 35km. Either way, the landing area is in the Mannum area.

Telemetry Information

The telemetry frequencies for the flight are as follows:

  • RTTY – ‘HORUS’ – 434.650 MHz  (100 baud, 425 Hz Shift, 7N2)
  • THOR16 – ‘THORUS’ – 434.640 MHz

Both payloads are running 10mW transmit power, and have essentially identical antennas.

DL-FLDIgi Setup for THOR16

As usual, use dl-fldigi to decode telemetry, but in the case of the THOR16 payload, you will have to manually select the operating mode from the drop-down list as follows:

The auto-configure capability for the RTTY payload (‘HORUS’) will work as usual, however you will have to manually select ‘HORUS’ from the payload drop-down list. Auto-configure will not work for the THOR16 payload.

If you have the capability of running two 70cm receivers, please consider running two instances of dl-fldigi to decode both payloads. This may require either multiple PCs, or multiple sound cards. If you can only run a single receiver, please try and alternate between the different telemetry payloads.

We would very much appreciate reports as to your experiences decoding the different telemetry payloads – please e-mail these through to vk5qi@rfhead.net

Tracking for the launch will be available on the HabHub online tracker. We hope to see you as part of the tracking nets!

Images and comments from the chase will be sent via Twitter, using the #horus48 hashtag.

73 de Mark VK5QI

REMINDER: Horus 48 Telemetry Test from Mt Lofty TOMORROW

THOR Receiver Tune & Test Day – Sunday 4th March ~10:30AM CDST

To help stations adapt to the new THOR16 signal, this coming Sunday there will be the opportunity for stations in the Adelaide metropolitan area to set up dl-fldigi as per the linked guide below and have a go receiving a higher-power version of the THOR16 signal. This will be broadcast from Mt Lofty Summit by Mark VK5QI. Mark will be on the VK5RSB 70cm repeater (439.900 -5MHz / 91.5Hz CTCSS) as ‘technical support’, to help assist setting up the software. The signal should be easily receivable from the Adelaide Metro area and some surrounds.

Look for the test signal on 434.640MHz

DL-FLDIgi Setup for THOR16

As usual, use dl-fldigi to decode telemetry, but in the case of the THOR16 payload, you will have to manually select the operating mode from the drop-down list as follows: