Australian Contesting Technical College – Friday 19th May 3-5pm

Have you ever wanted to learn about contesting but didn’t know where to start? Did you ever want to learn the secrets of how the big stations earn their scores? Well now is your chance!

In May, AREG will be hosting a special event immediately prior to the WIA AGM in Adelaide. On Friday 19th at 3:00pm, the club proudly invites you to attend the “Australian Contesting Technical College”, presented by Trent Sampson VK4TS. The venue will be the clubrooms, located at the Reedbeds Community Hall, in Fulham (5 minutes from the airport for those around Australia flying in who would like to attend). This once in a lifetime event is open to anyone with an interest in Amateur Radio Contesting.

Trent VK4TS with Alan VK4SN

Trent Sampson VK4TS is the Contest Columnist for AR magazine and a member of the Lambda Contest Group who operate under the Callsign VK4KW and holds many records in Multi Operator categories in SSB RTTY and CW.

During the 2 hour session, Trent will discuss setting up a modern contest station for SO2R (SIngle Operator 2 Radios) operation as well as Multi operator station considerations, including equipment selection, interfacing, and antenna selection.

The Antenna selection part will include a real life appraisal of a contest location (likely to be one of the AREG sites) and how well it will work using High-Frequency Terrain propagation analysis.

When considering software, Trent will discuss examples of how to use the most popular software and the lessons learned from it.

Topics Covered will include:

  • Multi Operator Stations,
  • SO2R Operation
  • Filtering; Bandpass and Coax Stub,
  • Antenna selection Software usage,
  • N1MM with examples of SSB RTTY and CW.

So organise your Rostered Day Off now, or arrange to get into Adelaide a little bit earlier that day if travelling from interstate and make your way to the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group clubrooms for this once off special event!

AREG Members note: this is in addition to the May Meeting, the hall will close between 5:30 and 7:30 then reopen for the normal monthly meeting. As always visitors are welcome.


Where to find AREG

John Moyle Field Day Contest 2017 – Get Out There!

The John Moyle Memorial Field Day Contest is fast approaching, due to be held on the weekend of March 18th and 19th this year. While AREG is not mounting a major club station this year, it is, as it did last year, encouraging as many members as possible to take to the road and activate portable for the contest.

The contest runs from 0100 UTC (11.30am ACDT) Saturday to 0059 UTC Sunday (11:30am ACDT). Full details of the event’s rules can be found on the WIA’s website: www.wia.org.au

At least two members have indicated that they will be on air portable (VK5GR and VK5AKH). Even if you cant mount a portable station, why not enter the home station category? Activity on the bands is the name of the game from 160m to Microwave! Dont forget digital modes and CW as well, as there are categories for them too.

Looking forward to working everyone during this years field day event!

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:

ocdx-operator-list

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.

Conclusion

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

CANCELLED!

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.

OCDX-StationLocationMap-2015

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!

spiderbeamd3100jmmfdstacked_00000295-medium

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

 

AREG RD Contest 2016: Member Activity Report

RD Contest Trophy

RD Contest Trophy

The Remembrance Day Contest for 2016 has come and gone. AREG was well represented this year with a number of home stations as well as three portable efforts making their presence felt across the bands.

Three members, VK5AKH, VK5MTM and VK5GR banded together to form a three station team this year. Named “AREG: Mostly Harmless!”, it gave the club an avenue to participate in the contest whilst also allowing individuals to also work for an individual score. It will be very interesting to see how they placed!

A further three members, VK5WTF, VK5QI and VK5KX also gave it a go! The following are the stories from those who took part:


Andrew VK5AKH – Portable Sedan

Andrew headed out to a remote site and set up a formidable station. He finished up with 286 contacts and 294points. it was a fair effort to built this station as a single op on Saturday morning and as hard as he was pushing he missed the start of the contest. The 3.5+ hours of assembly had its toll later in the evening when he was a little tired. Next time antennas will be set up on the Friday leaving me fresh for an evening. A good time was had…

TfJuOjR

Power

Station was powered by a Honda EU20i Generator with extended run fuel tank. Generator did not stop the whole contest.
62YRlvL (Medium)

Home Away From Home

Tent and Camp Kitchen Setup.
Ob7ZYbv (Medium)

Operating Station

Radio IC 7600 Amplifier KPA500 Logging MBP with Second monitor (for band Scope that did not work 🙁 ) Rotator Controller Linear Power Supply. Not Shown:  Foot Switch Flightcom Headset (that worked very well 😀 ) 500W blower heater to attempt to keep feet warm. F Pile of empty Coopers Dark Ale and FUIC Strong Cartons.

Antenna 20m

Folding HexBeam with Rotator

QxAlxnP (Medium)Antennas Low Bands

Foreground: SFA special, elevated feed vertical tuned with SGC230, with 8 tape measures as the radials. Background: 40m Inverted Vee on new Fibreglass Push Up.
VATH1r7

Grant VK5GR – Portable Tickera (Spencer Gulf)

Grant set off Friday night from Adelaide and arrived in Tickera, on the eastern shore of Spencer Gulf around 8.00pm. Station setup began bright and early Saturday morning. By 9.30am the basic station was running, so the extra time was put to use adding 160m dipole elements to the 80/40/20m mix. This was the multi-band resonant dipole’s first outing and it proved to be a very good field performer. After the contest it even allowed a quick PSK31 contact to Reunion Island on 20m no less!

During the contest, Grant made a point of operating for as many hours as possible, stopping only for ~1.5hrs around 5am for a quick nap. The effort paid off with 469 contacts and a total of 664 points (thanks to the graveyard shift multipliers). 160m paid off handsomely as well, with 41 contacts and almost a worked all VK Call areas in 8 hours (except for VK1 who didnt appear on the band). This was the first time Grant had operated on 160m and with luck now wont be the last!

Grant also experimented with RTTY this contest. While there were very few RTTY stations around, those he did work certainly helped his score, including his first 160m digital contact into VK4!

vk5gr-stats

VK5GR Contest Statistics


Theo VK5MTM – Home Station

Theo managed a Personal Best of 286 QSO’s/300 points. Operating from home, he had to battle solid S9 noise on 40m during the daytime and plasma TV noise 80% of the time on 20m (neighbour’s TV). Even so, a very respectable score was achieved!

VK5MTM-RD


Marcus VK5WTF – Portable Red Banks Conservation Park (near Burra)

Marcus (ex VK3TST) also headed out portable, but took a different slant on things. His intention was to go QRP phone from the get go, but to build a bigger than usual station. He also made the decision not to stay up, and admits that probably hurt his score, a lot, 83 points were gained in the hour before 6am.

Marcus’ Score was:

Contacts / Band
Band Number
160m 23
80m 71
40m 98
20m 38
QSOs: 230 Points: 313

His radios included a Yaesu FT-817 (not the ND) and a Yaesu FT-857D.

Antennas: 80/40 fan dipole, 20/15 vertical, 20m sloping yagi (supposedly pointing west), 160m EFHW. As far as antennas went, the poor attempt at a sloping wire yagi was full of fail. It must have been so close to the ground that it turned into an inverted-V. Marcus is thinking of making a 20/15 moxon for next time.

He also indicated that the highlight of his contest was a 160m contact with VK2IO, both portable in parks running QRP! A distance of roughly 1100km.

The ability to run a second radio was thanks to VK5QI who loaned him a 100A AGM battery. The rest of the station (817 & laptop) coped with 2x 12Ah SLAs a few Li-Ion pack to top up the batteries and 10+18W solar system. The 857 was the only thing hooked up to the AGM battery.


Mark VK5QI – Home Station

Mark decided to try out his new antennas and amplifier to see how he went. His tally was

Contacts / Band
Band Number
160m 10
80m 49
40m 249
20m 47
QSOs: 355 Points: 365

Mark commented that he was surprised:

  • That I could actually work people on 160/80m. The long-wire does actually seem to work! (Now to find a SG-235…)
  • The beam wasn’t that useful on 20m. I kept having to swing it around between VK6 and VK1/2/3/4, which got a bit annoying.
  • 400W certainly makes it easy to be heard – If I could hear someone, I could work them!

Peter VK5KX – Home Station

Peter admits his was a token effort – but he had fun (which is the main thing!)

Contacts / Band
Band Number
160m 1
80m 24
40m 85
20m 18
15m 1
10m 3

Overall, AREG was very well represented on the bands, and most of all everyone had fun!

See you next year on the Remembrance Day Contest!


Acknowledgements: Thanks to VK5AKH, VK5WTF, VK5GR, VK5MTM, VK5QI and VK5KX for their individual photo and text contributions to this article.

AREG Members entering RD Contest 2016

Members of the Amateur Radio Experimenters

RD Contest Trophy

Group are banding together to form teams to participate in this year’s Remembrance Day Contest to be held on Saturday August 13th and Sunday August 14th 2016. The contest starts at 0300UTC and runs for 24hrs.

Andy VK5AKH, Theo VK5MTM and Grant VK5GR are forming one of the AREG teams. They will be operating from Sedan, Mansfield Park and Tickera respectively. Their team team is “AREG: Mostly Harmless”. We are hoping to field at least one other team as well!

Several of us are planning on operating in the mixed modes section as well, using both RTTY/CW and SSB. All participants are encouraged to listen for RTTY contacts throughout the contest.

Full details of the contest can be found on the WIA Website.

Oceania DX Contest 2016: Planning Meeting FRIDAY 29th July

OceaniaDXContest-in-CenturyGothic-horiz-930

AREG is again planning on participating as a Multi-Multi portable station in this year’s OCDX contest. Planning for the station has been quietly underway for some time, however now that we are only a couple of months out, it is time to get serious!

To move things along, an AREG OCDX planning meeting will be held at the Clubrooms, Reedbeds Community Hall, Fulham starting at 6pm on Friday 29th July (tomorrow). The meeting is open to anyone who wishes to come along and contribute to the station construction or operation. A group collection to fund Pizza and the room hire will be conducted at the start of the night.


Contest Countdown!

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