AREG October Meeting: SATNOGs Satellite Gateways

The next meeting of the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group will be held on Friday October 20th @ 7:45pm at the newly renamed Fulham Community Centre.

Mark VK5QI will talk about the SatNOGS project, an open source project and community which is developing a worldwide network of satellite ground-stations, to help provide downlink capacity for the growing numbers of Low-Earth-Orbit cubesats being launched. Included will be a ‘worked example’, showing how you can set up a SatNOGS ground-station at a reasonably low cost.

After the presentation there will be a light supper available followed by an AREG business meeting. All members and visitors are welcome to attend so why not come along and find out more about whats happening in the world of automated satellite ground station technology?

The clubrooms are located off Phelps Court in Fulham. You can usually find members listening to the club repeater VK5RSB on 439.900 (91.5Hz CTCSS) if you need directions! Hope to see you there!

 

 

AREG News: September Meeting – Power Supplies

AREG’s next meeting is this coming Friday the 15th September at the Reedbeds Community Hall, Phelps Court Fulham, doors opening at 7:45 pm.

This coming meeting will be another in AREG’s Amateur Radio Beginners Series and the topic for this evening will be, Power Supplies.

Matthew, VK5ZM, will take people through the basics of power supplies, what their characteristics are and what do people need to look out for when selecting a power supply for Amateur Radio use. He will also discuss the pros and cons of Linear vs Switchmode and what makes a good or bad power supply.

AREG Repeater News:

We have noticed that VK5RSB 70cm appears to be dropping coverage. Our fault investigation team will take a look at our earliest opportunity but we suspect a problem with the antenna feeder or connectors. Also the VK5RWN D-STAR repeater is suffering from reduced performance due to mechanical issues with the antenna mounts. Plans are well underway to make repairs at both sites, which we hope will be completed in October.

Contesting news:

AREG is again making plans to mount a portable DX Contest Station for the Oceania DX Contest in October. This will be a QRO Multi-Multi station this year operating from a new site north of Adelaide. We hope to see other VK5’s get involved in this contest this year too, as it is your one opportunity to have the DX stations around the world pointing their antennas our way looking for us! The OCDX SSB contest is being held on the weekend of October 7th and 8th.

In DX News:

AREG wishes Grant VK5GR good luck in his activation of Niue starting next week. Grant should be heard across VK signing as E6AG, Echo 6 Alpha Golf, from September 14th through until September 25th on most HF bands. So keep a lookout for Grant and Grant, goodluck with your operations.

2017/18 Subscriptions now Due

Finally, all AREG members should note that their subscriptions are due for 2017/18. It is a great time to be a member of AREG and this year will be big, with the club turning 20 years old next July – who would have thought! Look out for some special activities throughout 2018 marking the occasion.

So remember folks, come along to AREG’s next meeting, it is this coming Friday evening, everyone is most welcome.

After the formal events, a light supper of tea, coffee and cake will be available whilst you can mingle, review and discuss the topics of the day.

 

AREG Committee 2017/18 Announced

The Annual General Meeting of the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group Inc was held on Friday August 18th 2017. At the meeting, the club said thank you first of all to two of it’s long standing committee members who stood down this year after many years of contributions. A big thank you to Ben VK5BB and Scott VK5TST (ex Secretary) for all of the work you have put into the committee and we hope you both enjoy more time now playing with radios and participating in club events!

Next, all positions were declared vacant, and nominations were called. As a result, the following is the committee membership for 2017/18:

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We wish to welcome those taking up new positions and those joining the committee for the first time in 2017/18!

All members should note that membership fees for 2017/18 will be due at the conclusion of the September meeting!

Annual General Meeting – Friday August 18th @ 7.45pm

The next meeting of the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group will be held on Friday August 18th, at the Reedbeds Community Hall, Fulham.

The doors will open at 7.45pm for an 8.00pm start.

To start the proceedings, the committee will recap the year’s events before moving into the reports and then the business of the meeting. All positions will be declared vacant and nominations will be sought.

The outgoing committee wishes to thank in particular Scott VK5TST and Ben VK5BB who have both indicated that they wish to step down in 2017/18. We look forward to new enthusiastic members joining the committee and continuing to drive the club forward as we enter the club’s 20th year!

A general meeting will follow the AGM, with a general coffee and cake discussion to be held afterwards. if you have a project you have been working on why not bring it along and show it off during the coffee discussions.

AREG in the 2017 Trans Tasman Low Band Challenge

UPDATE: The results have been published – VK5ARG came second in our multi-op division! Well done team!


On Saturday July 15th, AREG members VK5GR, VK5QI, VK5MTM and VK5IX gathered together with Steve VK5SFA at his QTH to participate in the Trans Tasman Low Band Challenge Contest  as VK5ARG. Originally planned as a portable operation, the portable activity was cancelled at the last minute due to a critical piece of equipment not being ready (the new club portable 160m loop antenna). The change of venue was deemed a fantastic outcome by all who participated as outside temperatures plummeted into the low single digits. Steve and his wife were fantastic hosts and we were able to operate the full 6 hours in luxurious conditions.

The station consisted of Steve’s IC7700 running either 80 or 160m on the Magnetic Loop antenna, while Grant’s K3 ran on 160/80/40m either on the 40m rotatable dipole or the 80/160m trapped dipole, depending on the combination we selected. We had hoped to also have a IC7000 dedicated to 40m, however the RFI from the MagLoop (one of their drawbacks it seems) was severe and rendered the second 40m station unusable. Something to learn from there when using the loop in later contests.

Four of us operated whilst one was there for moral support (guess which one (chuckle)). Activity came in bursts although there were times when the pickings were very slim and we called for many minutes without a bite. 40m was completely dead after dark, but not for want of propagation. When we did find someone (VK4HH) they were easily workable. It seems that 7MHz is forgotten in this contest after dark – perhaps unwisely so.

We also ran CW (having two gun CW operators helped) which filled in the dead patches  calling on SSB. We were going to try RTTY, but were still configuring the MicroHam keyer and hadn’t cracked the code of how to make it run with MMTTY and N1MM in time for the contest.

A highlight was the a number of contacts made with New Zealand stations this year. ZL contacts were achieved on 40, 80 and 160m, although on 160m it was often hard going.

The Transmitting Magnetic Loop Antenna we used for this contest on 80/160m

All up we made 211 contacts. Here is the map of where we worked

Thanks to everyone who participated from AREG and thanks also to all of the stations across VK/ZL who participated in this unique contest!

July General Meeting: Introduction to Antenna Modelling

The next AREG meeting will be held on Friday 21st July, starting at 7.45pm at the Reedbeds Community Centre, Fulham.

We are pleased to announce that the speaker for the July meeting will be Paul Lawson VK5SL. Paul will be introducing you to the basics of Antenna Modelling, and will demonstrate how to get started using the 4NEC2 program to examine antenna performance (4NEC2 is freely available on the Internet). He will take 3 of the antennas that Chris VK5SA described in his wire antennas for beginners talk a few months ago and show how you can visualize their radiation patterns and what their characteristics are on various frequencies.

In particular, Paul will show you how to model a basic dipole, a Windom (OCF Dipole) and an inverted V antenna, explaining how to define these in the software, what the components in the software do and how to set them to produce useful models of how the antenna is performing. This will be a great simple introduction to the topic of antenna modelling.

For those who then want to delve deeper, Paul has agreed later in the year to run a tech night where more complex antenna modelling will be examined for those who want to take it further.

We hope to see you at the club on Friday July 21st. Doors open at 7.45pm with the presentation getting underway at 8.00pm sharp.

AREG Next Meeting: Introducing LF and MF by Doc VK5BUG – 16th June

The next meeting of the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group Inc will be held on Friday June 16th, starting from 7.45pm at the Reedbeds Community Hall, Phelps Crt, Fulham.

The topic for this evening will be introducing LF and MF communications techniques, presented by David (Doc) Wescombe-Downs, VK5BUG. Doc is a pre-eminant authority on everything LF and MF in Australia, and is one of the modern pioneering amateur experimenters of these bands today. If you have ever wondered how on earth you can start using the 630 and 2200m bands from home, then come on down and hear Doc talk about whats possible.

Doc will also have a limited number of his books available to purchase for those taken with enough interest in the subject.

LowBand Book Promotion Flyer

After the presentation, there will be a short business meeting plus time to socialize and hear more about what happened at this year’s River Paddling Marathon (being run over the June long weekend and being supported by AREG and RRC).

You will find the clubrooms at the following address! We hope to see you there!

AREG Beginners Series: Introducing HF Wire Antennas – April 21st

Next AREG Meeting: Friday April 21st – 7.45pm

Continuing with our beginners series presentations this year, this month we have Chris VK5SA who will talk us through the basics of the simple wire HF antenna. He will explain the characteristics of a set of simple to build yet effective HF antennas that anyone can make, often for less than $100 worth of materials. He will show you the merits and limitations of several of them, including:

  • Basic Dipoles
  • Offset Centre Fed Dipole
  • Inverted V
  • Fan Dipole
  • Terminated Folded Dipole

Samples of how to build many of these will also be on hand for people to take a look at.

Meeting Time & Location

The meeting will be held at the Reedbeds Community Centre, located off of Phelps Court, in Fulham. The clubrooms will open at 7.45pm with the meeting to commence at 8.00pm sharp.

Tea, coffee and cake will be available for a small donation after the presentation. Following that, the monthly business meeting will be held.

As always, AREG meetings are open to everyone, so if you are interested in starting out on HF, then this is a great opportunity to hear about some simple antennas to get you underway!