July AREG Meeting: HF Pedestrian Mobile with Peter VK3YE

AREG is pleased to announce that our next guest speaker will be Peter VK3YE who will talk about operating on HF Pedestrian Mobile!

The date: Friday July 17th – 7.30pm ACST

For members, the meeting will again be held via Zoom streaming on the internet. We are hoping to again bring a visitors live stream  via YouTube as well. (Details to follow).

AREG June Meeting: 21cm Amateur Radio Astronomy

The next meeting of the Amateur Radio Experimenter’s Group will be held on Friday June 19th at 7.30pm ACST (1000 UTC). It will be held online due to the COVID-19 large gathering restrictions, which are still in force here in VK5.

AREG Members will be able to participate via Zoom while visitors will be able to watch the stream via Hayden VK7HH’s Ham Radio DX YouTube channel.


21cm Radio Astronomy
by Phil Lock and Bill Cowley

This month, we have as our guest speakers Phil Lock and Bill Cowley, talking about amateur radio astronomy.

Cheaper electronics has created great possibilities for amateur Radio Astronomy.   This talk will describe a local project to receive and map the distribution of 21cm signals from neutral Hydrogen in our galaxy.   We briefly describe the history of  21cm RA and why it’s still of great interest to astronomers.  We outline some challenges over the last few years in assembling a 2m dish with custom feed, electronics and signal processing, then show recent results from our project.

The image above shows recent signals (May 17th) recorded over a 24 hour period for dish elevation of 53 degrees. The signal changes as the antenna points to different parts of the Milky Way.


The AREG committee is also looking to the future and is hoping as the situation continues to improve that we may be able to return to meeting in person by August (our AGM).

AREG Projects: Remote HF receive site development gathers pace!

Several years ago, AREG first attempted to establish a remote HF receive site. The aim was to help members who were finding it tough to retain access to HF from home due to growing urban interference levels. The early attempt failed due to problems obtaining affordable internet access at the original site. However, the project didnt die, and the core team kept exploring options.

Then, over the last 12 months, the group finally found a willing land owner coupled with a helpful and supportive Internet provider (thanks to Beam Internet in the Barossa Valley). This has allowed the project to change gears.

Work has been gathering pace and a number of test receivers are now available for members to experiment with. As the site capability grows, AREG hopes to open up at least some channels to the general public as well.

Currently the group has a 4 channel KiwiSDR operational as well as several Airspy HF+ SDR receivers on 80/40/20m. For now, these are only accessible by AREG members. In time, as capability expands, there are plans to open some of the systems to the general community as well.

This phase of the project has been a team effort from multiple members across AREG. Special thanks to Steve VK5SFA, Mark VK5QI, Peter VK5KX, Kim VK5FJ and Jeff VK5AC who have lead much of the installation and construction to date, along with contributions of hardware and time from several others.

AREG is also considering other future developments for the site. These include:

  • a lightning detector receiver as part of the lightningmaps.org network
  • a multi-band HF APRS Receive gateway
  • A Reverse Beacon Network CW and RTTY node for 160-10m
  • A PSKReporter FT8 spotting node (160-10m)
  • A WSPRNet WSPR spotting node (160-10m)

If you would like to access the SDR services today, consider becoming become a member of AREG! The service is accessible now for group members.

AREG May Meeting: FT8 DXing Q&A – This Friday 7.30pm ACST

The May meeting of the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group will again be held online this month due to the COVID-19 social distancing limitations. It will be held on Friday May 15th starting 7.30pm ACST using the Zoom video conferencing platform for AREG members. A YouTube Livestream via Hayden VK7HH’s HamRadio DX Channel will also be available.

The subject this month will be “FT8 DXing – How to get Started, Tips and Tricks” and will be presented by Grant VK5GR. The format will be based on a live look at FT8 on the air with interaction from members welcome. We will discuss the basics including getting the software installed, but will also explain how you read and position your signals on the band to maximize your chances of a successful QSO, showing you on air as we go.



Non Member Access Planned!

This month, we will be introducing an extra dimension however, with the Zoom meeting also being Live-Streamed to Hayden VK7HH’s Ham Radio DX Youtube channel: (CLICK HERE – Hayden’s YouTube Channel).

This way we hope to make the evening accessible to a wider audience, not just AREG members. So if you are interested in some hints and tips for getting the most out of FT8 when DXing on HF why not tune in at 7.30pm ACST (1000 UTC) on Friday May 15th.

 

VK5RSB 70cm Repeater Service

14 May 2020

Note: VK5RSB is still on air – but its tail is now VERY short. We will rectify the problem with the tail as soon as we can.

5 May 2020

Further update regarding the VK5RSB operations.

In the exuberance of the repeater service crew to see VK5RSB running with the AREG repeater controller, the repeater’s operations in conjunction with access to the IRLP network was overlooked.

IRLP node 6214, is accessed via the VK5RSB 70cm repeater.

The IRLP network managers do not like local repeaters sending “Roger Beeps” and repeater idents out into the IRLP system. This is because such idents etc will be transmitted elsewhere in the world, which is certainly not appropriate!

Under the previous setup of the VK5RSB 70cm repeater, the CW ID was generated within the Motorola Quantar but was transmitted without CTCSS, therefore not keying the IRLP unit and not being transmitted over the IRLP system, which needs CTCSS to be keyed for operation.

Therefore, with this in consideration, the “Roger Beep” has been turned off and the repeater “Tail” has been shortened to 1 second.

The Voice indent will remain for the short term, as any ident generated by the AREG repeater controller will still be transmitted with CTCSS.

The current final solution to this oversight, is to remove the AREG repeater controller and reset the Quantar code plug as had been previously.

The repeater service crew are sorry for any issues that came about from this exuberance.

We trust that all will continue to enjoy and take advantage of the VK5RSB repeaters.

4 May 2020

Just a quick update on the VK5RSB 70cm repeater.

This morning Paul VK5BX, myself Ben VK5BB and the Covid 19 Supervisor, Alesia (harmonic) attended at the VK5RSB site.

Purpose of the visit was to,

  • change over the VK5RSB 70cm repeater Motorola Quantar,
  • one out, one in, setup for operation with the AREG repeater controller,
  • re-fit the AREG repeater controller for the 70cm repeater,
  • check the site installation operation.

The equipment change over was without issue and the operation is successful with the new configuration of the repeater working well.

Noticeable operational changes,

  • 5 second long tail
  • a “Roger beep”,
  • the time out timer resets on the “Roger beep” (so no need to wait for the tail to drop)
  • voice ID
  • on long overs, a low level CW ID will play over top of the QSO.

Many thanks must go to Paul for his perseverance and time in setting up the replacement Quantar and mating it with the AREG repeater controller.

Reports and feedback would be much appreciated please.

AREG Nets: On Line and On Air!

To help keep our members connected during this time of social distancing and COVID-19, the club is moving to increase the amount of on air contact opportunities. We are planning on holding an alternating on air net one week and a Zoom round-table chat on the alternate weeks.

The next event will be held this coming Friday, 8th May. Starting at 7.30pm it will be held on the club’s VK5RSB repeater 439.900 which will be linked to the IRLP network via node 6214 to reflector 9558 (which is also linked to the EchoLink node *VK3JED*

This will help to keep our interstate members connected too!

VK5RSB 70cm Coverage Map

The following dates will also have an on air net:

  • May 22nd
  • June 5th

Visitor check-ins are most welcome on the on air nets. The net control station is VK5ARG.


In between the on air weeks, there will be a separate video round table using Zoom Meeting online for members only.

The club just held one of these which was hugely successful as everyone got to see, hear and participate in the free discussions that en-shewed. Members will be provided details of the Zoom logins for each of these on our internal mailing list.

Currently the next scheduled Zoom round table for members is May 29th, also starting at 7.30pm.

Details of our monthly meeting for this month are in a separate post.

We hope to see you all on the air!