Next Project Horus Launch – Horus 61 – 26th May 2024

AREG’s High-Altitude Ballooning sub-group, Project Horus, is planning their next launch for Sunday the 26th of May, with a planned launch time of 10 AM ACST. If we have to scrub due to weather, the backup launch date is the 2nd of June.

This launch is currently planned to be performed from either the Mt Barker High School Oval, or the Auburn Community Oval, with the launch site to be decided a few days before the launch depending on weather conditions. Keep an eye on this blog post closer towards the launch date for updates!

The launch team will be arriving on site from around 9:00-9:30 AM. Visitors are welcome!

This will be one of the smallest launches we’ve done in a while, with the payload mass for this flight totalling under 300g, and currently including:

  • Primary Horus Binary telemetry on 434.200 MHz
  • Experimental Horus Binary payload, using a different battery brand, on 434.210 MHz
  • TheThingsNetwork tracking payload, using the AU915 band-plan.

During the flight, all the payloads can be tracked lived on the SondeHub-Amateur tracker here!

There will also be a live dashboard showing telemetry from the flight, with a link TBA.

Primary Telemetry – Horus Binary 434.200 MHz – HORUS-V2

Reprogrammed RS41The primary tracking telemetry will be transmitted on 434.200 MHz using the Horus Binary 4FSK data mode. Amateurs in the Adelaide and Central SA region are also encouraged to get involved with the flight through receiving and uploading flight telemetry from our 70cm band tracking beacons. Every piece of telemetry data is valuable to the flight tracking and recovery teams so if you can help join the distributed receiver network to collect that data you will be making an important contribution to the project!

If you try receiving the telemetry from this flight, you’ll need a SSB-capable 70cm receiver (or a SDR), and the Horus-GUI telemetry decoder software. A brief guide on setting this up is available here: https://github.com/projecthorus/horusdemodlib/wiki/1.1-Horus-GUI-Reception-Guide-(Windows-Linux-OSX)

Listeners that already have Horus-GUI installed are encouraged to update to the latest version, which is available at this link.

Note that you will need to use a USB ‘dial’ frequency of 434.199 MHz for the 4FSK signal to be centred in your receiver passband and hence be decodable.

Experimental Battery Payload – Horus Binary 434.210 MHz – VK5ARG

An experimental payload will be transmitting on 434.210 MHz using the Horus Binary 4FSK data mode, and can be received in the same way as the primary tracking payload, with information above. For this payload you will need to use a USB ‘dial’ frequency of 434.209 MHz.

This payload will be using Riuhu FR1505 Lithium AA cells instead of the Energizer L91 cells that we usually fly. With suspiciously similar specifications, and at 50% of the price of Energizers, these are worth investigating! We’ll be looking closely at the voltage of this and the primary payload throughout the flight.

TheThingsNetwork Payload – 915 MHz LIPD Band

This flight will also fly a LoRaWAN payload built by Liam VK5ALG, this time relaying positions via TheThingsNetwork (TTN), a global Internet-of-Things network with hundreds of receiver gateways across Australia. You can find out more about how TheThingsNetwork works here.

The aim of this payload is to see what kind of range is possible on the 915 MHz band, and also test a new telemetry gateway which will forward TTN telemetry to the SondeHub-Amateur tracker.

Future Launches

This year we hope to increase our launch cadence with more smaller launches, giving more club members (and the wider amateur radio community!) the opportunity to get involved with our flights. We’ve currently got a few ideas in the works, including:

  • A night launch with a modulated optical beacon.
  • A return of the HQ Wenet payload
  • 360˚ Video Camera
  • Airborne Meshtastic node experiment

Stay tuned!

 

May Meeting – Steve VK5SFA – Adventures in building a Remote Station

The next AREG meeting will be held on Friday the 17th of May at the Fulham Community Centre – Phelps Court, Fulham, with doors opening at 7:00 PM, and the presentation kicking off at 7:30 PM. Everyone is welcome!

This month’s presentation will be from Steve Adler, VK5SFA:

I will be giving a presentation on my adventures in establishing a remote LF, MF, HF, VHF & UHF remote site.
This project has been 18 months in the making, and I would like to share with you all the way I failed my way to success!
The presentation will run for 2 hours, as there are many facets to discuss.
During the presentation, I will be talking about site establishment, antenna systems, remote control, setting up secure reliable internet, all the equipment required, and my latest addition, a steerable LF, MF and HF receiving antenna array which will blow you away!
Please trust me when I tell you that this is the one presentation you will not want to miss, as you will never see anything like it again!
For security reasons, there will be no YouTube or recording of the presentation, and I will be only presenting it once.
If you’ve never come along to one of our meetings, we’d love to see you there, all guests are welcome at the hall. For our remote members, the meeting will be broadcast via Zoom.

After the talks we’ll all be given an opportunity to have an eyeball QSO among ourselves whilst enjoying a tea or coffee and a biscuit.

73, Mark VK5QI

Save the date: AREG’s Adelaide Amateur Radio & Electronics Sale – Saturday October 26th

AREG are happy to announce that Saturday October 26th will see the return of the AREG Amateur Radio & Electronics Sale! It will again be held at the DogsSA Training Facility in Kilburn as a car boot sale format. We will be inviting all of the SA Radio Clubs to participate as well as a number of commercial vendors!

More details will follow in coming months – but for now you simply need to:

Saturday

October 26th

2024

We hope to see you there!

Next Fox-Hunt – Friday 3rd May

AREGs next car-based fox hunt will be held this coming Friday the 3rd of May. We arrive at the start location around 6pm, and depart at 6:30 PM. Don’t forget to bring your torch, it’ll be dark!

Due to construction works around the Adelaide Aquatic Centre, the start location has been moved to the Beaumont Road carpark, off South Terrace in the southern CBD Parklands. 

We’ll have three foxes deployed around the Adelaide area, on both the 2m and 70cm bands, so come along and have a go!

Area where the foxes might be hidden.

The frequencies will be:

  • 145.300 MHz (1W transmit power)
  • 144.390 MHz (100mW transmit power)
  • 439.400 MHz (50mW transmit power)

As usual, liaison will be on the VK5RSB Summertown 70cm repeater which operates on 439.900 (-5MHz) 91.5 CTCSS. Please come up on the repeater so we know who is out hunting, and how you are faring throughout the evening! If we don’t hear from your, we may recover the foxes before you find them!

The event is open to anyone with radio direction finding equipment, with the foxes hidden within the bounds shown on the above map. We would love to see you there!

We are also looking for volunteers to hide the foxes each month. If you would like to give this a go, please contact Mark at vk5qi@rfhead.net

73

Mark VK5QI

April Meeting – Amateur Radio Direction Finding 101

The next AREG meeting will be held on Friday the 19th of April at the Fulham Community Centre – Phelps Court, Fulham, with doors opening at 7:00 PM, and the presentation kicking off at 7:30 PM. Everyone is welcome!

Building on the success of AREG’s fox-hunt antenna group build, this month Mark VK5QI will be talking on Fox-hunting for beginners. No, we’re not talking about small furry animals, we’re talking about the sport of Amateur Radio Direction Finding. The talk will explain the equipment you need to get started, and some basic techniques that will help you find that first fox transmitter! There’ll be plenty of live demos showing various hunting equipment in action.

If you’ve never come along to one of our meetings, we’d love to see you there, all guests are welcome. For our remote members, the meeting will be broadcast via Zoom, and should also be streamed live on Hayden VK7HH’s HamRadioDX YouTube channel.

After the talks we’ll all be given an opportunity to have an eyeball QSO among ourselves whilst enjoying a tea or coffee and a biscuit.

73, Mark VK5QI

Bluetooth Earbud systems take on CW and FT8 Decoding

In this age of miniaturization it is amazing to consider what has been achieved with modern technology. With that thought in mind, a dedicated group of members within AREG has been exploring what could be done using the various models of Bluetooth connected earbud headphones that are currently available. Originally the thought was to see how they could help our fox hunting teams gain an advantage over the VK3 teams at the national championships, but then one of the team members made an amazing discovery. Hidden inside certain manufacturer’s products was a surprising amount of compute power, far more than would ordinarily be needed to convert a simple Bluetooth signal into audio.

On further probing and exploration, the team finally found a way to hack into the EarBud operating system and access the boot loaders. Now these operating systems and compute capabilities were completely unexpected, and so not only was this an eye opener, it was also a game changer as the team pondered just what might be possible! (It also posed the question, what on earth were the manufacturers planning in the future and why such compute capability was even required in these devices, but these are questions for later exploration).

Amateur Radio Applications?

Having opened up the operating system, the team made short work of learning how to load software into the earbuds, and then the creative juices started flowing. One of the early thoughts was whether there might be a way to connect one of the modern Bluetooth capable HF transceivers to these earbud systems. A quick look at the IC-705 from ICOM confirmed that this was simple enough to do.

The trick then was to see what the earbuds could do!

Morse Code – Music to your ears – with Speech Conversion technology!

The first simplest idea was to simply relay CW signals to your ears. The challenge however wasn’t to just relay the raw audio. Given the amount of compute power discovered in these ear buds it became clear much more could be done. The team then built a CW decoder and speech encoding routine that could take a HF signal straight from a Bluetooth transceiver and turn it into synthesized speech. The achieved results were impressive indeed.

CW Input Signal

Earbud Processed CW to Speech

Further work was then undertaken to work on the decoder’s ability to separate out individual signals in a pileup. After some experimental AI routines there was success! Morse Code finally entered the digital age!

Digital Operators delighted by FT8 success

Following on from the CW experiments, the FT8 devotees in the club got together to see if it would be possible to port the WSJT-X FT8 encoder/decoder into the earbuds. After some consternation about running out of memory, the following was achieved! Using additional AI routines to help select which signal to decode, the team was able to convert this:

into this!

Needless to say we believe this is the most unusual compute platform that FT8 has ever been ported to, but the results were simply stunning, with decode rates as good as any of the popular programs currently in use on the PC market today.

SSB Operators were not left out!

Of course AREG is all about equality and accessibility. We do not tolerate discrimination in the group. So, it was important that the SSB voice folk felt they were part of the project too. Of course, then it dawned on us. They were already included, as all we had to do was turn off the decoded software and the pure sound of SSB HF radio could once more be relayed straight to their ears.

How can you get involved?

The system is still in it’s infancy, and so far only a couple of models of Earbuds have been cracked. However as soon as we have stable supplies and have completed licensing the software on git-hub, we will make it available to amateur radio operators to experiment further with!

Next steps are to be able to have the reverse direction function as well, so an operator can simply speak and the earbuds can then turn that into what ever CW or digital modulation system you desire!

Meanwhile, if you would like to know more, please contact us via the project page!

AREG Autumn Daytime Fox Hunt & BYO Picnic – Sunday April 14 @ 11am

The next AREG hosted fox hunt is planned to be a daytime family “hand held, on foot” style hunt and BYO picnic event, held in Drage Reserve, Felixtow, just 6km north east of the city centre (near the Klemzig O-Bahn bus interchange). Members and visitors are welcome to join us in the park from 11.00am, on Sunday the 14th of April, 2024. This event is open to anyone who would like to join in.

NOTE – There will not be a car-based hunt on the 1st Friday in April – We will be running the on-foot hunt instead.

AREG members recently participated in a club group build event which saw around 50 fox hunt yagis made, so we’re keen to get out and give them a try!

For those who dont have any equipment, take a look at (this design) by NT1K! It is very simple and quick to put together! Add a variable attenuator and a receiver and you are away!

If you don’t have any gear but want to give it a try, AREG will have at least one or two loan sets of gear available, based on the very popular VK3YNG sniffer receivers, or we can arrange to buddy you up with one of the club members who do have equipment so you can get a first taste of fox hunting ARDF style.

If you’re not into fox hunting, but would still like to gather with all of us from AREG, we are also promoting this event as the AREG Autumn BYO Picnic for 2024. Just bring your own rugs, chairs, and food and drinks.

AREG has picked this location as it has lots of amenities for all of the family. There are public BBQs, a kids playground and public toilets in the area as well as ample parking in the Drage Reserve car park. The check-in point will be marked with AREG Flags and will be located on the south side of the river Torrens near the Riverside Park western BBQ area (west of the play ground closest to the Drage Reserve Car Park).

This will be a family freindly event with people of all ages welcome to join in, however children must be kept under the supervision of an accompanying adult at all times.

We will also endeavor to have someone monitor the VK5RSB 70cm repeater on 439.900 (91.5Hz CTCSS access tone) to help guide anyone in who is having problems finding us.

For those who want to be prepared and setup their receivers ahead of time, the fox frequencies will be:

Transmitter NumberFrequency (MHz)
1145.300
2145.700
3144.250
4144.500
5144.750
6145.000
7144.390
8439.400

 

We look forward to seeing you there!

March Meeting – Hermes Lite SDRs by Scott VK2JAX

Update: This presentation was recorded and is available on Youtube.

The next AREG meeting will be held on Friday the 15th of March at the Fulham Community Centre – Phelps Court, Fulham, with doors opening at 7:00 PM, and the presentation kicking off at 7:30 PM. Everyone is welcome!

This month’s presentation will be from Scott VK2JAX, on the Hermes Lite SDR, an open-source and open-hardware direct conversion transceiver.

If you’ve never come along to one of our meetings, we’d love to see you there, all guests are welcome. For our remote members, the meeting will be broadcast via Zoom.

After the talks we’ll all be given an opportunity to have an eyeball QSO among ourselves whilst enjoying a tea or coffee and a biscuit.

73, Mark VK5QI