AREG April Meeting THIS FRIDAY – Introducing FreeDV!

Thanks to Easter this year, the AREG meeting is being held 1 week early on Friday April 12th, starting at 7.45pm. Doors open at 7.15pm.

This months presentation is by David VK5DGR, who will introduce FreeDV, talking about it’s capabilities and development as well as how you can try it yourself.

David will also discuss the latest developments in FreeDV and will hopefully give us a sneak peak of what is coming just around the corner.

We will also discuss the up-coming FreeDV QSO Party, the rules and what you need to do to be able to take part! The FreeDV QSO party is being held over the weekend of April 27th and 28th.


At the club business meeting we will also be discussing a working bee to recover the original attempted remote SDR site over the Easter/Anzac day break as well as the pending River Paddling Marathon 200 community event which is supported by AREG each year over the June long weekend.

So why dont you come along and find out what we are up to today in the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group Inc. The clubrooms are located at the Fulham Community Centre, Phelps Court, Fulham.

We hope to see you there!

FreeDV HF Digital Voice Mode: Global QSO Party April 27/28th

Featured

The Amateur Radio Experimenters Group is proud to announce a new event on the Amateur Radio Calendar. The FreeDV HF Digital Voice QSO Party!

The aim is to encourage as many Radio Amateurs as possible to learn about FreeDV and encourage as many FreeDV signals to be on the air as possible to help spread the word about this new mode.

If you can use WSJT-X for FT8 or any other digital modes software then, with the addition of Headphones and a microphone on your PC, you can switch to digital voice transmission in an instant! Its that easy! So why not give it a try? This is a great way to experiment with something new from the comfort of your own armchair. All it takes is a little bit of time to download, install and setup the software – nothing more!

What to know more? The QSO party rules are below, plus details of where to get FreeDV are included later in this bulletin. Read on!


The Rules

When: April 27th 0300z to April 28th 0300z 2019

Where: All HF Bands from 160m – 10m (excluding the WARC bands)

How: Work as many stations as possible using the FreeDV 700D or FreeDV 1600 modes in 24 hours. You can rework the same station once every 3 hours per band.

Centre Frequencies: 1870kHz, 3630kHz, 7180kHz, 14130kHz, 21180kHz, 28330kHz (chosen in accordance with IARU Bandplans)

Points: Stations participating can earn points per QSO

  • 1 point per contact within a continent
  • 5 points per contact between continents
  • 50 points per contact with VK5ARG

(AREG’s club station is planned to be manned for the 24hrs looking particularly for inter-continental DX on 40/20 and 15m)

Multipliers:

  • 1 per call area in VK/VE/JA/ZL per band +
  • 1 per DXCC entity per band +
  • 1 per inter-continental contact

Final Score:

  • Sum all points x sum all multipliers

You can work a station once per band.

Stations earning 50 points or more will be entitled to an emailed PDF certificate indicating their successful participation in this inaugural event!

Categories:

There is one entry per station callsign only.

Log Submission:

You MUST submit your ADIF formatted log via email within 7 days after the event to:

FreeDV.QSOParty (at) areg.org.au


What is FreeDV?

FreeDV is an open source digital voice transmission mode developed for HF Amateur Radio by David VK5DGR. It is founded on open source principles with the Codec2 specification and code fully available to the Amateur Radio community at no charge.

The latest development, FreeDV 700D mode has performance equivalent or better than SSB on HF – a remarkable achievement in only 700 bps!

Why FreeDV?

FreeDV 700D outperforms SSB at low SNRs – you can get an easy copy of 700D when SSB is unusable.

Amateur Radio is transitioning from analog to digital, much as it transitioned from AM to SSB in the 1950’s and 1960’s. How would you feel if one or two companies owned the patents for SSB, then forced you to use their technology, made it illegal to experiment with or even understand the technology, and insisted you stay locked to it for the next 100 years? That’s exactly what washappening with digital voice. But now, hams are in control of their technology again!

FreeDV is unique as it uses 100% Open Source Software, including the speech codec. No secrets, nothing proprietary! FreeDV represents a path for 21st century Amateur Radio where Hams are free to experiment and innovate, rather than a future locked into a single manufacturers closed technology.

FreeDV can be used on multiple platforms including Windows, Mac and Linux systems.

Where can I get FreeDV?

FreeDV software and more information is available from the FreeDV Website!

FreeDV.org

Supporting Events?

If you live in Adelaide, South Australia, there are two events planned prior to the QSO party to help you get FreeDV operational. AREG will be holding a “Tech Night” on April 5th at the clubrooms in the Fulham Community Centre starting 7.00pm. In addition, David VK5DGR (FreeDV’s creator) will be our guest presenter at the April AREG meeting on Friday the 12th. Doors open at 7.15pm for that event.

AREG is also looking to re-launch the FreeDV WIA News Broadcast. New times and frequencies will be announced soon! This provides a perfect opportunity to experiment with FreeDV reception while the broadcast is running for 30 minutes, plus you can participate in the callbacks afterwards.

At the April meeting a new version of FreeDV is also going to be released that promises significantly improved audio fidelity over the communications grade 700D and 1600 modes. Why not put it in your diary and come along – visitors are most welcome!

Want to know more?

Who can I Talk To?

Login to the K7VE FreeDV QSO Finder to find other Hams using FreeDV.

Support

Please post your questions to the Digital Voice Google group

Developers please subscribe to the Codec 2 Mailing List.

IRC Chat

For casual chat there is a #freedv IRC channel on freenode.net

We hope to see you on FreeDV!

Next AREG Meeting March 8th (early) – 6m Moonbounce

The moon at moon set (4am) with our 6m EME antenna – Photo by Scott VK5TST

Several weeks ago, members of AREG headed out into the country side to try an experiment that many had wanted to do for many years – bounce a signal off the moon. With the help of Peter VK5PJ who has the necessary high power permits, we were able to achieve just that!

The team involved will take people through the events of that weekend and share what we learned about EME procedures, RadHaz management, JT65A and what it takes to send a radio signal over a half a million km journey to the moon and back.


Meeting Date and Time

NOTE This month’s AREG meeting is occurring one week early on the 2nd Friday of the month, so as to avoid clashing with the John Moyle Memorial Field Day Contest the following weekend. The hall will open at 7.15pm and the meeting will commence at 7.45pm sharp with a short AREG business meeting. The guest presenters will start by ~8pm. The presentation will be followed by coffee and cake and an opportunity to discuss EME with those who were there.

AREG meets at the Fulham Community Centre, Phelps Court, Fulham (formerly known as the Reedbeds Community Centre).

Visitors are most welcome!

VK5RSB Repeater Maintenance – New 70cm Antenna

AREG is pleased to report that its VK5RSB 70cm service is now back to full working order after suffering from an intermittent receive fault for many months now.

The problem was tracked down to a faulty antenna allowing water ingress into the feed line. A new dipole array antenna has now been installed and the feed line has been re-terminated. Early feedback suggests the repeater’s coverage has been restored to normal. Further reports would be most welcome!

The long and short of the story is,

  • The LDF5-50 coax termination connector at the top of the coax was removed and internals examined. Plenty of corrosion was found – all green!
  • The new antenna checked was then checked on the ground with network analyser and was given a clean bill of health before being installed at the top of the tower
  • The coax end at the top of the tower was then cleaned and a new connector was fitted and sealed

Meanwhile,  down in the hut, Paul VK5BX could not help himself. He pulled the rack installation apart and refitted all of the equipment and created additional rack space, helped by Peter VK5APR.

Once the VK5RSB repeater was all connected back up, the system was tested. The team measured 75 watts up the “stick”, with 1 watt returned, an excellent outcome!

AREG wishes to thank all crew on site for their help and participation. The crew were,

  • Ben VK5BB, lead, 1st rigger,
  • Colin VK5ACE, 2nd rigger,
  • David VK5MDF, “gofer” ground member
  • Hank VK5XB, “gofer” ground member,
  • Paul VK5BX, ground technician and antenna tester,
  • Peter VK5APR, ground technician assistant

On return from the site there were a number of QSOs with a number of different people, all gave good signal reports and all QSOs were free from that intermittent receive/transmit noise, including the hourly AREG announcement! Further reports are welcome to secretary (at) areg.org.au

Horus 52 – On track for Saturday 9th Feb Launch

AREG is once again involved with the University of South Australia’s Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program this year, which is run by UniSA on behalf of the International Space University. The launch, which was scrubbed last week due to the predicted landing zone is now planned for this coming Saturday 9th Feburary, with liftoff planned for ~11AM. The weather is looking much better!

The current predictions look as follows:

Payload Plans

While some details are still to be worked out, it’s looking like the following payloads will be flying:

  • RTTY – 434.650 MHz
  • 4FSK – 434.640 MHz
  • Wenet – 441.200 MHz  (downward facing images)
  • Wenet #2 – 443.5 MHz (horizon-facing images)

There is still a chance the second Wenet payload will be dropped from the launch due to weight restrictions, so if you don’t see any signal on 443.5 MHz, that’s what’s happened!

As always, amateurs from across the state are encouraged to take part, by collecting the telemetry data and relaying it to HabHub on the Internet. This data is used to help fill in any missing data the chase teams fail to capture, which they can use to help maximize their landing zone prediction accuracy. In that way, everyone taking part is adding to the success of the mission.

Tracking details will be provided closer to the launch. Keep watching the AREG website for details!

 

Getting Started on 630m (476kHz) – 7.45pm February 15th

The next meeting of the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group will be held on Friday 15th of February. This month we have Andrew VK5CV as guest presenter who will introduce the world of the 630m band on 476kHz. Andrew has been an active experimenter on this band for some time in Adelaide and is a fountain of knowledge on how to put a signal on air on this band, even from a suburban block.

www.qsl.net/dl4yhf/mf/mf.html

Example of an MF transmitter setup

Meeting Location and NEW TIME!

The meeting will be held at the Fulham Community Centre, Phelps Court, Fulham. From this month, AREG meetings will be starting earlier and will have some format changes. The hall will now open at 7.15pm and the meeting will start at 7.45pm on the dot. The restructured and shortened business meeting will be first with the guest presenter starting by 8.15pm.

After the formal part of the meeting, refreshments will be available (tea, coffee and cake) and you will have the chance to discuss what you have heard with the presenters each month! We hope this new format is a positive development for those attending AREG meetings!

Visitors are most welcome!

Advanced Notice – March & April Meetings – New Dates!

The Amateur Radio Experimenters Group also wishes to advice that we have changed the dates for our March and April meetings.

  • The March meeting will now be held on the 8th of March (2nd Friday) so as to avoid clashes with the team setting up for the John Moyle Field Day. The topic for this meeting should be confirmed shortly.
  • The April meeting will now be held on the 12th of April (again the 2nd Friday) so as to avoid clashing with Easter Good Friday. This meeting will hear from David VK5DGR on his work to develop FreeDV2020 – a new high quality audio version of his FreeDV HF digital voice transmission mode that uses roughly the same bandwidth as FreeDV 1600

Stay tuned for other special events that are also planned in the coming months! More information will be published on these as they are confirmed!

UniSA: Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program – Horus 52 – POSTPONED TO 9th FEB

AREG will be launching a high-altitude balloon for the International Space University’s South Hemisphere Space Studies program, conducted by the University of South Australia again this year. The planned launch date is Saturday the 2nd of February, with liftoff around 10-10:30AM. The launch site will be the usual Mt Barker High School Oval location.

UPDATE 2019-01-31: Due to poor launch-day weather, this launch has been re-scheduled to 11AM on Saturday the 9th of February.

Payload Plans

While some details are still to be worked out, it’s looking like the following payloads will be flying:

  • RTTY – 434.650 MHz
  • 4FSK – 434.640 MHz
  • Wenet – 441.200 MHz  (downward facing images)

There may be a second Wenet payload on 443.5 MHz capturing outward-facing imagery, though this is yet to be confirmed.

As always, amateurs from across the state are encouraged to take part, by collecting the telemetry data and relaying it to HabHub on the Internet. This data is used to help fill in any missing data the chase teams fail to capture, which they can use to help maximize their landing zone prediction accuracy. In that way, everyone taking part is adding to the success of the mission.

WENET PAYLOAD NEWS

There have been some updates made to the Wenet HD imaging payload and receiver software, however all changes are backwards compatible. If you have a functioning Wenet receiver system, you *do not need to update for this launch*.

However, if you’re a bit more adventurous, the latest updates are on Github here: https://github.com/projecthorus/wenet

You will likely need to wipe your existing Wenet directory and follow the setup instructions from the start.

Stay tuned for further updates as we get closer towards the launch date…

73  Mark VK5QI

HNY 2019: January Meeting – HF Remote SDRs & AREG’s Remote Site Project

Firstly, Happy New Year 2019 to everyone. This year promises to be yet another action packed fun filled series of events brought to you by the members of the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group.

Next Meeting – Friday January 18th – 7.45pm

The next meeting of the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group Inc will be held on Friday the 18th of this month. The topic of the evening will start with a short introduction to the world of remote HF SDR receivers and how to access them.

It will then be followed by a workshop event looking at the original AREG project intended to setup and host one of these systems here in Adelaide. The original project was plagued with problems, most notably getting an internet link out to the site some 40km away from VK5RWN. In the end we weren’t successful in getting the microwave link to be stable. The secondary issue of local site noise at the receive site was never even addressed because the internet feed couldn’t be resolved.

Now that 2019 is here, and the opportunity of a new site has presented itself (that solves the internet access issue), the club is looking for members to form a new team to try and complete the project. The second half of the meeting this month will explore what tasks need to be done to make this a reality and we will be looking for volunteers to put their hands up to help

Visitors are always welcome! The club meets at the Fulham Community Centre, Phelps Crt, Fulham from 7.45pm. The presentation starts at 8.00pm and will be followed by coffee and cake before a formal business meeting.

We look forward to seeing you all there!