VK5RWN DSTAR – We’re Back!

We are pleased to report that thanks to the hard work of our dedicated volunteers, in this case Matt VK5ZM, Ben VK5BB and Bob VK5FO, we have completed the cut-over to our new Internet link!

The VK5RWN D*STAR repeater has been reconnected to the internet as has the Weather Sonde receive station. The VK5RWN D*STAR Gateway is active and hotspot users should also be able to connect again to our host server.

(Note: Hot spot users may have to wait a few days to allow the Host Files to update VK5RWN’s IP address. It is also recommended that hot spot users log into their hot spots and force an update to the Host Files).

AREG has now moved to a new internet provider. We would like to thank Phil and Christine at Kern Internet for their help in re-configuring the on site router!

Other Dash Boards associated with VK5RWN are also back online, including the registration page and user access to their accounts.

(You may need to allow a security exception to access the pages the first time you log in via the vk5rwn.areg.org.au.)

Adelaide D*STAR users who are not already members of AREG are encouraged to join our group or make a yearly donation to our running costs, to support the D*STAR system here in Adelaide.

We hope you enjoy our return to service!

  • VK5RWN 2m 147.0375 +600kHz
  • VK5RWN 70cm 438.400 -5.4MHz

Note if there are users in Adelaide that want to experiment with the 1.2GHz ports, please contact us and AREG can look at re-activating them. They were disabled originally after they sat idle for 2 years consuming power for no reason. If interest in D*STAR on 1.2GHz returns we can turn them on again.

VK5RWN D-STAR Update – Progress!

As D-Star users in Adelaide will be aware, the club’s VK5RWN repeater has been disconnected from the Internet for several weeks now. This is due to AREG needing to change internet provider, coupled with installing a new microwave link to the site. This also created downstream problems with the LAN design and router configs at VK5RWN. We are happy to report that we have now made some good progress, with the link to our new provider Kern-WiFi successfully commissioned.

We are not out of the woods yet however. Running multiple 24×7 services on the live internet while making sure the site is not open to hostile online attacks is not a trivial exercise. It is taking us longer than originally hoped, to secure the new connection and re-open all of the services from VK5RWN (including the BOM Balloon tracking station and the DSTAR repeater).  With luck, that should be done in the next 7 to 10 days (after the Oceania DX Contest is complete this weekend).

Stay tuned for further updates! Meanwhile, local D-STAR contacts are still possible via the VK5RWN over the air on 147.0375MHz (+600kHz) and 438.4MHz (-5.4MHz).

16th October General Meeting: Show and Tell night

The next meeting of the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group will be held on Friday October 16th, starting at 7.30pm. Doors open from 7.15pm at the Fulham Community Centre, Phelps Court, Fulham.

This meeting will be a little different in format. We will first open with a standard business meeting. Following that, members are encouraged to bring along something radio related that they have been tinkering with since the COVID-19 lock downs began to show what you have been up to this past 6 months.

Tables will be set up around the hall, and rather than having to stand up and give a presentation, you can instead sit on your table and discuss what you have been working on with anyone who wonders by. (Hopefully this will encourage a few less confident speakers to still bring along what they have been working on). It may be a project, an antenna, a new radio or in fact anything at all provided it has some link to Amateur Radio!

The aim – to share your fun projects, or to present your problems in a way that others can come along and admire your handiwork or give you a hand or a helpful suggestion.

We will (hopefully) be able to have a roving Zoom terminal as well so that the remote members can also join in. Stay tuned for details of that one!

At the very least, it will give us all a chance to have more face to face discussion time given the complete lack of that over the past 6 months. Visitors are welcome to attend the hall, but will be required to sign in with their contact details in line with the COVID-19 Marshall requirements.

We hope to see you all there!

75th Oceania DX Contest: AREG on the air as VK5ARG

Calling all contesters – help the Oceania DX Contest celebrate it’s 75th year!

First established in 1934 and earlier known as the VK/ZL contest, the Oceania DX Contest continues to grow. Please join us here in Oceania from all over the world for the 75th running of our international HF radio activity over the first two weekends of October.

PHONE: 06:00 UTC Saturday 3rd Oct to 06:00 UTC Sunday 4th Oct 2020
CW: 06:00 UTC Saturday 10th Oct to 06:00 UTC Sunday 11th Oct 2020

NOTE: New Start times!

See www.oceaniadxcontest.com for the latest version of the rules and list of plaques.


AREG Will be there as VK5ARG!

The Amateur Radio Experimenters Group will be running again this year as VK5ARG in a Multi-Multi entry in the PHONE contest this weekend. Our station is a large portable effort, constructed over the past 2 weeks at our remote contesting site (~100km north of Adelaide , the capital city of VK5). We would love to get you in our logs and will be looking for contacts on all bands from 160m to 10m.

Members who have never contested before and those that just like to come for the view and to socialize are asked to let the president know you are coming for catering purposes. We will then let you know the protocols for accessing the site (which is locked away on remote farmland). If you want to operate the station, please make sure you have registered with Matt VK5ZM who is coordinating the roster.


More Reasons to Join In!

Oceania DX Contest Plaque

The OCDX Committee have advised that there are a number of new plaques on offer this year thanks to their generous sponsors. Here are the new ones available for 2020:

  • Ron Wright ZL1AMO Memorial Award:
  • WORLD (non-Oceania) Phone + CW Single-Op Plaque
  • OCEANIA Phone MM (Multiple-Operators and Multiple-Transmitters) Plaque
  • OCEANIA SOUTHEAST ASIA Phone Single-Op Plaque (Philippines, East Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, and East Timor)
  • AUSTRALIA Phone Single-Op YL Plaque
  • AUSTRALIA CW Single-Op All Band QRP Plaque
  • INDONESIA Phone Single-Op 40M Plaque for Advanced and Extra Class licensees

Everyone is encouraged to have a go and submit a log, even if you only make one or two QSOs, so the contest organisers can verify these QSOs when calculating the final scores for all entrants. Upload your log via http://www.oceaniadxcontest.com/html/enter.html .

Oceania DX Contest Committee (ZL3GA, VK3GK, VK3MI/ZL1AZE, VK3TZ, VK4FH, VK4QS, VK7GN, YB0NDT)

VK5ARG: CQ WW RTTY Contest – Portable

This year AREG has a keen sub-group of members who enjoy contesting. So much so we have named September 25 through October 26 Contesting Month! During this time the club is going to be active in three major contests, CQ WW RTTY, Oceania DX SSB and CW WW SSB.

This weekend is the RTTY contest and VK5ARG is on are calling CQ on all bands from 80 through 15m (and 10m if conditions work) . We operate on a farm about 100km north of Adelaide and build the station as a portable setup each year. (One day we hope to make it more permanent). The weather so far has severely hampered preparations this year, which meant that most of the antennas couldn’t be erected until the day of the contest (when we had the wind drop for the first time in 2 weeks). As of now, we are closing in on the half way mark of the contact target we set for the event.

The Station

We are running two Elecraft / Microham based stations, manned by VK5GR, VK5FR, VK5LA, VK5AKH, VK5ZQV, VK5ZM and VK5FJ. We had help from VK5SFA, VK5ANV, VK5FDEN, VK5JG, VK5KX, VK5XDX and VK5PH over 2 days to build the station as well!

It has been great to see the club members come together and work on a common project like this. I know we will also greatly appreciate not having to do the complete build for OCDX the day before the contest this year!

The Antennas

The antennas consist of a tri-band Spiderbeam for 20-10m, a 40m 4-square array (used last on the A35JT DXpedition) and an 80/160m Inverted L.

Keep watching for more news as we progress through the contest!

AREG Sept. General Meeting: Single Operator 2 Radios Contesting (SO2R) – Back at the Hall!

The AREG committe is pleased to announce that the first face to face AREG meeting since the COVID-19 outbreak started in March will be  held this coming Friday, September 18th 2020! We will be returning to the hall, at the Fulham Community Centre, Phelps Court, Fulham at 7.30pm.
We will be following all of the government COVIDsafe guidelines including sign in sheets, COVID marshalls, special handling for food and beverages and will be observing social distancing. Members and visitors are most welcome to join us. You are required to bring your own cup if you wish a coffee or tea and will be responsible for taking it home and cleaning it yourself afterwards.
For those members still not willing to go out in public, we will also continue to Zoomcast our meetings online for members. This is intended to be a permanent fixture of our club into the future, especially given we currently have members in 4 states.

Single Operator 2 Radio (SO2R) Contesting

I’m sure that many AREG members will be familiar with contests and operating a single transceiver QRO station a in a pile up. But what happens if you introduce a second QRO station on the same desk, where your attention is now split across two transceivers and two bands are open at once ?
Welcome to the world of single operator two radio stations or SO2R for short.
Over the past two years some AREG members have been experimenting with SO2R at contests with mixed results.   Come along Friday to hear about what is an SO2R station, why they are fraught with danger for new operators and what steps have AREG members taken to reduce the chances of damaging equipment in the heat of battle, especially our prized AREG contesting filters.

QSL Bureau News

AREG Members are also advised that QSL cards will be available for collection on this evening. If there are non WIA members who would like to collect cards, please email vk5qslbureau@areg.org.au with your request and we will see if you have cards waiting that you can also collect in person.

Conclusion

We look forward to finally being able to meet in person again. It is not going to quite be as it was before, but it is a long way from where we have come! See you all on Friday Night!

WIA VK5 QSL Bureau Sort underway for 2020

The yearly WIA VK5 QSL Bureau sort for 2020 is now underway. Considering the reduced opportunities to meet in person, this sort will be followed by the once a year mail-out to WIA members of their cards (as included in your WIA membership). It is hoped to send all current VK5 WIA members your QSL cards in the next 4 weeks.

Non-members who are members of a WIA affiliated club should make sure their details have been passed to the VK5 QSL Bureau Manager, Grant VK5GR, via your club secretary so that your cards can be included in the mailing to your club.

If you are not a member of the WIA or an affiliated club, but still want to receive your cards, please email vk5qslbureau@areg.org.au to make suitable arrangements. Cards can be collected in person by arrangement, or can be mailed if a self addressed pre-paid satchel is provided. If you wish to inquire as to whether you have cards waiting you can also contact us at the above address.

Operation of the VK5 WIA Inwards QSL Bureau is carried out on behalf of the WIA by the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group Inc!

If you wish to send outbound cards via the WIA bureau and are a member of the WIA please use the national Outwards bureau address:

WIA Outwards QSL Bureau
PO Box 66
Boolaroo NSW 2284

AREG goes Loopy! HF direction finding loop construction day!

On the 22nd of August 2020, members of the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group met at the QTH of Chris VK5CP for a small hand held magnetic loop construction day. 

The antenna uses the rugged Mini-Kits EME234 Magnetic Loop Antenna module to balance the loop and provide impedance transformation to 50Ω to allow the antenna to feed receivers directly.

Being balanced, these unshielded magnetic loops provide very deep nulls which allow the user to pinpoint sources of interference very accurately.

LDF-450 coaxial cable was used for the loop conductor for improved efficiency and standard plastic plumbing fittings made up the mounting hardware.

Everyone enjoyed success in construction efforts and went home with their own hand held magnetic loop antenna.  A great afternoon was had by all!

Thanks to Chris VK5CP for his hospitality and Jeff VK5AC for BBQ duties..