Horus 50 Frequency & Tracking Data

If you wish to take part in either communicating with / via Horus 50 or are simply curious as to what is going on the following summary should help. Liftoff is planned for 10AM ACDT (2330z) Sunday morning.

Where is the Balloon?

You can track the balloon via the HabHub Website. Follow this link

What Frequencies can I listen on / talk through?

  • 147.500MHz Downlink / 438.900MHz Uplink (with 123Hz CTCSS) Repeater
  • 145.100MHz Slow Scan TV Downlink (using Scottie 2 format)
  • 145.175MHz APRS Tracking Beacon
  • 434.650MHz 100baud RTTY Telemetry
  • 434.640MHz 4FSK Binary Telemetry (uses the latest FreeDV software to decode)

When using the FM voice repeater be aware that it will be under controlled net conditions and that the chase teams have priority at all times to use the repeater to coordinate recovery. Net control will be VK5ARG – call in to VK5ARG and listen to instructions please so that everyone can get a turn.

In particular, remember to turn your CTCSS tone on your 70cm transmitter and set it to 123Hz. Forgetting to do so will jam the repeater for every other user.

Where can I get up to date information?

If you have a twitter account, watch Hashtag #horus50 . Updates will also be posted on the AREG’s Facebook page as events unfold.

[custom-twitter-feeds hashtag=”#horus50″]

Further details about the telemetry etc can be found on the main flight information bulletin available from (here).

If i want to see the launch where can I go?

We are launching from the southern oval at Mt Barker High School. The team should be on site from 9am.

Good luck and enjoy this celebration of the 50th flight of Project Horus in the 20th year of the Amateur Radio Experimenter’s Group.

UPDATE: Horus 50 High Altitude Balloon Flight this SUNDAY!

Preparations continue for the Horus 50 high altitude balloon flight celebrating the 20th Anniversary of AREG. This radio experimenters flight is planned for launch this Sunday, the 4th of November at 10am CDST (2330Z). The latest flight path prediction is shown below. Full details of the flight can be found (here)

UPDATE: 3rd November 2018 – Predictions still looking good!

Tracking will be available via habhub.org

As a quick reference, the flight will have the following transmitters:

  • 147.500MHz Downlink / 438.900MHz Uplink (with 123Hz CTCSS) Repeater
  • 145.100MHz Slow Scan TV Downlink
  • 145.175MHz APRS Tracking Beacon
  • 434.650MHz 100baud RTTY Telemetry
  • 434.640MHz 4FSK Binary Telemetry (uses the latest FreeDV software to decode)

Stay tuned for more details and refer to the main news story (herefor information on how you can participate in this event!

Come and Try Foxhunting Event – Saturday November 10th @ 1.00pm

AREG members are looking to rekindle interest in Fox Hunting and Radio Direction finding in Adelaide. To get the ball rolling, following the special fox hunting presentation on Friday 9th November at the clubrooms by Bryan VK3YNG, the club is holding a come and try fox hunting / radio direction finding event in the SE Parklands on Saturday 10th November from 1.00pm till 3.00pm.

Rod VK5UDX teaching Adrian VK5ZBRs daughter how to DF

The come and try day will allow those without gear to come and see how to get started and to try their hands at some pedestrian direction finding using equipment such as Bryan’s sniffer receivers.

Visitors are most welcome at both events. If you have ever been curious or just want to come for a day in the park on Saturday then drop on by – we would love to see you and introduce you to the fascinating world of radio direction finding!

The event will be staged in the SE Parklands, off Beaumont Rd (enter from the Greenhill Rd end). Directions can be found from the map below or by calling on the Summertown 70cm repeater VK5RSB on 439.900MHz (91.5Hz CTCSS).

Location of this event

Oceania DX SSB Contest 2018 – AREG Portable

Once again the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group entered the Oceania DX Contest from a portable station established on the ranges ~100km north of Adelaide. The group established a DX capable HF station with verticals on 160/80/40m and beams+verticals on 20/15/10m at full legal power (400W) with the explicit aims of:

  • experimenting with antennas and antenna systems
  • training operators in contesting
  • experimenting with filtering and transceiver configurations

The planning for the event starts several months out with a planning night held back in the club rooms. Each band is assigned a captain who leads the group responsible for that particular station. All up about 20 members are involved in some way in the design, construction and operation of the multi-multi portable station.

Propagation and Station Design Night

Low Band Station Development

Testing the 80m vertical

Each year a new part of the system is constructed. This years major advancements occurred firstly with the low band station lead by Steve VK5SFA and Grant VK5GR (160/80m). New vertical antennas were designed and tested, with the 80m antenna being trialed during the Trans Tasman Low Band Challenge contest in July. 80m was based on a folded 1/4 wave vertical monopole with elevated radials derived from a modified crankIR vertical.

The 160m antenna was based on a capacity hat loaded 17m vertical (derived from designs by DJ0IP). After several working bees Steve gathered a group together and staged a test and tune day in a local park in Adelaide a few weeks before the event.

The addition of these antennas this year replaced the dipoles used last year. The intention from moving to verticals was to lower the angle of radiation, thus (hopefully) improving our chances for DX. The low band station was then ready for action.

High Band Station Upgrades

On the high band station Matt VK5ZM was scrambling to complete the design of the antenna switching network for the SO2R (Single Operator 2 Radio) 20/15/10m station. This system is unique in that it manages the antenna switching between both bands and radios to enable one operator to call CQ on two bands at the same time. Last year was the first time “the beast” as it is known was tried. This year the rest of the automation needed to be completed with the antenna selection and switching boards. Matt worked tirelessly to complete the system integration in time.

After all the preparations we were ready for the contest weekend.

Day 1 – Friday – Construction begins

With a virgin site to occupy, members started out early from Adelaide on the Friday. The first antenna to make it into the air was the 80m vertical, ready by about 11am. Oly VK5XDX, Steve VK5SFA, Grant VK5GR and Mark VK5QI all helped getting the first array into the air. Team 2 then arrived and started on the 40m antennas while Team 1 started on 160m. Lead by Andy VK5AKH, the 40m team included Peter VK5KX, Gerard VK5ZCV, Paul VK5PH and Scott VK5TST (who also set up the camp kitchen).

80m vertical

The 40m team got cracking and in short order got their first antenna in the air as well, which was an inverted V intended for domestic contacts (much higher angle of radiation).

40m inverted V (for domestic contacts)

While the inverted V went up work progressed preparing to raise the 160m antenna. This was the first trial of the weekend. As the antenna was raised, the top 7m section which was made from a 9m squid pole failed. The top hat wires were proving to be quite heavy and hard to control as the tower was raised using a temporary derrick.

160m Erection Failure No.1 (17m version)

Fortunately the squid pole wasn’t damaged and we were able to lower the array and reset for a second try. Unfortunately Murphy had invaded the site and the next 3 attempts didn’t go any better, with the 4th try seeing the demise of the squid pole as it shattered. The moral of the story was that Squid poles are just not sturdy enough for this application,and the capacity hat wires should be made of lighter materials.

160m top hat loaded vertical (12m version)

Facing the prospect of no 160m antenna at all, the team hit upon a plan to put up a 12m version of the antenna, and compensate with the antenna matching unit. Finally on the 5th attempt with the light failing the antenna and its 700m worth of radials came into resonance with a good VSWR. Time would tell whether it would radiate well the next night as the contest started.

Team 2 on 40m meanwhile was having more luck. Their second antenna was an elevated feed 40m quarter-wave vertical with elevated radials. After realizing a couple of components of the feed system had been left behind, some bush mechanics were performed and the antenna climbed into the sky.

Makeshift 40m feed point mounts

40m vertical

The WIFI coax relay switch was installed and the LMR400 feeders for both 160 and 40m were run nearly 200m back to the operating hut.

Finally, the 40m station was setup and the team began test contacts during Friday night using a ICOM IC7610 and SPE 1.3KFA linear followed by a Low Band Systems 1500W filter.

Andy VK5AKH driving 40m

Compared the last year we were back on schedule with all antennas in the air for 160-40m by the end of day 1.

Day 2 – Saturday – Construction and Contest Start

Saturday saw more of the construction crew arrive and work start on the high band station as well as loading all of the radios into the operating cabin. Matt VK5ZM arrived with his done Daniel VK5FDNA and then the team was joined by Darin VK5IX and Kim VK5FJ who bolstered the crew building the high band station. By now there are people everywhere (so if I have missed someone please let me know so I can add you). By lunchtime the last of the antennas were deployed with the verticals setup for 21 and 28MHz and the tri-band spider beam was in the air for 20/15/10m. The antenna combining and switching network was also established.

Rigging the Spiderbeam

10/15/20m Spider Beam with 80m and the microwave site in the background

10 and 15m verticals – phased with the Spiderbeam

To support the station, a tent city was assembled providing sleeping quarters for the radio crew. Site logistics were managed and the kitchen staffed by Scott VK5TST. A key aspect of the event is to keep the team well caffeinated and fed. Assisted by Sharon VK5FSAW who shopped and planned the menu, Scott kept everyone plied with everything their stomachs desired.

Scott making “GOOOOD” Coffee

So far this year the team had been blessed with excellent weather as well. Unlike last year when the station was built with 30-40knot winds howling over the hills, it was mostly calm this year making construction much easier.

Finally, as the start time approached, the finishing touches were put on the station and facilities. 40/80 and 160m opened up on queue at 0800z and the contest began.

Murphy however decided to show his hand again, this time around the high band station. PTT switching issues were uncovered at the last minute and unfortunately the TR switching was damaged in one of the SO2R station amplifiers. Matt VK5ZM struggled on but in the end the last minute rush to complete the development of the antenna switching network the preceding week meant that there just wasn’t enough time to debug the rest of the SO2R station. About 30 minutes into the contest the sad decision was made to demote it to a single radio. This delayed activating the 20m station by about an hour. None the less, once all was ready away we went with 3 active operating positions across 4 bands (with manual switching on 80/160m).

Night fell, dinner was served and everyone settled into the routine of calling CQ. Oly, who was a new contester in the team quickly proved he was a machine on both the 160/80 and the 20m station while a steady crew manned 40m.

VK5ARG by night

Through the night the score slowly built with the effort invested in the low band station in particular raking in points, although not so many multipliers. 20m proved as always to be the multiplier gathering band. Even so, the following map shows the reach achieved by the 160/80m station:

80m and 160m contacts

Grant VK5GR driving 80m with Matt VK5ZM working on the SO2R in the background

Kim VK5FJ Driving 160/80m

40m meanwhile was powering along as well with lots of traffic from Europe as well as a reasonable amount from North America. Nighttime on 40m was hard going however when the band filled with a huge number of YB contest stations. This should have been a blessing, but obviously their noise floor was such that they couldn’t hear our 400W despite our 5×9 copy of them.

40m Contacts

As the night wore on, 80m was hit by another curse. Two of the dreaded northern radar stations appeared, one taking out 3720-3780 and another taking 3790-3850. For a while we had a 10kHz gap in which to eek out contacts before one of the radars moved down to fill it – thus putting an end to any aspirations of working DX on 80m.

20m meanwhile powered on into the night before giving up on Short Path Europe around midnight. At this point, we entered the “long dark teatime of the soul” in contesting – the graveyard shift where we called incessantly but made little progress. Little did we know that with sunrise things were about to get much worst.

Day 3 – Sunday Morning

The team had been watching the solar forecasts for the preceding couple of days and had reached the point where we were dreading what would happen on Sunday. Sure enough, just when we didn’t want them to, the predictions came true with a geomagnetic storm starting on the daylight side of the planet over the Pacific. We watched as the T index dived lower and lower, creeping across the equator and rendering our North American and later our Asian and European (LP) paths useless.

20, 15 and 10m contacts

Even contact with Japan was problematic. Then the real rub set in. We would call JA stations we could hear, but they would answer with us saying “Sorry no contact JA Only!”. There was a JA domestic contest on and they did not want to give us a QSO! We tried repeatedly Sunday morning on 20m and occasionally on 15m but to no avail. Robbed of our one great hope for prefix multipliers in JA, plus no North American short path (and only a fleeting 20 minute long path NA opening) our score progressed along at a glacial pace.

In the face of adversity we soldiered on and took the time to train some new operators. 11 Year old Daniel VK5FDNA, who had only just qualified for his foundation license a few weeks before, was coached through a couple of contacts with his dad Matt VK5ZM.

VK5FDNA learning how to drive the station from dad (VK5ZM)

Meanwhile we also had Gerard VK5ZCV get some practice in as well. It was clear we weren’t going to set any records this year so we  decided to use the time we had well, sowing the seeds for next year.

We also had some visitors to the site during Sunday with Ben VK5BB and Olga VK5FOLG making the trip up for a look as did Paul VK5PH. Ady (newly licensed as VK5FADE) brought his family along to see what it was that we had been talking about at the club over the past couple of months. It was great to see some new faces looking to discover what the contest station and scene was all about.

Later in the afternoon 40m came back to life and we were able to put a few more EU and South American stations in the log.

Mark VK5QI Driving 40m

Finally as the contest drew to a close, it seemed on 20m at least as though we ran out of stations to work. The signals we could hear were all in the log. We had even stooped so low as to beg a contact from a couple of VK nets. In the end we could only muster less than half our score from 2017. Given the amount of effort that went in to building the station, a bit of a disappointing result, however a result none the less.

So, as the sun set over the site, the station wound down. The team then retired to the meals area for a baked potato feast with all the trimmings.

Sunset from Koch’s Hill

After dinner quite a few headed for home and a comfortable bed while the die hards remained on site to work some more DX.

Day 4 – Tear Down

The next morning fresh troops arrived from Adelaide, and the process of packing up began. Our luck with the weather finally failed us with winds approaching 40 knots ripping over the site. None the less, timed between gusts, all the antennas were safely lowered to the ground and carefully packed back into their cases and bags for transport home.

What had taken 2 days to build was secured on trailers and ready to roll in under 5 hours. The remains of the team then headed to Kapunda Bakery for lunch before dispersing back to our home QTHs ready to think about 2019.

Thank You!

The contest band captains couldn’t have done it without all of the help received from members of the club. So in no particular order, we would like to thank the following:

VK5TST, VK5XDX, VK5SFA, VK5GR, VK5AKH, VK5QI, VK5FJ, VK5ZM, VK5FDNA, VK5KX, VK5ZCV, VK5PH, VK5IX, VK5FSAW who all helped design, construct, provide logistics in terms of food and sanitation, man the station on air and then tear down VK5ARG for 2018! (and apologies if I have missed someone). It is a huge team effort each year and this year was no exception.

Amateur Radio Fox Hunting by Bryan Ackerly VK3YNG – Special November 9th Meeting date

The next meeting of the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group Inc will be held ONE WEEK EARLY in November on the 2nd Friday of the month to accommodate a visit from Bryan Ackerly VK3YNG who is going to talk to us about getting started in Radio Direction Finding (or commonly known as Fox Hunting in VK). The meeting will be held at the usual venue in the Fulham Community Centre, Phelps Court, Fulham starting at 7.45pm

Photo by Adrian VK5ZBR – Mt Gamber National Championships

Bryan is the creator of the VK3YNG Sniffer receivers which have received wide acclaim and is full of information on how to get started and participate in this fun filled and action packed aspect of Amateur Radio.


Rod VK5UDX teaching Adrian VK5ZBRs daughter how to DF

Following the meeting, a come and try Fox Hunting event will be held the following day (Saturday November 10th) at 1pm in the South East corner of the Adelaide Parklands, off Beaumont Rd near the Greenhill Road end. The come and try day will allow those without gear to come and see how to get started and to try their hands at some pedestrian direction finding using equipment such as Bryan’s sniffer receivers.

Visitors are most welcome at both events. If you have ever been curious or just want to come for a day in the park on Saturday then drop on by – we would love to see you and introduce you to the fascinating world of radio direction finding!

Location of this event

AREG Meeting THIS FRIDAY – Member Lightning Talks Round 2

The next meeting of AREG will be held on Friday October 19th starting 7.45pm. The topic for the evening is another round of Lightning Talks presented by you the members. The task is simple, you have 5 minutes to introduce or talk about your latest experiment, amateur related activity or idea. We have 6 slots so don’t be bashful, come along and tell us what has made you tick in Amateur Radio.

One of the talks will be a quick intro on how to decode SSTV using a 2m handheld and a phone – something that might be helpful for Horus 50!

A screen will be available provided you can deliver your talk via MS Powerpoint. Bring props or whatever you wish while the time keeper will keep proceedings lively by holding everyone to their 5 minute time limit.

The general meeting will be held after the talks so come along and meet your fellow AREG members face to face.

Visitors are always welcome too!

The meeting is held at the Fulham Community Centre, Phelps Court, Fulham.

OCDX Contest Low Band Antenna Test & Tune Day

The Low Band station team for the AREG OCDX effort this year are planning a working bee this Sunday (Sept 23rd) starting at 1pm. The aim is to erect, tune and test the 160m vertical that we plan on using for the contest. We will be using the vacant paddock on Lyons Road in Dernancourt just west of the Hope Valley reservoir (opposite the community hall).

If you would like to come and help, offer words of encouragement or go for a walk laying 700m of radials out, you would be most welcome. As the wavelength suggests, everything is big at 160m. The vertical will be 17m tall and have 16x40m ground radials so it will take a bit to get it in the air. Any help will be welcome.

We also plan on doing a verification test of the 80m vertical as well time permitting.


Update: 24th September – we had the antenna in the air on Sunday after a couple of mechanical hiccups. Tuning was proving a little complicated and an alternate matching network is being drawn up to overcome this.

Here are some photos from the tune and test day. A big thanks to everyone who came along and helped (VK5FGRY, VK5FO, VK5RR, VK5TST, VK5XDX, VK5SL, VK5GR, VK5SFA, VK5ZAR).

VK5ARG RD Contest Results 2018 – 1st Place Multi-One

The Remembrance Day Contest Results are out for 2018 and we are pleased to announce that VK5ARG scored first place this year in the Multi-One category with 875 points. Thank you team for all your efforts in the freezing conditions and we look forward to running it again in 2019! A special thanks also to Paul VK5PH who let us use his hills QTH for the event.