REPORT: AREG Handheld ARDF BBQ Picnic

On Saturday the 9th of January 2021, AREG held its monthly fox hunt but rather than driving all over town to hunt the fox, this chase was on foot instead.

Eleven hunters ranging from children to adults set out to track the transmitters down with their handheld yagi antennas and receivers. With a forecast maximum temperature of 35 degrees Celsius, the hunt was tough on all involved but a shady spot next to some barbecues provided a cool place to rest and mingle after the hunt.

The happy hunters

Seven 144 MHz radio transmitters were hidden, scattered over a distance of 700 metres along the River Torrens in Felixstow. Some were left hanging from tree branches, some buried under leaves, some under cars and even one was left sitting by the river bank.

Fox 5 with marker attached

These VK3YNG ARDF transmitters run on 2x AA batteries and can be heard from quite a distance away

 

 

 

“Biscuit”, the arduino powered fox utilising a Baofeng UV-B6 HT disguised in a wafer biscuit tin with magnet mount antenna on top

Each transmitter had a different coloured marker attached and hunters were required to cross out the corresponding box on their ARDF tracking sheets to prove they had found each fox.

 

Our next monthly hunt will be announced soon so be sure to check back with us here for more info.

AREG Handheld ARDF Picnic – 12:00pm Saturday January 9th

VK5ZM hunting 2m “Foxes” in 2019

The next AREG hosted fox hunt is planned to be an ARDF “hand held – on foot” style event held in Drage Park / Riverside Park, in Felixtow, just 6km north east of the city centre (near the Kelmzig O-Bahn bus interchange). Members and visitors are welcome to join us in the park from 12.00pm, Saturday 9th January 2021.

AREG will deploy a minimum of 5 beacon transmitters on the 2m amateur band (144MHz). The challenge will be to see who can find all of them the fastest!

To participate, you will need to do a SA MyGov COVID Checkin with us at the start, and ideally bring along your 2m (144MHz) direction finding antennas and receivers. We will do timed staggered starts and you will be free to hunt the transmitters in any order you like!

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!

For those who aren’t sure, AREG is hoping to have at least 1 or 2 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.


For those not into fox hunting, but who would like to gather and welcome in 2021 with all of us at AREG, we are also promoting this event as the AREG Summer BYO Picnic for 2021.

This will be a COVID Safe event with family groups spread out across the banks of the Torrens to observe social distancing requirements. 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 marshaling 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).

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.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Friday Foxhunts: Next Adelaide hunt 11th December 6.30pm

On Friday 14th of November, three hunters set out to locate the two foxes that were hidden by Theo, VK5IR. The hunters were Mark, VK5QI, Louis, VK5FLY and Allan, VK5MAD. The first fox was hidden low in a tree at Victoria Park, south of the CBD and the second fox was stuck to the flying fox at a playground in St Clare, next to the St Clare Recreation Centre.

Both Mark and Louis were successful in locating the fox at St Clare and this was really a job well done as this fox only outputs 100mW so was very hard to hear. Mark was also successful in locating the other fox at Victoria Park which he found first before setting off for the low power fox. Unfortunately Allan had radio issues and called it a night early but has vowed to return for the next hunt.

The next hunt is planned for the evening of Friday the 11th of December and with hunters meeting at Lockleys Oval, Rutland Avenue Lockleys from 6.15pm and the hunt will commence at 6.30pm. Everyone is welcome to join in and we hope to see you there.

 

AREG Activating SES VK20HOME as VK5 enters hard lockdown

COVID-19 has struck the Adelaide area hard and our state government’s response has been swift. The state of South Australia has entered what could only be described as a “CRASH STOP” lock-down for 6 days starting tonight. No one is allowed outside their property except to get food and other essentials as the authorities work to stop a COVID-19 cluster from getting out of control.

AREG members, who will be locked in their homes, will take to the airwaves and activate the WIA’s special event call sign VK20HOME to mark some of the harshest lockdown restrictions seen in Australia since the start of the pandemic.

Look for activity on multiple bands and modes from tonight until the 26th of November by AREG members across the state.

AREG 2m Fox Hunt Fridays

Have you ever heard of Fox Hunting? Do you remember the days when teams of people chased 2m hidden transmitters all over town? Would you like to join in the fun? The Amateur Radio Experimenters Group is commencing a new series of “Hidden Transmitter hunts” or “Fox hunts” as they are known on the 2m band over the summer daylight savings season this year.

The first event will be held on Friday the 13th of November. This will be a cross-town hunt with a two metre fox being hidden somewhere within the Adelaide metropolitan area. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join in.

The hunt will commence from the car park of the Lockleys Oval, Rutland Avenue Lockleys. Hounds are encouraged to gather at the start from 6.15pm. The fox will begin transmitting at 6.30pm. The fox’s frequency will be announced via the VK5RSB 70cm Summertown repeater on 439.900 MHz just before the hunt begins. Hunters are welcome to liaise via VK5RSB during the event (note that a 91.5 Hz CTCSS tone is required to access the repeater).

This will the first of many monthly fox hunts hosted by AREG over the coming months which will be announced on our website and via our Facebook page as well as the local VK5 WIA news.

So dust off your ARDF gear, we look forward to seeing you there!

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!