VK5ARG at the Summer VHF/UHF Field Day 2016

The WIA Summer VHF/UHF field day is about encouraging amateur radio operators to get out in the field to make contact with as many stations as possible over the greatest distance possible on all amateur frequencies above 50MHz. This makes it a very diverse and interesting contest as you have a variety of stations participating, including:

  • home stations operating any or all VHF / UHF and Microwave bands
  • portable stations running stations on bands between 50-1296MHz
  • portable stations specializing in microwave (usually bands between 1296-10368MHz) usually operating distant mountain tops.
  • roving stations which change location constantly throughout the contest

Distances are calculated using the Maidenhead grid locator system and contest contacts consist of exchanging signal strength, a contact sequence number and which grid square you are operating from.

This year, the AREG decided to mount a portable station using the Club call-sign, VK5ARG, which operated in the 8 hour division.

DSC_6422-web Bob, VK5FO and Ray, VK5RR arrived onsite just after 10am and after meeting Paul from the Salvation Army commenced the set-up of the station.  Andy VK5AKH arrived and assisted with the station set-up.

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Ray VK5RR and Bob VK5FO setting up

The station was very similar to the Team DSC_6427-webVK5FI station that Bob and Ray set up for the Spring Field Day, with the addition of 23cm.

A few small changes were made to the station from the lessons learnt during the Spring FD – and that was ensuring that each band had a dedicated logging laptop and adding some headphones!

The addition of the club marquee was most welcome with temperatures in the mid 30’s – we were able to operate in relative comfort!

The station was set-up and ready to go a few minutes to go before the start time of the contest.

During the course of the day we had a few visitors drop in to take a look at the station, and Ben VK5BB, popped in for an hour or so and operated the 6m station for part of his time.

Everyone present had a great time, and the highlight of the day was Bob VK5FO making a few DX contacts on 6m – working 3x ZL stations an a VK4 station.

At the end of the 8 hours, the station was pulled down and packed up in about 45 minutes.

We would like to extend a special thank you to the Salvation Army Wynn Vale for allowing AREG access to their land behind the Hall.  The site proved to be quite good for this type of station with excellent take-off in all directions for VHF and UHF.

Photo Gallery from the Day!

AREG Members Roving during the Contest too!

While the club members were having fun manning the station in Adelaide, Matt VK5ZM and Grant VK5GR took a different slant on the contest and entered the Roving section operating as VK5GR.

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VK5GR operating from Port Giles next to the silos

They started out the day by driving to Port Giles  on Yorke Peninsula. This was significant as it allowed them to activate major grid square PF84. 6m was the surprise here working VK7DD on 52.525 FM. Good contacts were also had with many Adelaide stations on 144 and 432MHz.

After about an hour they packed up and hit the road, contesting along the way. At each new 6 letter grid they came to they stopped for 5-10 minutes and made a set of contacts on both 2m and 70cm using just the mobile antennas on the car. The tropospheric ducting was strong across the gulf as all of the signals were S9++ – not bad for an average 70-100km path!

After Port Vincent it was decided that things needed to be sped up a little or the objective of at least 4 major grid squares in 8 hours wasnt going to be met. So they started contesting while mobile on the highway (at 100kph). This proved challenging as they now were working a new grid square about every 3-4 minutes! Usually there was time for 2-3 contacts per square on one or two bands before they had to stop, update their locator in the logging software and go again. They kept this routine up for about 8 squares before reaching the slag heap lookout at Ardrossan.

At Ardrossan they came across Tim M8Qe6el-smallVK5ZT who was participating in the microwave section of the contest. It was great to see the microwave guys in full swing! Matt and Grant then also broke out the 6m antenna and  gave some calls on both 50.2 SSB and 52.525 FM so that they could claim 6m for grid square PF85.

As time was then running short, they then decided to drop an attempt to work from PF86 (which was going to be a very difficult path to Adelaide) and instead focus on distance contacts from the northern edge of PF95 and southern edge of PF96. To do this they headed for Kulpara, where they also found Iain VK5ZD operating also in the microwave section. Some more 2m and 70cm contacts were had just from the mobile whips on the car (but with the advantage of ~200m elevation on top of the Hummocks range) before then packing up and heading for their last site of the day on Middle Range Hill near Nantawarra. This allowed them to activate grid square PF96ca.

Here they broke out the big guns and put up the 2m beam. A couple of contacts were made on SSB including to Port Pirie and the Riverland, plus multiple contacts back down into Adelaide. 6m and 70cm were also activated, with every contact on average exceeding 120-140km. Finally they dropped back into PF95cx for a 20 minute closing flurry before the 8 hours was up.

Conclusion

Everyone in the club who participated had a great day, be it on the road, operating from home or portable in Wynn Vale. It has certainly stirred up some enthusiasm so look out for VK5ARG operating in the Winter Field day in 2016! To hear more about the activities over the weekend come along to the club on Friday the 15th of January!

Summer VHF/UHF Field Day 2016

Bob, VK5FO and Ray, VK5RR will lead a Portable field day station running as VK5ARG for the Summer VHF/UHF field day on Saturday 9th January/

The Plan is to set up and run a portable 3 band station from Wynn Vale for the First 8 hours of the Contest, and will be onsite and setting up from around 10am

We will be setting up the station on the grassed area behind the Wynn Vale Salvation Army Hall (with permission) near the Corner of Endeavour Drive and Wynn Vale Drive, with Plenty of parking available.

This site is a reasonable VHF/UHF site with an elevation of around 200m and excellent take-off with minimal obstructions providing  great coverage of the whole Adelaide Metro area (and beyond) whilst allowing easy access for visitors.

AREG members and other interested Amateurs who would like to take a look at a field day station are invited to come along and take a look, jump in and operate one of the stations that will be set up for some of the contest.

The Spring field day was a lot of fun and we are setting up this station to do it all again and hopefully encourage a few more people to get out and participate. If you are not planning on setting up your own Station for the Field day, or think it is too hard, then come along, see how we set up, and do a see how easy it is to participate  and join in the fun.

The station for the filed day will be substantially the same as what Bob and Ray set up for the spring field day, using a trailer to support the poles for the Antennas.

  • The 6M station will be either an IC 706 or a KX3 and HR-50 Amplifier.and a 2 Element Beam
  • The 2M station will be an IC-7100 for SSB with a 6 Element Yagi and an FT-2800M into a Slim Jim on FM.
  • The 70cm Station will be a TS-2000 into a 17 Element Yagi.

Each station will run a Laptop for logging and the whole lot will be powered via a generator and a 160aH Battery.

Come along, say hello and join in!

AREG and the Spring VHF/UHF Field Day 14/15th November

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VK5ZM Portable Array ready for the field day

Recently with the HF conditions deteriorating the operating interests of a number of club members has been switching to VHF/UHF. To help get their VHF/UHF stations “tuned up” for portable operation, a number of members are taking the opportunity to participate this year in the WIA Spring VHF/UHF Contest.

AREG members haven’t actively participated in this contest for a few years now so this marks a return to these bands for quite a few of us.

About the Contest  (Extract from the WIA Website)

The VHF-UHF Field Days provide VHF-UHF operators with the opportunity to “head for the hills” and see how far they can work.

The Field Days have separate sections for single and multiple operator stations. The duration of the Field Day is 24 hours, but there are also 8 hour sections for operators who may not be able to camp overnight. Most club stations prefer to operate for the full 24 hours.

The Field Days also generate plenty of activity from home stations, so there is also a separate Home Station section.

All contacts must be simplex: contacts through repeaters or satellites are not allowed. There is plenty of FM activity, but one feature of the Field Days is a high level of SSB activity.

It is possible to do very well with only modest antennas if you pick a good hilltop. Another option, if your station is easily transportable, is to operate from more than one location during the contest period.

Aim Of The Contest

The overriding aim is to get away for the weekend and have fun! But next after that, the aims are:

  •    to encourage more activity on VHF and microwave bands;
  •    to encourage people to work greater distances than usual by operating portable, and
  •    to provide opportunities for people to activate or work into new grid squares.

AREG Involvement

VK5QI, VK5FO and VK5ZM are all preparing stations. Most club members are planning on operating in the 8hr section for the first 8 hours of the contest. Several sites around the Adelaide Hills and metropolitan area are being considered for activations. VK5FO and VK5RR will be operating from Saturday 0100hrs UTC for 8 hours from Ardrossan with:

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VK5FO antennas on test

  • 6M – 2 elements (horizontal) and 100W on the IC706. SSB and FM
  • 2M – 6 Elements (vertical) and 50W on the IC-7100. SSB/FM AND RTTY
  • 70Cm – 17 Elements (vertical) and 50w on the TS-2000. SSB and FM

Bob and Ray should be capable of working most home and portable stations in the Adelaide Metro area and will be running SSB and FM. They will also beam towards Port Pirie, and Pt Lincoln.

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VK5QI Antennas

VK5QI is also organising a station with Andy VK5AKH and has some “rover” antennas prepared.

The idea of the contest has also inspired Matt VK5ZM to go on an antenna building spree with new 2m and 6m LFA beams built and ready plus a borrowed 70cm 9el antenna to give Matt 70cm capabilities as well.

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VK5ZM 2m LFA Beam

VK5ZM and VK5FGRY will be headed to Anstey Hill, using a site suggested by Andy AKH.  You can find their location here; (VK5ZM Location for the VHF/UHF Field Day.)   Gary and Matt are just focusing on 6m, 2m & 70cm (FM/SSB) and Matt will take a 23cm HT (FM) if anyone wants to try, but it will be rubber duck.

They will be located within the Anstey Hill Rec Park with a good elevation (400m) and clear LOS to just about everywhere.  The site is a little shadowed to the southern suburbs and vales, but has a good outlook none the less.

Members are certainly welcome if they would like to come and visit VK5ZM and VK5FGRY. Note that parking is along the roadside so use your common sense here please.

It should be a great weekend so look out for these and many other stations participating in the WIA Spring VHF/UHF Field Day!