Next Project Horus Launch – Horus 60 – Sunday 20th August

UPDATE 21/8: Thanks to all that helped track this flight, it was a great success! A blog post with more information, including lots of great images, will be up in about a week.

Horus 60 Flight path prediction as of 17th August

As part of the VI25AREG celebrations, AREG’s High-Altitude Ballooning sub-group, Project Horus, is planning their next launch for Sunday the 20th of August, with a planned launch time of 10 AM ACST. Backup dates if we have to slip due to weather are the 27th of August… and that’s it!

This launch is currently planned to be performed from the Mt Barker High School Oval with the launch team arriving on site from around 9:00 AM. Note that access to the oval is via Stephenson street, and parking near the oval is extremely limited. 

The payloads for this flight will include:

  • A FM-SSTV Transmitter on 145.100 MHz
  • A Wenet Imagery transmitter on 443.500 MHz
  • Primary Horus Binary telemetry on 434.200 MHz
  • Experimental Radiation Sensor payload (Horus Binary telemetry) on 434.210 MHz 

Details on these payloads are available further below.

Tracking of the flight will be via the SondeHub-Amateur tracker, available by clicking this link.

A dashboard showing telemetry from the payloads is available at this link.

Details on the payloads flying are available below:

Primary Telemetry – 434.200 MHz – VI25AREG

Reprogrammed RS41The primary tracking telemetry will be transmitted on 434.200 MHz using the Horus Binary 4FSK data mode. Amateurs in the Adelaide and Central SA region are also encouraged to get involved with the flight through receiving and uploading flight telemetry from our 70cm band tracking beacons. Every piece of telemetry data is valuable to the flight tracking and recovery teams so if you can help join the distributed receiver network to collect that data you will be making an important contribution to the project!

If you try receiving the telemetry from this flight, you’ll need a SSB-capable 70cm receiver (or a SDR), and the Horus-GUI telemetry decoder software. A brief guide on setting this up is available here:

Listeners that already have Horus-GUI installed are encouraged to update to the latest version, which is available at this link.

Note that you will need to use a USB ‘dial’ frequency of 434.199 MHz for the 4FSK signal to be centred in your receiver passband and hence be decodable.

There will also be an experimental radiation sensor payload (HORUSRADMON) on 434.210 MHz (434.209 MHz USB dial frequency). If you can only receive one, prioritise the 434.200 MHz signal.

FM SSTV Imagery – 145.100 MHz

This launch will most likely be flying a FM SSTV transmitter operating on 145.100 MHz FM. It will run approximately 200mW transmit power. The transmitter will have 1 minute gaps between image transmissions to avoid overheating the transmitter. This payload last flew on Horus 59 with good results.

SSTV image from Horus 59

The payload will be transmitting images using the PD120 SSTV mode throughout the flight, and can be decoded using any SSTV software capable of decoding this mode (pretty much all of them!). This mode is what was commonly broadcast from the International Space Station.

Examples of suitable software you can use to decode the SSTV pictures include:

Any FM receiver (including handhelds) should be capable of receiving this payload, though as with the cross-band repeater, a Yagi antenna may be necessary for reliable reception at the edges of the transmitter footprint.

We’ve also setup a temporary 2m SSTV skimmer up at AREG’s remote HF receive site, which (if it works!) will post received images here:

We will have some digital certificates available for listeners that submit an image from the highest 1km of the flight (to be determined after the flight has finished). Email your images to !

Wenet Imagery – 443.500 MHz

Imagery on this flight will be transmitted via the Wenet downlink system, which uses 115kbit/s Frequency-Shift-Keying to send HD snapshots. Reception of the Wenet imagery requires a Linux computer, a RTLSDR, and a 70cm antenna with some gain (a 5-element Yagi is usually enough).

This payload will be trialing a PiCamera HQ, with a much larger lens. This will hopefully give us much higher quality imagery than we’ve seen previously, so long as we don’t hit focus drift issues like we have seen on previous flights.

Wenet imagery from a previous launch.

A guide on how to get set up to receive the Wenet signal is available here:

Please note the transmit frequency of 443.5 MHz, which may require listeners to re-configure their Wenet setup. Listeners who are already setup to receive Wenet should consider updating their decoding software to the latest version (Due to be released at the beginning of August 2023), with update instructions available here.

During the flight, the live imagery will be available at this link:

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 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 .

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

AREG Nets: On Line and On Air!

To help keep our members connected during this time of social distancing and COVID-19, the club is moving to increase the amount of on air contact opportunities. We are planning on holding an alternating on air net one week and a Zoom round-table chat on the alternate weeks.

The next event will be held this coming Friday, 8th May. Starting at 7.30pm it will be held on the club’s VK5RSB repeater 439.900 which will be linked to the IRLP network via node 6214 to reflector 9558 (which is also linked to the EchoLink node *VK3JED*

This will help to keep our interstate members connected too!

VK5RSB 70cm Coverage Map

The following dates will also have an on air net:

  • May 22nd
  • June 5th

Visitor check-ins are most welcome on the on air nets. The net control station is VK5ARG.

In between the on air weeks, there will be a separate video round table using Zoom Meeting online for members only.

The club just held one of these which was hugely successful as everyone got to see, hear and participate in the free discussions that en-shewed. Members will be provided details of the Zoom logins for each of these on our internal mailing list.

Currently the next scheduled Zoom round table for members is May 29th, also starting at 7.30pm.

Details of our monthly meeting for this month are in a separate post.

We hope to see you all on the air!

AREG in the 2017 Trans Tasman Low Band Challenge

UPDATE: The results have been published – VK5ARG came second in our multi-op division! Well done team!

On Saturday July 15th, AREG members VK5GR, VK5QI, VK5MTM and VK5IX gathered together with Steve VK5SFA at his QTH to participate in the Trans Tasman Low Band Challenge Contest  as VK5ARG. Originally planned as a portable operation, the portable activity was cancelled at the last minute due to a critical piece of equipment not being ready (the new club portable 160m loop antenna). The change of venue was deemed a fantastic outcome by all who participated as outside temperatures plummeted into the low single digits. Steve and his wife were fantastic hosts and we were able to operate the full 6 hours in luxurious conditions.

The station consisted of Steve’s IC7700 running either 80 or 160m on the Magnetic Loop antenna, while Grant’s K3 ran on 160/80/40m either on the 40m rotatable dipole or the 80/160m trapped dipole, depending on the combination we selected. We had hoped to also have a IC7000 dedicated to 40m, however the RFI from the MagLoop (one of their drawbacks it seems) was severe and rendered the second 40m station unusable. Something to learn from there when using the loop in later contests.

Four of us operated whilst one was there for moral support (guess which one (chuckle)). Activity came in bursts although there were times when the pickings were very slim and we called for many minutes without a bite. 40m was completely dead after dark, but not for want of propagation. When we did find someone (VK4HH) they were easily workable. It seems that 7MHz is forgotten in this contest after dark – perhaps unwisely so.

We also ran CW (having two gun CW operators helped) which filled in the dead patches  calling on SSB. We were going to try RTTY, but were still configuring the MicroHam keyer and hadn’t cracked the code of how to make it run with MMTTY and N1MM in time for the contest.

A highlight was the a number of contacts made with New Zealand stations this year. ZL contacts were achieved on 40, 80 and 160m, although on 160m it was often hard going.

The Transmitting Magnetic Loop Antenna we used for this contest on 80/160m

All up we made 211 contacts. Here is the map of where we worked

Thanks to everyone who participated from AREG and thanks also to all of the stations across VK/ZL who participated in this unique contest!

VK5ARG/P Para Wirra Park This Weekend Cancelled

AREG OCDX Contest Field Day Event


Due to the unprecedented weather in SA over the last few days, National Parks South Australia have advised that Para Wirra Park will again be closed today. This has lead to AREG making the decision to cancel the planned activities in the park.

Operation in the contest will still go ahead but from a private location. See further reports for updates.

The Amateur Radio Experimenters Group is again entering the Oceania DX SSB Contest over the October long weekend (October 1st and 2nd).

The club is once more mounting a major portable operation from Para Wirra Recreation Park. VK5ARG will be active on all bands from 160-10m during the contest using 5 QRO (high power) stations.

Station Visitors Most Welcome!

As has been the case the last couple of years, the station construction will commence from Friday morning, with the aim of having the major components operational no later than midday Saturday. This provides an ideal opportunity for members, but more importantly general amateurs and members of the community, to come along and “have a try”. AREG will be turning the station over to all takers for the hours before the contest so that people can experience operating the station.

To come and visit, you will need to head to Para Wirra Recreation Park, You will find us here. For those who pre-register, there will be catering available on a “Pay as you Go” basis for modest prices. The station will be active for the full 24hrs from 0800 UTC Saturday to 0800UTC Sunday. Visitors should call the station on 2m (146.550) when you reach the park.

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Para Wirra Park Map

The Station: VK5ARG/P

The station will be substantial with full size rotatable dipoles on 40m, a 3 element beam on 20m, a Spiderbeam for 15m and 10m and full size dipoles on 160m and 80m. All stations will be running 400W. It is certainly impressive to see the arrays of antennas in use during the event…..

Qualification of World Wide Flora and Fauna park: VKFF-1739

Back in May 2016, the Para Wirra Recreation Park was redesignated a conservation park, and so it now qualifies for the world wide flora and fauna awards program as well. As the station is operating in the OCDX contest we wont be conducting the usual publicity of a parks activations. However, contacts with VK5ARG/P will still qualify for the VKFF-1739 park! We will ensure the log is uploaded to the Parks and Peaks database at the conclusion of the activation. You may also find us on air testing from as early as Friday night through to Sunday night.

So look out for us calling CQ during the contest, and if you are in the Adelaide area, come on up to Para Wirra Conservation Park and say hello! We would love to see you!


10/15m Station illuminated at night – Starlapse by VK5GR


AREG Participation in the SPDX RTTY Contest: Report


The AREG team tried something new on Sunday April 24th 2016, operating portable from the Morialta Conservation Park just east of Adelaide hexbeamin the Polish Radiovideography Club’s SPDX RTTY contest . A lot of fun was had by those members who operated and visited us during the activation. 29 valid contacts were made including 5 out of 17 Polish provinces. Andy VK5AKH provided the bulk of the station equipment and was assisted by Grant VK5GR, Dennis VK5FDEN, Gary VK5FGRY and Mark VK5QI in setting up the station in the early afternoon.

By the time we were ready to go, long path Europe was already open, and the first station we called answered on the first try. We were running an IC7600 at about 90W FSK power with the HexBeam and the Fl-Digi software for RTTY. We also experimented with the GRITTY software which has some advanced decoding capabilities.

vk5akh-working rttydx

40m Loop Antenna

40m-loop-vk5sfaSteve VK5SFA also brought along his new 40m magnetic loop antenna for us to experiment with. We were very impressed with it’s noise performance and efficiency for such a small antenna. While we were working 20m RTTY long path EU, Matt VK5ZM, Gary VK5FGRY and Mark VK5QI experimented with the loop. Contacts on it were had across SE Australia, including 10W to 10W to Chris VK5CP who was portable in Parachilna in the Flinders Ranges.

(Stay tuned – a talk is planned at the next AREG meeting on these very unique antennas).

Contest Progressed

As the RTTY contest progressed, the team attempted 15m as well with limited success before returning to 20m to close out the EU LP opening.

We were then treated to the “AREG Catering Service” in the form of Sharon VK5FSAW who brought up baked potatoes and condiments, which were very welcome considering it was getting quite cold as the sun went down.

Finally we dropped down to 40m and put the loop to use on RTTY. We picked up a contact with the USA – after spending a while learning how to tune it! (It is only ~3-4kHz wide).


Who we worked

While we were not competitive we had a lot of fun working RTTY stations in Europe, and we are sure we helped a few polish stations with a continental multiplier. The stations we worked were:

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This has certainly whetted our appetite to try another attempt at RTTY later in the year (perhaps the CQ WW or CQ WPX RTTY contests).

A big thank you to everyone who participated and in particular to Andy VK5AKH who brought his portable HF station.

VK5ARG Entering CQ WPX Contest 2016

26411_413791857215_2242077_nA number of AREG members have headed to the 2nd QTH of Chris VK5CP to activate the club callsign VK5ARG in the CQ WPX SSB Contest this weekend!

The WPX Contest is based on an award offered by CQ Magazine for working all prefixes. Held on the last weekend of March (SSB) and May (CW), the contest draws thousands of entries from around the world.k21092304

For details of the contest, the rules, background and other information, go to the CQWPX Website.


The MonstIR Yagi

The MonstIR Yagi

VK5ARG Results

Now that the contest has concluded, VK5ARG can report that they have worked 957 contacts for a total of 1,660,662 points. By band the results are:

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The following members were involved in the event:

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All up a worthy effort from VK5ARG. Best of luck in the rankings guys, but most of all we hope you had a lot of fun!


Theo VK5MTM: Operating the AREG Club Callsign like a boss in the WPX

Photo Gallery from the weekend