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.


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.



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.


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!

20th November Meeting: VHF/UHF Contesting

VHF/UHF Spring Field Day - VK5ZM 2015

VHF/UHF Spring Field Day – VK5ZM 2015

Have you thought about trying any of the VHF/UHF field days?  Do you still have fond memories of being a “Z-call” when the lowest frequency you could operate on was 29MHz FM?

Well a few of our members thought it would be fun to head out and participate in the Spring VHF/UHF Field Day on the 14th and 15th of November.  For some of our members it had been more than 17 years since they had done one of these events.  This was also a welcome break from the usual HF contesting our members have been doing lately.

So this month we’ve asked these enthusiastic members to put together a short series of 10 minute presentations about what they did, how it went and was it still fun to be a “Z-Call” again.

So if you’d like to hear more about what it takes to participate in a VHF/UHF field day then come along and I’m sure there will be something there for everyone.  It should be a good night out and if the enthusiasm of our members who participated this year is any indication, this could be infectious.

The meeting club rooms will be open at 7:45pm with the presentations starting at 8pm.   This will also be the last formal presentation/meeting for the AREG in 2015.

As well as the formal presentation there will be ample time to meet with AREG members and talk about any and all things Amateur Radio. Visitors are most welcome, so please come along all and say hello! If you need help finding the hall, call on the VK5RSB 439.900 repeater (91.5Hz CTCSS).

Coffee, tea, cake and 2m LFA designs will be supplied as a light supper.

73, Matthew VK5ZM

VK5ARG Oceania DX Contest 2015 Results

Well, the AREG has wound up it’s activities sidebannerat Para Wirra
Recreation Park for this year’s contest. A great deal of fun was had by everyone to participated, even by those who operated under physical duress (two members could hardly walk).

A big thanks to everyone who took part and operated or provided support for the event. In particular (and if we’ve missed you out please let us know and we’ll add you to this list) those who took part in operating the station included: VK5AKH, VK5ZM, VK5QI, VK5KX, VK5FSKS (who flew in from VK3), VK5GR, VK5JO, VK5MTM, VK5UP, and we believe that VK5FGRY was spotted sitting at a few consoles however we’re not sure if he transmitted or not this year (*grin*).

With the Para Wirra CP being so close to Adelaide we were also fortunate to have a large number of visitors which included; Kim VK5FJ, Arno VK5ZAR, Paul VK5JG and Dennis VK5FDEN, Cary VK5CD, Peter VK5APR, Louis VK5FLY and Jess, Wendy, Dean VK5FAIR and Sally VK5FSAM,  Brenton VK5BZ, Ben VK5BB, Darin VK5IX and Glenys plus boys, Sharon FSAW and the Moo, Allan VK5MAK, Bob VK5FO and Ray VK5RR.

We also must thank Arno VK5ZAR and Gary VK5FGRY who helped keep the troops fed manning the BBQ and keeping the ants at bay as well as Sharon VK5FSAW who provided dinner on Sunday night.   We must also thank all of the visitors that rang ahead and checked if we needed anything, with the weather so warm the bags of ice, drinks and loaves of additional bread were gratefully received.

A big thankyou again to the rangers of Para Wirra Recreation Park (Steve and Mel!) who graciously allowed us to conduct the event inside the park for the 3 days. To find a site so close to Adelaide with such a low HF noise floor is a wondrous thing.

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The Results?

Overall our tentative scores were:

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Band by Band

80/160m: With changes to the radios this year, it was fantastic to see the contacts and multipliers achieved out of the low band station. Peter VK5KX and the low band crew achieved contacts into ZL on 160m and into the USA on 80m. Well done!

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40m: was hard going this year. We lacked enough punch to be heard often in Europe and that cost us many contacts in the early hours of the morning. We did get a few contacts into that part of the world but often it was through multiple repeats and perseverance. The auto keyers got a work over and between Josh VK5JO, Andy VK5AKH, Grant VK5GR, Matt VK5ZM and Mark VK5QI plus other relief operators, we ground out a solid score. The tube amp and dipole did well to the USA – but the fixed orientation wasn’t helping our cause for Europe. More work and ideas planned for this station next year :-)`

20m: at times flew and at others was a grind. Again, punch to get over the European QRM made prefix chasing hard work although a solid result was still achieved with the Elecraft K-line and the Hex Beam. With 40m and 20m being co-located teams were taking turns at each station making further contributions to both stations.

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15/10m: The surprise this year was 15m. We again had a Elecraft K-line and a 3-band Spider beam which we ran for the John Moyle Field Day. With that setup and the ionosphere playing the game the crew manning 15m had a huge amount of success. Long runs of Japanese stations as well as a beautiful opening into Europe Saturday night brought a sparkle to Matt VK5ZM, Theo VK5MTM and high band crew’s eyes.

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All in all, a great result, a lot of fun and look out for AREG again next year!    Meanwhile, ideas for improvements to the station are already circulating, and we wait with bated breath to see how we placed.

A big thank you to the OCDX contest organizing committee for staging the event too. It certainly gave our club the excuse to get out and play portable “Amateur Radio” for the long weekend.

73’s de VK5ARG

VK5ARG entering Oceania DX Contest: Oct 3rd/4th PORTABLE


11080486_10152772912846188_3502356878582205362_oNext Weekend is the Oceania DX Contest, SSB section. Members of the AREG will be activating the Club Call sign VK5ARG for this event from the Para Wirra Recreation Park, north east of Adelaide. The OceaniaDX contest provides a great opportunity for Oceania stations to get on the air as there is lots of activity in our region. Whats more, the DX chasers from around the world will be actively looking for Oceania! Hopefully the propagation will favour VK5. More information on the OCDX contest can be found via the WIA website.

Contest Times: 08:00 UTC (17:30hrs ACST) Saturday 3 October to 08:00 UTC (18:30hrs ACST) Sunday 4 October 2015  (Yes Daylight savings starts this weekend too!)

AREG welcomes all amateurs with an Para Wirra Park Mapinterest in portable field stations and contesting to come on up to the park and visit us over the weekend. Entry to the park will cost $10 / vehicle for a one time fee for the weekend.

While the park closes at dusk, the radio club has sought and obtained special permission from the park rangers to remain in the park overnight. To find our operating location, enter the park from the main gate off Humbug Scrub Road, proceed past the the park office then past North Oval until you reach the toilet blocks, picnic shelters and open paddock at the end of the bitumen.OCDX-StationLocationMap-2015

More than just contesting!

Saturday Afternoon prior to the contest AREG will be having a HF activity afternoon with a mixture of SSB and FreeDV operation on both 20m and 40m. This will be another great opportunity to test FreeDV. The VK5ARG team will be monitoring the FreeDV QSO finder, and posting regular blog updates as the afternoon evolves. Activity is planed from 1500-1700 Local time but may start earlier depending on interest.

Theo VK5MTM operating 20m

Theo VK5MTM operating 20m

Update: Friday 2nd October – Construction Begins….

The crew have arrived and are studying their blank canvas. Hmmm how to decorate this paddock with antennas? Lets put up the 40m antenna over here!



VK5ARG Active in VK5 Parks Award and CQ WPX Contest this weekend

This weekend will see VK5ARG portable on the airwaves again with several intrepid members including Andy VK5AKH and Mark VK5QI planning on operating portable from the Coorong National Park, 175km SE of Adelaide.

CQ WPX Contest Activation VK5ARG

coorongnp-mapVK5ARG will be active in the the CQ WPX SSB Contest, which  is based on an award offered by CQ Magazine for working as many prefixes as possible during the contest period.. Held on the last weekend of March (SSB) and May (CW), the contest draws thousands of entries from around the world.


VK5 Parks Award Simultaneous Activation

This is also the second anniversary of the VK5 Parks Activation Weekend  event organised by the Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society. Paul VK5PAS who has driven the VK5 Parks Award has done a sterling job and promoting HF and VHF/UHF portable operation through this initiative giving amateurs a great incentive to get out and about and see the natural wonders of our state while playing Amateur Radio.

Operators of VK5ARG this weekend will also be making contatcs under their own callsigns during the VK5 Parks Activation, so look out for Mark VK5QI/P and Andy VK5AKH/P (and others) on the bands. For more information about the VK5 Parks Award visit their website.

Antennas will be 16m tall vertical on 160-30m, inverted Vee on 40m and 2 element hex beam 20-10m. Operating Low Power as generators are not allowed in the park. Good luck in the contest and hope to see you in the log.

Oceania DX Contest

Members of the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group (AREG) will be activating the club call VK5ARG this weekend (4-5th October) for the Oceania DX SSB Contest. We will be operating from Younghusband, approx. 80km east of Adelaide, SA.

AREG will be entering the contest as a MULTI-ONE team, and the main operators will be Matt VK5ZM, Mark VK5QI, Josh VK5JO and Theo VK5MTM. We will mainly be focusing on the 20m band, but hope to work a few VKs on 40m also.

Hope to hear you on the bands!