Monday, December 19, 2016


update from Colin VK5DK
Advising that all the VK5RSE Beacons (144.550, 432.550 & 1296.550) are now back on air after a power supply replacement. Any reports most welcome to either VK5DK or VK5DJ.
144.550MHz Beacon has CW plus two Digital modes JT4D & JT65B, 
432.550MHz has CW & JT4D digital mode  
1296.550MHz has CW & JT4F digital mode.

Monday, November 21, 2016

DMR radio

I been doing some more playing with DMR using my TYT MD-380  UHF handheld. Since I first started playing with this, there is now a second network operating locally,   the original DMR network here in VK

and the other network or referred to as DMR-BM,

which is very interesting  as it comprises of homebrew repeater equipment, such as the MMDVM repeater which is based on Arduino a kit and interface board, which does more than simply DMR, they also doing C4FM   and planning on P25 support.  Also DV4mini doing Dstar, C4FM and DMR

Just in the Sydney basin, we now  have VK2RCG  439.500  (Sydney city),  VK2RWW 438.100 Dural, VK2RLE 438.425 Heathcote, VK2RHP 439.750 (Horsley Park),  VK2RAG Central Coast and one planned up Newcastle.
And of course the DMR repeaters in pretty much all states now, including Canberra VK1RBM.
What this means is since they share Talk Groups, you can be travelling around Sydney and switch  repeaters and maintain the same  Talk Group QSO. You don't have to chat via a public Talk Group, you can setup a private QSO with another person.

In summary,  a whole different concept compared to the old fashioned FM analogue repeater, it takes a bit of thinking to get used to the idea, but once you understand the concepts, then you soon realise the benefits of it. As it grows, you will see  a lot of multi-mode digital repeaters and gateways appearing.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

some instructions from Alan VK2ZIW for configuring serial port to be able to run FPP software to program the PRM80:

Notes on running PRM80 FPP programs on Linux
Fedora 23 x86_64 on ASRock QC5000 system (Low Power AMD Kabini)
with FTDI Serial USB dongle ID 0403:6001, it's TTL to the radio

Radio: PRM80L S E0
     PRM8025 - 9502 810 10869

Reason: Conversion to 6m with VK3SMB's eprom, subtracts 20MHz
from the eeprom stored channel frequency, 68MHz becomes 48MHz.

The FPP DOS program does horrible things with the USART so
run "dosbox" with a network serial port. Use "netcat" (nc)
to connect to the FTDI serial port.

Edit ~/.dosbox/dosbox-0.74.conf
Setup the DosBox serial port:

serial1=nullmodem port:5000 transparent:1 rxdelay:1

After your "MOUNT" command for C: add:
cd prm80pmr

Save your "dosbox-0.74.conf" file.

Setup the serial port, "stty raw" - most important
as you don't want any control characters interpreted.
"clocal" to ignore Carrier Detect. 4800 baud, 8bit, no parity.

#============ shell script rundb ==================
sleep 2 < /dev/ttyUSB0 &
stty raw < /dev/ttyUSB0
stty 4800 clocal cs8 < /dev/ttyUSB0
sleep 1
dosbox &
sleep 2
 nc localhost 5000  < /dev/ttyUSB0 > /dev/ttyUSB0
#============== script end ==============

Monday, August 8, 2016

70 MHz submission by WIA

The WIA has lodged a submission with the ACMA concerning interest in an amateur allocation in the 70 MHz band.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Microwave Activation Day

the next Microwave Activation Day fast approaching, Saturday 23rd July 2016.
Hoping to help our with some 3.4 GHz testing  with Brian VK2XTC and Gary VK2KYP.
I also  wish to take 23cm and see if I can hear anything  from VK4,  ie. MS scatter or AE, as these days yield a good turnout from VK4 area, so expect plenty signals bouncing around from up that way.

GippsTech wrap-up

Enjoyed the lectures at GippsTech this year.  Enjoyed the drive down and back, managed to work a few SOTA stations on 40metres, whilst mobile. Met new people and caught up with old acquaintances. This year was interesting in terms of 3.4 GHz as several attendees brought their completed 3.4 Ghz panels, so we did some carpark tune-ups and then headed in different directions  to make some  contacts on 3398.200 Mhz. Lou VK3ALB, Matt VK3PP, Bernard VK3AV, Mark VK5AVQ, Gary VK2KYP, Dave VK2JDS and myself all had operational panels, plus several others with non completed panels were there to see these panels in operation, which in turn inspired them to get their panels completed. Tim VK5ZT gave a lecture on modifications for these panels so there some new alternative methods for modifying these down to 3.4 GHz and some added features to enhance the panels functionality. Next year we bring  gear to run on other microwave bands to have an even bigger activation.

here is extract off VKlogger showing some of the contacts:

here is Mark VK5AVQ and Dave VK2JDS at "The Ridge" in Morwell (QF31ER) we did some receive signal comparison testing of our panels using the VK3RGI  beacon some 30km away on 3400.434 MHz

Bernard VK3AV setting up his panel below at Federation University in Churchill (QF31FQ)

Dave VK2JDS and his panel

Lou VK3ALB and Matt VK3PP setup their panels

Mark VK5AVQ setting up his panel

Monday, July 4, 2016

GippsTech symposium 2016

this coming weekend is GippsTech 9th/10th July at the Federation University in Morwell Victoria.
Lots of  good technical discussions to listen too, meeting microwave gurus and top it off with some on-air activity on sunday afternoon on 3.4 Ghz

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

compiling WSPR and WSJT for Linux and Windows

I have been out of the loop for compiling my own  packages of WSPR and WSJT for a couple years now due to other family and work commitments.  Now I am getting settled again and getting back to it.

Having a recent look at the WSJT home page shows me that there have been some changes since the changeover to QT4 IDE suite, now there is a fully bundled SDK, called JTSDK 2.0 which includes  QT5 and other required tools and libraries, to make a standardised full development kit,  available  for both Windows and Linux platforms.

This is a major step forward in making it easy for Hams to be able to compile WSJT and WSPR against their own desired Linux O/S platform.  I had found it very time consuming  having to debug and compile over and over for each Linux O/S that I wanted to try this on and then do it all over again when I did an update to the particular Linux O/S, whether it be Debian, Fedora, Ubuntu or Centos O/S's.

Here is the link to the WSJT Development page which describes the JTSDK 1.0,

which references the replacement by JTSDK 2.0 which is here on Sourceforge site

Congratulations to Joe Taylor and the  JT Development teams for the ongoing development  and providing this SDK.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

9cm band plan from WIA as of Feb 2016

3398.000 - 3400.000 NARROW BAND MODES      For operation in any part of Australia
3398.000 - 3398.100 EME only
3398.100 - 3398.400 CW / SSB
3398.100 Calling frequency: national primary
3398.200 Calling frequency: national secondary
3398.220 - 3398.240 Digital DX modes
3398.400 - 3398.600 Beacons
3398.600 - 3400.000 Experimental

 3398.100  the new call frequency  instead of 3400.100

  go to  to get latest bandplans

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

3.4 GHz (9cm) Activity Day, 25th April 2016 - post mortem

A good day with good weather and high visibility made for good microwave activity,  I went to location just east of Lithgow, (33.4859 S, 150.1886 E QF56CM at 1141m ASL, along with Dom VK2JNA and Geoff VK2AVR.   We  first worked Justin VK2CU/p at Mt Lambie (33.4716 S, 149.9881 E, QF46XM at distance of 21km bearing 272deg,  60/9 signal on FM on 3400.1 MHz.

Then we tried to work Kim VK2ASY/p at the Pinnacle Lookout, (33.3437 S, 149.0289 E, QF46MP, south west of Orange and near to Mt Canobolis, at height of about 1150m ASL bearing 277deg, a distance to us of 108km, but unsuccessful in receiving Kim or Kim receiving us.   Kim did receive Justin VK2CU over at Mt Lambie, a distance of about  87km between them.  Might have been a power output problem for Kim's transmitter.

Then we made contact with Matt VK2DAG/p and Dave VK2JDS/p at Gowan (33.1468 S, 149.3541 E, QF46QU at 1000m ASL bearing 296deg and distance of 85km, successfully working both at signal of 50 on USB, on 3400.1 MHz, with fair bit of QSB,

All stations using the GARC 3.4 GHz panels, except for Justin who had a 3.4 Ghz panel plus a 3.4 Ghz  Minikits xvter, but it was not working too well on TX.

Contacts made between 0400 utc to 0500 utc

3.4 GHz panel with FT-817ND aimed at Justin VK2CU at Mt Lambie QF46XM

Geoff VK2AVR and Dom VK2JNA  portable at QF56CM   1141m ASL very pleased  to make some 3.4 GHz contacts.

Dom VK2JNA and Geoff VK2AVR  portable  at QF56CM  1141m ASL

3.4 GHz panel with FT-817ND aimed at VK2DAG and VK2JDS portable Gowan QF46QU

We running 2w from the FT-817ND into the transverter panel, an IF of 444.1 MHz   =  3400.1 MHz tp produce  less than 1w output.

Dom and Geoff continued the afternoon by perusing some more potential microwave sites, next time we we do a microwave day we  will bring 1.2 GHz  and 10 GHz gear.

I looked at a location on the way back towards Bell, along Chifley Road, at QF56DM, (33.4941 S, 150.2675 E, 1130m ASL)  a good clear, high spot that would give takeoff back to Somersby (Central Coast through Newcastle) so we could work Gary VK2KYP from here.

Friday, April 22, 2016

3.4 GHz (9cm) band Activity Day Monday 25th April

another 9cm (3.4Ghz) Microwave Activity day happening again, this time on Anzac Day, Monday 25th April, aimed to create activity on the 9cm microwave band.
We planning to operate from the NSW Central West,  i.e Lithgow-Bathurst-Orange area.

Friday, April 8, 2016

next 23 on 23 microwave activity day - Saturday 23rd April 2016

Saturday April 23rd will see the next 23-on-23 for 2016. 

As has been the past practice, where the 23rd falls on a weekend the events operating time have been shifted from the evening to a day-time activation event. This has also allowed operators to take full advantage of the time, and head for the hills to trial their /P stations, investigate new paths and hopefully complete a contact with a new station (or more) that they wouldn't normally from their home station. It also provides an opportunity to activate other uWave bands. 

A suggested schedule: 
2:00pm (04:00z) - 03:00pm (05:00z) 23cm SSB/CW only 
3:00pm (05:00z) - 5:00pm (07:00z) 13cm and other uWave bands 

Liaison - 
147.000 Repeater (if the RDRC would again be happy with that) 
40m - 7.150MHz (is that still the recommended QRG?) 
Mobile/cell phone 
VKLogger iChat '23&Above' 

As a number of 23cm operators do not participate in the VKLogger or Facebook forums, please let those who may be interested know by taking a moment to share the plans with them. 

However to allow others to plan their participation, could you please advise your interest, availability and any suggested enhancements to the schedule in the VKLogger thread.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

acknowledgment of famous microwavers

Two very smart and now very famous hams,  Jack VK2TRF and Greg VK2TPL,

I heard Jack on air some time ago during a quick return visit home, he said he was on a project in Africa, but did not elaborate, now we know what that project was.

The above article  will explain more of their exploits and showing the technical abilities of ham radio ops.

congratulations to Jack and Greg.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

3.4 GHz QSO Party post mortem

we had 9 portable ops on 3.4 Ghz (9cm band) across the Sydney basin / Central Coast region today, there was Dave VK2JDS at Kurrajong Heights, Justin VK2CU and Roger Harrison VK2ZRH at Parramatta, Nick VK2FS + Geoff VK2AVR operating the Manly-Warringah Radio Society club station VK2MB at Terrey Hills, and Matt VK2DAG and Gary Beech VK2KYP and Steve VK2XDE  at Mangrove Mountain.. 

It was also good to see a contingency of ZL's operatoring on 3.4 GHz joining in on the day, ZL1TPH, ZL1SWW, ZL1AVZ, ZL1TBG working amongst themselves.

Of course there were several active ops from Geelong ARC and nearby, VK3WRE, VK3ALB, VK3ACG, VK3PY, VK3AKK, VK3BQJ.
As for my contacts, Ioperated from the old Army Artilley School at North Head (QF56pe),  I worked Dave VK2JDS on FM, USB and PSK31, then VK2MB on FM. Attempts were made to work VK2CU and VK2ZRH at Parramatta and Matt VK2DAG at Mangrove Mountain but unsuccessful.  My longest contact was with Dave VK2JDS at 69km

Dave VK2JDS  was able to work VK2MB, then VK2 CU and VK2ZRH at Parramatta, then VK2DAG, VK2KYP and VK2XDE at Mangrove Mountain..

Next, will  plan to do 23cm and 3cm portable.

Friday, February 19, 2016

3.4 Ghz QSO party

this coming Sunday 21st February, (from 10am to 12noon AEDST) is the inaugural  3.4 GHz QSO party,  an idea from the Geelong ARC to promote activity on the 3.4 GHz (9cm) band, based on the recent source of ex-commercial  surplused panels which have been modified to 3.4 GHz.

There will be a group in Geelong area, some more in VK5 and a group in Sydney basin to try and make as many contacts as possible.   In Sydney we have VK2JDS coming down from Bathurst to operate from Kurrajong Heights, matt VK2DAG and Gary VK2KYP up Central Coast,  Nick VK2FS, Geoff VK2AVR operating from Terrey Hills  and I to operate from North Head.

Not sure if the Brisbane microwave guys have got their  panels converted and operational yet.

For those interested in gettng onto 3.4GHz the Geelong ARC now have some more panels for sale, see
Geelong ARC 3.4 GHz Project