Scout Radio & Electronics Service Unit

Scout Radio & Electronics Service Unit

VK3SAT wins JMFD 6 hour, multi-operator, phone, all-band

Congratulations to Peter VK3ZPF and Kevin VK3KAB for your efforts on a cold wet night at Mt Donna Buang.  Your contest score of 761 points won the 6 hour, multi-operator, phone, all-band category of the John Moyle Field Day contest.

“Hopefully next year we can get a couple more operators along and nudge the score over 1000 points” – .Peter VK3ZPF

The full results are available at

http://www.wia.org.au/members/contests/johnmoyle/documents/JMFDC%20Results%202016.pdf

John Moyle Memorial Field Day Contest

The JMMFD contest is on in less than two weeks. (19 & 20 March)

As an introduction for those new to contesting I’d like to suggest a simple VHF/UHF 6 hour station at Mt Donna Buang. If there are many interested we could ad 40m HF as well.

The contest starts at 12 midday but the best time to start a 6 hour entry is 1:30 pm allowing operation across 3 of the available time blocks which means we can contact stations three times on each band and maximize our scoring opportunities.

Mt Donna Buang is a good location as the contest rewards VHF/UHF contacts over 50 km with additional points, however if coming to a hill closer to town attracts more participants then let’s do it.

Could those who are wanting to join in please let me know, on either list, by next Monday so we can finalise the location.

Cheers

Peter VK3ZPF

Summits on the Air (SOTA)

Many Venturers, Rovers and Leaders around the world combine a little bush walking with Amateur Radio. Here is another good reason to take your light weight radio gear, Summits on the Air (SOTA)

Quite a few Scouting Radio Operators are getting involved in SOTA. Two active Scouting Radio Operators are Kevin, VK3KAB and Peter VK3ZPF.
Here is the link to Peter Fraser’s (VK3ZPF) Blog

Thanks to Peter and Kevin, for providing good information, ideas and many useful links including a good guide to getting started.

 

Introduction To Contests & Field Days

What is a Amateur Radio Contest ?
Contests are a popular aspect of the amateur radio scene. Contesting gives you an opportunity to practice and develop your operating techniques, and to see how well your station is performing.

Purpose of Amateur Radio Contests?
Radio Contests have one objective, to get many stations on air and to increase the opportunities for making contacts.
Who takes part in contests?
Contesting is popular both around Australia and worldwide.  Though out the year, mostly on weekends, there are a number of local, Australian and international contests. The contests are operated under known rules and suit the various interests of most amateurs.

There are contests for the HF bands, for the VHF-UHF bands, and for all bands. Some contests are designed for restricted power and are ideal for Australian foundation operators. In addition to voice mode, some contests have special sections for modes including CW and other popular digital modes. Most contests have different sections for individual amateurs and multi-operator or club stations.

Where can you find out more information? One good source is the WIA contest pages
http://www.wia.org.au/members/contests/about/

If you have not had a go at contesting, talk to other members of the team. They can recommend ideal set up, PC logging software (e.g VKCL) and suggest portable operating sites.

Enjoy, have fun and remember it does not really matter who wins 😉 Philip – VK3JNI

 

Trying out your new radio?

Many new operators find that they start operating their new Christmas or Birthday present  over the Christmas Holiday.  The new antenna gets installed and we start calling CQ… Don’t forget that a brief message on Twitter including #SRESU or #CQ and including your Callsign, Frequency and time of operation will help people to find you.

Philip – VK3JNI

Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race 2015/2016 Radio Scheds

Did you know that the ocean racing yachts have to carry several pieces of radio equipment including both VHF and HF Radios? Depending on your location, most of our Amateur Radio Equipment is capable of receiving either VHF or HF position reports directly from each yacht taking part.

All boats shall be capable of transmitting/receiving, as a minimum, on the following frequencies:-
VHF – International Marine Channels 16, 72, 73, 80 and 81
HF/SSB – 4483kHz and 6516kHz (Remember all HF transmissions are Upper Side Band)
This is in addition to sat phones and other tracking devices.

All Yachts are required to maintain a 24 hour listening watch for the duration of their race on VHF Channel 16.

The Sailing Instructions will require that boats report by radio when they are in the vicinity of Green Cape and make a declaration confirming their time of passing as well as the following:

  • The HF radio is fully operational
  • Liferaft(s) are on board
  • Engine and batteries are operational
  • Boat and crew are in a satisfactory condition to continue
  • The skipper has comprehensively considered the most current weather forecast and
  • the boat and crew are fully prepared for the conditions forecast.

Regular radio scheduled contacts must be made by all boats. The motor vessel “JBW” will be the Radio Relay Vessel. “JBW” will conduct radio skeds for position reports and listening schedules and monitor the race frequencies. If required, Hobart Race Control will conduct the sked. Hobart Race Control is based at Tascoast Radio at The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania. “JBW” will maintain a continuous listening watch on the following frequencies throughout the race:

  • 0700 – 2000 hours on 6516 kHz
  • 2000 – 0700 hours on 4483 KHz
  • VHF Channel 16.

Daily position reports will be conducted as follows:-

  • 1905 hours on 26 December 2015 on 6516kHz
  • 0005 on 27 December 2015 and on each subsequent day on 4483kHz
  • 0735 and 1705 hours on each subsequent day on 6516kHz

A weather report may be issued at this time.

The position report routine will be as follows:
(a) “JBW” will commence transmission on 6516/4483kHz (as appropriate) two minutes prior to the sked time with a long tuning call and contact Hobart Race Control. All boats shall tune their radios during this period and not during the schedule.
(b) Each boat when called shall make a position report on 6516/4483kHz (as appropriate) as follows: its Latitude and Longitude in DEGREES and WHOLE MINUTES (not decimals) as at 1900 on 26 December 2015 and at 0000, 0730, and 1700 as appropriate, on subsequent days (not at the time of reporting). If the position is copied, the boat name and its position will be repeated and the next boat called without a break in transmission.

Information extracted from Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions.

Enjoy your Christmas and holidays.

Philip – VK3JNI

J-Code – Common Language for JOTA / JOTI

J-Code

J-Codes ( or J Code ) are designed to enable very basic communication between Scouts that do not share a common language.  By ‘talking’ in J-Codes individuals are able to ask and answer questions without either person being any to speak any of the language of the other.

Follow this link below and you will find some sheets to download, print and share in time to help your members ‘talk’ in multiple languages during JOTA-JOTI.

Looking for J-Code information? see http://jotajoti.info/j-code/

 

Software Defined Radio using a cheap USB stick

Marine vessel locatons see:
http://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/home/centerx:145/centery:-36/zoom:5

Wondering how they track these vessels, it is done via AIS receivers located around the coast.  Vessels carry a AIS transmitter connected to a GPS and regularly transmit their locaton.

If you would like to try to build a little AIS receiver and you are located around the coast, read on.

SDR AIS Decoding using a cheap USB DVB-T Stick

Hi all, here is a little project for the tech savvy Venturer, Rover or Leader.  This project will be of particular interest if you live near the coast. You can use a DVB-T STICK to build a low cost AIS Receiver. Full credit and thanks goes to the team from MarineTraffic.com …  For more detail see: http://tinyurl.com/oo4r594

If you have not played with the AIS display provided by MarineTraffic.com this may be something new for your JOTA / JOTI station.

During the warmer months I run a smart phone app that puts me on the MarineTraffic.com map when on my little boat..  You may even spot our real yacht SwingShift around the bays or lakes. Enjoy! – Philip VK3JNI

 

 

 

Looking for a portable HF Receiver plus more?

You would love a portable HF receiver! You are on a budget and your wish list includes PLL, AM, FM, SSB, MW, SW and a clock but you thought you where only dreaming?

JOTA is coming up in October and I frequently get asked to recommend a portable radio receiver that could let scouts of all ages tune around and listen in to JOTA stations without the complications of having an unsupervised transmitter sitting in the campsite or station. Check this out… AM, FM and Single Sideband with good coverage range, this portable receiver may meet the needs of new amateur operators, leaders and scouts alike. Includes rechargeable battery… all for under $350, sounds like a good deal. Note, I have no commercial interest in this company, other than buying one myself… It works great!  http://tecsunradios.com.au/sto…/product/tecsun-pl880-radio/…

Need Air Band as well… consider http://tecsunradios.com.au/…/tecsun-pl660-radio-vhf-air-ba…/ This one is smaller and under $200.

Please note, we have no commercial affiliation with this company. – Philip VK3JNI