President's News


Here is the latest news from the President:

For older stories, please click on Previous Articles and search the files by date.


Peel Amateur Radio Group

 

President’s Report

01 July 2021 – 30 June 2022

 

 

As this financial year comes to a close and with both the AGM and committee elections looming it is fitting to review what PARG has been up to.

 

It has been a fantastically busy year with many members contributing significant time and resources to Club activities ranging from regular on-air skeds and tech night presentations to the major regional disaster response exercise “Cloudless Dawn I” - an outstanding demonstration of the PARGESS response to an extended State-wide Internet outage during a Peel-area emergency.

 

The International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend was held 21/22 Aug and saw Paul VK6LL and David VK6FAAZ activate the North Molle light at Fremantle with PARG 1, and Jerry VK6LJC and I activate the Guilderton lighthouse north of Perth. Notwithstanding that conditions were very ordinary, both stations managed to work a number or VK stations including the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse group and in addition some DX including South Africa and Italy; a great day was had by all.

 

The annual international Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) weekend was conducted over the weekend of 16 & 17 October. PARG 1, ably led by Paul (VK6LL), and assisted at various times by Martin (VK6MJ), David (VK6FAAZ), Terry (VK6TTF), John (VK6FAAJ), Bruce (VK6BW) and myself, was deployed to the Rockingham Scout Hall with HF and a 2m transceiver on 146.550 connected to Echolink at Martin’s house. Coinciding with JOTA was the combined PARG field day and QRP hours contest which gave other members an opportunity to participate.

 

Notwithstanding COVID, we successfully hosted our annual Swapmeet at the Mandurah Bowling Club. Many members helped make the day a success, and during the swap meet I was approached by a number of visitors who congratulated PARG, both for continuing to hold the swap meet for the last couple of years during COVID, and also for the Slow CW Corroborees and on-air QSO practices. Thank you so much to our event and raffle sponsors, TET Temtron and Future Systems - your support was very much appreciated by our members and visitors. Congratulations to the following prize winners in our Swap Meet raffle:

 

·            1st IC2300 65w ICOM RADIO - Phil VK6GX

·            2nd SDR Malachite receiver - Peter VK6PBS

·            3rd 30a Power supply - Steve VK6SJ

·            4th TET Emtron multi band antenna - Don VK6FAAT

·            5th Nano VNA - Dee VK6DEE

·            6th Ham radio back pack - Brett VK6OKG

Without doubt, the major event for the year was exercise Cloudless Dawn I. The exercise team, led by Martin (VK6MJ), and including Mark (VK2KI) Tony (VK6DQ), David (VK6FAAZ), Maurice (VK6HLY), Paul (VK6LL), Terry (VK6TTF) and John (VK6FAAJ) developed the exercise plan, scenarios and associated technical equipment, and then managed a dry run on Sun 27 Mar. After working through the challenges identified in the shake-down, the actual exercise on Sunday 10 April saw many Club members either out portable at strategic sites, operating PARG1 or operating from home. The subsequent debrief session was attended by representatives from SES, WA POL and the Mandurah Emergency Management Committee Chair, feedback was universally positive and encouraging. We identified a need to establish a Communications Centre for PARG, to develop our WinLink capabilities further, and to produce some ‘grab kits’ of easily deployable battery-powered equipment. The exercise and the feedback bodes well for future similar exercises, and we have also received feedback from other radio clubs and operators who are interested in similar combined activities in the future.

·            A number of other regular activities continued during the period including:

·            Daily on air CW training provided by Tony (VK6DQ), for which we are most grateful.

·            Tuesday afternoon/evening CQ QRS Slow CW Practice sessions on 80m - hosted by Mark (VK2KI) and well attended by many in VK6s and VK5s.

·            Regular Slow CW Corroboree contests organised by David VK6FAAZ and Mark VK2KI.

·            Weekly Winlink nets hosted by Jenny VK6JEN.

·            Regular two-hour Field Days organised for members to operate in VKFF Parks or SOTA locations.

·            Annual PARG Birthday Bash - fun phone contest.

·            The inaugural International Morse Code Day Trivia Quiz hosted for PARG on Zoom by Mark VK2KI.

·            Members participated in the Southern Electronics Group HamFeasts at Quinninup and Katanning.

On top of all this, many members participated in regular WIA and national and international ham radio events including the John Moyle Field day, the Remembrance Day contest, World Amateur Radio Day, VKFF Activation Weekend, the QRP Hours Contest and many more. We also had a PARG swap-meet table operating at the Northern Corridor Radio Group’s HamFest - thank you to all who manned the table.

Technical talks continued throughout the year, due largely to the efforts of Mark VK2KI. Topics included:

·            QMAC transceivers by Maurice VK6HLY and Terry VK6TTF

·            Arduino basics for amateur radio by John VK2EMF

·            Motorhome development for communications by Don VK6DON

·            Remote HF/VHF/UHF stations at Bedfordale and Carnarvon (Mark VK2QI, Rob VK6LD, Gary VK6GAL)

·            Ionospheric propagation and predictions - Mark VK2KI

·            Barging in Holland by my wife Jackie and I

·            Winlink interfacing and set-up by Martin VK6MJ

·            Exercise Cloudless Dawn I pre-brief and post-exercise debriefs

·            Valve testing by Martin VK6MJ

·            Winlink Radio Messaging Service by Timothy VK3MIT

·            Flex Radio remote stations - Steve VK6SJ

During the period we were very pleased to welcome a number of new members. Several of the new people have taken active and leading roles within club activities, for which we are most grateful. We have also seen three of our new members successfully pass their Foundation or Standard license tests - congratulations all.

During the period we were very pleased to welcome a number of new members. Several of the new people have taken active and leading roles within club activities, for which we are most grateful. We have also seen three of our new members successfully pass their Foundation or Standard license tests - congratulations all.

 As most of you are aware, Jerry (VK6LJC) on behalf of the committee, conducted a survey of PARG members to ascertain your views on a number of questions - in particular what you would like to see PARG offer to members. The results and recommendations of the survey were circulated at the time and will hopefully provide guidance to the incoming committee.

Also this year, and in an effort to secure a permanent home for PARG, we spent a lot of time working with the Halls Head Croquet Club. Whilst their membership was very sympathetic and appreciative of the good work we undertake in the community, they ultimately decided not to proceed with our proposal to build a club house within their precinct. Notwithstanding that it was disappointing for us all, and noting the overwhelming support in the recent survey for a dedicated club house, the committee continues to think laterally about other opportunities or possibilities.

Going forward I hope that PARG will continue to look at opportunities to establish its own Emergency Communications Centre, Remote HF system and continue development of Winlink for emergency support. We’d also like to be able to put on more demonstrations of amateur radio to attract more people to the activity, and we’ll be looking for opportunities to establish a station at some of the regional shows or similar. Jerry’s survey results highlight what our members do and don’t want - and my hope is that PARG continues to improve member participation, and continues to be one of the most effective amateur radio Groups in our area.

I would like to offer my sincere thanks to each member of the committee (and their families) for their outstanding efforts throughout what has been a busy year. In particular I would like to thank retiring Secretary David (VK6FAAZ) for his support. I would also like to thank John VK6GJT for putting up his hand to be the Group’s membership coordinator, and to our new member Jenny VK6JEN for agreeing to coordinate WinLink development in the Group.

 Finally, thank you to all members who have helped, organised and participated in activities throughout the year; thanks to your support and efforts, PARG has become known around Australia as ‘the Club of renown’ - and I’ve been very very pleased to have contributed to this.

 


Geoff Hart-Davies VK6HD

10 July 2022