This article was penned by Mark Bosma (VK2KI / VK6QI) and was printed in Issue 4 of Amateur Radio 2020
Peel Amateur Radio Group
Down Mandurah way, the very active Peel Amateur Radio Group has been out and about doing all sorts of things of interest to its growing list of members.
The PARG1 Emergency Communications trailer was deployed to Mount William in March for the John Moyle Field Day Contest, and great fun was had on HF, VHF, UHF and on the Group’s 2.4GHz mesh network. Work has started on a second smaller comms trailer recently acquired, PARG2.
August saw the Group hold its fourth annual Birthday Bash Contest. This very friendly four hour scramble saw a good number of members falling over themselves every 30 minutes on HF, VHF, UHF and the Group’s 2.4GHz mesh network with both voice and packet contacts exchanging numbers and multipliers. Great fun was had by all, and we eagerly await the results of who gets to adopt the fabulous perpetual trophy for the next year.Hot on the heels of the Birthday Bash Contest, and the Bunnings Sausage Sizzle, the Group deployed the PARG1 Emergency Communications Unit to Cape Naturaliste for the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend. The Capes Lighthouse Group operated at the lighthouse on Saturday, and PARG ran the activity as VK6ARG/l on Sunday.
The Emergency Communications trailer worked very well – a tribute to the members who had worked so hard over the past years to set up the unit.
For the event, Martin VK6MJ had established a link between the Group’s 2.4GHz mesh network in Mandurah and the VK6RMW repeater at Mount William. The repeater was noise-free from PARG1 at Cape Naturaliste – 110km line of sight, just skimming the curvature of the earth. HF conditions were pretty average on the Sunday, but VK6CLL/l at Cape Leeuwin and VK5CJL/l at Cape Jarvis were worked; Group spotters in Mandurah also heard VK2CLR/l at Ballina.
On 2 Sep 2020 Martin VK6MJ (VK6 ARISS Ground Station) conducted an ARISS school contact with a school in Poland. The astronaut was Christopher Cassidy on the ISS. The quality of sound during the event was very strong and clear and the school was very glad and happy that they could ask twelve questions of Chris and listen clearly to his answers. AOS over Mandurah was 12:58 UTC (or 8:58 local time) and lasted 10 minutes. The ISS was eclipsed by the earth’s shadow and therefore not visible to the eye.
Later that week Mark VK2KI and Martin VK6MJ managed a cross continental ISS cross band repeater QSO from regional NSW near Yass to Mandurah!
Portable ops continued with Terry VK6TTF/p deploying to Nullagine, which saw a large group of members giving skeds on 40m and 80m a try. The skeds were net-controlled by Mark VK6QI using the VK6XT remote HF station at Broomehill and were very successful. Geoff VK6GHD then operated portable at Prevelly Beach and a couple of weeks later, at Augusta; net control for the latter 3600KHz skeds was conducted by Maurice VK6HLY and Terry VK6TTF.
A flow-on from the 80m operations was a renewed interest in getting 80m going by many of the members. Tony VK6DQ has started refurbishing his pre-selector, and lent his MFJ-1026 noise canceller to Martin VK6MJ for trials with PARG1 and home, to deal with the usual S9 noise levels on 80m. There’s now a high risk that Tony will never see his noise canceller again – Martin has successfully knocked the noise level from S9 to S3 – suddenly making 80m from home a practical proposition. Martin has also been experimenting with different 80m squid pole antennas, and Tony has been out and about helping John VK6FAAJ and Don VK6DON sort out their 80m offset-fed dipoles. Meanwhile Baz VK6MU has had lots of fun with different antennas, and his wife has even suggested that he put up a new tower, rather than tangling up the clothes line – what a great Club!
The Group’s focus is now on on-air activities, monthly tech talks and workshops. On-air nights are held on the VK6RMH repeater 146.850 at 7pm local time on the first Tuesday of each month, and the option of continuing regular 80m skeds is being considered. For the tech talks, a long list of tech talk topics has been established. We should have interesting topics to appeal to all members for the next several years.
The tech talks and workshop nights are held at the Mandurah SES Headquarters, and video conferenced via Zoom for those who can’t get there. Recent talks were on the sensational new bit of test equipment – the Nano Vector Network Analyser, how do repeaters work, magnetic loops, and most recently, a great talk by President Geoff VK6GHD to inspire portable operations. Links to YouTube videos of the tech talks are in the Workshop/Technical area on the Group’s website parg.org.au
The Group is keen to encourage new members and we have had a number of new folks join this year. People new to Amateur Radio who would like to find out more about the hobby, or perhaps get a helping hand toward getting an amateur license are most welcome. More experienced amateurs will find that the Group is a terrific way to share both technical and social aspects of amateur radio. Contact the Secretary David VK6FAAZ email@example.com or check the website www.parg.org.au for more information.
VK6ARG on air at the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse for the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend.
PARG1 set up at Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse for the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend.
Peel Amateur Radio Group at Mount William for the John Moyle Contest in March.