20171022 NewsWest

posted Oct 20, 2017, 10:38 PM by Bob Bristow   [ updated Oct 20, 2017, 11:02 PM ]

Jamboree On The Air is in full swing as we go to air. Scouts and Guides all over the World are having a go at Amateur Radio. Welcome to NewsWest, the Amateur Radio news programme by Amateurs, for Amateurs.  NewsWest is primarily concerned with news about Western Australian Amateur Radio, however w do include other Amateur Radio news that is  pertinent to the VK6 call area.

This week we take a look at Contesting, What’s been in Amateur Radio news this week, Ham College activities and the World Wide FLora and Fauna weekend activity.  The regular weekly items of Foundations of Amateur Radio and Ryy’s Helpline are in the line-up too. Visit vk6.net to find out how you can listen to Newswest, be it on air, podcast, or download.

The NewsWest team this week is Onno VK6FLAB, Glynn VK6PAW, Roy VK6XV and myself Bob VK6POP, the producer for this week.

20171022– Ross Hull Contest

Do you like to work the higher bands – or are you stuck on HF??

The Ross Hull Contest is a VHF-UHF DX contest, with points awarded for distances worked. There are also band multipliers to encourage activity on the higher bands.

The contest was established in 1950 to honour the memory of the late Ross A. Hull and his pioneering achievements in the study of tropospheric propagation and the development of new equipment techniques for the higher bands.

The aim of the contest is to encourage and to reward achievement in working the greatest possible distances on the VHF, UHF and microwave bands.

The contest is on for the entire month of January 2018.

Entrants may operate on every contest day, but the final score is based on the best seven days nominated by the entrant.

Each contact scores one point for each 100 km of distance worked. This score is then multiplied by the band multiplier. The total score is the sum of the scores on all bands.

The 2017 results, along with full contest rules and details will be posted on the WIA website 8 weeks before the contest begins.

We hope to work you then.

Link: http://www.wia.org.au/members/contests/rosshull/

Link: http://www.wia.org.au/members/contests/rosshull/documents/Ross Hull - VHF Pioneer.pdf

Contesting #5 Oceania DX Contest wrap VK6ARN

The historic Oceania DX (“OCDX”) Contest is one of the longest-running contests in the amateur radio calendar, on a par with classics such as the RGSB Commonwealth Contest(formerly and CQ World Wide DX Contest (CQ WW).

The Oceania DX is an annual competition between radio amateurs to make contacts on the HF (shortwave) bands, specifically DX (long distance) contacts with stations in Oceania.

WA Amateur Radio News members Onno and Bob had  go at the contest and set up a portable operation in a location about halfway between Perth and York, working under the club callsign VK6ARN.  

This site wasnt as high as previous sites in the area, however it provided a wide flat space surrounded by trees, which allowed the team to erect a vee beam, 200 metres each leg

The vee beam performed excellently, especially on the short and long paths to Europe.  The challenge for next time is to put up another vee beam to provide short and long path to the USA.  The other antenna in use was a G5RV, which performed quite well, as it was at a decent height above ground

The club entry was in the Multi operator, single transmitter, low power (100 Watts) section.  

Overall, the results were satisfactory, and encouraging enough to think about entering more contests.

"News from WA VHF Group

The AGM was run a week or so ago. Well done to all new office bearers and committee, that look suspicously similar to last years office bearers and committee. All joking aside, thank you to everyone past and current memberso of the committee for your time and continued efforts.

Next meeting is Monday 23rd October, that's tomorrow night. There's a tech talk on shack power supplies and mobile field days. Door open 7:30pm for a 8 o'clock start at the Operators Cottage, Wireless Hill Reserve, Ardross.

Our next activity day will be November 4th at 2pm, Operator's Cottage.

More information about the group can be found on the interweb thingy www.wavhfgroup.org.au.

73 from Ty, VK6HTY for the WA VHF Group."

20171022 QuickMeetings

And now to Amateur Radio Meetings across VK6 for the next week, with a busy start to the week.

The Northern Corridor Radio Group gather today as we go to air Sunday morning, with their weekly get together from 8:30am.

You’ll find them running the JOTA Station, along with Ellenbrook and Bullsbrook Scouts, at the Neil Penfold State Amateur Radio Centre at the top end of Whiteman Park. Access via Gnangara Road.

The WA VHF Group have their meeting, Monday 8-10pm at the Operators Cottage at Wireless Hill, in Ardross.

Tuesday night the NCRG are at it again with their monthly meeting from 7:30pm.

PRAWNHEADS gather for lunch on Wednesday. Meet the crew back at Phoever, 29 Station Street in Subiaco, for a 12 noon start.

12 noon Wednesday you’ll also find the Radio Ladies Lunch Group, at the Bayswater Hotel, Beechboro Road is Bayswater, opposite the Bayswater Train Station.

As mentioned elsewhere in this Broadcast, Ham College are running a foundation course both days next weekend.

And finally….

HARG, the Hills Amateur Radio Group meet Saturday afternoon, 2 ‘til 5pm at the Paxhill Guide Hall, Cnr Sanderson & Brady Roads, Lesmurdie .

If you think we’ve missed something, or have updated information, please let the NewsWest team know by emailing: newswest@vk6.net

20171022 Contesting 2 CQWW CW Contest

The CQ WW is the largest Amateur Radio competition in the world. Over 35,000 participants take to the airwaves on the last weekend of October (SSB) and November (CW) with the goal of making as many contacts with as many different DXCC entities and CQ Zones as possible.

The CQWW CW contest is on the weekend of November 25-26, 2017

The contest starts at 0000 UTC Saturday and runs through to 2359 UTC Sunday.

Interested? Want to know more? Head for the CQWW website, cqww.com


20171022 JOTA JOTI This Weekend

Have you been on air this weekend???  You must be doing something radio as you are listing to this broadcast. If you’ve just switched on, stick around afterwards and skip around the bands.

It’s JOTA-JOTI weekend and you can expect to hear thousands of scouts and guides around the world calling CQ – and trying to link up with other guides and scouts. There’s over 150 countries participating – and a strength in number of stations operating here in VK6.

You should find stations on most HF, VHF and UHF bands, along with Echolink, AllStar, DMR and Brandmeister. The timing was for all weekend, Friday through Sunday, so even Sunday night here in WA the sun is still rising on the other side of the globe – and the fun continues.

If you feel like providing some encouragement to these radio newbies, answer their CQs and have a chat. I’m sure they’ll be interested in hearing your thoughts and memories – particularly if you were a scout or girl guide growing up – I know many people, many non-amateurs, who hold fond memories of their JOTA experiences in their youth.

We should take this opportunity to provide thanks to Delshard, Branch Commissioner International at Scouts WA, for all his co-ordination efforts for the 2017 event. If you’d like to help co-ordinate the 2018 event – Delshard would love to hear from You.

If you’ve missed the messaging all year-to-date – this year is 60 Year of JOTA, Celebrating 60 years of Connecting Scouts.

There’s already a bunch of Twitter feeds and photos posted – so head to Facebook – or jota.joti.info


20171022 VKFF Team Championship

The VKFF Team Championship is on this Sunday 22nd October 2017, from 0000 UTC-0600 UTC is the 2017 VKFF Team Championship.

What is it all about?

The World Wide Flora and Flora or WWFF is an international Amateur Radio movement that encourages portable operation from within national parks and nature reserves. VKFF is the Australian sector of that, and has proved to be a popular activity.   The Australian website is wwffaustralia.com - no spaces in wwffaustralia

So, back to the team challenge.

Over a 6 hour period, teams of amateurs compete against each other, with the goal of obtaining the most number of contacts, whilst activating from a qualifying VKFF park.

Teams so far are as follows......

‘The Walkie Talkies’ comprising Paul VK5PAS and Marija VK5FMAZ

‘Special K’s’ comprising of Les VK5KLV and Peter VK5KPR

'The VK4WIPeouts' comprising Mark VK4SMA and Murray VK4MWB.

'Team Kookaburra' comprising Mick VK3GGG and Tony VK3XV

''Team Onka" comprising Mike VK5FMWW and Larry VK5FLHR

"Penguin Pirates" comprising Hans VK6XN and Phil VK6ADF

It’s not too late, so if you’re thinking that combining a picnic in a park with Amateur Radio, hop over to the website for details.  Do you remember the web address? Wwffaustralia dot com.

If you do intend to take part as a team, please drop Paul VK5PAS an email with details.  Paul’s email address is vk5pas at wia.org.au  

Also with VKFF, here’s a  reminder about next month’s VKFF Activation Weekend on Saturday 25th November 2017 and Sunday the 26th November 2017.

This is NOT a contest. It is a weekend to promote the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program in Australia.

Head out to your favourite park/s on either Saturday and/or Sunday and enjoy the fun of the weekend.

If you intend to activate a park that weekend, please  email Paul so he can add your activation/s to the list.

Paul is the VKFF National co-ordinator for Australia


wwffaustralia dot com

20171022 Ham College Next Weekend

Ham College holds its monthly committee meeting on Tuesday 8th July at the Lynwood Scout Hall inside the Whaleback Golf course in Parkwood at 6pm all are welcome.

The next foundation course is just two weeks away on the 19th and 20th of August at the same venue.  We are always looking for volunteers to come along and spruik their club to the students who will be new amateurs.  If your’e interested in doing this then please have a chat with Neil VK6BDO so that he can sort out a suitable time.  Oh and by the way all are welcome to visit us when the course is running to see what and how we instruct the students.

The next assessment day is Saturday 25th August.  Do you want to do a foundation, regs, standard advanced or practical assessment.  If so then put an expression of interest up on the college website.  Please be aware that snail mail postage means that it can take ten days for exam papers to arrive from Melbourne, so as much notice as possible, please.

If you have ambitions to become a learning facilitator or assessor then again please be in touch with the College.  We need you!

20171022 VK6 Notes for AR Magazine

It’s that time of the month again – maybe NOT what you are thinking – but time for radio hobbyists (that’s you…) to start thinking about what to put into the VK6 club news for Amateur Radio Magazine.

So far, Steve has a contribution from Jono the Tom Price repeater and one from last month that missed out, regarding  Mens Shed and AR -  which will get in this month.

After this next edition, we can expect the WIA to go to two monthly editions of the magazine.

Help out Steve, VK6SJ, by getting your submissions to him before the 27th October if possible.

It is one thing to have an overall plan for a contest — what bands to operate, what QSO goals to have, and when to plan for off times. But a contest plan is not the whole story.

A big part of the contest is propagation and propagation is a variable right up to the contest, if not during the contest as well.

Knowing what bands are open to which locations is a critical skill to learn and this contesting skill can be significantly enhanced through the use of propagation programs.

What these programs can do is take the solar flux, K-index and/or sunspot numbers and provide you a decent indication of what bands will be open to various locations around the planet. Printing these predictions out and having them beside you while you contest can be a great reference during the contest.

I’m a great believer in not having the contester think much during the contest — because the longer we contest without sleep, the less thinking is capable of being done. We are capable of only doing basic activities — such as copying and sending code while working our logging program.

Consequently, a contest plan, propagation prediction and other contesting tools being available to a contester is an invaluable asset to help keep the contester oriented on the right band at the right time with antennas pointed in the right directions.

Scot, K9JY


The CQ WW is the largest Amateur Radio competition in the world. Over 35,000 participants take to the airwaves on the last weekend of October (SSB) and November (CW) with the goal of making as many contacts with as many different DXCC entities and CQ Zones as possible.

The contest runs for 48 hours and starts at Midnight UTC, or 08:00 local time on Saturday.

The rules for the contest are online and can be found on the CQ World Wide DX Contest website, the link is on vk6.net. [http://http://cqww.com/]

You can participate as much or as little as you like, but you do have to actually turn your radio on.

The SSB contest is happening next weekend, the 28th and 29th of October, as I said, from 08:00 local time for 48 hours.

If you have the urge to test your radio, this is your chance. Get on air and make some noise!

The Wireless Institue of Australia has some official contests, including the Spring VHF and UHF Field Days. They are the perfect opportunity to get out portable with your station and show the world what you've been up to during Winter.

The VHF-UHF Field Days provide VHF-UHF operators with the opportunity to "head for the hills" and see how far and how many they can work.

The Field Days have separate sections for single and multiple operator stations. The duration of the Field Day is 24 hours, but there are also 8 hour sections for operators who may not be able to camp overnight. Most club stations prefer to operate for the full 24 hours.

The Field Days also generate plenty of activity from home stations, so there is also a separate Home Station section.

All contacts must be simplex: contacts through repeaters or satellites are not allowed. There is plenty of FM activity, but one feature of the Field Days is a high level of SSB activity.

It is possible to do very well with only modest antennas if you pick a good hilltop. Another option, if your station is easily transportable, is to operate from more than one location during the contest period.

The date for the Spring 2017 Field Day is Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 November.

In the news this week, Brian VK3MI reports that there was a lot of traffic to the Oceania DX Contest web site at the end of the CW contest because their bandwidth allowance had been exceeded and access was temporarily blocked. The contest committee have worked on adding some additional bandwidth so the site should be good to go for all. Brian goes on to advise that the email robot that receives and processes the logs was not affected so you can still send your logs in via email. The addresses are on vk6.net. [SSB Cabrillo logs to ph@oceaniadxcontest.com and CW Cabrillo logs to cw@oceaniadxcontest.com]

Lots of stations participated in the Oceania DX contest, both SSB and CW. Contacts were made across the globe. check out the reports and soapbox comments on the VK Contest Club mailing list and Facebook group.

The VKFF award recipients for this week are

  • Graziano IW2NXI

  • Gennady UA6NT

  • Marija VK5FMAZ

  • Rob VK4AAC

  • John VK4TJ

  • Andrew VK1DA

  • Gerard VK2JNG

David VK2NU reports that his activation of VK2/MN-169 and 168 are documented in glorious colour on his blog. Check vk6.net for the link [https://vk2nusota.blogspot.com.au/p/vk2mn.html] If you want the short version, Too Long, Didn't Read, David tells us:


2 new summits.

A good walk (about 13km all up) with just the right level of difficulty.

Good Trails, easy to access summits.

Great Weather, about 22ºC and partially overcast.


Propagation... short skip none existent, none of the usual VK3's in the log.

2 lost fishing weights.

1 leech, which got squashed mid feed in my boot... Bite was still bleeding at 9pm that night!

Bernard VK2IB reports on his activation of VE-062 and VE-086. You can find our more on the SOTA_Australia mailing list. [SOTA_Australia@yahoogroups.com.au]

The VK QRP Club is holding the QRP Hours contest this Sunday on 40m only. You can participate on CW and Digital at 05:00 UTC for one Hour and on SSB at 06:00 UTC for one hour. Details in LoKey Magazine or on the website. The link is on vk6.net [http://vkqrpclub.org/qrp_new/qrp1_contest_page.php]

If there was other news you'd like to have covered, you forgot to tell us about it. The address is newswest@vk6.net, deadline is noon on Friday. Let us know what you're up to, what contest you're planning and what activities you want help with.

Foundations of Amateur Radio

In the past I've talked about what kind of station I have, how I tend to operate and what kind of tools I use in my day-to-day running of an Amateur Radio station. This week I want to take a closer look at what I do when I participate in a contest.

I remember fondly the first contest I ever set-up for, fondly as-in, "What was I thinking?"

Let me set the scene.

I'd previously been to a few stations that were participating in a contest. Some of those were in a club-shack, others were set-up portable in the field. For my first contest I was going to set-up my station in the field, so I needed to bring everything myself. Fortunately I was with friends, one with a camper-trailer, so I didn't need to bring a roof, or the kitchen sink, but I did bring pretty much everything else.

My list included tables, chairs, antennas, radios, headphones, connectors, soldering iron, power-boards, extension cables, logbooks for paper logging, pens, clipboards, two computers, four spare batteries, power supplies. It took hours of preparation, packing and not to forget, lugging, and when the contest was all done and dusted I noticed that while I brought everything, I didn't bring the right things and some things were missing.

For example, the little connector cable between the front face of my radio and the back of my radio was not packed, so I could only work with a long cable, which was subject to interference which I couldn't fix because I didn't have any ferrites. Other missing tools were a multi-meter, an antenna analyser and a dummy load, to name just the ones that come to mind today.

A wise man once told me that the more you camp, the less you bring.

Combined with my first contesting experience, that's become my motto. Bring Less.

So, last week, I packed much less and much more precise. My total packing list was:

A radio and a tuner, Wire for wire antennas, Crimp Connectors and a crimper, a multi-meter and antenna analyser, a dummy load, barrel connectors and adapters from N to PL259, BNC and the like. A computer for logging and a CAT cable, a headset, a foot pedal, a notebook and pen.

That's it - other than a toothbrush and a sleeping bag and warm clothes.

As it was, my foot pedal didn't work, because there was a fault in the adapter cable and I've added fixing that to my list of to-do items. Which brings me to the next thing I learned.

It doesn't matter what you start with on your first contest. What matters is that you track it and then after the contest try to spend some time figuring out what worked and what didn't. If you update your list then over time it will become better and targeted to your specific circumstances.

When I do a contest mobile from my car, my packing list is similar, but not the same. I've not yet got it down to a fine art, but I'm getting better. One day I'll have the perfect kit, but then something unexpected is likely to happen and the perfect kit will change, again.

What is currently in your contesting kit, what do you bring and what do you leave at home. What adventures did you have with your latest contest and what lessons could you share with others.

I'm Onno VK6FLAB


Are you still at a JOTA activity?  Have fun. And please please PLEASE tell us about your JOTA effort.   Be assured, also, those who have helped in any way with JOTA, that your efforts are greatly appreciated.

Thanks to the NewsWest team, and thanks to the people who put the news to air and take the call backs.  We’re back in the market for someone to transmit the news on twenty metres.  The pay for broadcasting the news is astounding. In fact I’m quite peeved because the news broadcasters are paid twenty percent more than the news team members.   This must be fixed.

Seriously though, if you have the capability to transmit the news on 20 metres, you’d need, for a start, a means of pushing audio into your radio - an interface that you’d use between your radio and a computer for RTTY, SSTV, PSK etc will do the job.   You’d need a beam, as the broadcast is aimed at the North of the State.  And preferably you’d be able to push somme power - more than the usual 100 watts.   So put your mind to it. IT’s a big ask, so perhaps you could team up with another person and share the load.    Give us a shout at newswest@vk6.net if you are interested.  If necessary, we can run to an extra 10 percent to get you interested.

That’s your propagating lot. Thanks for tuning in, and please hang around for the callbacks.  If callbacks don’t happen, jump onto vk6.net and record your callbacks there.  All contributions for NEwsWest need to be in to us by noon Friday.  That gives you about five days to throw something together.

73 from the NewsWest team.