All posts by vk2vjb

Site Speedup Enabled

The WARS home page should be significantly faster now as I’ve just switched enabled Amazon Cloudfront for all media files, this provides a very fast front end cache (aka CDN – Content Distribution Network) taking the load off the (small) server we have hosting the web site.

Hopefully this will also help with the occasional ‘stalls’ we are getting due to the current t1.micro instance, which will continue until I migrate the pages to a reserved instance.

If anybody experiences any issues with this, please let me know.




Foundation Course, 23rd and 24th May 2015

On 23rd & 24th May 2015 the Waverley Amateur Radio Society is holding a Foundation Course weekend plus upgrade Assessments at it’s clubhouse in Rose Bay. Applications to reserve a place are invited.

Email for details and reservation form. Places are limited so register early to avoid missing out.
Please bring this to the attention of anyone you know who might be interested.
Don’t forget to mention our scholarship fund ( Australian Citizens under 25’s not in full rime employment )

The Vk2BV Annual Auction will take place on July 4th 2015

The Vk2BV Annual Auction will take place on July 4th 2015.

This event contains plenty of Radio & Electronic goods for sale. It is open to all to buy or sell whether a club member or not. You should find everything you want to know about the auction on this page, but if you have a query, send an email as below.

In our experience the best sellers are low to medium priced useful bits of equipment, components or vintage items of collector interest. Non-working computers and associated components as well as domestic equipment such as TVs or VCRs will no longer be sold due to lack of buyer interest. Apart from the auction itself there is the popular low value item trash & treasure stand.

Annual Auction

Photo’s from auctions past:

VK2VJB Going Portable

Going Portable (HF Radio)

I’m in the process of changing my radio setup in the Patrol, to allow me to easily switch between Mobile and Portable operations for field days, when I’m camping, and for the occasional SOTA activation.  I currently have an FT-857D in the patrol, and looking to setup this radio for a simple transition between mobile and portable use rather than spent for yet another radio.

The FT-857D is a relatively small, portable all mode all band radio and was the first HF rig I bought when getting into the hobby.   For the past couple of years its been permanently mounted in the car, but doesn’t get a whole lot of use in that mode as children-in-tow doesn’t really lend itself to many contacts when mobile.

I did get very lucky here and acquired the perfect pack for this radio from another member of the radio club who has upgraded to a more modern, lighter, and more portable radio for his ops.  And when I say perfect, I mean it as this pack was made specifically for the FT-817/FT-857 radio’s.

I’ve currently paired the radio with an LDG tuner which won’t be necessary for most bands as I’ll be (trying) to use resonant antenna so don’t plan to carry the tuner for SOTA/qrp ops.

A Signalink has been added to enable data modes (PSK-31, JT-65, etc) and a 8.5 amp hour LIFEPO4 battery to run the rig when I’m away from the usual power sources (solar).

Everything fits nicely in the pack, and it opens up when in use to allow the radio to breath (dissipate heat) when in use.   I’ve brought all connections to the front of the pack (HF/VHF/CAT/Data/Power) for easy connection depending on what I’m going to be doing at the time.
I was hoping to leave everything in the pack in the car by simply plugging in the power/antenna and moving the head unit, but obviously cooling the radio will be an issue in this mode in the car so some thought needs to be given to this setup.  I’ll probably have to move the radio between the pack and the car which isn’t a huge deal.

The entire pack weighs a few Kg so it’s not that light weight, The Lifepo4 battery is a good deal lighter than the equivalent SLAB and the voltage range is perfect for this radio so no voltage regulator required.

I still need to sort out portable PSK-31 as I don’t really want to carry my macbook up a mountain where its likely to fall victim to the inclement weather.   I am working on ‘fixing’ my Nexus 7 for this, or may jailbreak the old Chromebook my daughter has decided is no longer suitable for school.

All in all I’m happy with the solution so far.

Now to add:
* Squid pole
* Resonant antenna for the usual bands.
* carry capability for water/food/raincoats etc.

ARLP014 Propagation de K7RA

ARLP014 Propagation de K7RA

Propagation Forecast Bulletin 14 ARLP014
From Tad Cook, K7RA
Seattle, WA April 2, 2015
To all radio amateurs

ARLP014 Propagation de K7RA

This bulletin is being posted a day early because ARRL headquarters
is closed tomorrow April 3 for Good Friday.

This week’s numbers have average daily solar flux and sunspot
numbers headed in opposite directions.

For the March 26 through April 1 period, average daily sunspot
numbers fell 6 points to 77.9, and average daily solar flux
increased 13.3 points to 135.7, compared to the previous seven days.

Geomagnetic indices were quieter, with average daily planetary A
index declining 10.7 points to 8.7, and average daily mid-latitude A
index dropping 6.6 points to 7.7.

We saw four new sunspot regions over the past week, one each on
March 26, 28, 29 and April 1.

The latest short term prediction for solar flux has 130 and 135 for
April 2 and 3, 125 on April 4 to 6, 130 on April 7 and 8, 140 on
April 9, 145 on April 10 to 13, 140 on April 14, 135 on April 15 to
18, 130 on April 19, and 125 on April 20 to 22. Then solar flux
sinks to a low of 120 on April 23 to 25 and hits a high of 150 on
April 28 before declining again.

Predicted planetary A index is 12, 20 and 15 on April 2 to 4, 8 on
April 5 to 8, 5 on April 9 to 11, then 15 and 30 on April 12 and 13,
20 on April 14 to 16, 15 on April 17, 20 on April 18 and 19, 12 on
April 20, 5 on April 21 and 22, 8 on April 23 and 24, 25 on April 25
and 29 on April 26 and 27.

At 2328 UTC on March 31 the Australian Space Forecast Centre issued
a geomagnetic disturbance warning. Increased geomagnetic activity is
expected due to a high speed solar wind from a coronal hole. The
geomagnetic activity forecast is for active conditions on April 2
and unsettled conditions April 3.

At the beginning of April we can look back at various averages of
daily sunspot numbers ending on March 31.

For monthly averages, the period since December 2014 shows a steady
decline. The monthly averages for daily sunspot numbers in the past
four months were 120, 101.3, 70.7 and 61.7. Our three month moving
averages of daily sunspot numbers centered on February 2014
(averaging for the period January 1 through March 31) through
February 2015 were 146.4, 148.4, 129.6, 118.4, 112.8, 109.2, 115.6,
108.4, 107, 104.7, 107.8, 98.2 and 78.1.

What does this lower activity mean in practical terms for HF? It
means that on average, the HF bands, particularly at the higher end
(20 to 30 MHz) will be open less often and less reliably. Of course
we can see big differences from day to day.

Using W6ELprop to get a general picture, on today’s date last year
we would see a path from Atlanta to Germany on 15 meters with an A
rating (75 percent or better chance of communication) from 1230 UTC
to 2330 UTC with signals at 29 db above a half microvolt at 1230 to
1800 UTC, then increasing to 33 db at 2030 to 2100 UTC and 38 db at
0030 UTC.

For today, although there is a small possibility of an opening after
1200 UTC, (especially at 1330 UTC) the opening begins with a 50
percent chance of reliable communication at 1500 UTC with signals at
just 16 db and gradually increasing to 20 db at 2000 UTC.

This propagation model has a funny anomaly though, with possibly
stronger signals on 20 and 17 meters than last year during early
morning hours on the Atlanta end. I don’t know why this is.

For instance, last year at this time on 20 meters at 1130 UTC
(around sunrise) we see signals at 12 db with an A rating, declining
to 7 db at 1330 UTC and 6 db from 1400 to 1530 UTC. But for today we
see 20 meter signals at 1130 UTC with an A rating at 15 db,
declining to 10 db at 1430 to 1530 UTC. But signals really pick up
at 2230 UTC (around sunset in Atlanta) with signals at 37 db last
year and 25 db this year.

For a graphic comparison of the latest four solar cycles, check .

At are many other comparisons.

For more information concerning radio propagation, see the ARRL
Technical Information Service at For an explanation of the
numbers used in this bulletin, see An archive of past
propagation bulletins is at More good
information and tutorials on propagation are at

Monthly propagation charts between four USA regions and twelve
overseas locations are at

Instructions for starting or ending email distribution of ARRL
bulletins are at

Sunspot numbers for March 26 through April 1 were 103, 109, 82, 73,
56, 53, and 69, with a mean of 77.9. 10.7 cm flux was 136.1, 137.8,
145.6, 144.5, 133.6, 128.1, and 124.1, with a mean of 135.7.
Estimated planetary A indices were 8, 9, 9, 14, 5, 9, and 7, with a
mean of 8.7. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 7, 7, 9, 11, 5,
7, and 8, with a mean of 7.7.