Portable tips at the AHARS shack

Last Saturday morning I attended the Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Club (AHARS) ‘shack’ at Blackwood for the regular monthly tech morning.  With the help of Chris VK4FR, I delivered a power point presentation with some tips for operating portable.

Chris and I also had a display of portable equipment with us including: Yaesu FT-857d, Yaesu FT817nd, Elecraft KX3, various power sources including SLAB, LiFePo, etc, bothy bag, hand held GPS gear, antennas and a variety of other equipment.

The session which lasted about 90 minutes, was attended by 12 keen amateurs from AHARS.


North East Radio Club presentation

On Friday evening (9th January 2015) I attended the North East Radio Club (NERC) at Modbury, to deliver a presentation on the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award, and the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  I had attended NERC last year, where I delivered a presentation on the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program.  This time it was to promote the parks programs and hopefully inspire some further activity.


It was a cold and wet night, so a good night to be indoors!  You would never know it was summer.  There were about 30 keen amateurs in attendance, including SOTA diehards Nigel VK5NIG and Stuart VK5STU.  The presentation lasted for about 45 minutes and this was followed by a number of questions from the floor.


Other than delivering the powerpoint presentation, I had a number of VK5 Parks certificates and WWFF certificates on display.  I also brought along my Yaesu FT-817nd and my Yaesu FT-857d to give the attendees an idea on the transceivers I use when out portable in the parks.  I also brought along my 44 amp hour power pack, a 12 volt 4 ah SLAB battery, and one of my new LiFePo4 batteries, to display the different types of power sources available.

Other equipment shown was my hand held GPS device, 7 metre telescopic squid pole, linked dipole, and various books relating to portable & QRP operation.


I hope the presentation may have inspired a few more hams to try the fantastic world of portable operation.

At the end of the presentation, Stuart VK5STU spoke briefly with the group, re offering his services, along with Nigel VK5NIG, for any budding portable operators who may want to accompany them on a parks portable activation.

Thanks to Stuart and Nigel for asking me to come along and speak with the group.


Talk at Elizabeth ARC

Last night (Wednesday 3rd December, 2014) I headed up the Elizabeth Amateur Radio Club to deliver a presentation on the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program.  The talk was attended by about 15 members of the club who showed a keen interest in the SOTA program. vk5lz2 The presentation including all aspects of SOTA, including its history, how summits qualify for SOTA, some operating tips, and favoured equipment used.  I also brought along my Yaesu FT-817, linked dipole, some SOTA awards, and my Shack Sloth trophy.

There were a few park activators present, who hopefully now will give SOTA a crack here in VK5.  One fella is travelling to Europe soon, and showed a keen interest in activating some summits whilst there on holidays.

Thanks to Allen VK5MAK for asking me to talk to the group.

Talk at SCARC

On Thursday 23rd October, 2014 I ventured down to the Seaford Meadows clubrooms of the South Coast Amateur Radio Club (SCARC) and delivered a presentation on the VK5 Parks National and Conservation Parks Award, the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program, and equipment used for portable operation.

A very keen group of about 20 amateurs attended.

I spoke about the basics of the VK5 Parks award and WWFF program.  And I also spoke briefly about various transceivers that can be used for portable operation, portable power sources, and antennas for portable use.  I brought along some of my portable gear including the Yaesu FT-817nd, my 44 amp hour power pack, various antennas, bothy bag, etc.

Thanks to Peter VK5PET for asking me to come down to SCARC.


Weekend summary

Hi all,

Here is a breakdown of my activities from Friday – Monday…..


Friday 6th June

Coorong NP – 20 QSOs
Martin Washpool CP – 20 QSOs
Messent CP – 21 QSOs
Tilley Swamp CP – 26 QSOs
Mount Scott CP – 20 QSOs

Saturday 7th June

Dingley Dell CP – 18 QSOs
Nene Valley CP – 31 QSOs
Canunda NP – 33 QSOs

Sunday 8th June

Mount Burr summit VK5/ SE-019 – 66 QSOs
Tantanoola Caves CP – 25 QSOs

Monday 9th June

Telford Scrub CP – 30 QSOs
Glen Roy CP – 29 QSOs
Narracoorte Caves NP – 46 QSOs
Grass Tree CP – 51 QSOs
Padthaway CP – 36 QSOs

Total of 472 QSOs.
11 x Conservation Parks
3 x National Parks
1 x SOTA summit

I ran out of time on Monday to do Desert Camp CP. That can wait til another day. There were a few highlights. They included being called by Bruce ZD7VC from St Helena Island in the Atlantic Ocean (very rare DX) whilst I was in Canunda NP. And working many VK6’s including Mike VK6MB on 40m.

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Sorry about the voice over the weekend. Turns out I have a chest infection and the Dr has given me some time off work.

I want to congratulate the South East Radio Group for running a terrific convention and congratulate them on their 50th year. I had an enjoyable time there on Saturday afternoon. And then late on the Sunday afternoon, I delivered a presentation (on the VK5 Parks award) to about 80 people at the Scout Hall, and then enjoyed a beautiful 3 course meal. It was also great to catch up with a lot of hams that I have spoken to many times on the radio but never met in person…..both VK5s and VK3s. I came home with some wire to build a linked dipole, a few tubes for Doc VK5BUG, and even convinced young Patrick to buy a FT-817nd from Ross from Strictly Ham who was at the convention.

Talk at Whyalla ARC

On Wednesday 26th February 2014 I headed up to Whyalla (about 400 km from home) to deliver a presentation on SOTA, the VK5 Parks Award, & WWFF to the gents from the Whyalla Amateur Radio Club and a few members  who had made the journey from Port Augusta.


So after work on Wednesday I headed down to the airport and flew up to Whyalla where I was met by my brother in law, who then dropped me off at my mother in law’s house.  They both live in Whyalla, which is where my wife Marija was born.

After a hearty Crotian meal (I think I put on an extra 5 kg), I headed to the meeting which was attended by a small but very keen group of amateurs.  The talk was split into 2 sections.  The first was on SOTA, and then after some coffee and cake, I spoke about the VK5 Parks Award and the World Wide Flora & Fauna program.

Thanks to Alex, VK5ALX for asking me up.  Alex has told me that the talk has…..

stimulated a lot of interest in both activities.  I have heard a couple of members chatting away on 2 mfrs about setting up suitable portable kits so expect to hear them on air before long“.

That is great to hear.

Talk at Adelaide Tech Meet

On Wednesday night I attended the Adelaide Tech Meet meeting at Hackerspace, King William Street in the city, after being invited to do so by Kym VK5FJ.  I delivered a presentation on the portable aspect of amateur radio, which included equipment used, and some of the various formal portable programs including SOTA & the VK5 Parks Award.

Hackerspace are a group of people with an interest in electronics and computing, who meet to work and share on their ideas.


I was the third of five presenters during the evening.  The first 2 presentations were well at least for me, quite technical in regards to computers.  I think I was lost after the first 5 minutes.  But I have never professed to be computer literate.

The meeting was attended by about 25 people who all showed a keen interest, despite the fact that only 3 that were present were amateur radio operators.  Because the majority of the audience were new to amateur radio, I tailored the start of the presentation, and explained in basic terms what ham radio was all about.

Other than the powerpoint presentation, I took along my FT-817nd, a SLAB battery, and a few portable antennas.

Much to my surprise, at least 2 people in attendance showed a very keen interest in obtaining their amateur radio licence.

Thanks to Kym VK5FJ for giving me the opportunity to attend.


North East Radio Club presentation

Last night, I attended the North East Radio Club and gave a presentation on Summits on the Air (SOTA).  The presentation did include the VK5 Parks Award, WWFF, & KRMNPA.  But sadly I ran out of time to present the last part  re those awards.

There were about 35 people in attendance, who all showed a keen interest in the SOTA program.  Hopefully I have encouraged a few more hams to get out and about, and activate a summit.

Thanks to my mate Nigel VK5NIG, for asking me to come along.  It was great to catch up with a lot of fellas that I had spoken to on air, but had never met.

I have been asked to come back to complete the presentation, and let everyone know about the various parks awards.


Strathalbyn Show

On Monday 8th October, 2013, with Rod VK5KFB and Steve VK5AIM, I attended the Strathalbyn Agricultural Show, which is a typical country show.  We set up a small amateur radio display at the show on the edge of the oval under a marquee.

The display included a Yaesu FT-817nd, Steve’s portable Yaesu station, a Yaesu VX-6R hand held, a Hi Mound CW key, a selection of QSL cards, a selection of amateur radio awards, some portable antennas, and promotional material.

We did put up a 40m/20m linked dipole supported on a 7m squid pole secured to the tow bar of my car, and tried our luck on 40m, but the noise floor was S8-9, so that put a halt to any contacts.  Unfortunately there were so many nearby generators running, and power lines, that it made any radio activity impossible.


During the day between about 10.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m. we had about 25-30 people visit the marquee and collect some promotional material on the hobby of amateur radio, and chat with us.  Many of these seemed genuinely interested in obtaining their amateur radio licence.  So here’s hoping a few more amateurs join our ranks.

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Talk to the Riverland Radio Club

On Saturday morning, 21st September, 2013, I gave a presentation to the Riverland Radio Club, on SOTA, the VK5 Parks Award, KRMNPA, & WWFF.  The talk was held at the SES Headquarters at Berri, and a total of 17 people attended.  What was really pleasing was that some members of the Sunraysia Radio Group travelled across the border for the talk.

It was great to catch up with lots of people I have spoken to on the radio, but never met in person.  That included some active SOTA Chasers & Parks Hunters including Colin VK3UBY from Mildura, Andy VK5LA, Larry VK5LY, & Ivan VK5HS.

David VK5KC & wife Joy also travelled up to the Riverland for the talk, and activated a park or 2 on the way home on the Sunday.

Following the talk we had a BBQ and a good ‘chinwag’.  It was a terrific morning & afternoon.  A big thankyou to Larry VK5LY & Ivan VK5HS who organised everything.

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On the Friday night prior to the talk, a group of us went out for tea at the Renmark Hotel and had a very enjoyable meal.  On The Saturday night a small group of us went out for tea at a local Italian restaurant, and again the food was great.

Many thanks to Larry VK5LY and his wife Di, for their hospitality and allowing my wife Marija and I to stay at their house on Friday & Saturday night.  They made us feel really welcome.

The Riverland Radio Group has a website and it can be found at…..



The Sunraysia  Radio Group also has a website.  And it can be found at…..


Sep2013 meeting